Maybe one of these days, Joe Flacco of the Baltimore Ravens will be considered a must-start for fantasy owners. That day doesn’t appear to be here just yet, so I’ll mention again that Flacco has a favorable matchup looming in Week 5.
The Ravens will travel west to take on the Kansas City Chiefs, a team that has allowed 926 passing yards and 10 passing touchdowns while intercepting two passes.
Now, the Chiefs have faced some elite quarterbacking in Matt Ryan, Drew Brees and Philip Rivers (along with Ryan Fitzpatrick), but Flacco should take this as an opportunity to prove that he belongs in that discussion.
Whether or not you agree with Flacco’s assertion that he’s the best QB in the league, look for him to post some big numbers in Week 5.
Here are some additional fantasy football players with favorable matchups coming up this week.
Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego Chargers (at New Orleans Saints)
Jackie Battle, RB, San Diego Chargers (at New Orleans Saints)
New Orleans also gives up yards on the ground. Maybe Ryan Mathews re-assumes his perch as the featured guy for the Chargers, and maybe he doesn’t.
But in a running back-starved fantasy football atmosphere, Battle is worth a look as a bye-week replacement against the Saints.
They’ve already yielded almost 600 rushing yards to running backs through four games.
Robert Turbin, RB, Seattle Seahawks (at Carolina Panthers)
Turbin is the second of three running backs to play if your guy’s on a bye, and you don’t have a deep bench.
He’ll be facing off against the Carolina Panthers, which have allowed 521 rushing yards to RBs.
The Seahawks are committed to the run game, so the presence of Marshawn Lynch should not deter you from looking Turbin’s way as a desperation fantasy RB in Week 5.
Ben Tate, RB, Houston Texans (at New York Jets)
Running Back Plays for the Scrambling Fantasy Owner, Part III: Tate is a talented runner with the unenviable task of backing up Arian Foster in the NFL.
That is unenviable if you like to see the field a lot.
Tate only received five carries in the Texans’ Week 4 win over the Tennessee Titans while Arian Foster took 24. Knowing that Tate is available for duty, the Texans are inexplicably determined to get Foster the ball as often as humanly possible, according to Dan Hanzus of NFL.com.
Foster is on pace for a Larry Johnson-esque 412 carries this season.
Playing Tate would be a major gamble, but if you have no legitimate alternatives, it could pay off.
Dwayne Bowe, WR, Kansas City Chiefs (vs. Baltimore Ravens)
The Ravens gave up a receiving touchdown to wideouts from the Eagles and Patriots in Weeks 2 and 3. Here’s where watching the games helps: They should have extended that streak in Week 4.
I won’t name any names, but somebody dropped a sure touchdown (on a pretty difficult but makeable catch) in Baltimore on Thursday night.
Bowe should be able to make his way to the end zone, even if it’s after the Ravens take the Chiefs out of the game on Sunday.
Kyle Rudolph, TE, Minnesota Vikings (vs. Tennessee Titans)
Forget what you saw from Rudolph in the Vikings’ win over the Lions in Week 4. He only caught two balls for eight yards. That was because the offense wasn’t really required in this game.
Minnesota benefited from a kickoff return and a punt return for TDs.
The Titans, meanwhile, have given up seven touchdowns to tight ends this season.
I’m not saying you've got to sit the following guys, especially in the bye weeks, but there are some numbers that suggest that they won't have great success in Week 5.
Antonio Gates, TE, San Diego Chargers (at New Orleans Saints)
It’ll be just my luck that Gates finally goes off this week. Yet, his matchup actually hasn’t been kind to fantasy players at his position.
The best game that New Orleans allowed to a tight end was afforded to the Green Bay Packers’ Jermichael Finley: four catches for 50 yards.
It’s worth noting that Finley is, by far, the biggest fantasy name that the Saints have faced and that Gates should be more featured in his respective offense than any of the other guys.
But, the same logic applied to Gates earlier this season, and he has netted 125 total receiving yards on 10 catches in three games.
Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers (vs. Seattle Seahawks)
Fantasy owners of Cam Newton surely breathed a sigh of relief when he had his monster performance in Week 4.
His two good fantasy games this season have been spectacular, but they have come against teams that sport middling run defenses.
The Seattle Seahawks do not sport a middling run defense.
With so many viable quarterback options early in the season, it might be a good idea to make Newton prove he can repeat his Week 4 performance against a complete defense.
Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee Titans (at Minnesota Vikings)
Like Cam’s fantasy owners, those who drafted Johnson are likely relieved that their first-round pick had an impressive fantasy game against a respectable defense.
The bye weeks are underway, so it is probably next to impossible to sit Johnson, but the Minnesota Vikings run defense rivals the San Francisco 49ers in terms of stopping the run this season.
Tread with caution.
Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. Philadelphia Eagles)
I’m willing to get burned again.
I didn’t think Adrian Peterson should have been started in fantasy lineups in his first game back after a torn ACL.
But I’m willing to get burned, again. At least the Eagles run defense should help me out this time…unlike the Jaguars in Week 1.
Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals (at St. Louis Rams)
The St. Louis Rams have only allowed one touchdown to an opposing wide receiver this season.
They’ve faced Calvin Johnson and Brandon Marshall.
Those two guys combined for 11 catches and 182 receiving yards in their respective games against the Rams. They were both at home. Fitz could go for 100 yards against the Rams on the road, but St. Louis will probably focus on taking him out of the game.
It now has the cornerbacks to do it.