Let me start off this Week 5 edition of Start & Sit by saying that I’m a huge fan of parity. I think it’s a big part of what makes football great. The NFL has a certain balance of good teams and bad teams that draws interest in a way that other sports don’t. In fact, I’m such a fan of this “balance” that I’ll sometimes combine bad picks with good ones in this very column. You may have noticed it over the past four weeks. I love parity. Or at least I did. Now, I’m not so sure. Why the change of heart? The Kansas City Chiefs. They’re 3–0. No big deal, right? Wrong. The Kansas City Chiefs are the only remaining undefeated team in the NFL. There are no others. All of the teams you think might be unbeaten have a loss. Even the Colts, who usually reel off eight or nine wins to start the season, are struggling. Apparently, the decision to go without a head coach after Tony Dungy retired is finally catching up with them. What does it all mean? It means there’s too much parity. It also means we’re only picking winners this week. Let’s get to Start/Sit.
Here at the Café, we rank all the players we expect could see a significant amount of game action each week. We factor in a player’s overall ability, his weekly match-up, and the current status of his health. The result is one Start/Sit number, based on a scale of 100, and we’ll use each member’s ratings to find an average for each player. The higher a guy is on our list, the better you should feel starting him. Finally, below each table, I will give my personal Start/Sit recommendations for each position. Without further ado, here’s Start/Sit for Week 5.
|1||Aaron Rodgers||GB||at WAS||95.33|
|2||Drew Brees||NO||at ARI||94.00|
|5||Philip Rivers||SD||at OAK||81.92|
|7||Matt Ryan||ATL||at CLE||79.08|
|8||Eli Manning||NYG||at HOU||76.67|
|12||Kyle Orton||DEN||at BAL||67.83|
|14||Kevin Kolb||PHI||at SF||66.42|
|15||Sam Bradford||STL||at DET||66.25|
|18||Brett Favre||MIN||at NYJ||60.45|
|19||Matt Cassel||KC||at IND||59.33|
|21||David Garrard||JAC||at BUF||58.17|
|22||Josh Freeman||TB||at CIN||56.75|
|25||Vince Young||TEN||at DAL||49.83|
|26||Todd Collins||CHI||at CAR||49.67|
Start: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo Bills. The Jaguars have already surrendered 10 touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks, and no quarterback has thrown for under 290 yards against them this year.
But he’s Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Though the Jaguars are coming off a surprise victory over Indianapolis, they always play the Colts tough. Don’t let that fool you. Last year, they played two nail-biters against the Colts. In each subsequent game they lost by double digits and yielded over 30 points.
But he’s Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick threw for two touchdowns and no interceptions last week against the Jets. He also ran for 74 yards. The Jets defense is good. The Jaguars, not so much.
But he’s Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Let’s be serious. The Bills wouldn’t release an all-world quarterback like Trent Edwards unless Fitzpatrick was a can’t-miss stud.
Fine, I’ll start him.
Sit: Brett Favre, Minnesota Vikings. There are a lot of reasons not to like him this week. Through three games this season, Favre has thrown two touchdowns and six interceptions. He’s averaging less than 200 yards per contest. He’s dealing with elbow tendinitis, along with a lingering ankle injury. Plus, the Vikings are on the road and face a tough Jets defense and a crowd that is sure to be happy to welcome Brett back. I think the arguments I’ve just listed are going to far outweigh the one argument in favor of starting Favre. I’m speaking, of course, of Randy Moss. Without a doubt, Moss makes the Vikings a better team. However, I’m betting the Jets defense makes Minnesota wait a week to realize that benefit.
