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Week 5 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Exploit and Avoid These Sunday Matchups

Fantasy Football
October 10, 2015

The top scorers in fantasy football aren’t always the obvious plays. Taking some risks often leads to big payoffs for your team.

Devonta Freeman and Tavon Austin were two of the best players in Week 4—something no one would have believed coming into the season. Meanwhile, C.J. Anderson has scored only 12 total fantasy points on the year after being a high pick in many drafts.

You don’t want to get crazy with your fantasy roster, but making some adjustments could lead you to victory. Here are a few of those tweaks you could make to help you out in Week 5.

Sit ‘Em

Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks

He is likely still your best option, but fantasy owners should temper expectations for Russell Wilson this week. Although the quarterback makes a few “wow” plays each game, the overall production hasn’t been there thanks to a struggling offensive line.

Wilson has only five touchdowns in four games, with zero coming on the ground, putting him behind distinguished quarterbacks such as Blake Bortles and Jameis Winston.

To make matters even worse, his Week 5 opponent is a Cincinnati Bengals team that is disciplined enough to prevent big gains on broken plays. The Bengals showcased an impressive pass rush last week, per Gil Brandt of NFL.com:

Alex Smith isn’t Russell Wilson, but the Bengals sacked the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback five times and hit him 10 times. Wilson could suffer the same fate and struggle to produce big numbers Sunday.

DeMarco Murray, RB, Philadelphia Eagles

In fantasy football, opportunity is more important than talent. If a player isn’t getting touches, it’s difficult to trust him in your lineup.

Week 4 was DeMarco Murray’s best game as a rusher this season, and he finished with just 36 rushing yards on eight carries. He also added two catches for 12 receiving yards. This has caused him to publicly complain about his workload, according to Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com:

With Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles likely remaining involved in the offense, Murray’s complaints probably won’t do any good. Last year’s leading rusher obviously has talent, but he remains too big of a risk until his role expands with the Eagles.

Amari Cooper, WR, Oakland Raiders

The rookie is a talented receiver, but the Denver Broncos defense is no joke. Thanks to a dominant pass rush and a playmaking secondary, Denver has allowed just 12.5 average fantasy points per game to opposing receivers. Only the San Diego Chargers have allowed less, according to ESPN.

Calvin Johnson, Steve Smith Sr. and Jeremy Maclin have all faced this defense and have come through with just 13 fantasy points combined.

Cooper has a bright future and will have a lot of big games this season, but this isn’t likely to be one of them.

Start ‘Em

Marcus Mariota, QB, Tennessee Titans

The Buffalo Bills have an intimidating defensive front, but the secondary has been a major question mark this season. After Eli Manning picked the team apart in Week 4, the squad has now allowed at least two passing touchdowns in each game. Only the Chiefs have allowed more touchdowns through the air than Buffalo’s 10.

With an extra week to prepare, you can be certain the Tennessee Titans coaching staff will find a way to take advantage of this weakness.

Marcus Mariota has been impressive in his three NFL games, throwing eight touchdown passes with only two interceptions. If he can keep up his efficient play, he should put together another strong fantasy performance in Week 5.

Danny Woodhead, RB, San Diego Chargers

Although he hasn’t scored since the first game of the year, Danny Woodhead still entered Week 5 ranked 11th among running backs in standard-league scoring. He is even better in points-per-reception leagues.

The key is his ability to consistently rack up yards on the ground and through the air. While rookie Melvin Gordon has struggled to do much behind a banged-up offensive line, Woodhead has come through with 86.8 yards from scrimmage per game.

This week, he will face a Pittsburgh Steelers defense that just allowed 150 rushing yards to Justin Forsett and had a lot of problems with Dion Lewis in Week 1 (120 total yards). Like these players, Woodhead is a smaller, quicker running back who can find gaps in the defense for big gains.

Even if he doesn’t score, Woodhead is a relatively safe option at a shallow position.

Terrance Williams, WR, Dallas Cowboys

The last two games without Tony Romo haven’t been great for Terrance Williams, but with 10 targets, backup quarterback Brandon Weeden is trying to get the receiver the ball.

Williams also came through with a big play at a big moment in Week 4, per ESPN’s Louis Riddick:

After seeing what he can do when given the chance, the Cowboys are going to keep trying to target Williams as much as possible. Considering Dez Bryant and Lance Dunbar won’t be in action, the team is also running out of alternatives in the passing game.

Even if the points come in garbage time, Williams should have a productive game in Week 5.

Follow Rob Goldberg on Twitter for all your fantasy football and daily fantasy needs.

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