So, apparently Thursday games are no longer going to be competitive. Strike that. All night games aren’t going to be competitive for the rest of the season, which is decidedly not good for prime time ratings, or for fans of the team being routed that night. Alas, but we have Sunday afternoons to appreciate parity and competition. Week 5 should be no different.
It’s time for Setting Your Lineup…
Mike Glennon, TB. Did you even watch that Dallas/New Orleans game last weekend? If you did, then you know how horrible that Saints defense is, and I don’t think home is a cure for all that ails them. Remember how they barely beat a bad Minnesota squad a couple of weeks ago at home? And Mike Glennon has looked good running that Tampa offense in beating the Steelers last week. Roll with him this week. He should have a great game in the Big Easy.
Joe Flacco, BAL. I don’t care about his home/away splits, or how he doesn’t step up in a big game. This is a big game, playing on the road in Indianapolis, where Andrew Luck is nearly unbeatable. But they already lost a game at home to the Eagles this season, and that defense doesn’t match up well with either Steve Smith or Torrey Holt. Even Owen Daniels may be a mismatch in the red zone. I like Baltimore to keep this one close, and to do that Flacco will have to throw.
Blake Bortles, JAC. Time to get on board, because Blake Bortles is ready to roll. Yes, this is the same Pittsburgh defense that completely folded last week with a lead, the same one that almost lost to Cleveland in the season’s first game. And they don’t have too much tape on Bortles after he came on and played well for the Jaguars last week. I like him to mix it up and keep the Steelers guessing with some imaginative play calling to play to his strengths..
Nick Foles, PHI. A lot has been written about that Philadelphia offensive line and the punishing Foles has gotten as a result of their ineptitude. However, if there’s one thing I know about Chip Kelly it’s that he adjusts better than most. I mean, the Eagles were a step away from stealing a game in San Francisco last week and they didn’t score an offensive touchdown. That doesn’t last long in this game as they will pass the ball a lot. That’s great for Foles.
AVOID: Tom Brady, NE. I don’t blame Brady for the struggles. I blame Belichick, and if things continue as they have been for that offensive line then it won’t get any better, because unlike Foles, Brady doesn’t have fast playmakers who can get downfield and make things happen, especially against that Cincinnati defense that comes after the quarterback and won’t give Brady a chance to find any options.
Doug Martin, TB. Remember what I said about Glennon up there? That also bodes well for Martin because he will keep the defense honest and give Glennon that time to throw the ball. He can also catch out of the backfield, which helps as well. Teams have been able to run all over that New Orleans defense so far this season, and that makes Martin an excellent play.
Khiry Robinson, NO. On the flipside, Tampa Bay isn’t the best against the run either, and Robinson has established himself as a game player. He gets out there and runs hard. This may be his last hurrah as really the lead back in that Saints offense, and I think he has a big game against the Buccaneers.
Chris Ivory, NYJ. CJ2K who? It’s Ivory time in New Jersey (even though they’re on the road at San Diego this week). When he had the ball last week he made things happen, even against that stout Detroit defense. San Diego is a bit weaker up front and that bodes well for Ivory to have a few electric runs. I think the Jets will hang tough in this one, and Ivory is the way to do that.
Toby Gerhart, JAC. Can you tell I’m high on the Jaguars this week? The Steelers can be run on, and even though Gerhart has had a disappointing start to his Jaguars career, this will be a get-right game. Bortles needs a security blanket, and Gerhart will be that guy this week. He’s a perfect sell-high candidate after this game.
AVOID: Reggie Bush, DET. Why owners remain enamored with him is beyond me. Detroit has become a throw first/run second team, and that doesn’t bode well for Bush, even though he’s supposed to be such a great pass-catching back. If Joique Bell doesn’t play this game he will have more touches, but they might not need him for the battle against the suddenly lackluster Bills.
Roddy White, ATL. Something has to give if Atlanta is to truly be a playoff contender. And that something is the way they turn into Mr. Hyde instead of Dr. Jekyll on the road, a poor shell of themselves. I think that changes here. The Giants are feeling good about themselves right now, and I think they take for granted the poor play of Atlanta here. Matt Ryan will step up and win a shootout, and he’ll need White to help him when Julio Jones gets double-teamed.
Vincent Jackson, TB. Yup, I’m all in on Tampa Bay this week too. I really liked what I saw from that offense with Mike Glennon last week, and I really love the matchup. Even though Jackson has been a disappointment so far this season, I think he steps up here. He has a natural connection with Glennon that will shine through, and if Mike Evans can’t suit up, he’s really the only show in town (but you won’t go wrong with Louis Murphy as a deep sleeper either if you’re desperate).
Anquan Boldin, SF. Speaking of security blankets, Boldin has turned into just that for Colin Kaepernick. If you’re in a PPR league he has even more value for an offense that has become interestingly more check-down than a little bit, ironic since that’s what people accused them of being when Alex Smith was in town. Get Boldin active as the defense will be focusing on Crabtree.
Philly Brown, CAR. Defenses will sooner or later start keying in on and doubling Kelvin Benjamin, and I think it starts this week with Chicago, who needs a win at home. Carolina will be forced to lean on some other options like Brown who has shown some good route running and the ability to get open.
AVOID: Eric Decker, NYJ. Even if he does play, obviously his hamstring is not 100%, and that’s enough for me to leave him on my bench in fantasy. Geno Smith is erratic at best at the moment, so even though Decker is normally his number one option I think he’s hampered enough to dent his value.
Eric Ebron, DET. He scored his first touchdown last week, and I look for him to keep it going against a Buffalo team that has shown it isn’t as good against tight ends as was previously thought. Ebron is physically imposing, too, which makes him a good target in the end zone, especially if Calvin Johnson is again limited.
Travis Kelce, KC. How do you follow a breakout performance like the one Kelce had against New England last week? Easy. You make sure you’re playing a team (SF) that has been really good against tight ends, and then you expose them. That’s what Kelce is going to do this week when a lot of people are sitting him on their benches. Think about it. Which tight ends are we judging San Francisco’s prowess by? Kelce just took a step up. He stays there. Start him with confidence.
Garrett Graham, HOU. The Cowboys have been abysmal against tight ends, by a large margin, and even though Graham has yet to make his presence felt, every tight end that has faced the Cowboys so far has come up big, so that bodes well for Graham.
Jacob Tamme, DEN. Tamme tends to come up big when Denver does some of its exotic formations. Indeed, he even ran the ball a couple of weeks ago. They look for ways to get Tamme involved in 2-tight end sets, and I think they will lean that way against Arizona if the ground game doesn’t take off as they hope it will. I like Tamme as a sleeper this week as the Cardinals will be looking to shut down some of the primary weapons for Peyton Manning.
AVOID: Heath Miller, PIT. I said before the season began that this would not be the year of Heath Miller, and I second that here and now. Even while Roethlisberger has seen some quality stats, he hasn’t gotten Miller very involved, which does not bode well for this meeting against Jacksonville. Especially since they should be able to lean on their run game with Le’Veon Bell, and air it out deep to Antonio Brown.
Good luck setting your lineups.
The Fantasy Ace