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Weekly Matchups: Strong Plays, Weak Plays Week 5

Kyle Fisher

Kyle Fisher writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.


Kevin Kolb vs. MIN

Kolb hasn't been outstanding since Week 1, but figures to be one of the better plays this week against the Vikings. The Vikings give up more than 300 yards a game passing and haven't held a quarterback to less than 243 yards this season. They have surrendered the ninth most fantasy points of teams that are active this week, and with six teams on a bye this week, Kolb should have a good chance to be a top-10 performer.

Fred Jackson vs. PHI

Jackson has consistently been one of the best backs in fantasy in 2011, and that certainly shouldn't change this week. The Eagles rank last in fantasy points allowed to running backs, and are especially poor in pass defense against running backs, as they allow five catches per game. Jackson is an every week starter, but this could be one of his best performances of the season.

Mark Sanchez vs. NE

Sanchez was dreadful last week in a loss to the Ravens but has done well in favorable matchups this season and gets one of the best matchups of the week against the Patriots. Sanchez has twice broken 300 yards and figures to have a chance to do it this week against a Patriots defense that has allowed the third most fantasy points to quarterbacks and has allowed at least 344 yards passing to every quarterback this season. The Jets have struggled to run the ball, so in what could be another Patriots shootout, Sanchez should get the opportunity for his third 300-yard passing game of the season, which should ease the pain of last weeks' performance.

Julio Jones vs. GB

While Jones has yet to catch an NFL touchdown, he is 11th in the league in receiving yards and is coming off back-to-back 100-yard performances. Quarterback Matt Ryan is becoming more comfortable with Jones as evidenced by his 24 targets the last two games. Jones should have another big effort this week against a Packers pass defense that has allowed the third most fantasy points to receivers in the league. While Jones might not get in the endzone, he still should produce enough to be in your starting lineup.

Cincinnati DEF vs. JAC

The Jags are averaging just under 10 points per game and have not scored more than 16 points all season. They also are second in the league in interceptions thrown. This bodes well for a Bengals' defense that is better than most people think. The Bengals have given up the fewest yards in the NFL but more importantly to fantasy owners are sixth in points allowed, tied for 12th in sacks and ninth in fumbles recovered. With some good fantasy defenses on byes this week, the Bengals should be a nice play this week.


LeGarrette Blount vs. SF

Blount had a poor Week 1 but has gotten better each week and is coming off a 127-yard outing in Monday's win over the Colts. This week Tampa travels to the San Francisco, and Blount faces his toughest matchup of the season. The 49ers have allowed the fewest points to running backs this season and have not allowed more than 74 rushing yards to running backs in any game. While Blount should be better than his 15-yard Week 1 performance, this might be a week to look at other options for your lineup.

Willis McGahee vs. SD

McGahee has been a decent replacement for the injured Knowshon Moreno, gaining more than 100 yards in two of his last three games. However, expect McGahee to struggle this week in his toughest matchup to date against the Chargers. The Chargers rank fifth in fewest fantasy points allowed to the running back position and have allowed just 107 rushing yards to running backs in the last two games. McGahee averages just 3.8 yards per carry and will be lucky to get to that figure in what is expected to be a tough day.

Matt Hasselbeck vs. PIT

Hasselbeck has been noting short of spectacular this season, ranking eighth in yards and sixth in touchdown passes. This week might be his toughest test of the season against the Steelers. While the Steelers defense is not the same unit as in 2010, it has been strong against the pass. The Steelers have surrendered the fewest yards in the air and only one touchdown in their last three games. Surprisingly, it is the run defense that has been the majority of the problem. Look for Hasselbeck to have his least productive fantasy start of the season and, depending on your options, to be worthy of benching this week.

A.J. Green vs. JAC

Green has been boom or bust in his first four NFL games. Green has two games with more than 100 yards receiving and two games of less than 50 yards receiving. This week figures to be tough for Green as he faces a surprisingly stingy Jaguars pass defense. The Jaguars have allowed the fifth fewest points to fantasy wide receivers and are coming off a strong performance last week against the Saints' wide receivers. Green will have a lot of big days, but this matchup is probably not going to be one of them.

Chicago DEF vs. DET

The Bears rank just 20th in points allowed after having a great start to the season against the Falcons. Furthermore, they rank just 29th in passing yards allowed and have just three sacks in their last three games. It doesn't look to get any better against a Lions offense that is second in scoring offense, seventh in passing offense and has just three turnovers all season. Look for the Bears to struggle stopping the Lions in this big Monday night matchup.