We absorb plenty of bye week production in Week 5 with Carolina, Miami, Minnesota, and the New York Jets all on the bye. Now is when your roster’s depth is tested. You’ll have to make some key waiver wire acquisitions to keep pace with the rest of your league. The heart of the season is usually when the best teams rise to the top, so make sure you’re on top of your lineup decisions going forward.
Below is a list of guys I’m focused on for one reason or another this week. They’re especially important in daily fantasy sports (DFS) leagues like DraftKings. If you’re curious about guys you don’t see listed here, you can always find me on Twitter (@MrT_BroBible) to ask questions, but remember to mention league specifics like PPR. You can always ask about trades as well.
You Know Who You Should Start?
Jay Cutler (QB – Chicago)
Our favorite gun slinging quarterback is back in the saddle. Jay Cutler returned last week and helped guide his Bears to a win. Now they face Kansas City, who schemes their defense to encourage the opposition to pass heavily. (This plays into their strong pass rush.) Every QB who has faced the Chiefs this year has thrown for at least 250 yards and one touchdown. That’s a nice floor for Cutler to work off of. Alshon Jeffrey is projected to return to the lineup on Sunday, so that’s another positive for Cutler. Game flow won’t hurt him either since the Chiefs should be able to put plenty of points on Chicago. All signs point to smoking Jay Cutler being prolific for your team.
Todd Gurley (RB – St. Louis)
We’ve been waiting for the Rams to unleash Todd Gurley on the fantasy football world. It finally happened last week as Gurley exploded for four carries of 20+ yards in a great Rams victory at Arizona. That’s as many as any running back has had all season! It looks as if we can put the torn ACL and usage conversation behind us. The declaration to start Gurley may be obvious, but I want to indicate that Gurley should be started from here on out. The yards per game #s don’t show it, but Green Bay has the 31st ranked run defense according to football outsiders. Obviously it’s harder for teams to run when they are getting blown out and need to keep up via the pass. That won’t happen this weekend since the Rams defense should keep the team in the game, allowing for Gurley to get his 20 carries.
Ronnie Hillman (RB – Denver)
There were reasonable concerns that C.J. Anderson wouldn’t produce as well as last year and lose his bell cow back role. There were also calls that he could be the #1 fantasy player this season. We now can see the first opinion was the correct one. Coach Greg Kubiak stated that Hillman would see more burn this week and what a week to get it. Hillman broke off a 72-yard touchdown run last week and should see similar opportunities this week against the Raiders, who have given up at least 98 rushing yards to running backs in three of the four games this season.
Allen Robinson (WR – Jacksonville)
We saw a flash of Robinson’s talent when he blew up for 155 yards and two touchdowns against Miami. He’s been ok otherwise, but not the breakout candidate people like myself were calling for at the beginning of the season. That’ll change this week when Robinson takes on a Buccaneers team that has given up six touchdowns to receivers so far this season. Tampa Bay hasn’t taken on many talented receivers this year, but they got blitzed by DeAndre Hopkins in Week 3 to the tune of 101 yards and a touchdown. You should expect a similar explosion from Robinson in this spot.
Kamar AIken (WR – Baltimore)
If you’re looking to take a shot with a wide receiver this week, you might as well take it with Aiken. For starters, Joe Flacco doesn’t really have anyone else to throw to. Both Steve Smith and Breshad Perriman are injured at receiver and Crocket Gillmore is still hurt as the primary tight end weapon. Aiken ran a 4.45 at his pro day and has some size at 6’2″. Joe Haden has struggled this season and might not even play because of a hand injury. You can do worse than firing up our friend from UCF.
Owen Daniels (TE – Denver)
If we’ve learned anything in fantasy football this season it’s that you play the tight ends who take on the Raiders. They’ve been awful against tight ends through four weeks giving up at least six receptions, 83 receiving yards, and a touchdown in each game. Their six touchdowns allowed to TEs are two more than any other team in the league has given up to the position. Daniels is a little old, but his coach knows how to scheme plays to the TE.
You Know Who You Should Sit?
Andy Dalton (QB – Cincinnati)
It’s a new year for Andy Dalton as he’s now surrounded by numerous healthy weapons around him. He’s thrown for at least 300 yards or two touchdowns in each game so far this year, but the situation doesn’t bode well for him Sunday. Seattle hasn’t given up a passing touchdown since Kam Chancellor came back to the lineup and only gave up passing touchdowns in one of their last seven regular season games last year with mostly the same squad. Don’t have blind faith in Dalton and look for a better option this weekend.
Jeremy Hill (RB – Cincinnati)
I’m clearly down on the Bengals this week and there’s more to come. While we’re here, Hill has had less carries than Gio Bernard in the last three games and isn’t the workhorse he was at the end of last year. This is a terrible spot for him. Seattle has given up given up under 100 yards rushing in three of the four games this year, but more importantly they haven’t given up a rushing touchdown. Hill’s value primarily relies on the touchdown these days, so maybe there’s someone on your bench that’s in a better spot.
Carlos Hyde (RB – San Francisco)
I’m as surprised as anyone that the Giants are Football Outsiders’ best rushing defense through four games. They give up 3.1 yards per carry, which is the fewest of any team in the league. Hyde isn’t a sure thing since he hasn’t passed 51 yards rushing or scored a touchdown since Week 1. San Francisco would be better served getting Reggie Bush more involved because the Giants’ aren’t great in pass coverage against RBs.
AJ Green (WR – Cincinnati)
You might be looking at me like I’m nuts as you say to yourself, “how am I going to bench my WR1?” Here’s why. Green has historically struggled against the game’s best corners. Just look at his history with Joe Haden. In their last four match-ups, Green hasn’t had more than 51 yards receiving and hasn’t score in any of them. Richard Sherman is a big, physical corner, so he’ll be able to handle Green’s physical game. You might have better options than Green on your bench and you should use them if so.
Amari Cooper (WR – Oakland)
I’m definitely making some bold calls this week and you can add Cooper to the list. Denver has some of the best corners in the league and Cooper will go head to head with Aqib Talib. Talib consistently ranks among the elite cornerbacks according to Pro Football Focus and does again this year. Cooper hasn’t faced a corner of this magnitude in his young career, so Talib will likely use some veteran tricks to keep Cooper under wraps in this match-up.
Gary Barnidge (TE – Cleveland)
Barnidge has shown up out of nowhere to be a viable starting TE this season. He’s made a connection with Josh McCown to the tune of 180 yards and two touchdowns in the last two games. Unfortunately the honeymoon is over since Baltimore is dominant against TEs. They’ve shut down Owen Daniels, Tyler Eifert, and Heath Miller so far this season with none of the aforementioned TEs putting up more than 5 receiving yards. You read that right…FIVE RECEIVING YARDS. Barnidge surely isn’t talented enough to buck that trend.