Week 5 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em (cont.)
Seahawks -- Marshawn Lynch, Steven Hauschka, Seahawks D/ST: This should be a huge week for Lynch against the second-worst defense in fantasy vs. running backs. Hauschka is a nice sleeper at kicker -- the Panthers are worst in fantasy vs. kickers -- while Seattle's defense has proved good enough to start even in an unfavorable matchup. On the other side is a Panthers run defense so bad you might consider Robert Turbin a potential flex play out of necessity, especially with as little as the Seahawks attack through the air.
Panthers -- Cam Newton, Greg Olsen: The tough Seahawks defense is one to avoid, but there is not sitting Newton in any matchup and Olsen has emerged as his leading target.
Seahawks -- Russell Wilson, Sidney Rice, Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin, Braylon Edwards, Zach Miller: The Seahawks might be the worst passing team in the NFL, and the Panthers -- somewhat surprisingly -- are sixth-best in fantasy vs. receivers. Avoid everyone in their passing game..
Panthers -- DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart, Steve Smith, Brandon LaFell, Justin Medlock, Panthers D/ST: The Seahawks are the fourth-best team in fantasy vs. running backs, allowing a league-low rushing yards against. That makes Williams and Stewart a pair of must-sits. Smith is also a marginal option against a very good Seahawks secondary. Now that we think about it, avoid most of your Panthers in this matchup.
Bears -- Jay Cutler, Matt Forte, Michael Bush, Brandon Marshall, Robbie Gould, Bears D/ST: This is a start-all game for the Bears, even coming off a big Monday night victory. The Jags are fourth-worst in fantasy vs. running backs, so both Forte and Bush are solid plays, along with Cutler, who will have the benefits of the play-action pass.
Jaguars -- Maurice Jones-Drew: The Bears' defense did a number on the more talented Cowboys, so avoid all of your Jags if possible. Even MJD is a bad play against a Bears defense that is third-best in fantasy vs. running backs, although you probably don't have an option better than him on your roster.
Bears -- Devin Hester, Alshon Jeffery, Earl Bennett, Kellen Davis: The Bears need one of these targets to prove consistent -- Davis might -- but none of them should be trusted in fantasy right now, even in a matchup this favorable.
Jaguars -- Blaine Gabbert, Rashad Jennings, Justin Blackmon, Cecil Shorts, Laurent Robinson, Marcedes Lewis, Josh Scobee, Jaguars D/ST: Gabbert is in for a long day, while makes Blackmon tougher to start than usual. Blackmon is the only Jags option even worth owning right now.
Titans -- Chris Johnson, Nate Washington: The only reason Johnson rates as a start against the Vikings' run defense (No. 2 in fantasy vs. running backs), is because of what he did against the Texans' solid run defense in a blowout loss last week. This is still not a great time to expect much out of Johnson. Washington is a better bet to compile some numbers in garbage time.
Vikings -- Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin, Kyle Rudolph, Blair Walsh, Vikings D/ST: This is a start-all game for the surprising Vikings, including the likes of Christian Ponder, Toby Gerhart and Jerome Simpson as bye-week fill-ins. The Titans have allowed 10 touchdowns by opposing quarterbacks while making only one interception. They are also forgiving on the ground (third-worst vs. running backs). Rudolph should be in for a big day, too, against a defense that has been dead last in fantasy vs. opposing tight ends.
Titans -- Matt Hasselbeck, Kenny Britt, Kendall Wright, Jared Cook, Rob Bironas, Titans D/ST: Going back to Hasselbeck leaves things a bit uncertain for the Titans receivers. Hasselbeck might be able to make this offense work again, but it's hard to trust that against a surprising Vikings defense.
Vikings -- None: If you own a Viking, start him with confidence this week. Don't rush out to pick up and start anyone that isn't already listed above, though.
Broncos -- Peyton Manning, Willis McGahee, Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Matt Prater: This figures to be a shootout, which makes Manning and his primary options must-starts. Jacob Tamme is a sleeper, too, perhaps. McGahee is facing a tough Pats run defense, but he has proved consistent enough in a run-first Broncos offense to keep active even in this one. He could reach the end zone.
Patriots -- Tom Brady, Stevan Ridley, Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd, Rob Gronkowski, Stephen Gostkowski: Brady woke up a week ago, and while the Broncos have a solid defense, all of the Patriots' primary offensive options should be in play. Ridley is facing a top-10 defense in fantasy vs. running backs, but the Pats are more committed to the run than ever and Ridley is their primary guy. Keep him active.
Broncos -- Ronnie Hillman, Lance Ball, Knowshon Moreno, Brandon Stokley, Joel Dreessen, Broncos D/ST: These guys are going to be touchdown vultures at times this season, but trusting them on a weekly basis is tough, even in this likely shootout. Any defense is a bad play against the Pats.
