Tennessee Titans at Pittsburgh Steelers
Isaac Redman is expected to get the call at RB for the Steelers, and should be used as a RB2 this week. Redman will have to stack up a lot of carries to post good numbers, but he is certainly an adequate plug-in. The Pittsburgh game plan will be to keep pressure off Ben Roethlisberger with the ground game and some quick throws. Look for high percentage strikes to Mike Wallace, Hines Ward and Heath Miller. Wallace is a threat to score even if the offense operates conservatively. Matt Hasselbeck will take what the defense gives him, but strong pass protection should ensure a solid outing. Nate Washington is a nice WR start against his former team, and TE Jared Cook can present matchup issues for any defense. Chris Johnson will see less running room than he did last week, and will not see 100 yards this time.
Oakland Raiders at Houston Texans
The Texans are allowing over 108 rushing yards per game, and will not be able to contain Darren McFadden, especially if the linebackers get too aggressive and pay for their approach. Michael Bush is a candidate to score from short range this week. Jason Campbell will throw to keep the defense honest, and he distributes the ball efficiently, making it tough for fantasy players to rely on any one WR right now. It's hard not to go with Denarius Moore as a WR3, but you cannot count on any other Oakland pass-catchers. Use Kevin Boss as a bye week fill-in if you have to, though. Arian Foster looks to be back in top form and faces a Raiders defense that surrenders 136 rushing yards per game. Houston must bank heavily on the run without Andre Johnson, and only Owen Daniels is a strong start in the passing game. Matt Schaub is much less desirable without his main weapon this week.
Kansas City Chiefs at Indianapolis Colts
The Colts are ranked 28th against the run right now, but the Chiefs simply do not have the RBs needed to exploit the matchup. Thomas Jones will not be useful at this point against any defense, and Dexter McCluster has yet to show off any true big-play abilities from scrimmage. Matt Cassel will have to shoulder the offensive load, and he will not fare well against a Colts team that is absolutely desperate for a win. Dwayne Bowe and Ryan Succop should be the only Kansas City players you start in any matchup. Kansas City allows 130 rushing yards per game, and Joseph Addai is a viable bye week starter or RB3. A quality running game will allow Curtis Painter some time to throw, and he should start getting the ball to Reggie Wayne more often this week. Pierre Garcon is drawing a lot of looks from Painter, but he is a boom or bust performer and a gamble as a WR3.
Cincinnati Bengals at Jacksonville Jaguars
The Bengals have looked good against the run so far this year, allowing just 86.8 rushing yards per game. No defense, though, can fully contain Maurice Jones-Drew, and the Jacksonville RB is a must-start regardless of matchup. Blaine Gabbert, however, will find an aggressive front seven to be a problem, and will not be able to get the ball to Mike Thomas. The Bengals offer one of the top fantasy defensive units of Week 5. The Jaguars have given up six passing TDs so far, and that is not a good number against A.J. Green, who has already emerged as a true playmaker. Green is a must-start, and Andy Dalton deserves consideration if you are desperate for a bye week QB. The Jaguars defense will spend too much time on the field, and Cedric Benson will roll past the 100-yard mark. Also consider Jerome Simpson if you are scrambling for bye week help at WR.
Seattle Seahawks at New York Giants
The Seahawks' offense has little hope of sustaining momentum from last week in this matchup. New York will put heavy pressure on Tarvaris Jackson and severely limit any downfield throws. Marshawn Lynch will not see much open running room and Jackson will be very ineffective in consistently adverse passing situations. Do not expect much from Sidney Rice this week. The Giants' defense will keep the opposing score very low and is a top fantasy unit for Week 5. Eli Manning will have lots of time to throw, and the Seattle CBs will be abused by Hakeem Nicks. Look for a strong performance from Mario Manningham, too. Victor Cruz will be good for a big play or two, and Ahmad Bradshaw will score at least once even if his yardage totals are somewhat limited by a respectable Seattle front seven.
Arizona Cardinals at Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings rank 28th against the pass, but the Cardinals need to run the ball well to operate at optimum offensive efficiency. Expect another busy week for Beanie Wells, even though the Vikings have allowed 76.3 rushing yards per game to this point. Wells will at least post respectable numbers and should get in the end zone. Kevin Kolb will throw more than one TD pass, as the Vikings have no real hope of containing Larry Fitzgerald for a full game. Minnesota, however, is hungry for a win and will fight back hard. So Kolb could turn the ball over more than once, too. Adrian Peterson will rip major holes in the Arizona front seven, and Percy Harvin will finally reward his owners with a TD reception, and should approach 100 yards. Michael Jenkins is worth a look as a bye week sub in larger leagues.
New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers
The Saints have held opponents to 94 rushing yards and two scores so far, so this is not the week to expect the Panthers' RBs to start shedding mediocrity. Jonathan Stewart can be used if you need bye week help, but it is best to keep DeAngelo Williams reserved. Expect to see more of the Cam Newton run-and-gun show, and the exciting rookie QB will not be afraid to trade offensive punches with Drew Brees. Start Newton for sure, and expect more than one TD pass and a rushing score. Steve Smith is unstoppable when Newton is going well, and is one of the top WR starts of Week 5. TE Greg Olsen will also be a big part of the Panthers' game plan in the air. The Panthers have endured much difficulty with opposing RBs this season, and Darren Sproles is due for another impressive all-around performance. Mark Ingram is a roll of the dice for a short yardage TD, though. Look for Marques Colston to get more involved in the flow of the offense this week, and Lance Moore will get some red zone targets. Brees will fire at least two TD passes as the scoreboard lights up frequently here.
