Week 5 Start 'Em and Sit 'Em
Most owners don't consider Eli Manning a week-in, week-out starting option, but when the matchup is right, he can shine. Jamey Eisenberg says this should be one of those weeks in his Start 'Em and Sit 'Em.
Start 'Em &; Sit 'Em is our weekly look at the best and worst matchups from around the NFL and how they might affect lineup decisions for your Fantasy Football team. We are not in the business of stating the obvious, so you won't be reading here why you need to start Drew Brees, Chris Johnson, Andre Johnson or any other top-tier players.
Eli Manning is not a No. 1 Fantasy quarterback. He had a great year in 2009, but prior to that he was always just a No. 2 option in standard leagues.
This year, he's looking like a No. 2 Fantasy quarterback again, averaging 251 passing yards with five touchdowns and six interceptions through four games. He even attempted a left-handed pass in Week 3 against Tennessee that was intercepted -- not exactly elite material.
But this is the week to consider Manning a starter in all leagues. This is the week he takes advantage of a great matchup at Houston, and he’s our Start of the Week. He will do what every other quarterback has done against the Texans this year and post outstanding stats.
Peyton Manning and Donovan McNabb each passed for 420-plus yards against Houston in the first two games of the season, and Tony Romo and Bruce Gradkowski each had two touchdown passes against the Texans's inexperienced secondary. Eli Manning should follow suit with another big game.
Hakeem Nicks is a must-start Fantasy option this week, and Steve Smith is also worth starting in all leagues. Mario Manningham should be considered a sleeper wide receiver, and Kevin Boss could also do well in deeper leagues at tight end. Houston has allowed 338 passing yards per game with eight touchdowns and only two interceptions.
The Texans do get linebacker Brian Cushing back from suspension, and the Giants offensive line has to hold up against Houston's pass rush. But Manning should still find success against this secondary and is worth using as a No. 1 option.
It should be the start of a productive two-game stretch for Manning with a game against the Lions in Week 6. Maybe he could become a No. 1 Fantasy quarterback after all.
|Player||Fantasy Points (projected)||Fantasy Points (actual)||Start percentage|
|Terrell Owens, WR, Bengals||11||28||62|
|LaDainian Tomlinson, RB, N.Y. Jets*||15||27||88|
|Zach Miller, TE, Raiders||12||18||60|
|Jahvid Best, RB, Lions||9||6||52|
|Ray Rice, RB, Ravens||9||2||64|
|Hines Ward, WR, Steelers||7||1||45|
|Ronnie Brown, RB, Dolphins||14||4||82|
|Jeremy Maclin, WR, Eagles||13||1||86|
|Mike Sims-Walker, WR, Jaguars||11||0||53|
|Patriots Defense/Special Teams||8||32||41|
|Matt Schaub, QB, Texans||17||19||84|
|Mark Sanchez, QB, N.Y. Jets||16||18||33|
Our favorite sleeper in Week 4 was ... Bruce Gradkowski, who had 18 Fantasy points when he was projected
for 17. He outplayed Drew Brees (17)
and Tom Brady (12) in Week 4.
* - Start of the Week
Joe Flacco (vs. DEN): Flacco has several things in his
favor this week. He's playing well the past two games, averaging 259
passing yards with four touchdowns and one interception over that span
against the Browns and Steelers. He's confident coming off the comeback
win at Pittsburgh. And he's playing at home, where he has nine
touchdowns and one interception in his past five games with at least 230
passing yards in each contest. Denver is still dealing with injuries in
the secondary with starting cornerback Andre Goodman (quad), and the Broncos have allowed nine touchdowns to
opposing quarterbacks with three interceptions (all from Matt Hasselbeck). Denver also has a limited pass rush with just four
sacks on the season, and this is the Broncos second game in a row
heading east for a 1 p.m. start, which is never good. Look for Flacco to
stay hot and play like a No. 1 Fantasy option.
