Fantasy Football Week 5: Start ’em, Sit ’em

It’s the first week of the season that four teams will be on a bye  – Minnesota, Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Tampa Bay – but there are few players that are universally started across those four squads. Regardless, here’s a look at who you might want to tinker with within your lineup.


Philip Rivers has a 11-3 career record against the Oakland Raiders. Photo credit: Getty Images

Start ’em: Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers

Philip Rivers has two 400-yard passing games this season, which not-so-coincidentally match up with the Chargers’ two wins. San Diego is on the road in Oakland this Sunday night, but it’s a place that Rivers has succeeded over the past four seasons. Since 2009, Rivers has completed 68.6 percent of his passes for an average of 306 yards per contest against the Raiders. Not many high-quality quarterbacks are on byes this week (really only RG3), so you may not be in the market for a passer. If you are, look no farther than Rivers.

Sit ’em: Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

Seattle’s secondary is one of the best in the league, and Luck will try his hand at dicing up the Legion of Boom this weekend. Luck hasn’t been bad,  but the Seahawks have given up fewer than 12 points per game this season, to go with 11 sacks and 13 turnovers forced. The potential is just too great for Luck to have a poor game to risk starting him this week. They all might not be better plays, but literally every quarterback in the league has a better matchup than Luck.



Start ’em: Knowshon Moreno, Denver Broncos

The box score for the Broncos’ last game against the Eagles is a bit deceiving when it comes to Knowshon Moreno’s workload. He finished with 91 total yards and a rushing touchdown, but was pulled in favor of Ronnie Hillman and Montee Ball once Denver extended its lead. But in the first half and early in the third quarter while the game with Philadelphia was still close, it was predominantly Moreno getting the workload. This week’s game against Dallas should be closer, and while the Cowboys do bring in the third-best rushing defense, it will definitely be Moreno getting the majority of the work for the league’s best offense.

Sit ’em: Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans

It is becoming increasingly evident that Chris Johnson might not be “CJ2K” anymore, and he’ll have tough sledding against a stout Kansas City front seven this week. The Chiefs have allowed just more than 113 yards per game rushing, but Johnson is coming off an atrocious 15-carry, 21-yard performance against the New York Jets. You might need to start him but if you’ve got other options, go with them.



Start ’em: Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants

Hakeem Nicks has been one of the more frustrating players to own in fantasy football this season, starting with a good opening week against Dallas (nine catches, 114 yards), before combining for just seven catches and 116 yards over the past three weeks. If there was ever a week for Nicks (and the Giants offense as a whole) to get on track, it’s this one against Philadelphia. The Eagles are giving up a whopping 325 passing yards per game, causing many to be quite concerned about Philadelphia’s secondary. The Eagles have allowed big games to the likes of Leonard Hankerson (five catches for 80 yards), Malcolm Floyd (five for 102 yards), Eddie Royal (seven for 90 yards) and Donnie Avery (seven for 141 yards), so don’t be surprised if Nicks joins that club in Week 5.

Sit ’em: Anquan Boldin, San Francisco 49ers

While they might not be the best unit in the NFL, the Houston Texans do boast the best statistical pass defense in the league, and that’s what counts in fantasy football. The only receiver that the Texans have allowed to gain more than 55 yards in a game this season was Baltimore’s Torrey Smith in Week 3, and that was due mostly to one 48-yard catch. Anquan Boldin has been hit-or-miss so far this season, and it will likely be the latter again on Sunday.


About Chris Callaway

Chris lives and works in La Crosse, Wisconsin, working primarily on-air while doing some writing as well. He is a part-owner of the Green Bay Packers, a Milwaukee Brewers die-hard, learning hockey while supporting the Minnesota Wild, and is also a fan of the Wisconsin Badgers and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Follow him on twitter @ccallaway33.


  1. Chris, What do you think about the Viking wide outs or Alshon Jeffrey? (Simpson, Jennings,) Are they worth a waiver wire pick up?

    I also have Joique Bell, with Reggie Bush back healthy is he worth keeping in an 8-man league? Should I drop Bell for Woodhead?


    • Chris Callaway says:

      I think Greg Jennings is better with Matt Cassel, but he’d be the only wideout worth owning. Alshon Jeffrey is intriguing because the Bears seem to be involved in a bunch of high scoring games. It will be interesting to see how that changes when the weather gets colder.

      In an 8-man league, I’d still say Joique Bell over Danny Woodhead. The Lions utilize Bell and Reggie Bush differently, and I think Bell will get more consistent work in a better offense. Woodhead does have value, but I’d give Joique the edge.

  2. Chris,

    I have Foster and Murray as my RB1 & RB2. With Daryl Richardson, CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson left, who do you start at your flex? Other options are Miles Austin and Jared Cook. (No Brian Hoyer!)

    • Chris Callaway says:

      Fred Jackson. Although Jared Cook is very tempting against that awful Jaguars defense. And are you sure you don’t want to start Brian Hoyer?

  3. Hi there!

    I have a WR dilema: Antonio Brown is on BYE this week, Amendola is still out, and all I have left is Mike Wallace and Eddie Royal. The cupbards are bare in my league and I’ve thought about picking up Nate Washington and Robert Woods against Cleveland. What are you thoughts?

  4. I am trying to decide on a defense, my choices are ravens, browns, or saints. which would you choose?

  5. not too sure who to start in my flex. fred jackson, deangelo williams, or justin blackmon. jackson has a minor injury, williams faces the cards rush def, and blackmon has a good matchup but not sure how he will be used. who would you pick?

    • Chris Callaway says:

      I don’t love Fred Jackson against the Browns, and it’d be tough to trust Justin Blackmon right off the bet. DeAngelo Williams has been consistent through Carolina’s first three games, so that’s who I’d go with.

  6. Hi Chris,
    Had to autodraft in my league and have ended up in a real mess especially at QB and WR. I’m 1-3 so I badly need a win this week! 12 team standard league with very little on waivers!
    QB: Eli over Wilson this week
    RB: Rice, Miller (Morris on bye and SJax injured)
    WR: two from White, Wallace, Steve Smith, Hopkins and Blackmon
    TE: If Gronk plays will obviously start him and also have Fleener. Picked up Winslow considering Fleeners matchup but wary?
    Also need to play a flex which will have to be a third receiver I think

    Any guidance appreciated! Thanks man!

    • Chris Callaway says:

      I’d say for this week only, Eli has the edge over Wilson.

      I’d still roll with Fleener over Winslow.

      As for WR, I’d rank them Steve Smith, Mike Wallace, DeAndre Hopkins, Roddy White, Justin Blackmon.

  7. Thanks. Nervous about sitting Roddy though! I’ve sat him for last few weeks but he finally looked to be showing some signs of life

    • Chris Callaway says:

      Understandable. Smith and Wallace are both WR1 in their offense, while Roddy White is unquestionably WR2. I’d say he’s pretty close with Hopkins, but DeAndre gets the edge due to youth and health.

  8. Hi Chris

    Need to fill my RB slot. Should I go with Daryl Richardson or Rashad Jennings?


  9. Hi Chris,

    I need some advice for this week. My two TE’s are Owen Daniels and Heath Miller. With Miller out on bye I need to roll with Daniels, but his match up is brutal. Do you think I should pickup Winslow on waivers and drop Miller, or just take my chances with Daniels against the Niners, who generally tough on TE’s?

    Thanks in advance,

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