It’s Week 5 and you know what that means: the dreaded bye weeks are here! Hopefully, you’ve been preparing for this moment for quite some time as there’s not a worse feeling than when you have multiple players at the same position on the same bye week. Despite the fact that six teams will be resting this week, there are plenty of solid plays for you. The New York Jets, Atlanta Falcons, and San Diego Chargers will rule the air, while Philadelphia, Houston and Buffalo pile up big stats on the ground.
I utilize statistical analysis combined with more than 15 years of fantasy football experience to give you an inside look of how players will perform on a week-to-week basis. The Studs list will be updated on a regular basis as players emerge and injuries occur, but be patient with those players listed early in the season. They were ranked and selected high in your draft for a reason.
When using this list, try and remember a couple basic rules:
1) Studs – Always play your studs. Each position will include a list of players that are considered studs and should not be benched. If you have the luxury of needing to decide between studs, check out the matchups or feel free to let the shark tank assist you in your decisions.
2) Depth – Every fantasy team is different and some have more depth than others. Only follow the recommended moves if your team depth allows you to make such a move.
Tom Brady, New England vs. New York Jets
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay at Atlanta
Drew Brees, New Orleans at Carolina
Matthew Stafford, Detroit vs. Chicago
Michael Vick, Philadelphia at Buffalo
Philip Rivers, San Diego at Denver
Mark Sanchez, New York Jets at New England: I know that Sanchez threw for just 119 yards last week with no touchdowns and one interception. I know the last time Sanchez played in Foxborough during the regular season, he threw for 164 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions. Here’s what else I know: the Patriots defense is hurting. They couldn’t stop Jason Campbell from throwing for 344 yards last week. Jason Campbell? To add insult to injury, Jerod Mayo is going to miss substantial time for an already depleted Patriots defense. Earlier this season, Sanchez followed a dismal performance against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 2 with 369 yards, two touchdowns and one interception against the Oakland Raiders. You can expect similar numbers this week from Sanchez as the “ground and pound” being touted by head coach Rex Ryan turns into “air and flair.”
Matt Ryan, Atlanta vs. Green Bay: Ryan has now thrown for at least 290 yards in three of his first four games with six touchdowns to four interceptions. Expect another big game this week as the Falcons host the undefeated Packers and their pass defense that has allowed at average of 335.8 passing yards per game this season. Atlanta will try and keep the potent Green Bay offense off the field by running Michael Turner early, but it will be the passing game that will keep Atlanta in this one. Ryan takes another step closer to the Studs list with a big game this week.
Jay Cutler, Chicago at Detroit: Where to begin with Cutler? Let’s see, he’s already been sacked 15 times in four games. Cutler threw for just 102 yards last week with no touchdowns and one interception and Chicago actually won the game. This week he’s facing the Lions, who have piled up nine sacks and seven interceptions so far on the season. The Bears found a formula that worked last week with the Matt Forte show and they’ll try it again this week. Forte will put up decent numbers, but Cutler will need to throw more than the 17 times he did last week and the Lions will be ready for him. Cutler should be on your bench this week if at all possible.
Matt Hasselbeck, Tennessee
at Pittsburgh: Hasselbeck has been a fantasy gem so far this season, throwing for more than 300 yards twice and tossing eight touchdowns to just three interceptions. With Chris Johnson returning to form last week and a game in Pittsburgh against the Steelers defense on the horizon, expect this fairy tale to quickly revert back to the low expectations that were set at the beginning of the season. This will be the first of many games where Hasselbeck throws more interceptions than touchdowns.