Receiving a comment on my Week 4 emergency start options, I was excited to see what it had to say. I expected someone to give me an e-high five for my mention of Laurent Robinson (7-of-116), Jason Campbell (17 fantasy points in most league formats) or even Kendall Hunter (a respectable 11 points in PPR leagues).
Instead, the message was a complaint suggesting I ruined this person’s season because he started Jacoby Ford over DeSean Jackson, killing his chances of winning and somehow over-embellishing that into a season-killing move.
Of course, I never suggested starting Ford over Jackson. The concept of these emergency start options are that they are guys you can typically find on your league's wire who can patch an unexpected hole on game day.
By all means, before you start any of the following, use the fantasy fundamental about starting your studs first and foremost. But if you need a last-second bye-week fill-in and are up against the ropes, the following players have a chance to shine in Week 5:
First, this week’s byes: Dallas, Cleveland, St. Louis, Miami, Washington, and Baltimore
Preston Parker, WR (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
It isn’t a surprise that Tampa Bay has a solid receiving option.
But, at this point, we expected it to be Mike Williams or Arrelious Benn—not Spiderman.
Oh, this is Preston Parker. (Not Peter?)
PP has been the most reliable receiving option for Tampa Bay so far, and while I personally expect Mike Williams to break out of his early-season funk soon (most likely in this game), Parker has done enough—especially in PPR formats—to be a starter against teams as vertically challenged as the Niners.
Vick threw for more than 400 yards against this defense, which is great at stopping the run, but not so grand at limiting the pass.
Parker is owned in just 18 percent of Yahoo leagues, despite posting five catches for 70 yards and a TD last week against the Colts and six catches for 98 yards against the Vikings in Week 2.
Andy Dalton, QB (Cincinnati Bengals)
Again, not suggesting you start Dalton over a stud already on your roster, but if you are hurting for someone to start, you can do much worse than Dalton; he is currently available in 87 percent of Yahoo leagues.
While the rookie signal-caller is still raw and prone to inconsistency, he has shown the ability to post solid fantasy numbers any given week. His 332 yards, two TDs and no picks against the Broncos is evidence of that.
Against a tougher Bills defense last week, he still managed 298 yards and a TD, although he did toss two costly interceptions. The key there, though, is that he bounced back quickly with some great passes to A.J. Green and rallied the troops throughout the game.
This week, he matches up against a Jacksonville defense that has struggled to corral opposing quarterbacks.
Delone Carter, RB (Indianapolis Colts)
Yes, I know the Colts offense has been pathetic sans Peyton Manning this season, but last week, there was a spark of a passing game under newly-anointed Curtis Painter.
Painter will start again this week, and I’d consider starting him at QB if needed.
However, the Colts' running game will be on display mostly in this game against the Chiefs, where Indianapolis may get their first real chance to play clock control.
Joseph Addai is the lead horse here, but I feel Carter will get enough action to make some noise of his own. While he only carried seven times last week, Addai only had 11. Proportionally, if Carter gets that much of the running opportunities again this week, he could be in for a nice game.
Available in 90 percent of Yahoo leagues, this could be Carter's coming-out party despite his No. 2 role.
Thomas Jones, RB (Kansas City Chiefs)
Available in 66 percent of Yahoo leagues, Jones may not be as available as others on this list.
He's also not as flashy as some, but he is the primary back on a team that faces the Colts, who can be spotty against the run at times.
There has been talk about Jackie Battle getting more carries in the offense, but the long-time special-teamer doesn't exactly kill it when it comes to yards per carry. Dexter McCluster has the best playmaking skills, but seems capped in carries.
This leaves Jones as the top option by default, and in a game where the Chiefs may have a lead, Jones could be used enough to have value. His pick here has more to do with thin RB depth than anything else this week.
Jacoby Ford, WR (Oakland Raiders)
Sometimes it helps to have patience, and I am willing to take some ribbing on the Ford pick based on his sheer ability to make a play happen.
Last week, he was allegedly less than 100 percent, and it showed in certain plays that he typically would take to the house.
Plus, Darrius Heyward-Bey has shown he is way too inconsistent to be a weekly option. Denarius Moore has playmaking ability, but was a nonfactor last week.
There is an opportunity for Ford this week, and in what should be a pass-happy contest, he will get his chances.
Clay Harbor, TE (Philadelphia Eagles)
The tight end depth for this week is putrid, at best.
The Eagles' offense has some big-time potential this week in what should be a shootout with the Bills. While everyone expects Brent Celek to be the tight end of choice in this offense, it was Harbor who finally gained some much-needed chemistry with Michael Vick last week to the tune of three catches for 55 yards and a TD.
You can't count on a touchdown every week, but after last week's showing, Harbor may have developed enough mojo with Vick to get enough looks this week in what should be a pass-happy affair.
Need some Week 5 help? Check out our positional rankings.