Matt Ryan (at CLE): The secondary is clearly the weak point for the Browns, who have been beat up the past two weeks by Flacco (262 passing yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions) and Carson Palmer (371 passing yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions). Ryan struggled last week at home against San Francisco with 273 passing yards, one touchdown and two interceptions, but he should rebound this week. Prior to facing the 49ers, Ryan averaged 226 passing yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions in two games against Arizona and New Orleans, and he should be successful again in this matchup.
Shaun Hill (vs. STL): The Rams defense has drastically improved this season, especially against the pass, allowing just three passing touchdowns with four interceptions and nine sacks. But Hill has done a great job since taking over for the injured Matthew Stafford (shoulder), who is out again. Despite throwing seven interceptions, Hill has five touchdowns and two 330-yard games. In two of three starts, he has at least 24 Fantasy points, and that's against quality opponents in Philadelphia and Green Bay. You'll deal with some turnovers from Hill, but he also should do well throwing to Calvin Johnson as his top target. And Hill is familiar with the Rams from his days with the 49ers. He's faced them three times in the past two years with six touchdowns and three interceptions in those matchups.
Brett Favre (at NYJ): He's worth the risk this week now that he has Randy Moss on his side. Moss has put on a show in his first game with every team -- four catches for 95 yards and two touchdowns as a rookie in 1998 with Minnesota against Tampa Bay, five catches for 130 yards and a touchdown in 2005 with Oakland at New England and nine catches for 183 yards and a touchdown in 2007 with New England at the Jets -- and he should be motivated in this matchup. The Jets have allowed two passing touchdowns in each of the past three games against New England, Miami and Buffalo, and Favre should be ready coming off his bye week. He's still a risky starter, but the old gunslinger finally has a big weapon in his holster to help improve his outlook.
Carson Palmer (vs. TB): Don't look at Tampa Bay's pass defense stats and think Palmer will struggle this week. Instead, look at the quarterbacks the Bucs have faced in Jake Delhomme, Matt Moore/Jimmy Clausen and Charlie Batch. No wonder they have only five passing touchdowns allowed with six interceptions. Palmer's problem is avoiding the pass rush since he's been sacked seven times and hit plenty, but Tampa Bay only has four sacks in three games. The Bucs also are without safety Tanard Jackson (suspension), and Palmer is coming off an outstanding game against the Browns with 371 passing yards, two touchdowns and two fumbles. He's thrown the ball at least 35 times each game, and he finally connected with Terrell Owens this week. Look for him to hook up with Chad Ochocinco as well, and Palmer should find the flaws in Tampa Bay's overrated secondary.
Sleeper alert: Ryan Fitzpatrick (vs. JAC): Fantasy owners missing Tom Brady (bye) or the injured Michael Vick (ribs) this week should consider Fitzpatrick based on the matchup. He has the chance to do well against the Jaguars, who have been the worst team against opposing quarterbacks this season. Kyle Orton, Philip Rivers, Michael Vick and Peyton Manning have each passed for at least 290 yards against Jacksonville with 10 total touchdowns and four interceptions. Fitzpatrick has also done well since replacing Trent Edwards with 18 Fantasy points in Week 3 at New England and 24 Fantasy points last week against the Jets.
Kyle Orton (at BAL): Orton, with the way he's played to
start the season, will be the best quarterback Baltimore has faced this
year. In their other matchups, the Ravens went against Mark Sanchez, Palmer, Seneca Wallace
and Batch. Only Wallace threw a touchdown, and Baltimore is allowing
just 119 passing yards a game. Orton will definitely challenge this
secondary and could find success since he's averaging 355 passing yards
a game with six touchdowns and three interceptions. But last year at
Baltimore, Orton was 23 of 37 passing for 152 yards. Is it worth the
risk to start him if you have other options? Our suggestion is to bench
Orton this week based on the matchup.
