NFL, SPORTS

Fantasy football Week 5: Start ‘em or sit ‘em

October 3, 2013

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Six key roster suggestions for Week 5 of the fantasy football season.

Start: Phillip Rivers, San Diego Chargers quarterback, at Oakland Raiders

On pace for 4,800 passing yards, 44 touchdowns and just eight interceptions, it’s apparent that Philip Rivers is back to his old elite self. And while maintaining those numbers may be a long shot, Rivers has shown signs he can keep the production up. His receiving corps looks better each week, as Eddie Royal and Danny Woodhead have become dependable targets, and Antonio Gates has returned to the upper echelon of fantasy tight ends — in addition to being Rivers’ favorite target and security blanket. (Last week, Gates had 10 catches for 136 yards and a touchdown, while Rivers collected 401 yards and 3 touchdown passes.)

This week, the Chargers are up against the league’s 14th-ranked pass defense in the Oakland Raiders, a unit that is allowing 237 pass yards per game. Rivers, currently in the top three for total fantasy points among quarterbacks through four weeks, should look to throw the ball downfield against a Raiders secondary interception-less this season.

LaDainian Tomlinson and John Hansen talk about what has led to Rivers’s early-season success on In the Endzone w/ L.T.

Sit: Veron Davis, San Francisco 49ers tight end, vs. Houston Texans

Benching Vernon Davis should be an easy decision for fantasy owners for a few reasons. First and foremost: The poor performance by quarterback Colin Kaepernick this season. Kaepernick has not thrown for more than 200 passing yards since his big game in the season’s opening week, and this week’s matchup against the Houston Texans’ tough defense will not allow him to bounce back.

Davis has been a shaky option early on. In the last three games, the 49ers tight end has totaled just five catches for 38 yards and one touchdown. Davis also missed time with a balky hamstring during Week 3, adding injury questions to the mix. The Texans have been one of the best defenses against tight ends, allowing the fourth-fewest yards and third-fewest points. And given the depth of productive tight ends this year, including Garrett Graham and Delanie Walker, it’s worth it to scour waiver wires for a spot start in place of Davis.

Start: Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys tight end, vs. Denver Broncos

Jason Witten has remained relatively quiet since catching two touchdown passes in Week 1, but he is still a highly-targeted pass catcher in the Dallas Cowboys offense. Last week against the San Diego Chargers, Witten was targeted 10 times, upping his season target total to 33.

While the Broncos have looked unstoppable this year, one weak spot that has nagged them since last season is their defense against tight ends. The Broncos have yet to face an elite tight end this year, but Brent Celek did manage three receptions for 57 yards against the Broncos in Week 4. Witten will get more targets from Romo than Celek got from Michael Vick, and will put together the top tight end performance against the Broncos defense so far this season.

Jason Witten spoke about how he breaks down opposing defenses on SiriusXM Fantasy Football with John Hansen on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio

Sit: Matt Schaub, Houston Texans quarterback, at San Francisco 49ers

Matt Schaub has been incredibly inconsistent this year, last week’s debacle against the Seahawks no exception. His high completion percentage (65 percent) has been offset by a propensity for turnovers (six picks), and the 49ers’ third-ranked pass defense should be able to take advantage.

After the way Seattle’s defense rattled Schaub, there is little reason to doubt the 49ers will cause just as many errant throws from the Texans’ quarterback. The 49ers are holding opposing quarterbacks to 190 yards per game, and will be able to put pressure on Schaub, evidenced by the defense’s 12 sacks this year. For the upcoming week, put Schaub on the bench and look to pick up a guy like Brian Hoyer (owned in two percent of NFL fantasy leagues), who has scored at least 19 points in each game since taking over as the Cleveland Browns’ starter.

SXM Fantasy Drive with Kyle Elfrink and Ray Flowers assesses the fantasy value of Cleveland Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer going forward.

Start: Josh Gordon, Cleveland Browns wide receiver, vs. Buffalo Bills

Absent from the fantasy picture over the season’s first two weeks while serving a suspension, Josh Gordon has since rewarded owners bold enough to start him in Weeks 3 and 4. Since returning, Gordon has 14 receptions for 217 yards and one touchdown . He also has 28 targets over those two games, quickly establishing himself as one of the Browns’ two go-to threats, along with tight end Jordan Cameron.

This week, Gordon has an easy matchup against the Buffalo Bills. The Bills have started this season off with an underwhelming pass defense thanks to the absence of Jairus Byrd. Without their safety, Buffalo has allowed the second-most fantasy points to wide receivers this year, including seven touchdowns. Several receivers have also had huge individual performances against the Bills’ secondary, including Santonio Holmes and Torrey Smith. If you’re still stashing Gordon, it’s time to move him from the bench to your starting lineup.

Sit: Cincinnati Bengals Defense vs. New England Patriots

The Cincinnati Bengals’ defense has been a disappointment this season, hovering just outside the top 10 among overall fantasy defenses rather than finding itself among the fantasy elite. While that doesn’t yet warrant a drop from your roster, fantasy owners should look elsewhere in Week 5, as the Bengals take on the New England Patriots.

Though the Patriots haven’t been the offensive powerhouse football fans are used to seeing this year, Tom Brady has still caused problems for opposing fantasy defenses. Other then their Week 1 matchup against the Bills, the Patriots have kept fantasy defense under 10 points. Right now, the Philadelphia Eagles’ defense, set for a Week 5 game against the New York Giants, is available in most fantasy leagues, and more worthy of a start than the Bengals.

LAST WEEK

Wins

  • Jordon Cameron once again had a great week, finishing with 10 receptions for 90 yards and a touchdown.
  • Owners that sat CJ Spiller made the right move: Spiller rushed for 77 yards, but was held out of the endzone and failed to catch a pass.
  • Benching Sidney Rice (one catch, 11 yards) paid off for fantasy owners.
  • Antonio Brown looked good again last week, especially in PPR leagues, with 12 receptions for 88 yards.
  • Bilal Powell didn’t have a huge week, but did manage 108 all-purpose yards on three catches and 16 rushes.

Losses

  • Le’Veon Bell was huge in his first week, scoring a pair of touchdowns against the Vikings. Fantasy owners that sat Bell missed out on at least 20 points of production.