Bye weeks are here, so be sure to adjust your lineup to remove all Minnesota Vikings, Pittsburgh Steelers, Washington Redskins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers players from your lineup. Don’t be that guy.
The following is a Start ‘em-Sit ‘em list for Week 5. This is just a guide and shouldn’t be taken as gospel. Trust yourself and don’t be a rankings slave.
These rankings assume a standard ESPN 10-team fantasy league; 1 quarterback, 2 running backs, 2 wide receivers, 1 tight end, 1 Flex, 1 Defense. If I missed a player, sound off in the comments.
Bills at Browns
Bills: Fred Jackson, HB
Browns: Jordan Cameron, TE; Josh Gordon, WR
Cameron and Gordon are obvious starts. Jackson is a toss up with Spiller. I don’t think Spiller is healthy yet, so leave him on the bench and start Jackson. Be very careful with Spiller and Jackson this week. The short rest period doesn’t help them.
Bills: EJ Manuel, QB; C.J. Spiller, RB; Robert Woods, WR; Stevie Johnson, WR; Bills D
Browns: All Browns RBs; Brian Hoyer, QB; Browns D
Don’t get cute if your QB is on bye by trying to play Hoyer or Manuel, they aren’t worth it yet. Johnson has a tough matchup in Joe Haden and Woods has potential, but isn’t worth a start at this point. I don’t trust any of the Browns’ running backs. Both defenses could be worth a start, since offenses struggle at times in Thursday night games, but there are better options out there this week.
Ravens at Dolphins
Dolphins: Mike Wallace, WR; Brian Hartline, WR; Lamar Miller, RB
Ravens: Torrey Smith, WR; Ray Rice, RB; Ravens D
Smith and Rice are both obvious starts, while Hartline and Wallace are bottom-level starters. Miller is a mid-level RB this week, especially with guys like Adrian Peterson, Alfred Morris and Doug Martin on bye. The Ravens D is worth a start, as the Dolphins have had some turnover problems lately.
Dolphins: Ryan Tannehill, QB; Dolphins D; Charles Clay, TE
Ravens: Joe Flacco, QB; All other skill players,
Don’t even think about starting either of the QBs, especially after their last games. Keep all the Ravens skill players not named Rice or Smith on the bench. Even Bernard Pierce, who just isn’t getting enough touches. Clay is a guy to watch for, but he isn’t quite worthy of a start yet.
Saints at Bears
Saints: Drew Bress, QB; Jimmy Graham, TE; Marques Colston, WR; Darren Sproles, RB
Bears: Matt Forte, RB; Brandon Marshall, WR; Alshon Jeffery, WR; Martellus Bennet, TE
Most of these guys are all pretty obvious starts that don’t need much explanation. Jeffery is worth a start with teams focused Forte and Marshall. Same goes for Bennett, who is a decent bye week fill in.
Saints: Saints D; All other Saints RBs and WRs
Bears: Bears D; Jay Cutler, QB,
I expect this game to be a high scoring, so avoid both defenses, unless you anticipate another “Bad Jay” game. I don’t trust Cutler enough to give him a start and there are better options than both Cutler and Bennett. Mark Ingram, Pierre Thomas, Robert Meachem, Kenny Stills and Lance Moore aren’t getting enough consistent touches to be worthy of starts this week.
Patriots at Bengals
Patriots: Tom Brady, QB; Kenbrell Thompkins, WR; Danny Amendola, WR; Rob Gronkowski, TE
Bengals: Giovanni Bernard, RB; AJ Green, WR
Amendola and Gronkowski are only starts if they are healthy. Monitor that situation closely and be prepared to have back-ups ready to go. Julian Edleman is worth a start if Amendola is unable to go. Brady and Thompkins are worth starts, even against the talented Bengals D. Green is an obvious start and Bernard has been getting more and more touches.
Patriots: Steven Ridley, RB; LeGarrette Blount, RB; Julian Edelman, WR; Patriots D
Bengals: Andy Dalton, QB; BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB; Tyler Eifert, TE; Jermaine Gresham, TE; Bengals D
Neither running Ridley nor Blount are worth a start against the stout Bengals D, and I already mentioned Edelman above. Dalton and his tight ends are rarely worth a start. Seriously, never start Dalton. Green-Ellis is losing touches to Bernard and both defenses should sit this week.
Lions at Packers
Lions: Matt Stafford, QB; Reggie Bush, RB; Joique Bell, RB; Calvin Johnson, WR
Packers: Aaron Rodgers, QB; Eddie Lacy, RB; Randall Cobb, WR; Jordy Nelson, WR; James Jones, WR
Most of these guys are obvious starts. You almost have to start all three of the Packers wide receivers, as anyone of them could go off. Bell is worth a start because he almost always seems to score. Be careful though, relying on scores alone is risky.
Lions: Ryan Broyles, WR; Brandon Pettigrew, TE; Lions D
Packers: Jermichael Finley, TE; Packers D
This game will likely be a shoot-out, so avoid starting both defenses. Broyles isn’t worth starting in any non-PPR leagues. Finley and Pettigrew don’t get enough consistent looks to get a start.
Seahawks at Colts
Seahawks: Marshawn Lynch, RB; Seahawks, D
Colts: Trent Richardson, RB; Reggie Wayne, WR,
Lynch and the Seahawks D are starts on just about every week. Wayne is a start, even though he is going up against the talented Seahawks secondary. Richardson is back to being worth a start, especially with Ahamd Bradshaw likely out this week.