Bruce Gradkowski (vs. SD): Gradkowski was solid last week against Houston with 18 Fantasy points, and he's played well since taking over for Jason Campbell, averaging 267 passing yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions in two starts. But this week he faces a Chargers defense that's ranked third against the pass and has allowed just three touchdowns with seven interceptions and 15 sacks. Granted, their opponents have been weak in Matt Cassel, David Garrard/Luke McCown and Derek Anderson/Max Hall, and they are without suspended safety Steve Gregory. But Gradkowski might not have his safety blanket in Darren McFadden (hamstring), and Louis Murphy is playing with an injured clavicle, which hampered his performance last week against the Texans. Gradkowski can be considered a decent Fantasy option when he has a favorable matchup, but this isn't one of those weeks.
Donovan McNabb (vs. GB): The Packers are beat up on defense with Morgan Burnett (knee) out for the year and Nick Collins (knee), Nick Barnett (wrist) and Charles Woodson (toe) all on the injury report. But McNabb hasn't been impressive since his 426-yard outing against Houston in Week 2, and he only has three touchdowns with two interceptions on the season. There could also be a hangover effect from last week's emotional win at Philadelphia, and the Packers, who have 16 sacks, will attack McNabb. He never plays well when he faces a heavy pass rush, and this is one of those weeks. Leave him on your bench and look for another starting option.
Josh Freeman (at CIN): Freeman has played well so far this season with two games with more than 20 Fantasy points in three outings, but he struggled in Week 3 against the Steelers and could struggle again in this matchup. The Bengals have been solid in pass defense after getting torched by Tom Brady in Week 1, shutting down Flacco, Jimmy Clausen and Wallace. Granted, that isn't the holy trinity of great quarterbacks, but the Bengals haven't allowed a quarterback to pass for more than 200 yards in their past five home games. Along with that, Freeman has six touchdowns and eight interceptions in his past five road games. Freeman has some solid matchups ahead this season, but this is not a good week to consider him a starting option.
Kevin Kolb (at SF): The 49ers need to take a lesson from the Giants last week about how to play when everyone doubts you and your coach is on the verge of being fired. The Giants beat up the Bears in prime time and made a statement, and the 49ers have the chance to do the same thing. Kolb is starting for Vick (ribs), but he has not looked good going back to the preseason. He had his most extensive action last week against the Redskins at home and was 22 of 35 passing for 201 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Andy Reid also has little faith in Kolb, saying Vick is the starter upon his return. The 49ers have struggled in pass defense this year but played well against Ryan last week in holding him to 13 Fantasy points. That's about what you should expect from Kolb this week since it's just too hard to trust him as a starting Fantasy option.
Bust alert: Mark Sanchez (vs. MIN): Fantasy owners are giddy over Sanchez, and for obvious reasons. He's been tremendous the past three starts with eight touchdowns and no interceptions and an average of 25 Fantasy points a game against New England, Miami and Buffalo. And this week he gets Santonio Holmes back from suspension to go with Braylon Edwards and Dustin Keller, who are on fire. But Minnesota had two weeks to prepare for Sanchez, and the Vikings are finally healthy in the secondary with Cedric Griffin and Chris Cook. Having those two back in coverage should help the pass rush, and Sanchez hasn't faced much of that the past two games with no sacks against the Dolphins and Bills. It's hard to bench Sanchez with all he has going for him, but his good fortune could run out here with a tough matchup -- Minnesota has only allowed three passing touchdowns on the season. Consider Sanchez a No. 2 Fantasy quarterback this week.
Thomas Jones (at IND): Jones has the chance to be
productive in this matchup, and he should be fresh coming off the bye
week. He's played well in the past two games at Cleveland and against
San Francisco with 41 carries for 178 yards and a touchdown, and he's
showing no signs of slowing down. Jamaal Charles
is also a good starting option this week, but Jones is getting more
carries than him in the starting role. The Colts are also dealing with
injuries on defense and have allowed double digits in Fantasy points to
opposing running backs in two of four games this season. The Chiefs will
want to control the clock in this matchup, and that means relying on
Beanie Wells (vs. NO): This is the last chance for Wells to prove he can be a starting Fantasy option in all leagues. He wants the ball more after just five carries for 19 yards last week at San Diego, and this is the week for the Cardinals to give it to him. Max Hall is starting at quarterback, the Saints are vulnerable in their run defense and the best way to slow down the New Orleans offense is to control the clock. Wells scored a touchdown against the Saints in the playoff game last year, and New Orleans has allowed six touchdowns to opposing running backs this season. The Saints have also allowed double digits in Fantasy points to five running backs this year.
