Week 5 is underway and it’s time to make all your lineup decisions. Check out the latest injury report, positional rankings, and then make your call. Before you do though, here’s some players that I think are in line for above-average or below-average weeks due to the team their facing.
Quarterbacks to Start
Christian Ponder-Minnesota Vikings: Ponder has had some solid weeks already this year and faces a Titans defense that has been torched by the pass all season. Only the Raiders have given up more points to opposing QBs and only the Saints have allowed more total yards. Ponder’s knee injury caused some concern mid-week, but it looks like he’ll be fine and not limited as the Vikings host the Titans. Ponder makes a solid QB2 or can even be started if you own one of the QBs on a bye this week.
Other nice matchups: Joe Flacco vs Kansas City, Alex Smith vs Buffalo.
Quarterbacks to Sit
Cam Newton-Carolina Panters: Newton and the Panthers have been struggling and now host a Seattle defense hungry after losing to the Rams. Seattle can rush the passer and should be able to contain Newton giving Cam another rough start. Check your other options before just plugging Newton in because you drafted him high. Seattle is in the top 10 in pass defense, second in total defense, and seventh in sacks per game.
Other matchups to avoid: Ben Roethlisberger vs Philadelphia, Matt Schaub at New York Jets. (Schaub just won’t be needed to throw much against a struggling Jets team.)
Running Backs to Start
Ryan Mathews-San Diego Chargers: Don’t be fooled by his time-share last week, Mathews is still the top back for the Bolts. I think he’s in for a big game against the Saints who are allowing an average of 186.8 yards a game and giving up over 26 points a week to opposing backs in standard scoring. Even if he does share time with Jackie Battle, Mathews should be in for a nice bounce back week so make sure he’s in your lineup.
Other nice matchups: Marshawn Lynch vs Carolina. Matt Forte at Jacksonville, Reggie Bush at Cincinnati.
Running Backs to Sit
BenJarvus Green-Ellis-Cincinnati Bengals: Cincinnati hosts Miami the top-rated rushing defense in the league allowing just 56.8 yards per game. The Benglas should be able to move the ball through the air and Andy Dalton should connect on plenty of short passes, but the Law Firm may be closed for business this Sunday.
Other matchups to avoid: Willis McGahee at New England, C.J. Spiller/Fred Jackson vs San Francisco.
Wide Receivers to Start
Jordy Nelson-Green Bay Packers: With Greg Jennings still sidelined, I think Aaron Rodgers will work Jordy back into the passing game against a Colts defense that is in the top six in fantasy points allowed to opposing wide receivers. Nelson seems primed for a big game and against the Colts corners he should be able to use his speed and hands to look like a true #1 this week in Indy.
Other nice matchups: Julio Jones at Washington, Erick Decker at New England, Brian Hartline at Cincinnati, Domenik Hixon at Cleveland.
Wide Receivers to Sit
Pierre Garcon-Washington Redskins: Surprisingly, the Falcons allow the least amount of points to opposing wide receivers in the league. Even with Garcon healthy, you might have a better option depending on what you have on your bench. Some people are labeling this game a “potential shootout” but that hasn’t happened in any of Atlanta’s games so far.
Other matchups to avoid: Stevie Johnson at San Francisco, Steve Smith vs Seattle
Tight Ends to Start
Kyle Rudolph-Minnesota Vikings: No team allows more fantasy points to opposing tight ends than the Titans. They’ve allowed seven TD receptions by tight ends when no other team in the league has given up more than four. Tight Ends average 19.0 points in standard scoring leagues against the Titans while the Patriots are a distant second worst allowing 10.3 points per game in the same scoring. Rudolph and Ponder should both be in for good weeks against Tennessee.
Other nice matchups: Jacob Tamme at New England, Dennis Pitta at Kansas City.
Tight Ends to Sit
Jermichael Finley-Green Bay Packers: On the other end of the points allowed spectrum are the Colts who have only allowed only five catches all year to tight ends (albeit in only three games since they had a bye). Finley has been struggling and hasn’t found the end zone since week 1.
Other matchups to avoid: Heath Miller vs Philadelphia, Martellus Bennett at Cleveland
Defenses to Start
Pittsburgh Steelers-The Steelers will likely welcome back Troy Polamalu and James Harrison as they take on the turnover-prone Eagles. Most of the top options are universally owned so if you need to go fishing on the waiver wire check out the Steelers, Vikings, Dolphins, or even the Colts if your league doesn’t penalize too much for points allowed.
Defenses to Sit
New York Jets: The Jets defense can be dropped in all formats and have a harsh matchup against the Texans who give up the third least points to opposing defenses. It’s time to move on after a one-week hot start to open the year.