Sometimes when your gut talks you should listen. I made that mistake in Week 4. Maurice Jones-Drew had a great matchup against the Colts, but I went against my judgment in thinking he would succeed. Boy, was I wrong.
Jones-Drew was a complete flop as our Start of the Week -- if only we kept Trent Richardson in that spot -- and I regret spotlighting him. Even with a good matchup this week against the Rams it's difficult to call him a must-start Fantasy option.
Some other bad calls last week included starting Andy Dalton, Jason Snelling and Cecil Shorts and advising owners to sit Philip Rivers, Tony Gonzalez and Knowshon Moreno. I also expected Andre Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald to struggle with difficult matchups, but both were solid options in Week 4.
Our good calls included starting Torrey Smith, Le'Veon Bell and Coby Fleener, and we had Danny Woodhead, Kenbrell Thompkins and Charles Clay as sleepers. We also said to sit Colin Kaepernick, C.J. Spiller and Hakeem Nicks.
|Player||Fantasy Pts. (proj.)||Fantasy Pts. (actual)||Start %||Pos. rank|
|Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jaguars||12||2||73||44|
|Torrey Smith, WR, Ravens||15||22||96||1|
|Le'Veon Bell, RB, Steelers||11||19||39||6|
|Coby Fleener, TE, Colts||10||13||42||5|
|Colin Kaepernick, QB, 49ers||19||17||68||16|
|C.J. Spiller, RB, Bills||8||7||70||29|
|Hakeem Nicks, WR, Giants||9||3||65||64|
|Cecil Shorts, WR, Jaguars||11||6||71||35|
|Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals||21||5||34||31|
|Jason Snelling, RB, Falcons||10||2||55||45|
|Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers||17||32||31||3|
|Tony Gonzalez, TE, Falcons||9||26||83||1|
|Knowshon Moreno, RB, Broncos||9||14||40||13|
Start of the Week: David Wilson, RB, Giants
This is it. This is the week Wilson rewards you. This is the game he proves why you drafted him in the first four rounds and helps you win your Fantasy matchup instead of dragging you down.
For the first four weeks of the season, Wilson was among the bigger busts in 2013. He combined for seven Fantasy points and had more fumbles lost (two) than touchdowns (zero). But he should do well against the Eagles.
|Chris Johnson||vs. KC|
|Stevan Ridley||at CIN|
|Maurice Jones-Drew||at STL|
|Knowshon Moreno||at DAL|
|Trent Richardson||vs. SEA|
Wilson has been playing better of late. In Week 3 at Carolina, Wilson had a 17-yard touchdown run negated by a penalty and another 14-yard run waived off. Give him those stats and he would have finished with 13 carries for 70 yards and a touchdown. Last week at Kansas City, Wilson had 13 carries for 55 yards and two catches for 8 yards, and his five Fantasy points were a season high.
This is obviously nothing to get excited about, but the Giants waived Da'Rel Scott on Tuesday, which should give Wilson more playing time and hopefully more action in the passing game. And in his lone meeting with the Eagles last season at home he had 15 carries for 75 yards and a 15-yard touchdown catch.
The Eagles have also allowed three running backs to reach at least eight Fantasy points this year in Alfred Morris, Jamaal Charles and Moreno, and Wilson should have room to make plays against this defense. This is his time. Put him back in your lineup, and hopefully you'll never take him out again the rest of the year as long as he's healthy and active.
Eli Manning (vs. PHI): We can't overstate it enough: this is an important week for the Giants when it comes to their Fantasy value (and their season). Not only does Wilson need a big game, but so does Manning or else Fantasy owners may never trust him again. And we think he'll get it against the Eagles. Three of the four quarterbacks to face the Eagles this season have scored at least 23 Fantasy points with Robert Griffin III, Rivers and Peyton Manning. Only Alex Smith had a quiet stat line, but Eli Manning should do well this week. He has multiple touchdowns in four of his past five meetings with Philadelphia, including three games with at least four touchdowns. Despite the poor start in 2013, Manning will bounce back from his past three subpar outings.
