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Fantasy Saturday: Best and worst matchups of Week Five

By Jay Skurski

Sadly for fantasy owners playing them, the Oakland Raiders are off this week. The Raiders have given up the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season, allowing an average of 22 per game in standard scoring ESPN leagues.

Behind them are the Titans (21.5), Chiefs (20.5) and Redskins (20.3). That’s good news for Minnesota’s Christian Ponder, Baltimore’s Joe Flacco and Atlanta’s Matt Ryan, respectively. All three of those QBs should be in starting lineups tomorrow.

The stingiest defenses against quarterbacks are Houston, Chicago and Seattle, all of which are allowing just nine points per game. The Texans face Mark Sanchez and the Jets, the Bears get to feast on Blaine Gabbert and the Jaguars and the Seahawks have a tough matchup on the road with Cam Newton and the Panthers. Only Newton should start out of that bunch.

Against running backs, the Saints (26.3), Panthers (25.8) and Jaguars (24.8) are the friendliest defenses. New Orleans hosts Ryan Mathews and the Chargers. Mathews is an OK flex option, but the threat of Jackie Battle stealing goal-line carries is there. Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch and Chicago’s Matt Forte are No. 1 RBs against Carolina and Jacksonville, respectively.

The Bills get the toughest matchup against opposing running backs in San Francisco, which allows just 6.5 points per game. As tough as it is, sitting Fred Jackson and/or C.J. Spiller is acceptable. The Vikings (7.5) and Seahawks (9.0) are the next best against running backs. That means sitting some big-name backs in the Titans’ Chris Johnson and the Panthers’ DeAngelo Williams shouldn’t be out of the question if you’ve got good depth.

At wide receiver, the Redskins (36.3), Buccaneers (31.3) and Browns (30.5) are giving up the most points. That’s good news for thee Falcons’ duo of Julio Jones and Roddy White, who play Washington. The Bucs are off this week, while the Browns face a Giants team that should be plenty motivated coming off a loss. Victor Cruz could be in store for a big day.

The Falcons (13.3), Texans (13.8) and Cowboys (13.8) are giving up the fewest points to receivers. That means sit any Redskins’ receiver you may own, same with the Jets against Houston. Dallas is off.

At tight end, Tennessee (19.3) continues to give up almost double the fantasy points as any other team. That’s good news for owners of Vikings tight end Kyle Ponder. New England (10.3) and Detroit (10.0) are also friendly to opposing tight ends. The Patriots face the Peyton Manning-led Broncos, who feature Jacob Tamme at tight end. Detroit is off.

New Orleans (3.3), Indianapolis (3.3) and Philadelphia (4.0) are the toughest matchups for tight ends. San Diego’s Antonio Gates, Green Bay’s Jermichael Finley and Pittsburgh’s Heath Miller, however are all No. 1 tight ends who should still start.

Best of luck in Week Five!

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |