The Fantasy Footballers’ Week 5 Starts

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This is my absolute favorite time of the fantasy season. You’re going to start seeing fantasy exhaustion setting in. Owners aren’t going to pay close attention to the waiver wire, lineups include players that are hurt or on bye, and even players with decent records outright quit on leagues. Even if you’re behind, keep pushing. Show some grit and you can make up a ton of ground in the next few weeks. Here are your Week 5 Starts from today’s episode:

Andy’s Starts

andyQB Eli Manning @ Green Bay
The world is sad about Eli Manning, but Green Bay has a good offense and without Sam Shields, Green Bay gave up 385 yards and 3 TDs to Matthew Stafford. I expect Eli to throw the ball a lot in Green Bay.

RB Jordan Howard @ Indianapolis
Last week Howard had 23 carries for 111 yards and 3 catches. With no Kevin White soaking up targets, Howard should be involved at least as involved in the passing games and you get to play an Indianapolis run defense that part like the Red Sea did for the Israelites. He’s gotten all praises from John Fox and now he gets a 29th ranked run defense.

WR Amari Cooper vs San Diego
This is a law of averages play, but Jason Verrett is gone from the San Diego defense and Amari Cooper is a special talent. I don’t think you continue to see Crabtree getting all the TDs. Derek Carr is the #3 QB and San Diego has given up a lot through the air and, while I think Crabtree and Cooper have good games, I would go with Cooper over Crabtree.

TE Cameron Brate @ Carolina
The offense will be up against it during a Monday Night game against Carolina, but Brate has been Tampa Bay’s #2 receiver with 5 or more catches in the last two games along with 2 TDs. You should see enough volume there with ASJ gone to “get it done.”

Mike’s Starts

mikeQB Ben Roethlisberger vs Indianapolis
Big Ben is at home. He’s inconsistent when it comes to fantasy football, but he’s been good at home. While the Jets’ run defense is good, the secondary has been abysmal. I have Big Ben as my #1 QB while at home against the Jets.

RB Jeremy Hill @ Dallas
The carries are going up every single week and we’re seeing the flashes of the old rookie Jeremy Hill. Hill put up some stinkers last year if he didn’t score TDs, but this year he’s not crapping your team. He’s giving you consistent production. Jeremy Hill has been much better overall and I think Dallas’ run defense is beatable. Jeremy Hill should have a solid game.

WR Steve Smith Sr. vs Washington
I’m staying in the fire. Washington is very beatable and home Flacco is much better than road Flacco. Senior is ascending and he has seen 11 targets in each of the last two games. You’ve seen that vintage “I’ve got gasoline coming out my butt in furious anger” when he threw that guy down. He looks healthy and he’s going to keep getting those targets.

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TE Gary ‘Hey Remember Me’ Barnidge vs New England
Barnidge is getting regular usage with Cody Kessler to the tune of 5-66 and 7-57 games in the last two weeks. With crafty “Billy B” coming into town, Barnidge should get plenty of short looks from Kessler. I see a scared Kessler going to the safe option in Barnidge.

 Jason’s Starts

jasonQB Derek Carr vs San Diego
I’m going to stay in the flames with Derek Carr who’s averaging 2.25 TDs per game and now Latavius Murray is lost…presumably. San Diego has given up 2 TDs through the air in 3 our of 4 games and that was with Jason Verrett who shut down Jeremy Maclin, Allen Robinson, [and Brandin Cooks]. Brandon Flowers may also be out. The only worry here is that Oakland scores their points on the ground, but you know the Raiders are going to put up points with a high Vegas total so if the Raiders go through the air, Derek Carr should have a good game.

RB LeGarrette Blount @ Cleveland
LeGarrette Blount will be involved whether or not he destroys the soft buttery run defense of the Browns or Tom Brady goes full nuclear* and destroys the Browns and they run the clock out in the second half. In either situation, you will see Blount used. Blount had so many games with 20+ touches when Brady was having a great year. Good matchup plus Vegas has them favored by over 10 points and Blount gets 5 more fantasy points per game in those situations.

*Full Nuclear – The act of unnecessarily destroying a defense driven by a combination of vengeance, anger, and frustration well after the game is won…possibly by the mid-second quarter. See Also: Getting it done, eviscerating, torching, bludgeoning, and going BEEE-NAAA-NAAAs.

WR Eddie Royal @ Indianapolis
The Colts have been decent against WRs despite injuries to their secondary, but that’s not a defense that’s very scary. Vontae Davis will be matched up against a hobbled Alshon Jeffery while there should be plenty of targets to go around in a high-scoring game. He had 7 receptions for 111 yards and a TD last week and he’s the 19th ranked WR on the year so he’s been getting it done. In a high-scoring game, without Kevin White, and with a tough matchup for Alshon Jeffery, Eddie Royal should put up some good numbers.

TE Zach Ertz vs Detroit
Philadelphia didn’t rush Ertz back so he could heal up through the bye week and come out strong. This is a great matchup where Detroit is yet to Not give up a TD to a tight end. In fact, they’ve given up 6 TDs to TEs so far. He should be safe with volume and he’s got a great chance at a TD. The only worry is if Philadelphia brings him back slowly where his snap count is limited, but it looks like he’s back and I’m fine starting him this week.

 Eric’s Starts

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick @ Pittsburgh
Sometimes I pick a QB and feel a little ill. Last week I had Alex Smith who, despite a depressingly awful game, did throw for 297 yards and 2 TDs. The week before it was Ryan Tannehill. Point is, who the QB is and how they look in the game doesn’t matter as long as hey put up fantasy points. Pittsburgh has given up an average well above 300 yards passing so far this year. Fitz has been dreadful this season, but I don’t see how he passes for much less than 300 yards with 2-3 TDs even with a beat up receiving corps. It is what it is-Roll out the Fitz.

RB Ryan Mathews vs Detroit
Here’s another player with a certain stigma about him. Like it or not, he is the lead back playing at home after a bye against a Detroit defense that has given up over 114 yards rushing/game. You may not have realized it, but @ScottBarrettDFB pointed out that in the first two weeks of the season a healthy Mathews had 10 goal line carries/targets; the next closest had 5. Philadelphia has a full RBBC, but Mathews should see his share of touches. Detroit is one of only two teams that haven’t given up a rushing TD, but Mathews should put an end to that this week.

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WR Sammie Coates vs New York Jets
Among other issues plaguing the Jets is their inability to stop the long ball. In Week 1, Cincinnati had three different receivers with receptions of 50 or more yards. Darrelle Revis got eviscerated against Buffalo by speedy Marquise Goodwin on an 84-yard bomb that was closely followed up with a 71 yard TD by Greg Salas. Kansas City and Seattle each had receivers with a 40+ yard reception. This is a high risk/high reward pick, but Coates could have a DeSean Jackson-esque game with 4 receptions that go for 120+ yards and a TD or two.

TE Zach Miller @ Indianapolis
This game could go one of two ways. It’s either a shootout where Zach Miller gets lots of volume with a Chicago WR corps that’s banged up, or Chicago dominates the game by moving the ball on the ground with Jordan Howard in which case Zach Miller should see some red zone targets. By hook or crook, Miller should have a good game due to volume or red zone looks and could have a huge game if he gets both.

Be sure to check out all of Episode #280: Starts of the Week, Week 5 Matchups, and News.

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