Michael Vick (at NYG): Vick got off to a hot start this season with at least 29 Fantasy points in his first two games against Washington and San Diego, which has proven to be two of the three worst defenses against opposing quarterbacks this year along with Dallas. Against Kansas City and Denver the past two weeks, Vick has struggled with a combined 30 Fantasy points. He gets back to facing a favorable opponent this week with the Giants, who have allowed at least 20 Fantasy points to all four quarterbacks they've faced in Tony Romo, Peyton Manning, Cam Newton and Smith. This game should be high scoring, and Vick will have the chance to make plays. If he doesn't play well this week then it might be time to consider other options for your starting quarterback.
Colin Kaepernick (vs. HOU): I liked the way Kaepernick played in Week 4 at St. Louis, and I expect him to build off that performance. He only had 17 Fantasy points, which included a late fumble on a bad handoff exchange, but he looked much better than his previous two outings. Prior to facing St. Louis, Kaepernick combined for nine Fantasy points against Seattle and Indianapolis, but he played the Colts game without Vernon Davis, who had a hamstring injury. He's a different quarterback with Davis and Anquan Boldin on the field, and he's also a star at home, averaging 22.4 Fantasy points in his past five home games. The Texans have also allowed the past six quarterbacks they've faced on the road to average 22.3 Fantasy points against them.
Philip Rivers (at OAK): It's time to buy into Rivers as your starting quarterback if you haven't done so already. I've been skeptical that he can keep up this level of play, but he has at least 30 Fantasy points in three of his past four games. He's completing a ridiculous 74 percent of his passes with 11 touchdowns and just two interceptions, and he has a favorable matchup this week. The Raiders have allowed Andrew Luck and Peyton Manning to score at least 28 Fantasy points this season, and Rivers has a good history against Oakland with at least two touchdown passes in three of his past four meetings. Rivers may very well turn back into a pumpkin, but until he lets you down he's worth starting in the majority of leagues. It appears new coach Mike McCoy's offense agrees with him.
Cam Newton (at ARI): Newton hasn't been good coming off a bye in his three-year career, with 17 Fantasy points his best performance last season against Dallas. But this week he'll do a much better job given his opponent. The Cardinals have struggled against opposing quarterbacks this season with Sam Bradford, Matthew Stafford and Drew Brees all scoring at least 21 Fantasy points. Newton is also playing at a high level coming into this game with 54 Fantasy points in his past two outings against Buffalo and the Giants. Newton's first NFL game was in Arizona in 2011, and he opened everyone's eyes with 422 passing yards, two touchdowns and one interception and eight carries for 18 yards and a touchdown. He should do well again in the desert.
|Brian Hoyer||(vs. BUF)||He's averaging 23 Fantasy points in only two starts, and BUF struggles in pass defense.|
|Terrelle Pryor||(vs. SD)||All four quarterbacks to face SD this season have scored at least 22 Fantasy points.|
|Jay Cutler||(vs. NO)||He has at least 20 Fantasy points in three of four games this season.|
Russell Wilson (at IND): It might be time to realize that Wilson is a great leader and a winner, but he's not necessarily a good Fantasy quarterback. He has one game this season with more than 23 pass attempts, which was Week 1 at Carolina. He is averaging just 197 passing yards a game and 1.5 touchdowns a game, which includes a four-touchdown outing in Week 3 against Jacksonville. The Colts have only allowed Terrelle Pryor to score more than 16 Fantasy points against them this season in Week 1, and in the past three games they have held Ryan Tannehill, Kaepernick and Blaine Gabbert to a combined 22 points. Wilson could always have a surprise 29-point outing like he did against the Jaguars, but most likely you'll get 16 Fantasy points or less like he's delivered in his three other games. It also doesn't help that his offensive line is a mess due to injuries, and the Colts have 12 sacks in their past three games.
Joe Flacco (at MIA): The Dolphins, like most teams, were torched by Brees in Week 4 when he scored 40 Fantasy points. But prior to that, the Dolphins have done a nice job against opposing quarterbacks, as they held Matt Ryan and Luck to 19 Fantasy points each. Flacco is coming off a terrible game at Buffalo, which was a dream matchup, where he had 347 passing yards, two touchdowns and five interceptions. He has just one game this season with more than 15 Fantasy points, and he has eight touchdowns and eight interceptions in his past five road outings. He's barely a viable Fantasy option even in deep two-quarterback leagues.
Alex Smith (at TEN): Smith deserves plenty of props with his play so far this season, and he has done well in coach Andy Reid's offense with at least 20 Fantasy points in three of four games. Reid is allowing Smith to make plays with at least 34 pass attempts in every game this season, and he's averaging 38 rushing yards a contest. But Smith might struggle this week against the Titans. Tennessee is the one team to slow down Rivers, and the Titans have only allowed Matt Schaub to score more than 13 Fantasy points this year. Smith is worth sitting this week, but he should be considered a solid bye-week replacement for Ryan next week since the Chiefs play the Raiders at home.
Andy Dalton (vs. NE): At some point Dalton is going to have a big game, and it could happen this week. The Patriots just allowed Ryan to pass for 421 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in Week 4, but Dalton has a long way to go to reach those heights. He has yet to top 19 Fantasy points in a game this season despite two games with multiple touchdowns, and he's coming off a season-low five Fantasy points at Cleveland. In fact, Dalton has now gone nine games in a row without reaching 20 Fantasy points in a standard league. New England doesn't have a great secondary, and they've allowed Ryan and EJ Manuel to score at least 20 Fantasy points while holding Geno Smith and Josh Freeman to a combined 10 points. But until Dalton gets on track you shouldn't consider starting him in any leagues.
Matt Schaub (at SF): Schaub has done a solid job with his Fantasy production this season with at least 22 Fantasy points in three of four games, but this should be a tough matchup for him. The 49ers were torched in Week 1 by Aaron Rodgers for 30 Fantasy points, but in the past three games they have held Wilson, Luck and Bradford to 36 Fantasy points combined. The 49ers have 10 sacks over that span, and the Texans need left tackle Duane Brown (toe) to return for this matchup. Schaub's interceptions have also become a problem of late with five in his past three games, which could force coach Gary Kubiak to rely more on Arian Foster this week.
Bust alert: Andrew Luck (vs. SEA): It's hard to bench Luck, especially coming off the performance he had in Week 4 at Jacksonville with 22 Fantasy points, and he has at least 19 points in three of four games this season. But the Jaguars and Seahawks don't come close to being the same defensively, and Luck should struggle this week. Even though Schaub had 22 Fantasy points against Seattle last week, they have already held Newton and Kaepernick to a combined 19 Fantasy points this season. Bruce Irvin is back from his four-game suspension, and he will only enhance Seattle's pass rush on Luck, who has been sacked 10 times. Seattle also has seven interceptions in the past three games, and Luck should not be considered a Top 12 quarterback in this matchup.
Eddie Lacy (vs. DET): The last time we had Lacy in this column he was the Start of the Week for Week 2 against Washington. He suffered a concussion in the first quarter and watched James Starks party his way to 22 Fantasy points. This will be Lacy's first action since the injury, and we expect him to pick up where he left off. He had double digits in Fantasy points in Week 1 at San Francisco, and the Lions have been abused by opposing running backs this year with five reaching double digits in Fantasy points in four games. We hope Lacy doesn't suffer a setback because he could end up as a fixture in your lineup the rest of the season.
Bilal Powell (at ATL): Powell gets some company this week with Mike Goodson coming off his four-game suspension, but we still expect Powell to handle the bulk of the work. He has three-straight games with double digits in Fantasy points in his past three outings, and he could make it four in a row this week. The Jets don't have many options on offense this week except to rely on Powell, and the Falcons have allowed three running backs to score at least nine Fantasy points this year in Darren Sproles, Daniel Thomas and LeGarrette Blount. Powell is actually tied with Foster for the AFC lead in rushing yards at 292, and we hope his hot start continues this week.
