Fantasy Football Focus: Who to start, sit in an unpredictable week 5

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Photo: Tim Heitman/ USA TODAY Sports

[su_dropcap style=”simple” size=”9″]I[/su_dropcap] hate to tell you, but I’m gonna start this off by bragging about my fantasy team. I’m a one-league guy that doesn’t like doing multiple leagues because while I may have Tom Brady in one league, I may be playing against him in another. That just messes up my rooting interests. I’m in a league with some old college buddies and currently sit at 3-1.

It’s a 12-team PPR but I decided to go with the zero-back strategy. I didn’t take my first running back until the 6th round. Instead, I started with 3 wide receivers — A.J. Green, Brandin Cooks and Larry Fitzgerald — and followed those picks by choosing Drew Brees and Zach Ertz. As you might expect, my passing game is stout but the run game is kind of a disaster. I ended up with Ameer Abdullah, James White, Theo Riddick, Rob Kelley and Adrian Peterson as my RBs.

I just dropped Peterson, who’s been on the field for only 17 percent of the Saints’ snaps and, at this point, it’s become a guessing game trying to decide who to start. But the plan was always for the running backs to be just good enough while the rest of the team carries me, and it’s worked out that way so far. I’m third in points, which is the true indicator of fantasy success. Assuming I can stay injury-free, I got a good feeling about this group going forward.

But enough about my team, on with the picks — and more importantly, who may help you win week and who could lead you to a loss in week five:


Tampa Bay QB Jameis Winston (Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY Sports)

START: Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay – There’s something seriously wrong with the Patriot defense this year, so if you’re not already starting Winston, you should definitely start him this week. New England is giving up the most touchdowns, yards and fantasy points to QBs.

SIT: Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh – Big Ben gets to play at home this week, whereas we explained last week, he is a substantially better quarterback. But he’s going up against a Jacksonville D which is allowing the least amount of passing yards and fantasy points to opposing signal callers. Roethlisberger is good, but he’s not matchup proof.

Running Backs

Seattle RB Thomas Rawls (Brace Hemmelgarn/USA TODAY Sports)

START: Thomas Rawls, Seattle – This one could backfire big-time. But with Chris Carson out for the year, I’m putting my money on Rawls to lead the backfield in carries against a Rams defense that’s giving up the most fantasy points to RBs. Fellow Seahawks RBs Eddie Lacy, C.J. Prosise, and J.D. Mckissic could mess things up, but this will be a prime matchup for whoever gets the start.

SIT: Tarik Cohen, Chicago – Against a Viking defense that is allowing the second-least fantasy points to RBs, there’s nay a chance that both Cohen and backfield mate Jordan Howard can both shine. I think Cohen will be the odd man out, just as Theo Riddick was last week when Ameer Abdullah lit up the Vikings and Riddick finished with just eight total yards.

Wide Receivers

New England WR Chris Hogan (Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)

START: Chris Hogan, New England – Tom Brady is getting more comfortable with Hogan each week. He targeted the former college lacrosse player a season-high nine times against the Panthers. Hogan has four TDs with an average of 4.7 catches and 68.7 yards the last three games. He has a chance to light up a Buccaneers secondary which has allowed the most fantasy points to WRs this year.

SIT: Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh – Bryant has been a major disappointment thus far with just 10 catches through four games. Things won’t get easier this week against a Jaguar defense which is rather stingy against the pass.

Tight Ends

Oakland TE Jared Cook (Cary Edmondson/USA TODAY Sports)

START: Jared Cook, Oakland – Cook has carved out a role in Oakland’s passing game with at least five targets in each game and a season-high eight last week. With Derek Carr sidelined because of a back injury, expect E.J. Manuel to use Cook as a security blanket against a Baltimore secondary that is allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to TEs.

SIT: Jason Witten, Dallas – Witten’s 17 catches for 156 yards and two TDs in weeks one and two were a fluke, as proven by the mere two catches for 12 yards and no scores he had in the two games that followed. It’s time to put him back on the bench, especially against a Green Bay defense allowing the second-least fantasy points to TEs.

Defense/Special Teams

Aug 19, 2017; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers defensive end Solomon Thomas (94) prior to a game against the Denver Broncos at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada/USA TODAY Sports

START: 49ers – San Francisco’s defense is young and nowhere near the top of the league in any defensive statistic, but you gotta love that matchup against the Colts. Indianapolis is giving up by far the most fantasy points to D/ST units.

SIT: Buccaneers – Probably wouldn’t tell you to start Tampa Bay anyways, but especially not on three days rest against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

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