Seahawks: Russell Wilson, QB; Golden Tate, WR; Sidney Rice, WR
Colts: Andrew Luck, QB; T.Y. Hilton, WR; Colts, D, Coby Fleener, TE; Ahmad Bradshaw, RB
Wilson has struggled the past few weeks fantasy-wise and Luck is going to have trouble against the talented Seahawks D. Bradshaw is likely out while Fleener and Hilton will have decreased production because of the Seahawks D. Tate and Rice have struggled for most of the year.
Jaguars at Rams
Jaguars: Cecil Shorts, WR; Maurice Jones-Drew, RB
Rams: Rams D
Shorts is always a solid start, even with Blaine Gabbert as his quarterback. If MJD is ever going to have a break out game, this might be his week. Whichever defense is playing the Jags is always worth a start.
Jaguars: Everyone not named Cecil Shorts or MJD
Rams: Everybody not named the Rams D
Daryl Richardson is not starting and he’s the only reliable starter on the Rams. This game is basically a fantasy train wreck. Avoid almost everyone playing.
Chiefs at Titans:
Chiefs: Jamaal Charles, RB; Dwayne Bowe, WR; Chiefs, D
Titans: Chris Johnson, RB; Titans D
Charles is obvious start. If you have Johnson, you almost have to start him. Bowe and the Titans D are borderline, but you can get away with starting them. Chiefs D is a must-start since the Titans are starting Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Chiefs: Alex Smith, QB
Titans: Nate Washington, WR
Smith is never really a good fantasy option and Washington can’t be started until Locker gets back.
Eagles at Giants
Eagles: Mike Vick, QB; LeSean McCoy, RB; DeSean Jackson, WR
Giants: Victor Cruz, WR; Hakeem Nicks, WR; David Wilson, RB,
These are all fairly obvious starts, especially Cruz and McCoy. Nicks is inconsistent and Wilson has struggled, but the Eagles D is awful.
Eagles: Bryce Brown, RB; Brent Celek, TE
Giants: Eli Manning, QB; Brandon Myers, TE
Manning is a tempting play because the Eagles D isn’t very good, but there are better options this week. Celek and Myers aren’t getting enough targets to start and Brown probably isn’t quite worthy of a start yet.
Panthers at Cardinals
Panthers: Cam Newton, QB; DeAngelo Williams, RB; Steve Smith, WR; Greg Olsen, TE
Cardinals: Larry Fitzgerald, WR
I’ve never been a big fan of Williams, but with byes, he’s worthy of a start. Smith, Olsen and Fitzgerald are obvious starts and Newton is usually worth it.
Panthers: Panthers D
Cardinals: Carson Palmer, QB; Rashard Mendenhall, RB; Michael Floyd, WR; Arizona D
Mendenhall is losing touches and everyone else above isn’t worth it because there are better options this week.
Broncos at Cowboys
Broncos: Peyton Manning, QB; Knowshon Moreno, RB; Demaryius Thomas, WR; Wes Welker, WR; Eric Decker, WR; Julius Thomas, TE
Cowboys: Tony Romo, QB; DeMarco Murray, RB; Dez Bryant, WR; Jason Witten, TE
All of these players are obvious starts. Romo is going to have to throw the ball a bunch, which means his three favorite targets are sure to see plenty of action. Don’t even think about sitting any of the key Broncos on their high-powered offense.
Broncos: Ronnie Hillman, RB; Montee Ball, RB; Denver D
Cowboys: Miles Austin, WR; Dallas D
Moreno gets most of the touches; so unless you want to bet your fantasy matchup on rock-paper-scissors (LINK), sit Ball and Hillman. Austin is hurt and should be avoided until he's healthy.
Texans at 49ers
Texans: Arian Foster, RB; Andre Johnson, WR; Owen Daniels, TE; Texans D
49ers: Frank Gore, RB; Anquan Boldin, WR; Vernon Davis, TE; 49ers D
Gore, Foster, Johnson, Davis are all must-starts if you own them. Boldin is one of Kaepernick’s only reliable options. Both defenses can be played because they’re so good and the opposing teams have struggled at times.
Texans: Ben Tate, RB; DeAndre Hopkins, WR
49ers: Colin Kaepernick, QB
Tate falls into the Pierce-Brown category of a player just not getting enough looks. Kaepernick has struggled since Week One in fantasy, while Hopkins isn’t getting enough targets with Johnson back to justify a start.
Chargers at Raiders
Chargers: Phillip Rivers, QB; Danny Woodhead, RB; Eddie Royal, WR; Antonio Gates, TE
Raiders: Terrelle Pryor, QB; Rashad Jennings, RB; Denarius Moore, WR
The Rivers-Gates combo is back and they can be started every week. Woodhead and Royal are risks, but with byes, you could do worse. Moore is one of the Raiders only reliable threats and Jennings will get his chance with Darren McFadden and Marcel Reese likely out. The Chargers give up the most points to opposing quarterbacks, so you can start Pryor if he’s healthy following his concussion.
Chargers: Ryan Matthews, RB; Chargers D
Raiders: Darren McFadden, RB; Marcel Reese, RB
I think this is the week Woodhead really starts to cut into Matthews’ touches. McFadden and Reese are hurt, as mentioned above. The Raiders may not be that good, but fantasy defense don’t put up massive numbers.
Jets at Falcons
Jets: Bilal Powell, RB
Falcons: Matt Ryan, QB; Julio Jones, WR; Tony Gonzales, TE; Falcons D
Powell is the only Jet worth starting. Ryan, Jones and Gonzales are almost always worth a start. The Falcons D could have a nice game against a turn-over prone Jets team.
Jets: Everyone else
Falcons: Jaquizz Rodgers, RB; Jason Snelling, RB; Roddy White, WR
Until someone produces, avoid the Falcons running backs. White still isn’t 100 percent, so avoid him until after the Falcon’s bye week.Back to the Fantasy Football Newsfeed