Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em: Week 5: Cam Newton, Fred Jackson, Malcolm Floyd & More

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 – Cam Newton – Carolina Panthers – vs. Seattle
Do we really need to make a point of saying Newton should be started? I know there are a lot of frustrated owners who may look at this matchup and get skiddish, though. While Newton hasn’t lived up to expectations he showed last week why he has to be a must use option regardless. After rushing for 86 yards and a touchdown (his third straight game with a rushing TD), it’s obvious that he can almost always find a way to produce.

Sit – Ryan Tannehill – Miami Dolphins – at Cincinnati
I know he is coming off a huge week, but that’s the type of trap you want to avoid. Tannehill is still a rookie, which means inconsistency could easily reign supreme. Throw in a solid Bengals defense and you should avoid the hype.

Running Backs
Start – Ryan Mathews – San Diego Chargers – at New Orleans
NFL depth charts can often be a bit of a farce, so I wouldn’t read anything into Jackie Battle being listed as the starter. Is he going to get touches? Absolutely, but you have sent your message to Mathews and now it is time to win football games. Which back is more talented and gives you the best chance? The answer is clearly Mathews and I would expect his presence to increase dramatically this week. Taking on the worst rushing defense in the league, don’t avoid him because of the clamor over the depth chart.  He should still get ample opportunities and, at the end of the day, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Mathews get more carries than Battle.

Start – Ben Tate – Houston Texans – at New York Jets
He’s not the top back on his team, but against the Jets Swiss cheese defense that can’t make a tackle, there should be more than enough opportunities to go around. While I would consider more of a FLEX play, he is a viable option as a low-end RB2 regardless.  The Texans are a run first team and often utilize both of their backs.  It’s not generally recommended to use a “second” back, but depending on your other options there is nothing wrong with it this week.

Sit – Fred Jackson – Buffalo Bills – at San Francisco
There are three easy reasons to avoid Jackson:

  1. He struggled in his return to the lineup
  2. C.J. spiller, who is the more dynamic back, was healthy enough to play and is only going to get healthier
  3. He faces the San Francisco 49ers

Pretty simple, isn’t it?

Sit – Pittsburgh Steelers running backs – vs. Philadelphia
With Rashard Mendenhall set to return, this situation is an unpredictable mess. Until it cleans itself up, there’s too much risk to trust anyone.  While Mendenhall may get the bulk of the carries, the Steelers could look to ease him back into the mix.  That risk will likely keep him on fantasy benches, depending on your other options.

Wide Receivers (Two-Receiver Formats)
Start – Malcolm Floyd – San Diego Chargers – at New Orleans
The numbers have not been great, especially in Week 4 where he was targeted just twice. That said, the Saints defense is just bad all around. While Ryan Mathews should get ample opportunities to run, I also think Floyd and company could get healthy throwing the ball (especially if the Saints offense clicks). He’s not a top option, but a viable one as a WR2.

Sit – Michael Crabtree – San Francisco 49ers – vs. Buffalo
San Francisco is a run first offense and, when they do pass the ball, is there any guarantee it goes to Crabtree? Way too much risk involved in trusting him in shallower formats.

Wide Receivers (Three-Receiver Formats)
Start – Andrew Hawkins – Cincinnati Bengals – vs. Miami
While he has been hit or miss, at times, the Dolphins are allowing nearly 300 passing yards per game. I would expect Andy Dalton, A.J. Green and Hawkins all to light it up this week.

Sit – Kenny Britt – Tennessee Titans – at Minnesota
Still battling injuries, there is no guarantee he even plays. Throw in the injury to Jake Locker and a tough matchup and this is a situation to avoid. Hopefully Britt gets healthy quickly, as fantasy owners are waiting extremely impatiently.  For now, we’ll have to turn to other options.

Make sure to check out all of our Week 5 rankings:

Sunday Morning Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em: Week 5: Aaron Hernandez, Pierre Garcon & More
Thursday Night Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em: Cardinals vs. Rams: Danny Amendola, Ryan Williams & More


  1. Randy says:

    Whose value do you like more ROS in a standard league, Ryan Williams or Jonathan Stewart? Thanks!

  2. Phillysnowball Thrower says:

    Not so simple as you think. First of all I have to start Fred Jackson because of byes unless I would have made the mistake of playing of Ryan Williams. Thank God I didn’t. I could pick Andre Brown. I am not. So while McFadden and LeShoure are on byes I am playing Freddy. Now you say Spiller is the more dynamic back. I won’t argue that but all the language from Buffalo still says Jackson is at the very least at this moment 60/40 time share. For his first performance last week I actually consider encouraging. Yes the 49ers are that good against the run. This year there are actually several noted good run defenses. Just off the top of my head…Vikings, Dolphins, Bears, Eagles, Texans, Cardinals, Ravens, Giants and probably a couple more. I say start the better choices despite the match ups this year above all years in the past. The alternatives are weaker and fewer this year. Spiller has the same match up . So why isn’t Spiller in the sit ems? Unless you have Rice or Foster where is a good match up this weekend? Maybe Benson. I am not confident of even McCoy this weekend. Certainly not confident of Green Ellis, the Carolina backs, and even Alf is going to be tested here.

  3. Nick Tenaglia says:

    Both Jonathan Stewart and Ben Tate were dropped in my league.
    1. Who is the better pick up in place of Andre Brown?
    2. Is that guy going to be a better play this week than Jeremy Maclin?
    3. Should I drop Andre Roberts in place of the other RB that I don’t pick up? (My WRs are Cruz, Colston and Maclin)

  4. Phillysnowball – The reason I don’t consider Spiller a “sit” is because of his ability to perform in the passing game. Like you said, SF is a very good run defense, but Spiller’s advantage is that he could have more opportunities.

    1) I like Stewart better ROS; if Tate is healthy I like him better for Week 5, though
    2) Depends on health for Tate, but yes
    3)Eh, while I would love to have both, kind of leaves you thin at WR long-term

  5. muddy cleats 18 says:

    Jones,Nelson,Wayne,Torrey Smith and Antonio Brown – need to start 3…
    Jaquizz Rodgers, Green-Ellis or Battle – start 2…
    Seahawks or Giants def – there is no negative scoring for points allowed….
    Jerome Simpson or James Jones….

  6. Sean says:

    Do you think Fred Jackson or Jackie Battle would be the better choice this week? It’s a standard scoring league with 1qb 3wr 2rb 1te 1 kicker and 1defence. Facing byes, I had already played kolb, Fitzgerald, and zuerlein, all three of them netting me a grand total of 26 points. I need whichever one, f-jax, or jackie battle will probably get me more points. This usually would be an easy choice, but with Jackson going against the 49ers while sharing carries with spiller, and battle facing New Orleans and slated to start, I just don’t know. Thanks.

  7. Moreno says:

    Hello Professor.
    After making what I believe to be a sweet trade (Victor Cruz for Adrian Peterson) I am now struggling for a W3. I have D Bowe and R White, but am indecisive about who to start from the following as my third this week: Justin Blackmon, Jerome Simpson, or Jeremy Kerley?

  8. muddy cleats:
    WR – I assume it’s Julio Jones, so I’d go Jones, Smith & Nelson
    RB – Green-Ellis & Battle
    D – It’s a coinflip, but I would probably go Giants

    Sean – It really is a tough call, but based on the news and the talk of Mathews/Battle splitting (though I still prefer Mathews), I think Battle has a better chance to get points. If you are looking for the risky play, he’s your guy.

    Moreno – I believe I answered this in another thread, but Simpson for me

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