It’s every fantasy player’s favorite time of the season, the week when BYE weeks begin. Okay, yes, a little sarcasm there. For most fantasy owners the start of BYE weeks mean the start of weeks of benching your better players for a back up you don’t usually want to play or a having to get a stop gap player to fill the void. Let’s look at week 5 Start’ems.
Matt Ryan – The Falcons have been planning or this game since last season’s playoffs, in fact they went out and gave away a ton of draft picks to grab Julio Jones. Expect this to be a high scoring game as Matt Ryan is out for a little redemption from last year’s thrashing by the Packers. Green Bay has been soft against the pass so far ranking just above the Patriots at 31st in the league.
Cam Newton – It’s fair to start considering Newton as a must start in fantasy as the no-run Panthers face a Saints defense that has allowed the 7th most passing TDs through 4 games allowing 2 per game on average. Cam is playing at a high level and until he slows down owners should continue to roll him out there unless you have the likes of Rodgers, Brees, or Brady on your team.
Kevin Kolb – After a much beleaguered trade to the Cardinals, Kolb hasn’t exactly wowed with his play, but when Arizona visits the Vikings this week he looks to have a good match up. Minnesota, who has already proven themselves vulnerable to the pass, will be without Antoine Winfield, their best corner, and will rely on an under performing Asher Allen and an inexperienced Marcus Sherels. With one of the top 3 wide receivers in the league Kolb should be able to put up good numbers on the day.
Others I like: Mark Sanchez – I shudder to mention Sanchez as a starter after he continues his inept play of highs and lows throughout the season, and let’s face it the Jets are a mess offensively. The Patriots will score and the Jets will have to turn to the pass. Eli Manning – The Seahawks have given up close to 300 yards a game if you discount the 20 yard performance of San Francisco “starting” QB Alex Smith, coupled with a cross country game and the Giants finding a rhythm in the passing game it looks like a match up that Manning could exploit.
Fred Jackson – Freddy Jax has been great so far this season, and though I’m not sold on him as a top flight back yet, he draws a favorable match up against an Eagles defense surrendering 139.5 yards a game on the ground.
Ahmad Bradshaw – Splitting time Bradshaw has been very productive averaging 86 total yards a game and scoring in 3 of 4 of them. Brandon Jacobs is looking like a no-go for the week which should give Bradshaw feature back carries, with maybe close to 25 touches. Cloud be in for a big day.
Beanie Wells – Wells gave owners a scare when he missed week 3 with a hamstring injury only to come back week 4 to score 3 TDs. The hamstring has flared up again this week, but is looking like it is a much more mild case this week. He has scored in every game he has started to go along with a tasty 5.4 YPC average. Keep an eye on the injury reports, but he is entering must start status as long as he’s playing.
Stevan Ridley – Since preseason I have really liked Ridley, and with Danny Woodhead out for the week he has a chance at a more involved role in the Pats offense. He was already a threat to both Woodhead and BJGE, and this week he could pull ahead of the two when New England faces the rival Jets who suddenly have question marks against the run.
Others I like: Isaac Redman – In all likelihood Mendenhall will not play this week, and even if he suits up he will not be heavily involved on the field. This week should belong to Redman who has been playing much better behind Pittsburgh dismal O-line. He’s a one cut power back and could threaten Mendenhall’s spot baring a good showing this week. Ryan Mathews – Mathews scared a few owners last week with a foot injury that limited him in practice, only to rumble for 149 total yards. He faces a Denver team who, though improved, gave up 120 yards and 3 TDs to Mathews.
Steve Smith – This year has been a true renaissance for Smith, who is averaging a healthy 132.5 YPG. As stated with Cam Newton, the Saints have been susceptible to the pass and Smith has proven himself to be extraordinarily difficult to cover. He’s Carolina Blue hot.
Jordy Nelson – He has established himself as the teams true WR2, and Nelson proved too much for the Falcons defense during last season’s playoffs and will be difficult for Atlanta to cover under single coverages, especially with their need to account for Greg Jennings. Jordy has been tough to cover one on one all season and the Packers offense is rolling at full speed, the game has all the makings of a shoot out.
