The first quarter of the season has passed and fantasy football owners are getting a better idea of where their team stands.
The running back position has been a difficult one to predict this year. Atlanta Falcons’ Devonta Freeman, a backup at the beginning of the season, is the leading scorer in fantasy football for running backs. Marshawn Lynch, LeSean McCoy have battled injuries all year and 2014 breakout stars C.J. Anderson and Eddy Lacy have struggled to live up to their draft position.
Perhaps Jeremy Hill found his footing last week, running for three touchdowns against a good Kansas City defense. To the owners that sat Hill last week, I offer my apologies.
Pro-tip: The Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New York Jets and Carolina Panthers all have bye-weeks, which could force some owners to shuffle their lineup or look at the available players in free agency. Here are the week five, start ’em and sit ’em:
Philip Rivers (Quarterback/San Diego Chargers)
The San Diego Chargers will play host to the Pittsburgh Steelers Monday night, a matchup favorable for Philip Rivers. The Steelers rank near the bottom of the league in interceptions and opponents’ quarterback rating. Rivers isn’t a kind host to opponents, in two home games this year, Rivers has averaged 381 passing yards and 23 fantasy points. Not to mention, all-pro tight end Antonio Gates is returning from suspension this week. With another weapon in the fold for the Chargers, look for Rivers to have himself a day against a mediocre Steelers defense.
Todd Gurley (Running back/St. Louis Rams)
He’s back. Todd Gurley proved last week why the Rams made him the first running back chosen in the top ten of the draft in three years. Gurley had four runs for over 20 yards last week against a tough Arizona defense just in the second half. Gurley would finish the day with 146 yards on 19 carries. This week, Gurley and the Rams will face a Green Bay defense that gives up nearly five yards per carry. Looking back at the history of Jeff Fisher running backs, like Chris Johnson and Eddie George in Tennessee, once a featured back is established, Fisher will run him all game. Gurley should be a number one option in fantasy until further notice.
Kamar Aiken (Wide receiver/Baltimore Ravens)
If you are in need of a wide receiver, keep an eye out on Kamar Aiken. After the injury to Steve Smith Sr., Aiken looks to be the number one wide receiver in Baltimore. For owners that need some help at wide receiver, Aiken is owned in only 28 percent of leagues. The Ravens face the Browns this week, and Aiken will get his targets as Cleveland gives up on average 15 yards per catch.
Andy Dalton (Quarterback/Cincinnati Bengals)
Believe it or not, Andy Dalton is the second highest scoring Quarterback in fantasy this year. So why should you sit him? Dalton and the Bengals host the Seahawks. Seattle shut down the Lions passing game last week and has only given up three passing touchdowns all year. But how long will Dalton continue to play lights out? Perhaps this is the week that Dalton loses his rhythm against a historically good Seahawks pass defense. Play it safe and sit Dalton this week.
DeMarco Murray (Running back/Philadelphia Eagles)
DeMarco Murray is lost. After leading the league in rushing last year, Murray can’t find a role in the Eagles’ offense. Murray has racked up double-digit carries once this year and has yet to eclipse the hundred-yard mark. It looks like Ryan Matthews is more of a fit in the Philadelphia offense than Murray, which is troubling considering the money the Eagles dished out in the offseason. Add onto the hamstring injury that has given Murray a fit all year, it has been a rough start for the former Cowboy to say the least. Until Murray gets consistent playing time and touches, sit him.
T.Y. Hilton (Wide receiver/Indianapolis Colts)
Matt Hasselbeck starts again this week at quarterback for the Colts. That means trouble for T.Y. Hilton, who has disappointed so far this year. Hilton hasn’t found the endzone last year after posting seven touchdowns last year. Many of those targets are going to teammate Donte Moncrief. The Colts face a Texans defense that has given up the seventh fewest fantasy points to wide receivers this year. Beware of Hilton until Andrew Luck returns from injury.