Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em (2014): Week 5: Cam Newton, Sammy Watkins, Rashad Jennings & More

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 – Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh Steelers – at Jacksonville
The Jaguars are simply a team fantasy owners should exploit whenever possible. They are currently allowing the most points to opposing quarterbacks, having yielded 1,377 yards, 11 TD and 1 INT (well ahead of the second worst, the New York Jets, who also should be exploited with Philip Rivers this week). Roethlisberger has thrown 5 TD over his past two games, completing over 72% of his passes in each of those games. Couple the way he’s been playing with the matchup and he should be in store for a big day.

Sit – Cam Newton – Carolina Panthers – vs. Chicago
The matchup is actually promising, but Newton has a lot working against him. First of all, he simply hasn’t been performing this season with 728 yards and 3 TD over three games while rushing for a total of 33 yards. With subpar weapons to begin with, the fact that an undrafted rookie is likely to start in the backfield will allow the Bears to focus on Newton even more (though there has been talk of Jonathan Stewart playing). There’s simply too much working against him this week to trust him.


Running Backs
Start – Rashad Jennings – New York Giants – vs. Atlanta
There is no running back controversy for the Giants, as Andre Williams saw his workload increase in Week 4 due to the short turnaround and nothing more.  Before sharing touches in Week 4 Jennings had produced 96+ total yards in each of the first three games, including a 176 yards explosion in Week 3.  With Atlanta being the worst defense against opposing running backs, including allowing 8 rushing TD, there’s no doubt that Jennings (who gets the goal line touches) is going to be in position to thrive once again.

Start – Chris Ivory – New York Jets – at San Diego
The Jets are going to need to run the football in an effort to keep their pathetic secondary off the field, otherwise Philip Rivers and company are going to rip them apart.  While Chris Johnson did have a big TD run in Week 4, it’s become clear that Ivory is the better player right now (and was backed up by his 19 touches vs. 8 for Johnson in Week 4).  San Diego has also been more prone to pass catching RB, where Ivory has been better over the past three weeks (7 receptions vs. 3 receptions).  He’s a low-end option, but if I was stuck starting a Jets’ running back he’s the one who would get the nod.  Consider him a borderline RB2/definite FLEX option.

Sit – Pierre Thomas – New Orleans Saints – vs. Tampa Bay
Remember when everyone thought he was going to be a great play this season?  Even with Mark Ingram sidelined, he played behind Khiry Robinson & Travaris Cadet in Week 4 totaling 4 touches for 23 yards.  In four games he has 20 carries for 85 yards and 14 receptions for 110 yards, scoring 1 TD.  Over the past three weeks he hasn’t had more than 3 receptions or 51 total yards in a game.  Why should we expect anything to suddenly change?  He’s a TD dependent option, and one too risky to trust at this point.

Sit – Donald Brown – San Diego Chargers – vs. New York Jets
Forced into lead back duties, Brown has been abyssmal with 81 yards on 41 carries over the past two weeks.  With the Jets’ defense being at it’s best against the run this season (including 185 rushing yards and 0 TD allowed) and being so prone to the passing game, look for the Chargers to put the ball in Philip Rivers’ hands and let him throw it early and often.  When coupled with Brown’s struggles, there’s nothing to like there.


Wide Receivers (Two-Receiver Formats)
Start – Vincent Jackson – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – at New Orleans
It’s easy to get discouraged with Jackson, especially considering that he managed just 3 receptions for 32 yards and 1 TD in Mike Glennon’s first start of the year (13 catches for 134 yards and 2 TD on the season).  However, he was targeted 10 times and with Mike Evans sidelined there is no reason to think that the opportunities are going to stop.  The Saints are among the worst defenses against wide receivers, including having allowed a league high 61 receptions (on just 89 targets).  Look for Jackson and Glennon to get more comfortable, with Jackson stepping up and producing the big numbers expected of him.

Sit – Sammy Watkins – Buffalo Bills – at Detroit
With the change to Kyle Orton coming, you have to think that the focus is going to be even more on the running back duo of CJ Spiller & Fred Jackson.  As it is, Detroit has been among the best defenses against opposing wide receivers so this appears to be a little bit too risky of a proposition.