Patriots -- Brandon Bolden, Danny Woodhead, Julian Edelman, Deion Branch, Aaron Hernandez, Daniel Fells, Patriots D/ST: Bolden is the only question among the Patriots' complementary options this week. The Broncos are a good enough run defense to be wary of Ridley, much less his change-of-pace backup. Bolden is worth owning, but not starting, this week.
Bills -- Stevie Johnson: This is a bad week to trust the surprising Bills. Johnson might be the only one immune to this matchup and he barely rates as a top-24 fantasy receiver.
49ers -- Frank Gore, Vernon Davis, David Akers, 49ers D/ST: The Bills, ripped by the Pats on the ground a week ago, are sixth-worst in fantasy vs. running backs. That makes Gore a potential Week 5 star and even backups Kendall Hunter or goal-line option Brandon Jacobs potential flex-play sleepers. The passing game is a question mark in weeks where it won't be needed, so only consider Davis safe among the receivers.
Bills -- Ryan Fitzpatrick, Fred Jackson, C.J. Spiller, Donald Jones, Scott Chandler, Rian Lindell, Bills D/ST: Fitzpatrick's magical run ends against this defense, while potential stars Jackson and Spiller are bad plays against the No. 1 team in fantasy vs. running backs. The best you can hope for between them is if Spiller breaks a long one in the passing game. And none of the secondary targets are good plays with the error-prone Fitzpatrick.
49ers -- Alex Smith, Michael Crabtree, Mario Manningham, Randy Moss: It isn't that the 49ers can't pass, or the Bills can stop the pass (fifth-worst in fantasy against quarterbacks and receivers); the 49ers just don't always need to pass. The defense and running game should be fully capable of running out the clock from the opening kickoff, making the quarterbacks or receivers difficult to trust.
Chargers -- Philip Rivers, Ryan Mathews, Jackie Battle, Malcom Floyd, Antonio Gates, Nick Novak: This is a start-all game for the Chargers, which can include the likes of Eddie Royal and Robert Meachem, as needed. Mathews won't start or get goal-line carries in lieu of Battle, but the Saints are so bad against running backs in fantasy (dead last), that both backs figure to be productive starts. Floyd and Gates (finally) should put up some numbers, too, in a game that figures to be the biggest shootout of the week. Novak will continue to kick for the injured Nate Kaeding, so consider him a sleeper as well.
Saints -- Drew Brees, Darren Sproles, Marques Colston, Lance Moore, Jimmy Graham, Garrett Hartley: After Colston's breakthrough last week, this group is hitting on all cylinders against anyone, especially at home. The Saints cannot stop anyone defensively, so that should keep the offense as wide open as ever in their weekly shootouts.
Chargers -- Nate Kaeding, Chargers D/ST: Sitting a defense against the Saints might be the easiest call in fantasy.
Saints -- Mark Ingram, Pierre Thomas, Saints D/ST: Check that, avoiding these dead beats is.
Texans -- Arian Foster, Andre Johnson, Owen Daniels, Shayne Graham, Texans D/ST: Don't laugh, but the Jets are still a defense to be cognizant of in fantasy. You still shouldn't have any reservations with these weekly horses, though.
Jets -- None: The only one to possibly consider is new No. 1 receiver Chaz Schilens. But only the desperate own that guy at this point.
Texans -- Matt Schaub, Ben Tate, Kevin Walter: Schaub is the one to avoid against a Jets defense that is much better than public perception credits. The 49ers didn't do anything in the air a week ago and this game might be similar in what could be a defensive struggle. Tate is banged up and not getting enough touches to use him, especially against the Jets run defense sure to be better than it was a week ago.
Jets -- Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow, Shonn Greene, Bilal Powell, Stephen Hill, Jeremy Kerley, Dustin Keller, Nick Folk, Jets D/ST: Greene faces yet another elite run defense, which makes him tough to start and has made the Jets offense completely worthless. Tebow might be asked to save this lost cause, but until he does, avoid them all in bad matchups like this one vs. the Texans.
An ideal lineup for those playing in salary-cap games:
QB: Jay Cutler
RB: Adrian Peterson
RB: Marshawn Lynch
WR: Demaryius Thomas
WR: Marques Colston
TE: Jermichael Finley
FLEX: Jordy Nelson
K: Steven Hauschka
D/ST: San Francisco 49ers
Think you do better? Hit me up on Twitter @EricMackFantasy.
Eric Mack writes fantasy for SI.com. Track his weekly starts and sits every Thursday, his Scouting Report on Friday and his Fantasy Fast Forward on Sunday nights. You find also him on Twitter, where you can mock him, rip him and (doubtful) praise him before asking him for fantasy advice or challenging him to a head-to-head fantasy game @EricMackFantasy. He reads all the messages there (guaranteed) and takes them very, very personally (not really).
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