Who would have guessed this fantasy week would have happened?
Eli Manning destroys the Washington Redskins for 300 passing yards, with four touchdowns through the air and one on the ground. If anyone actually predicted him to look more like Aaron Rodgers than Peyton’s little brother, please teach me to see the future as you do.
On the other hand, Matt Ryan threw two interceptions in a 41-28 loss to the surprising Minnesota Vikings. So, whether it was Eli Manning and Larry Donnell that killed you or the fact that Julio Jones was kept out of the end zone, you need advice for your fantasy team in Week five.
This brings me to the Week five edition of the MTSU Sidelines: Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em.
Start ‘Em of the Week: Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers: Last week I listed San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers as my start of the week because of his match up against the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars. He did not disappoint, lighting up Jacksonville’s disappointing defense for 377 yards and three touchdowns.
Roethlisberger could see very similar success. Even while losing to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27-24 this past Sunday, he still tossed for 314 yards and three touchdowns. The Jaguars defense might get torched by Roethlisberger and red hot receiver Antonio Brown, who had 131 yards and two touchdowns against Jacksonville.
Start ‘Ems: Brian Hoyer (CLE), Eli Manning (NYG), Mike Glennon (TB)
Sit ‘Em of the Week: Tom Brady, New England Patriots: Brady and the Patriots underwhelmed heavily in their 41-14 Monday night loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Brady’s 159 passing yards with a touchdown were accompanied by two interceptions.
Week five’s match up against the stout Cincinnati Bengals’ defense will not be any easier for the 37-year old Super Bowl MVP. The 2013 AFC North champions have allowed an average of only 239 passing yards per game this season with superior defensive backs in comparison to the Kansas City group that held Brady in check. Do not start the much declining Tom Brady.
Sit ‘Ems: Carson Palmer/Drew Stanton (ARI), Teddy Bridgewater (MIN), Kirk Cousins (WAS)
Sleeper of the Week: Austin Davis, St. Louis Rams: Undrafted quarterback Austin Davis surprised many with his 327-yard, three touchdown, two interception performance in Week three against the Dallas Cowboys.
After having a bye in Week four, Davis could be prepared to build off those touchdowns and cut down on the interceptions against a Philadelphia Eagles defense that has allowed an average of 258 passing yards per game. Davis could warrant a spot on your fantasy roster, as he fights to prove that he can be injured Sam Bradford’s replacement in St. Louis.
Start ‘Em of the Week: DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys: If you’ve not been starting DeMarco Murray, or have faced Murray in your leagues, then you’ve likely been losing your games.
Murray is leading the league in rushing with 534 yards, on pace to become the eighth player in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards. He faces off against a Houston defense that has allowed 130.3 yards per game to the likes of CJ Spiller, Rashad Jennings, Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris. Start Murray with confidence, as he should be able to demolish Houston’s defense for at least 100 rushing yards.
Start ‘Ems: Rashad Jennings (NYG), Terrance West (CLE), Chris Ivory (NYJ)
Sit ‘Em of the Week: Reggie Bush, Detroit Lions: After taking only 58 percent of the Lions’ offensive snaps in Week four, Reggie Bush appears to be losing his role in the Detroit offense to Joique Bell. This doesn’t bode well for fantasy owners, especially with the Lions facing off against the third-best rushing defense of the Buffalo Bills.
What makes this more difficult for Bush is that Buffalo’s defensive coordinator is former Lions head coach Jim Schwartz, who knows the Detroit offensive scheme and, perhaps, how to lock down Bush. Avoid starting him.
Sit ‘Ems: Donald Brown (SD), Trent Richardson/Ahmad Bradshaw (IND), Knile Davis (KC)
Sleeper of the Week: Ka’Deem Carey, Chicago Bears: The rookie running back out of Arizona quietly had a good game against the Green Bay Packers in Week four, with 14 attempts for 72 yards. You can expect him to get some more carries against a Carolina defense that has been surprisingly soft in allowing 140.8 rushing yards per game.
If you need to replace an underperforming or injured running back, Carey may be your guy.
Start ‘Em of the Week: Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers: For the second week in a row, Brown is my top option at receiver for the week. After amassing 131 yards and a couple touchdowns in Week four against the Bucs, he will actually have an easier game against the Jacksonville defense that’s allowing nearly 50 more passing yards per game than Tampa Bay.
Start him if you have him, as Brown should be able to toast the much weaker Jacksonville defense.
Start ‘Ems: Michael Floyd (ARI), DeAndre Hopkins (HOU), Golden Tate (DET), Reggie Wayne (IND)
Sit ‘Em of the Week: Sammy Watkins, Buffalo Bills: Coach Doug Marrone benched starting quarterback EJ Manuel for journeyman Kyle Orton after the Bills’ 23-17 loss to the Houston Texans in Week four. With the transition to Orton happening, the Bills will likely lean on the running game with CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson to ease Orton into the starting role.
Detroit has the second-best passing defense, allowing only 187 yards per game, which includes a game against Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson, with the tandem being held to 59 yards. If the Packers can shut down an elite receiver like Nelson, then the rookie Watkins will be stumped, especially with a transitioning period at quarterback.
Sit ‘Ems: Jordan Matthews (PHI), Cordarrelle Patterson (MIN), Doug Baldwin (SEA)
Sleeper of the Week: Brandin Cooks, New Orleans Saints: While the rookie receiver has been relatively quiet with 199 yards and a touchdown, he is primed to break out against a weak Tampa Bay defense that’s allowing 273 passing yards per game. Not all of Brees’ passes will go to Jimmy Graham as he tries to redeem himself after the loss to the Cowboys. The rookie could finally break out here for at least 100 receiving yards for the first time of his career.
Start ‘Em of the Week: Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans: While the Cleveland Browns have done an overall good job of stopping tight ends not named Jimmy Graham from having a huge impact, they will face an offense that is relying solely on Walker.
Delanie Walker is the only Titans offensive player that has been able to provide the struggling team a spark. Coach Ken Whisenhunt will have to include him into the game plan heavily if the Titans want to win, which means he will have a big role on Sunday. Walker is on pace to break 1,000 receiving yards for the year, and has a touchdown in three of his four games to accompany his 317 receiving yards. With the Titans’ quarterbacks struggling to move the ball, they should continue to rely heavily on him.
Start ‘Ems: Larry Donnell (NYG), Austin Seferian-Jenkins (TB), Jordan Cameron (CLE)
Sit ‘Em of the Week: Niles Paul, Washington Redskins: While Paul has had a very quiet, yet successful, season with 21 receptions for 313 yards and a touchdown, he faces the shut down defense of the Seattle Seahawks that held Denver’s Julius Thomas and Jacob Tamme to a combined 39 yards and one touchdown.
Kirk Cousins is no Peyton Manning, and likely won’t be able to utilize his tight end very well.
Sit ‘Ems: Greg Olsen (CAR), Antonio Gates (SD)
Sleeper of the Week: Rhett Ellison, Minnesota Vikings: Replacing Kyle Rudolph, who is out for the season, is not a very easy task. However, Ellison was able to bring in both of his targets for 19 yards in Week four against the Falcons. His role will likely increase as a safety valve or dump off target with Teddy Bridgewater expected to play with his ankle injury.
You can follow Kenneth Goit on Twitter at @KennethGoit
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To contact sports editor Connor Grott, email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @Connor_Grott