Wide Receivers (Three-Receiver Formats)
Start – Brian Quick – St. Louis Rams – at Philadelphia

The Eagles have been among the worst teams at stopping opposing wide receivers, allowing 751 yards and 5 TD. Quick, meanwhile, has been by far the Rams best receiver with 16 receptions for 235 yards and 1 TD. While the team does have a number of alternatives, there’s no reason to think Quick won’t continue to be the leader.

Sit – Torrey Smith – Baltimore Ravens – at Indianapolis
Steve Smith is the clear top option, as Torrey Smith has just 8 receptions on 22 targets (Steve Smith has been targeted 45 times). He’s been all bust and no boom so far and, until he shows something, simply can’t be trusted.


Tight Ends
Start – Jordan Cameron – Cleveland Browns – at Tennessee
He struggled in Week 3 (1 reception on 3 targets), but don’t read too much into that. The Titans have allowed 3 TD to opposing tight ends and Cameron should remain one of the team’s top passing options. Don’t sour on him so quickly.

Sit – Dwayne Allen/Coby Fleener – Indianapolis Colts – vs. Baltimore
The matchup is appealing, but who is going to get the ball thrown to them? On the season Allen has 15 targets and Fleener 19, meaning they truly are splitting the tight end targets. While they have combined for 5 TD, that’s hardly a guarantee to continue. Considering they are TD dependent and there are numerous alternatives this week, there’s a bit too much risk involved.

Sources – ESPN,

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

Sunday Morning Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em: Arian Foster, Reggie Bush, Ben Tate & More
Sunday Morning Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em: Doug Martin, Arian Foster, T.Y. Hilton & More


  1. michael says:

    For my RB2 position in a PPR league, who would you start?

    Chris Ivory @ SD
    Jerrick McKinnon @ GB
    Zac Stacy @ PHI
    Ahmad Bradshaw vs BAL


  2. LP says:

    Hey Prof,

    Need to start one of these RB’s in RB@ spot. Chris Johnson, Darren Sproles, or Joquie Bell?


  3. michael – I’d go Stacy as my top choice, with Ivory as my #2 option

    LP – Ugh… I’d probably go Sproles, with Johnson just behind, but don’t love any of them

  4. LER says:

    Nick Foles or Joe Flacco?

  5. S says:

    Drop Eddie Royal to pick up Brian Quick for this weekend? what about for the season?

  6. LER – I’d go Flacco, but it’s a coinflip really

    S – I’d say Quick long-term since he could be the team’s top option. As for this week, same thing. It’s not like Philadelphia’s defense against opposing WR has been good and he’s been the best WR on his team.

  7. ScottO says:

    Looking to fill my RB2 and Flex(WR/RB). I have switched it around a bunch and just haven’t the found the combo I am happy with. The league is .5 PPR. Here’s who I got, Please Help.

    Justin Forsett
    Khiry Robinson
    Matt Asiata
    Ahmad Bradshaw
    Reggie Bush
    Reggie Wayne
    Eric Decker

    • I know a lot of people are all about Asiata tonight, I’m not though. He needs touches and TD, and neither are a guarantee. It’s not that he’s a bad option, but a risky one.

      I’d wait and see how the news breaks the rest of the week. If Joique Bell is out (looking that way), I’d use Bush despite the tough matchup. For the other slot I’d use one of Robinson/Bradshaw (depending on if the latter is healthy or not)

  8. Zach says:

    1 Wr and 1 flex: choose 2 please – Sammy Watkins, Brian Quick, D Sproles and Allen Hurns. Thanks!

  9. Zach says:

    PS it’s a PPR league

  10. Zach says:

    How do you think AJ Green will do in his first matchup with Revis? Will he get off the island?

  11. Paul says:

    Hey Professor,who would you rather have as your FLEX in a PPR league (1pt per rec)?

    C.J. Spiller
    Justin Forsett
    Brian Quick
    Antonio Gates

    I also read your article on RB’s, and you have Forsett over Ivory. I was just curious on your thoughts behind that?

    • That was Ray, not me. I actually am a big fan of Ivory this week.

      It all depends on your risk tolerance, because Forsett has been solid but he is hardly a guarantee. I’d actually lean Quick, who is the top receiver on his team and has a great matchup

  12. Jaime says:

    Hey Professor… Need some help:

    Start 2
    R. Bush, Ivory, stacy

    Start 2
    Watkins, quick, desean, TY

    I could also use one in Flex. I have AJ already filling one WR spot. 1 pt PPR.


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