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Five up, five down for Week 5

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Disclaimer ... Before you start reading, please understand that we are not in the business of stating the obvious and wasting your time (or ours), so you won't be reading here why you need to start Aaron Rodgers, Arian Foster, Calvin Johnson or any other top-tier players. We're here to help you make a decision on players you are on the fence about.

We have some heavy hitters on byes this week with Detroit, Dallas, Tampa Bay and Oakland all out of action. With quality players unavailable and injuries mounting up as they always do, here are five to start and five to sit as you get ready for Week 5.

Get 'em active ...

Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals (vs. MIA)
Current own/start %: 92/39
I'd start him over: Ryan Fitzpatrick (at SF), Ben Roethlisberger (vs. PHI), Michael Vick (at PIT)
The Red Rifle is absolutely on fire right now with three straight games with three total touchdowns and at least 25 Fantasy points. During that span, Dalton has been a Top 12 quarterback in every single week and has been Top 6 at the position twice. In his three-game breakout, the Rifle has completed 70 percent of his passes and has thrown for 890 yards (10 yards per attempt) and eight touchdowns while adding a score on the ground to boot. He has arguably the best receiver in the NFL in A.J. Green and is piloting an offense that has to rely on the pass to move the ball. This week he gets a great matchup with the Dolphins, who have allowed at least 300 yards passing in three straight games while surrendering an average of 334.3 yards and 1.67 touchdowns passing per game during that span. Yep, the murderer's row of Carson Palmer, Mark Sanchez and Kevin Kolb lit up this overmatched secondary, so this week look for the Red Rifle to stay guns-a-blazing, making him a great start.

Other QBs with favorable matchups: Philip Rivers (at NO), Joe Flacco (at KC), Peyton Manning (at NE), Eli Manning (vs. CLE), Ben Roethlisberger (vs. PHI), Andrew Luck (vs. GB)

Ryan Williams, RB, Cardinals (at STL)
Current own/start %: 92/45
I'd start him over: Fred Jackson (at SF), BenJarvus Green-Ellis (vs. MIA), Chris Johnson (at MIN)
The only time we have seen Ryan Williams show any signs of life was in Week 3, as he rushed for 83 yards on 13 carries against the Eagles. With the Beanie Wells injury, Williams was the hot pickup for Week 4, but was a must sit against the awesome Dolphins run defense. Now we will get the chance to use Williams in our starting lineups as he faces the Rams in a Thursday night delight for Week 5. The Rams are allowing 135.2 yards rushing per game (seventh most) and 1.5 rushing touchdowns per game (second most) on 4.7 yards per carry (also seventh most). Every starting running back who has faced them has produced at least eight Fantasy points and three runners have produced at least 12 points. Both Kevin Smith and Marshawn Lynch have posted 20 points against the Rams, who are surrendering 19.5 points per game to opposing running backs this year, 11th most in the league. Last year in St. Louis, Beanie Wells ran for a career high 228 yards and a touchdown against the Rams. Williams won't do that, but he is a good bet to set his own career high this week, making him a solid No. 2 running back for your teams.

Other RBs with favorable matchups: Ryan Mathews (at NO), Frank Gore (vs. BUF), Matt Forte/Michael Bush (at JAC), Jamaal Charles (vs. BAL), Michael Turner (at WAS), Ahmad Bradshaw (vs. CLE), Alfred Morris (vs. ATL), Cedric Benson (at IND), Jackie Battle (at NO), Ben Tate (at NYJ), Kendall Hunter (vs. BUF)

Malcom Floyd, WR, Chargers (at NO)
Current own/start %: 100/73
I'd start him over: Steve Smith (vs. SEA), Steve Johnson (at SF), Dwayne Bowe (at BAL)
After a fast start to his 2012 season, Floyd has cooled off considerably with just five catches for 75 yards in his last two games combined. Nothing gets a receiver back on track faster than a matchup with the Saints, who enter Week 5 having allowed six wide receiver touchdowns this year, fourth most in the league. For the season, the Saints have allowed three receiver groups to top 22 points and they are giving up 28.5 points per game, fourth most in the NFL. The Saints gave Pierre Garcon the best quarter of the year and in Week 4 they allowed a league high four wide receiver scores as Jordy Nelson and Greg Jennings both found the end zone for the first time this season. The Chargers only threw the ball 23 times last week in their blowout win over the Chiefs, but this week they will have to put it in the air a ton to match fire with fire. No opposing No. 1 receiver has been held under seven points against the Saints this year and the opposing top target has a 75 percent consistency rate and is averaging a healthy 12 points per game. The opposing top receiver has scored or topped 100 yards receiving against the Saints in eight of the last 10 games, so Floyd makes for a great play for you on Sunday night.

