Fantasy Football Start/Sit: Week 5


Fantasy Football Start/Sit: Week 5

It wasn't all sunshine and rainbows for everyone in Week 4.

Joe Philbin lost his job after the London Laugher, Pittsburgh tried in every single way to lose their game against the Ravens and also cut short Antonio Brown's five catches for 50 yards streak and, maybe most painfully, Rashad Jennings went crashing back down to Earth in a very painful manner thanks to Mario Williams.


Week 5 brings some unfortunate bye weeks (no Brandon Marshall, Chris Ivory or Adrian Peterson) so people are scrambling to get their lineups together for the upcoming slate of games. 

Luckily for you, we have some answers on start/sit dilemmas you may be facing.

[MORE: Get all your Fantasy Sports coverage for the week here]

If you've got specific questions, drop us a question on Twitter @CSNFantasy or use #CSNFantasy and we'll give you our take.

Without further adieu, let's get into it:


Martavis Bryant, WR, PIT (@ SD) - Initially, I wasn't a fan of Bryant this week since Big Ben is out. But the more I think about the strengths of Michael Vick, the more I think it should mesh perfectly with Bryant. Vick still has a heck of an arm and can toss it up to Bryant all game long against a weak and banged up Chargers secondary. Bryant is fresh coming off his suspension as are the Steelers who last played in last Thursday night's game. The patience with Bryant will pay off for fantasy owners on Monday night. (John "The Professor" Paschall)

Antonio Gates, TE, SD (vs. PIT) - Sticking with the Monday Night Football theme, Gates returns from a four-game suspension and gets a matchup against an average Steelers defense. While that means big things for Keenan Allen, Gates' fresh legs and bromance with Philip Rivers should mean good things. Ladarius Green is no slouch, and I've been really impressed with him this season, but Gates is still top dog and is a solid play this week if you flopped on your tight end on draft day or are dealing with bye weeks. (Mark Strotman)

Todd Gurley, RB, STL (@ GB) - Gurley has arrived. After owners were anxiously looking at the Rams injury report every week (don't deny it, I did too), he finally got the clearance to play in Week 3 and didn't do a whole lot. The start of Week 4 against a stingy Cardinals defense started out the same way until he was UNLEASHED in the second half. You don't have to worry about guys like Tre Mason stealing carries from him. Gurley will be fed a lot against the Packers and should continue to roll. (Paschall)

Leonard Hankerson, WR, ATL (vs. WSH) - I love revenge games and this may be an underrated one. Hankerson never amounted to much with the Redskins but is starting to emerge with the Falcons. He's turning into Julio Jones' Robin (sorry, Roddy) and isn't looking back. At home against his former team, which has a very shaky pass defense is a recipe for success for Hankerson. (Paschall)

Ronnie Hillman, RB, DEN (@ OAK) - If I were a C.J. Anderson owner I'd be getting very worried right about now. Anderson rushed for a lowly season-high of 43 yards in a Week 4 win, meanwhile Hillman earned 11 carries for 103 yards, helped by a 72-yard touchdown scamper. As each week goes by, it's starting to appear as if Denver's backfield will eventually run through Hillman. Head coach Gary Kubiak continues to rave about Hillman, which is why I wouldn't be surprised to see him get the starting nod against the Raiders. Oakland has been better against the run as of late, but they're still susceptible to giving up a big-gainer, and with the Broncos' offensive line getting stronger each game, I feel confident with Hillman as a Week 5 flex play. (Scott Krinch)

Richard Rodgers, TE, GB (vs. STL) - File this one under a gut feeling, but after watching Aaron Rodgers run for his life last week in San Francisco I feel Richard Rodgers is going to get a lot of quick-pass looks this week. The Rams' vaunted defensive line has helped St. Louis rack up 17 sacks, second most in the NFL, and when things broke down last week it was Rodgers who benefitted. He saw a season-high five targets, catching four of them for 45 yards and a touchdown. In a season that has been expectedly difficult to predict for tight ends, I like having Rodgers, especially with Davante Adams still battling an ankle injury. This is a good plug-and-play with TE1 upside. (Strotman)

Terrance Williams, DAL, WR (vs. NE) - I don't necessarily like Williams' matchup this week against a terrific Patriots defense, but this is a classic volume play. Williams racked up 10 targets in last week's crushing overtime loss to the Saints, and while he only caught three passes (thanks a lot, Weeden) he still managed a 24-yard score - his second TD in four games. Expect the Cowboys to be trailing from the get-go in this one, meaning Air Weeden is going to need to throw to someone. This is a matchup where Williams could put up plenty of garbage-time numbers, but as we know in fantasy those all count the same. I like Williams as a flex this week. (Strotman)

Kendall Wright, WR, TEN (vs. BUF) - The former first-round pick has been a forgotten man in fantasy circles throughout the last two years. Not anymore, now that Wright has some actual talent throwing him the football at the quarterback position. It's clear that Marcus Mariota and Wright have some chemistry, the duo have connected 13 times for 213 yards and two scores in three games this season. With an extra week to prepare for the Bills, I expect Wright to come out blazing against an overrated Buffalo defense that's ranked 30th to opposing fantasy wideouts this year. (Krinch)

T.J. Yeldon, RB, JAX (@ TB) - Yeldon finally had a 100-yard game, the first of his career, in last Sunday's loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Yeldon's pure usage, 20-plus touches in two out of his last three games, makes him a valuable fantasy commodity going forward. There isn't much running room behind Jacksonville's porous offensive line, but we saw Denard Robinson go on a mid-season tear last year, which gives me plenty of reason to believe that Yeldon will replicate that, considering he's the far superior talent. Yeldon's has a eye-popping Week 5 matchup against a Buccaneers defense that's given up at least one rushing touchdown in every game this season. Get him in your lineup. (Krinch)


Anquan Boldin, WR, SF (@ NYG) - Someone HAS to catch passes from Colin Kaepernick...right? But what if Kaepernick's passes are nowhere NEAR any of his receivers? Like, he can't even complete any passes. Boldin is a tough, gritty player that I'd want on my real life NFL team but in fantasy his value is stumped because of his struggling quarterback. (Paschall)

Derek Carr, QB, OAK (vs. DEN) - I get it. Four teams on a bye week and injured quarterbacks throughout the league. It's only natural you'd want to start a guy like Carr. Whatever you do, resist the temptation. Most weeks, Carr is a valuable player to have on your roster and even a guy who you would consider starting over any QB1 not named Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers or Russell Wilson in certain weeks. Week 5 is not one of them. So far the Broncos defense, under coordinator Wade Phillips, looks unstoppable. They've given up just two stinking passing touchdowns through four games and opposing fantasy signal-callers are averaging 7.4 total points against them. Sunday's outlook is not pretty for David's baby bro. (Krinch)

Isaiah Crowell, RB, CLE (@ BAL) - It's not that I dislike Crowell, it's that there isn't really anything exciting about him from a fantasy perspective. He hasn't cracked more than 72 rushing yards and has totaled just 19 career receptions. The only time Crowell holds fantasy value is when he scores/vultures a touchdown, something he has only done once this year. The arrow is pointing down for the second-year back with the emergence of rookie Duke Johnson. If you're still holding out hope for Crowell take a glance at his upcoming schedule: BAL, DEN, STL and ARI. I'd find a taker or cut the cord immediately. (Krinch)

Andy Dalton, QB, CIN (vs. SEA) - I'll preface this by saying if Dalton is your far-and-away best option, keep him in your lineup. Let's not get crazy. But assuming Dalton wasn't the first signal caller you drafted, I'd consider tossing in that guy as he faces a Seahawks defense that's beginning to roll with Kam Chancellor back in the fold. Dalton is still a QB1 because of how damn good he's been in 2015, but some of that could be tempered (he's due for a clunker, right?) this week, and I'd look to your other QB if you can. (Strotman)