Roddy White – On the flip side of the Packers-Falcons game is Roddy White. The Packers’ secondary has not been stellar, giving up 335 yards a game and is tied for the second most passing TDs allowed at 9. Along with Matt Ryan, White will be very motivated in this game with the big difference being that Green Bay will have to account for a speedy Julio Jones opposite of White, instead of a slow Michael Jenkins, keeping the Packers from smothering White with double coverages all game long. Jones could be in for a big game, but Ryan and White have a little bit of redemption on their minds.
Mike Williams (TB) – Williams is suffering the dreaded sophomore slump, but showed some signs of life Monday against the Colts. With San Francisco likely to shut down the Bucs run game, the opportunity should be there for Williams make some plays against a team with some issues versus the pass.
Others I like: Julio Jones – As I briefly stated above, Jones could have a big game as well against a surprisingly deficient Green Bay secondary. Plaxico Burress – Plax has value in his height advantage versus the smaller Patriot’s secondary and the Jets should take full advantage as they face a porous New England secondary.
Owen Daniels – With Andre Johnson riding the pine this week due to a hamstring injury, the Texans will likely lean on Daniels for heavy targets versus an Oakland team that has not defendedwell against opposing tight ends. The Texans will look to the run more this week, but when they pass Schaub will look to Daniels as his safety valve.
Rob Gronkowski – Fantasy’s number 1 tight end was held to 15 yards last week, but was targeted twice in the end zone. He should easily bounce back this week, and should benefit from a possible return of Aaron Hernandez.
Greg Olsen – Olsen has held steady with a junk TD against Chicago, and this week will face a New Orleans team that has had problems covering the underneath routes. He has had 2 receiving TDs on red zone looks the past 2 weeks and should continue to be targeted by Newton this week.
Others I like: Brandon Pettigrew – He ended up with 6 receptions for 64 yards last week and had some red zone looks. He has produced fairly well for 2 weeks now, let’s see if he can do it 3 weeks in a row. Jermaine Gresham – He was targeted 7 times last week which has brought his average to 7 per game on the season, as well as hauling in his second TD on a nice fade. He has been Andy Dalton’s second read to AJ Green and has a nice match up versus the Jags this week.
Ryan Succop – Kansas City should be able to move the ball on Indianapolis similarly to the way they moved the ball against the Vikings last week, where they had difficulty getting into the end zone. Succop showed that he has enough power in his leg to compensate for their inability to convert with 5 FGs, 2 from 54 and 51 yards out.
Nick Novak – The Chargers will be looking to lean a bit more on Ryan Mathews and the run game this week with Vincent Jackson being questionable to be at full speed and Antonio Gates likely to be out. This should create a good amount of opportunities for Novak who had 4 FGs last week.
Others I like: Mike Nugent – The Bengals are a young offense that is learning to move the ball well and has been providing at least 2 attempts per game for Nugent. John Kasay – Kasay had 5 attempts last week and should look to benefit from a game that has the makings of a shoot out, with a team that has yet to develop a power run game in the red zone.
Tennessee – The Titans should look to take advantage of a very beat up Steelers O-line this week that gave up 5 sacks to the Texans last week and left Ben Roethlisberger under constant pressure. The defense has been a bit under the radar this season, but is the 9th ranked fantasy D currently.
Cincinnati – An unlikely team to be ranked number 1 in total defense, but it’s true. They face the Jags and a young Blaine Gabbert after stifling the Bills offense.
Others I like: San Diego – Things are tough for Denver, and the Chargers will look to take advantage of their division rival and their 24th ranked offense. New York Giants – The G-Men should look to take advantage of the Seahawks journey to the East coast, along with the Seattle’s terrible run game with Slow Mode Marshawn Lynch and Tarvaris Jackson at the helm. Jackson won’t have the same comfort in the pocket he had last week against the Falcons, with the Giants having Osi Umenyiora and Jason Pierre-Paul getting pressure on a mediocre O-line.
Thanks for reading. Please leave any comments or questions here or you can follow me on Twitter @dwillPSB.
About the Author
Written by David Willow
My name is David Willow. Your NFL and Fantasy Jedi. I have lived in Dallas, TX most of my life. I have been following both football and basketball since I was a child. I love being able to research and analyze different players and teams. I've been a fantasy sports enthusiast for around 8 years with some titles to back that. I have a Bachelors degree in History with a minor in English. Other hobbies include me being part of an acting workshop for five years, playing guitar, and working out. Hit me up with any comments, questions or opinions.