by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Just hours before the start of Week 5 (for most teams anyways) I know many people have questions running through their heads. Who should I start? Who should I sit? Let’s take a look at how some of the recent news changes things:
Chris Johnson – Running Back – Tennessee Titans
According to Paul Kuharsky (via Twitter):
“Loggains: People are keeping CJ in by forcing him to pass protect, but #Titans need to get him more involved in pass game.”
Loggains is the Titans’ offensive coordinator. Johnson did see an increase in receptions in Week 5, with 4 receptions for 63 yards and a touchdown. He has 38 total rushing yards the last two weeks, but he also has had difficult matchups (Jets and Chiefs).
It’s not like the matchups are getting any easier, with the Seahawks this week and the 49ers next week. Fantasy owners are going to have to remain patient and hope that he can make up the yards in the passing game, though that’s hardly a guarantee. Consider him a very risky RB2 and should only be used if you don’t have a more trustworthy option.
Colin Kaepernick – Quarterback – San Francisco 49ers
Matthew Berry of ESPN (click here for his article) provided this great little tidbit about the Arizona defense and Kaepernick:
“Arizona’s defense is better than you think and they blitz on the second-most dropbacks in the league. Why is this important, you ask? Kaepernick has completed only 24 percent of his passes under pressure this season, 33rd among 34 qualified quarterbacks.”
Kaepernick also popped up on the injury report this week with a foot ailment, just adding to the issues. He continues to struggle, with under 175 passing yards in four straight games and 22 rushing yards or fewer in four out of five this season. There’s too much working against him to trust him this week, unless you don’t have a viable alternative.
Marshawn Lynch – Running Back – Seattle Seahawks
He’s listed as questionable and didn’t practice on Friday, but Adam Schefter (via Twitter) is reporting:
“Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch, listed as questionable with a hip injury, is expected to start to Sunday vs. Tennessee.”
He’s a must use in all formats, barring a last minute turn of events. Monitor the news, just in case, but plan on using him.
Garrett Graham – Tight End – Houston Texans
Owen Daniels is out and Andre Johnson is questionable. As it is Graham has 15 receptions and 3 TD (on 21 targets this season) and should pick up a big chunk of Daniels’ looks (Daniels has been targeted 40 times and scored 3 TD). While he hasn’t earned the trust that some of the upper echelon TE have and he has to deal with Matt Schaub throwing him the football, Graham should be considered a viable TE1 at this point. Depending on your other options, he’s worth using.
Zac Stacy – Running Back – St. Louis Rams
He’s been limited in practice, but after impressing in his first start (78 yards on 14 carries before being forced out due to injury) he’s fully expected to start once again this week. Taking on a Texans’ defense that has allowed the fourth most rushing yards per game (126.0), Stacy is a pretty good gamble in all formats. He’s a RB2/FLEX, but one that’s worth using.
Miles Austin – Wide Receiver – Dallas Cowboys
After missing two weeks with a hamstring injury, Austin is listed as probable and fully expected to play against the Redskins. How much he plays, however, is a different issue. In his absence Terrence Williams caught 11 passes for 222 yards and a touchdown, so he obviously should continue to play a major role. While the matchup is attractive, Austin shouldn’t be considered more than a risky WR3 due to the unknown at this point.
C.J. Spiller – Running Back – Buffalo Bills
He’s been banged up and is listed as questionable for today against the Bengals. The matchup isn’t ideal (Cincinnati is allowing 95.6 rushing yards per game and 2 TD) and Fred Jackson is going to continue to play a significant role. We all know Spiller has the upside of one of the elite, but can we really trust him? Between the injury, the matchup and the alternatives he is more of a low-end RB2 and it depends on your alternatives to determine if you are going to roll the dice on him.
Andre Johnson – Wide Receiver – Houston Texans
It’s been one injury after another for Johnson, but all signs point to him playing this week. While Houston’s passing game has been questionable behind Matt Schaub, the Rams have allowed 11 passing TD and Johnson should be the primary target with Owen Daniels out. With a 1 PM EST start time owners will know in plenty of time to make a change, but if he dresses he’s a must start. At this point plan on using him.
Rob Gronkowski – Tight End – New England Patriots
At one point it seemed like a lock that Gronkowski was going to play, but now it appears extremely unlikely. With a 4:25 start time against the Saints, fantasy owners may not know definitively prior to setting their lineups early this afternoon. Considering you have gone five weeks without him you obviously have a viable alternative, so you likely will want to leave Gronkowski on your bench for another week.
Make sure to check out all of our Week 6 Rankings: