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NFL Fantasy Football: Start ‘Em/Sit ‘Em - Week 5

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Week 5 NFL match-ups and how they'll affect your fantasy football team.

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

As a reminder, this article isn’t meant to literally tell you that you should always start the guys I say to start and/or always sit the guys I say to sit. This is just my prediction as to who will do better than expected (Start ‘Em) and who will do worse than expected (Sit ‘Em). I also try to avoid putting the obvious names on this list. Yes, you’re pretty much always going to start Cam Newton, Antonio Brown, Gronk, and the like. It goes without saying.


Start ‘Em

  • Derek Carr, OAK (vs San Diego Chargers) - Coming off of a huge 4-TD game in which it looked like his connection/chemistry with Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper is unstoppable. He’s also at home.
  • Tom Brady, NE (@ Cleveland Browns) - He’s back! Brady’s one of the all-time greats, he’s rested, and he’s going against a defense that’s already given up 10 passing TDs this year. Kirk put up great numbers last week against them.
  • Ryan Fitzpatrick, NYJ (@ Pittsburgh Steelers) - He’s not going to have three terrible games in a row. The Steelers defense is a sieve through the air and Fitz is too good to continue playing the way he has. He’ll bounce back in a big way.

Sit ‘Em

  • Dak Prescott, DAL (vs Cincinnati Bengals) - The Bengals pass defense is great and played out of their minds last week. I don’t want to start a fourth-round rookie against that... He’s yet to hit 300 yards in a game yet this season and has only surpassed 250 once. He’s also thrown only a grand total of 3 TDs all year...
  • Eli Manning, NYG (@ Green Bay Packers) - He’s slumping majorly after throwing only 1 TD in his past three games and he’s in GB. Coupled with the whole OBJ situation... I’d stay away.
  • Joe Flacco, BAL (vs Washington Redskins) - In the last three games, the ‘Skins have only allowed 2 passing TDs. Besides, why would Baltimore throw the ball when they can run it forever? The ‘Skins passing defense is underrated and I expect Norman’ll lock Steve Smith up.

Running Backs

Start’ Em

  • DeMarco Murray, TEN (@ Miami Dolphins) - The Dolphins run defense is nearly as bad as the Redskins’...
  • LaGarrette Blount, NE (@ Cleveland Browns) - You saw what Matt Jones just did to Cleveland’s terrible run defense, right? Could be an offensive explosion for NE.
  • Jordan Howard, CHI (@ Indianapolis Colts) - He’s been incredibly dynamic when given opportunities and absolutely crushed it in his first start last week. Also, the Colts run defense is another one of the league’s laughers.

Sit ‘Em

  • Kenneth Dixon, BAL (vs Washington Redskins) - Coming off of a serious knee injury and may make his NFL debut. Sharing time with West and Allen for Baltimore. Don’t trust a late-round, injured rookie in his first NFL action in a timeshare... no matter how much potential he may have long-term.
  • Derrick Henry, TEN (@ Miami Dolphins) - Remember when everyone thought the Titans were going to have a split backfield? They don’t. Murray’s the guy. Henry’s his backup. They proved that last week.
  • Darren Sproles, PHI (@ Detroit Lions) - Mathews should be healthy after the bye week and they’ve said he’s the guy when healthy. Plus, Detroit’s defense is pretty good and they’re in Detroit.

Wide Receivers

Start ‘Em

  • T.Y. Hilton, IND (vs Chicago Bears) - He’s Luck’s favorite target by far and keeps catching TDs.
  • Mike Evans, TB (@ Carolina Panthers) - Julio caught for 300 yards against them last week...
  • Amari Cooper, OAK (vs San Diego Chargers) - They’re passing defense is terrible, the game’s at home, and Carr is HOT right now. I think the Chargers will focus more on taking away Crabtree based on how he’s played lately.

Sit ‘Em

  • Kenny Stills, MIA (vs Tennessee Titans) - Too hit-or-miss and doesn’t get enough targets.
  • Rishard Matthews, TEN (@ Miami Dolphins) - The Titans are run-centric and spread it around to too many different receivers to think Matthews has the consistency to repeat last week’s performance.
  • Mohamed Sanu, ATL (@ Denver Broncos) - Apparently they throw every pass to Julio Jones (Kyle Shanahan’s offenses are notorious for propping up their WR1) and this game is on the road against arguably the league’s best defense.

Tight Ends

Start ‘Em

  • Rob Gronkowski, NE (@ Cleveland Browns) - I know I said I wouldn’t put guys like this on here, but this is a special occasion. Gronk hasn’t done a damn thing this season and is less than 100%. Still, start him this week. Brady’s back. The Browns defense sucks. And Gronk’s taken it slow the past couple of weeks trying to get that hamstring right. That offense is going to explode this week.
  • Antonio Gates, SD (@ Oakland Raiders) - The Raiders pass defense is very suspect and this guy is a TD waiting to happen.
  • Jacob Tamme, ATL (@ Denver Broncos) - The Broncos defense is surprisingly suceptible to opposing TEs...

Sit ‘Em

  • Zach Miller, CHI (@ Indianapolis Colts) - Too TD-dependent and banged up.
  • Kyle Rudolph, MIN (vs Houston Texans) - The Texans have only allowed one passing TD this season. Think about that.
  • Vance McDonald, SF (vs Arizona Cardinals) - He’s hurt and playing a very good defense on a short week.

Please leave any fantasy related questions you might have in the comments section and I'll try to answer as many and as quickly as I can. It's fun to get everyone's perspectives on this week's match-ups floating around down there and I'm always interested to see what kind of decisions different fantasy players have to make. These are just general ideas for standard leagues, but we can all give and receive advice for unique situations as they come up.