Jahvid Best (vs. STL): After his hot start against the Bears and Eagles when he scored five touchdowns, Best has seen his production decline the past two weeks against Minnesota and Green Bay. Part of the problem is a nagging toe injury he is playing through, but he should be fine for this matchup. The Rams have done well in their past two games in stopping the run against Washington and Seattle, but opponents are still gaining 4.6 yards per carry against St. Louis. The Rams have also allowed two running backs to reach double digits in Fantasy points in four games, and Best should do well as a dual threat out of the backfield. Look for Best to get back on track this week in what has become a must-win game for the Lions.
Mike Tolbert (at OAK): Ryan Mathews is a good start this week as well, but I would start Tolbert ahead of him. He's the battering ram who could be closing out the game if the Chargers build an early lead. That was the case in Week 4 with Tolbert getting 16 carries for 100 yards and a touchdown while Mathews was limited to nine carries for 55 yards and a touchdown. The Chargers will continue to be cautious with Mathews coming off his ankle injury in Week 2, but the Raiders shouldn't pose much of a threat in this matchup. Oakland is No. 31 in run defense and has allowed six touchdowns to opposing running backs, with four reaching double digits in Fantasy points. Tolbert and Mathews should thrive this week.
Fred Jackson (vs. JAC): Jackson is getting the start with Marshawn Lynch now in Seattle, and he has the chance to play well this week. C.J. Spiller is also a good Fantasy running back in this matchup, but he's better suited as a flex option. Jackson should get the majority of carries, and he has the chance for a big outing. The Jaguars have allowed five touchdowns to opposing running backs and a rushing touchdown in each game when you factor in Michael Vick scoring in Week 3. Jackson has the chance for his best game this year, and he should start to play well now that Lynch is gone. He should be able to get double digits in Fantasy points in this matchup.
Sleeper alert: Ryan Torain (vs. GB): This could be a good week to start Torain with Clinton Portis (groin) out for at least four games and the Packers dealing with injuries in this matchup. The Redskins would be smart to rely on the run to slow down Green Bay's offense, and Torain has no one to share carries with. He gave you a glimpse of his potential in Week 4 at the Eagles with 18 carries for 70 yards and a touchdown, and he should have similar production this week. Green Bay is No. 24 in run defense, but the defense is banged up, especially on the defensive line. Torain is trying to prove he belongs as the permanent starter, and that motivation should help him succeed. For more sleeper running backs, click here.
Marion Barber (vs. TEN): The Titans run defense is good,
not great. But you can say the same thing about Barber this year since
he has just one touchdown, and his best game was 55 rushing yards in
Week 3 at Houston. The biggest reason to be concerned about Barber is
the Cowboys are saying they want to give Felix Jones more carries. Barber has averaged just 12 carries a game,
and if he falls below that total it will be hard for him to be
productive. He's always going to be a threat to score, but it's hard to
trust him as a starting Fantasy option in standard leagues.
Cadillac Williams (at CIN): The Bucs have made it pretty clear they want to limit Williams' carries and get LeGarrette Blount and Kareem Huggins more involved. That doesn't mean Williams won't see his share of carries, but you can't plan on starting him in standard leagues. He also has a tough matchup since the Bengals have done well in run defense prior to getting run over by Peyton Hillis last week. We're not expecting Williams to completely fade away, but his outlook doesn't look good based on what everyone is saying in Tampa Bay.
