With a quarter of the NFL and fantasy football season in the bag, there have been some surprises across the board.
From Brian Hartline leading the NFL in receiving to the New Orleans Saints being 0-4. The NFL hasn't seen parity like this in years. With these surprising starts, it makes running your fantasy football team that much more difficult.
Hopefully this column can help you shore up your team while you head into your Week 5 battle.
Robert Griffin III has been a beast so far this season. He has showed a uncanny ability to run his team. He has also been a very viable fantasy option to start the season.
Actually, a lot better than viable. He leads the league in standard scoring fantasy points with 100. This is ahead of Matt Ryan, Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Cam Newton—all of whom were drafted ahead of him in most leagues.
Griffin III goes up against the Atlanta Falcons this week. This is a favorable matchup for RG3. Atlanta has given up an average of 353.3 yards per game—207 yards passing as well as 146.3 yards rushing.
RG3 has eight touchdowns this season, four passing and four rushing. The rushing touchdowns are what make him the fantasy stud he is so far. With rushing touchdowns accounting for six fantasy points and passing only four, RG3 is a must-start every single week.
Griffin is averaging 25 fantasy points a game and should continue his hot streak against a weak Atlanta defense.
Believe it or not Ryan Fitzpatrick leads the NFL in passing touchdowns and is eighth in total fantasy points.
That was not a typo.
He is finding his receivers and tight ends for 12 touchdown scores, but he is also finding the opposing team with seven interceptions. While Scott Chandler is becoming a fantasy starter with help from Fitzpatrick, I don't see this trend continuing this week.
The Bills are going up against a stout San Francisco 49ers defense that just put the wraps on New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez. While Fitzpatrick is a better and smarter QB than Sanchez, I can't see that making a difference.
The 49ers defense is third in passing yards allowed and is fifth in takeaways. They're also coming off shutting out the Jets.
Avoid starting Fitzpatrick this week. Look toward your bench for another QB or see if players like Kevin Kolb or Ryan Tannehill are available.
The Buffalo Bills were just gashed by the New England Patriots for 247 yards rushing. Yes, rushing.
Stevan Ridley ran roughshod for 106 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries, while Brandon Bolden ran for 137 yards and one touchdown on 16 carries. The Patriots averaged 6.2 yards per carry.
Make sure you start Frank Gore this week.
Gore ran for only 62 yards and one touchdown on 21 carries in Week 4, but the Niners ran for 245 yards as a team. If Gore can get going early, the Niners will just work the Bills over with the run game. They're a run-first team, and Gore is the main back.
Other guys got used late in the 49ers-Jets game, but it was a blowout, so don't look too much into that.
While MJD is most people's No. 1 running back, and deservedly so, I really don't see him doing much this week.
Did you see what the Bears just did to the Cowboys? Yeah, MJD's prospects aren't looking so good.
The Bears just held the Cowboys DeMarco Murray to 24 yards on 11 carries. The Bears come into this Week 5 matchup giving up an average of 67.3 yards rushing per game, which is third in the league. Chicago also is No. 1 in takeaways.
With all that being said, MJD is the Jaguars' main offensive threat. Is there the possibility he has a good game? Sure, he'll probably rush the ball at least 30 times, and given those amount of carries, he might break off a big run to pad the stat sheet.
But I wouldn't bank on the latter of those two statements.
I'm sure you didn't have to look at this column to see that Adrian Peterson is a must-start back. He is a must-start pretty much every week he's healthy.
This particular week should favor him nicely, though. He's going up against a Tennessee defense that comes into this game allowing 136.5 rushing yards a game as well as giving up an average of 37.8 points per game, so Peterson shouldn't have a hard time finding the end zone.
Peterson is coming off his first 100-yard game since October 23rd of last season.
The Titans may have held the Texans to 98 yards on the ground last week, but I wouldn't buy too much into that. When Peterson gets going, he is tough to corral. Peterson also has the ability to provide out of the backfield as a receiver. He grabbed four balls for 20 yards last week.
If you have ADP, I say start him as your No. 1 this week and reap the benefits.
The "Law Firm" hasn't cracked the 100-yard mark yet in four games and has two touchdowns on the season. Things won't get any easier this week against the Miami Dolphins.
The Dolphins come into this Week 5 matchup giving up an NFL-best 56.8 yards rushing per game.
BenJarvus also has fumbled in back-to-back games, after not having a single fumble coming into this season. He hasn't had a game with more than 15 fantasy points (standard scoring), which happened in Week 1.
I don't see Law Firm doing very well this week. Sit him and look for a more safer option. Possibly someone from the San Diego Chargers backfield, like Jackie Battle or Ryan Mathews, who have a favorable matchup against the New Orleans Saints.
I don't know about all that, but I do know Brandon Marshall is a beast and is a definite must-start against a weak Jacksonville defense.
Marshall is coming off a game against the Dallas Cowboys that saw him notch seven catches, one touchdown and 138 yards. In standard fantasy scoring, that would have netted you 19 points.
The Jaguars are allowing an average of 404.8 yards per game and 254.5 passing yards per game. This bodes well for Marshall and Cutler.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are getting back Troy Polamalu and James Harrison this week.
That, to go along with the 190.3 passing yards per game allowed, doesn't bode too well for Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson.
Jackson is the No. 1 receiver for the Eagles, especially with Jeremy Maclin dealing with hip injuries. This makes him the main player the Steelers secondary will target and focus on, which will lead to many double-teams.
Jackson comes into this game after catching his first touchdown of the season against the Giants.
In fantasy, he has fluctuated. His fantasy totals the last four games are: 7, 11, 4 and 15.
He has the ability to break one at any moment, which makes him a dangerous player. But with the stingy Steelers defense and the return of Polamalu and Harrison, I can't see him getting much room to work with.
Look for someone else like James Jones or Lance Moore to fill Jackson's spot.
Ever since the untimely passing of Torrey Smith's younger brother, Smith has played like a man on a mission.
Smith is developing a nice rhythm with Joe Flacco and is becoming Flacco's go-to target. They seem to be connecting in the end zone as well.
Over the last two weeks, Smith has accounted for 12 catches, 224 yards, three touchdowns and 39 standard fantasy points.
The team he is facing this week, the Kansas City Chiefs, are allowing an average of 216 yards passing per game and 334 total yards per game. To go with that stat, they are allowing 34 points per game, which is the second-worst in the NFL.
Smith is a must-start this week. Look for him to find paydirt early and often in Kansas City against a weak Chiefs secondary.
The Seattle Seahawks come into this Week 5 matchup second in the NFL in total yards allowed. They're also ninth in passing yards allowed, giving up 213 per game.
Smith is Cam Newton's go-to target, but that still hasn't resulted in fantasy points.
He hasn't scored a touchdown yet and hasn't had more than 10 fantasy points in a game. The Panthers are a running team, and that lowers Smith's value as well. Newton prefers to run when in the red zone, too, which takes away from Smith's numbers.
The Seahawks have been a tough defense to throw on, and regardless of how good Smith can be, I don't see the Panthers and Smith prospering from this matchup.