Ray Rice (at MIA): Fantasy owners are actually nervous about Rice, and he was started in just 57 percent of CBSSports.com leagues in Week 4 at Buffalo coming off the hip injury. He only has one touchdown and one game with double digits in Fantasy points this season, which was Week 1 at Denver. Rice is healthy this week and coach John Harbaugh said the Ravens want to involve Rice "in every single way" against the Dolphins. It's a good matchup as well since the Dolphins have allowed a running back to score double digits in Fantasy points in their past three games against Ahmad Bradshaw, Snelling and Sproles. Look for Baltimore to lean on Rice, and Fantasy owners should again start him with confidence in all formats.
Lamar Miller (vs. BAL): I just traded Miller in a PPR league Wednesday to my colleague Nando Di Fino in a package deal with Vincent Jackson to get Larry Fitzgerald and Ryan Mathews. I was desperate for an upgrade at receiver, but it was difficult to part with Miller. He's finally coming on, and the Dolphins will likely increase his workload as he continues to perform at a high level. He has yet to get 15 carries in a game, but he has double digits in Fantasy points in two of his past three outings. He's averaging 5.8 yards per carry over that span, and the Dolphins need to give him carries and take away touches from Thomas. Baltimore has only allowed one running back to reach double digits in Fantasy points this year, which was Fred Jackson last week, but we're still confident Miller will finish as a Top 20 running back this scoring period.
Ryan Mathews/Danny Woodhead (at OAK): Mathews and Woodhead both finished with double digits in Fantasy points in Week 4 against Dallas, and we're expecting a repeat performance this week. Woodhead had five carries for 32 yards and five catches for 54 yards and two touchdowns against the Cowboys, and Mathews had 19 carries for 62 yards and four catches for 41 yards. Mathews now has double digits in Fantasy points in two of four games, and he should have the chance to grind out the clock if San Diego is ahead late. And Woodhead should be started in all PPR leagues since he has 20 catches in his past three games. Oakland has allowed two running backs to reach double digits in Fantasy points in the past two games against Ronnie Hillman and Roy Helu, and the Chargers duo can have the same success in this matchup.
|Willis McGahee||(vs. BUF)||Three RBs have scored at least eight Fantasy points vs. BUF this year.|
|Rashad Jennings||(vs. SD)||He could start for the injured Darren McFadden (hamstring) in a favorable matchup.|
|Pierre Thomas||(at CHI)||In 2 career games at CHI: 192 rush yards and a TD and 19 rec. for 180 yards and two TDs.|
|BenJarvus Green-Ellis||(vs. NE)||With Wilfork (Achilles) out, Green-Ellis could score vs. his former team.|
|LeGarrette Blount||(at CIN)||He has 129 rush yards and a TD in past two games, and Stevan Ridley (knee) is hurt.|
Stevan Ridley (at CIN): Ridley has been among the bigger busts this season, and it doesn't appear to be getting any better any time soon. We hope he can have a breakout performance, but he hasn't topped 55 rushing yards in a game this season and was limited to 11 carries in each game the past two weeks. Despite Shane Vereen (wrist) being out since Week 1, the Patriots have used Brandon Bolden and LeGarrette Blount to share carries with Ridley instead of giving him the full workload. He has a tough matchup this week against the Bengals, and he showed up on the injury report Wednesday because of his knee. He should play in Week 5, but that doesn't mean you have to start him in your Fantasy league.
C.J. Spiller (at CLE): You should hope that Spiller sits out Thursday night's game against the Browns with his ankle sprain because maybe a week off will help out in the long run. Right now, Spiller is killing Fantasy owners with no touchdowns and just one game with double digits in Fantasy points. He's getting outplayed on a weekly basis by Fred Jackson, and even if he suits up against the Browns there's little chance he will succeed. Cleveland has allowed three touchdowns to opposing running backs, but only Thomas and Adrian Peterson have reached double digits in Fantasy points. Jackson can be considered at least a flex option this week, especially if Spiller is out, and he has double digits in Fantasy points in all four games this year. If only Spiller were that lucky.
