Week 5: Sleepers of the Week
If one of your normal starters is injured or facing a tough match-up, here are some players you might consider starting in their place. While these players may not be every week starters, they are good bets to perform well this week. Most of the players that will be listed are on fantasy rosters, but not normally starters.
Sam Bradford and the St. Louis Rams take on the 4-0 Arizona Cardinals at home in week five. Bradford is coming off a bit of a disappointing game against the Seattle Seahawks in which he threw for 221 yards, no touchdowns, and one interception. Some of his lack of production can be attributed to the Rams running the ball throughout the second half to protect the lead. Bradford should have more of an opportunity this week against the Cardinals. The Cardinals secondary was torched in week four, allowing more than 400 passing yards to Ryan Tannehill and the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins are not known as an offensive juggernaut, and while Bradford can not be expected to throw for more than 400 yards, he should be in for a solid game this week. Fantasy owners can start Sam Bradford as a bye week fill-in this week and can expect at least 225 passing yards and one touchdown from the third year quarterback.
Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts come off their bye week to take on the Green Bay Packers at home in week five. Luck is coming off back to back excellent games in which he has thrown for a combined 537 yards and four touchdowns, with only one turnover. The rookie quarterback has also added to his fantasy stats with 71 rushing yards over the past two games. The Colts offense will need to kick into high gear this week if they hope to keep up with the Green Bay Packers, who should be able to put up big offensive numbers against the Colts defense. If this game turns into a shootout, Luck will have to put the ball in the air close to 50 times, making him a great play in fantasy leagues. The Packers defense allowed Drew Brees to throw for 446 yards in week four, and while the Colts are not in the same class as the Saints offensively, it is a good sign that the Packers secondary is struggling. Fantasy owners can feel confident starting Andrew Luck this week and can expect 250 passing yards and at least one touchdown.
Rashard Mendenhall and the Pittsburgh Steelers return from their bye week to face the Philadelphia Eagles at home in week five. Mendenhall has missed the first three games of the season while recovering from a torn ACL, but is on track to make his return to the lineup this week. The Steelers run game has struggled mightly so far this season, with both Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman unable to get anything going. This means that Mendenhall should be the Steelers' starter right off the bat, and they will ride him for as long as his knee can hold up. Fantasy owners may want to hold off on starting Mendenhall this week if they have better options, but if not you can expect Mendenhall to touch the ball close to 15 times, making him a decent option as a Flex play. Owners can expect 75 yards and a touchdown from the returning running back.
Ryan Williams and the 4-0 Arizona Cardinals travel to St. Louis to take on the Rams in week five. Williams took over for the injured Beanie Wells as the Cardinals starter in week four, but was unable to get anything going, rushing for just 26 yards on 13 carries against the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins defense is stout against the run, while Williams' opponent this week, the Rams, are not. The Rams allowed more than 150 rushing yards to Marshawn Lynch in week four, and have given up six rushing touchdowns on the season, making it likely that Williams will find some holes to run through this week. Fantasy owners should not give up on Williams based on last weeks poor performance, and can expect at least 80 total yards and one touchdown from the second year running back this week.Injury Status: Injured Reserve
Donnie Avery and the Indianapolis Colts return home to take on the Green Bay Packers in week five. Avery has been inconsistent over the first three games of the season, catching nine passes for 111 yards in week two, but catching just five passes for 65 yards and a touchdown in his other two games combined. With Austin Collie now out for the season, Avery should have the opportunity to become a factor in the Colts offense each week. Avery is owned in just 60 percent of fantasy leagues at the moment, but could be a sneaky pickup to play as a bye week fill-in this week. The Colts are likely to have to put the ball in the air close to 45 times this week against a high scoring Packers team, making it likely that Avery will get enough targets to make him a solid play. Fantasy owners can expect at least 70 yards and a touchdown from the Colts wide receiver.