This could be a tough week for fantasy owners. With the Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints, and San Diego Chargers on byes, a good deal of fantasy point getters will be on the sidelines, leaving many owners scrambling for good bye week options in week five. Fortunately for you, the Bruno Boys are providing you with some solid Start ‘Em players for this week in the Fantasy Football Week Five Start Ems.
QUARTERBACKS – START ‘EM
Donovan McNabb (Philadelphia Eagles) vs. Tampa Bay
Finally, McNabb is healthy enough to play and what a great week to come back. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have allowed 14 passing plays over 20 yards and six plays over 40 on the year. Part of McNabb’s essence is throwing the deep ball to play maker DeSean Jackson and perhaps even getting rookie WR Jeremy Maclin involved. The Bucs have allowed 222 passing yards per game and nine TDs in their four games in 2009, so look for the Eagles to exploit the obvious holes in the Buccaneers’ secondary. Start McNabb without hesitation.
Tony Romo (Dallas Cowboys) @ Kansas City
What a disappointment Romo has been in 2009. After such a magnificent start in week one, he has only posted one TD to four INT in his following three games. Romo should bounce back this week with a cushy matchup versus a weak opponent in the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs have allowed 250 passing yards and two passing TDs per game, and those are some numbers that you can bank on for Romo in week five. Look for Dallas to try and find a rhythm offensively by allowing Romo to get back on track. An 18-point week should be easily reachable for the Cowboys star QB.
Derek Anderson (Cleveland Browns) @ Buffalo
We understand that Anderson hasn’t exactly been a fantasy owner’s dream since his Pro Bowl 2007 season. In fact, his stats have been downright ugly. However, after a rocky beginning in 2009 (one TD and four INTs), he gets to face a Buffalo Bills' defense that has been less than stellar; ranking 21st in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game. While Anderson is more of a recommended start in larger fantasy leagues, with four stud QBs out in week five, you may be struggling for options and Anderson could fill that void. Even without WR Braylon Edwards, Anderson could post average enough numbers to warrant a start against the Bills.
RUNNING BACKS – START ‘EM
Marshawn Lynch (Buffalo Bills) vs. Cleveland
Marshawn was not the typical Marshawn in his first game back from suspension in 2009. He averaged a whopping 0.5 ypc on eight carries to the chagrin of many of his fantasy owners. Look for him to right his wrongs in week five against a porous Cleveland Browns' rush defense. Even though Cleveland “shut down” the Bengals' rushing attack in week four (154 yards, zero TDs; if you want to call that shutting a team down), the Browns have really not been good. In weeks one-three, the worst fantasy output for a starting RB against the Browns was 17 points put up by Correll Buckhalter, so if you’re looking at that as a target, it could be reachable. While Lynch will be splitting carries with Fred Jackson, he should see enough to be a RB2 this week, with Jackson being a potential spot starter in a flex position.
Tim Hightower (Arizona Cardinals) vs. Houston
Coming off a bye, look for a refreshed Hightower and Cardinals' offense to come up gunning to get back into contention in the NFC West. Fortunately, they have the Houston Texans on their schedule. To say the Texans' rush defense has been horrendous would be an understatement. Ranking 29th in the NFL, they have allowed 165 yards per game and tied for an NFL-worst eight rushing TDs. While Hightower isn’t the best pure RB, he has an uncanny ability of finding the end zone (11 TDs in 19 games) and is heavily relied upon in the passing game (as witnessed by 57.3 receiving yards per game in 2009).
Clinton Portis (Washington Redskins) @ Carolina
While Clinton Portis has been the antithesis of good in 2009, he has too much ability, barring injury, to be this bad. He has the opportunity to right the ship against an NFL-worst Carolina Panthers' rush D that has given up 183 yards per game and three TDs in their three games. Hopefully, you’re a Portis owner that hasn’t given up on him because you could finally reap the benefits of the man you probably drafted as your RB2.
Ahmad Bradshaw (New York Giants) vs. Oakland
There is something to love about Bradshaw’s matchup in week five against the Raiders (barring injury status). Oakland is 26th in the NFL allowing 146 yards per game and four rush TDs in four games. More importantly for Bradshaw’s success is that the Raiders have given up three rushes of over 20+ yards in their four games this season. Bradshaw is lightning-quick and has shown big-play ability since his inception in the NFL with six runs of over 20 yards in very limited time since last season. While Bradshaw may not put up numbers that your starting RBs will be tallying this week, he makes for a great flex play having averaged seven fantasy points per week with the potential to blow up at any time.