Daryl Richardson (vs. JAC): The Rams have one of the best matchups this week against the Jaguars, who have allowed three running backs to reach double digits in Fantasy points with Jamaal Charles, Darren McFadden and Trent Richardson, but we don't know who will be the main rusher for St. Louis. It appears that Richardson could be headed for the bench after he tweeted Wednesday he's not expected to start. Rams coach Jeff Fisher said he plans to use all his running backs, which means we could see a hot-hand approach for Isaiah Pead, Benny Cunningham, Zac Stacy and even Richardson, who is best suited on passing downs. It sounds messy, and we'd avoid all four unless there's a clear-cut answer before Sunday. Hopefully after this game, one running back in St. Louis will emerge.
Joique Bell (at GB): Bell is a Reggie Bush injury away from being a star Fantasy option, and we saw that in Week 3 at Washington when he steamrolled his way to 18 Fantasy points with Bush out with a knee injury. He also had 20 Fantasy points against Minnesota in Week 1 working in tandem with Bush. The Lions will give Bell plenty of chances to score as their goal-line back, and he has at least four catches in every game this season. But we saw the low for Bell when he doesn't score and Bush is healthy with his outing in Week 4 against Chicago. Bell finished with just seven carries for 12 yards and four catches for 30 yards with a fumble. Barring a touchdown this week, it appears like Bell's Fantasy ceiling is about seven Fantasy points in a standard league.
Jacquizz Rodgers (vs. NYJ): Rodgers has done a nice job filling in for the injured Steven Jackson (hamstring) with eight Fantasy points in each of the past two games against Miami and New England. He doesn't have the upside of Snelling because Rodgers fails to score touchdowns (he has four in 36 career games), but he's definitely helped -- especially in PPR leagues -- with eight catches over that span. This will be his toughest matchup to date since the Jets have allowed just Doug Martin and Fred Jackson to reach double digits in Fantasy points, including matchups with Ridley, Spiller and Chris Johnson. No running back has run for more than 72 yards, and Jackson is the only rusher with more than 10 receiving yards. We would only consider Rodgers as a flex in PPR leagues this week.
Bust alert: Chris Johnson (vs. KC): Now is a good time to buy low on Johnson. He has yet to score a touchdown or top nine Fantasy points in a standard league, and the Titans just lost starting quarterback Jake Locker (hip) for at least four weeks. He also has a tough schedule in the immediate future against the Chiefs, Seahawks and 49ers before his bye in Week 8. But after the bye is when Johnson will get going with matchups against St. Louis, Jacksonville, Indianapolis, Oakland and Indianapolis again through Week 13. If he stays healthy he should be a star for those matchups. As for this week, we'd bench Johnson if possible because Kansas City has only allowed one running back to top six Fantasy points -- which was LeSean McCoy -- including matchups with Jones-Drew, DeMarco Murray and Wilson.
Hakeem Nicks (vs. PHI): Nicks, like Wilson and Manning, is at a crucial juncture. It's perform now or stay buried on Fantasy benches. He comes into this game with 11 Fantasy points combined in his past three games, and he's been plagued by drops and a lack of targets. But this is a good week to trust him. The Eagles are last in Fantasy points allowed to opposing receivers, and six receivers have reached double digits in Fantasy points, including two last week in Demaryius Thomas and Wes Welker. Nicks has a chance to join that list in this matchup.
Justin Blackmon/Cecil Shorts (at STL): As we said last week with Shorts, the only downside to his game is Gabbert, but we'll trust him (somewhat) in this matchup with the Rams when it comes to his receivers. St. Louis has allowed six receivers to reach at least eight Fantasy points, and No. 1 receivers have crushed the Rams with Fitzgerald, Julio Jones, Dez Bryant and Anquan Boldin all scoring touchdowns, including 15-plus points from all except Bryant. This is Blackmon's first game following a four-game suspension, but he was great to end last year with five of seven games with at least nine Fantasy points. And Shorts has at least nine points in two of his past three outings. Consider both Jaguars at least No. 3 receivers in the majority of leagues.
