Fantasy Football Week 5 Projections: Start 'Em or Sit 'Em Decisions

Eric StashinSenior Writer IOctober 9, 2011

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 2: Running back Frank Gore #2 of the San Francisco 49ers drags cornerback Asante Samuel #22 of the Philadelphia Eagles into the end zone for a touchdown during an NFL football game at Lincoln Financial Field on October 2, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The 49ers defeated the Eagles 24-23. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Just hours before the start of Week 5 I know many people have questions running through their heads.  Who should I start?  Who should I sit?  Let’s take a look at how some of the recent news changes things:

Frank Gore – San Francisco 49ers – Running Back

According to Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area (click here for the post):

I expect Gore to start and play about 2/3 of the game with Kendall Hunter seeing the rest of the action.”

Gore proved his health last week when he rushed for 127 yards and one TD on 15 carries (as well as adding two receptions for 12 yards).  Clearly, there should be no concern about his health at this point.  Taking on a Tampa Bay defense that is among the worst against the run (117.0 yards/game and five TD), he’s a must use option in all formats today.

Stevan Ridley – New England Patriots – Running Back

He’s been gaining more and more touches in the Patriots offense the past few weeks, getting 10 carries for 97 yards and one TD in Week 4 against the Raiders.  With Danny Woodhead listed as doubtful for this week against the Jets he should be inline for even more touches.  If BenJarvus Green-Ellis gets off to a slow start, don’t be surprised to see Ridley get the bulk of the carries. 

Ridley is a little bit of a risk, but he’s proven that he has the talent to deliver.  His upside is greater than Green-Ellis’ at this point.  In two games against the Jets in 2010 Green-Ellis had 28 carries for 91 yards (though he did score two TD).  Still, is that enough to get you excited about him and confident that he could produce?

If there was a Patriot running back to use, Ridley is they way I would go.  Consider him a low-end RB2/FLEX option this week.

Isaac Redman – Pittsburgh Steelers – Running Back

With Rashard Mendenhall listed as questionable we all know that, at the least, Redman will see an increased role in the offense.  According to ESPN’s John Clayton:

“Rashard Mendenhall had limited practice Friday because of his hamstring and is questionable for Sunday. Game time decision.”

You’ll want to monitor the news leading into today’s games to find out if Mendenhall is playing or not.  However, with a hamstring injury plaguing him, the risk of him suffering a setback and missing a significant chunk of the game is high.  Redman is probably the option to use, but he carries his own risk with him.  Consider him more of a FLEX option.

Aaron Hernandez – New England Patriots – Tight End

He’s listed as questionable heading into the game and has been practicing on a limited basis.  However, even if he plays, with the number of options the Patriots have (including fellow tight end Rob Gronkowski), Hernandez will likely be eased back into the flow of the offense. 

Throw in the fact that that they play at 4:15 p.m. (one of only five games that start after 1 p.m.), and if you wanted to gamble on him you would have few options available as replacements if he ultimately sits.  Once healthy he’ll be a must use option, but for this week he’s too big of a risk.

Vincent Jackson – San Diego Chargers – Wide Receiver

The fact that he’s banged up (hamstring) and playing at 4 p.m. is concerning, but he’s listed as probable and should play.  According to Kevin Acee via Twitter:

Norv Turner says he expects Vincent Jackson to play at least as many snaps as he did last week (22).”

 It may not be ideal, but last week Jackson turned those snaps into three receptions for 108 yards and one TD on four targets.  Considering that the Broncos defense is allowing 275.5 passing yards/game and is tied for third with nine TD allowed, he is well worth the gamble this week.  Consider him a must use option in all formats.

Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh Steelers – Quarterback

He’s going to be hobbled by a sprained foot, but is expected to play through the injury.  There are a lot of negatives working against him for today’s game:

  1. He’s coming off a poor showing, going 16-of-30 for 206 yards, zero TD and one INT in Week 4.
  2. His mobility is likely to be limited.
  3. He is taking on a Titans passing defense that is in the Top 10 defending the pass, allowing 212.0 yards per game to go with just four TD and five INT.
  4. With Rashard Mendenhall likely out, the Titans’ defense will likely focus more on stopping the pass.

Is he usable in two-quarterback formats?  Absolutely, but in shallower leagues there’s a little too much risk involved in using him.

Make sure to check out the rest of Rotoprofessor’s Week 5 information: