Fantasy Football Matchups

Fantasy Football Matchups: Week 5

Author: Chris Dale


Another week has passed, and the injuries continue to pile up, perhaps as a result of poor conditioning due to a short offseason.  Players returning from injuries had varying degrees of success this week, and as a result, some apparent depth chart changes have occurred.  I’ll be taking all of this into account and more as I give you a stat-driven insight into what to expect from your fantasy players in Week 5, as well as some advice on for your pick’em leagues (13-3 last week).  As always, I’d love to hear any feedback you might have, so hit up the comments section.


kc_logo-50x50ind_logo-50x50Kansas City at Indianapolis


The Chiefs managed to scrape together a win last week against the Vikings, overcoming their multiple injuries.  Dwayne Bowe has had 14 receptions for 275 yards and two TDs over the past three games.  This is actually a much faster start than he had in his monster year last year, when he had 1162 yards and 15 TDs, despite his two catch, 17 yard game 1.  Bowe owners, you could be in for a heck of a ride.  Matt Cassel made some strides towards silencing his critics, with a mistake-free, 260 yard, one TD performance.  He got Steve Breaston more involved this week, but neither Cassel nor Breaston are reliable fantasy options.  Pick up Breaston if you need a fill-in for the bye week or Andre Johnson.  The running situation in Kansas City is an absolute mess in the absence of Jamaal Charles.  Thomas Jones is getting most of the carries, but to put that in perspective, last week he had 11 carries for 37 yards.  If that doesn’t dissuade you from owning any of the RBs in Kansas City, then listen to this.  The Chiefs have not scored a since rushing touchdown this season.  Yea, that’s what I thought….


The Colts cannot catch a break, as more players were struck with injuries.  Watching Peyton Manning slump down in his chair in the booth watching failed play after failed play on offense just might be the saddest thing I’ve seen all year.  From a fantasy perspective, QB Curtis Painter is making it tough to trust anyone involved in the passing game.  Reggie Wayne was leading the team in receiving yards until Pierre Garcon had his freak game last week with two receptions for 146 yards and two TDs.  You probably don’t want to play Wayne this week because the Chiefs shutdown corner Brandon Flowers will be all over him.  Garcon could have a good week again if Wayne gets most of the defensive attention.  The Chiefs have struggled covering TEs this year, so Dallas Clark is also a decent play.  Joseph Addai is playing well as the Colts try to take some pressure off Painter.


Winner: Kansas City




***** Dwayne Bowe

**** --

*** Chiefs defense

** Matt Cassel, Steve Breason, Thomas Jones

* Dexter McCluster




***** --

**** Joseph Addai

*** Pierre Garcon, Dallas Clark

** Reggie Wayne

* Austin Collie, Curtis Painter


cin_logo-50x50jac_logo-50x50Cincinnati at Jacksonville


The Bengals stunned everyone last week by hanging on to win against the Bills.  Cincinnati should go to 3-2 this week against a Jacksonville team that has scored just three TDs all season.  Andy Dalton showed that he could rebound after throwing a pick-six, throwing and rushing for a TD, and leading his team down the field for the game-winning field goal.  A.J. Green and Jermaine Gresham continue to be his favorite targets, and are both worth considering for your fantasy team.  Cedric Benson gained 100 yards on the ground, but has still only scored one TD in four games.  His status is still unknown for the coming weeks, pending a suspension by Roger Goodell.


Blaine Gabbert has played some decent football, but definitely not fantasy-worthy.  MJD continues to be the only must-start from this team.  Mike Thomas has more than twice as many receptions and yards as any other receiver, but that’s not saying much for this team.  TEs Marcedes Lewis and Zach Miller have both been a big disappointment this year, and neither are worth having on your team.


