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Week 5 Starters & Benchwarmers

Posted by Ladd Biro  October 5, 2012 04:07 PM

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Wondering whether or not to start Drew Brees and Arian Foster, or to bench Mark Sanchez and Austin Collie? The network bozos specialize in that kind of advice. If you’re looking for help with your real starting lineup conundrums, read on.

Here are my picks to roll, and get rolled, in Week 5 of the 2012 season.


Watch ‘em roll

Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals vs. Dolphins.  Dalton has collected three TDs in each of his last three games, and exceeded 300 passing yards in two of those contests.  This weekend, he’s facing a porous, and reeling, Miami secondary that most recently allowed Kevin Kolb to stage a back-breaking, last-minute comeback.

Frank Gore, RB, 49ers vs. Bills.  He’s been forced to share a lot more than normal, but Gore is still the bell cow of this offense.  Though he may yield a goal-line carry or two to others, Gore should have plenty of room to roll against one of the league’s worst run defenses.


Alfred Morris, RB, Redskins vs. Falcons.  The rookie notched his first 100-yard outing last week against what was then the NFL’s top run defense.  On Sunday, Morris will face one of the weakest units in the game.  Atlanta has already coughed up six rushing scores during the short season, and Morris should have no trouble adding to that total.

Domenik Hixon, WR, Giants vs. Browns.  Hixon emphatically re-staked his claim to the No. 3 wideout role in this offense with last weekend’s 114-yard outing against the Eagles.  With Hakeem Nicks (foot) already declared out, and Ramses Barden (concussion) likely to follow, Hixon should be in line for another busy, and productive, day.

Malcom Floyd, WR, Chargers at Saints.  New Orleans keeps losing, but they still put up plenty of points. Fortunately for opposing offenses, the Saints’ secondary is a very giving unit.  Philip Rivers should be very busy in this matchup, with Floyd, his most targeted receiver, reaping the most rewards.

More thumbs up (excluding the no-brainers): QBs Eli Manning, Michael Vick, Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger; RBs Matt Forte, Ryan Mathews, Trent Richardson, Reggie Bush; WRs Percy Harvin, Torrey Smith, James Jones, DeSean Jackson, Reggie Wayne, Brian Hartline, Brandon Lloyd, Antonio Brown.

Roll ‘em back

Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Bills at 49ers.  You loved his 350 yards and four TDs last weekend.  But the four interceptions?  Not so much.  Expect more of the latter against the stout 49ers pass defense in what should be a low-scoring affair.

Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Steelers vs. Eagles.  The veteran is expected to play for the first time since he blew out his knee in last season’s finale.  And while he should quickly reclaim his role as Pittsburgh’s workhorse, that likely won’t happen in his first game back.  Not to mention, he’ll be facing a tough Eagles run defense that has only surrendered one rushing score all season.

Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller, RBs, Bills at 49ers.  The two dinged, but prolific, tailbacks are limiting each other’s value by splitting carries.  Now, they’re headed cross-country to face one of the most fearsome run defenses on the planet.  Give them both a breather in this one.

Pierre Garcon, WR, Redskins vs. Falcons.  It was good to see Garcon (foot) back on the field last week, though he was targeted just once all day.  Against a solid Falcons secondary, let Garcon work himself back into game shape on your bench. 

Nate Washington, WR, Titans at Vikings.  You’d think the veteran would be exploiting Kenny Britt’s virtual invisibility, but Washington has no more than three receptions in any game thus far.  With Matt Hasselbeck at the controls against a decent Vikings pass defense, a breakout performance is not in the cards.

More thumbs down: QBs Matt Hasselbeck, Andrew Luck, Ryan Tannehill, Matt Cassel; RBs Michael Turner, DeAngelo Williams, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Chris Johnson, Mark Ingram, Shonn Green; WRs Kenny Britt, Brandon Lafell, Justin Blackmon, all Jets WRs.

TAKING A FLIER

Ben Tate, RB, Texans at Jets.  Need bye-week help in your backfield?  Assuming a toe injury doesn’t imperil his playing status on Monday night, Tate should see plenty of action.  Houston should stomp all over the imploding Jets, which rank 31st against opposing rushers.  Arian Foster could be pulled early, leaving a huge opening for Tate to accumulate serious garbage-time stats.  Justin Forsett is next in line if Tate can’t go.

DON’T BE THE BONEHEAD WHO…bails on Dennis Pitta after one lousy outing.  Sure, his goose egg was devastating; but even after that, the tight end is still the most-targeted receiver on the Ravens.  Joe Flacco trusts him, especially in the end zone, which is encouraging news this week.  Kansas City has surrendered 10 passing TDs (second-worst in the NFL) and the fourth-most fantasy points to tight ends thus far.

Originally published on the blog Fantasy Fools.

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About the author

Ladd Biro was named 2010 "Football Writer of the Year" by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. Ladd's nationally syndicated columns have appeared in more than 20 publications -- including the Dallas Morning News, San Francisco Chronicle, Philadelphia Inquirer, Chicago Sun-Times and Sporting News magazine -- since 2003. During the NFL season, he can be heard nationwide on Sporting News Radio as host of the weekly "Fantasy Files" program, dispensing his unique blend of wit and wisdom. Since 2009, all his written fantasy content can be found on the Fantasy Fools blog.

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