Philadelphia Eagles at Buffalo Bills
The Eagles' defense has allowed an NFL-high 10 TD passes, and that's not a good number on the road against a potent Buffalo passing game. Expect Ryan Fitzpatrick to throw more than two TD passes, and the ultra-consistent Stevie Johnson is one of the best WR starts of Week 5. You can also deploy David Nelson as a quality WR3, and give Donald Jones some bye week consideration. Scott Chandler will be a red-zone threat again this week. The Eagles also allow 139.5 rushing yards per game, and that is another major downer against Fred Jackson, who is playing at an elite level right now. The Bills, however, rank 25th against the run, and will be shredded by LeSean McCoy. Michael Vick will have a big day against a defense that has yielded eight TD passes, and both DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin are top WR starts for Week 5.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers have been strong against the run, allowing only 74 yards per game and have not let a single RB into the end zone yet. LeGarrette Blount appears headed for a down week, but in many cases, owners will have no choice but to start him. Blount is tough and can still bang out over 60 yards. You should take that over another unproven or unreliable option. Josh Freeman will not be highly effective without the support of a consistent ground game. He is not an ideal start and should not be used unless your top passer is on a bye. Do not look for a suddenly promising performance from Mike Williams or better than mediocre totals from Kellen Winslow. Alex Smith is playing adequately enough to keep defenses honest, and Vernon Davis is a top threat to score in any given week. Michael Crabtree is showing flashes of promise again and is worth considering as a bye week plugger. The Buccaneers have only allowed two rushing TDs, but cannot keep Frank Gore from at least delivering satisfactory yardage totals.
New York Jets at New England Patriots
You heard it here first, this will be a rebound game for Mark Sanchez, and you should start him if your best QB is on a bye. The Jets simply cannot generate a decent running game, and will be primed for this great rivalry matchup. Sanchez will throw more than two TD passes as he battles hard to keep his team in the game. Santonio Holmes will have his best game of the year so far, and Plaxico Burress will score. Dustin Keller will be frequently targeted and should also be started. Shonn Greene is looking like bench material regardless of opponent, but LaDainian Tomlison will be busy as a pass-catcher. The Jets' defense has allowed only two TD passes, the lowest number in the league, but Tom Brady will find ways to beat them. Wes Welker will get his numbers, even if he does not explode again, and Brady will make good use of Rob Gronkowski and Deion Branch. The Jets have not been as strong against the run as hoped, and BenJarvus Green-Ellis is a strong candidate to score. Do not hesitate to use Stevan Ridley as a flex option.
Week 5 Trend Tracker
San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos
The Chargers' passing game has been sapped of its true potency by injuries. Still, Philip Rivers is a good start against a Denver defense that has allowed nine TD passes. San Diego will rely heavily on Ryan Mathews as both a runner and receiver, and he will be one of the best RB starts of Week 5. Mike Tolbert will also stay heavily involved in the offense, especially as a pass-catcher and scoring threat. The Chargers rank fifth against the pass, but Kyle Orton will not hesitate to fire away. These two teams know each other well and this will be a spirited war. Orton is not a top start at QB this week, yet he can be used as a bye week sub. Eric Decker has emerged as a must-start WR3 and Brandon Lloyd will demand the ball in this heated matchup. Willis McGahee will be good for a TD run even if his yardage totals are limited.
Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons
Even the average fan knows this shapes up as a big shootout. Atlanta had trouble containing Seattle last week, so Aaron Rodgers figures to toy with the Falcons' pass defense for more big numbers. Greg Jennings and Jermichael Finley will be elite Week 5 fantasy producers, and Jordy Nelson has emerged as a regular big-play threat. The Green Bay running game, however, does not offer much statistical upside. The Packers have been quite formidable against the run, but Michael Turner will still get some chances to finish off scoring drives with short TD chances. The Packers will hone in on Julio Jones after his big Week 4, but that just means Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez will only shine brighter. Matt Ryan will throw more than two TD passes, as both pass defenses are simply buried. Both sides have too much balance in the passing game to not make this an offensive slugfest.
Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions
The Lions' defense had their pride wounded by Dallas last week, and will take out their anger on Jay Cutler on the national stage. Look for the Bears QB to be hit often and forced into more than one turnover. Do not start any Bears WRs, as the mediocre crew simply does not have an outstanding playmaker or pass-catcher that can be relied on right now. Matt Forte is the unrelenting crux of the Chicago offense, and he'll be a safety receiver for Cutler, even if his rushing totals are somewhat disappointing. Chicago's 29th-ranked pass defense is in for a long night. The Matthew Stafford-Calvin Johnson connection will be on full display in front of a national TV audience, and Brandon Pettigrew will continue to rise as a fantasy TE. Jahvid Best will work well in open space and his pass-catching totals will impress. Start the Lions' defense with great confidence in Week 5.
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