Winner: Cincinnati




***** --

**** A.J. Green, Cedric Benson (?), Cincinnati defense

*** Jermaine Gresham

** --

* Andy Dalton, Andre Caldwell, Jerome Simpson




***** Maurice Jones-Drew

**** --

*** Mike Thomas

** Jacksonville defense

* Blaine Gabbert, Marcedes Lewis, Deji Karim, Zach Miller



oak_logo-50x50hou_logo-50x50Oakland at Houston


One star Texan recovers from an injury, another star Texan goes down.  Arian Foster showed why he was taken as the #1 pick in many drafts by picking up 155 yards and a TD on 30 carries.  Andre Johnson was taken down by the turf monster.  He has already had surgery to prevent scar tissue and speed his recovery, but will likely be out for 3 weeks.  In his absence, Jacoby Jones will move to andrehurtWR1, and Kevin Walter should get more looks as well.  Owen Daniels will be Matt Schaub’s favorite target, but the Oakland defense has done a great job on TEs so far (they shut down Rob Gronkowski last week, holding him to one catch for 15 yards).  Look for Arian Foster to have an even bigger role this week, and be more involved in the passing game.


Darren McFadden continues to run like a bat out of hell, leading all rushers.  Michael Bush has poached 3 TDs so far, and could be a useable bye week fill-in for your team.  Denarius Moore is looking like more and more of a draft steal, and should be taken in most leagues by now.  If he is still available, he is definitely worth grabbing.  Darrius Heyward-Bey bounced back from a horrible week 3 to lead all Raiders with 115 yards receiving.  Kevin Boss also had a good day, but hasn’t proven himself to be a big part of this offense.  Jason Campbell should put up a lot of yards in what should be a high-scoring game in Houston.


Winner: Oakland




***** Darren McFadden

**** Denarius Moore

*** Jason Campbell

** Darrius Heyward-Bey, Michael Bush

* Kevin Boss




***** Arian Foster

**** --

*** Matt Schaub, Owen Daniels, Jacoby Jones

** --

* Kevin Walter



ari_logo-50x50min_logo-50x50Arizona at Minnesota


The Vikings are sticking to their guns with Donovan McNabb, saying that he will remain the starter despite their 0-4 record.  This seems puzzling, since the Vikings drafted Christian Ponder to be the QB of the future.  All I can say is that the future better hurry up and get here, because the present isn’t pretty.  Adrian Peterson is the lone pillar of fantasy goodness on this team.  He got 23 touches last week, after complaining the week prior because he only got 17 attempts.  If Arian Foster can get 30 attempts coming back from an injury, the Vikings should get smart and do the same with Peterson.  He’s kind of a beast; he can handle it!  Percy Harvin is also not on the field as much as he probably should be, and thus has disappointed many owners.  Michael Jenkins is the only other WR worth taking a look at, and that is only because he has managed to get into the endzone twice.


Last week the Cardinals surprised everyone by going up by 10 points against the Giants in the 4th quarter, largely thanks to a monster day for Beanie Wells.  Wells had 138 yards and 3 TDs coming off an injury.  His numbers will certainly drop off against the Giants defense, but he is still a good play, as the Cardinals will go to him often to take some pressure off of Kevin Kolb.  Eli Manning made the Cardinals defense look pretty bad, especially in the 4th quarter, throwing for over 300 yards and no interceptions.  Larry Fitzgerald should have another 100 yard game this week, and hopefully reach the endzone.  Kevin Kolb is not someone you want to start.  He has struggled against good pass rushes, and Minnesota has a very good front four.


Winner: Arizona




***** Larry Fitzgerald

**** Beanie Wells

*** --

** Kevin Kolb

* Early Doucet, Todd Heap




***** Adrian Peterson

**** --

*** --

** Percy Harvin

* Michael Jenkins, Donovan McNabb


tb_logo-50x50sf_logo-50x50Tampa Bay at San Francisco


The Bucs secured a win over the Colts by beating them with a Blount object.  Don’t expect the same this week however, because the 49ers have been fantastic at defending the run.  They have not been frankgorenearly as good at defending the pass, so Josh Freeman should throw for over 250 yards and multiple touchdowns.  Mike Williams should be heavily involved, as well as Kellen Winslow and Preston Parker.


All it took for Frank Gore to have a good game was to bench him.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Apparently the benching lit a fire under Gore, who rushed for 127 yards and a TD, by far his most productive outing this season.  Kendall Hunter started in his place, and should get 10-12 carries a game from here on out.  Alex Smith had his most productive game this season, throwing for almost 300 yards, 2 TDs, and zero interceptions.  I don’t see him doing this well very often, so as usual, the only player involved in the 49ers passing game you should own is Vernon Davis.