|1||Chris Johnson||TEN||at DAL||89.75|
|3||Maurice Jones-Drew||JAC||at BUF||89.08|
|4||Adrian Peterson||MIN||at NYJ||85.92|
|5||Michael Turner||ATL||at CLE||84.63|
|6||Steven Jackson||STL||at DET||81.93|
|9||Jamaal Charles||KC||at IND||78.50|
|12||Matt Forte||CHI||at CAR||74.08|
|13||Ahmad Bradshaw||NYG||at HOU||72.21|
|19||Ryan Mathews||SD||at OAK||70.04|
|20||Thomas Jones||KC||at IND||69.50|
|21||Mike Tolbert||SD||at OAK||69.17|
|T-26||Cadillac Williams||TB||at CIN||62.50|
|28||Jason Snelling||ATL||at CLE||62.17|
|31||Pierre Thomas||NO||at ARI||59.59|
|32||Chris Ivory||NO||at ARI||59.00|
|33||LeSean McCoy||PHI||at SF||57.63|
|34||Darren Sproles||SD||at OAK||56.83|
|35||Brandon Jackson||GB||at WAS||55.50|
|36||John Kuhn||GB||at WAS||54.50|
|37||Brandon Jacobs||NYG||at HOU||54.37|
|41||Chester Taylor||CHI||at CAR||49.25|
|45||Ladell Betts||NO||at ARI||47.00|
|46||Laurence Maroney||DEN||at BAL||46.50|
|48||Correll Buckhalter||DEN||at BAL||45.35|
|52||LeGarrette Blount||TB||at CIN||41.33|
|53||Mike Bell||PHI||at SF||40.00|
|56||Kareem Huggins||TB||at CIN||38.62|
|57||Javon Ringer||TEN||at DAL||38.08|
|59||Kenneth Darby||STL||at DET||34.83|
|61||Toby Gerhart||MIN||at NYJ||28.25|
Ed. Note: LeSean McCoy is unexpectedly slated to play in Week 5, and the ratings have been updated accordingly. Knownshon Moreno and Rashad Jennings have been ruled out, while Pierre Thomas is likely on his way to being inactive as well.
Start: Michael Bush, Oakland Raiders. Darren McFadden left last week’s game in the fourth quarter with a hamstring injury. He is unlikely to play against the Chargers. That leaves Michael Bush as the only game in town. Bush appears to be all the way back from a thumb injury that caused him to miss time earlier in the season. Last week, he rushed seven times for 40 yards and a score. He figures to get a lot more work against San Diego in Week 5.
The Chargers were excellent against the run last week, holding Tim Hightower and Chris Wells to a combined 43 yards on the ground. Still, there’s reason to think the Raiders will have more success running the ball. That reason is Bruce Gradkowski. Gradkowski isn’t Peyton Manning, but he’s much better than the shockingly awful quarterback situation in Arizona. Gradkowski should be able to keep the San Diego defense honest, giving Bush room to run. Solid RB2.
Sit: Any Running Back, Green Bay Packers. Let me start by saying that there’s no truth to the rumor about the Packers rushing attack. A team is not allowed to have the first 25 fans in attendance run the ball once. Besides, Green Bay is on the road this week. Still, if any team had incentive to inquire about such a rule it would be the Packers. Brandon Jackson is averaging 3.0 yards per carry. John Kuhn is yet to run for 40 yards in a single game. If you have to pick one, I guess it would be Jackson. The Packers have stated that he’s still the primary ball carrier, though the word “carrier” seems optimistic. The bottom line is you want no part of Kuhn, and you should stay away from Jackson unless you truly don’t have any other options.
