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Manning, Nicks both solid fantasy options in Week 5

Start 'em & sit 'emis the ultimate look at weekly matchups and how they'll affect your fantasy team.Sleeper alertfeatures a player who's under the radar and could produce good numbers.Owners beware features a player who's a regular fantasy starter but could fail to meet expectations. For your final lineup decisions, check our lineup rankings.

Start of the week

Eli Manning at Texans: Manning hasn't had the best start to the 2010 campaign, ranking 22nd in fantasy points among quarterbacks on NFL.com. But against the Texans, he's still a great option. Outside of the Jaguars, no team has allowed more fantasy points to opposing signal-callers this season.

Quarterbacks -- start 'em

Joe Flacco vs. Broncos: Flacco hasn't been the most consistent quarterback in fantasy football, but he can exploit a favorable matchup. That's what he faces in Week 5, as Flacco goes up against a Broncos defense that has surrendered an average of over 17 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. Look for him to have a nice stat line.

Matt Ryan at Browns: Ryan is on pace to put up career numbers this season. After four weeks, he'a already thrown for an impressive 978 yards and six touchdowns. Look for his success to continue against the Browns, who have allowed an average of close to 15 fantasy points per game to opposing field generals. Ryan is a solid option.

David Garrard at Bills: Garrard has been the epitome of inconsistent. He'll put up huge numbers one week, then disappear the next. While that makes him a risk, it's hard not to like Garrard's matchup against the Bills. Their defense has been dreadful this season, allowing an average of over 17 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks.

Sam Bradford at Lions: Rookie quarterbacks aren't the most reliable options in fantasy football, but Bradford is worth a roll of the dice this week based on a game against the Lions. Despite some big-name additions to their defense during the offseason, these Motor City kitties are still very vulnerable to opposing signal-callers.

Shaun Hill vs. Rams: It looks like Matthew Stafford will miss another week, so Hill remains relevant in fantasy circles. He's been a decent option over the last three weeks, throwing for better than 330 yards with two touchdowns twice. In what could be a shootout against the Rams, Hill is worth a look as a potential bye-week option.

Sleeper alert -- Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. Jaguars: Since taking over the top spot on the Bills depth chart, Fitzpatrick has thrown for a combined four touchdowns and is worth a look as a potential bye-week replacement. The Jags have allowed more fantasy points to quarterbacks than any other team, so the Harvard alum is a nice sleeper.

Quarterbacks -- sit 'em

Mark Sanchez vs. Vikings (Mon.): Sanchez has been one of the hottest quarterbacks in fantasy football in recent weeks, but his Monday night matchup against the Vikings is a tough one. Their defense has allowed an average of just 10 fantasy points per game, so Sanchez could be in for a less-than-stellar stat line in Week 5.

Donovan McNabb vs. Packers: Outside of his 426-yard performance against the Texans, McNabb has been a major disappointment in fantasy land. In fact, he's averaged a mere 11.1 fantasy points on NFL.com in his other three starts. With a matchup against the Packers next on the schedule, it's a good idea to leave McNabb on the sidelines.

Vince Young at Cowboys: With four weeks in the books, Young is averaging 8.76 fantasy points per game on NFL.com. That includes one game where he was benched in favor of Kerry Collins after putting up a poor performance. Now Young faces a good Cowboys defense on its home field, so he's not a recommended option in Week 5.

Kevin Kolb at 49ers: Kolb, once considered a viable sleeper in fantasy circles, is back under center for the Eagles after the injury to Michael Vick. However, he can't replace Vick in terms of overall production or fantasy value. With a tough road matchup against the 49ers next on the schedule, Kolb should be considered a risk.

Josh Freeman at Bengals: Freeman has shown flashes of potential this season, but he's still no more than a matchup-based option in fantasy land. In fact, he could struggle to produce solid numbers on the road against the Bengals. After four week, they've allowed an average of 8.8 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks.

Owners beware - Kyle Orton at Ravens: Believe it or not, but Orton has scored more points than all but four quarterbacks after four weeks. But against the Ravens, he could be in for a difficult week. The Black and Purple have allowed the fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks -- that's the lowest in the NFL.

Running backs -- start 'em

Ahmad Bradshaw at Texans: A talented runner, Bradshaw has scored more fantasy points than Chris Johnson in the first four weeks of the season. He's clearly the top runner in the Giants offense, and Bradshaw has a nice matchup ahead against the Texans. They have allowed an average of 17.5 fantasy points to opposing running backs.

Steven Jackson at Lions: Jackson has been a disappointment for owners to this point, but a matchup against the Lions should cure what's been ailing him. Their defense has been awful against the run, allowing an average of 26 fantasy points per game to opposing backs. Look for Action Jackson to have his best game of the season.

Cedric Benson vs. Buccaneers: Benson has not been a consistent fantasy option to this point, but he's still an attractive option with a game against the Buccaneers next on the slate. Their defense ranks eighth in the league in terms of allowing the most fantasy points to runners, surrendering a lofty 18 points on average this season.

Ryan Mathews at Raiders: Earlier in the week, Chargers coach Norv Turner committed to Mathews as his starting running back. That vote of confidence makes the rookie a safer fantasy play against the Raiders, who have been terrible against the run this season. If you need a flex starter, Mike Tolbert is also a viable fantasy option.

Jamaal Charles at Colts: The Chiefs backfield has been a confusing mess for fantasy leaguers this season, but a matchup against the Colts makes Charles and Thomas Jones attractive in Week 5. Their defense has surrendered an average of over 21 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs, so both Chiefs runners have starting value.

Sleeper alert -- Fred Jackson vs. Jaguars: The trade that sent Marshawn Lynch to Seattle turned Jackson from bench material to a viable flex option across the board. He's already been named the Bills new starting running back, and Jackson is well worth using this week against a Jaguars defense that's been awful in the first four weeks.

Running backs -- sit 'em

Marion Barbervs. Titans: Barber has been mostly invisible this season, averaging 6.4 fantasy points on NFL.com. With the Cowboys expected to utilize Felix Jones more often in the offense, Barber's touches could be affected. What's more, the Titans have allowed an average of just 13.3 fantasy points per game to running backs.

Brandon Jacksonat Redskins: Jackson's appearance in the sit 'em portion of this column has less to do with his matchup and more to do with his total lack of success since taking over for Ryan Grant. Not only is he losing carries to fullback John Kuhn, but Jackson is also averaging a grotesque 3.6 fantasy points in his last two games.

Shonn Greene vs. Vikings (Mon.): Greene is coming off his best game of the season, rushing for 117 yards on 22 carries in Week 4. Unfortunately, he doesn't get to play the hapless Bills again. This week, Greene faces a much tougher task against the Vikings and their stout run defense. Don't start him unless you lack backfield depth.

Laurence Maroney at Ravens:Knowshon Moreno has been ruled out for Week 5, so Maroney will see more carries against the Ravens. However, he'll be hard to trust in fantasy leagues while splitting the workload with Correll Buckhalter. It also doesn't help that Maroney is facing one of the league's tougher run defenses.

Cadillac Williams at Bengals: The Buccaneers plan to slow down the Cadillac going forward, as LeGarrette Blount and Kareem Huggins will see more work in an effort to ease the workload. Considering the fact that Williams wasn't doing much to help owners before his decision, now he's pretty much unstartable in fantasy leagues.

Owners beware -- Ray Rice vs. Broncos: I'm not suggesting that you bench Rice -- you likely took him with a top-five pick on draft day, so you almost have to play him. But don't be shocked if his struggles continue against the Broncos, who held Maurice Jones-Drew and Chris Johnson to a combined 151 rushing yards this season.

Wide receivers -- start 'em

Hakeem Nicks at Texans: Anyone noticing a trend with members of the Giants offense? Yes, you should be starting most of them against the Texans. Just six teams have allowed more fantasy points to opposing wideouts, so Nicks, Steve Smith and Mario Manningham are all nice options in what could turn into a shootout at Reliant Stadium.

Terrell Owens vs. Buccaneers: Owens has little chance to duplicate the ridiculous 222 yards and one touchdown he produced last week, but you still have to play him while he's on such a hot steak. With the potential for CB Aqib Talib to be blanketing Chad Ochocinco, T.O. should be the better of the two Bengals wideouts once again.

Marques Colston at Cardinals: Colston has been an enormous disappointment this season. After four weeks, he's averaged 47.5 yards and is still without his first touchdown catch. But whether you believe in Murphy's Law or recognize that the Cardinals defense has been awful, Colston should still be active in fantasy leagues.

Donald Driver at Redskins: Driver's yardage totals after four weeks definitely leave something to be desired, but he's still a strong play for fantasy owners against the Redskins. Even with talented CB DeAngelo Hall in the mix, their defense has still allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season.

Mark Claytonat Lions: Since joining the Rams, Clayton has hauled in 22 passes for 300 yards and caught two touchdowns as the main option in the passing game for Bradford. It's a good idea to use him while he's hot, especially against the Lions. They've given up an average of 20.8 fantasy points to opposing wideouts in 2010.

Mike Sims-Walker at Bills: I know what you're thinking -- start Sims-Walker after he caught zero passes last week? Against the Bills, I think the answer is yes. Their defense has allowed the 10th-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season, so Sims-Walker is worth the risk based on the favorable matchup ahead.

Sleeper alert -- Steve Johnson vs. Jaguars: If you're in a deeper league and need a wideout, Johnson is worth a look against the Jaguars -- they've allowed more fantasy points to opposing wide receivers than any other team. What's more, Johnson has just 3.1 fewer fantasy points than Randy Moss after four weeks on NFL.com.

Wide receivers -- sit 'em

Brandon Lloyd at Ravens: Lloyd's value is at an all-time high in fantasy football -- after four weeks, he's an amazing fifth in fantasy points at his position on NFL.com. However, his streak of success could some to an end in Week 5 against the Ravens. Their defense has allowed an average of just 7.8 fantasy points to wideouts.

Michael Crabtree vs. Eagles: Last week, Crabtree gave fantasy owners a glimpse of hope with five catches and 58 yards against the Falcons. But he'll have to do much better than that to warrant a starting role in fantasy leagues. With a Sunday night matchup against the Eagles next on the schedule, Crabtree remains a real risk.

Malcom Floyd at Raiders: Here's a pretty good reason to bench Floyd on your fantasy team this week: Raiders CB Nnamdi Asomugha. If that's not enough to make you consider other options at the position, well, keep this in mind -- the Raiders have allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season.

Santana Moss vs. Packers: Moss was having a great start to the 2010 season. That is, until he was held without a single catch in a win over the Eagles. Considering that Moss is the lone playmaking wideout in the entire Redskins offense, don't be shocked if he's blanketed by Packers CB Charles Woodson.

Roy E. Williams vs. Titans: Before the Cowboys bye week, Williams lit up the Texans for 117 yards and two touchdowns. Unfortunately, he'll face a different AFC South team this week -- the Titans. Unless you're in desperate need of a wideout, Williams shouldn't be considered an obvious start based on the strength of one good performance.

Owners beware -- Larry Fitzgerald vs. Saints: It's pretty obvious that you can't bench Fitzgerald (unless you're in a four-team fantasy league). But with rookie Max Hall starting at quarterback and a matchup against the Saints on the docket, Fitzgerald could struggle. No team has allowed fewer fantasy points to wideouts this season.

Tight ends -- start 'em

Chris Cooley vs. Packers: If you drafted Cooley as your No. 1 fantasy tight end in the late rounds, give yourself a hand. He's sixth in fantasy points at his position on NFL.com, and this week's matchup against the Packers makes him a solid start. Their defense has allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends.

Dustin Keller vs. Vikings (Mon.): In what has been a very surprising start, Keller has outscored every tight end in the entire league not named Antonio Gates. He should continue to produce terrific numbers for fantasy owners on Monday night against the Vikings, who have always had a hard time stopping opposing tight ends.

Zach Millervs. Chargers: Miller, a preseason sleeper on NFL.com, is coming off a huge game against the Texans and has now scored more fantasy points than even Jermichael Finley among tight ends. With the Raiders wideouts all banged up, look for Miller to once again see a ton of targets against the Chargers in Week 5.

Brent Celek at 49ers: Celek is a very disappointing 21st in fantasy points among tight ends on NFL.com, but the presence of Kolb under center might make him a better option. Where Vick would take chances downfield, Kolb is more prone to check down and use Celek as a safety valve. As a result, keep him active against the 49ers.

Marcedes Lewis at Bills: Despite the fact that he's scored three touchdowns, Lewis is very hard to trust in fantasy leagues. However, owners who need a one-week play at the position should consider him against the Bills. Only the Texans have surrendered more fantasy points to opposing tight ends after the first four weeks of the season.

Sleeper alert -- Jeremy Shockey at Cardinals: Shockey had a very slow start to the season, but he's actually been very productive over the last two weeks with a combined 14 catches for 136 yards and one touchdown. This week he'll face the Cardinals, who have allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends.

Tight ends -- sit 'em

Greg Olsen at Panthers: Despite the fact that he's playing in Mike Martz's offense -- which doesn't use tight ends much in the passing game -- Olsen has still been able to make a fantasy impact. However, he could struggle to produce against the Panthers, who have allowed an average of just six fantasy points per game to tight ends.

Tony Moeaki at Colts: Moeaki is well worth a roster spot in fantasy leagues with 12-plus teams. After all, he's scored a touchdown in two of his first three games at the NFL level. But against the Colts, who have allowed the fewest fantasy points to tight ends in the entire league, Moeaki is better left on the fantasy sidelines.

Owen Daniels vs. Giants: Daniels was the top tight end in fantasy football last season, that is until he tore up his knee and was forced out of action. Despite his skills, he's had a hard time getting back to the same level. In fact, Daniels isn't even worth a roster spot -- let alone starting -- in many fantasy leagues right now.

Todd Heap vs. Broncos: Heap teased us all with a six-catch, 72-yard performance in the season opener. But since then, he's averaged just under four receptions and 38.6 yards. Heap, who also hasn't scored a single touchdown this season, is clearly not reliable enough to be used even as a bye-week replacement in fantasy leagues.

Jermaine Gresham vs. Buccaneers: Gresham, a rookie out of Oklahoma, has a bright future in the NFL. But unless you really need a tight end in a PPR league, it's hard to start him. He's scored just 19.40 fantasy points on NFL.com and faces a Buccaneers defense that's been tough on opposing tight ends this season.

Owners beware -- Jason Witten vs. Titans: Over his first three games of the season, Witten has averaged a very disappointing 4.5 fantasy points. While it's hard to sit someone of Witten's caliber, his numbers have been atrocious. He's also facing the Titans, who have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to tight ends.

Kickers -- start 'em

Neil Rackers vs. Giants: After struggling to retain his fantasy value during the end of his tenure in Arizona, Rackers is once again a solid starter as a member of the Texans. After four weeks, he ranks fourth in fantasy points on NFL.com. Rackers also has a good matchup against the Giants, who have given up a ton of points to kickers.

John Carneyat Cardinals: Who says a kicker in his mid-40s can't have fantasy value? Carney was solid in his 2010 debut, kicking three field goals in a close game against the Panthers. Now he faces the Cardinals, who have surrendered more fantasy points to opposing kickers than any other team.

Robbie Gould at Panthers: The Panthers defense has been a bend-don't-break unit the last two weeks, so opposing kickers have been seeing plenty of chances to produce. As a result, Gould should be considered a nice option in Week 5. Overall, the Panthers are allowing an average of close to nine fantasy points per game to kickers.

Sleeper alert -- Matt Bryant at Browns: Bryant is quickly shedding the label of a sleeper and becoming a nice option for fantasy owners. He's second in fantasy points at his position on NFL.com and is well worth starting against the Browns. Their defense is allowing close to eight fantasy points per game to opposing kickers.

Kickers -- sit 'em

Adam Vinatieri vs. Chiefs: Vinatieri hasn't been a good fantasy kickers in years, but his name value still keeps owners coming back for more. Still, he needs to be benched (or dropped altogether) for this week's game against the Chiefs. Kickers are averaging 3.0 fantasy points per game against their improved defensive unit.

Jay Feely vs. Saints: Feely was once considered a top-10 fantasy kicker, but the Cardinals' lack of an offense has decimated his value this season. With the rookie Hall at the helm against a formidable Saints defense, scoring chances could be few and far between. Feely needs to be on fantasy benches (or the waiver wire) right now.

Ryan Longwell at Jets (Mon.): Longwell's fantasy prospects for the future have improved with the addition of Moss, as the Vikings offense should now allow him more chances to score. But it's still a good idea to keep on the bench in Week 5, as Longwell faces a Jets defense that allowing just 5.3 fantasy points per game to opposing kickers.

Owners beware -- Nate Kaeding at Raiders: Kaeding has always been highly regarded in fantasy leagues, but does he deserve it this season? At this point, he's 17th in fantasy points among kickers on NFL.com. He also has a tough matchup against the Raiders this week -- they've allowed fewer than six fantasy points per game to kickers.

Defenses -- start 'em

Saints defense at Cardinals: The Saints haven't put up a ton of points for owners on defense this season, but it's hard not to love them against the Cardinals. With a rookie quarterback in Hall at the helm of what's become a putrid offense without Kurt Warner, the Saints should have one of their best statistical performances of the year.

Bears defense at Panthers: In fantasy football, targeting inexperienced quarterbacks for defensive matchups is an excellent strategy. Enter the Bears, who will face Jimmy Clausen and a Panthers offense that won't have their top wide receiver, Steve Smith. Look for DE Julius Peppers and his teammates to skin these Carolina cats.

Bengals defense vs. Buccaneers: The Buccaneers are an improving team, but their offense still doesn't have much weaponry overall. That makes the Bengals, who host these pewter pirates, a very strong play among fantasy defenses. What's more, they're still available in over 60 percent of NFL.com leagues heading into the weekend.

Sleeper alert -- Falcons defense at Browns: Jake Delhomme is back under center for the Browns this week -- that might actually be a good thing for the Falcons. The veteran has been prone to turnovers in recent seasons, so look for the Falcons to have more than their share of takeaways -- and sacks -- in this inter-conference clash.

Defenses -- sit 'em

Chiefs defense at Colts: New coordinator Romeo Crennel has done wonders with the Chiefs defense, and the presence of Dexter McCluster just adds to the unit's value. With that said, there's still no way I'm starting them on the road against Peyton Manning and the Colts, especially not after the Colts lost to the Jaguars in Week 4.

Titans defense at Cowboys: Coming off a bye week, the Cowboys offense should be back and ready to roll on their home field against the Titans. While their defense is improved compared to last season, it will still be hard pressed to stop Tony Romo and his offensive teammates. It's a good idea to look elsewhere for a defense in Week 5.

Redskins defense vs. Packers: When a defense faces Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, chances are it's not going to be a productive week from a fantasy perspective. That will be the case for the Redskins, who host this offensive juggernaut of FedEx Field. Even if you're desperate, this is a unit to avoid if at all possible this week.

Owners beware -- Giants defense at Texans: The Giants put up what seemed like 100 sacks in last week's win over the Bears, but a road game against the Texans will be a much more difficult matchup. In fact, defenses facing Matt Schaub and his crew have scored an average of just 3.3 fantasy points per game. Don't bank on the G-Men.

Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on NFL.com. Have a burning question for Michael on anything fantasy football related? Leave it in our comments section or send it to AskFabiano@nfl.com!

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