Winner: Tampa Bay




***** Josh Freeman

**** --

*** LeGarrette Blount, Mike Williams, Bucs defense

** Preston Parker, Kellen Winslow

* -




***** --

**** Frank Gore, Vernon Davis

*** 49ers defense

** Alex Smith, Kendall Hunter

* --



ne_logo-50x50nyj_logo-50x50NY Jets at New England


The Patriots, as the usually do, came back with a vengeance after losing to Buffalo, beating Oakland handily.  The Jets have a strong pass defense, so Tom Brady, Wes Welker, Deion Branch, and Rob Gronkowski could all see a slight dip in numbers this week.  Steven Ridley came up big last week, and with Danny Woodhead nursing an injury, expect a lot of Ridley and BenJarvus Green-Ellis.


New England has played pretty terrible defense so far this year, giving up a ton of yards through the air.  Mark Sanchez should look for Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress quite a bit.  The Pats do seem to defend tight ends well, so Dustin Keller might not be a great play this week.  Shonn Greene has probably been the biggest bust so far this season, and don’t expect that to change this week.  LaDainian Tomlinson is the back to start here, as he will in all likelihood catch quite a few passes out of the backfield.


Winner: New England




***** Santonio Holmes

**** Plaxico Burress, Mark Sanchez

*** LaDainian Tomlinson

** Dustin Keller

* Shonn Greene




***** Tom Brady, Wes Welker

**** Steven Ridley

*** BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Rob Gronkowski

** Deion Branch

* --


ten_logo-50x50pit_logo-50x50Tennessee at Pittsburgh


Matt Hasselbeck seems to have found a second wind in Tennessee.  He has led the Titans to three straight victories, and should get another win at Pittsburgh.  Even without star WR Kenny Britt, Hasselbeck has been able to involve Nate Washington and Jared Cook and keep the chains moving.  Chris Johnson finally broke 100 yards last week, and should replicate that effort this week for two mikewallace3reasons.  First, his fullback, Ahmard Hall is back from suspension.  Second, James Harrison is out with an eye injury for the Steelers defense.


As if the Steelers didn’t have enough problems with their terrible offensive line, now the team has been hit with a slew of injuries.  James Harrison, Rashard Mendenhall, and Ben Roethlisberger are all banged up.  Mendenhall did not practice Thursday, so it looks like Isaac Redman will get the start.  He could be a nice bye week fill-in for your team, but remember that the Titans have a pretty good defense, so don’t expect a lot.  Big Ben did practice, and looks like he will play, but a foot injury will only slow him down in the pocket, making him even easier to sack.  Wait, who am I kidding?  The Steelers offensive line can’t even form a pocket!  Mike Wallace could be in for a slow day with Cortland Finnegan draped all over him and a banged-up Big Ben.  Antonio Brown seems to be the #2 guy here, but Wallace is the only consistent WR on this team.


Winner: Tennessee




***** Chris Johnson

**** Tennessee defense

*** Nate Washington, Matt Hasselbeck

** Jared Cook

* -




***** --

**** Mike Wallace

*** Isaac Redman

** Ben Roethlisberger

* Antonio Brown


no_logo-50x50car_logo-50x50New Orleans at Carolina


The Panthers have been good against the pass, and just awful against the run.  The Saints have passed the ball extremely well, but have not run the ball well.  Someone will have to tip the balance, and that someone is Darren Sproles.  He has been the catalyst for this offense all season, making big plays, converting third downs, and just running rampant all over opposing defenses.  Drew Brees will always get his fantasy points, and will look to Jimmy Graham as his main target.  As usual, it’s a crapshoot as to which Saints WR will have a good game, with Colston, Moore, Meachem, and Henderson all in the mix.  Mark Ingram could be worth a play here if the Saints decide to try to exploit a Panthers defense that gave up over 200 yards last week to Matt Forte.


