Goodness is it really week 5 already? We have passed the quarter mark in the fantasy season and while it’s certainly not desperation time for anybody yet, those of you on the verge of starting 0-5 or 1-4 have got to be feeling a little nervous. The important thing to remember is every situation is different. A 1-3 team could easily be one of the better teams in the league but just had a series of unfortunate match ups. In these cases, trust your team, stay the course and the odds should even you back out. If you find yourself in the position of losing and underperforming on the field, it’s time to use those waiver claims and FAAB dollars to try and make some moves. You have start taking some chances and some risks on a Brian Hartline becoming the next Victor Cruz, because the problem when a team underperforms is they don’t have many trade assets. It is never impossible to make a trade, unless you are in one of those leagues where people act like trading is the equivalent of going to a club that has its lights on all night, but I can be difficult getting value with a team full of slow starters. So you have to work a little harder. Take some buy low risks, pick up those free agents, but most importantly remember we are only four games in and any team is one injury away from disaster or a gold mine. Let’s get you ready for week 5:
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Phillip Rivers at NO: Well its Rivers’ turn to take on the hapless New Orleans Saints defense. Last week the Saints made all of the Aaron Rodgers owners happy by getting him back on track and with the mess at running back in San Diego we should expect Rivers to slang the rock a good amount as well. The Saints defense has given up 40, 35, 27, and 28 points so far this year. Get all of your Chargers’ passing game members in your lineup.
Joe Flacco at KC: Ok so you know who may give a Saints a run for their money in the worst defense category so far. These guys, the Chiefs. If you thought the scoring amount on the Saints was astounding, here are the first four scores against the Chiefs this year: 40, 35, 24, and 37. Three of four games they have given up at least 35 points. Flacco is hot, the Ravens are airing it out, and the Chiefs can’t stop anybody. Well that was easy.
Other QBs worthy of a start: Christian Ponder vs TENN, Andrew Luck vs GB, Kevin Kolb at STL
Alfred Morris vs ATL: Who would have thought this guy would be approaching must start status by week 5? Through 4 weeks Morris is 5th in the league in rushing yards, tied for 3rd in attempts per game, and is tied for the league lead in rushing touchdowns. The Atlanta defense is much improved this season but they are currently 29th in rush defense and I’m sure Mike Shanahan wouldn’t mind holding on to the ball and keeping the high powered Falcons offense off the field as much as possible. Morris should get a heavy work load this week against a porous rush d and should be in your line up.
Matt Forte at JAC: It always worries me to start guys who are gingerly returning from injury. Forte came out after the first play last week and it looked like my typical worse fear. Good news for Forte owners is that he was able to return and finish that game and come away with only a natural soreness post game. That bodes well going forward. The Bears take on the Jags this week and the Jags have been the 3rd worst rushing defense in the league so far. With the way the Bears defense is playing, I expect the Chicago to be playing with the lead most of the game, and Forte should find plenty of running room.
Ryan Williams at STL: It is not secret that Ryan Williams has been very disappointing so far this season. An explosive player pre injury, many had Williams as a highly touted sleeper coming into this season. That has not yet materialized but the opportunity still presents itself. The Cardinals with take on the Rams on Thursday Night Football this week in St. Louis and Williams will get a chance to use his speed on that turf. The Rams are giving up the 7th most rushing yards per game and if there was ever a time Williams needed to have a big game its right now.
Others RBs worthy of a start: Jackie Battle at NO, Frank Gore vs BUF, Reggie Bush at CIN
Domenic Hixon vs CLE: We saw last week that when Nicks is out and Hixon is healthy, that starting job is his not Barden’s. With that start, he ran with the job at that to the tune of 6 catches for 114 yards. Well this week Hixon’s situation looks even rosier as Ramses Barden suffered a concussion at the end of the game this week and is very questionable to play and there is certainly no guarantee that Nicks will be ready yet. Hixon could have the single coverage opposite Victor Cruz all to himself against the Browns 28th ranked pass defense.
James Jones at IND: Jones looks to be finally taking advantage of his profound talents and has decreased some of his common mental lapses. While he may still struggle when he is the focus of a solid secondary, this week he gets the Colts. Yea, no worries there. Also, Greg Jennings is considering shutting himself down for awhile to rest his reoccurring groin injury which means Jones would get the start for a recently resurgent Aaron Rodgers’ led offense. That is a dream place to be for fantasy owner’s wide receivers.
Reggie Wayne vs GB: There is no question who Andrew Luck’s favorite target has been so far this season. Wayne is 8th in the NFL in targets and that is with already having played in his bye week. Having has an extra week to study their protections against Green Bay’s pass rush I think Luck will be playing much more into a shootout with Green Bay than a defensive duel. When that happens, Wayne benefits. I’m betting on Wayne benefitting. 3 million pizzas it is!