Brian Hartline, WR, Dolphins (at CIN)
Current own/start %: 78/41
I'd start him over: Michael Crabtree (vs. BUF), Anquan Boldin (vs. KC), Jeremy Maclin (at PIT)
Right now Brian Hartline is third in the NFL with 48 targets and has 25 catches (eighth most) for a league high 455 yards receiving. Hartline is one of only 10 receivers to see at least eight targets in every game this year and he already has two games of 100 yards receiving, including his career best 253 yards last week. Hartline is no doubt the hot waiver pickup in your league this week and with plenty of quality receivers on a bye in Week 5, he is absolutely worth a start against the Cincinnati Bengals. Take away the Jacksonville game, because we all know they can't throw the ball, and the Bengals have allowed two opposing top targets to score on them this year and they have given up an average of 22 points per game to the position. Hartline has produced in two of his four games this year and is certainly worth a start this week, as he has clearly developed into the go to guy for Ryan Tannehill. Last week, Hartline was the target on 19 of Tannehill's 41 pass attempts and you can expect him to be busy this week because Andy Dalton and the red hot Bengals will be putting points on the board. I'm not all in on Hartline just yet, but as a Bye Week Broski, I love him in your lineups for Week 5.

Other WRs with favorable matchups: Julio Jones/Roddy White (at WAS), Domenik Hixon/Hakeem Nicks (vs. CLE), Eric Decker/Demaryius Thomas (at NE), Lance Moore (vs. SD), Donnie Avery (vs. GB), Andrew Hawkins (vs. MIA), Davone Bess (at CIN), Brandon Lloyd/Wes Welker (vs. DEN), Antonio Brown (vs. PHI), DeSean Jackson (at PIT), Kenny Britt/Nate Washington (at MIN), Torrey Smith (at KC), Jerome Simpson (vs. TEN)

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Kyle Rudolph, TE, Vikings (vs. TEN)
Current own/start %: 82/51
I'd start him over: Martellus Bennett (vs. CLE), Brent Celek (at PIT), Jermichael Finley (at IND)
Many of our early season darling tight ends like Martellus Bennett, Dennis Pitta and Kyle Rudolph all abandoned us in Week 4 as the trio actually combined for no Fantasy points. Yep, we all scored as many points as those three combined last week, but while all should bounce back, the one I want in my lineup this week is Rudolph. There is only one team in the NFL giving up a 100 percent consistency rate (60 yards receiving or a touchdown) through five weeks to opposing tight ends and that team is the Titans. The Titans have allowed league highs in both tight end touchdowns with six (no other team has allowed more than four) and Fantasy points per game to the position at an absurd 17.25. Rudolph struggled against Detroit as the Vikings only attempted 26 passes and the stud tight end saw only five targets. Look for him to get back on track this week against the Titans and I expect he will make it four out of five with at least 60 yards or a touchdown this Sunday. Rudolph's next touchdown catch will set a new career high and I think the Titans are the perfect opponent to make it happen.

Other TEs with favorable matchups: Antonio Gates (at NO), Scott Chandler (at SF), Dennis Pitta (at KC), Fred Davis (vs. ATL)

Ride the pine ...

Michael Vick, QB, Eagles (at PHI)
Current own/start %: 99/56
I'd rather start: Philip Rivers (at NO), Andy Dalton (vs. MIA), Peyton Manning (at NE)
Vick has only been a Top 12 quarterback once this year and only Peyton Manning (back in Week 1) has finished as a starter against the Steelers second ranked pass defense, which is allowing just 200 yards passing per game. The Steelers are coming off of a bye week and that is bad news for Vick as the Steelers have not allowed more than 10 points in a game following their bye since 2007. The Steelers hope to have James Harrison back for Week 5, which could help them generate the kind of pressure they need to slow down Vick, who enters the game with a knee contusion. When you consider that Vick has accounted for five total touchdowns and nine turnovers things could be tough this week on the road, where Vick has really struggled. In his two road games, Vick is averaging less than six yards per attempt and has just two total touchdowns and six turnovers. Vick has not been a Top 12 quarterback on the road and is averaging just 12.5 points per game away from home in 2012 for what has been a stagnant offense. In fact, the Eagles have a grand total of 22 points on the road this year in their two games against the Browns and Cardinals. Given that the Steelers have had two weeks to plan for what should be a tough slugfest on the road for the Eagles, I would be nervous about starting Vick in Week 5.