Carolina will be playing from behind in this game, which spells good news for Cam Newton and Steve Smith owners.  Brandon LaFell could be a nice sleeper here as well.  Greg Olson will also get quite a few looks.  Don’t expect Jeremy Shockey to have another game like he did last week.  It was a fluke; don’t pick him up.  DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart still have almost no fantasy value.  Sorry if you drafted them, just drop them and move on.  You’re not going to be able to trade them away.


Winner: New Orleans




***** Drew Brees

**** Darren Sproles, Jimmy Graham

*** Marques Colston, Lance Moore

** Mark Ingram, Robert Meachem

* Devery Henderson, Pierre Thomas




***** Cam Newton, Steve Smith

**** --

*** Greg Olson

** Jonathan Stewart, Brandon LaFell

* DeAngelo Williams, Jeremy Shockey


phi_logo-50x50buf_logo-50x50Philadelphia at Buffalo


“Dream Team?”  More like “in your dreams.”  Philadelphia is 1-3, with a defense that is really underperforming.  Michael Vick had a big game last week, with almost 500 yards to total offense.  He should have another big game at Buffalo, but I expect the home field advantage to be enough for the jeremymaclinBills to overcome whatever Vick can throw at them.  Jeremy Maclin has emerged as the leading receiver in Philly, with a few more yards and 10 more receptions than DeSean Jackson.  LeSean Mccoy remains a must-start, despite a rough day against the 49ers defense last week.


The Bills came back down to earth against the Bengals, who held red-hot Ryan Fitzpatrick to under 200 yards passing.  They also held Fred Jackson to just 66 yards rushing, although he did manage a touchdown.  This week, Jackson should have a much bigger game, against an Eagles defense that is allowing more fantasy points to RBs than any other team in the league.  Stevie Johnson has been elite as well, but will face talented corners all day, so temper your expectations.  The same goes for David Nelson.  Scott Chandler has a nice matchup here, so give him a go if you are still waiting on Antonio Gates to get better, or need a bye week fill in for someone like Jason Witten.


Winner: Buffalo




***** Michael Vick, Jeremy Maclin, LeSean McCoy

**** DeSean Jackson

*** --

** --

* Jason Avant




***** Fred Jackson

**** Ryan Fitzpatrick

*** Stevie Johnson, Scott Chandler

** David Nelson

* --


sea_logo-50x50nyg_logo-50x50Seattle at NY Giants


Seattle looked decent in their last two home games, but without their 12th man, they are in for a rough week.  Sidney Rice continues to show good chemistry with Tavaris Jackson, but will probably drop off in stats this week.  The Giants pass rush is just too good to allow Tavaris much time in the pocket.  Doug Baldwin has stepped up when teams focus on shutting down Rice, but this is not the week to try Baldwin, unless you are really hurting going into the bye.  The Giants front four will also make life difficult for Marshawn Lynch, who has struggled all season.


Eli Manning has quietly had a great start to his season: over 1000 yards, 8 TDs and only 2 interceptions and 1 fumble.  Hakeem Nicks looks like he has recovered sufficiently, and is back to being a WR1 option.  Mario Manningham has not come back strong from his concussion, ceding a lot of snaps to upstart Victor Cruz.  The team claims that this was just a “hot hand” type deal, but I think I would avoid playing Manningham if I could until he re-establishes himself.  Ahmad Bradshaw faces a stiff Seahawks run defense this week, but is probably still a good start.  Brandon Jacobs did not practice on Thursday, so Bradshaw could be in for a high volume of carries, plus the Giants have been getting him involved in the passing game.


Winner: Giants




***** --

**** --

*** Sidney Rice

** Marshawn Lynch

* Tavaris Jackson, Doug Baldwin




***** Hakeen Nicks, Eli Manning

**** Ahmad Bradshaw, Giants defense

*** Victor Cruz, Mario Manningham

** --

* --


sd_logo-50x50den_logo-50x50San Diego at Denver


Ryan Matthews is the clear starter here, but even after the coach said that Matthews would be getting goal line carries, Mike Tolbert comes in and steals the goal line dive.  This will probably be the story brandon lloydall season, so if you need a bye-week filler, Tolbert has TD potential every week.  Vincent Jackson has been the only consistent performer in the passing game thus far.  However, Randy McMichael has started getting more looks with Antonio Gates out.  Malcolm Floyd has not shown us much this year, so don’t play him unless you are desperate.