Kyle Rudolph vs TEN: As I said in my COM article this week, the best tight end start of any week, outside of the uber elite guys, is the guy playing against the Tennessee Titans. Through 4 games the Titans have given up over 360 yards and 7 touchdowns to tight ends! Kyle Rudolph, come on down! You are the next contestant on torch the Titans.
Michael Vick at PIT: He is becoming a weekly contributor to this space rather than an occasional guest. They are winning and that is what matters to the Eagles most, but Vick is getting hit way too much and he is not producing great stats from a fantasy perspective. Now he gets the Pittsburgh Steelers coming off a bye week and two weeks to prepare for him. If Vick thought he was getting hit hard before, wait until James Harrison says hello.
Cam Newton vs SEA: It is no secret Cam is in a bit of a sophomore slump. He’s throw 4 touchdowns to 5 interceptions so far although he has still run for 3 more TDs. Unfortunately he gets the Seattle Seahawks defense this week. All the Hawks D has done so far is not allow the Rams an offensive touchdown, hold Aaron Rodgers without a passing touchdown for the first time in years, and Tony Romo to 250 yards and 1 touchdown. Not exactly great success by opposing franchise quarterbacks so far.
Other QBs worthy of a sit: Sam Bradford vs ARI, Matt Hasslebeck at MIN, Blaine Gabbert vs CHI
Fred Jackson/CJ Spiller at SF: This one is twofold. First, the San Francisco effect, especially in San Fran. But secondly, this new split is about the worst thing both players’ owners could imagine. Coming into the season Jackson was expected to be a stud type with Spiller in the background. If anything happened to Jackson, like it did, Spiller would come in and be great, which he was. Now that Spiller has shown greatness and Jackson is healthy, the backs are splitting down the middle. The ultimate committee and worst nightmare for owners. Oh yeah, and they are playing the 49ers, did I mention that?
BenJarvus Green-Ellis vs MIA: Green-Ellis gets the lion share of carries, plays for a decently explosive offense, totes the rock at the goal line and yet he has still be very unimpressive. At least before he never fumbled and now he’s early year Tiki Barber. With Green-Ellis, you are really just hoping for 70-80 yards rushing and a TD at best but this week they play a Miami team that has actually been surprisingly stingy against the run allowing a league low 56.8 yards per game and only 2.4 yards per carry. That is a concoction the most diabolical witch wouldn’t want to stir together.
Shonn Greene vs HOU: This is more of an obituary style sit as Shonn Greene is on his way out of fantasy relevance all together. His snaps have been drastically reduced in favor of the more reception savy Bilal Powell and the whole ground and pound idea will be completely abandoned as the Jets will have very few leads this season with both Revis and now Santonio Holmes lost for the season. They get the Houston Texans this week folks. He is survived by his coaches, teammates, and possible fans.
Other RBs worthy of a sit: Rashard Mendenhall vs PHI, Donald Brown vs GB, Andre Brown vs CLE
Steve Smith vs SEA: We talked about it with Cam, but the extension goes on to Steve Smith as well. The Seahawks secondary is just very difficult to deal with and they have shut down players all over the field. If Cam struggles, Smith will struggle. The Packers wide receivers had a very difficult time breaking free from the tight coverage and Steve Smith could find himself in a very similar predicament.
Antonio Brown at PHI: Brown blew the doors off the league with his preseason performance and has yet to match that success this season. While beatable the Philly secondary is still very good at times and in particular Rodgers-Cromartie. Since Cromartie plays more inside and outside as opposed to Nnamdi’s pure outside coverage, I think Brown will find Cromartie on him more often than not. That has meant bad news to this point this season and it could be tough sledding once again the Steelers joystick receiver.
Justin Blackmon vs CHI: In case there were people still starting Blackmon in the hopes he would be in their lineup when he hits that special AJ Green/Julio Jones rookie moment just stop. I’m not saying it won’t happen, but against the Bears? Their cover two can certainly be beaten by wide receivers but I don’t see Blackmon having his big break out game against one of the hottest defenses in the league.
Other WRs worthy of a sit: Brandon Lloyd vs DEN, Desean Jackson vs PIT, Greg Little at NYG
Heath Miller at PHI: Miller has been the eye of apple of Big Ben’s eye so far this year but the Eagles have been extremely tough against tight ends this season. They cooled down the uber hot Martellus Bennett to the tune of 1 catch for 2 yards last weekend and have always had a good scheme at taking away the tight end.