We’ve made a slight change to Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em this week that will hopefully make this column more useful for all the fantasy owners out there. After reading over last week’s version, it felt a bit too inclusive. The point of this exercise is to serve as many owners as possible. The best way to do that is to be more restrictive, not by lumping in a WR39 with a WR21.
As such, here are the new parameters for the Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em on SI.com. The top-12 quarterbacks, tight ends and defenses are listed as start recommendations. To better help you with your flex decisions, there are only 60 combined running backs and receivers listed in the start column. There are at least 24 at each position, with the final 12 spots occupied by the best remaining overall players, regardless of position. Rather than giving you 30 running backs worth starting and another 40 receivers, this should give you a better gauge of the players truly worth plugging into your starting lineup.
Teams on bye: Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints
Though the hopes of an undefeated season have been squashed for every team, playoff hopes remain alive and well. Not so well? A whole lot of players. Week Five solidified that injuries will play a key role in the rest of the season. For some teams, backups have responded well, but things can go downhill quickly when a backup gets injured, too. Keep your fingers crossed that your team stays on the field and away from the sideline in Week Six.
After six teams took their byes in Week 4, Week 5 presented another challenge to fantasy owners in the form of injuries suffered by some major fantasy players. That means, for the second time in three weeks, there will be some hot competition on the waiver wire.
Three preseason top-25 running backs -- Montee Ball (groin), Reggie Bush (ankle) and Rashad Jennings (ankle) -- suffered injuries in Week 5 and could be sidelined this weekend, and the status of an elite wide receiver and the game's best tight end has fantasy owners even more worried. Calvin Johnson (ankle) and Jimmy Graham (shoulder) are first-round picks in jeopardy of missing time after getting banged up on Sunday.
The Dolphins and Raiders are coming off of bye weeks after their trip to London, and once again only two teams are off in Week 6, as the Chiefs and Saints take a breather. This gives Graham an extra week to get healthy, and coupled with Travis Kelce's week off, the tight end position is light on starting options.
Yesterday, the Denver Broncos routed the previously undefeated Arizona Cardinals, 41-20. It was a good win for a Denver team looking to maintain its dominance in the AFC. But it was an historic day for Peyton Manning.
The 38-year-old Broncos QB threw four touchdowns, which is about right. His second one, though, was historic: It was Manning’s 500th NFL TD, making him only the second quarterback to reach that milestone.
The Bears were beating the Panthers 21-7 in the first half on Sunday. The Panthers won 31-24.
The Titans held a 28-3 lead over the Browns in the first half. The Browns stormed back for a 29-28 victory.
The Lions scored the first 14 points of their game with the Bills in Week 5. The Bills scored the final 17, including a field goal at the gun, to win 17-14.
The Falcons had a semi-comfortable 20-10 lead over the Giants late in the third quarter. Eli Manning and company then ripped off 20 straight points to win comfortably, 30-20.
After taking a 34-7 lead in the third quarter, the Eagles had to hold on for dear life and a 34-28 victory, making Austin Davis look like a future Hall of Famer in the process.
The lesson? The NFL is crazy, and nothing is over until it’s over in the real-life or fantasy version.
Since Monday’s night’s drubbing at the hands of the Chiefs, the Patriots have been one of this week’s most scrutinized professional sports franchises. Many have wondered if this public shellacking marked the beginning of the end of the Belichick-Brady dynasty.
But fantasy managers don’t care if the Patriots miss the playoffs for only the second time in the past 12 seasons. We care only about the fantasy implications of an apparently middling NFL roster.
Whatever we thought of New England’s passing game before Week 1, it’s time to reassess the value of four key components to determine whether any still merit a spot in our starting lineup. Monday’s night’s performance was a wakeup call to fantasy managers everywhere: Whatever preconceptions you had about these Patriots, it’s never too late to retool your roster to align with current expectations. Better to learn this now than in Week 13 on the eve of your fantasy playoffs.
After an off week for many of the top teams in the league, Week Five is going to get interesting! There are still a couple of undefeated teams remaining, and at this point in the season the schedules are only getting tougher. A handful of games is enough time for some players to have established themselves as serious threats this season, so there are big red targets on playmakers across the league. Rookies are also continuing their emergence from the depths of rosters, changing games in just a few plays.
This is shaping up to be a fantastic football year.