Amazingly, we are already 1/4th of the way through this new season, and we can draw a few conclusions. First, the Oakland Raiders are a tire fire. Second, we know almost nothing else about this season. Third, my fantasy team is a bit of a disaster. But, none of those should preclude you from still reading this advice column.
Byes: MIA, OAK
Who to Start:
QB Ben Roethlisberger (PIT) vs. JAX: New rule until stated otherwise: Start everyone against the Jaguars defense. The Jaguars secondary is still getting torched constantly, even if they looked better in spurts last week. Big Ben should therefore be able to rebound against this secondary that has giant holes in it.
RB Rashad Jennings (NYG) vs. ATL: What happened to the Falcons defense, especially away from home? They've allowed 8 rushing TD's already this season, and have the worst rushing defense in the NFL. Rashad Jennings has had 10 days off to prepare for this as well, so Jennings is an absolute must-start.
WR Percy Harvin (SEA) vs. WSH MON: Even though I'm not a large fan of his in terms of reality and fantasy, Harvin is a great option for Monday Night considering how awful Washington's defense looks, especially considering how banged up they are and how bad they are against the pass.
WR Keenan Allen (SD) vs. NYJ: Always good to wake up your season when you play against Jacksonville. Now that Allen has awoken from his early season slumber, he should have even more success against the Jets secondary which may not have many healthy players left.
TE Martellus Bennett (CHI) vs. CAR: It's October, so that means usually Bennett's numbers fall off a cliff. Until that happens this year, he's still way worth starting, especially against the Panthers defense which has looked unusually porous in their last 2 games.
DEF Philadelphia vs. STL: Despite the fact that the Eagles defense is not very good, the Rams are even worse offensively, especially through the air. Austin Davis should not embolden fear in anyone, especially the Eagles defense who needs a good game badly to right the ship.
Who to Sit:
QB Tom Brady (NE) vs. CIN; This is not that earth-shattering anymore, especially considering what happened Monday Night in Kansas City. Now, the Pats get to face the best defense in the AFC, so Brady's struggles could continue to mount.
RB C.J Spiller (BUF) vs. DET: Did you know right now that the Detroit Lions have the best defense overall in the NFL right now? Now that you do, you should consider benching Spiller against that same defense, especially considering how his numbers have tailed off considerably this season (especially considering might be my new crutch phrase).
WR Larry Fitzgerald (ARZ) vs. DEN: He's not the same Larry Fitzgerald of old anymore, and with Michael Floyd surpassing him, his numbers will surely decrease. Even though Denver's defense isn't all that awe inspiring, Fitzgerald isn't a great start at Mile High on Sunday.
WR Eric Decker (NYJ) vs. SD: Funny what happens once you leave the comfy arms of Peyton Manning, eh? Decker has rightly struggled this season, and the Chargers defense, especially their secondary, is a more formidable unit than advertised. Good luck Geno.
TE Jason Witten (DAL) vs. HOU: Houston's defense has been really, really good this season (even though they've beaten nobody worth their salt), especially against Tight Ends, so Witten is a dicey play this weekend.
DEF Arizona vs. DEN: This should be fairly obvious, even though Arizona's defense is one of the best in football right now.
3 Super Sleepers:
QB Jay Cutler (CHI) vs. CAR: Odd how Cutler can go so Jekyll and Hyde every single week, although I think Jekyll is coming out this week against the Panthers sudden sieve of a defense. Although he's a sleeper because it could easily go the other way.
RB Matt Asiata (MIN) vs. GB THU: Peterson who? This has as much to do with Green Bay's defense struggling against the run as it has with last week's performance, which may be an aberration because it was against Atlanta.
DEF Dallas vs. HOU: The Texans offense has been pretty woeful this season, and hey, Dallas' defense has been pretty good this season! They might not be a bad option.
QB Nick Foles (PHI) vs. STL: He's taken some beating this season, and now that weakened offensive line (plus Lane Johnson) will have to deal with the fearsome foursome that is this new Rams front 4. It might not be a good weekend for Foles.
Good Luck in Week 5!