Fantasy Football Week 5: Sunday Morning Start or Sit Thoughts

Just hours before the start of Week 3, I know many people have questions running through their heads.  Who should I start?  Who should I sit?

Let’s take a look at a few situations to try and settle things:

Mike Tolbert – San Diego Chargers – at Oakland
In a recent Q & A on the San Diego Union-Tribune (click here to view), Kevin Acee said that he expects Ryan Mathews “Probably not starting, but I expect he’ll get 10-15 carries and a couple catches if all goes to plan. His ankle kept him out of part of Friday’s practice. He is still wearing the elbow wrap, but that’s not a concern.”

That’s more of a limited duty, meaning that Tolbert, who has had at least 16 carries each of the past three weeks, should once again see plenty of action.  Expect the Chargers to go with the hot hand, meaning both players culd have value as a QB2 in all formats.

Then consider that the Raiders rushing defense is among the worst in the league:

  • They are allowing 162.0 rushing yards per game (second worst in the league)
  • They have allowed 5 rushing TD (third worst in the league)
  • They have allowed 7 rushes of at least 20 yards (worst in the league)

Tolbert is one of 11 players with at least three rushes of 20 yards or more, so it certainly would appear likely that, even if Mathews does get 10 carries, he is going to be worth using.  Depending on your other options, don’t shy away from him as a RB2.

Ahmad Bradshaw – New York Giants – at Houston
I’m not about to say that he’s not worth using, but at this point you have to consider him a low-end RB2, at best.  There are just several factors working against him:

  1. He was “limited” in practice all week due to an ankle injury.
  2. Lead blocker Madison Hedgecock is out.  Also out is center Shaun O’Hara, so you have to wonder how many holes the Giants will be able to open up.
  3. The Texans passing defense is the worst in the league, allowing 337.8 passing yards per game.  Given the weapons the Giants have on the outside, it shouldn’t be a surprise to see them almost abandon the run at times.

Bradshaw was banged up all year in 2009 and still delivered, so unless something drastically changes towards game time you will want him active, depending on the other options you have available.  He’s far from a must start in Week 5.

Kevin Walter – Houston Texans – vs. New York Giants
It has not yet become official that Jacoby Jones will miss today’s game, but it certainly is looking like that.  He’s listed as doubtful and didn’t practice this week.

The game has the potential to break down into a shootout, and if the Texans offensive line can contain the Giants pass rush, Jones is going to have a chance to make plays.  The Giants secondary is improved from 2009, but it is unlikely that they can contain both Andre Johnson and Walter if Matt Schaub is given enough time.

He’s a definite play as a WR3, but also could be usable as a low-end WR2 depending on your other options.

What are your thoughts on these three players?  Would you play or bench them?  Why or why not?

Make sure to check out the rest of our Week 5 Rankings:

Start 'Em or Sit 'Em: Week 6
Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em: Week 5

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