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Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 5: Breaking Down Where Fringe Fantasy Players Belong

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 29:  Quarterback Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants passes during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on September 29, 2013 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistOctober 4, 2013

Peyton Manning, LeSean McCoy, Victor Cruz and their fellow high-scoring fantasy football superstars belong in starting lineups each week. Every fantasy owner understands that, but it's the fringe decisions that normally win or lose games.

The choices get even tougher as the season moves on because owners are now dealing with mounting injury concerns and bye weeks. So the number of options available is limited while the task of building a winning lineup remains the same.

With that in mind, let's examine whether players who represent some of the toughest decisions in Week 5 should end up in the starting lineup or on the bench. The list is followed by a closer look at some of the week's most difficult calls.

 

Week 5 Starts and Sits

 

Hardest Calls to Make

Start: Eli Manning (New York Giants)

Manning came out on fire in Week 1. He threw for 450 yards and four touchdowns en route to a 28-point fantasy outburst. His performance has dropped off considerably since then, though. He's scored just 20 points over the past three weeks combined.

Due to those recent struggles, fantasy owners are probably a bit wary of putting Manning back in the starting lineup. That said, even though he shouldn't be viewed as a weekly starter, he remains a valuable matchup play.

And he's got a great matchup in Week 5. Manning and the Giants go up against the Philadelphia Eagles, who rank 31st in the league in pass defense. It should allow him to bounce back after a brief slump to crack the 20-point mark again.

 

Sit: Colin Kaepernick (San Francisco 49ers)

Kaepernick finds himself in a situation very similar to Manning. He posted a monster 30-point day in the season opener and has failed to come anywhere close to that total ever since. Unfortunately for the 49ers quarterback, his matchup isn't as favorable in Week 5.

The Texans lead the league in pass defense. They are giving up just 141 yards per game despite facing Philip Rivers, Joe Flacco and Russell Wilson in the season's first quarter. So it's not like the numbers are some type of fluke.

While Kaepernick should be able to do some damage with his legs, it's hard to rely on that production carrying a quarterback. Fantasy owners should leave him on the bench until a better matchup arrives or he proves he's a must-start option again.

 

Sit: Dwayne Bowe (Kansas City Chiefs)

The lack of involvement for Bowe is very concerning. Yes, he's cracked double digits twice in four weeks, but those were both 11-point outings thanks to touchdowns. It's tough to rely on those from week to week because they are extremely variable.

His base numbers are not what his fantasy owners expected. He hasn't caught more than four passes or tallied more than 58 yards in a game at the quarter pole. Bowe is also averaging barely over six targets per game, well below the normal rate for a No. 1 receiver.

Since the Chiefs have a tough test against a Tennessee Titans defense that ranks 10th against the pass, it's hard to have faith this will be the week Bowe rediscovers his value. He belongs on the bench while he tries to carve out a bigger role in the offense.

 

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