Boobie Dixon, RB, BUF (@ TEN) - LeSean McCoy and (probably) Karlos Williams are out this week, paving the way for Dixon to be the lead back for Rex Ryan this week. That doesn't make him a stellar play if you plucked him off the waiver wire, though. He's dealing with a sore calf and faces a Titans defense ranked 5th in the NFL against the rush. Don't try to outsmart yourself by starting a guy just because he's going to get touches. The Bills offense as a whole seems light a nightmare (see below). Move on from Dixon. (Strotman)

Percy Harvin, WR, BUF (@ TEN) - The Tyrod Taylor honeymoon seems to be over and he's bringing down others in the offense with him. Will Sammy Watkins play? It's unclear as of now but even if he does, he won't be near 100 percent. Harvin can't carry the load for the Bills passing game especially when the rushing attack will roll out Boobie Dixon as the starter. Harvin hasn't done a whole lot since his breakout Week 1 performance and he's not on my FLEX radar this week. (Paschall)

Mark Ingram, RB, NO (@ PHI) - It's not pretty in Philly, but I'm still a believer in that run defense that has yet to give up a rushing touchdown this year to a running back. With Spiller back as well, he may cut into some of Ingram's touches. My guess is the Eagles will force an injured Drew Brees to beat them by throwing downfield and that's not where Ingram does well. I get starting him if you are strapped with bye week issues but outside of that you may want to find another option. (Paschall)

Joseph Randle, RB, DAL (vs. NE) - If you take away Randle's three-touchdown outburst against the Falcons, his season hasn't been pretty. It's easy for teams to stack the box and let grandpa Weeden throw the ball 40 times a game with Tony Romo and Dez Bryant sidelined. With the Patriots coming to Dallas this weekend, expect the hosts to be trailing most of the game, taking Randle out of the equation considering he doesn't provide much in the passing game. (Krinch)

Golden Tate, WR, DET (vs. ARZ) - So much for building on last season's career year and a "fading" Calvin Johnson, huh? Tate has been invisible in 2015, and he's got as many touchdowns as Jordy Nelson through four weeks. Part of the problem is Matthew Stafford has been downright awful, but Tate is no longer a player to simply trot out as a WR2 and worry about the rest of your lineup. Now he gets a Cardinals secondary with seven interceptions already. No thanks. (Strotman)

Recalling moments in Tom Brady history ahead of his likely last meeting with Bears


Recalling moments in Tom Brady history ahead of his likely last meeting with Bears

As Tom Brady approaches what in all reasonable likelihood will be his last game against the Bears and in Soldier Field, the first time this reporter saw Tom Brady comes very much to mind. Actually the first times, plural. Because they were indeed memorable, for different reasons.

That was back in 2001, when Brady should have started replacing Wally Pipp as the poster athlete for what can happen when a player has to sit out and his replacement never gives the job back. Drew Bledsoe, who’d gotten the New England Patriots to a Super Bowl, had gotten injured week two of that season. Brady, who’d thrown exactly one pass as a rookie the year before, stepped in and never came out, playing the Patriots into the AFC playoffs the same year the Bears were reaching and exiting the NFC playoffs when Philadelphia’s Hugh Douglas body-slammed QB Jim Miller on his shoulder.

After that the playoff assignments were elsewhere, including the Patriots-Steelers meeting in Pittsburgh for the AFC Championship. Brady started that game but left with an ankle injury and Bledsoe came off the bench to get the Patriots into Super Bowl.

Then came one of those rare moments when you are witnessing history but have the misfortune of not knowing it at the time.

The question of Super Bowl week was whether Bill Belichick would stay with Bledsoe’s winning hand or go back to Brady. Belichick of course waited deep into Super Bowl week before announcing his decision at 8 p.m. on a Thursday night, the second time that season Belichick had opted to stay with Brady over a healthy Bledsoe. And of course Belichick didn’t announce the decision himself (surprise); he had it put out by the team’s media relations director.

