Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 5: How to Handle Week 4's Breakout Performers

Andrew GouldFeatured ColumnistOctober 1, 2013

Sep 29, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) in the tunnel prior to the game against the Dallas Cowboys at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

Fantasy football points don't always come where you expect them.

While Peyton Manning and Adrian Peterson did their usual thing on Sunday, some less-appreciated players delivered massive tallies for their fantasy owners.

It was a welcome sight for many managers, but likely an infuriating one for other owners. Due to past inconsistency issues, a slow start or lack of a track record, these guys might have sat on many benches during Week 4.

Have these players proven that they are for real or are they washed-up veterans who don't belong in your starting lineup? Let's take a early look on their Week 5 outlooks.


QB Philip Rivers (at Oakland Raiders)

Philip Rivers is back.

Reports of his demise were greatly exaggerated after a season in which he turned the ball over 28 times despite completing 64.1 percent of his passes. Rivers is not just building his way back up to his past glory days, he's playing the best football of his career.

The 31-year-old Chargers quarterback completed a resounding 35 of 42 passes against the Dallas Cowboys for 401 yards, three touchdowns and an interception last Sunday. He has a 73.9 completion percentage, 1,199 passing yards and 11 touchdowns through the first quarter of the 2013 season.

Peyton Manning is the only other quarterback who has compiled double-digit touchdown passes through the first four weeks, and very few drafters even picked Rivers as their starting quarterback.

Well, he's your starter now.

Oakland's passing defense ranks 14th in the league, allowing 238 passing yards per game, but it also owns a 72.1 opposing completion percentage. Even if he does not achieve his third 400-yard outing, Rivers should produce another efficient game to bolster his hot hand.

Verdict: Start


RB Frank Gore (vs. Houston Texans)

ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 26: Frank Gore #21 of the San Francisco 49ers looks to avoid a tackle by James Laurinaitis #55 of the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome on September 26, 2013 in St. Louis, Missouri.  The 49ers beat the rams 35-11.  (Photo b
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Stop searching the waiver wire with that disturbing look in your eye. Don't you do dare wonder if Rashard Mendenhall's owner is willing to make a move. Frank Gore is going to be OK.

Fantasy owners need no help in panicking over aging running backs, but Gore stirred chaos by running for a combined 142 yards through his first three games. The curse of the 30-yard-old back strikes again, and everyone who ignored its hisses just wasted a third-round pick on a dud.

But not so fast. Gore broke out with 153 yards and a score last Thursday night against the St. Louis Rams. Just like that, he is averaging 4.8 yards per carry this season.

Kendall Hunter is starting to get more involved and will relieve the veteran of some touches, but not many backs are running 30 times a game these days. With the San Francisco 49ers back on track, 20 carries will do just fine. 

Houston boasts the NFL's best defense in yards allowed, but that should scare off Colin Kaepernick owners more than those holding stock in Gore. The Texans rank 23rd in rushing yards allowed with 113.3 per game. Marshawn Lynch most recently rushed for 98 yards and a score on 17 carries.

Gore's numbers will probably dip a bit from last season's lofty output, but the veteran is still a sturdy No. 2 fantasy back worth trotting out this weekend.

Verdict: Start


WR Nate Washington (vs. Kansas City Chiefs)

Sep 29, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans wide receiver Nate Washington (85) celebrates in the end zone after scoring a touchdown against the New York Jets during the first half at LP Field. Mandatory Credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports
Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

Is Nate Washington the main man in Tennessee now?

The eight-year pro caught four passes for 105 yards and two touchdowns, including a 77-yard score where he cracked double coverage by Antonio Cromartie and the official. That marks two straight 100-yard games from the veteran after he had offered just one 100-yard effort last season.

Kansas City is not the best matchup for opposing wideouts, having allowed a stingy 189 yards per game. But the Chiefs did let Victor Cruz burn them on a 70-yard score last Sunday with Brandon Flowers sitting on the sideline. 

If Kansas City's top cornerback is unavailable again, Washington could churn out another big play or two, but the Titans have injury woes of their own to worry about.

Jake Locker was carted off the field after injuring his hip last week against the New York Jets. ESPN's Adam Schefter said the quarterback is expected to miss some substantial time.

Even though replacement Ryan Fitzpatrick dished out the 77-yard score, Locker's absence will obstruct Washington's long-term fantasy potential. His value depends on too many other people right now, so don't count on the veteran to keep swimming in uncharted territories with a No. 2 QB against a tough defense.

Verdict: Sit