Kenbrell Thompkins (at CIN): There's a chance Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola return this week, which would change the outlook for the entire Patriots offense, but if they remain out then Thompkins should continue to shine. He's second on the team in targets with 39, trailing Julian Edelman by just four, and is among the leaders in the NFL in red-zone targets with nine. In his past two games, Thompkins has nine catches for 168 yards and three touchdowns. The Bengals should get Leon Hall and Dre Kirkpatrick back in their secondary this week, which will help in pass defense, but Thompkins is playing too well right now to keep him out of your lineup.
James Jones (vs. DET): Jones had a dismal Week 1 performance at San Francisco with no catches on two targets, but since then he's combined for 15 catches for 212 yards and a touchdown in his past two games. He has 20 targets over that span, and Rodgers should continue to keep him involved moving forward. Secondary receivers have hurt the Lions this year with Jerome Simpson and Alshon Jeffery both scoring double digits in Fantasy points, and Detroit will obviously focus on taking away Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson first before Jones, who has a touchdown in two of his past three games coming off a bye. Jones should be started in all three-receiver leagues, and he's still worth using in most standard formats as well.
Denarius Moore (vs. SD): Terrelle Pryor (concussion) is back for Sunday's game against the Chargers, which is great news for Moore. He scored in two of three games with Pryor starting this season, but he struggled with Matt Flynn in Week 4 against Washington with four catches for 66 yards on six targets. Moore also has a good history against the Chargers with nine catches for 229 yards and three touchdowns in three career meetings. And six receivers have already scored at least eight Fantasy points against San Diego this year, meaning the Pryor-Moore combo should be successful.
|Austin Pettis||(vs. JAC)||Pettis, Tavon Austin and Chris Givens have high upside this week vs. JAC.|
|Eddie Royal||(at OAK)||Six receivers have scored at least nine Fantasy points vs. OAK this year.|
|Jeremy Kerley||(at ATL)||Eight receivers have scored at least eight Fantasy points vs. ATL this year.|
|Alshon Jeffery||(vs. NO)||He has at least eight targets in three of four games, and this game could be high scoring.|
|Robert Woods||(at CLE)||He has at least seven Fantasy points in three of four games this season.|
T.Y. Hilton (vs. SEA): We hope Hilton turns things around this week against Seattle because he's on the fast track to bustville with his performance this season. He has yet to score a touchdown and has just one game with double digits in Fantasy points. He's struggled to get targets with two games with five or less, and this is a tough matchup against the Seahawks. Three receivers have reached double digits in Fantasy points against Seattle with Steve Smith, Shorts and Andre Johnson, but those were No. 1 receivers, and Hilton is far from that for the Colts right now. Until he shows us something you might want to keep him reserved in most leagues.
Steve Johnson (at CLE): Johnson had his first bad game of the season in Week 4 against Baltimore with one catch for minus-1 yard on six targets. He might have been limited with his nagging hamstring, but prior to that he had at least nine Fantasy points in the first three games of the season. This week, Johnson should match up with Browns cornerback Joe Haden, who has not allowed a No. 1 receiver to score this year, including matchups with Mike Wallace, Torrey Smith, Greg Jennings and A.J. Green, who was held to seven catches for 51 yards last week. Smith had the best game against Haden with seven catches for 85 yards, but I don't expect Johnson to score eight Fantasy points this week.
Dwayne Bowe (at TEN): Bowe got a garbage-time touchdown in Week 4 against the Giants, which saved his stat line. He finished the game with four catches for 58 yards and a touchdown, but prior to scoring in the fourth quarter he had three catches for 34 yards. He has yet to top eight targets in a game, and the Titans secondary is legit. DeAndre Hopkins is the lone receiver to reach double digits in Fantasy points against Tennessee, including matchups with Antonio Brown, Andre Johnson and Eddie Royal. We mention Royal because he came into that game with five touchdowns in his previous two outings, and the Titans shut him down. They should do the same with Bowe.
Mike Wallace (vs. BAL): Which Wallace will show up this week? The one who had a monster game at the Colts in Week 2 with nine catches for 115 yards and a touchdown? Or the one who's combined for five Fantasy points in his other three games? Based on the small sample size you have to assume the latter, and it's time to consider benching Wallace. The Ravens have allowed just one receiver to reach double digits in Fantasy points since their Week 1 debacle at Denver, including matchups with Andre Johnson and Steve Johnson. Wallace also has just one touchdown in his past five meetings against Baltimore when he was with Pittsburgh, and last year he combined for nine catches and 68 yards against the Ravens in two games. It's tough to trust him this week.