Jonathan Stewart (vs. CHI): Stewart has found a way to score in each of the past two weeks with a rushing touchdown in Week 3 against the Bengals and a receiving touchdown in Week 4 at New Orleans. But he's not running well with just 28 carries for 89 yards on the season, and the Bears are allowing just 77 yards per game on the ground. They have given up five rushing touchdowns, but with Steve Smith (ankle) out, Chicago will focus on stopping the run. DeAngelo Williams is still worth using as a No. 2 Fantasy running back, but we would only consider Stewart as a No. 3 option in standard leagues.
Brandon Jackson (at WAS): The Packers are going to continue to split carries with Jackson and John Kuhn, but neither are worth trusting as starting Fantasy options even with the bye weeks. They struggled against Detroit last week, as Jackson was limited to nine carries for 33 yards and Kuhn had nine carries for 39 yards. Since taking over for the injured Ryan Grant (ankle), Jackson has 74 rushing yards and one touchdown against Buffalo, Chicago and the Lions. The Redskins run defense isn't great, but they have only allowed two rushing touchdowns, both to St. Louis running backs Steven Jackson and Kenneth Darby in Week 3.
Laurence Maroney (at BAL): Maroney failed to take advantage of a good opportunity last week when he got the start at Tennessee with Knowshon Moreno (hamstring) out. There's a chance Moreno could return this week, but don't consider Maroney in any leagues even if he's the starter again. Baltimore has struggled in run defense this year, but even the Ravens can shut down Maroney, who has 23 carries for 29 yards in his past two games. The Broncos are clearly a passing team, and Maroney doesn't look comfortable in this offense.
Bust alert: LaDainian Tomlinson (vs. MIN): It's hard to sit Tomlinson based on the way he's played the past two weeks (203 rushing yards and three touchdowns against Miami and Buffalo), but this is a tough matchup for him. The Vikings have done well in run defense and have allowed just one rushing touchdown to Pierre Thomas in Week 1, with Thomas the lone running back to reach double digits in Fantasy points. Shonn Greene has a more daunting task than Tomlinson based on his running style and is also worth sitting, but we'd be cautious in starting Tomlinson this week based on Minnesota's defense.
Mark Clayton (at DET): The Oklahoma connection of Sam Bradford to Clayton has worked well this season, and Bradford
should also be considered a quality starter based on this matchup.
Clayton has at least five catches for 70 yards in three of four games,
and he's scored two touchdowns this season. The Lions have allowed eight
passing touchdowns with five going to wide receivers, and Bradford will
look for Clayton quite a bit in this matchup.
Lance Moore (at ARI): All Moore has done since Reggie Bush (leg) went down is catch 11 passes for 186 yards and three touchdowns in two games against Atlanta and Carolina. He goes on the road this week, but he should remain hot against the Cardinals, who have allowed seven passing touchdowns on the season with three going to wide receivers. This should be the game where Marques Colston breaks out of his slump, but Moore will continue to thrive in the slot role. Moore is a quality No. 3 Fantasy wide receiver with the chance to be a No. 2 option depending on the size of your league.
Terrell Owens (vs. TB): We called Owens' big game last week against the Browns, and we're sticking with him this week. As we told you in Week 4, the targets are there and the production will follow. Owens should see a lot of Ronde Barber with Aqib Talib likely matched up with Chad Ochocinco. That's a matchup Owens should win, and Palmer will continue to throw him the ball. The Bucs have allowed five touchdowns to opposing wide receivers this year and one in each game, so look for Owens to have his first quality game at home.
Percy Harvin (at NYJ): Harvin should go back to what he was last year now that Moss is in the mix, which is making plays from the slot position. If you own Harvin, the addition of Moss was a great thing. Harvin should see a lot of Jets cornerback Kyle Wilson in this game, and that's a matchup Harvin should win. He will get plenty of single coverage, and we consider Harvin a solid No. 2 Fantasy wide receiver. His season outlook got a lot better with Moss now on his side. It also helps that he's coming off a great game in Week 3 against Detroit with six catches for 62 yards and a touchdown.