You did have to respect Belichick, though, going into his first Super Bowl as a head coach with a sixth-round draft choice at quarterback and leaving a former (1992) No. 1-overall pick with a $100-million contract on the bench. The Patriots upset The Greatest Show on Turf Rams in that Super Bowl, Brady was MVP, and Bledsoe was traded to Buffalo that offseason.


That Super Bowl also included one of those performance snapshots the Bears envision for Mitch Trubisky but missed a chance to let him attempt last Sunday at Miami in his 17th NFL start. Brady took the Patriots on a drive starting at their own 17 with 1:30 to play and no timeouts, ending with an Adam Vinatieri field-goal winner.

If Belichick was all right letting his second-year quarterback in just his 17th start throw eight straight passes starting from inside his own red zone, the next time Matt Nagy gets the football at his own 20 with timeouts and time in hand, best guess is that the decision will be to see if his quarterback lead a game-winning drive with his arm instead of handing off.

It may not happen this Sunday. Brady is a career 4-0 vs. Bears, and if there is one constant it is that his opposite numbers play really bad football against him, or rather his coach’s defense. Bears quarterback passer ratings opposite Brady, even in years when the Bears were good: Jim Miller 51.2 in 2002, Rex Grossman 23.7 in 2006; Jay Cutler 32.9 and Cutler again in the 51-23 blowout in Foxboro. Cutler finished that game with a meaningless 108.6 rating, meaningless because Cutler put up big numbers beginning when his team was down 38-7 after he’d mucked about with a 61.7 rating, plus having a fumble returned for a TD, while the Bears were being humiliated.

A surprise would be if Trubisky bumbles around like his predecessors (New England allows an average opponent passer rating of 91.6), but whether he can produce a third straight 120-plus rating…. Then again, Pat Mahomes put a 110.0 on the Patriots last Sunday night, but Deshaun Watson managed only a 62.9 against New England in game one.

Trubisky will make the third of the three 2017 first-round QB’s to face the Patriots. The first two lost.

Brian Baldinger: 'I'm not so sure anybody could've seen the jump that Mitch Trubisky is making right now'


Brian Baldinger: 'I'm not so sure anybody could've seen the jump that Mitch Trubisky is making right now'

On Thursday, Brian Baldinger released another video clip on Twitter for his #BaldysBreakdowns series, this one praising the recent play from Bears QB Mitch Trubisky.

Baldinger states that Trubisky is "making some kind of jump", referring to how impressed he was with Trubisky's play when compared to his rookie season. 

In the video Baldinger explains in the video how you expect franchise QBs to make a big leap from year one to year two, and a big part of that leap for Trubisky is being unafraid to make aggressive throws downfield.

Baldinger highlighted a play where Trubisky hit Taylor Gabriel 47-yards down the field, choosing to trust his wideout after he hit him with perfect ball placement despite tight coverage. He continued this theme later on in the video, showing Trubisky's TD strike to Allen Robinson, which was whipped right past a Dolphins defender. 

But Baldinger's video wasn't exclusively compliments for Trubisky. He discussed Tarik Cohen's effectiveness as a pass-catcher, saying that you "can't cover him" and comparing him to a Ferrari with his ability to go from first to fifth gear "about as fast as anybody."

He ended his video by showing Trubisky punishing the Dolphins for a blown coverage, hitting rookie Anthony Miller in stride for a 29-yard TD. Baldinger's point in including this clip was to show Trubisky's improved recognition, as he may not have spotted the blown coverage last year. Noticing when and how to take advantage of defensive sloppiness is one of the many things that seperate a "franchise QB" from a stopgap, and Trubisky is trending in the right direction. 

If Baldinger's breakdown is any indication, we should expect Trubisky to keep his incredible momentum rolling when the Bears take on the New England Patriots on Sunday. New England is 3rd worst in the league in passing TDs allowed, giving up 15 scores through the air in six games.