WIDE RECEIVERS – START ‘EM
Hines Ward (Pittsburgh Steelers) @ Detroit
It is good advice to start any QB/WRs playing against Detroit until this theory is disproven. Allowing 12 passing TDs in four weeks is no easy feat, but the Lions have been able to reach that statistic. Unfortunately as good as Ward has been at putting up solid yardage, his TDs have been non-existent. He should find the end zone in this matchup. Granted, WR Santonio Holmes and TE Heath Miller could steal some of his flair, but Ward should put up numbers comparable to a WR1 for this week five contest.
Antonio Bryant (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) @ Philadelphia
While it’s hard to tell fantasy owners to start a WR who has done almost nothing, been injured, has a bad matchup, AND has a brand new QB; that’s exactly what we are doing. Antonio Bryant had a tidy 10-point effort in week four against the fourth ranked pass defense of Washington. Look for the Eagles to attack early in this matchup, forcing the Bucs to play catchup all game. Bryant could see a solid amount of targets leading to a good fantasy week for him in Philly.
Kevin Walter (Houston Texans) @ Arizona
This game has the potential to be a shoot-out. Those words typically echo exactly what fantasy owners want to hear. Kevin Walter is a big part of the Texans' passing attack, and this is a week he could exceed all expectations. Arizona’s pass defense isn’t bad…it’s absolutely terrible. They have allowed 280 yards per game and seven TDs in only three contests, and this one seems like it could definitely increase those numbers with plenty of fantasy stars in this matchup. Walter should be looking at the realm of 75 yards and a TD, so confidently plug him into your lineup in week five.
TIGHT ENDS – START ‘EM
Brandon Pettigrew (Detroit Lions) vs. Pittsburgh
The Lions' big TE and other first round pick has been a pleasant surprise as a deep league sleeper, especially last week where he posted 64 yards, while having a potential TD catch taken away. While it seemed like he was getting on the right page with QB Matthew Stafford (OUT for week five, Daunte Culpepper IN), the Steelers have been less than stellar against opposing TEs (Gates- 124 yards & two TDs; Chicago TEs- 79 yards and a TD). This Start ‘Em relies mostly on whether Troy Polamalu is able to play or not in week five; if he does play, consider Pettigrew removed from this list.
John Carlson (Seattle Seahawks) vs. Jacksonville
Just in case Troy Polamalu does play, making Pettigrew a Sit, Carlson has a great matchup versus a suspect Jaguars' pass defense. Another game that could be high-scoring, Carlson has been non-existent since week one. He is too talented to struggle for this long, so he should be in for a nice 10-point week for fantasy owners. Plug Carlson into your lineup in week five, whether Hasselbeck or Wallace is his starting QB.
KICKERS – START ‘EM
Jeff Reed (Pittsburgh Steelers) @ Detroit
Pittsburgh should be able to post some decent numbers against Detroit. Actually, decent is an understatement. The Steelers most likely will not be stopped by a poor Lions' defense, and Jeff Reed should be able to post some gaudy kicker stats. We’re not going to tell you to go out and drop your starting kicker for him, but if you have Robbie Gould, Mason Crosby, John Carney, or Nate Kaeding, you may be looking for some help, and Reed can provide that. Gould posted 12 points on the Lions last weekend (more if you get a bonus for a 50+ yarder), so it’s not unrealistic for Reed to get that as well.
DEFENSES – START ‘EM
Dallas Cowboys D/ST @ Kansas City
Game in Arrowhead? So what. The Chiefs have proven that they really can’t score on anyone (16 points per game, 31st in the NFL with 246.5 yards of offense per game), and the Cowboys are coming off a gut-wrenching loss to the Denver Broncos. Well, at least the Chiefs have done well on third downs this season (nine out of 51 for 18 percent). It seems that the Cowboys will have ample time to let their defense rest, and perhaps LB DeMarcus Ware can come out and actually get to QB Matt Cassel. The Chiefs' QBs have been sacked 13 times for t-27th in the NFL. The Cowboys are typically not a D/ST we recommend, but start them this week against perhaps the second worst offense in the NFL.
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THIS ARTICLE WRITTEN BY BRUNO BOY JACOB LERMAN.