Nate Washington (vs. KC): Washington has been great the past two games with 12 catches for 236 yards and two touchdowns on 18 targets, and he gave the Titans a spark in their passing game with Kenny Britt struggling. But his magical run is about to end. Locker is out, and we're not expecting Ryan Fitzpatrick to help Washington remain hot. This is also a tough matchup against the Chiefs, especially if Brandon Flowers (knee) is back after being out in Week 4. Kansas City has held Shorts, DeSean Jackson and Nicks to a combined 13 Fantasy points. Now, Bryant and Victor Cruz each had at least 20 Fantasy points against the Chiefs, but Washington with Fitzpatrick isn't at that level. And Britt's potential return this week from being inactive in Week 4 will cut into Washington's targets.
Bust alert: Steve Smith (at ARI): The last time Smith faced the Cardinals in Arizona was Week 1 of 2011. It was Newton's first start, and Smith had a monster game with eight catches for 178 yards and two touchdowns. Flash forward to Week 5 of this year, and Smith has barely matched the total from that outing through three games. He comes into this rematch with 14 catches for 143 yards and one target on the season, and this is a tough matchup for him. The Cardinals have allowed one receiver to reach double digits in Fantasy points, which was Calvin Johnson in Week 2, and only Johnson and Mike Williams have scored against this defense. Arizona cornerback Patrick Peterson should match up with Smith, who hasn't topped eight Fantasy points in his past three games following a bye. He's a No. 3 Fantasy receiver at best this week.
Greg Olsen (at ARI): The Cardinals have faced two tight ends of note this season in Jared Cook in Week 1 and Jimmy Graham in Week 3. They combined for 16 catches for 275 yards and four touchdowns. Olsen, hopefully, will be another tight end to dominate Arizona. He has only one game this season with double digits in Fantasy points, but he's been a consistent target for Newton with an average of eight each week. He also once crushed the Cardinals with three touchdowns in 2009 when he was playing for the Bears.
Martellus Bennett (vs. NO): I'm not sure what more Bennett has to do to prove he's a must-start Fantasy tight end in all leagues, but he's been stellar so far this season. He has at least nine Fantasy points in three of four games, and PPR owners should be ecstatic with his outing in Week 4 at Detroit with eight catches for 90 yards on 12 targets. The Saints have faced two quality tight ends so far this season in Tony Gonzalez and Charles Clay, and both scored, which means Bennett should have the chance for another productive outing at home.
Jared Cook (vs. JAC): Cook falls in line with a lot of players who must perform well this week in a quality matchup or else they may never start again for Fantasy owners. The Jaguars have been abused by tight ends the past two weeks with Zach Miller and Coby Fleener combining for three touchdowns, and we hope Cook continues their struggles. He had a monster game in Week 1 against Arizona with seven catches for 141 yards and two touchdowns, but he's combined for just nine Fantasy points the past three games. The good news is in his past two games against the Jaguars when he was in Tennessee he had 14 catches for 216 yards and a touchdown.
|Kellen Winslow||(at ATL)||Three tight ends have already scored vs. ATL this season.|
|Dallas Clark||(at MIA)||MIA has already allowed six touchdowns to tight ends this year.|
|Brandon Pettigrew||(at GB)||Had seven catches in his first game without Nate Burleson (arm) last week.|
Owen Daniels (at SF): The 49ers gave up a touchdown to Finley in Week 1, but since then San Francisco has been stout against tight ends. Lance Kendricks scored a late touchdown in Week 4, but Fleener and Cook have combined for six catches for 58 yards the past two games. Daniels played well in Week 4 against Seattle with six catches for 72 yards, but he's now gone two games in a row without a touchdown. Unfortunately, he might extend that streak to three games without finding the end zone.
