Start’Em / Sit’Em: Week 5

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A week ago, I told you to get Frank Gore in your lineup. And though it may have been a last-minute decision based on his health, you were pleasantly rewarded with 127 yards and a game-winning touchdown.

There were reports doubting the availability of Jeremy Maclin, so I advised to get all your other Eagles receivers in the lineup, especially DeSean Jackson. After a quiet spell, D-Jax bounced back with a six-reception, 171-yard effort.

I predicted the San Diego Chargers offense would rebound; that was sort of a hit or miss. Philip Rivers threw for 300 yards but just a touchdown, but Vincent Jackson and Mike Tolbert both found the end zone.

And I also thought Steven Jackson to once again regain fantasy relevance. A receiving touchdown, which may be his main source of scoring in Josh McDaniels’ offense, helped him to do that.

Among the sits, Torrey Smith and Victor Cruz proved to be the right move, and the same goes for James Casey. He’s a back-up tight end after all.

This week marks the beginning of bye weeks, meaning some of the stars are automatically moved to the bench. Between your back-ups and waiver wire finds, someone must step up for your in Week 5 in order to help your team nab a win.

Start ‘Em

Only the Kansas City Chiefs have allowed as many passing touchdowns as the Philadelphia Eagles. The additions of Nnandi Asomugha and Dominique Rogers-Cromartie have thus far proved to be meaningless as the Philly defense struggles.

This week, the team will travel up to Buffalo to face a high-flying Bills offense that’s coming off a last-second loss in

Scott Chandler has hauled in four touchdown passes this season, and could be poised to dominate against a struggles Eagles pass defense.

Cincinnati. At home, the Bills offense is averaging more than 313 yards through the air and five touchdowns.

The Eagles have been vulnerable the big plays and athletic tight ends. Three of the touchdown passes they’ve allowed have come via 20-plus-yard plays – two to the speedy Victor Cruz and another to Josh Morgan. Tony Gonzalez exploited the weak front seven, grabbing two touchdowns in the red zone, and Vernon Davis followed suit.

Look for Stevie Johnson to garner most of the attention, allowing Donald Jones to be the most impactful wideout. And keeping with the trends, expect Scott Chandler to be a prominent red zone threat, using his athleticism to get open past the Eagles second layer of defenders.

I feel like every week I resort to telling you to go ahead and start Mark Ingram, because any day he’s just going to break loose for 150 yards and three scores. Any day now, right?

Well, perhaps Week 5 is the time, not only for Ingram but for Darren Sproles, too.

The New Orleans Saints will take to the road and face the Carolina Panthers, the NFL’s second-worst rush defense, allowing more 140 yards per game and opposing backs more than five yards per carry.

Maurice Jones-Drew slashed the Panthers for 122 yards, while Beanie Wells mustered up 90 yards and a score. Even the pass-heavy Packers rushed for over 120 yards. And icing on the cake: Matt Forte went straight buck wild, totaling 228 yards, including four receptions.

With so much attention centered on Cam Newton impressing in his rookie season, the Panthers’ defensive and special teams’ flaws have gone unnoticed. Ingram could finally seize his opportunity to break out during his rookie season, while Sproles could have a PPR league dream flex option.

On the theme of breakout players, did anyone see Matt Hasselbeck’s resurgent season coming? The Tennessee Titans are among the top 10 passing offenses in the NFL, and Hasselbeck is behind only Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Eli Manning in quarterback rating.

In addition, there was finally a Chris Johnson sighting in the Titans’ win over the Browns, giving Hass another weapon to rely on. The loss of Kenny Britt for the season is devastating to this offense’s potential, and we wondered who would

Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is making up for the loss of Kenny Britt by targeting his tight ends.

fill the void.

Hass has looked to his tight ends to be playmakers, as we saw Sunday when Jared Cook hauled in an 80-yard touchdown and Craig Stevens proved to be a red zone target, and two weeks ago when Daniel Graham caught the game-deciding touchdown pass.

With Cook now second on the team is targets (13), he and Hass are must-starts this week against the Steelers. Now when was the last time you were told to take advantage of the Steelers’ D?

Like their Pennsylvania neighbors, the much-heralded defense has yet to show up. They may rank as the best pass defense, (stats are deceiving), but have struggled versus the top tight ends. In Week 1, the Ravens’ Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta combined for seven catches for 104 yards and a touchdown. And last week, Owen Daniels led the Houston receivers with five receptions for 69 yards and a score.

For as well as their pass defense may look good on paper, stopping the run has been a major issue. The Steelers are allowing 120 yards per game, and to turn their season around they’ll need to address it. Are they going to let Johnson run all over them? Or is Hasselbeck going to continue his outstanding season by taking advantage of the match-up between his athletic tight end against the aging linebackers?

Bench ‘Em

LeGarrette Blount finally impressed in his Monday night game against Indy, piling up 127 yards and a touchdown.

But this week, he and the Bucs will travel out of to the West Coast to face that resurgent 49ers defense that’s allowing opposing rushers to total 74 yards per game, good for fourth in the league. In the team’s first four games, Marshawn Lynch (33), Felix Jones (25), Cedric Benson (64) and LeSean McCoy (18) have combined for 130 yards and not a single trip to the end zone. Blount’s bottom line just took a major hit.

Blount ranks 10th in the NFL in rushing attempts this season. When the Bucs win, the team has 91 attempts; when they lose: 16. Blount is the catalyst to this offense, but the 49ers won’t let him run all over them, especially on their home turf. They are the only team  who has yet to allow a score on the ground. Expect Mike Williams and the receiving corps to be relied on to shoulder the load in a low-scoring affair by the Bay.

When the Patriots and Jets reunite their rivalry, don’t expect Rob Gronkowski to be too much of a factor. That’s right; Gronk takes a step out of the top five tight ends for Week 5.

The Jets have yet to allow an opposing tight end to reach the end zone. Is it time to bench Gronk?

In three career games against New York, Gronk has a total of six catches for 91 yards and zero trips to the end zone. In two of the games, he hauled in just one pass.

The Jets have played three pass-catching tight ends thus far; only Jason Witten was able to surpass the 100-yard mark and none have been able to score. Dennis Pitta, Kevin Boss and Zach Miller (Jac) otherwise combined for 109 yards.

Rex Ryan is very keen in defending athletic tight ends, and he knows the importance of Gronk to the Pats offense. Last week Tom Brady didn’t need his tight end to beat Oakland; he’s got Wes Welker, remember?

Don’t Make Too Much Out of …

We were all taken back when Ryan Torain ended up torching the Rams defense. In his first touches of the season, he took advantage with 135 yards and a touchdown. But his monster performance must be taken with a serious grain of salt.

Hello, this is classic Mike Shanahan. How often has he teased fantasy owners with an inconsistent running back rotation? Remember when he was in Denver and there was the Mike Bell-Tatum Bell mess? Or a year later when Selvin Young split carries with Travis Henry?

Now he’s got “the starter” in Tim Hightower, “the bruiser” in rookie Roy Helu and “the odd man out” in Torain. Adding insult to injury, Shanahan has already said he’s going to go with the best back … at the moment … meaning owners of Hightower, Helu and even Torain will have to play the guessing game with the Skins backfield.

Hightower is still the best bet for carries and productivity, but it’s something to keep an eye on going forward.

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