2012 Fantasy Football Week 5 Start Em, Sit Em: Christian Ponder, Ahmad Bradshaw, Steve Smith and More

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QB Start

Christian Ponder (Minnesota Vikings, Week 5: vs. Tennessee, rank: 15, My rank: 11) provides efficiency rankings FOR FREE.  These rankings “are adjusted to an average schedule of opponents and an average percentage of fumbles recovered by the defense.”  In other words, fantasy owners should look at these rankings as opposed to, say, a basic ‘points against’ list because they provide a truer depiction of how defenses rank against the pass, the rush, and individual positions. 

All that said to say that the FO ranks have Tennessee 30th against the pass.  Ponder’s upside is somewhat limited because Minnesota ought to have a lead and rely heavily on Adrian Peterson, but the matchup is great and Ponder has displayed an ability to limit turnovers.  If you’re missing Romo or Stafford out on bye, Ponder might be a good waiver wire fill-in.

QB Sit

No one.  The top ten QBs according to the expert consensus rankings are the exact same top ten I have this week.  With a few guys out on bye, the pool of top ten QBs to recommend sitting is even shallower than normal.  Don’t get cute.  Start your #1 guy this week.

RB Start

BenJarvus Green-Ellis (Cincinnati Bengals, Week 5: vs. Miami, 21, My rank: 17)

ESPN’s weekly projection of BJGE includes the following information: Miami's defense has allowed just 112 yards on 45 carries (2.5 yards per carry) from running backs over the past two weeks.  True.  But they fail to mention that the lead backs they faced the last two weeks were Shonn Greene and Ryan Williams.  Admittedly, they held Darren McFadden in check and didn’t get beat up by Houston’s running game, but I don’t think this run defense is so scary that you can sit a guy who is an unchallenged workhorse and goal line back.

RB Sit

Ahmad Bradshaw (New York Giants, Week 5: vs. Cleveland, 19, My rank: 21)

According to (via @MichaelSalfino), the Giants have one of the ten worst offensive lines in football.  And the biggest reason for that is their run blocking woes.  They’re actually average in pass blocking.  Add to that Cleveland’s decent run defense (12th in FO adjusted ranks) and the presence of Andre Brown and Bradshaw probably needs to be below the top 20 cut line.

WR Start

Malcolm Floyd (San Diego Charges, Week 5: @ New Orleans, rank: 22, My rank: 18)

The Saints give up the second highest adjusted yards gained per pass attempt.  Malcolm Floyd had the second highest percentage of deep targets last year (15+ yards) and has the sixth highest number of deep targets this year.  It makes sense that a deep threat would have a big day against a defense that gives up big plays.  I tried this logic last week when the Chargers played the Chiefs (who allow the most adjusted yards gained per pass attempt) and Floyd caught just two balls for 23 yards.  So take this recommendation with a grain of salt.

WR Sit

Steve Smith (Carolina Panthers, Week 5: vs. Seattle, rank: 18, My rank: 24)

Seattle has the fourth rated pass defense according to the FO adjusted ranks.  And here is what they have done against #1 receivers through four weeks:

Larry Fitzgerald: 4 catches for 63 yards, 0 TD
Dez Bryant: 3 catches for 17 yards, 0 TD
Greg Jennings: 6 catches for 35 yards, 0 TD
Danny Amendola: 6 catches for 55 yards, 0 TD

Fitz, Bryant, and Jennings are all your typical #1, “X” receiver.  Amendola is moves around the line of scrimmage a lot and sees a lot of snaps from the slot.  Smith is more like the other X receivers that have struggled against the Seattle D.

TE Start

Scott Chandler (Buffalo Bills, Week 5: @ San Francisco, rank: 17, My rank: 10)

The 49ers defense is great.  But not necessarily against tight ends.  They’ve given up four touchdowns to tight ends this year, and they rank 18th against TEs according to the FO adjusted ranks.  Chandler is a major red zone threat with four touchdowns this year and may be the only way the Bills can find the end zone against the Niners.

TE Sit

Martellus Bennett (New York Giants, Week 5: vs. Cleveland, 8, My rank: 12)

A lot of people expected Dennis Pitta to have a nice game against a weak Cleveland team in week 4.  And when Pitta failed to record a catch, the theory is that the Ravens didn’t have to resort to the middle of the field with Joe Haden out and the wideouts able to do damage.  That sounds reasonable to me and Joe Haden is still out.  Cleveland is also third toughest on tight ends according to the FO adjusted defense ranks.

Accountability for Week 4

QB Start: Josh Freeman - Bad call.  I hung on to my Freeman love for one more weekend against a bad Washington pass defense, but Freeman disappointed again.

QB Sit: Matthew Stafford - Good?  Bad?  Not sure.  On one hand, Stafford was outside the top 10 at QB which is what I’m trying to predict.  But on the other hand he scored 19 fantasy points and was one point away from the top ten.

RB Start: Pierre Thomas - Horrible call. Only one point for PT.

RB Sit: Mikel Leshoure – Great call.  Just three points one week after his ‘breakout.’

RB Sit: Stevan Ridley – Terrible call.  If you had told me a New England EB not named Ridley was going to have 100 yards and a score, I would have felt great about this call.  Unfortunately, the Bills defense was so porous that it allowed two New England backs to have 100 yards and a score (and Ridley had two).

WR Start: Malcolm Floyd – Terrible call as discussed above.

WR Start: Torrey Smith – Good call.  Smith had a touchdown and 97 yards on ten targets for the 11th best fantasy day for a WR.

WR Sit: Miles Austin – Technically a good call as Austin was outside the top 20 at WR.

TE Start: Brent Celek – Bad call.  You pretty much have to find the end zone to be a top ten TE for the week.  Celek didn’t find the end zone.

TE Sit: Jermichael Finley – Good call.  Celek didn’t find the end zone either.

4.5 out of 10 good calls

Written by Brett Talley exclusively for  If you have any further questions about this particular topic, feel free to ask him on Twitter (@TheRealTAL) or email him at [email protected].

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