Another Sunday of NFL football is upon is and it’s time to make your last-minute fantasy football lineup decisions.
A quarter of the way into the season, injuries are starting to play a major role in fantasy decisions. If you’re looking to fill in some slots, there are a number of slightly off-the-radar players featured in the charts below who could be nice additions to your lineup.
Here’s a look at some key players you may want to start or sit for Week 5.
Start: Sam Bradford, Philadelphia Eagles (vs. NO)
If you own Bradford in a season-long league, you’ve been disappointed and may have even dropped him already. But now is the time to get back on the bandwagon, at least for one week.
It’s taken some time for Bradford to get comfortable in Chip Kelly’s offense which, in hindsight, probably should have been expected. After all, it’s his first year in a new system that he joined after sitting out an entire season due to injury.
According to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Bradford attempted just seven passes at least 20 yards down the field through his first three games but was 4-of-8 when throwing down the field last week against the Redskins.
Sam Bradford is the only NFL quarterback this year to complete passes of 39 yards or more to three different receivers in the same game.
— Reuben Frank (@RoobCSN) October 7, 2015
The Saints give Bradford another favorable opponent for racking up fantasy points. According to RotoGrinders, New Orleans is surrendering the third most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks based on the DraftKings scoring system.
Sit: Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders (vs. DEN)
Thanks to his connection with rookie Amari Cooper, Carr has posted a few fantasy gems already this season and has thrown for multiple touchdowns in each of his past three games.
This week’s matchup against the Broncos, however, is likely to be a tough one for Carr.
This is likely to be a low-scoring game for the Raiders, and while Carr may sneak in a touchdown, his ceiling is low due to the Broncos’ dominant defense.
Start: Matt Jones, Washington Redskins (vs. ATL)
Jones isn’t an elite play this week, but if you’re looking for a touchdown vulture this is a great matchup for the Washington back.
Over the past three weeks, Jones has four rushing attempts inside the 5-yard line compared to zero for Alfred Morris, according to Rotowire.
Jones is going up against the Falcons defense, which has been torched on the ground this season.
According to RotoGrinders, the Falcons are allowing an average of just over 40 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. Obviously some of those points will be shared with Morris, but Jones is a good bet to find his way into the end zone this week.
Sit: Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals (vs SEA)
While sharing carries with Giovani Bernard, Hill has been the Bengals’ red-zone running back.
According to Rotowire, eight of Hill’s 21 carries the past two weeks have come inside the opponent’s 20-yard line.
Those numbers bode well for Hill to continue to fulfill his role as a touchdown vulture this season, but the Seahawks might be the toughest matchup he’ll face all season.
Not only are the Seahawks a tough team to run against in the red zone, they don’t even let opponents get there. According to NFLSavant.com, Seattle’s opponents have only run nine rushing plays inside the red zone and only two inside the 5-yard line.
Start: Julian Edelman, New England Patriots (vs. DAL)
Edelmen has been overshadowed by Rob Gronkowski in terms of headlines, but he’s quietly been a fantasy superstar.
When not throwing to Gronk, Edelman has been the overwhelming favorite among Tom Brady’s weapons, hauling in at least eight catches in all three of the Patriots’ games this season.
Edelman is particularly valuable for his usage in the red zone.
While he has just two touchdowns, Edelman is tied for 13th in the league with seven red-zone targets this season, according to NFLSavant.com.
Any receiver averaging two red-zone targets per game is a must-start and always a candidate for a monster game if those targets reach the end zone.
Sit: Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. JAC)
At some point Evans is going to get on the same page as Jameis Winston and have a breakout game, but it appears as though Vincent Jackson has a better connection with the rookie quarterback so far.
Evans emerged as a fantasy superstar last last season due to his red-zone usage. According to NFLSavant.com, Evans had eight red-zone receptions in Tampa Bay’s final four games in 2014. But Winston has targeted him just three times in the red zone this season, compared to 10 for Jackson.
Excluding the debacle against New England in which they allowed 51 points, the Jaguars defense has been stout this season.
Against the Panthers, Colts and Dolphins, the Jaguars allowed just one touchdown to a wide receiver (Jerricho Cotchery, in Week 1 vs. Carolina).
Start: Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. SD)
Miller hasn’t put up huge stats, but he’s getting the opportunities which could lead to a big game in the near future.
Through the first four weeks, Miller has received seven red-zone targets, according to Rotowire, including four inside the 10-yard line.
While he only has one touchdown to his credit, it’s only a matter of time before Miller has a breakout game.
To further boost Miller’s value, Martavis Bryant is unlikely to suit up for the Steelers, according to Michael Fabiano of NFL.com.
ICYMI, Martavis Bryant tweaked his knee in practice and is unlikely to play in Week 5. Keep him benched for now.
— Michael Fabiano (@Michael_Fabiano) October 10, 2015
With red-zone targets rivaling Gronkowski (also seven targets this season), Miller is a safe play if you don’t have one of the elite tight ends on your roster.
Sit: Gary Barnidge, Cleveland Browns (vs. BAL)
Barnidge has been among the best fantasy tight ends in the league the past two weeks with six receptions and a touchdown in each contest.
Given his long track record as a non-factor in fantasy, it’s hard not to write this off as a random spike in production.
But if you were starting to buy in to Barnidge‘s role in the Browns offense, stay away from him this week against Baltimore.
In their past two games against AFC North rivals, the Ravens have held Tyler Eifert and Heath Miller to a combined one catch for one yard.
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