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King for a Day: Week 5 Expert Buys

Jerry Donabedian

Jerry Donabedian

Jerry Donabedian writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.

QUARTERBACK

Michael Vick, PHI, $8200 vs. NYG Vick was disappointing in Denver last week but should be able to rebound against a soft Giants defense. While he hardly counts as a bargain anymore, Vick's price tag only ranks seventh among QBs this week, despite the friendly matchup. Much like Cam Newton in Week 3, I expect that Vick will be active both through the air and on the ground against the Giants.

Tony Romo, DAL, $7600 vs. DEN Unlike the other QB pick, this one is based on the expectation of volume rather than efficiency. Solid as he may be, DeMarco Murray won't be able to match blows with Peyton Manning. Winning looks like a tall task, but 300-plus yards and a couple of TDs? Romo should be good for it.

RUNNING BACK

Matt Forte, CHI, $8300 vs. NO The Saints' defense has received a ton of praise this season, making it easy to forget that the unit is allowing a whopping 5.5 yards per carry. If the Saints ever face an opponent with a strong defense and a solid running game, their weakness could be exploited. Enter this week's matchup against Forte and the Bears. While I expect the game to be close, it certainly doesn't hurt that Forte can still contribute in the passing game if the Bears fall behind big like the Saints' last two opponents.

Eddie Lacy, GB, $5600 vs. DET Lacy will likely return from his concussion this week, while James Starks (knee) looks rather shaky. Even if Starks plays, Lacy is still the best bet to lead the Packers in touches. Assuming he suits up, Lacy looks like a nice bargain against a Detroit defense that's allowing 5.0 yards per carry. Just don't forget to make a substitution if Lacy doesn't end up playing.

Darren Sproles, NO, $5600 vs. CHI Sproles is coming off a huge MNF performance and should be a big part of the passing game against a Chicago team with one of the best cornerback tandems in the league. If Drew Brees knows what's best for himself (he does), he'll avoid those cornerbacks and focus on Sproles and Jimmy Graham ($8400) instead. While Graham comes with an exorbitant price tag, Sproles is just the 16th most expensive running back this week.

WIDE RECEIVER

Wes Welker, $7200 vs. DAL Welker offers a nice way to buy some stock in Peyton Manning without forking over $11,000 for Manning himself. Concerns about the number of mouths to feed haven't come to fruition, as Welker, Demaryius Thomas ($8100), and Eric Decker ($7100) have all produced. While Thomas and Decker also look like solid plays this week, DraftKings' PPR format led me to chose Welker over the outside targets.

Kenbrell Thompkins, $4500 vs. CIN Normally, I won't be recommending undrafted free agent rookies facing tough defenses. Of course, most UDFAs haven't seen 9.75 targets per game from one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history. While Thompkins' efficiency (6.6 yards per target) clearly leaves something to be desired, there's no doubt at this point that he is a big part of the New England attack. With nine catches for 168 yards and three touchdowns over the last two weeks, Thompkins looks like a fantastic bargain, despite the tricky matchup.

Victor Cruz, $8200 vs. PHI Even as his team struggles mightily, Cruz continues to produce with the best of them. I wouldn't feel good about recommending any other Giants right now, but Cruz has the potential for a massive game against a hideous Philadelphia secondary. If there's one thing we can still trust Eli Manning for, it's getting the ball to Cruz.

TIGHT END

Antonio Gates, $6000 vs. OAK Heading into this season, the future Hall of Famer seemed destined to slowly fade out of the league. Instead, Gates is putting together a monstrous bounce back campaign, highlighted by a 10-catch, 136-yard performance against the Cowboys last week. He has a legitimate chance to top last season's receiving total (538 yards) by Week 6, and he played in 15 games last year! If you aren't convinced yet, remember that Gates is facing one of the worst passing defenses in the league. Oakland's opponents have completed 72.1 percent of their passes for 7.9 yards per pass attempt, with seven touchdowns and no interceptions.

Julius Thomas, $4500 vs. DAL While he can't be relied on in the same way as Peyton Manning's lethal wide receiver trio, Thomas offers a way to buy a viable piece of the Denver passing game without spending much of your budget. He's slowed down since a big Week 1 performance but is still on pace to finish with 76 receptions for 948 yards and 16 touchdowns on 96 targets. Even if you assume that Thomas has virtually no chance of reaching 16 touchdowns, those numbers would be excellent for any tight end not named Graham or Gronkowski.

KICKER

Graham Gano, $3000 vs. ARI The matchup could be better, but Gano still looks like the best option among $3000 kickers. He's attached to a solid offense, and has enough leg to hit from 50-plus yards without much issue. Per usual, it's more about saving your dollars than finding a gem. The difference between the best and 20th best kicker simply isn't worth paying for, unless you have a few hundred dollars left over after picking the rest of your team.

TEAM DEFENSE

St. Louis Rams, $3700 vs. JAX
Last week, I mentioned the "whoever Jacksonville is playing" strategy, but foolishly went in another direction. I won't be making that mistake again, even though the St. Louis defense has been terrible this season. Luckily, the price reflects how bad the Rams have been, so you won't be paying too much for a lousy unit. I'm willing to bet that the Jacksonville offense makes the Rams' D look good for the first time this season.

BONUS THURSDAY NIGHT PICK

The Thursday Night games tend to be sloppy, and this week we get the Browns vs. Bills, with both C.J. Spiller (ankle) and Fred Jackson (knee) banged up. Josh Gordon and ($6300) and Jordan Cameron ($7200) are both solid candidates to have a big game, but neither can be called a bargain at those prices. I'm going to recommend that you stay away from this game, but if you must, the Cleveland D/ST at $3900 looks like a pretty good buy.