Lee Evans (vs. JAC): Steve Johnson has the chance to play well in this game also and is worth using in deeper leagues, but we have a hunch Evans ends his slump in this matchup. He has just 10 catches for 94 yards and no touchdowns on the season, but the Jaguars have been susceptible to big plays in the passing game. Eight wide receivers have scored at least nine Fantasy points against Jacksonville this year, and Evans could get behind the secondary for a long score. This is usually the type of matchup where Evans does well, so he's worth the risk in deeper formats.
Sleeper alert: Derrick Mason (vs. DEN): No. 2 wide receivers have hurt the Broncos all year, with Mike Thomas, Austin Collie and Kenny Britt each scoring at least eight Fantasy points against Denver. That's because Champ Bailey will typically lock up the No. 1 wide receiver, which could mean a difficult game for Anquan Boldin, with the No. 2 option playing well. It helps that Goodman is still banged up, and Mason is coming off a solid game with six catches for 80 yards at Pittsburgh. If you're looking for a quality No. 3 Fantasy wide receiver this week then go with Mason based on the matchup. He also scored a touchdown against Denver at home last year. For more sleeper wide receivers, click here.
Malcom Floyd (at OAK): Floyd has been great this year and
has done well replacing Vincent Jackson,
but he should only be considered a No. 3 Fantasy wide receiver this
week. He will likely see a lot of Nnamdi Asomugha,
and that means little production. The Raiders have allowed five
touchdowns to opposing wide receivers, but only Nate Washington has topped 50 yards in a game this season. Floyd, in
a secondary role, has struggled with Oakland with only six catches for
125 yards and no touchdowns in his past five meetings. He's going to see
more targets, but he will also get increased attention. That could lead
to a bad outing based on the matchup.
Louis Murphy (vs. SD): Murphy had his worst game of the season last week against Houston with one catch for 5 yards, but he was playing with an injured clavicle, which could have contributed to his poor performance. This week, Murphy should be healthy, but he has a tough matchup against the Chargers, who are No. 4 in pass defense and have only allowed one touchdown to an opposing wide receiver. San Diego has done well to contain Dwayne Bowe (one catch for 13 yards) in Week 1 and Larry Fitzgerald (seven catches for 56 yards) in Week 4. Only Mike Sims-Walker had a big game against the Chargers in Week 2 with 10 catches for 105 yards and a touchdown, most of it in garbage time. Murphy scored in one meeting with the Chargers in 2009 but was shutout in the second matchup.
Santana Moss (vs. GB): Moss went from his best game in Week 3 against St. Louis with six catches for 124 yards and a touchdown to his worst game in Week 4 at Philadelphia with no catches. He should do better this week, but not by much since he could see a lot of Packers cornerback Charles Woodson. The Redskins game plan this week should also be similar to last week when they leaned on the ground game, and we don't expect much from McNabb in this matchup. Moss has been stellar this year and should have plenty of big games ahead, but this isn't expected to be one of them.
Devin Hester (at CAR): No Jay Cutler (concussion) means bad things for all the Bears wide receivers, and you might consider benching Johnny Knox and Greg Olsen as well. But Hester has disappeared from the offense the past two weeks with four catches for 32 yards and no touchdowns against the Packers and Giants. Hester will likely start to improve as a receiver, but he has to prove it first. And you won't want him in your starting lineup with Todd Collins throwing him the ball instead of Cutler.
Nate Washington (at DAL): The emergence of Kenny Britt the past two weeks has limited Washington, who started the season with touchdowns in each of the first two games. In his past two outings against the Giants and Denver, Washington has just seven catches for 72 yards. Britt, meanwhile, has two touchdowns the past two games and has turned into a consistent red-zone threat. Washington is mostly used as a No. 3 wide receiver in deeper leagues, but we would keep him reserved in all formats since Dallas should be able to contain the Titans passing attack.