Tyler Eifert (vs. NE): Eifert has been a major disappointment so far this season, and splitting time with Jermaine Gresham has ruined the start of his rookie campaign. In fact, Gresham (18 catches for 181 yards) has been better than Eifert (12 catches for 159 yards) through four games. Eifert's time will come, but until he plays at a high level he isn't worth owning in most standard leagues. The Patriots were just abused by Gonzalez in Week 4 with 12 catches for 149 yards and two touchdowns, but Eifert will be lucky to score twice this season at this rate.
Brandon Myers (vs. PHI): Myers was great in Week 1 with 12 Fantasy points at Dallas, but since then he's combined for 10 points in his past three games against Denver, Carolina and Kansas City. Even more troubling was he had just one target against the Chiefs in a game the Giants lost by 24 points. The Eagles allowed Antonio Gates to reach double digits in Fantasy points in Week 2, but they held Julius Thomas to four points in Week 4. And no tight end has scored against Philadelphia yet this season. Myers is the lone Giants regular I don't like this week.
Bust alert: Coby Fleener (vs. SEA): Fleener was solid last week with five catches for 77 yards and a touchdown, and he now has double digits in Fantasy points in two of his past three games. But this should be a tough matchup for him. The Seahawks did allow Garrett Graham to score 12 Fantasy points last week, but he's just the third tight end to reach double digits in Fantasy points in the past 20 games against Seattle. The good sign for Fleener is in the two games he excelled this year he had at least seven targets, and the Colts should be forced to throw in this matchup. But the Seahawks know he's a top weapon for Luck, and they should be able to contain him based on their success at defending tight ends.
Falcons (vs. NYJ): The Jets are likely going to be without starting receivers Santonio Holmes (hamstring) and Stephen Hill (concussion) this week. They could be using Jeremy Kerley and Clyde Gates as their top receivers, which isn't exactly intimidating. Geno Smith has 11 turnovers on the season, including seven in two road games. And their offense has topped 20 points just once. The Falcons DST has not played well this year and was dominated by New England in Week 4 with 30 points allowed, no sacks or turnovers. But this is a good week to trust them, especially against a battered Jets team at home. This should easily be the best game for the Falcons DST this season.
Texans (at SF): The Texans DST has been a disappointment for the most part this season, and they rank No. 18 in standard leagues coming into Week 5. They are among the league leaders in sacks with 13, but they have just three turnovers. Brian Cushing (concussion) needs to play to help the Texans this week, but they're facing a rested 49ers team after they played on Thursday in Week 4. Kaepernick does have seven turnovers in his past three games, but we expect him to play better this week with Davis helping Boldin in the passing game. And with Frank Gore running at a high level, the Texans DST should not be started in most leagues on the road in this matchup.
|Josh Brown||vs. PHI|
|Mason Crosby||vs. DET|
|Caleb Sturgis||vs. BAL|
Greg Zuerlein (vs. JAC): Fantasy owners are getting a little frustrated with Zuerlein, and rightfully so. After a big outing in Week 1 against Arizona with four field goals and one extra point for 13 Fantasy points, Zuerlein has combined for 10 points in his past three games. But this could be a good week to post positive stats again. The Jaguars have allowed the past three kickers they have faced in Sebastian Janikowski, Steven Hauschka and Adam Vinatieri to each score at least nine Fantasy points with 35 total points over that span. The Rams offense should have success against the Jaguars, and we expect Zuerlein to have plenty of chances to shine.
Adam Vinatieri (vs. SEA): Vinatieri is having a good stretch of late with at least eight Fantasy points in his past three games. He had a season-high 13 points last week at Jacksonville, but this week is a tough opponent to score against. The Seahawks have yet to allow a kicker to reach double digits in Fantasy points, and last week Randy Bullock was the first kicker with multiple field goals against Seattle. Vinatieri is only 2 of 3 on field goals at home this year against Oakland and Miami, and we're not expecting a big offensive explosion from the Colts this week.
Disclaimer ... … 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 Drew Brees, Adrian Peterson, Calvin Johnson or any other top-tier players. We're here to help you with the tough decisions.