Week 5: Start 'Em
After hitting the mark with my first 2 articles of the season, I put up a real stinker this past weekend. Hopefully my poor choices didn’t cause any of you to lose your weeks. Week 4 in the NFL was another wild one with some crazy games, but more importantly for fantasy purposes there were some key injuries. The biggest was Andre Johnson going down and it looks like he will be out at least a few weeks, if not more. The Steelers got hit hard with injuries to Big Ben and Mendenhall (still too early to know if they will be available for the upcoming game). The good news of the weekend was that Vick and Foster both played and were the fantasy studs we all know them to be. Week 5 will be the start of bye weeks and that means that not only are most of you dealing with some injury issues, but with players out on bye. This week there happens to be 6 teams (Cleveland, Dallas, St. Louis, Miami, Washington, Baltimore) on bye, meaning fantasy owners will be looking to their bench to see who they can use to fill in for their injured or bye week players. Take a look below and if any of these guys are sitting on your bench, this might be the time to put them in your lineup and give them a shot. Good luck and may the force be with you. Feel free to email me (email@example.com) or tweet me (@dkalles8) with any questions you might have over the weekend.
Ingram has gotten off to a slow start to his rookie season as the Saints use a 3 headed monster of Ingram, Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles. Odds are this won't last all season as someone in that group will get injured and whoever is left might emerge as an every week fantasy starter. For now it's a week to week thing, and this week the Saints face Carolina, who are giving up the 2nd most rushing yards per game (143.8). In an effort to give Ingram some confidence, look for the Saints to give Ingram close to 20 carries and look for him to score his 2nd touchdown of the season. If you have a running back on bye or injured, let Ingram loose.
Up until this point, Isaac Redman has been nothing more than a fantasy handcuff for Rashard Mendenhall. Redman was only used to give Mendenhall a breather here and there over the first three weeks and then came in to replace Mendenhall in week 4. As the Steelers were playing from behind most of the game and passing the ball on most downs, there wasn't much chance for many rushing attempts, but still Redman was able to rush for 40 yards on only 6 rushes and he also had 1 reception for 12 yards in less than a half a game. Redman's value will solely depend on the availability of Mendenhall and Big Ben. If both are out, then Redman's value will be very high. If Mendenhall is out and Big Ben plays, Redman should still expect to see a large number of carries and will be a big part of the offense. Follow the Steelers' injury updates.
While the Patriots have put very solid rushing numbers the last few years, it has been next to impossible to predict which running back will be the one doing the work. While BenJarvus Green-Ellis is still the starter, he is definitely looking over his shoulder as rookie 3rd round pick Steven Ridley has started to come on the last few weeks as he gets some touches. Ridley busted out last week with 10 rushes for 97 yards and a touchdown. The Patriots loved him when they drafted him, so look for them to let him run wild on the Jets this week -- who are allowing a surprising 130 yards rushing per game (28th in the league). Go Ridley.
There were a lot of questions about what kind of a season Plaxico would have in his first year since being let out of jail. Anyone who knew anything knew that Plax wasn't going to put up Pro Bowl type numbers on an offense like the Jets, but he has caught 10 passes for 160 yards and 2 touchdowns, nothing that jumps out at you. The Jets were a run first team in the past and look to get back to that after a slow start to the season, leaving more doubt about what kind of numbers Plax can put up. With the Jets facing the Patriots this week, those lingering doubts will have to wait a week. The Patriots are giving up a league worst 368 yards per game through the air; meaning, if there is a week where Plax might resemble the Plax of old, this might be it. If you have had Plax on the bench or were considering benching him, this is the week to make sure he is starting in your line up.
Through his first two seasons Crabtree has been a huge bust, dealing with hold outs, injuries and poor practice habits. This season hasn't been much different as Crabtree started the season injured and has been working hard to make his way back. With Braylon Edwards out with an injury, the only weapons the 49ers have in the passing game are Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree. Both need to step up if the 49ers are going to stay atop their division. Crabtree had his best game of the season last week, catching 5 passes for 68 yards -- not great, but more than he had combined through the first three weeks. The 49ers have spent a lot of money and time on Crabtree and will give him every chance to succeed. Not much of a big play guy, Crabtree's value is in PPR leagues, so look for him to build on last week's game and put up a good game this week. Crabtree makes for a very solid flex start this week.