Matt Schaub, QB, Texans (at NYJ)
Current own/start %: 98/46
I'd rather start: Joe Flacco (at KC), Andrew Luck (vs. GB), Andy Dalton (vs. MIA)
When you are not in the Top 20 in pass attempts per game or passing yards per game, it is tough to be counted on as a weekly Fantasy play. It is no wonder then that outside of his four touchdown barrage in Week 3 against the Broncos, Matt Schaub has not been a Top 12 Fantasy quarterback in 2012. So yes, even though he has six touchdowns in his last two games, I am sitting Schaub against the Revis-less New York Jets. The Jets have allowed a league high seven rushing touchdowns thus far and they are one of the worst offensive teams in the NFL. Their ineptitude on offense and their inability to stop the rush are major reasons why they have allowed only five passing scores all year and only one quarterback has topped 200 yards passing or produced 20 Fantasy points. This game smells like a blowout win to me for the Texans and Schaub could easily turn in a stat line like he did last week against Tennessee when he threw the ball just 28 times and had 202 yards with two scores. Is that solid production? Absolutely, but with guys chucking the ball all over the place, I'd rather take a higher-upside choice for my team in Week 5.

Other QBs with tough matchups: Ryan Fitzpatrick (at SF), Kevin Kolb (at STL)

BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, CIN (vs. MIA)
Current own/start %: 100/80
I'd rather start: Ryan Williams (at STL), Steven Jackson (vs. ARI), Jackie Battle (at NO)
Who is the No. 1 run defense in the NFL? The answer is the Dolphins, who are allowing a league low 56.8 yards per game on the ground. They are ceding just 2.4 yards per carry, also best in the NFL, and no one has a run of longer than 14 yards against this defense. When you consider that no running back has run for 80 yards or averaged more than 3.0 yards per carry against this defense, it seems very impressive. When you add in the fact that only one runner has topped 50 yards against them despite facing Arian Foster, Darren McFadden, Shonn Greene and Ryan Williams (well the first two are impressive) and you get the picture: this is not a run defense to trifle with. The Law Firm enters Week 5 in a bit of a slump as is averaging just 65 yards rushing per game over the last three weeks despite taking 21.3 carries per game. His 3.04 yards per carry average during that span does not bode well for Green-Ellis this week against the 'Fins when you consider that it was all he could muster against the defenses of Cleveland, Washington and Jacksonville. This will be his toughest test this year and I am going to sit him down in Week 5 against the league's best run defense.

Fred Jackson/C.J. Spiller, RB, Bills (at SF)
Current own/start %: 98/48 ... 99/27
I'd rather start: Michael Turner (at WAS), Alfred Morris (vs. ATL), Stevan Ridley (vs. DEN)
If Miami is the league's toughest run defense, then the San Francisco 49ers are not far behind. This year, the 49ers have not allowed a single runner to reach 100 yards rushing or score a single touchdown against them. Running backs are averaging a league low 7.0 Fantasy points per week against the 49ers and only one runner has even topped six points against them. That runner was Adrian Peterson, who needed 27 touches to get to 10 Fantasy points in Week 3. With Jackson and Spiller splitting carries and injuries on the offensive line, they will really have their work cut out for them against the 49ers. After all, neither topped seven points against the Patriots last week and this will be a much tougher matchup. Keep in mind that only one running back has produced 100 yards rushing against the 49ers in their last 44 games and only they have allowed only two running back rushing scores in their last 22 games. With only two runners above 80 yards (AP and Marshawn Lynch) in the last 22 games as well, I'd take my chances elsewhere for Week 5. If I had to play one of these two runners, I would go with Jackson, who had 50 yards receiving last week against the Pats, but ideally I'd play Ryan Mathews and Jackie Battle and sit both Bills.

