Start 'em, Sit 'em, Smash 'em
As always, the GameDay live chat will take place this Sunday for one hour beginning at 10:30am eastern. I’m up in Toronto for the weekend, but you’ll be happy to know that I spent a good five minutes with the hotel staff on Thursday night making sure the internet connection would be strong enough to get all of your questions answered. Even the ones that drive me insane.
FADE OF THE WEEK (Season: 1-3)
Last week: NEW YORK GIANTS (+2.5) at Philadelphia Eagles (win)
Well how about that? For the first time this season, you guys lost money by betting against me. My apologies. I’ll try to do better this week.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (-3.5) vs. San Diego Chargers: The Saints may be 0-4, but the Bolts are in a real tough spot right here. This is the second-half of a back-to-back road stint for San Diego that comes one week against division rival Kansas City and one week before division rival Denver (Monday night). Non-conference games are the least important matchups on the schedule, so don’t be shocked if New Orleans finds a way to put one in the win column this Sunday night.
LVH SUPERCONTEST SELECTIONS
A 3-2 effort in Week 4 puts us at 9-11 on the season. Just once I would like to write this portion of Friday’s column from the .500 mark or above.
CHICAGO BEARS (-6) at Jacksonville Jaguars
DENVER BRONCOS (+6.5) at New England Patriots
CAROLINA PANTHERS (-3) vs. Seattle Seahawks
BALTIMORE RAVENS (-5) at Kansas City Chiefs
HOUSTON TEXANS (-8) at New York Jets
CLICK HERE to check out all of the current lines.
SURVIVOR SMASH FOR WEEK 5
We moved to 3-1 on the season after Green Bay’s win over New Orleans last week. Here’s what’s cooking for Week 5:
NEW YORK GIANTS over Cleveland Browns: With the 49ers, Redskins, Cowboys, Steelers, Bengals and Packers on deck for Big Blue, this looks like the perfect spot to back Eli Manning and company.
FANDUEL WEEK 5 SALARY CAP CHALLENGE
Same format as last week, which appeared to be a big hit with you guys. A $2 entry gives you a shot at a $1,000 prize pool, along with the chance to earn bragging rights by knocking of both myself and Matt Bowen. CLICK HERE to enter.
START ‘EM UP
Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego Chargers (at New Orleans): Believe it or not, Rivers currently ranks outside of the top-20 in fantasy scoring at the quarterback position. But while his week-to-week production has been inconsistent so far on the year, the San Diego signal-caller has a Week 5 showdown with a Saints defense that currently ranks 24th in the NFL against the pass (276.5 yds/gm) and is surrendering an average of 24.7 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks (fifth-most in NFL). With a shootout on tap, this is a solid start.
ICONEven if he's less than 100%, Matt Forte is still a good start against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Matt Forte, RB, Chicago Bears (at Jacksonville): The Chicago running back has been nursing an ankle injury that limited him to just 13 carries against the Cowboys last Monday night. But Forte says he’s feeling good and ready to resume a heavier workload, which couldn’t come at a better time. The Bears are in Jacksonville this Sunday to take on a Jaguars defense that ranks 30th in the NFL against the run (150.2 yds/gm) and is giving up an average of 27.5 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs through four weeks (third-most in NFL). This is the perfect time to get Forte back in the starting lineup.
Domenik Hixon, WR, New York Giants (vs. Cleveland): With starting wideout Hakeem Nicks on the sidelines due to injury in Week 4, Hixon emerged as one of quarterback Eli Manning’s top targets, hauling in six passes for 114 yards in Big Blue’s Sunday night loss at Philly. Nicks is out again this week, so look for Hixon to post some solid numbers against a Cleveland defense that ranks 28th in the league against the pass (286.0 yds/gm) and is surrendering an average of 32.6 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers this year (second-most in NFL).
Frank Gore, RB, San Francisco 49ers (vs. Buffalo): With Brandon Jacobs finally healthy, there’s some concern over how much of the workload Gore will handle for the Niners moving forward. But here’s the thing: the former Pro Bowler is currently averaging 4.9 yards per carry this season and has found the end zone three times in four weeks. So we recommend you keep him in the starting lineup for Week 5 against a Buffalo defense that is giving up an average of 25.5 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this season (sixth-most in NFL).
Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay Packers (at Indianapolis): Nelson is currently falling well short of the expectations many had for him after last year’s breakout campaign. But with Greg Jennings on the shelf nursing a groin injury, expect the former Kansas State standout to assume a bigger role in the Green Bay passing attack. Week 5 offers up a good spot for Nelson, who will take on a Colts defense that is currently giving up an average of 27.1 fantasy points per game to opposing wideouts this season (seventh-most in NFL).
Kyle Rudolph, TE, Minnesota Vikings (vs. Tennessee): Rudolph laid an egg last week against the Lions (2-8-0), but then again, so did most of the Minnesota offense. So don’t sour on the guy after one bad game because the Titans are coming to town this Sunday and at the moment, no team in the NFL is surrendering more fantasy points to opposing tight ends than Tennessee (17.9 pts/gm). Take note that through four games, Tennessee leads the NFL in touchdowns given up to the tight end position (6).
Minnesota Vikings, D/ST (vs. Tennessee): The Vikings currently rank seventh in fantasy scoring at the D/ST position, having already recorded 12 sacks (eighth in NFL) and four fumble recoveries. If you’re in a tight spot this Sunday and are looking for a D/ST to acquire via waivers, look no further than Minnesota, who takes on a Tennessee Titans team in Week 5 that is surrendering an average of 11.5 fantasy points per week to opposing D/STs this season (t-sixth-most in NFL).
SIT ‘EM DOWN
Newton runs into a stiff test in the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.
Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers (vs. Seattle): Newton’s posted some respectable numbers this season and is always a threat to score points via the running game, but keep in mind that he’s thrown just four touchdown passes through four games with five interceptions. In addition, he’s got a Sunday date with a Seahawks defense that is surrendering fewer fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season than any other team in the league (13.0 pts/gm). You may want to opt for plan B.
Fred Jackson & C.J. Spiller, RBs, Buffalo Bills (at San Francisco): The good news is that both running backs are expected to play in Week 5. The bad news is that both running backs are expected to play in Week 5. Oh yeah, we might also mention that Spiller and Jackson are going up against a 49ers defense that ranks sixth in the NFL against the run (79.5 yds/gm) and is giving up fewer fantasy points to opposing running backs than any other team in the league (8.3 pts/gm). Keep in mind that it’s been four weeks and the Niners still haven’t surrendered a rushing touchdown.
All New York Jets wide receivers (vs. Houston): With Santonio Holmes out for the rest of the season, many of you may be thinking about starting guys like Chaz Schilens and Jeremy Kerley due to the increase in targets both guys are likely to experience. However, this is not the game to put that theory to the test. The Texans rank second in the NFL in pass defense (182.8 yds/gm) and are surrendering an average of just 15.3 fantasy points per game to opposing wideouts this season (first in NFL). Throw in the fact that quarterback Mark Sanchez is completing only 49.2% of his passes this year and you have an obvious sit situation.
Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee Titans (at Minnesota): Last week’s 141-yard rushing effort against the Texans was a positive sign for Johnson owners, but don’t let your expectations get too high for the rest of the season. We need to see this guy get back to producing solid stat lines on a regular basis before we’re comfortable recommending him as an every-week starter. That, and the fact that Minnesota is only giving up an average of 10.3 fantasy points per week to opposing running backs this season (second-fewest in NFL) is more than enough reason for us to pass on Johnson in Week 5.
Pierre Garcon, WR, Washington Redskins (vs. Atlanta): He’s still battling a foot injury that will have him at less than 100% for Week 5. Throw in the fact that the Falcons are giving up an average of only 16.9 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers (fifth-fewest in NFL) this season and rank eighth in the league against the pass (207.0 yds/gm) and you’re probably better off leaving Garcon on the bench for another week.
Heath Miller, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. Philadelphia): Miller has found the end zone four times in three games and has already amassed 20 targets on the season. That’s a pleasant surprise for fantasy owners who were willing to take a chance on the eight-year veteran this past August. But keep in mind that the Eagles have given up just one touchdown through four games to the tight end position this season and are currently surrendering an average of just 4.9 fantasy points per game to opposing TEs (third-fewest in NFL). There are options with more favorable matchups out there.
New York Jets, D/ST (vs. Houston): The Texans may only rank 14th in the league in total offense (370.2 yds/gm), but keep in mind that these guys currently rank second in scoring (31.5 pts/gm). And when you factor in the likelihood of good field position along with the fact that Houston is giving up an average of just 3.0 fantasy points per game to opposing D/STs (fewest in NFL), you’ll realize that if you haven’t already, then the time is now to find another option for Week 5.
Hit me up on Twitter: @JoeFortenbaugh