Start ‘Em Quarterbacks
Philip Rivers (vs. NYJ)
Rivers has been asked to carry the workload since Ryan Mathews got hurt and Donald Brown being a completely ineffective running back. He’s been more than up to the challenge so far this year, as he’s been the third best quarterback through four weeks. After getting a cake matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars last week, he gets another nice matchup against the New York Jets, who have allowed multiple touchdowns thrown by opposing quarterbacks each week so far. With Keenan Allen looking back to his old dominant self, look for Rivers to have another great week.
Eli Manning (vs. ATL)
The Atlanta Falcon’ defense was exposed last week, giving up 22 points to Teddy Bridgewater in his NFL debut. This week they get the red hot Eli Manning, who has scored 80 fantasy points in his last three games. Granted, half of those came last week in Washington, but he’s looked very comfortable in Ben McAdoo’s new system. He’s been able to get the ball out quick, avoid sacks, and has a new toy in Larry Donnell. Look for Manning to have a QB1 performance this week.
Sit ‘Em, Quarterbacks
Tom Brady (vs. CIN)
Brady has been terrible thus far in 2014, and is almost unrosterable at this point. He’s had single digit fantasy points in three out of his first four games, and just doesn’t look like he’s the same quarterback that he used to be. This week he gets to face a Cincinnati Bengals defense that is coming off a bye, and is allowing the 2nd least fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. Brady might be able to turn things around in the future, all the greats find a way to make things work, but it definitely won’t be this week.
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Nick Foles (vs. STL)
Foles had an awful game in Week 4, putting up just three fantasy points against a 49ers defense that had struggled to keep opposing quarterbacks in check. Part of that was due to the three DST touchdowns that the Eagles scored, but even when given the opportunity, he looked shaky and was bailed out on multiple occasions by his receivers making fantastic grabs. This week he gets the St. Louis Rams, who have been middle of the pack in terms of defending quarterbacks, but they’ve been worse against the run. Look for the Eagles to run the ball early and often, which will limit Foles’ upside. He’s not a QB1 for me this week.
Start ‘Em, Running Backs
Matt Asiata (@ GB)
Asiata isn’t going to put up another three touchdown game this week, but he’s going to be a solid option this week against a porous Packers’ defense. The Vikings are going to have to rely on their run game to keep the game close against Aaron Rodgers and Co. so I think they’re going to use Asiata quite often. Green Bay has allowed five touchdowns in four weeks, so look for him to hit pay dirt yet again. Just don’t expect three of them.
Zac Stacy (@ PHI)
The Eagles’ are giving up the 10th most fantasy points to opposing running backs, and now they get to go up against a St. Louis Rams offense that has gotten the past week to prepare for the Eagles. Since his 11 carry, 43-yard clunker against the Vikings in Week 1, Stacy put up 138 yards on 31 carries with one touchdown. With Benny Cunningham relegated to mop up duties, look for a productive week from Stacy.
Sit ‘Em, Running backs
Stevan Ridley (vs. CIN)
Ridley has had two miserable outing against the Raiders and then the Chiefs after his breakout performance against the Vikings in Week 2. The Patriots look to be in catch up mode again against a very talented Bengals offense, which means Ridley may have limited carries. Ridley is a touchdown dependent running back, and the Bengals have only allowed two rushing touchdowns this year. Look elsewhere.
Alfred Morris (vs. SEA)
Eddie Lacy, Ryan Mathews and Montee Ball have all been shutdown by the Seahawk defense, and now it is Morris’s turn. Morris is having a solid season so far, with a 14 point effort against the Giants last week, and not scoring under seven points thus far. With Cousins forgetting how to play quarterback, I think the Seahawks are going to run out to an early lead against the Redskins on Monday night. That means more Roy Helu Jr. and less Morris.
Start ‘Em, Wide receivers
Kelvin Benjamin (vs. CHI)
The Chicago Bears have allowed the 6th most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers, and now they get to take on one of the most dynamic rookies in the NFL. Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb combined for four touchdowns last week, and now it’s Benjamin’s turn. If Cam Newton wants to have success this season, he’s going to have to force the ball the Benjamin often, which is music to fantasy owners’ ears.
Steve Smith (at IND)
I’m starting Smith until he proves that he can’t produce anymore this year. He hasn’t put up less than 70 receiving yards in any game so far, and now gets to face the Colts in what should be a high scoring affair. The Colts have been rather stingy against opposing wide receivers, but so far it seems like there’s nothing this veteran wide out can’t do.
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Sit ‘Em, Wide receivers
Pierre Garcon (vs. WAS)
Garcon had two catches for just 28 yards last week against the New York Giants, so how do you think he’s going to fair against the Legion of Boom? He’s still being targeted quite often, but the going will be rough against the stingy defense allowing the 10th fewest fantasy points to wide receivers. He should have the volume to avoid putting up a complete clunker, but the odds of him having a good fantasy week are slim.
Larry Fitzgerald (@ DEN)
I don’t think that Fitzgerald is droppable at this point yet, but things aren’t going to be very easy this week against the Broncos. The Broncos defense has been very impressive to start this young season, especially against wide outs. Only two wide receivers have gotten touchdowns against the Broncos, who allow the 9th fewest fantasy points to wide receivers. Avoid Fitz this week.
Start ‘Em, Tight ends
Heath Miller (@ JAC)
After a slow start to the season, Miller really turned things around against Tampa. His yardage total has slowly increased each week, and he finally found the end zone. Jacksonville has given up touchdowns to four different tight ends this year, so look for Miller to have another productive outing.
Garrett Graham (at DAL)
This one is going to be a shot in the dark, but I like Graham this week because of the Cowboys’ ineptitude at defending tight ends. They’ve allowed 17.5 points per game to opposing tight ends, so if you’re in a bind at the tight end position, you could do worse than Graham.
Sit ‘Em, Tight ends
Jason Witten (vs. HOU)
Houston has only allowed one tight end thus far, and Witten has yet to find the end zone. He’s been asked to block a lot more this year, which has contributed to DeMarco Murray’s early season success. Witten might be at the tail end of his career fantasy wise, and this week isn’t one where he’ll turn back the clock.
Zach Ertz (vs. STL)
Ertz has slowed down since his “breakout” Week 1, posting single digit fantasy outings in each game since. The Rams are allowing the 11th fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends, and just three tight ends in the past 19 games have even reached double digits. I’m passing on Ertz.