|1||Roddy White||ATL||at CLE||93.42|
|5||Greg Jennings||GB||at WAS||85.17|
|7||Marques Colston||NO||at ARI||81.17|
|9||DeSean Jackson||PHI||at SF||79.83|
|10||Mark Clayton||STL||at DET||78.25|
|11||Randy Moss||MIN||at NYJ||78.00|
|12||Hakeem Nicks||NYG||at HOU||77.93|
|T-13||Steve Smith||NYG||at HOU||77.83|
|16||Donald Driver||GB||at WAS||76.17|
|17||Jeremy Maclin||PHI||at SF||70.17|
|18||Malcom Floyd||SD||at OAK||70.08|
|20||Dwayne Bowe||KC||at IND||69.50|
|24||Johnny Knox||CHI||at CAR||67.17|
|25||Mike Sims-Walker||JAC||at BUF||67.00|
|26||Mike Williams||TB||at CIN||66.75|
|27||Lance Moore||NO||at ARI||66.50|
|30||Percy Harvin||MIN||at NYJ||63.87|
|31||Nate Washington||TEN||at DAL||63.58|
|33||Robert Meachem||NO||at ARI||63.00|
|34||Devery Henderson||NO||at ARI||62.83|
|35||Devin Hester||CHI||at CAR||62.67|
|38||Danny Amendola||STL||at DET||60.92|
|39||Legedu Naanee||SD||at OAK||59.75|
|41||James Jones||GB||at WAS||59.33|
|42||Mike Thomas||JAC||at BUF||58.83|
|43||Brandon Lloyd||DEN||at BAL||58.67|
|44||Eddie Royal||DEN||at BAL||58.33|
|47||Mario Manningham||NYG||at HOU||57.58|
|50||Laurent Robinson||STL||at DET||56.76|
|52||Kenny Britt||TEN||at DAL||56.25|
|53||Jabar Gaffney||DEN||at BAL||55.50|
|56||Chris Chambers||KC||at IND||53.67|
|T-56||Dexter McCluster||KC||at IND||53.67|
|58||Jason Avant||PHI||at SF||53.50|
|60||Harry Douglas||ATL||at CLE||52.25|
|61||Demaryius Thomas||DEN||at BAL||51.68|
|64||Bernard Berrian||MIN||at NYJ||50.17|
|67||Sammie Stroughter||TB||at CIN||46.92|
|68||Earl Bennett||CHI||at CAR||46.00|
|73||Buster Davis||SD||at OAK||43.50|
|75||Brandon Gibson||STL||at DET||42.17|
|76||Patrick Crayton||SD||at OAK||39.50|
|77||Greg Camarillo||MIN||at NYJ||37.33|
|81||Ted Ginn Jr.||SF||PHI||35.23|
|82||Michael Jenkins||ATL||at CLE||34.17|
|83||Jordy Nelson||GB||at WAS||33.50|
|84||Devin Aromashodu||CHI||at CAR||26.41|
|85||Brian Finneran||ATL||at CLE||26.00|
|89||Michael Spurlock||TB||at CIN||21.17|
|91||Arrelious Benn||TB||at CIN||20.33|
|92||Tiquan Underwood||JAC||at BUF||15.33|
|96||Kasim Osgood||JAC||at BUF||12.67|
|100||Victor Cruz||NYG||at HOU||5.83|
Ed. Note: Austin Collie’s status is up in the air.
Start: Mark Clayton, St. Louis Rams. During the preseason, fantasy owners looked at the Rams passing game and said, “I don’t know who the number one receiver will be, and it probably won’t matter.” At the time, such an attitude made some sense. Fast forward to Week 5 and Clayton is clearly Sam Bradford’s go-to guy. More importantly, Bradford’s play has made it so that being “his guy” actually means something. Now you’ve got the Rams’ obvious number one receiver and a rookie quarterback playing like a veteran.
But that’s not all. The Rams have a sweet match-up against the defensive-allergic Detroit Lions. The Lions have given up a touchdown to the opposing teams’ top receiver in three straight games. Put it all together and Clayton should bring the yards and find the end zone this week. Seven catches for 90 yards and a score.
Sit: Mike Sims-Walker, Jacksonville Jaguars. One Jaguars fan thinks Sims-Walker is a good bet to bounce back this week while the other two aren’t so sure. I’m betting 67% of Jacksonville’s fan base is about to look pretty smart.
