By Jamal Murphy, OFN Chief Fantasy Analyst
Fantasy Strategies: Start ‘em/Sit ‘em
Each week, fantasy owners’ biggest conundrums usually boil down to which players on their roster to start and which ones to leave sitting on their bench. One wrong move could cost you a win for the week and, consequently, a playoff spot down the road.
Here are a handful of not-so-obvious players to start or sit for Week 5 of the fantasy football season.
RB LaGarrett Blount, Philadelphia Eagles…Blount ran for 136 yards on 16 carries last week, so it’s clear that he is fully in the mix in Philly. Additionally, Wendell Smallwood is questionable for Sunday and unlikely to play, making Blount a must-play if you have him.
TE Charles Clay, Buffalo Bills…Clay caught five balls for 112 yards last week versus Atlanta. He has two touchdowns on the year. Tyrod Taylor doesn’t have much else to throw to, so owners should feel confident about putting Clay in their starting lineups.
WR Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers…When healthy, Cobb is always in the mix for Green Bay. He is averaging six receptions on close to 8 targets per game, to go along with his one touchdown that came last week. He’s reportedly healthy now and he’s up against the Dallas defense, which ranks 20th against the pass.
WR Devin Funchess, Carolina Panthers…It’s pretty clear that Funchess has become a favorite target of quarterback Cam Newton. The 6’4, third-year receiver has been targeted 25 times over the last three weeks and produced majorly last week with seven catches, 70 yards and two touchdowns.
RB Frank Gore, Indianapolis Colts…Gore has been surprisingly solid this year, considering his considerably long tooth. He’s averaging 15 carries per game with a high of 25, to go along with two touchdowns. He gets to play against his former team this week – not exactly world beaters on defense. Look for Gore to put up a strong performance on Sunday.
WR Amari Cooper, Oakland Raiders…Cooper has three receptions for 15 yards over his last two games and only 12 receptions and 110 yards on the season. Even scarier, that was with Derek Carr under center. With Carr out, the throwing duties fall to E.J. Manuel, who is unproven at best. If you have any other decent options at wide receiver, it is advised that you sit Cooper until further notice.
WR Alshon Jeffery, Philadelphia Eagles…Jeffery had only three catches for 29 yards last week versus the Chargers. Luckily, one of those catches was a touchdown. He has four or fewer catches in three of his four games. This week he likely will see a lot of lockdown corner, Patrick Peterson. It might be wise to proactively lock Jeffery down on your bench this Sunday.
WR Rishard Matthews, Tennessee Titans…Matthews has been solid this season, but his production took a dip last week, likely a direct correlation to Marcus Mariota’s hamstring injury. Mariota is a game-time decision for Sunday, which means Matt Cassell may very well be throwing passes for the Titans. As such, the safe bet is to leave Matthews on your bench this weekend.
RB Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers…Stewart has been sharing touches with Christian McCaffrey, but has yet to reach the end zone this season. The Panthers are at Detroit on Sunday and the Lions possess the sixth best run defense in the league.
QB Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles…Wentz has been OK, but not great the last two weeks, averaging 209 yards and a touchdown. This week he faces a Cardinals defense that has been solid against the pass, particularly since Week 1.
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