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I like to think that our readers have a certain degree of fantasy acuity before they arrive, so my hope is that this start and sit list – which avoids the obvious – will be useful for all of you. I’ve made my opinions on start/sit implicitly known via my weekly rankings, so, you won’t see a lot of QBs inside my Top 6, etc. listed here. The idea of this post is to give you some deep names that will yield start worthy value and some entrenched starters that should be riding the virtual pine.
Week 5 QB Starts
Terrelle Pryor vs. San Diego - After his absence last week Raider fans are acutely aware of what Pryor means to the team’s offense, and fantasy owners should be as well. He’ll be without some firepower at RB in this one but facing a generous pass defense (29th in the league in passing yards allowed; first in fantasy points against by QBs) Pryor should be able to get the job done through his receivers this week. Bonus: against mobile QBs Vick and Locker the Chargers have given up a combined 102 yards rushing and 2 scores on the ground.
Eli Manning vs. Philadelphia - It’s going to take some serious stones to start Eli this week and with him as my 13th ranked QB I’m not advocating starting him over ‘typical’ QB1s, but with the Eagles and a pass D that is generating little pass rush (they have 10 sacks but grade as the worst in the league according to Pro Football Focus) Manning should have time to get the ball to his still-strong WR group. Philadelphia gives up the second most points in the league to opposing QBs and assuming the fast paced Kelly offense continues to lead to strong opponent time of possession the Giants should have a high number of pass attempts in this one. The Eagles have given up an average of 339.5 passing yards and 2.3 touchdowns per contest through their first four games.
Philip Rivers vs. Oakland – I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Rivers, but, if you haven’t clued into the fact that the fantasy game’s 3rd best QB through 4 weeks is worth a start you probably won’t be convinced of it in a short paragraph. Roll him out against the Raiders late on Sunday night. He’s my 8th ranked QB this week.
Week 5 QB Sits
Andrew Luck vs. Seattle - We did see Matt Schaub post strong (fantasy, anyway) numbers against the Seahawks last week but it would be a mistake to put too much weight in recency when assessing this matchup. Seattle still boasts one of the stronger secondaries in the league and even with Schaub’s 355 yard performance factored in they are giving up just 210.5 passing ypg this season. If the Seahawks are successful at mitigating Reggie Wayne‘s impact Luck will struggle to give QB1 worthy numbers ths week. On that note, while my WR ranks don’t rely reflect this setiment, there is a possibility that this is the week TY Hilton gets involved in the Colts pass game. If Darrius Heyward-Bey and Wayne are handled on the outside the 2nd year QB could look to his slot man more than he has in previous games.
Joe Flacco vs. Miami - after a five interception performance against a lesser pass D and the team’s commitment to involve Ray Rice (more on that in the next bullet) moving forward there are a number of better options than Flacco this week.
Week 5 RB Starts
Ray Rice vs. Miami - Rice disappointed you last week in a juicy matchup against the Buffalo Bills and now you’re unsure about what to do with him. I get it, and I don’t blame you. But, don’t waiver – he needs to be in your lineup this week. Facing a Dolphins defense that is giving up an average of 21.5 fantasy points per game to opposing backs in a game where coach John Harbaugh has indicated that Rice will be involved ‘in every single way‘ he is a must start RB1. After Darren Sproles had a strong game as a receiver against the Dolphins in Week 4 they are now giving up the second most receiving yards to opposing RBs. Rice had 8 catches in Week 1 but has seen just 4 pass targets since then. Expect a much higher number this week and for him to do something with them. SB Nation points out that the Ravens have an odd history of giving Rice huge workloads after forgetting about him in a previous game.
David Wilson vs. Philadelphia - Much like the point above with Eli Manning, the question is simple – if Wilson can’t get it going against Philly, when can he? The signs point to this being the week. Wilson has been taking on an increasing level of work in the past few weeks and with the departure of Da’Rel Scott he is likely in line for a season high in workload. He’ll see more 3rd down work than he has previously, and should build on a Week 4 outing where he ran for a solid 55 yards on 13 carries. He’s receiving the bulk of the workload for the Giants with 13/19 RB carries last week and 11/15 the week previous. Brandon Jacobs is no threat to Wilson’s playing time, and against the Eagles there could be plenty of room to run. Philadelphia gives up the 11th most points to opposing RBs and with 3 of the top 6 teams in that category on bye this week, he’s got a top 10 matchup on slate.
