Posted: 9:00 a.m. Friday, Oct. 4, 2013
By Alex Welch
Week 4 was frustrating in fantasy, especially for owners who targeted running backs early this year. Ray Rice and the Ravens barely ran the ball, Alfred Morris left with an injury and Stevan Ridley lived up to his "bust" reputation.
With an uncertain crop of running backs, bye weeks taking a toll and injuries starting to pile up, owners are likely looking for some help in Week 5. Let's take a look at matchups to keep an eye on coming up.
Philip Rivers (at Raiders): One down week against the Titans didn't deter Rivers' confidence one bit. He lit up the Dallas secondary for 401 yards and three touchdowns last week, and now he faces an Oakland defense that has its share of flaws. Rivers will continue to roll.
Eli Manning (vs. Eagles): If your league gives bonus points for having the most turnovers, Manning is a No. 1 pick. Fortunately the Eagles have allowed nine passing touchdowns (0 against Alex Smith, which is fine to ignore). Expect the less-impressive brother to get back on track against this secondary.
Terrelle Pryor (vs. Chargers): On the other side of the field, Pryor takes on Rivers in what could easily be a shootout. The Chargers have so far given up the most fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks. Pryor is ready to go again after missing Week 4, and he should see a smooth transition back to starting with this matchup.
Maurice Jones-Drew (at Rams): MJD has 57 carries in 2013. How many of those went for 10+ yards? Zero. Wait, this isn't exactly enticing you to start him. The Rams were devastated by the run the past two weeks, giving up
a million 401 yards and four touchdowns. If there's ever a time to put faith in MJD, it's now.
Eddie Lacy (vs. Lions): Now healthy after suffering a concussion in Week 2, Lacy goes up against a Lions defense that has allowed at least one rushing touchdown in all four games. James Starks is out, and Johnathan Franklin is an inferior runner. Lacy should receive a sizeable workload and shine in his return.
Lamar Miller (vs. Ravens): Despite his promising outings the past three games, the Dolphins continue to limit Miller's workload. Daniel Thomas should not be touching the ball as often as he does. Fred Jackson averaged over 10 yards per carry last week against the Ravens. Regardless of the number of touches, Miller should continue to step up.
Denarius Moore (vs Chargers): As mentioned above, the Chargers' secondary is, well, not great. Moore hauled in six passes for 124 yards and a score last time Pryor started. The two can be a potent pair once again in Week 5.
Jeremy Kerley (at Falcons): This isn't a typo, sadly. Santonio Holmes is out. Stephen Hill is banged up. Kerley might end up as the Jets' leading receiver on Monday Night Football. The Falcons didn't know what to do against the Patriots passing game last week, and while Geno Smith is nowhere near Tom Brady, he has a decent matchup here. Only start Kerley if you're somewhat desperate for wideouts this week.
Alshon Jeffery (vs. Saints): He led the Bears in receiving yards and finished with 11 targets against the Lions. Assuming the Saints run up the score a bit, Jay Cutler will stay active in the passing game. Jeffery is on the rise. Look to him as a spot start for bye weeks and injuries, with upside to become a reliable contributor.
Greg Olsen (at Cardinals): Arizona hemorrhaged fantasy points to Jared Cook and Jimmy Graham over the first quarter of the season. Olsen is a favorite target for Cam Newton, and his owners should be excited about his chances on Sunday.
Brent Celek (vs. Eagles): Celek is more of a fill-in prayer. The Giants have allowed four touchdowns to opposing tight ends, and considering that Celek led his team in targets in Week 4, owners can simply hope for the best.
Jared Cook (vs. Jaguars): Zach Miller caught two touchdowns against the Jags. Coby Fleener hauled one in last week. Cook is more talented than either, and he can continue the streak, assuming Sam Bradford figures out how to manage his offense again.
Russell Wilson (at Colts): Wilson gained 77 yards on the ground last week, but he didn't score a single touchdown against the Texans. The Colts shut down Colin Kaepernick and have looked vastly improved on defense in 2013. Wilson might need another week to bounce back.
Andrew Luck (vs. Seahawks): Seattle is typically stout against any opposing passing game. Matt Schaub put up lofty numbers, but expect Seattle to come back to reality and give Luck fits on Sunday. The Seahawks have only allowed three passing touchdowns.Luck will need more than a bit of magic here against them.
Matt Schaub (at 49ers): A disappointing end to Week 4 might translate to more woes for Schaub. The Niners defense has allowed two passing touchdowns over the last three games. This isn't the matchup to get Schaub going once again.
Jacquizz Rodgers/Jason Snelling (vs. Jets): New York doesn't bend much against the run. We've seen four weeks of hard-nosed rush defense, and this Falcons duo won't be able to break free. Their timeshare isn't doing any owners favors either.
Stevan Ridley (at Bengals): His season high of 53 yards in Week 4 still failed to impress anyone. Ridley hasn't been practicing, and he's been a bust through a quarter of the year. Avoid him until we see any sign of life.
Chris Johnson (vs. Chiefs): A 21-yard performance on 15 carries doesn't instill confidence in any owners. Johnson faces another stingy run defense with Kansas City. He's going to breakout at some point, but it's not in Week 5.
T.Y. Hilton (vs. Seahawks): The Hilton experience was short-lived. After his Week 2 breakout, he's been relatively quiet as of late. The Seahawks ranks first in fewest fantasy points allowed to opposing receivers. Sit Hilton out for this one.
Mike Wallace (vs. Ravens): Truly the definition of boom-or-bust, Wallace wants the ball more, but his team is content with its current gameplan. With Wallace's poor track record against Baltimore, keep him on the bench again.
Dwayne Bowe (at Titans): Bowe is still being overshadowed by other targets in the Chiefs passing game. His touchdown last week was somewhat fluky, as he broke away from what should have been an easy tackle for a score. He's another wideout who will be up and down throughout the year.
Brandon Myers (vs. Eagles): He didn't catch a single pass last week. You don't need many other reasons to sit him. The Eagles aren't great on defense, but they haven't given up a touchdown to an opposing tight end.
Coby Fleener (vs. Seahawks): Another Indy player, Fleener has two great weeks and two miserable performances on his 2013 resume. Which Fleener shows up in Week 5? The Seahawks didn't handle the Texans tight ends last week, but that isn't the norm. Fleener is risky here.
Tyler Eifert/Jermaine Gresham (vs Patriots): Aside from Sunday night's breakdown against Tony Gonzalez, the Patriots have been sound against tight ends. Eifert and Gresham plague each other's value. Owners should be avoiding both every week, especially with the way Andy Dalton is playing.