Other RBs with tough matchups: Maurice Jones-Drew (vs. CHI; but I am still starting him), Shonn Greene (vs. HOU), DeAngelo Williams (vs. SEA), Donald Brown (vs. GB), Mark Ingram (vs. SD)

Steve Johnson, WR, Bills (at SF)
Current own/start %: 100/80
I'd rather start: Danny Amendola (vs. ARI), James Jones (at IND), Donnie Avery (vs. GB) Clearly I am not all that high on the Bills offense travelling to San Francisco for Week 5 and really, I think tight end Scott Chandler is the best play on the squad. The 49ers have allowed five passing scores this year and four of them have gone to tight ends, while only one has been caught by a wide receiver, which is the second-lowest total in the league. That's why I think touchdown Steve Johnson is likely to just be Steve Johnson this week, which, based on his yardage totals thus far, means he should be kept on the bench. Through four games, Johnson has caught only 15 of his 36 targets (41.7 percent) for 195 yards and three scores. He is averaging less than 50 yards receiving per game and has a season high of just 61 yards. Johnson is producing only 5.4 yards per target and if it were not for his touchdowns, Johnson would be averaging just 4.5 points per week. That's not a risk I am willing to take against a 49ers defense that has kept Jordy Nelson, Greg Jennings, Calvin Johnson, Nate Burleson, Titus Young, Santonio Holmes and Percy Harvin out of the end zone so far in 2012. His touchdowns have been covering up his warts early in 2012, which the Pats exposed last week. I think it will be two tough weeks in a row for Johnson against the Niners, so I am benching him on my teams.

Some WRs and TEs with tough matchups: Justin Blackmon (vs. CHI), Brandon LaFell (vs. SEA), Andre Roberts (at STL), Marcedes Lewis (vs. CHI)

Good luck this week!

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Nathan at @nathanzegura .

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Player News
Luke Willson's lack of targets telling
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(12:13 pm ET) Seahawks tight end Luke Willson had a career performance Week 16 at Arizona, going for 139 yards and two touchdowns, including an 80-yarder in the second quarter. But those numbers distract from one just as important: His three catches were his only three targets on the day.

Even with quarterback Russell Wilson attempting more than 30 passes for just the second time in five games, Willson wasn't any more targeted than usual. It's just that two of them happened to result in big plays.

The long touchdown was probably a fluke. He got behind the defense, an oversight on its part, and ran away from everyone after he caught the ball. Big deal. Take it away, and he had two catches for 59 yards and a touchdown -- a good performance by his standards, but nothing that would send Fantasy owners flocking to the waiver wire.

Even though Willson got the numbers, Wilson's preferred targets were wide receivers Doug Baldwin and Paul Richardson, who had 11 and seven targets, respectively. Those were season highs for each.

If you can't count on them to get consistent looks in the Seahawks offense, you certainly can't count on Willson to. He's had only three games with more than four all season, none in the last three weeks.


Jaguars RB Toby Gerhart still feeling pain in rib
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:00 pm ET) Jaguars running back Toby Gerhart said he is still feeling the rib contusion sustained Thursday against Tennessee, per the Florida Times-Union.

The team has yet to issue an update on his condition, but the problem could prevent him from playing in the season finale Sunday at Houston. If his season is indeed over, he will end it with just 318 yards on 97 carries.

Those are not strong numbers considering he entered the year as the team's featured back.


Jaguars DT Roy Miller still optimistic about playing Week 17
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(11:52 am ET) Jaguars defensive tackle Roy Miller is still optimistic about playing in Sunday's season finale against Houston, the Florida Times-Union reports. Miller sat out Week 16 against Baltimore with a knee injury. A previous report had him missing the rest of the season and in order to have surgery to repair a torn meniscus.

"I'm trying to get it right and hopefully tomorrow or Wednesday, I'll feel a lot better," Miller said.


Russell Wilson could be in for strong finish
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(11:50 am ET) With the Cardinals struggling to get anything going offensively behind third-string quarterback Ryan Lindley, the Seahawks offense got repeated opportunities to shine Week 16 in Arizona. And quarterback Russell Wilson took advantage, throwing for a season-high 339 yards while rushing for 88. For the second time in three games, he contributed three total touchdowns, two in the air and one on the ground.

The Seahawks have gotten back to winning with their defense in recent weeks, making Wilson at times an afterthought. But when pressed to make plays, he's shown he's still capable of putting up big numbers.

Chances are he'll need to make plays in Week 17 against a Rams team that has played well of late, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. Wilson's previous season high in passing yards came in his first meeting with them back in Week 7, when he threw for 313 and ran for 106. Despite his up-and-down tendencies, you'll want him active for the season's final week.


