Salary cap advice: Joe Flacco, Kyle Rudolph among Week 5 values
Joe Flacco is the pick of the week against Kansas City; Jay Cutler is also a bargain
Arian Foster will cost a premium, but he'll be worth every penny against the Jets
After a quiet week, Kyle Rudolph should have another big game against Tennessee
Unlike more traditional fantasy football leagues in which users have to play for season-long trends, weekly salary cap formats allow players to take advantage of hot tips and the best matchups of the moment. Here is a position-by-position look at some of the best bargains entering Week 5, with prices based on current FanDuel 10-team leagues.
If you're looking for a salary cap challenge, test your skills by going head-to-head with SI's Peter King in the Peter King Fantasy Challenge.
Quarterbacks: Drew Brees can break Johnny Unitas' record of 47 consecutive games with at least one touchdown pass this Sunday at home against the Chargers, but landing him for your salary cap roster will cost you dearly. There's another pricey quarterback who's worth every penny this week, though: Matt Ryan and his incredibly skilled receiving trio of Roddy White, Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez against the Redskins. If you're looking to save a few dollars under your cap by grabbing a bargain, target the resurgent Jay Cutler against the struggling Jaguars or my pick of the week, Baltimore's Joe Flacco against a Kansas City team that's given up the second-most passing touchdowns through four weeks.
Running backs: It's often wise to shy away from the top salary in a category, but Arian Foster against the Jets Monday night is a dream matchup (or a nightmare matchup if you're a Jets fan). If you're trying to save a little but still land a stud, go for Marshawn Lynch, who's running as well as anyone these days and will face a Panthers defense that has struggled against the run. Meanwhile, affordable option Jackie Battle has seized at least a share of the Chargers' running duties, including the all-important goal-line carries, and he's going against a Saints team surrendering an average of 14 more rushing yards per game (186.8) than any other defense. Finally, Washington's Alfred Morris is one of five running backs to rush for 375 yards and four touchdowns through four weeks of his rookie season (the others are Earl Campbell, Eric Dickerson, Billy Sims and LaDainian Tomlinson), yet he still has not risen to the top of the price list. He's a steal against the Falcons, who are tough against the pass but relatively weak against the run.
Wide receivers: As usual, there are myriad options. Despite catching just one of eight balls thrown his way last week, Atlanta's Jones is worth the moderate freight it'll cost to get him. Of the deeper reaches, none may be better than Minnesota's Jerome Simpson, who had four catches for 50 yards in his debut last week and faces a Titans defense that has allowed at least two receiving touchdowns in every game so far. Giants Domenik Hixon and Rueben Randle are equally priced and are solid options with Hakeem Nicks ruled out and replacement Ramses Barden unlikely to play. And don't forget Green Bay's James Jones, who is undervalued after catching two touchdowns last week while filling in for Greg Jennings, who is out again this week versus the Colts.
Tight ends: The moderately priced Kyle Rudolph was quiet last week, but he's been monopolizing Minnesota's end zone receptions and will bounce back nicely against the Titans. Baltimore's Dennis Pitta was shut out against Cleveland, but that won't happen two weeks in a row. Among the minimum wagers, don't be surprised to see Anthony Fasano emerge as a steal.
Kickers: It's too late to land St. Louis' Greg "Legatron" Zuerlein, who played Thursday but was limited to just one field goal and two extra points. But fear not: Alex Henery, Blair Walsh and Adam Vinatieri will all get the job done and cost the minimum.
Defense: The Texans have one of the league's most potent defenses; they're facing the Jets, who have one of the league's worst offenses (at least until they spring Tim Tebow on an unsuspecting foe). That makes Houston the blue light special this week. Also worth targeting: the freshly re-stocked Steelers, who are coming off a much-needed bye week and will get James Harrison and Troy Polamalu back in the lineup in time to make things difficult for the turnover prone Eagles.