James Morris hails from Rio Rancho, NM and has been playing fantasy sports for just over 15 years. Not only does he write the Bengals fantasy section, but he also does the Miami Dolphins fantasy section. Crossing over, Morris writes the fantasy sections for the Minnesota Timberwolves in the NBA. Just send him an email and he will reply back the same day with your answer. Or, find him on Twitter (Fantasyguy23) and get all your NFL news before it hits the national media.
First let me start off by saying that I wish Indianapolis Colts Head Coach Chuck Pagano Godspeed on a speedy recovery.
Week 5 of the NFL season is hitting a lot of fantasy teams hard because the Lions, Cowboys, Raiders and Buccaneers are all out this week. That means you will have to find replacements for more than a few fantasy starters, and the waiver wire has been picked clean. And, to make it worse, Greg Jennings will miss Week 5 due to a lingering groin problem. Check me out on Twitter and Facebook for news and info all week long to make your choices easier.
Injury news: St. Louis Rams WR Danny Amendola broke his clavicle bone on Thursday night and will miss 4-6 weeks. Some leagues have an IR slot, and he can be stashed there until he returns. If your league doesn’t have an IR slot, you will have to look at the waiver wire and really think about keeping him or cutting him lose.
Joe Flacco – QB, Ravens: I normally don’t want Flacco anywhere near my starting lineup because he just doesn’t produce sexy fantasy numbers. There is a difference between NFL value and fantasy football value. But, this week he faces a Kansas City Chiefs defense that is giving up the seventh-most fantasy points (24.0 PPG) to QBs. I have Flacco just inside my top 10 fantasy QBs this week.
Andrew Luck – QB, Colts: In the first three games of his NFL career, Luck has managed to throw for 300 yards twice, and he has a total of 5 TDs to his credit. Yes, the loss of his head coach worries me a little, but Bruce Arians will continue calling the offensive plays, so little to nothing should change. Luck is a fine bye week replacement.
Matt Forte – RB, Bears: There are a lot of questions surrounding Forte because Michael Bush has been a TD vulture thus far, and Forte is still a little dinged up. Well, the Jaguars are giving up the third-most fantasy points to RBs (27.5 PPG) in standard scoring, and the fourth-most in PPR formats at 33.0 PPG. I really like Forte as a top 10 RB this weekend.
Alfred Morris – RB, Redskins: I expect a high-scoring game this weekend from the Falcons and Redskins, because the Falcons have Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, and the Redskins have RGIII and a solid supporting cast around him. Morris is currently ranked No. 11 for RBs in NFL.com PPR formats, and should finish Week 5 as a low-end RB1. The Falcons are giving up the 13th-most fantasy points to RBs in PPR formats at 24.8 PPG.
Torrey Smith – WR, Ravens: Remember what I said about Flacco earlier, all the same stuff applies to Smith here. The guy has everything going for him this weekend and should finish as a low-end WR1/high-end WR2. I don’t think 100 yards and a score or two is out of reach.
Julio Jones – WR, Falcons: I normally would never tell you to start someone of Jones’s caliber, but he has been bothered by a cut on his hand that led to him hauling in just one pass for 30 yards in Week 4. The good news is that Jones is feeling healthy and ready to tear up a Redskins defense that gives up the most fantasy points to WRs (53.9 PPG in PPR formats). I see a top 3 finish for Jones at WR this week.
Martellus Bennett – TE, Giants: Bennett was a major letdown last week (one catch for two yards), but I think he bounces back to TE1 status this week against the Browns. Eli Manning is an elite QB, and knows how to use his TE in the passing game. I would look for about 65 yards and a possible TD. Tight end in fantasy football is very much a feast or famine position, so even 65 yards and no TD is still going to be a low-end TE1 most weeks.
Chicago Bears Defense: Outside of Maurice Jones-Drew, there isn’t a single positive I can come up with for the Jaguars offense. Couple that with how well the Bears defense in playing right now (No. 1-ranked defense in NFL.com scoring), and you have a recipe for a huge fantasy point weekend from the Bears in Week 5.
