Week 5 Startability Index (Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em)

In fantasy football, just as in life, there are the “haves” and “have-nots.” The haves avoided the hype of  Cam Newton and Chris Johnson on draft day. They always pick up the right wide receiver on waivers. And somehow they get in their five mile runs on Sundays with enough time to spare for showering, relaxing, triple-checking their lineups and even concocting a seven-layer Mexican dip – all before kickoff.

The have-nots are already in fantasy panic mode. Their rosters are as thin as the walls at the Sleep Inn on New York Avenue in Washington D.C.  Sunday morning are a time for heightened stress as they triple-guess all their lineup decision. And that’s where this nifty Startability Index comes into play.

The Index isn’t just about who to start and sit; fantasy is not that black and white. Here players are assigned a number from 1-10, which categorizes their fantasy value for the week. (10) is a must-start. (7) is a probable start, could have a big week, but not guaranteed a certain point threshold. (5) could go either way, but probably won’t be awesome or disastrous. (3) Very unlikely to put up good numbers. And so on.

Here is your Week 5 Startability Index.  Hope it works out as well as a big sniff of lavender essential oil.

(And as always, please request players not listed below in the comments section.)


Jay Cutler at Jacksonville (7): Cutler is one of the most inconsistent starts in football, but he deserves a high number after last Monday’s performance. His chemistry with Brandon Marshall is heating up and should continue to create good fantasy numbers. Also, the Jags are giving up 254 yards per game in the air.

Andy Dalton vs. Miami (8): Dalton has been putting up impressive numbers this year, and should continue at home against a Dolphins pass defense ranked 30th in the league.

Michael Vick at Pittsburgh (5): It’s so hard to bench Vick but so hard to be part of a largely unproductive passing offense.  While Vick hasn’t thrown an interception in two weeks, his fantasy numbers have not been spectacular. And oh yeah, James Harrison returns to the Steelers lineup this week.

Running Backs

Jackie Battle at New Orleans (8): The fantasy world went haywire this week when Battle was named the starter. Mathews is clearly the more talented of the two but until we see definitely, let’s assume this is a split carry situation. Luckily, confused owners of Battle and Mathews can start their respective guy knowing the Saints have the worst run defense in the league, giving up 187 rushing yards a game! 

Ahmad Bradshaw vs. Cleveland (6): Bradshaw’s return was pretty blah last week with 39 yards on 13 carries.  But he did get the predominant numbers of carries – and the Giants keep trying to get their running game going. The Browns may be a good solution. They are giving up 117 yards on the ground, although have only allowed one rushing touchdown.

Ryan Mathews at New Orleans (8): See Battle. Would be even higher score if Mathews was bonafide starter.

Stevan Ridley vs. Denver (7):  Ridley has brought a legitimate running game to the Patriots, and earned enough trust to get around 20 carries a game. The Broncos are a Top 10 run defense and have only allowed one rushing touchdown; otherwise the number would be higher for Ridley.

Jacquizz Rodgers at Washington (4): Rodgers’ lower value this week has more to do with the success of Michael Turner than anything else. Many pundits thought Turner would see a sharp decrease in carries, and this would be more of a split situation. While Turner’s carries have dropped, he’s still getting double number Rodgers’ number (13-6 last week).  And honestly, 3 ypc against a Panthers defense that can’t tackle isn’t earning Rodgers more playing time.

C.J. Spiller at San Francisco (3): Spiller is essentially the no. 2 back on a team playing one of the best run defenses in the league…on the road. I’d find another option.

Wide Receivers

Eric Decker at New England (7): Decker has been putting up great numbers as of late and that should continue against a Patriots secondary that, while improved, is still giving up 281 yards a game.

Andrew Hawkins vs. Miami (6): Week 4 at Jacksonville was the by far the worst fantasy performance out of Hawkins this year. However, the Dolphins are allowing 300 yards in the air. If Hawkins can snag a third of them, you should be golden.

Domenik Hixon vs. Cleveland (8): Hixon’s number is 100% tied to the heath of Hakeem Nicks, who has been ruled out of Sunday’s game. In Nicks’ absence, Hixon went for 116 yards on 6 catches last Sunday. No. 3 wide receiver Ramses Barden is also questionable as he’s trying to get cleared after suffering a concussion.  These injuries, plus a Cleveland secondary that’s been smoked by everyone, make Hixon a great start.

Bradon LaFell vs. Seattle (1): Poor LaFell owners. So much promise at the beginning of the season, and so much disappointment to follow. Last week’s big donut hole sealed the deal. LaFell should probably be dropped and definitely not be started.

James Jones at Indianapolis (6): Jones is putting up consistent numbers – the last two games he has 5 catches for 55 yards and 5 catches for 56 yards, respectively.) Last week he scored twice. Greg Jennings has already been rules out of this game, which theoretically gets Jones a lot more targets. His success will be tied to running good routes, which has been a bit of an issue for Jones.

Tight Ends

Fred Davis vs. Atlanta (4):  Davis put up a team high 70 yards receiving last week. But he has yet to find the end zone.  That role has been reserved for RG3 and Alfred Morris. Not a strong start, particularly against the Falcons.

Dennis Pitta at Kansas City (6): Pitta did zilch last week and some are calling him overrated. However, the Chiefs have given up a lot of points to opposing tight ends, and ten passing touchdowns in total.

Kyle Rudolph vs. Tennessee (8): Rudolph was largely invisible last week. His strength is in the end zone. The Titans have given up ten passing touchdowns. The logic works in Rudolph’s favor.