by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Trying to decide who you should start or sit this week? Let’s take a look at a few potential decisions owners have and try to sort through them:
Start – Carson Wentz – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. Arizona
After putting up 250 yards or less in each of the past two weeks, while throwing for 1 TD per week, it would be easy to ignore Wentz. The Cardinals are in the bottom half of the league in points allowed per week to opposing quarterbacks, and that’s despite facing the Colts and 49ers. That’s not to say that they aren’t a talented group, but at the same time Philadelphia will have an opportunity to produce through the air. Wentz will also be playing at home, where he played significantly better last season:
- Home – 64.8% completion rate, 9 TD, 5 INT
- Road – 60.4% completion rate, 7 TD, 9 INT
This would be a good opportunity to utilize Wentz, especially with the bye weeks causing trouble in setting our lineups.
Sit – Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh Steelers – at Jacksonville
The Jaguars are giving up the fewest points per week against opposing quarterbacks, and that’s because they have been so porous against the run (third most points per week to opposing RB). That should mean another Le’Veon Bell-centric attack (he took 35 carries for 144 yards and 2 TD in Week 4), and limited chances for Roethlisberger to make big plays. He’s coming off a week where he threw for 216 yards and has a season high of 263 (back in Week 1). Throw in that he brings no value with his legs (7 carries for -5 yards) and unless you have no other alternatives the risk far outweighs the reward.
Start – Marshawn Lynch – Oakland Raiders – vs. Baltimore
Lynch has been a bit of a disappointment in his return to the NFL, averaging 3.4 yards per carry over his first four games and really limping as of late (15 carries for 30 yards over the past two weeks). Of course one of those games came against the dominant Denver defense, and Washington has been very good as well. Things are different for Week 5, where everything seems to be working in his favor:
- The loss of Derek Carr should lead to more rushing attempts
- Baltimore is traveling across the country
- Baltimore has allowed the fifth most points per week to opposing RB, including the sixth most rushing yards (455 and 3 TD)
Start – Latavius Murray – Minnesota Vikings – at Chicago
The loss of Dalvin Cook should mean an opportunity for Murray, who draws a favorable matchup in his first start. While he’s still working his way back from his ankle injury and may not be at full strength, he should see the bulk of the early down/short yardage work. Against a Bears’ defense that’s allowed 4 rushing TD (tied for second most in the league), there’s a good chance that he hits the ground running. He’s not going to be a RB1, but he’s a viable RB2/must use FLEX option.
Sit – Andre Ellington – Arizona Cardinals – at Philadelphia
While it’s becoming obvious that Ellington is the best option in the Arizona backfield, that doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s going to get the bulk of the touches. He seems destined to share things with Chris Johnson, and while he saw 14 targets in Week 4 it’s hard to imagine that being replicated as the wide receiving corps gets healthy. Throw in that the Eagles have done a good job at stopping opposing running backs, including just 16 receptions, and Ellington is a FLEX option at best (and a riskier one at that).
Sit – D’Onta Foreman – Houston Texans – vs. Kansas City
Foreman has started eating into the touches of Lamar Miller, including 13 carries in Week 4, though he hasn’t been particularly productive. He has 34 carries for 114 yards (3.4 yards/carry) and managed just 2 receptions (and they came in the same game). The Chiefs also aren’t an ideal matchup, and with the potential for Deshaun Watson to be given more opportunities he’s an obvious sit.
Wide Receivers (Two-Receiver Formats)
Start – Devante Parker – Miami Dolphins – vs. Tennessee
While Parker has scored 1 TD in his first three games, he’s been targeted at least 8 times each week and has turned them into 69+ yards (18 receptions for 230 yards). Tennessee has allowed 8 TD to opposing wide receivers, most in the league (no one else has allowed more than 6), and Parker offers the most potential to find the end zone from Miami’s receiving corps. You could argue him as a borderline WR1.
Sit – Sammy Watkins – Los Angeles Rams – vs. Seattle
The Seahawks may not be the same defense that they once were, but they’ve still done a good job of shutting down opposing wide receivers. That alone would scare us off from Watkins, and despite the Rams offense coming together Watkins has been targeted twice in two of the four games (16 total targets) and only has one big day (106 yards and 2 TD in Week 3 against the 49ers). There’s far too much risk involved.
Wide Receivers (Three-Receiver Formats)
Start – Devin Funchess – Carolina Panthers – at Detroit
Kelvin Benjamin is banged up, and while he did play in Week 4 you still have to wonder if he will be limited. Funchess has often had issues with efficiency, but he’s coming off a day where he turned 9 targets into 7 receptions, 70 yards and 2 TD. We can’t expect the TD, but the opportunities should still be there against a defense that has allowed the eighth most receptions to opposing wide receivers through four weeks (51 receptions for 605 yards).
Sit – Marqise Lee/Allen Hurns – Jacksonville Jaguars – at Pittsburgh
The Jaguars offense is based around Leonard Fournette, with the team’s “top” two receivers combining for 29 receptions, 345 yards and 2 TD. Couple those uninspiring numbers with a road matchup against a defense that’s allowed the fourth fewest receptions to opposing wide receivers (35 for 339 yards and 2 TD) and this duo should be avoided.
Start – Hunter Henry – Los Angeles Chargers – at New York Giants
He’s the epitome of a boom or bust player thus far, and also will have to contend with Antonio Gates who could syphon off some of the tight end opportunities. That said the Giants have been the worst defense against opposing tight ends, including 5 TD allowed. It’s only going to take one big play for Henry to register a usable performance, and there’s a good chance he provides more than just one.
Sit – Jack Doyle – Indianapolis Colts – vs. San Francisco
The 49ers have allowed 10 receptions and 77 yards to opposing tight ends this season. Combine that with some underwhelming performances from Doyle, who has a total of 43 yards over the past two weeks and 17 receptions, 163 yards and 0 TD overall, and this is an easy situation to avoid. Even with the bye weeks, there are better opportunities to try and exploit.
Sources – ESPN, NFL.com
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Make sure to check out all of our Week 5 rankings: