Week 5: Start 'Em
When it comes to setting your lineups for each week of the fantasy season, a good rule of thumb is simply to not overthink it. You drafted players for a reason and in almost all cases, it is to play them from the jump. Then again, don't let draft day pride interfere with a basic - or detailed - look at the matchups, something you most likely do throughout the season. That's why we offer the "Start 'em" column, where we look beyond the obvious names to offer suggestions on potential lineup options, perhaps someone sitting on your bench right now that you may have simply overlooked. Throughout the season check back here for sleepers and oh so subtle plays and also sneak a peak at our Matchup Analyzer page, which this week backs up our take on two sneaky AFC South wide receivers to ponder...
There has been plenty of talk so far this season about all the 1st and 2nd year QBs starting in the NFL. Most of that talk has surrounded Cam or Luck, or RG3 and many others, but not often is the conversation about 2nd year QB Christian Ponder. Ponder had a up and down rookie season, but with a full off season and training camp he has started this season off with a bang, winning 3 of 4 games and passing for an average of 206 yards and 1 per game and has yet to throw an interception so far this season. If you're looking for a QB this week, Ponder might just be that guy with a good match up vs. the Tennessee Titans, who are giving up 285 yards per game passing and a total of 10 passing TD's. With all that, this makes for a good week to give Ponder a start.
If you have a need for a RB2 or flex starter and you have Jackie Battle on your bench, put a smile on your face because he is a facing the New Orleans Saints (who are giving up a ridiculous 186 rushing yards per game). Despite sharing the ball last week with Ryan Matthews, Battle was able to gain 81 total yards, catch 4 passes and score 2 touchdowns. Matthews has proven time and time again that he can't be trusted to stay healthy nor avoid fumbling the ball in key situations. This allows Battle to share the carries in San Diego, until Matthews gets injured again. So when facing a juicy matchup like this week's, starting Battles as a RB2 or flex makes for a very good decision. If he has been sitting on your bench all this time, it is time to give him a chance.
Blackman (the first round pick) has struggled to produce over the first 4 weeks of the season. It i's most likely a combo of being a rookie with a less than stellar 2nd year QB throwing him the ball. Since coming into training camp late, Blackmon has been trying to work on his timing with QB Blaine Gabbert and slowly they have been building a good rapport. Week 4 might have been a sign of things to come as he caught 6 of 10 targets for 48 yards. Free agent signee Laurent Robinson looks to be sitting out week 5 with a concussion, so you can expect Blackmon's team lead in targets to go up as there are really not many other options. Hopefully you have been patient with Blackmon and he is waiting on your bench, if so, he is worthy of a look as a WR3 or a flex.
While the Giants are busy trying to figure out who is gonna be healthy week in and week out, it seems Eli Manning is paying no attention to it. Over the past three weeks, three different receivers have started opposite Victor Cruz and for all three weeks, they have gone over 100 yards. In week 2, it was regular starter Hakeem Nicks who blew up for 199 yards then ha been sidelined the past 2 weeks with foot and knee issues. In week 3, it was Ramses Barden, gaining 138 yards, starting in place of the injured Nicks and Hixon. Hixon returned to the starting spot in week 4 and went over 100 yards, finishing the game with 114 yards. So it appears no matter who is lining up at WR for the NY Giants, they are gonna get theirs. No reason that should change this week vs. the Browns. Hixon makes for a good Flex start and a solid WR3 start.
As it stands now, Jeremy Kerley will be going into week 5 as the healthiest Jets receiver. The Jets are very thin at receiver, with TE Dustin Keller and rookie Stephen Hill already missing week 4 and now Santonio Holmes going out with what looks to be a multiple week injury. With all these injuries and a lack of depth, the Jets will have to rely on Kerley to make some plays. He might be small, but once the ball is in his hands he can make things happen. Look for the Jets to draw up some plays to make that happen early in the game to try and take some pressure off the run game. If you are hurting at WR or Flex and need someone to start, take a look at Kerley; the Jets will most likely be losing most of the game, forcing the pass often and giving Kerley plenty of chances to produce.