Friday, October 4, 2013

Week 5 Starters & Benchwarmers

Wondering whether or not to start Peyton Manning and Reggie Bush, or to bench Ryan Fitzpatrick and Vincent Brown? The network bozos specialize in that kind of advice. If you’re looking for help with your real starting lineup conundrums, read on.

Here are my picks to roll, and get rolled, in Week 5 of the 2013 season.

Watch ‘em roll

Michael Vick, QB, Eagles at Giants.  No defense has given up more passing TDs (10) or generated fewer sacks (4) than the Giants.  That’s a tasty combo for Vick, who should have a stellar rebound against his struggling division rivals.  With little pressure to avoid and wide-open running and passing lanes, Vick could be this week’s fantasy Big Dog.

Rashad Jennings, RB, Raiders vs. Chargers.  With all signs pointing to Darren McFadden resting his bum hamstring, and Terrelle Pryor returning under center, Jennings will have a great opportunity to build on his stellar Week 4 outing.  Jennings can contribute as a rusher and receiver, and San Diego’s defense has proven to be vulnerable to multi-purpose backs.

Bilal Powell, RB, Jets at Falcons.  Though held to just 66 yards on the ground last week by the Titans, Powell still managed to post his second 100-combined-yards outing as the Jets’ workhorse.  Meanwhile, Atlanta has been very generous to the Dolphins’ and Patriots’ backs in recent weeks.

Hakeem Nicks, WR, Giants vs. Eagles.  Nicks is suffering along with his quarterback, but it’s not for a lack of targets.  He’s just dropping too many balls.  Meanwhile, Victor Cruz stands alone in the spotlight.  Against Philadelphia’s porous secondary, both wideouts should have a field day.

Kenbrell Thompkins, WR, Patriots at Bengals. With the very real possibility that Danny Amendola, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Dobson will all sit out this contest, Thompkins should be very busy sharing pass-catching duties with Julian Edelman.  Cincinnati’s pass defense has been mediocre at best, so enjoy this convergence of good fortune.

More thumbs up (excluding the no-brainers): QBs Tony Romo, Philip Rivers, Matt Stafford, Cam Newton; RBs Darren Sproles, Frank Gore, Ray Rice, Trent Richardson, Ryan Mathews, David Wilson; WRs Marques Colston, DeSean Jackson, Torrey Smith, Steve Smith, Jordy Nelson, Denarius Moore, Tavon Austin.

Roll ‘em back

Andrew Luck, QB, Colts vs. Seahawks.  Luck has been solid, if unspectacular, thus far against shaky defenses; but he was stifled by the 49ers in Week 3.  Seattle represents his toughest test to date, having picked off seven passes while allowing just three TDs.  Luck could be in for another long afternoon.

Eddie Lacy, RB, Packers vs. Lions.  Lacy is on track to return after recovering from his Week 2 concussion; but he’ll be splitting time with Johnathan Franklin in what is likely to be an aerial showcase.  Detroit’s run defense is nothing special, but this game should belong to the receivers.  Temper your expectations for the rookie.

Knowshon Moreno, RB, Broncos at Cowboys.  While still the only Denver back currently worth starting consideration, Moreno has been steadily losing ground to Montee Ball and, in particular, Ronnie Hillman.  Dallas is playing strong run defense, having yet to cough up a rushing score.  Peyton Manning will take any excuse he can get to pass from the goal line.

Nate Washington, WR, Titans vs. Chiefs.  Just when he and Jake Locker had found their groove, Locker went down with a hip injury.  With Ryan Fitzpatrick now under center, the Titans are in veteran hands; but they’ll be facing a robust Kansas City secondary that doesn’t get along well with others.  Don’t expect Washington to connect immediately with his new QB.
Seahawks WRs vs. Colts.  This looks like another week in which Seattle’s passing game moves to the back burner.  Indy’s secondary has very tough on opposing QBs, and Russell Wilson passed for only 123 yards and no TDs in Houston.  Expect another quiet day outside the hash marks as Wilson and Marshawn Lynch keep the ball on the ground.

More thumbs down: QBs Andy Dalton, Carson Palmer, Colin Kaepernick, Jay Cutler, Matt Schaub, Ryan Tannehill; RBs Chris Johnson, Rashard Mendenhall, Willis McGahee, DeAngelo Williams, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Jason Snelling, Ben Tate, Rams RBs, Patriots RBs; WRs Roddy White, T.Y. Hilton, DeAndre Hopkins, Dwayne Bowe, Mike Wallace.


Jeremy Kerley, WR, Jets at Falcons.  With both Santonio Holmes and Stephen Hill sidelined, Kerley will be Geno Smith’s only viable wideout against an Atlanta secondary that has surrendered the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing receivers. Kerley has posted a handful of solid outings as a pro, so it’s not inconceivable that he could shine on Sunday.  If you’ve got the bye-week blues, Kerley is the very definition of a Week 5 “flier.”

DON’T BE THE BONEHEAD WHO…carries two defenses and/or two kickers on your roster.  Unless you’re holding onto the Vikings’ Blair Walsh until he returns from his bye week, there’s no good reason to crowd your bench with dead weight when you should be adding depth at the skill positions as injury and bye-week insurance.  

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