Bust alert: Brandon Lloyd (at BAL): Lloyd has been among the best surprises for Fantasy owners this year with three 100-yard outings on the season and one touchdown. He's a big reason why the Broncos passing attack has been so impressive, and he should be owned in every Fantasy league entering Week 5. But don't plan on playing Lloyd this week because the Ravens know he's a go-to option now, and Baltimore has done well against No. 1 wide receivers. The Ravens have yet to allow a touchdown to an opposing wide receiver and have limited Braylon Edwards, Terrell Owens, Chad Ochocinco, Mike Wallace and Hines Ward to a combined 12 catches for 146 yards. All the Broncos wide receivers should struggle this week, and Lloyd should cool off based on this matchup.
Zach Miller (vs. SD): Miller has a great history against
the Chargers and is coming off a career game in Week 4 against Houston
with 11 catches for 122 yards and a touchdown. In his past five meetings
with San Diego, Miller has 32 catches for 391 yards and a touchdown, and
the Chargers have already allowed two touchdowns to opposing tight ends
in Tony Moeaki in Week 1 and John Carlson in Week 3. Marcedes Lewis
also had five catches for 70 yards against San Diego, and Miller is more
talented than those three tight ends. He is a must-start option this
week in all leagues based on this matchup.
Visanthe Shiancoe (at NYJ): Shiancoe's got a hamstring injury you're going to have to monitor, but we'd be shocked if he misses a Monday night game in his first pairing with Moss. Shiancoe is going to see plenty of single coverage, especially with the Jets' love for blitzing from all different angles. The Jets have allowed at least seven Fantasy points to three tight ends this year, and Anthony Fasano and David Martin have scored in consecutive games. Shiancoe started off the season with at least eight Fantasy points in his first two games before getting hurt against Detroit in Week 3, but he's ready to play like he did last year (56 catches for 566 yards and 11 touchdowns) now that Moss is in Minnesota and the passing game is back intact.
Marcedes Lewis (at BUF): Lewis isn't going to have a lot of receptions or give you a ton of yards, but he does have the chance to score, especially in this matchup. He's already set a new career high with three touchdowns, and he has at least seven Fantasy points in three of four games. The Bills have struggled against tight ends this season, allowing 22 catches for 291 yards and three touchdowns. Jermichael Finley, Rob Gronkowski and Dustin Keller have each reached double digits in Fantasy points against Buffalo, and Lewis has emerged as a quality target for David Garrard with Sims-Walker disappearing. In most standard leagues you're probably not going to start Lewis, but in deeper formats he should be considered a No. 1 option.
Sleeper alert: Benjamin Watson (vs. ATL): The Falcons have allowed a touchdown to an opposing tight end in each of the past two weeks with Jeremy Shockey in Week 3 and Vernon Davis in Week 4. Watson is hoping to make it three in a row, and he's playing well coming into this matchup. In his past three games against Kansas City, Baltimore and Cincinnati, Watson has 15 catches for 169 yards and a touchdown. The Browns don't have a lot of talent in their receiving corps, and Watson has assumed the role of the No. 1 option. He's worth using as a starter in deeper leagues this week based on the way he's playing and the matchup.
Owen Daniels (vs. NYG): It's one thing when Daniels is
struggling through the first three games in his comeback from the knee
injury. It's another when he's getting outplayed by his backup, Joel Dreessen. Last week at Oakland, Daniels had one catch for 8
yards on three targets. Dreessen had five catches for 73 yards and a
touchdown on eight targets, and it's clear Daniels is still not close to
100 percent. He's also dealing with a hamstring injury that has limited
him in practice, and he's just not ready to be considered a No. 1
Fantasy option. Along with that, the Giants have done well against
opposing tight ends with only Dallas Clark
scoring a touchdown this year.
