Trying to figure out who to start and who to sit for Week 5 of the 2014 NFL fantasy football season? Check out our tip sheet to find out which players will lead you to victory this week and which players should be avoided.
Who to Start
QB: Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers (vs. New York Jets): Rivers has been lights out this season, recording nine touchdown passes against just one interception, including a 377-yard, three-touchdown effort against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 4. Even with the return of cornerback Dee Milliner from injury, a depleted Jets secondary should have a hard time stopping Rivers in Week 5. Start him.
RB: Rashad Jennings, New York Giants (vs. Atlanta Falcons): Jennings carried the ball just 13 times on short rest during last week’s Thursday-night matchup against the Washington Redskins, but he remains poised to torch the Falcons in Week 5. Atlanta has surrendered more fantasy points to opposing running backs than any other defense this season, according to Yahoo Sports. Expect Jennings to rack up points both on the ground and through the air. Start him.
RB: Andre Ellington, Arizona Cardinals (vs. Denver Broncos): A lingering foot injury prevented Ellington from being his usual explosive self for Weeks 1 to 3, but a Week 4 bye should do wonders for the speedster. The Broncos aren’t exactly weak against the run, but they have allowed four rushing touchdowns this season. Plus, the continued absence of Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer will force Arizona to rely heavily on their ground and short passing game. Start him.
Thursday Night Special: Matt Asiata/Jerick McKinnon, Minnesota Vikings (vs. Green Bay Packers): Without stalwart defensive tackle B.J. Raji, the Packers have been exposed on the ground this season, allowing a league-worst 704 rushing yards. The Vikings’ dynamic duo of Asiata and McKinnon combined for 213 yards and three touchdowns against the Falcons in Week 4, and will be leaned on heavily this week due to the absence of Minnesota QB Teddy Bridgewater. Either runner makes for a solid RB2/Flex play for Week 5. Start him.
WR: Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina Panthers (vs. Chicago Bears): The rookie wide receiver continues to fly under the radar, despite touchdown catches in three of his first four games. Given the way the Packers threw all over the Bears in Week 4 – and Panthers quarterback Cam Newton’s relative dearth of offensive weapons – Benjamin could be in for a breakout game in Week 5. Start him.
WR: Percy Harvin, Seattle Seahawks (vs. Washington Redskins): Harvin hasn’t done much yet this season, but he’s still one of the league’s most explosive wide receivers, and the Redskins’ secondary is a ripe target. Despite struggling earlier this season, Giants quarterback Eli Mannings threw for 300 yards and four touchdowns against Washington in Week 4. Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is as efficient as they come, and Harvin could be in line for his first big game of 2014. Start him.
WR: Steve Smith, Baltimore Ravens (vs. Indianapolis Colts): Age is just a number for Smith. The 34-year-old has now recorded 100 yards receiving in three of four games this season, including a dominant seven-catch, 139-yard performance against his old mates in Carolina in Week 4. Baltimore’s Week 5 matchup against the high-powered Colts could turn into a shootout, and Smith is quarterback Joe Flacco’s favorite target right now. Start him.
TE: Jordan Cameron, Cleveland Browns (vs. Tennessee Titans): A shoulder injury has prevented Cameron from being the type of dominant force that most fantasy pundits expected him to be this season, but expect a return to form for him in Week 5. The Browns are coming off a bye week, and the Titans have allowed three touchdowns to opposing tight ends this season. Cameron should be active early and often. Start him.
Defense/Special Teams: Detroit Lions (vs. Buffalo Bills): The Lions defense has been surprisingly impressive this year, holding opponents to just 15 fantasy points per game this season, according to Yahoo Sports. The Bills announced this week that backup quarterback Kyle Orton would replace E.J. Manuel as the team’s starter, but it’s unlikely that Orton and his receivers have already established a rapport. Expect the Lions to force a turnover or two. Start them.
Who to Sit
QB: Tom Brady, New England Patriots (vs. Cincinnati Bengals): Benching Brady may sound like sacrilege, but the Patriots’ offensive line is in shambles and Giselle’s husband hasn’t looked so great himself. He turned the ball over three times against the Kansas City Chiefs last week, and will face a Bengals’ No. 2-rated pass defense in Week 5. Sit him.
RB: Donald Brown, San Diego Chargers (vs. New York Jets): Injuries to Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead made Brown the Chargers’ starting running back by default, but he hasn’t done much to earn the role. Brown was particularly dismal in Week 4, running for just 19 yards on 10 carries against a pedestrian Jaguars defense. Week 5 should be another dud, as Brown faces off against the Jets’ vaunted “Sons of Anarchy” defensive front. Sit him.
RB: Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. New Orleans Saints): What happened to the “Muscle Hamster”? Injuries and ineffectiveness have derailed the Bucs’ running back in 2014. Martin had just 40 yards on 14 carries against a depleted Steelers front seven in Week 4, though he did manage to get into the end zone. The Saints defense hasn’t been great this season, but it also hasn’t allowed a rushing touchdown in its last four games at the Superdome. Sit him.
WR: DeSean Jackson, Washington Redskins (vs. Seattle Seahawks): The Redskins have yet to carve out a distinct role for Jackson – he was targeted just four times during Washington’s Week 4 loss to the Giants, despite the fact that they spent the entire game playing from behind. Given the Seahawks’ always-difficult secondary and the erratic play of Redskins quarterback Kurt Cousins, Jackson doesn’t seem like a reliable option for Week 5. Sit him.
WR: Eric Decker, New York Jets (vs. San Diego Chargers): The biggest obstacle to Decker’s success may be his quarterback, Geno Smith. Until Smith proves that he can reliably get the ball to his top playmaker, Decker will remain a risky proposition for fantasy football players. Plus, the Chargers defense is in the top-five this season when it comes to limiting opposing wide receivers’ fantasy output – they’re fifth in Yahoo leagues and fourth in CBS leagues. Sit him.
WR: Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals (vs. Denver Broncos): The elder statesman of the Cardinals’ receiving corps has caught just 10 passes through three games this season, and the presence of backup quarterback Drew Stanton in the starting lineup won’t help his cause. Moreover, the Broncos have allowed just two touchdowns to opposing wide receivers this season, CBS Sports notes. Sit him.
TE: Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys (vs. Houston Texans): The Cowboys’ newfound emphasis on their running game has limited targets for the normally-reliable Witten – he hasn’t caught more than five passes in any game this season and has yet to catch a touchdown. Moreover, Houston has been strong this season against opposing tight ends. Sit him.
Defense/Special Teams: Baltimore Ravens (vs. Indianapolis Colts): Baltimore’s 26th-ranked pass defense won’t fare too well against Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, who is in the throes of an MVP-caliber season. Through four games, Luck has a ridiculous 1,305 passing yards and 13 passing touchdowns. Look elsewhere for your Week 5 defense. Sit them.