By Cory Stace | @corystace
Member of Ball State Sports Link
He’s back… Find out where Cory Stace has Antonio Gates and others coming off of 4-game suspensions on this weeks Fantasy Football Start ‘Em and Sit’Em List. Also, some stars are a no go for this week, find out who are some other viable options.
Last week was a roller coaster once again in fantasy football with big name players not playing, and there were no name players that continue to show that they should have a name.
Last week, if you had Andrew Luck on your team, you were scrambling for a backup quarterback last minute before kickoffs as it was announced Sunday morning that Luck would not play. Again this week, fantasy owners with Luck may have kept that backup from last week as Luck is once again questionable to play for Thursday Night’s contest vs. Houston.
If you didn’t have Luck in your lineup, but you had Devonta Freeman off of a late round draft pick early in the year, you were just fine. Devonta Freeman was on my sit ’em list last week because I simply didn’t believe he could produce those numbers two weeks in a row…
Well, he proved me and all the other doubters wrong last week. Tevin Coleman of the Falcons may not have a starting role when he gets healthy.
Week 5 of fantasy football will as always have its ups and downs, but here is my Fantasy Football Week 5 Start ‘Em and Sit ‘Em.
Start ‘Em: Alex Smith– In fantasy circles the past few years, Smith has been considered a waiver wire guy because of the lack of production from the wide receivers on the Chiefs roster. He has had to scrap by with continuing to throw the ball to Jamal Charles and Travis Kelce last season and the year before.
This season is different for Alex Smith because he is starting to become fantasy relevant. Andy Reid looks like he trusts Alex Smith more with the ball in his hand, and when Smith does throw the ball, he has the addition of a possible Pro Bowl wide receiver in Jeremy Maclin, who looks to be making great head-way in his chemistry with Smith.
This week, you have to like Smith going up against the Chicago Bears secondary. The Bears don’t have any stud cornerback that can defend Maclin or Kelce. Even if the Chiefs don’t get down early in this game, I would expect them to air the ball out early with Charles, Maclin, and Kelce to throw to. `At home, I expect the Chiefs to create some big plays on offense.
Jameis Winston- In standard 12-man leagues, the quarterback situation gets desperate if your starter is on a bye, which is where Jameis Winston could come in this week. He is averaging the 17th best fantasy production even with 4 INTs last week. The Jags don’t have a guy like Josh Norman at cornerback like the Panthers did, and Jameis Winston will look to connect all day with Mike Evans out wide.
Eli Manning- Whether people like to admit it or not, some players just seem to rise to the occasion in prime time football games. Eli Manning either rises or flops when it comes to prime time. Earlier this year he flopped, and I expect him to bounce back this week against the 49ers who have given up lots of passing yards this season. Prime time game, at home for Eli, I like the situation for a big performance.
Sit ‘Em: Andy Dalton- Once again, through these sit ’em categories I like to put guys that many would say you can start every week. Andy Dalton has performed as the 3rd best quarterback on average this season, but I just don’t believe that Andy Dalton has proved enough yet to be a fantasy football start every week as a reliable quarterback option.
He has given us a lot to show for it this season with a 9 TDs/1 INT touchdown to interception ratio. Against the Seahawks Legion of Boom defense though. Do we still think that Dalton is going to come out of this game with the top tier quarterback tied to his name?
I certainly don’t, and even though all the production is pointing up for Andy Dalton this season, the Seahawks defense will provide struggles for Dalton this week even when the game is at Cincinnati. With Cam Chancellor back in the lineup at safety for Seattle, they have given up an average of just under 6 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks through these last 2 weeks.
Derek Carr- Carr is definitely a gun slinger when he has the ball back passing. He can either put up big fantasy numbers if he is on his game, or he can disappoint with his play when the passing attack isn’t working. Against Denver this week with 2 of the best cornerbacks in the league, I would say that Derek Carr would have one of those off weeks with a few INTs early.
Marcus Mariota- Although the numbers may say that the Buffalo Bills passing defense is in the bottom of the league fantasy wise, they still can provide nightmares for opposing quarterbacks on game day. Rex Ryan seems to know how to rattle an opposing rookie quarterback. Expect the blitz early and often from the Bills defense to make Mariota uncomfortable all game.
Start ‘Em: Dion Lewis- I think that many fantasy owners have forgotten about Dion Lewis in the wake of the Week 3 performance from LeGarrette Blount and the Week 4 bye for the New England Patriots, but Lewis is averaging the 4th most fantasy points per week when playing at the running back position.
Even with the breakout performance by LeGarrette Blount in week 3, Lewis managed to get over 12 points as a change of pace back. He continues to perform even as his role as shrunk since he was the starter in week 1. Fantasy owners should not be so quick to count out Lewis in the Patriots backfield because he could be starter worthy in fantasy for the rest of the season.
On top of everything pointing up for Lewis, there is another positive. He plays the Dallas Cowboys who rank 30th in fantasy run defense after giving up over 37 points to both the Falcons and Saints backfield in back to back weeks. Even if you have Blount on your roster, it would be worth it to start both Lewis and Blount because the Patriots will be looking to run the ball.
Doug Martin- I am buying into last week’s performance for the Muscle Hamster because he did it against a very good Panthers run defense, and this week he faces the Jacksonville Jaguars defense. Although Doug Martin is hard to trust, and he remains inconsistent, he is at least on my radar for this week as the Bucs will try to get the offense going against the poor Jaguars.
Ronnie Hillman- Is it safe to say that Hillman as taken over the starting job for my Zac Stacy of the Year Winner C.J. Anderson? Probably. Is it safe to say the Broncos could throttle the Raiders in Oakland? Probably. Hillman is the best back on the team, and he will be getting a lot of work after the Broncos get up early.
Sit ‘Em: Frank Gore– Coming over to Indy was supposed to be a smooth transition for both Frank Gore and Andre Johnson this year, but it hasn’t gone as smoothly as they or the fans of Indianapolis had hoped. Gore has struggled to find holes some early, and he made that apparent as he was frustrated on the field last week vs. Jacksonville with Matt Hasselbeck at quarterback.
Speaking of the quarterback situation, it didn’t look like that helped Gore’s fantasy value last week even with him getting more opportunities. Again, the quarterback situation in Indy is murky at that. Maybe even more murky than last week. Andrew Luck looks like he will not play and Matt Hasselbeck was in the hospital on Tuesday with a illness.
Hasselbeck is expected to play, but it could be Josh Johnson taking a few snaps. With the quarterback situation, the Houston Texans will likely stack the box against Frank Gore, and make whoever is back at quarterback beat the Texans with his arm. The front 7 of the Texans should expect Gore to get the ball a lot, and that doesn’t translate into many yards in this case.
David Johnson- Johnson has seen is reign in Arizona through the first 4 weeks of his rookie season. Through the first 2 weeks, many thought that David Johnson could take over the starting role for the Cardinals, but Bruce Arians came out last week to show he was displeased with the rookie’s fumble and drop in last week’s game and Andre Ellington is most likely back sending David Johnson back to a 3rd string role.
Danny Woodhead- The Chargers backfield has been confusing all year with with running back sees more action. Obviously, the team wants to see Melvin Gordon continue to grow, but Woodhead has performed. This week the Chargers take on the Steelers who rank 3rd among fantasy defenses in stopping the run. Whichever running back in the San Diego backfield, fantasy owners should be cautious.
Start ‘Em: Jeremy Maclin- Many times, quarterbacks and receivers go hand in hand. With Alex Smith on my start ’em side of the quarterbacks section, it is easy to put his new top target in the Chiefs’ passing game in my wide receiver section. Jeremy Maclin seems to be picking up his play back to last year’s status with the Chiefs.
Many though Maclin made a huge mistake in the offseason going to Kansas City, but he has proven the last 2 weeks that he can definitely carve out a niche in this offense. Maclin is going up against a very suspect defense in the Chicago Bears where the passing game will likely be working very early.
Maclin only has one touchdown on the year through 4 weeks, but I expect that number to rise 1, maybe even 2 after this week. Alex Smith is beginning to like to throw to his new target, and they seem to have great chemistry together now with Maclin reeling in 19 receptions in the last 2 weeks against not so bad secondaries in the Packers and Bengals.
Demaryius Thomas- Even though Thomas hasn’t had the breakout game every fantasy owner waits for when they drafted in a high round, the breakout game is on the verge. Thomas has 26 receptions over the last 3 weeks of play, and this week going up against the Oakland Raiders defense, Thomas could run wild with Denver in my mind running around in circles against Oakland.
Mike Evans- While sitting out the first week for Tampa Bay and coming back in limited fashion in week 2, Evans finds himself way down in fantasy wide receiver rankings at this point. That could change this week with Evans going up against the Jaguars. His first fantasy friendly matchup this year, and Winston loves targeting his tall young wide receiver outside. This is the breakout week for Evans.
Sit ‘Em: Kendall Wright- The Tennessee Titans were on a bye last week along with the New England Patriots. Coming out of the bye, Kendall Wright ranks 13th among average fantasy points for wide receivers, but he still remain inconsistent even at the start of this year.
The only reason he ranks in at 13th is because of two big weeks with 16 points in each, but in the middle of weeks 1 and 3, Wright managed just 2 receptions for 17 yards against the Browns. He remains inconsistent and he faces the Buffalo Bills this week who have a good under the radar corner in Stephone Gilmore that has lock down capabilities.
I don’t expect the Titans offense as a whole to get much yardage against the Bills stingy defense, and I think that Kendall Wright is still too inconsistent at this point in his young career for my liking in fantasy terms. Mariota needs to prove that he can play against the elite defenses in the NFL the same that he did in week 1 through 3.
Jordan Matthews- While the Eagles offense has begun to slow down since the preseason, it’s also been true for Jordan Matthews. After 2 very good weeks in fantasy, Matthews has put up a combined 9.9 in the past 2 weeks. The Eagles offense is unpredictable, and Matthews isn’t going up against any ordinary corner in Keenan Lewis this week against the Saints.
Tavon Austin- Although he may be the great waiver wire pickup this week, don’t just insert Austin right into your lineup yet. He still hasn’t proved anything. After a breakout performance, I still just don’t see the fantasy purpose of Ausin in the lineup. One breakout game doesn’t convince me that we will see this type of play from Austin that we have been expecting his whole career.
Start ‘Em: Charles Clay- The Bills paid Charles Clay a lot of money in the offense to see the type of production that he has given in the last 2 weeks. Clay has been Tyrod Taylor’s top target on the season above the likes of Percy Harvin and Sammy Wakins.
Clay has shown that he can be a touchdown man in the redzone for the Bills, but he can also produce throughout the game and get solid yardage like 111 yards last week for fantasy owners. He still is unowned in 27% of 12 team leagues on ESPN, and he ranks as the 4th best tight end in fantasy this season.
If he is still on the fantasy waiver wire in your league, he would be worth a grab and start this week against the Titans defense who has played favorably with opposing tight ends so far this season. The Titans gave up 23 fantasy points to Austin Seferian-Jenkins in week 1.
Antonio Gates- He’s back, and fantasy owners are loving it I’m sure just as much as Phillip Rivers will love it on the field. For years we have been saying that Ladarius Green would take over the starting tight end spot, but it always comes back to Antonio Gates, who will be fresh as ever coming off of a 4 game suspension. He will be ready to prove he still has something left in the tank.
Sit ‘Em: Gary Barnidge- I think the past 3 weeks I have put a tight end going up against the Baltimore defense on my sit ’em list, and it has yet to disappoint since the Ravens maintain the top fantasy defense in the league to opposing tight ends. It’s not a fluke for the Ravens defense. C.J. Mosley and company know how to stop the elite tight ends, and they will surely find a way to stop Barnidge.
Barnidgle has seen fantasy relevance the past 2 weeks for the Browns with Josh McCown back at quarterback for Cleveland. With McCown maintaining the starting job over Johnny Manziel, Barnidge may be worth a look of picking up in the coming weeks as he is only owned in just over 30% of 12 team leagues, although he seems irrelevant this week against a top defense.
Owen Daniels- Although at the start of the season I was very high on Owen Daniels, he has disappointed so far this season. With 2 touchdown in 2 consecutive weeks, I am still not buying all in for Daniels because Peyton Manning just has too many targets at wide receiver and Manning can make anyone look good in that offense. There is only 1 ball to go around.
Start ‘Em: Brandon McManus- I have talked all through this article about how the Broncos should be able to take care of business in Oakland this week. I think they should have a lot of points, and Oakland for what it’s worth is the 31st defense in the league against opposing kickers.
Sit ‘Em: Adam Vinatieri- He makes it on the list once again because once again it doesn’t look like Andrew Luck will take snaps tonight at this time. The Colts at Houston this week will look to be another low scoring matchup just like last week was against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Houston Texans defense is also better than the Jaguars.
Start ‘Em: Buffalo Bills D/ST- As I said earlier, Rex Ryan likes to get after rookie quarterbacks in the NFL, and he has shown over his career that he is very good at game planning against inexperienced quarterbacks. I expect a lot of quarterback pressure on Marcus Mariota, and Mariota should be forced into some mistakes on Sunday.
Sit ‘Em: Lions D/ST- The Lions defense had a lot of success against the Seahawks on Monday Night last week which raises them to 6th on the list of fantasy defense so far this season. Going up against the Arizona Cardinals this week, the Lions will not have the great week against with Carson Palmer proving he can have this Cardinals offense clicking at any given time.