One consequence of NFL bye weeks that often gets overlooked in the realm of fantasy football is the impact they have on lineup decisions. When owners have fewer options, piecing together a winning group becomes an even tougher task.
For example, Adrian Peterson and the Minnesota Vikings are off in Week 5, so Peterson's fantasy owners have to find a way to fill that void. However, a player like Le'Veon Bell of the Pittsburgh Steelers—a hot target recently—is also on bye this week.
Therefore, fantasy owners have to dig deeper on their bench or the waiver wire to decide which player gets the start and which should sit alongside Peterson.
This type of dilemma will happen at every position until bye weeks come to an end.
Let's take a glance at where some of the difficult calls fall for Week 5, followed by a breakdown of the toughest decisions.
Week 5 Starts and Sits
|QB||Terrelle Pryor||Oakland Raiders|
|RB||Bilal Powell||New York Jets|
|WR||Nate Washington||Tennessee Titans|
|TE||Jared Cook||St. Louis Rams|
|K||Alex Henery||Philadelphia Eagles|
Fantasy Week 5
|QB||Andrew Luck||Indianapolis Colts|
|RB||Daryl Richardson||St. Louis Rams|
|WR||Stevie Johnson||Buffalo Bills|
|TE||Brandon Myers||New York Giants|
|K||Randy Bullock||Houston Texans|
|D||Green Bay Packers|
Fantasy Week 5
Breakdown of Toughest Calls
Sit: Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts
Luck ranks among the top 10 quarterbacks through the first four weeks of the season. He's averaging more than 18 fantasy points per game, ahead of big names like Tom Brady and Colin Kaepernick.
In most cases, he belongs in the starting lineup.
Week 5 is an exception, though. The Colts are going up against the stout Seattle Seahawks defense, which ranks tied for third at 191 yards against per game. Seattle also sports a ball-possession offense, likely limiting the number of possessions for Indianapolis.
So there's a strong chance Luck won't live up to expectations this week. That said, he should return to most starting lineups moving forward—regardless of how he performs against Seattle.
This is just a rare matchup to avoid despite his strong start.
Start: Bilal Powell, RB, New York Jets
Powell has posted a double-digit fantasy point total in three straight games. He lacks explosive big-play ability and name recognition, so owners have been slow to gain confidence in him, but his solid performance warrants a spot in the lineup.
Where will Powell rank among RBs in Week 5?
The Jets offense lacks talent. Geno Smith is experiencing growing pains under center, and the lack of ability in the receiving corps is a contributing factor.
Although that's bad news for New York, it's good news for Powell's fantasy value.
Since the Jets can't become overdependent on the pass, Powell's touches on a weekly basis are safe. Any running back that's getting consistent opportunities is worth starting in fantasy leagues. Powell certainly fits the category against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 5.
Sit: Steve Johnson, WR, Buffalo Bills
Even though the Bills offense continues to trend in the right direction, no player on the team has established himself as a must-start fantasy option.
Johnson was on the verge after a quick start, but a one-catch outing last week put him back on the fringe.
There are two worrisome issues for Week 5. First, Buffalo goes out on the road, where the offense had its worst showing of the season so far, to face a solid Cleveland Browns secondary led by Joe Haden, who will likely cover Johnson. Second, Thursday night games tend to sway toward the defenses.
With Johnson coming off a down week and the Browns likely focused on keeping him quiet, the best option for fantasy owners is waiting for a Sunday or Monday starter to fill the starting spot.
Wait for a better matchup to get Johnson back in the lineup.