Willis McGahee has claimed the starting RB job, much to the dismay of Knowshon Moreno owners.  McGahee doesn’t have a great matchup this week, but is a solid play just due to the number of touches he’ll be receiving.  Eric Decker has been the surprise wideout of the season, leading the Broncos in receptions, yards, and TDs.  Brandon Lloyd has been putting up decent numbers, but is yet to reach the endzone.


Winner: San Diego




***** Vincent Jackson

**** Ryan Matthews

*** Phillip Rivers

** Mike Tolbert, Randy McMichael

* Malcolm Floyd




***** --

**** Eric Decker

*** Willis McGahee, Brandon Lloyd

** Kyle Orton

* Knowshon Moreno


gb_logo-50x50atl_logo-50x50Green Bay at Atlanta


This game has shootout written all over it.  I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if Aaron Rodgers comes close to his production last week, where he threw for 400 yards, four TDs, and ran for two more scores.  Greg Jennings and Jermichael Finley are always must-starts.  If you have Jordy Nelson, play him this week too.  He had a big game the last time these two teams met, and he just signed a nice contract.  Ryan Grant is back from injury, and should get the start.  However, neither he nor James Starks is a good play this week against the Falcons run defense.


Again, this will be a shootout.  Matt Ryan, Roddy White, Julio Jones, and Tony Gonzales are all in for a great week.  White was a limited participant in practice, but this seems to be a common occurrence, and White always ends up playing.  You might want make room for Michael Turner’s massive thighs on your bench this week.  Green Bay has been snuffing out the run every week, and this week should be no different.


Winner: Green Bay




***** Aaron Rodgers, Greg Jennings, Jermichael Finley

**** Jordy Nelson

*** --

** Ryan Grant, James Jones

* James Starks




***** Matt Ryan, Roddy White, Julio Jones

**** Tony Gonzales

*** --

** Michael Turner

* -


chi_logo-50x50det_logo-50x50Chicago at Detroit


Calvin Johnson has back-to-back-to-back-to-back two TD games.  Yes, that’s right, 4 in a row.  He is simply un-coverable, as seen in last week’s comeback game where he caught a TD in triple-coverage.  I regret my Matthew Stafford/Calvin Johnson for Matt Schaub/Andre Johnson trade a little bit more each week, especially now that Andre is out for a few weeks.....Stafford is becoming this year’s version of Josh Freeman, with two come-from-behind victories in his past two games.  Titus Young seems to take away more targets each week from Nate Burleson, so you may need to swap those two out if you own Burleson.  Brandon Pettigrew has become Stafford’s 2nd favorite target, and should be started every week if you own him.  Jahvid Best hasn’t been running all that well, but has kept fantasy relevance by staying involved in the passing game.  He should do more of the same cjohnsonas the Lions look for ways to avoid the Bears run defense.  This isn’t based on any sort of analysis, but I really hope Tony Scheffler gets a TD this week, just so I can see another one of his TD celebrations.


Matt Forte went absolutely bonkers last week against Carolina.  Do not expect even half as many rushing yards this week, against the Lions’ stout front four.  However, you do have to start Forte every week, seeing as he leads his team in both rushing AND receiving yards.  Jay Cutler will have a much better game this week than last week, where he threw for just over 100 yards and only 9 completions.  Johnny Knox has officially won the WR1 position over Roy Williams (about time), and is probably the only Bears receiver worth owning.  Devin Hester could be worth your time if you get points for return yards.  If you are really in need of some fill-ins, Marion Barber played in his first game this season, and managed to score a TD on just 5 carries for 17 yards.  Dane Sanzenbacher is a good red-zone target, but does not get the kind of yardage to warrant anything more than a spot-play.


Winner: Detroit




***** Matt Forte

**** Jay Cutler

*** Johnny Knox

** Roy Williams

* Devin Hester, Dane Sanzenbacher, Marion Barber




***** Calvin Johnson

**** Matthew Stafford

*** Brandon Pettigrew

** Jahvid Best, Nate Burleson, Titus Young

* --

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