Todd Heap (vs. DEN): Since the Broncos gave up two touchdowns to Lewis in Week 1 they have shut down opposing tight ends. In the past three weeks, the Broncos have limited Carlson, Clark and Bo Scaife to a combined 12 catches for 119 yards and no touchdowns. Heap got off to a great start this year with six catches for 72 yards in Week 1 against the Jets, but he hasn't topped 50 yards in a game since and has yet to score a touchdown. Flacco should play well in this matchup, but he will likely do so throwing to Boldin, Mason and T.J. Houshmandzadeh and not Heap.
Brandon Pettigrew (vs. STL): The Rams are a team that has surprisingly done well against tight ends and have yet to allow the opposition to score a touchdown. The Rams have held Miller, Chris Cooley and Carlson to under 55 receiving yards in each game. Pettigrew comes into this game playing at a high level with 21 catches for 243 yards in his past three games, and he's become the No. 2 target in the passing game with Nate Burleson (ankle) out. But Burleson could return for this matchup, and Pettigrew could see more time blocking if Tony Scheffler (concussion) is out or limited. We love Pettigrew's upside, and he's worth adding in all leagues. But this isn't the week to call him a No. 1 Fantasy tight end.
Bust alert: Tony Gonzalez (at CLE): I'm going to give credit (or blame) to my colleague Dave Richard here since he pointed me in the direction of Gonzalez's struggles on grass. In his past four games on grass (three last year, one this year) Gonzalez has just 17 catches for 187 yards and no touchdowns. It could be a trend of getting used to playing indoors with the Falcons and slowing down a little at 34. He also faces a Cleveland team that has done well against tight ends, and Gonzalez has just one game with double digits in Fantasy points this year. The Browns have yet to allow a touchdown to an opposing tight end and have held Kellen Winslow, Tony Moeaki, Heap and Jermaine Gresham to under 60 receiving yards in each game.
Bears (at CAR): Julius Peppers
returns to Carolina, and he will likely introduce himself to rookie
quarterback Jimmy Clausen quite a bit
in this game. Clausen doesn't have Steve Smith
(ankle) in this matchup, but even if Smith played we would still
consider the Bears DST a No. 1 option this week. Hester is doing a solid
job on punt returns again, and the Panthers won't have enough offense to
scare the Bears, who have four sacks, seven fumble recoveries and four
interceptions on the season.
Other DSTs with good matchups: Falcons (at CLE), Bengals (vs. TB) and Cowboys (vs. TEN)
Titans (at DAL): The Titans DST has been outstanding this year with double digits in Fantasy points each week. They have 16 sacks, four interceptions and three fumble recoveries, but this will be the toughest offense they have faced this season. The Cowboys are rested for this game after their bye week and should be ready to pick up from their offensive onslaught in Week 3 at Houston when everything finally started to click. This won't be Dennis Dixon or Campbell at quarterback or Eli Manning throwing left-handed, so look for the Titans streak of consecutive games with double digits in Fantasy points to end in this matchup.
John Carney (at ARI): You have to love stories like Carney.
He's 46 and retired, but the Saints call him in to replace the
struggling Garrett Hartley, who was a
playoff hero last year. All Carney does is go 3 for 3 on field goals
with an extra point in a 16-14 victory against Carolina last week, and
now the job should be his. This week he faces the Cardinals, who are the
worst team against opposing kickers. They have already allowed nine
field goals and 13 extra points, and the Saints should be able to move
the ball at will on this defense. Keep an eye on coach Sean Payton to
make sure he doesn't make a hasty move and go back to Hartley, but
Carney should be safe as a No. 1 Fantasy option this week.
Sebastian Janikowski (vs. SD): Janikowski made it through his first game of the season without a missed field goal in Week 4 against Houston, but he only attempted one kick. He has five missed field goals on the year, and although he's a Top 5 kicker in Fantasy points, the Raiders are getting frustrated. In his past five meetings with the Chargers, Janikowski has only two missed field goals with nine made kicks, but San Diego has done well against opposing kickers this year. The Chargers have only allowed five field goals and eight extra points, and the Raiders could struggle on offense if McFadden is out as expected, which would limit Janikowski's scoring chances.
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