Week 5 of the NFL season is hitting a lot of fantasy teams hard because the Lions, Cowboys, Raiders and Buccaneers are all on a bye this week. That means you will have to find replacements for Tony Romo, Miles Austin, Dez Bryant, Darren McFadden, Calvin Johnson, Matthew Stafford, etc., and the waiver wire has been picked clean. And, to make it worse, Greg Jennings will miss week 5 due to a lingering groin problem. Hopefully, you had a chance to check out the work of James Morris and Jon Cope earlier this week as they wrote about possible waiver wire additions on Monday and on Wednesday.Without further ado, we turn to our fantasy guru, James Morris, for his weekly lineup advice heading into week 5 of the fantasy season:
Injury news: St. Louis Rams WR Danny Amendola sustained an injury on Thursday night and could miss significant time. Some leagues have an IR slot, and he can be stashed there until he returns. If your league doesn’t have an IR slot, you will have to look at the waiver wire and really think about keeping him or cutting him lose.
Joe Flacco – QB Ravens: I normally don’t want Flacco anywhere near my starting line-up because he just doesn’t produce sexy fantasy numbers. There is a difference between NFL value and fantasy football value. But, this week he faces a Kansas City Chiefs defense that is giving up the 7th most fantasy points (24.0 PPG) to QBs. I have Flacco just inside my top 10 fantasy QBs this week.
Andrew Luck – QB Colts: In his first 3 games of his NFL career, Luck has managed to throw for 300 yards twice, and he has a total of 5 TDs to his credit. Yes, the loss of his Head Coach worries me a little, but Bruce Arians will continue calling the offensive plays, so little to nothing should change. Luck is a fine bye week replacement.
Matt Forte – RB Bears: There are a lot of questions surrounding Forte because Michael Bush has been a TD vulture thus far, and Forte is still a little dinged up. Well, the Jaguars are giving up the 3rd most fantasy points to RBs (27.5 PPG) in standard scoring, and the 4th most in PPR formats at 33.0 PPG. I really like Forte as a top 10 RB this weekend.
Reggie Bush – RB Dolphins: There have been a lot of questions surrounding Bush as he is dealing with hip and knee problems the last two weeks. However, he was a full participant in Thursday’s practice and the Bengals allow the 10th most points to RBs at 22.5 PPG. I would start Bush as a RB1 with confidence and ride him until the wheels fall off!
Torrey Smith – WR Ravens: Remember what I said about Flacco earlier, all the same stuff applies to Smith here. The guy has everything going for him this weekend and should finish as a low-end WR1/high-end WR2. I don’t think 100 yards and a score or two is out of reach.
Brian Hartline – WR Dolphins: Hartline isn’t flying under the radar anymore, as he is ranked #1 in the NFL for receiving yards with 455, and is currently #7 in NFL.com PPR scoring with 76.50 fantasy points. The Bengals are currently ranked #10 in points allowed to WRs at 29.6 PPG, but Hartline and Ryan Tannehill have a great relationship and are turning heads around the league.
Martellus Bennett – TE Giants: Bennett was a major let down last week (1 catch for 2 yards), but I think he bounces back to TE1 status this week against the Browns. Eli Manning is an elite QB, and knows how to use his TE in the passing game. I would look for about 65 yards and a possible TD. Tight End in fantasy football is very much a feast or famine position, so even 65 yards and no TD is still going to be a low-end TE1 most weeks.
Chicago Bears defense: Outside of Maurice Jones-Drew, there isn’t a single positive I can come up with for the Jaguars offense. Couple that with how well the Bears defense in playing right now (#1 ranked defense in NFL.com scoring), and you have a recipe for a huge fantasy point weekend from the Bears in week 5.
Christian Ponder – QB Vikings: I have received more questions about starting Ponder this week than any other QB in the NFL. No, I don’t like him as a starter even with him facing a Titans defense that allows the 4th most fantasy points to QBs at 24.9 PPG. Ponder has two straight games with less than 200 yards passing (111 and no TDs in week 4), and he has yet to hit the 300 yard mark this season. I just don’t trust him and have him in the #15-17 range for fantasy QBs this week. And yes, I do own Ponder in the Miami Dolphins fan’s league on NFL.com… just my luck!
Alex Smith – QB 49ers: NFL.com has Smith projecting out as the #14 QB this week, despite the fact that he is currently ranked #20 for QBs this season. So, even though he is averaging 14.54 PPG in NFL.com scoring, he is now going to score 20.84 points in week 5? Just so everyone knows, it would take about 250 yards passing and 2 TDs to get to 20 points, and he has yet to hit that mark this season. I love NFL.com leagues, but the projections are off in my opinion. I see him getting closer to 200 yards passing and a single TD this weekend.
Rashard Mendenhall – RB Steelers: Simply put, it is just too soon to play Mendenhall in fantasy leagues. I would rather miss one good game from a player coming off a major injury, and in his first game back, than sit your current start and leave those points on the bench. I don’t see the Steelers giving him more than 15 touches this weekend, and the Eagles are ranked #6 in points to RBs this season with just 12.2 PPG.
Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller – RBs Bills: Beyond the fact that these two are in a true RBBC, they are also facing a 49ers defense that just humiliated the entire New York Jets offense. I wouldn’t touch either of these two with a 10-foot pole this week, and neither should you.
Justin Blackmon – WR Jaguars: There was a lot of chatter from one major fantasy sports outlet last week when Blackmon hauled in 6 passes for 48 yards. You do know that is just 8 YPC right? Beyond that, CB Tim Jennings of the Chicago Bears was just named the NFC Defensive Player of the Month for September. The rookie is owned in 65 percent of NFL.com leagues, and many of you are thinking of starting him with your regular starters on a bye this week. Please, think again!
Kenny Britt – WR Titans: Look, Britt has two major problems heading into week 5. 1) Matt Hasselbeck has some serious arm strength concerns, and 2) even the coaching staff thinks Britt should be doing more in practice (ankle). I’m not even sold on Britt playing this week, so it is better to just find other alternatives and let someone else deal with his headache.
Scott Chandler – TE Bills: Everyone freaked out last week over Chandler’s 2 TDs, but you should be aware and beware with him this week. Chandler is going to be a rollercoaster ride with fantasy points this season, so he is not someone I recommend playing as an every week starter. You will have to pick and choose where you play him, and this week is one you definitely want to sit him in.
New York Jets defense: Despite losing major pieces on both offense and defense, 79.1 percent of people still own the Jets defense, and 68.0 percent of people are starting them each week. This week they go up against a Texans offense that features the games top RB (Arian Foster) and a top tier WR in Andre Johnson. The Jets defense is a sinking ship, and I would get out before you lose any more games due to poor performance.
Question of the week
Q: I saw on your Q&A Finsiders, that you would drop any NY Jets player. I just dropped Santonio Holmes and added Brian Hartline off the waiver wire. I still have Shonn Greene. Should I drop Greene? Some of the available RBs are Brandon Bolden, Jacquizz Rodgers, Joique Bell, Danny Woodhead, & Isaac Redman. (Tim Arnold)
A: Thanks for reading it! I wouldn’t cut Greene for any of those guys. If Ryan Williams is available, then I would for him. The problem is that Greene is the #1 RB for the Jets, so you can’t cut him. But, he is averaging just 2.8 YPC… so you can’t play him either. If that is all you have on you wire, and Williams isn’t available… you will have to wait for an injury and then be quick on the trigger to get the back-up.
Check back Sunday morning, for late-breaking fantasy injury updates.
Also, for more fantasy guidance, follow James on Twitter here.
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.