Fantasy Football: Week Five Start or Sit

Matthew BeckCorrespondent IOctober 8, 2009

PITTSBURGH - AUGUST 29: Running back Rashard Mendenhall of the Pittsburgh Steelers carries the ball in the secong quarter during the game against the Buffalo Bills at Heinz Field on August 29, 2009 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Before I get to my Week Five selections, let’s check last week’s picks for accuracy. 

Good Starts from Week Four:

Mike Sims-Walker, WR (JAC):  Sims-Walker had a monster game, recording seven catches for 91 yards and two touchdowns. 

Brett Favre, QB (MIN):  Favre destroyed his former team through the air, completing 24 of his 31 pass attempts for 271 yards and three touchdowns.

Ricky Williams, RB (MIA):  The Dolphins stuck to the run game in Week Four and Williams was one of the beneficiaries.  He ended up with 85 yards rushing and one touchdown.

Bad Starts from Week Four:


Fred Taylor, RB (NE):  The Patriots chose to use four different running backs against the Ravens last week, which lead to Taylor rushing the ball only seven times for 25 yards.


Jason Campbell, QB (WAS):  Campbell had a horrible game, throwing three interceptions against a sub-par Buccaneers defense.


Good Sits from Week Four:


Darren McFadden, RB (OAK):  McFadden rushed just six times for negative three yards in a blowout loss to the Texans.


New York Jets, Defense/Special Teams:  The Jets gave up 24 points last week against the Saints, which was the most they gave up thus far in 2009.


Mark Clayton, WR (BAL):  Clayton did catch five passes, but only recorded 45 yards and couldn’t find the end zone.


Bad Sits from Week Four:


Kevin Smith, DET (RB):  Smith was banged up heading into his Week Four matchup, but still was able to find the end zone twice.


Matt Cassel, QB (KC):  Cassel was able to pass the ball well late in his Week Four matchup, finishing with two touchdowns.


Here is my Week Five list of who to start and who to sit: 

Oakland Raiders at New York Giants                       

Start:  Ahmad Bradshaw, RB (NYG)

Explanation:  I feel like a broken record picking Bradshaw each week as a must start.  This week should be the week when he breaks out and finds the end zone, especially if Eli Manning is out.

Sit:  Michael Bush/Justin Fargas, RBs (OAK)

Explanation:  Raiders coach Tom Cable has yet to say who the number one tailback is now that Darren McFadden is out 2-4 weeks.  Expect the Raiders to be down early, leading to a lot of passing.

Dallas Cowboys at Kansas City Chiefs                   

Start:  Matt Cassel, QB (KC)

Explanation:  I really like Cassel this week against a suspect defensive secondary.  He put up decent numbers last week against a good secondary, so a good game is in the horizon.

Sit:  Roy Williams, WR (DAL)

Explanation:  Williams missed practice on Wednesday, and his status is uncertain for Sunday’s game against the Chiefs.  If he does play, he won’t be 100 percent.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Detroit Lions                         

Start:  Rashard Mendenhall, RB (PIT)

Explanation:  Mendenhall had a breakout game last week, rushing for 165 yards and two touchdowns.  Although Willie Parker may play this week, Mendenhall will still get enough work to make him worth starting.

Sit:  Calvin Johnson, WR (DET)

Explanation:  I know it is extremely hard to sit Johnson, but he isn’t 100 percent and his quarterback will most likely be out this week.  If it is possible, put in someone else this week.

Washington Redskins at Carolina Panthers          

Start:  Panthers, Defense/Special Teams

Explanation:  The Redskins offense has been underachieving thus far in 2009, which makes the Panthers defense intriguing for Week Five.  The Panthers are coming off a bye week and will be ready to turn their season around.  Look for a stout performance from the Panthers defense this week, resulting in their first win of the season.

Sit:  Santana Moss, WR (WAS)

Explanation:  The Panther’s secondary is very physical, which isn’t Moss’ style.  If they get in his head early, it will be a long day for the Redskins' number one receiver.

Cleveland Browns at Buffalo Bills                             

Start:  Jerome Harrison, RB (CLE)

Explanation:  Harrison may be the start of the week, as long as Jamal Lewis doesn’t play.  The Bills defense is banged up, and the Browns have been able to run the ball well this season. 

Sit:  Fred Jackson, RB (BUF)

Explanation:  I think Jackson will play, but as the weeks go on I feel Marshawn Lynch will get more and more playing time.  Expect to see Jackson’s numbers decrease from here on out.

Minnesota Vikings at St. Louis Rams                    

Start:  Chester Taylor, RB (MIN)

Explanation:  This is a risky pick, but I think the Vikings will be up early in the game and may look to rest Peterson in the second half.  Taylor could have a chance to score some scrub points late in the game.

Sit:  Donnie Avery/Keenan Burton, WRs (STL)

Explanation:  There is only one player that is fantasy worthy on the Rams team, and that is Steven Jackson.  Avery and Burton still have to prove themselves to the fantasy world before they are put into action.

Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens

Start:  Derrick Mason, WR (BAL)

Explanation:  Mason has been great thus far in 2009, being the go-to target for second-year quarterback Joe Flacco.  Expect Mason to continue his hot streak against cornerbacks who are a bit suspect this season.

Sit:  Carson Palmer, QB (CIN)

Explanation:  I just don’t think the Bengals offensive line can contain the Ravens pass rush, which will lead to a long day for Palmer.  The Ravens secondary is another concern, as they have already recorded six interceptions this season.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Philadelphia Eagles   

Start:  Donovan McNabb, QB (PHI)

Explanation:  Great matchup for McNabb, after sitting out the last two games due to a rib injury.  The Eagles should abuse the Buccaneers secondary, which will lead to a great game for McNabb.

Sit:  Carnell Williams, RB (TB)

Explanation:  Williams would be a good start if the Buccaneers were playing a different team.  He is said to be the every down back for Week Five, but the Buccaneers will likely be down early, leading to a lot of passing situations.

Atlanta Falcons at San Francisco 49ers                   

Start:  Matt Ryan, QB (ATL)

Explanation:  Ryan has had two weeks to shake off his dismal performance from Week Three against the Patriots and will look to rebound against a secondary that can be passed on.  The 49ers have yet to play an offense like the Falcons, and will have a long day against Ryan’s offensive attack.

Sit:  49ers, Defense/Special Teams

Explanation:  The Falcons have had two weeks to fix their issues form Week Three and will look to push the ball up the field using a steady mix of rushing and passing.  The 49ers will need to stack eight in the box to stop Michael Turner, which will lead to plenty of mismatches in the secondary.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Seattle Seahawks                             

Start:  David Garrard, QB (JAC)

Explanation:  Garrard is off to a great start to the 2009 season, and was ranked among the top fantasy quarterbacks last week.  The Seahawks are being passed on at will, so expect the Jaguars to exploit that weakness.

Sit:  Nate Burleson, WR (SEA)

Explanation:  Burleson doesn’t seem to be the go-to receiver for quarterback Seneca Wallace, and probably won’t get much action this week as well.  The play of Deion Branch last week also leads me to believe that Burleson should be replaced in fantasy lineups this week.

New England Patriots at Denver Broncos            

Start:  Wes Welker, WR (NE)

Explanation:  The Patriots love to pass the football, and they will need to against the stout defense of the Broncos.  Welker should receive the bulk of the receptions as he is now fully 100 percent.

Sit:  Broncos, Defense/Special Teams

Explanation:  I think this is the week the Broncos defense gets exploited.  They have yet to play an offense that has been firing on all cylinders and the Patriots will definitely be ready to go.  Expect a major disappointment this week.

Houston Texans at Arizona Cardinals                      

Start:  Tim Hightower, RB (ARI)

Explanation:  The Texans defense has been underperforming this season, and the Cardinals have been using their rushing game very well.  Coming off the bye week, expect Hightower to balance out the Cardinals passing attack with a stellar game on the ground.

Sit:  Owen Daniels, TE (HOU)

Explanation:  I expect Kevin Walter to start getting the ball more as he gets reacquainted with quarterback Matt Schaub and Daniels will be the one who suffers.  Though a good matchup, try and go with a different tight end this week.

Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans                  

Start:  Austin Collie, WR (IND)

Explanation:  Collie had a breakout game last week against the Seahawks, as Peyton Manning gets used to his new core of receivers.  Expect similar numbers this week, as he is matched up against a horrible defensive secondary.

Sit:  LenDale White, RB (TEN)

Explanation:  White had just two carries for two yards last week, and has just 24 carries on the season.  The Titans will be passing a lot, so expect White to see similar production.

New York Jets at Miami Dolphins                             

Start:  Ricky Williams, RB (MIA)

Explanation:  As expected, the Dolphins ran the ball a lot last week and Williams took advantage of his opportunities.  Expect a similar scheme this week as Williams should receive enough carries to make him worth a start.

Sit:  Braylon Edwards, WR (NYJ)

Explanation:  Edwards was traded to the Jets on Wednesday, and joined the team at practice on Thursday.  He will only have a few days to get used to the playbook, so just wait at least a week to start him.

Key Fantasy Players on Bye Weeks in Week Five:

Chicago Bears:  Jay Cutler, Matt Forte, Devin Hester, Earl Bennett, Greg Olsen

San Diego Chargers:  Philip Rivers, LaDainian Tomlinson, Darren Sproles, Vincent Jackson, Antonio Gates

Green Bay Packers:  Aaron Rodgers, Ryan Grant, Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, Jermichael Finley

New Orleans Saints:  Drew Brees, Reggie Bush, Pierre Thomas, Marques Colston, Jeremy Shockey

Check back next week as I assist you in your fantasy lineup decisions!


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