INDIANAPOLIS --- The team plane landed at 4 AM Friday morning from Houston, and I'm writing this now on very little sleep, after marveling at a real life performance by an ill 40-year-old quarterback that was better than fantasy.
So straight picks this week, homie:
Week 5 Start 'Em (16+ points for QBs, 10+ for RB/WR; 19-8 for season, 5-1 last week)
Eagles QB Sam Bradford (vs. NO) - Emerged from the witness protection program last week with three touchdowns and 270 yards against Washington. The Saints have given up at least 18 fantasy points to quarterbacks not named Brandon Weeden.
Bears QB Jay Cutler - QB is so deep in 2015. I'm trying to give you less obvious starts outside the top-10 quarterbacks. Cutler is back starting and had 18 fantasy points last week against Oakland. He now faces a Chiefs secondary that is allowing more than 300 passing yards per game and 2.75 passing touchdowns per game.
Ravens RB Justin Forsett (vs. CLE) - Also emerged from the witness protection program last week, with 27(!) carries for 150 yards. Baltimore's receiving corp is decimated. Their best chance to win is feed Forsett. The Browns defense has allowed more than 110 rushing yards per game.
Buccaneers RB Doug Martin (vs. JAX) - The witness protection program must have been getting too crowded, because Martin emerged too last week with 143 yards and a touchdown vs. a tough Carolina defense. Now he gets Jacksonville.
Jaguars WR Allen Hurns (@ TB) - Hurns is the best fantasy receiver nobody is talking about. He's 15th in the NFL in receiving yards, with at least 60 yards in each game. Even in my 12-team league of record, nobody claimed him off waivers last week. He needs to be owned in all leagues.
Saints WR Brandin Cooks (@ PHL) - If not now, then when?
SLEEPER OF THE WEEK - Falcons WR Leonard Hankerson is clearly the #2 option in the passing game behind Julio Jones at this point. He has a fantastic match-up against a struggling Washington secondary.
TIGHT END WEEK 5 SLEEPER - Antonio Gates. He's back from suspension. He was the #2 TE in fantasy last year.
Honorable Mention - Broncos TE Owen Daniels has had TDs in back-to-back weeks but hasn't surpassed 30 yards receiving in a game this year. Peyton Manning loves his tight ends, but I need to see more yardage first from Daniels to put him in my lineups.
Colts Media Reporter Steve Andress' picks for the top fantasy matchups this week.
Week 5 Sit 'Em ( < 16 points for QBs, < 10 for RB/WR; 15-9 on the season, 4-2 last week)
Bengals QB Andy Dalton (vs. SEA) - If the ginga' ninja performs well in this game, he's got the Steve Andress fantasy seal of approval for the rest of 2015...but how can you start him confidently against Seattle?
Seahawks QB Russell Wilson (@ CIN) - No idea who is going to win this game, and I think it could go either way. After last week though, the Seahawks OL is concerning. And the Bengals defense is healthy again...and really good.
Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch (@ CIN) - Did I mention the Bengals defense is really good? Even if Lynch plays, the nature of hamstring injuries are most don't become 100% in two weeks, and you can't go full beast mode without risk of aggravating it. High risk for Lynch these days.
Bengals RB Jeremy Hill (vs. SEA) - His three touchdowns bit me in the butt last week, but I'm sorry. He had just 9 carries. Giovani Bernard has had more carries than Hill three straight weeks now, and for those that want to make the game flow argument, the Bengals led the entire game last week. It should have been Hill with more carries...but it wasn't. That's very, very concerning for Hill owners. Can't exactly bank on a touchdown every three carries the rest of the season...
Raiders WR Amari Cooper (vs. DEN) - Cooper has been really good this year, but the Broncos defense has been better.
Steelers WR Martavis Bryant (@ SD) - He's back from suspension, and Vick loves the deep ball...but I can't trust him without Big Ben yet. I want to see it first with Vick before just trotting him out there into my fantasy lineup. Bryant had a touchdown every 3.25 receptions last year...that's an awfully difficult ratio to come anywhere close to with a back-up QB.
Get ahead of the waiver wire competition after this weekend! (Must be under 50% owned on NFL.com to qualify)
Eagles QB Sam Bradford (31.5%)
Washington RB Matt Jones (38.6%)
Bills RB Anthony Dixon (2.4%...one-week starter plug-in if desperate)
Cowboys RB Christine Michael (1.6%)
Titans RB Antonio Andrews (1.3%)
Titans WR Dorial Green-Beckham (46.3%)
Falcons WR Leonard Hankerson (11.6%)
Chargers TE Antonio Gates (44.0%)
Packers WR Richard Rodgers (21%)