Christian Ponder – QB, Vikings: I have received more questions about starting Ponder this week than any other QB in the NFL. No, I don’t like him as a starter even with him facing a Titans defense that allows the fourth-most fantasy points to QBs at 24.9 PPG. Ponder has two straight games with less than 200 yards passing (111 and no TDs in Week 4), and he has yet to hit the 300-yard mark this season. I just don’t trust him and have him in the No. 15-17 range for fantasy QBs this week. And yes, I do own Ponder in the Miami Dolphins fan’s league on NFL.com. Just my luck!
Alex Smith – QB, 49ers: NFL.com has Smith projecting out as the No. 14 QB this week, despite the fact that he is currently ranked No. 20 for QBs this season. So, even though he is averaging 14.54 PPG in NFL.com scoring, he is now going to score 20.84 points in Week 5? Just so everyone knows, it would take about 250 yards passing and 2 TDs to get to 20 points, and he has yet to hit that mark this season. I love NFL.com leagues, but the projections are off in my opinion. I see him getting closer to 200 yards passing and a single TD this weekend.
Rashard Mendenhall – RB, Steelers: Simply put, it is just too soon to play Mendenhall in fantasy leagues. I would rather miss one good game from a player coming off a major injury, and in his first game back, than sit your current start and leave those points on the bench. I don’t see the Steelers giving him more than 15 touches this weekend, and the Eagles are ranked No. 6 in points to RBs this season with just 12.2 PPG.
Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller – RBs, Bills: Beyond the fact that these two are in a true RBBC, they are also facing a 49ers defense that just humiliated the entire New York Jets offense. I wouldn’t touch either of these two with a 10-foot pole this week, and neither should you.
Justin Blackmon – WR, Jaguars: There was a lot of chatter from one major fantasy sports outlet last week when Blackmon hauled in 6 passes for 48 yards. You do know that is just 8 YPC right? Beyond that, CB Tim Jennings of the Chicago Bears was just named the NFC Defensive Player of the Month for September. The rookie is owned in 65 percent of NFL.com leagues, and many of you are thinking of starting him with your regular starters on a bye this week. Please, think again!
Kenny Britt – WR, Titans: Look, Britt has two major problems heading into Week 5: 1) Matt Hasselbeck has some serious arm strength concerns, and 2) even the coaching staff thinks Britt should be doing more in practice (ankle). I’m not even sold on Britt playing this week, so it is better to just find other alternatives and let someone else deal with his headache.
Scott Chandler – TE, Bills: Everyone freaked out last week over Chandler’s 2 TDs, but you should be aware and beware with him this week. Chandler is going to be a rollercoaster ride with fantasy points this season, so he is not someone I recommend playing as an every week starter. You will have to pick and choose where you play him, and this week is one you definitely want to sit him.
New York Jets Defense: Despite losing major pieces on both offense and defense, 79.1 percent of people still own the Jets defense, and 68.0 percent of people are starting them each week. This week they go up against a Texans offense that features the game's top RB (Arian Foster) and a top-tier WR in Andre Johnson. The Jets defense is a sinking ship, and I would get out before you lose any more games due to poor performance.
Q: OK James, I am the only team at 4-0 in my league of savvy veterans. New question: I am thinking of switching my backup QB (Tony Romo) for a free agent QB. My main QB is RGIII. His bye week is Week 10. Available free agent QBs in my league include (among the highest points to date, and who they play on WEEK 10: Ryan Fitzpatrick @ NE, Carson Palmer @ BAL, Alex Smith vs. STL, Christian Ponder vs. DET, Matt Cassel vs. CIN. You think I should switch from Romo now (in case my backup gets hurt soon), and if so, who would you choose among these? (I realize Fitz is hot throwing to both sides of the ball, but that would not deter me from him based on his numbers to date.)
A: If you cut Romo for any of those guys, it will be the biggest mistake made in all of fantasydom. Remember, it was ONE bad game, and the Cowboys are on their bye this week. So, they have two weeks to get it figured out and I bet he comes back in Week 6 and throws three or more TDs. I'm not a huge fan of Romo, but I think fans are going to rush to judgment too quickly with him.