Week 5 RB Sits
Rashard Mendenhall vs. Carolina - Coach Bruce Arians called out Mendenhall after a poor performance last week, which included a lost fumble. Andre Ellington, meanwhile, has been running well in limited action and BA won’t shy away from him if Mendenhall struggles early against the Panthers. Carolina is tough to run on. Their 93 YPG ranks 6th best in the league and the defense in general has been stout. Through three games the Panthers have yielded just one rushing touchdown.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis vs. New England - it’s been covered well with Green-Ellis before. With better options on the waiver wire, including the semi-coloned names above, you shouldn’t be relying on the second fiddle in Cincinnati’s run game – particularly against the Patriots who represent the 12th most difficult matchup for fantasy RBs.
Week 5 WR Starts
Brian Hartline vs. Baltimore – In 2 of Miami’s 4 games this season Hartline has been targeted more frequently than fellow Dolphin Mike Wallace. Through the course of those 4 contests he has been far more consistent. With the assumption that Wallace will draw Baltimore’s top corner there should be room to operate on the other side for Hartline this week. The team reiterated that it won’t be forcing deep balls to Wallace, which should mean that the consistent Hartline stands to benefit.
Jeremy Kerley vs. Atlanta - simply put Atlanta’s secondary represents a great matchup (3rd most points to opposing WRs) and the Jets won’t have anyone else to catch the ball. Santonio Holmes appears to be dealing with a multi-week injury and Stephen Hill, though practicing, has yet to receive clearance after suffering a concussion in Week 4. Kerley fills a different role than either of these players but could see himself heavily targeted in an exploitable matchup. Against the Titans last week, and after the departure of the aforementioned receivers, Hill led all Jet receivers in targets and should be in line to do so again.
Deep league WRs to watch: Keenan Allen vs. Oakland; Jon Baldwin vs. Houston
Week 5 WR Sits
Tavon Austin vs. Jacksonville - Until the Rams figure out how they want to deploy Austin, I’m not interested. He received just 6 targets last week (relative to 9, 8, and 7 for Pettis, Givens and Cook) but even in games where he is getting heavy looks they’re mostly of the short and underwhelming variety. The 2 TD performance against Atlanta is a distant memory and I’d rather go with lower floor options than cross my fingers that Austin reaches his ceiling against the Jags.
Kendall Wright vs. Kansas City - Everything was going well in Tennessee until Jake Locker‘s injury last week. I’m still reasonably confident in Nate Washington but I’m not convinced that Ryan Fitzpatrick will be able to get Wright the ball effectively against a KC defense that has only given up 188 YPG to oppsing passers.
Week 5 TE Starts
Antonio Gates vs. Oakland – Much like we saw in Detroit last week with Brandon Pettigrew in the wake of the injury to Nate Burleson a team doesn’t always redistribute leftover targets to the team’s other receivers. It seems to be the case in San Diego as well where Gates is picking up some of Malcom Floyd‘s looks (though, so is Keenan Allen who is addressed as a bullet point above). Last week’s 11 targets were a season high. The Raiders represent a mid-range TE matchup but with Rivers’ resurgence Gates is worth a look.
Week 5 TE Sits
Brandon Myers vs. Philadelphia - While there are a number of reasons to be high on the Giants this week Myers was targeted just once last week and only 5 times the week before. The Giants should be able to ‘get right’ this week but Cruz and to a lesser extent Nicks are the more likely beneficiaries in the pass game. The Eagles are giving up just 6 points per game to opposing TEs.
Week 5 Defenses to Stream
St. Louis vs. Jacksonville – 75% owned – The Rams have been snatched up in most leagues given the matchup against the Jags but if they are available you want to own the team getting a crack at Blaine Gabbert this week.
Carolina vs. Arizona – 30% owned – The Panthers face a Cardinals offense that is scoring just 15.8 points per game and turns the ball over twice per contest. Coming off a dominant performance against the Giants, Carolina is giving up 12 points per game.