Bears' Trestman will talk to Jimmy Clausen before naming starter
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(11:43 am ET) Bears coach Marc Trestman said Monday morning on WBBM Newsradio 780 that he'll talk to Jimmy Clausen before naming a starter for Sunday's season finale against Minnesota, CBS Chicago reports.

Clausen earned his first start since his rookie year with the Panthers in 2010. He compiled 181 yards while completing 22 of 39 passes. He added two touchdowns and one interception in a 20-14 defeat to Detroit.

"We'll talk about it today," Bears coach Marc Trestman said. "I thought he had a good performance. He needed some help. He didn't get it -- had a few drops along the way, had a couple missed assignments up front in the running game, where we could've had a little bit more yardage. But I thought he handled himself (well), for two practices and having not played (much) for four years. It was certainly a good performance."

Chicago is currently a 6 1/2-point underdog at Minnesota.


Eagles coach Chip Kelly: Mark Sanchez is our quarterback Week 17
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(11:32 am ET) Eagles coach Chip Kelly said on Sportsradio 94WIP in Philadelphia that he'll start Mark Sanchez against the Giants in Week 17, per Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia.

Sanchez has been picked off 10 times since taking over as the starter in Week 9. He threw a costly interception at the end of Saturday's 27-24 defeat to Washington that ruined Philadelphia's postseason hopes. The Eagles won't rush Nick Foles back from a collarbone injury now that Philadelphia was officially eliminated following Dallas' win over Indianapolis on Sunday.

"Mark's our quarterback, and I thought Mark played a really good game [Saturday]," Kelly said. "He goes 37 of 50, he was 36 of 49 before that last pass.

"I'm sure he wants that pass back, everybody wants that pass back, but I think Mark played a good game and we'll continue to go with Mark."

Philadelphia is a 4-point favorite at N.Y. Giants.


Report: Cardinals won't release WR Fitzgerald
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(11:21 am ET) Cardinals Pro Bowl wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald will not be cut, as some expect due to the team's salary cap issues, a source has told Pro Football Talk.

Fitzgerald has a cap number of $23.6 million for 2015. He could be traded or have his deal restructured. He could also decide to negotiate an extension.

Few non-quarterbacks have cap numbers anywhere near $20 million. Committing that much to a fading Fitzgerald, who hasn't totaled more than 34 yards receiving in his last four games, could prove disastrous. But the Cardinals are apparently willing to take that chance.

Fitzgerald has also been victimized this year and in recent seasons by inconsistent quarterback play.


Lions RB Joique Bell was benched for 'violation of team rules'
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(11:12 am ET) Lions coach Jim Caldwell told reporters that running back Joique Bell was suspended for the first quarter of Sunday's 20-14 victory over Chicago for what he deemed "violation of team rules," reports ESPN.

Bell took a backseat to Reggie Bush early on before emerging late in the second half. After logging only three carries in the first half, Bell finished the game with 74 yards on 13 attempts and a 17-yard score midway through the fourth quarter that gave Detroit the lead to stay. 

Detroit is a 7 1/2-point underdog at Green Bay in Week 17. The Lions have a 22-game losing streak at Lambeau Field, an NFL record for most consecutive road losses against a single opponent. The winner will clinch the NFC North title.


Bears K Robbie Gould shuts down for season finale
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(11:03 am ET) Bears kicker Robbie Gould told WSCR 670 AM radio in Chicago he'll sit out the final game of the season because of a nagging right quadriceps injury, reports the Chicago Tribune. Gould converted 9 of 12 field goal attempts, adding 28 extra points. Jay Feely will take over as the starter for the fourth consecutive game.

Report: NFL will review Dominic Raiola's ankle stomp
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(10:51 am ET) The NFL will review Lions center Dominic Raiola's action during the third quarter of Detroit's 20-14 victory over Chicago, according to ESPN.

After walking away from a pile, Raiola was caught on camera stepping on Chicago defensive lineman Ego Ferguson's ankle. Following the game, he told reporters his actions were "not intentional."

"It was totally unintentional," Raiola said. "I remember I was stumbling out. I didn't see the end of it. I apologized at the end of the game, told him it was unintentional and we shook hands and that was it."

Raiola got slapped with a $10,000 fine for cut block in the final minute of a Week 12 loss to New England and could be in line for a heftier fine this time around. The league will likely make an announcement before Detroit's Week 17 showdown at Green Bay.


 
 
 
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