Fantasy Football: 6 Last-Minute Changes You Need to Make for Week 5
Anyone who's played fantasy football long enough has done it.
Something comes up on Sunday morning—church, family activities, children's sports, a hangover, whatever. All of a sudden it's 1:01, and someone retweets something from Jay Glazer or Adam Schefter that makes you want to put your foot through your 50-inch plasma TV.
While fantasy football demands a lot of things, vigilance is one of the most important qualities of a great owner. Knowledge about who to start and who to sit is important, but the moment your guard is let down, you might as well chalk up that week as a loss.
Before you sit down and enjoy NFL football in Week 5, take a moment and see if you should make these last-minute roster moves.
Start Joe Flacco (QB Baltimore Ravens) Already!
Joe Flacco is a top-10-scoring quarterback in almost every fantasy scoring format I've seen. The up-tempo offense has suited him well, and he's developed a strong chemistry with Torrey Smith, leading to a better vertical attack.
For some crazy reason, Flacco is only starting in 31 percent of ESPN leagues.
Maybe Flacco isn't an every-week starter for you. Maybe you have someone like Aaron Rodgers or those guys above and want to play the matchups every week. That's fine, but you better get serious about putting Flacco in your lineup this week against Kansas City.
Cam Cameron isn't going to stop passing, ever. Flacco looks legit, and he finally has weapons.
What are you waiting for?
Start Kevin Walter (WR Houston Texans) in Deep or PPR Leagues
This move, admittedly, isn't for everyone.
Yet if you're looking for a flex play or a WR2/3 in deeper leagues or in PPR leagues, you have to think about Kevin Walter this week against a New York Jets defense that is just reeling after the loss of Darrelle Revis.
Let's lay it out schematically.
In the passing game, the two players that the Jets will need to focus on stopping the most are Andre Johnson and Owen Daniels. Without Revis, Rex Ryan will not have the ability to man up on both outside receivers. To some extent, he will have to roll coverage toward Johnson while keeping Daniels in check with a linebacker and/or a safety.
Throughout his career, Walter has shown up in games like this. While he's never been the standout, he's always been extremely reliable when he's been called upon. With Lestar Jean still on the mend and Keshawn Martin still acclimating to the system, Walter is the guy this week.
He's the Texans' best blocker, so he'll be on the field. The Jets won't be able to cover everyone, so expect him to be open as well and get a couple extra looks. His 15 targets are third on the team behind Johnson and Daniels. While his numbers haven't been great, the potential is there.
The biggest risk here is that the Jets will falter early and often, with the score getting out of hand rather quickly. That isn't a risk everyone should take, but if you're looking to pull a guy off the waiver wire to start for one of your bye-week receivers, Walter is a low-risk/high-reward play.
Sit BenJarvus Green-Ellis (RB Cincinnati Bengals)
Law Firm is just about done as a fantasy option.
He hasn't really advanced as a No. 1 back like many thought he would when he made the move to Cincinnati, and Bernard Scott is coming back to steal his carries and vulture his touchdowns. Green-Ellis had his shot, and I wouldn't begrudge any fantasy owner that bet on him, but his time is running out.
Sadly, for him, a matchup against the league's top rushing defense isn't going to do him any favors.
Opponents are averaging 2.4 yards per carry against the Dolphins this season—that's Williams Wall territory right there. Guys like Randy Starks and Paul Soliai are ridiculously underrated as run-stuffing tackles, and Koa Misi has been all over in run support through four weeks.
Green-Ellis may luck into a long run or two this weekend, but it's going to be tough sledding, and the Dolphins are going to be playing keep-away as much as possible.
Sit Green-Ellis this week and keep a close eye on him moving forward; he shouldn't be taking up roster space if you can't use him.
Add Andre Roberts (WR Arizona Cardinals)
If you didn't make this move on Thursday night, you're insane.
Owned in only 29 percent of all ESPN leagues, Roberts is a top-20 fantasy receiver. On NFL Network, Mike Mayock called him the "best route-runner in the league." While that may be some Gruden-esque hyperbole, Roberts has surprised a lot of people with his polished route-running and his incredible work ethic; the latter shouldn't be a surprise out of a kid from The Citadel.
As a general rule, having multiple No. 1 receivers is an easier route to fantasy gold, but not everyone is so lucky, depending on draft results and injuries. Grabbing a legit No. 2 is a more than viable option.
Roberts wasn't the guy people were talking about before the season, but he should have been. Michael Floyd can't get his head on straight, and Early Doucet has had his chances. Roberts was given a chance to shine and may not let go of it.
Teams are going to game-plan to shut down Larry Fitzgerald, who has struggled a bit against guys like Richard Sherman and Cortland Finnegan this season. Roberts is able to fill the void for the Cardinals, and Kevin Kolb looks comfortable throwing to him.
If Roberts is available in your league, pick him up immediately.
Look to Unload Danny Amendola (WR St. Louis Rams) in Non-PPR Leagues
Danny Amendola has long been a teaser in fantasy circles—especially in PPR leagues.
Scouts raved about his crisp route-running and his sure hands. Anyone with two eyes and a Sunday Ticket subscription could see how much Sam Bradford looked his way. The production this season was amazing, but it wasn't unforeseen.
Now, a "sternoclavicular joint separation" (via Adam Schefter) could keep him out anywhere from four to six weeks and affect his production even longer.
If you're not in a PPR league, do you really have time to wait for Week 11 to get production out of him? If you have that luxury, great! If not, throw him on the trade block and see what you can get out of an owner who is willing to risk him coming back early and at full speed.
Trade for Ryan Mathews (RB San Diego Chargers)
If you're looking to get someone back for Amendola or to simply buy low, consider Ryan Mathews.
I actually just picked up Mathews in a money league this past week in a series of deals that ended up turning Robert Griffin III into four starters—and that isn't even counting Mathews. The owner looked at the fantasy points and the news that Mathews was losing touches and threw him in.
Matthews played about even snaps with Jackie Battle last week, but it is extremely unlikely he will spend the rest of the season in the doghouse. I've never been Mathews' biggest fan, but he's got a chance to make the kind of explosive plays that keep fantasy owners (and real coaches) happy.
Don't trade the farm for him, but if you can get him back with a pupu platter of players you weren't really using anyway, do it.
Michael Schottey is the NFL national lead writer for Bleacher Report and an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Find more of his stuff alongside other great writers at "The Go Route."