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Four-Down Duel: A New Quarterback to Ponder

Kevin Payne

Kevin Payne

Kevin has worked for Rotowire just under a decade and has covered basketball, baseball and football. A glutton for punishment, he roots for his hometown Bills, Sabres and the New York Yankees. He hosts the RotoWire SiriusXM show every Wednesday and Friday and you can follow him on Twitter @KCPayne26.




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Here’s a look at some recommended plays on FanDuel for Week 5:


Quarterback

Joe Flacco, BAL, $7400 – While this price isn’t exactly the cheapest, it’s considerably better than Drew Brees, Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers who are all over $2000 more in this format. Flacco has looked like a different quarterback this season, efficiently running the no-huddle and attempting more passes than he has in any of his first four seasons in the league. In fact, he’s on pace to attempt over 600 passes for over 5,000 yards and 28 touchdowns. He’s had at least 299 passing yards in three of his four games this season, the other game (232 passing yards) was against a stout Eagles pass defense (6.2 YPA). Flacco has one of the league’s best downfield weapons in Torrey Smith and the emergence of tight end Dennis Pitta has been something of a surprise. Ray Rice is on pace to catch another 70-80 balls while Anquan Boldin has shown the veteran ability to be an open option when needed. Flacco will go up against a leaky Kansas City pass defense (8.5 YPA – fifth-worst in the league), adding to the strong argument of using him as your quarterback this week.

Christian Ponder, MIN, $6400 - Ponder has gotten off to a nice start, registering no interceptions and passing for two touchdowns in two of his four games. Ponder has one of the best matchups this week facing the hapless Titans. The Titans boast one of the worst defenses in the league, giving up an average of 285 passing yards per game. Ponder just got back deep threat Jerome Simpson (four catches in 50 yards in Week 4) and Percy Harvin should be more involved this week. The other good news is that Chris Johnson showed signs of life against Houston and Matt Hasselbeck had the whole week to work with the first team offense. This should equate to the Titans putting up points, which is what you want the other team to do against your fantasy quarterback.

Running Back

Michael Turner, ATL, $6900 – After struggling through the first two weeks, Turner has looked much better over the last two games. Turner recorded 15.1 FanDuel points two weeks ago in San Diego and then followed that up with 24.6 points against Carolina. Even more encouraging is that Turner has caught five passes over the last two games after being rarely used in the passing game the last few seasons. Washington will be without both Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker and has allowed 4.3 YPC so far this season. Washington will likely be focusing on shutting down Matt Ryan and his league-best 11 touchdown passes so there should be some running lanes for Turner to hit.

Alfred Morris, WAS, $6700 – The one knock on Morris is his lack of use in the passing game. Morris has only caught one pass through four games and that was for –4 yards. While that is of some concern, Morris has been one of the most consistent running backs so far. His worst performance using the FanDuel scoring system was 8.9 points but his other three games saw him ring up 21.6, 13.8 and 17.4 points. This week the Redskins welcome Atlanta into town, which besides having a perfect 4-0 record, has been one of the easier defenses to run on. The Falcons are giving up 5.2 YPC, which is only the second-worst mark in the league. If Morris finds his way to his average of 20.5 carries and finds the end zone (as he has in three of the first four games), he’ll be in for a nice fantasy day.

Ryan Williams, ARI, $5200 – The dark horse running back of the week, Williams can be only used if you’re playing in a contest that includes Thursday night games. Williams has been unable to capitalize on becoming the Cardinals starter thus far, although he had a decent game against Philadelphia (13 carries, 83 yards). While he has a struggling offensive line in front of him, they’ll have the best matchup of the season against St. Louis. The Rams have the 27th-worst mark, giving up an average of 4.7 YPC this season. Williams is something of a risk given his slow start, but he’s worth consideration in tournaments where few will likely slot him into their lineups.


Wide Receiver

Brian Hartline, MIA, $5700 – Hartline will be a popular pick this week after his monster Week 4 performance (12 catches for 253 yards and a touchdown). Hartline is among the league leaders in targets this season (12 per game) indicating the strong rapport he has with rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The Bengals have had several issues on defense, as their 7.7 YPA and fourth-worst 67.9 completion percentage make evident. Hartline likely won’t be overlooked after last week’s performance, but he still remains a good value considering the price tag.

Domenik Hixon, NYG, $4700 – This is likely a case of “last week’s performance not catching up with this week’s price.” Hixon played the role of Ramses Barden in Week 4, finishing with six catches for 114 yards (14.4 FanDuel points). It appears now that not only Nicks may miss Week 5, but Ramses Barden is dealing with a concussion and could be out as well. Eli Manning has always showed the ability to spread the ball around and take what the defense gives him. The Browns will be without Joe Haden as he serves the final game of his suspension. That means Hixon will likely be lined up against Sheldon Brown, who at 33, has seen better days. Just make sure Nicks is out before plugging Hixon into your lineup.

Tight End

Greg Olsen, CAR, $5700 – Olsen has seen his role grow in the passing game since the start of the season, as he has been targeted often over his last two games. After targeting Brandon LaFell over his first two games, quarteback Cam Newton has preferred to go down the middle to Olsen in the last two contests. Olsen has been targeted 21 times over the last two games and has turned those into outings of 13.3 and 17.9 in FanDuel’s scoring system. Newton should continue to throw towards Olsen, especially given they’ll play from behind a lot with their defense, which is currently ranked 24th in the NFL.

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