Each week you have some pretty crazy fantasy football decisions to make. It sounds like a broken record, but no week is the same, yet they all share the same problems: injuries, matchups, performance and roles. You have to consider it all – especially if you have money on the line in your fantasy football leagues. Pride can be just as important, too, though, so pretty much any league begs for you to do the best you can to put forth the best possible rosters.
Week five, like all the others, is no different. You’ve got specific dilemmas, and I’m going to pick a few that are popular and answer them. For the most part, you can just hit up my week 5 player rankings, but if you want specific breakdowns and logic for as to why I’m making my picks, you can read all these extra words starting now:
Cam Newton (Panthers) vs. Eli Manning (Giants)
Both of these guys have killer matchups and one is way more athletic in the other. Cam, then, right? Nope. Newton hasn’t been good this year and he still is banged up (ankle, ribs). The Bears can be moved on all day, but they do force turnovers and for some odd reason are unstoppable on the road. Manning has this one in spades.
Andy Dalton (Bengals) vs. Alex Smith (49ers)
Andy Dalton in the “we’re proving to everyone we’re elite” game or Smith in the “ultimate revenge” game. Both are appealing, to be sure. However, I can’t see Smith coming in and playing completely awful when he wants to prove to everyone in San Francisco they made a big mistake by letting him go. Dalton should still be fine, but he’s going up against the league’s toughest pass defense – which also happens to get Brandon Browner back from suspension. These guys should both be OK and are close in my ranks, but I like Smith just a little bit better.
Austin Davis (Rams) vs. Kirk Cousins (Redskins)
On to the spares, as you’re thinking of throwing Davis or Cousins in. God help you. Kirk was awesome for two weeks, but he faces a tough Seattle defense and it does appear he showed his true colors with four picks in week four. Davis actually looked good in his last game before a bye, so he could come in with some gusto. He happens to also have a killer matchup, albeit on the road. I hate them both, but Davis has some moxie to him and easily has the better matchup. Davis is the lesser of two evils.
Mike Glennon (Buccaneers) vs. Blake Bortles (Jaguars)
The sad sack second-year passer or the sad sack rookie. Nah, they’re both just fine, and neither has a particularly scary matchup. Glennon is on the road, but New Orleans stinks on defense right now and he actually found success against them last year. I’m sure Bortles does a decent job, but he’s still just a QB2. I half-heartedly feel Glennon could border on QB1 territory – if only for week five. Go with Glennon.
Doug Martin (Buccaneers) vs. Zac Stacy (Eagles)
Both of these guys have really nice matchups, and both shockingly do not have feature roles at the moment – and they both probably should. Martin has looked pretty pedestrian, though, so that explains it for him. I’m leaning toward Stacy if only just for the health factor. Martin did score last week but he didn’t run convincingly and he’s had injury issues. Stacy at least is somewhat reliable and I like his matchup better. Both guys are on the road and could potentially fall behind early, so go with the guy who is a little safer here. That’s Stacy.
Ahmad Bradshaw (Colts) vs. Khiry Robinson (Saints)
Both of these guys share the rock and can be really hit or miss. I just feel Robinson’s big game is very close. The Bucs are a pretty good matchup at home, while the Ravens present a potential problem for Bradshaw. The Colts also keep giving Trent Richardson way more touches, which boggles the mind. Bradshaw is a fine Flex, but Khiry ran with power last week and has a little more upside.
Toby Gerhart (Jaguars) vs. Pierre Thomas (Saints)
With the promotion of Khiry might come the demotion of Pierre, who fell of the planet last week. I’m sure that doesn’t last forever, but hey, it could. Gerhart finally scored last week and with Bortles not being nearly as bad as Chad Henne, the offense is slowly opening up a bit. I think Gerhart has a shot at his best game yet against a pretty beatable Steelers run D at home. Gerhart carries more upside.
Darren Sproles (Eagles) vs. Shane Vereen (Patriots)
I do think the Pats could shock us all by coming out and beating the Bengals, and if they do I’m sure Vereen will have a big hand in it. But that’s just one possibility – not the logical result. The reality is Cincy stuffs the run and the Pats have looked terrible. Sproles has been quiet lately, too, but the Rams at home are a dream matchup. Sproles should cease being quiet this week.
Roddy White (Falcons) vs. Michael Floyd (Cardinals)
White has been pretty solid this year, but he no longer packs that elite big play punch that Floyd does. Both of these guys have solid matchups this week, but AZ is going to be throwing all day against Denver. I think Floyd gives you more potential this week.
Golden Tate (Lions) vs. Torrey Smith (Ravens)
Calvin Johnson is banged up and is either going to be limited or will sit out. Either way, Tate is bound to erupt this week. He’s remained very involved and productive, but he has yet to score. I think he could score this week. He is also banged up, so just monitor his status. Smith isn’t a terrible option and did score last week, but his role is just too shaky compared to Tate’s.
Wes Welker (Broncos) vs. Michael Crabtree (49ers)
I have these guys ranked right next to each other, with Welker one spot ahead of Crabtree. Welker hauled in six catches in his only game this year, while Crabtree has been pretty solid but did get banged up last week. Neither of these guys have exactly easy matchups, but logic says to side with the Broncos offense. Because it’s better. That means you go with Welker, yo.
Eddie Royal (Chargers) vs. Sammy Watkins (Bills)
Watkins has been hit or miss so far, while Kyle Orton taking over under center may help rectify that to a certain degree. The Bills hope. Meanwhile, Royal has gone on another one of his “I’m going to score 7 touchdowns and then never score again” tirades. I’d ride the wave with Royal, as Watkins has a tough matchup and a new QB.
Larry Donnell (Giants) vs. Zach Ertz (Eagles)
Ertz has been absent and he faces a Rams defense that is pretty good at stopping tight ends. He is at home and Philly is probably going to rebound after a bad week 4, but he may not end up being a big part of it. Donnell can’t score 3 times again, but he hasn’t been bad yet. Pretty tough to suddenly bet against him against a terrible Falcons defense.
Delanie Walker (Titans) vs. Jordan Cameron (Browns)
Cameron has done nothing and has a bum shoulder. He’s also facing a pretty solid Titans pass defense. There’s not much to go on here to display much confidence, other than the fact that he’s insanely talented and he’s definitely bound to go off. That’s if he’s himself, of course. Walker is also not 100%, but he’s played through a similar shoulder issue and has been quite good. Cleveland also provides a favorable matchup, so the logic points to Walker being your guy.
Antonio Gates (Chargers) vs Jason Witten (Cowboys)
Gates has been a ghost the past two weeks despite having good matchups, and yet he destroyed the Seahawks. Witten, meanwhile, is slowly getting more involved but hasn’t scored or really done much of anything. He also has a bad matchup with the Texans, while Gates gets a bad Jets pass defense. Gates has to be the pick here,
Travis Kelce (Chiefs) vs. Jared Cook (Rams)
Kelce has been awesome and seemingly better each week, but he has a pretty rough matchup on the road against the 49ers. The Niners tend to cover TEs pretty well, too. Cook, meanwhile, is on the road but faces a weak Eagles defense. He doesn’t tend to go nuts outdoors, though, or really at all that much anymore. Plus, he shoves quarterbacks and that ain’t cool. I suspect KC will end up having to throw to stay in/win this game, so Kelce should do enough to warrant using him.