Trying to decide whom you should start or sit this week? Let’s take a look at a few potential decisions owners have and try to sort through them.
Start: Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers vs. Seattle
Do we really need to make a point of saying Newton should be started? I know there are a lot of frustrated owners who may look at this matchup and get skiddish, though. While Newton hasn’t lived up to expectations, he showed last week why he has to be a must-use option regardless. After rushing for 86 yards and a touchdown (his third straight game with a rushing TD), it’s obvious that he can almost always find a way to produce.
Sit: Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins at Cincinnati
I know he is coming off a huge week, but that’s the type of trap you want to avoid. Tannehill is still a rookie, which means inconsistency could easily reign supreme. Throw in a solid Bengals defense and you should avoid the hype.
Start: Ryan Mathews, San Diego Chargers at New Orleans
NFL depth charts can often be a bit of a farce, so I wouldn’t read anything into Jackie Battle being listed as the starter. Is he going to get touches? Absolutely, but you have sent your message to Mathews and now it is time to win football games. Which back is more talented and gives you the best chance? The answer is clearly Mathews and I would expect his presence to increase dramatically this week. Taking on the worst rushing defense in the league, don’t avoid him because of the clamor over the depth chart. He should still get ample opportunities and, at the end of the day, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Mathews get more carries than Battle.
Start: Ben Tate, Houston Texans at New York Jets
He’s not the top back on his team, but against the Jets Swiss cheese defense that can’t make a tackle, there should be more than enough opportunities to go around. While I would consider more of a FLEX play, he is a viable option as a low-end RB2 regardless. The Texans are a run first team and often utilize both of their backs. It’s not generally recommended to use a “second” back, but depending on your other options there is nothing wrong with it this week.
Sit: Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills at San Francisco
There are three easy reasons to avoid Jackson:
- He struggled in his return to the lineup.
- C.J. spiller, who is the more dynamic back, was healthy enough to play and is only going to get healthier.
- He faces the San Francisco 49ers.
Pretty simple, isn’t it?
Sit: Pittsburgh Steelers running backs vs. Philadelphia
With Rashard Mendenhall set to return, this situation is an unpredictable mess. Until it cleans itself up, there’s too much risk to trust anyone. While Mendenhall may get the bulk of the carries, the Steelers could look to ease him back into the mix. That risk will likely keep him on fantasy benches, depending on your other options.
Wide Receivers (Two-Receiver Formats)
Start: Malcolm Floyd, San Diego Chargers at New Orleans
The numbers have not been great, especially in Week 4 where he was targeted just twice. That said, the Saints defense is just bad all around. While Ryan Mathews should get ample opportunities to run, I also think Floyd and company could get healthy throwing the ball (especially if the Saints offense clicks). He’s not a top option, but a viable one as a WR2.
Sit: Michael Crabtree, San Francisco 49ers vs. Buffalo
San Francisco is a run first offense and, when they do pass the ball, is there any guarantee it goes to Crabtree? Way too much risk involved in trusting him in shallower formats.
Wide Receivers (Three-Receiver Formats)
Start: Andrew Hawkins, Cincinnati Bengals vs. Miami
While he has been hit or miss, at times, the Dolphins are allowing nearly 300 passing yards per game. I would expect Andy Dalton, A.J. Green and Hawkins all to light it up this week.
Sit: Kenny Britt, Tennessee Titans at Minnesota
Still battling injuries, there is no guarantee he even plays. Throw in the injury to Jake Locker and a tough matchup and this is a situation to avoid. Hopefully Britt gets healthy quickly, as fantasy owners are waiting extremely impatiently. For now, we’ll have to turn to other options.
Make sure to check out all of our Week 5 rankings: