NFL fantasy football: Week 5 matchups

Week 5 started with a bang thanks to some uncharacteristically high-scoring fantasy options on Thursday Night Football. Hopefully that means good things for fantasy owners for the rest of the week -- especially with some key running backs on bye this week. Oh, and did we mention there's a second Sunday night game this week? Yep, it's Chargers-Raiders on NFL Network. You can get the preview for that game right here. But let's get to the rest of Week 5!

Analysis: Once upon a time, this would have been guaranteed to be a high-scoring affair. This year, it's not a guarantee. But you're still starting your triumvirate of Saints -- Drew Brees, Marques Colston and Darren Sproles -- because that's what you do. You could also do worse than starting the Saints revamped defense. Everyone else is a cautious start at best. Similarly, you're giving Brandon Marshall and Matt Forte a go this week, but you might be able to find a better choice than Jay Cutler.

Analysis: Starting Tom Brady? Of course. Starting LeGarrette Blount? Not a bad choice. Starting a Pats wide receiver? Only if you have to. The Bengals haven't been very nice to opposing wideouts this year. Plenty of you are worried about A.J. Green, and with good reason. But you have to give him another chance because you've likely invested a high pick on him. Just know that Aqib Talib gives no quarter in the secondary. Take a chance on Giovani Bernard in a flex spot this week.

Analysis: This has the potential to be one of the more fantasy-friendly games of the week. The Lions should be able to move the ball through the air against the Packers defense and Reggie Bush should continue to be a big point producer. While Detroit's defense is much improved, few have had an answer for Green Bay's multi-headed passing attack. This is even a good week to make sure you have Eddie Lacy back in your lineup as a flex play at the very least.

Analysis: This is a game full of potentiaal fantasy stars -- Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch, Andrew Luck and Reggie Wayne ... to name a few. However, you'll have to temper expectations for anyone you're putting in your lineup. Especially guys on the Indianapolis side. Seattle's defense isn't quite as stout away from home, but they can still make life miserable for people. Start your studs, but beware.

Analysis:Ray Rice owners are frustrated. Ray Rice is frustrated. That's the very reason you roll with him this week. Look for Baltimore to feed their star running back against a Dolphins defense that can surrender fantasy points. Looking for a sneaky tight end play? Dallas Clark could be your man. After a tough start to the season, the Ravens defense has improved. It's hard to recommend any of Miami's receivers, but on a bye week, Lamar Miller is worthy of a flex look.

Analysis: Here's a chance for you to start all of your Giants and all of your Eagles. Both defenses have been absolutely awful to start the season and if you can't get production out of guys like Eli Manning, David Wilson and Hakeem Nicks this week, it might never happen. Likewise, Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson are all poised to do big things against Big Blue.

Analysis: On paper, there doesn't appear to be much fantasy value to be had between these two teams, but there are some sneaky plays. Maurice Jones-Drew could make hay against a porous Rams run defense. Don't sleep on Justin Blackmon (just off suspension), especially if Cecil Shorts can't go. Likewise, Jared Cook could see some run in an offense that's been forced to throw the ball a ton in the absence of a rushing offense. Oh, and give the Rams defense a look because ... Jaguars.

Analysis: This game has defense written all over it. If there's an offensive must-start in this game, it's Jamaal Charles. Beyond that, there's much more reason to be reluctant. Byes might force you to roll with Chris Johnson, but the matchup doesn't look good for him. However, feel good abut playing either of these defenses -- especially Kansas City facing Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Analysis:Fantasy owners should be happy to have Cam Newton back, but temper your expectations when starting him. The same goes for DeAngelo Williams against a Cardinals defense that has been tough on running back. However, Greg Olsen has plenty of tight end value. Conversely, it's hard to trust any Cardinals options. The only exception might be Larry Fitzgerald, but he might be best served as a flex option.

Analysis: Start your Broncos. I repeat: start your Broncos. At this point, anyone involved in the Denver passing game should be in your lineup each and every week. That certainly applies against a Dallas secondary that has had its problems. You might want to temper your expectations on any Denver running backs, however. There's no doubt that Dez Bryant is getting a start, but DeMarco Murray could have a productive day against the Broncos defense. If you're thinking about starting the Dallas defense ... don't.

Analysis: In past years, you might have been nervous about starting Arian Foster, but this isn't past years. He could have a nice day against a shaky 49ers run defense. However, Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins are less than a sure thing this week. Look for the Niners to emphasize the run, which means good things for Frank Gore. It could come at the expense of Colin Kaepernick. You're likely starting Vernon Davis, but this matchup doesn't favor him. The same can be said for Anquan Boldin.

Analysis: The Jets will continue to be the Jets, which means it's hard to recommend starting anyone. Bilal Powell is the closest thing to a solid play that Gang Green offers this week. The receiving corps is too much of a mess to consider. Beyond your must-starts in Atlanta (Julio Jones, Tony Gonzalez and, well ...), everyone else is a cautious play. Except the Falcons defense, that is. You can start them at will against New York.

Marcas Grant is a fantasy editor for Follow him on Twitter @MarcasG

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