|2||Antonio Gates||SD||at OAK||93.83|
|3||Jermichael Finley||GB||at WAS||92.00|
|5||Tony Gonzalez||ATL||at CLE||83.58|
|10||Kellen Winslow||TB||at CIN||74.72|
|11||Brent Celek||PHI||at SF||74.67|
|12||Greg Olsen||CHI||at CAR||74.50|
|13||Visanthe Shiancoe||MIN||at NYJ||73.23|
|14||Marcedes Lewis||JAC||at BUF||71.17|
|15||Jeremy Shockey||NO||at ARI||70.10|
|19||Kevin Boss||NYG||at HOU||66.04|
|21||Bo Scaife||TEN||at DAL||61.08|
|23||Tony Moeaki||KC||at IND||53.17|
|T-25||Daniel Graham||DEN||at BAL||51.17|
|29||Daniel Fells||STL||at DET||42.83|
|30||Billy Bajema||STL||at DET||39.08|
|32||Leonard Pope||KC||at IND||35.00|
|34||Donald Lee||GB||at WAS||29.00|
Start: Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers. If you have Davis, you’re probably starting him anyway. However, there’s a chance you might look at his match-up against Philadelphia and his recent yardage totals – 22 and 36 – and consider looking elsewhere. Don’t do it. Davis remains the 49ers’ best offensive weapon. He scored last week on an impressive catch and run and is always a threat to get in the end zone. Keep Davis in your lineup.
Sit: Marcedes Lewis, Jacksonville Jaguars. We all heard about Lewis being the Jaguars early-season MVP. I’m not sure how I feel about it. On one hand, Lewis has already caught three touchdown passes. On the other hand, the term “Jaguars MVP” seems like a bit of an oxymoron. Either way, the yards haven’t been there for Lewis in recent weeks. He was only targeted twice last game and I don’t think he gets many more looks in Week 5.
Start: New York Jets. The Jets defense has been good, but not great, over the last couple of weeks. Now they face Minnesota and their newly acquired disgruntled receiver. While I do think Randy Moss will eventually become gruntled, I don’t think it will be this week. The Jets should get a couple of key players back, including Calvin Pace and Darrelle Revis. Even if Moss doesn’t face off against Revis on every snap, he’d have to go against Antonio Cromartie, who has proven he’s one of the most productive (and reproductive) players in the league. I think the Moss acquisition will help the Vikings in the long-term, just not the short-term.
Start: New Orleans Saints. They play Arizona, a team whose quarterback situation has been described as “shockingly awful.”
Sit: Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings are yet to surrender more than 14 points in a game this year, and they should be well rested as they take on the Jets on Monday Night Football. However, fantasy defenses are all about matchups. After a terrible opening game against the Ravens, “the Sanchise” has been one of the better quarterbacks in the league. In fact, even with the Baltimore game, Sanchez hasn’t thrown an interception all season. Combine that with a healthier Jets defense, and there’s a good chance Sanchez and company will play it close to the vest. Unless the Jets offense is compelled to take chances, I don’t see the Vikings forcing more than a single turnover.
Sit: Kansas City Chiefs. They play Peyton Manning this week. I know the Chiefs are undefeated, but don’t get cute. There are better match-ups out there. Over 20 of them.
|1||Nate Kaeding||SD||at OAK||87.67|
|2||Mason Crosby||GB||at WAS||84.17|
|3||David Akers||PHI||at SF||82.00|
|4||Robbie Gould||CHI||at CAR||78.75|
|6||Rob Bironas||TEN||at DAL||77.58|
|7||John Carney||NO||at ARI||77.50|
|T-7||Lawrence Tynes||NYG||at HOU||77.50|
|9||Matt Bryant||ATL||at CLE||76.50|
|12||Matt Prater||DEN||at BAL||74.83|
|13||Ryan Longwell||MIN||at NYJ||74.42|
|15||Josh Scobee||JAC||at BUF||71.50|
|19||Josh Brown||STL||at DET||69.67|
|21||Ryan Succop||KC||at IND||67.17|
|28||Connor Barth||TB||at CIN||53.00|
Start: Mason Crosby, Green Bay Packers. Crosby faces the Redskins who have allowed eight field goals (10 attempts) over the last three weeks. Hopefully, Washington continues to play just enough defense to keep the field goals coming.
Sit: Sebastian Janikowski, Oakland Raiders. Janikowski has only connected on 64% of his field goal attempts this year.
Drew is a lifelong Jets fan. Playing and writing about fantasy football has proven helpful in easing the pain.
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