Sunday, October 5, 2014

Last Minute Fantasy Start'ems and Sit'ems: Week 5

I had you start Ben Roethlisberger last week, but the Steelers are playing the Jags today, so let's go two in a row for Big Ben.
By Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

We're a few weeks into the 2014 season, and we're starting to get a bit more of a feel for which teams present the toughest (and easiest) matchups for your borderline fantasy starter.

Matchups played a huge part in this week's picks, as I opted to avoid Buffalo skill players (who must work with new starting quarterback Kyle Orton) against the stingy Detroit defense, but made all of my "start'em" picks based on favorable matchups.

So, without further ado, here are this week's last minute start'ems and sit'ems.

Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh
Matchup: At Jacksonville

I said to start him last week and, despite Pittsburgh's late-game collapse, Big Ben still came through for fantasy owners, toasting the Bucs for 314 yards and 3 touchdowns with no turnovers. This week, against the league's worst pass defense, in pleasant weather, I would expect Roethlisberger to continue piling up yards and touchdowns.

Ever since a rocky game at Baltimore, Ben has been on a tear, throwing for five touchdowns without a pick, and the Steelers have been able to re-establish tight end Heath Miller in the middle of the field, opening things up for Antonio Brown on the outside. It's hard to see Jacksonville having answer for this passing game today.

Running Back:
Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati
Matchup: At New England, 8:30 pm

Bernard isn't exactly a "stud" in the world of fantasy backs, but he's come on strong in recent weeks. Cincy's multi-purpose weapon is averaging just 3.4 yards per carry, but his abilities as a receiver have pushed him over 100 total yards in his first two games, and in his most recent appearance, a blowout win against Tennessee, he scored a pair of first half touchdowns before being subbed out to rest.

True, his YPC leave something to be desired, and yes, he will have to fight off touchdown vulture rookie Jeremy Hill for touches in the red zone, but going against New England's 23rd rank rush defense that is currently giving up 130 yards per game, and 4.5 YPC, should be just what the doctor ordered for Bernard and the Cincy ground game.

Wide Receiver:
Eddie Royal, San Digeo
Matchup: Vs NY Jets

Royal is coming off a very nice game (though it was against the Jaguars) where he grabbed 5 balls for 105 yards and two touchdowns. Royal has become San Diego's "splash play" guy, and against a stingy Jets defense, I would look for the Chargers to try and set him up in space.

While the Jets have held most opponents in check yardage-wise all season, they've actually surrendered nine touchdowns through the air, and come up with zero interceptions. The only other D with no picks? Badly regressed New Orleans. The only other Ds to give up more passing TDs? Philly (10) and, you guess it, Jacksonville (11). The Jets defense is good, but they are susceptible to the big play, and with the New York offense unable to stay on the field, Royal and the Chargers will get their chances.


Andy Dalton, Cincinnati
Matchup: At New England, 8:30 pm

As much as I love Bernard in this game, I am avoiding Dalton. The one thing the Patriots have done well this year is defend the pass. New England leads the league, allowing just 186 yards per game, and the Pats' six interceptions ranks second in the league as a team.

Dalton is still a decent option if you don't have anybody else, but I have a feeling the Bengals are going to lean on their running game, and avoid throwing the ball into what has become a pretty darn good Patriots secondary.

Running Back:
C.J. Spiller, Buffalo
Matchup: At Detroit, 1 pm

I know, you've been waiting all year for Spiller to break out, and he's been averaging a healthy 4.0 yards per carry, grabbing around three catches a game and leading the team in touches.

Still, none of that has amounted to a game over 100 total yards this season, and going into a game against the powerful Lions front seven, I would look for that trend to continue.

Did I mention that Spiller only has one touchdown this season (a receiving touchdown), and that Detroit is surrendering just 80 yards per game on the ground, and hold opposing rushers to 3.5 YPC?

Spiller might find his stride soon, but it won't be this week with Kyle Orton making his first start, and the Lions stacking the box, daring the neck beard to throw.

Wide Receiver:
Sammy Watkins, Buffalo
Matchup: At Detroit, 1 pm

Are you sensing a trend here? Yeah, I'm just going to avoid anybody on Buffalo's offense until we see what Kyle Orton, pretty much off the street, can do in his first start, on the road, against one of the league's best defenses. None of that spells success for Watkins, who was probably your "Flex" guy anyway with around 50 yards and 0.5 TD per game thus far.

Still, with a new quarterback to get familiar with and one of the league's top ranked pass defenses across from him, it's hard to see Watkins doing much at all today.

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