Start 'Em Sit 'Em Week 5: Breaking Down Toughest Roster Decisions

Steven CookFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 30, 2013

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 22:  DeMarco Murray #29 of the Dallas Cowboys runs the ball against the St. Louis Rams at AT&T Stadium on September 22, 2013 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Although all of Week 4 isn't quite in the books just yet, it's never too early to break down who to start and who to leave on the bench in Week 5 of the 2013 NFL regular season. 

Anything can happen in the NFL regardless of the opponent, but after a quarter of the season, we're starting to have a feel as to which teams are vulnerable at certain positions and which players are likely to go off. 

Without further ado, let's check out the start 'em, sit 'em for the upcoming weekend of football.


Start: Titans RB Chris Johnson

Sep 15, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson (28) runs with the ball against Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing (56) at Reliant Stadium. The Houston Texans beat the Tennessee Titans 30-24 in overtime. Mandatory Credit:
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Tennessee Titans host the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday, who have struggled in run defense this year despite turning around pretty much every other aspect. Kansas City has given up 118 yards on the ground per game—24th in the league. 

Meanwhile, the Titans are seventh in the NFL in rushing and Chris Johnson—while he hasn't gotten in the end zone or surpassed 100 rushing yards—had a new flare to him through three games before a slip-up this week.

Johnson had a paltry Week 4 performance against the New York Jets, but the Titans had very few long drives, as Jets turnovers constantly put them in short scoring drives. Just as well, the play-calling dictated a pass-first mentality all game long.

Against the Chiefs—who boast a much-improved secondary—the Titans will be forced to pound the rock and that will reap success for CJ's fantasy value.


Sit: Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 22:  DeMarco Murray #29 of the Dallas Cowboys runs the ball against Chris Long #91 of the St. Louis Rams at AT&T Stadium on September 22, 2013 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys face the Denver Broncos in Week 5, which alone is enough of a reason to second-guess any of your Dallas fantasy options. But while an argument can be made for Tony Romo or receivers, DeMarco Murray must stay on your bench in Week 5.

Denver ranks atop the league in rushing yards allowed—it has given up just 74 yards per game on the ground through four weeks, which is just unheard of.

With Peyton Manning getting up big on his opponents early, it's forced the opposing QBs to air it out and abandon the run game. Sunday's matchup against Dallas should be no different, as the Cowboys look to Romo to give them a chance at winning.


Start: Eagles QB Michael Vick

Sep 29, 2013; Denver, CO, USA;Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick (7) scrambles against the Denver Broncos in the first quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Eagles have been off and on to start the Chip Kelly era, but we've seen promise from Michael Vick fantasy-wise nearly every week and that will come to fruition in Week 5.

The Eagles face the 0-4 New York Giants, who just allowed game-manager Alex Smith throw for 288 yards and three scores against them in a 31-7 drubbing.

Vick has had a monster year, with the lone dud performance coming this past week against the Denver Broncos—not exactly a walkover on defense.

Against the Giants, who rank in the bottom half of the league in pass defense, Vick should turn things around in a big way.


Sit: 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick

Sep 26, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) hands off to running back Frank Gore (21) for a 34 yard touchdown during the first half against the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome. San Francisco defeated St.
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Colin Kaepernick's issues early on in the season have been well-documented, and he didn't really impress his fantasy owners in Week 4 despite leading the Niners to a big victory over St. Louis (15-of-23, 167 yards, two scores). 

On top of that, he faces the Houston Texans in Week 5, who haven't given up 200 yards through the air to a quarterback this season. That feat was heightened further Sunday, holding Russell Wilson to just 123 yards passing.

Wilson and Kaepernick obviously have similar skill sets, so the Seahawks' passing struggles don't bode well. With safety Ed Reed back in the secondary, the Texans look dominant in pass defense—if they didn't before. 


Start: Rams RB Daryl Richardson

Aug 24, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; St. Louis Rams running back Daryl Richardson (26) runs the ball during the first half against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Daryl Richardson has struggled to put up points ever since notching nearly 100 all-purpose yards in Week 1, but he'll turn it around with a favorable matchup against everybody's favorite opponent—the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Jags rank dead last in run defense, and it's not hard to see why—the game is typically over before halftime and teams tend to pound the rock down after down.

This could be a big turnaround game for a struggling Sam Bradford, and he should have little trouble getting the St. Louis Rams a lead and allowing Richardson to milk the clock and eventually jump-start his fantasy numbers. 


Sit: Cardinals RB Rashard Mendenhall

Sep 29, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Arizona Cardinals running back Rashard Mendenhall (28) works out prior to the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Rashard Mendenhall is typically a hot topic in the start/sit argument as a flex option in most leagues, but this isn't the week you want to go all-in on him starting.

The Arizona Cardinals host the Carolina Panthers, who have looked dominant against the run versus both good teams and bad teams—they limited Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch to 43 yards on 17 carries and stifled the Giants after allowing a 100-yard rusher against the Bills in Week 2.

Carolina has looked to be the real deal with the seventh-best run defense through three games, and that should be enough for you to sit Mendenhall in this one.