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Five fantasy matchups to watch (Week 5)
The Marshawn Lynch trade should do as much for former Bills teammate Fred Jackson as it does for Lynch — especially this week.
Stuck in a complicated backfield that lacked direction, Jackson is now the featured back with C.J. Spiller there to help out in a situational role. Up to now, Jackson hasn’t carried 10 or more times in a game yet — sure to change in Jacksonville. The Jaguars have allowed 4.3 yards per carry and six rushing scores (second most in the league). Last week, the unit surrendered two scores to Colts running back Joseph Addai.
Jackson is his team’s steadiest ball carrier and one of its only viable fantasy prospects. And now that he no longer needs to look over his shoulder at Lynch, he should have a much smoother finish to the season.
Here are a few other fantasy players facing favorable matchups in Week 5 (all of the players listed are considered backups or ‘fringe’ starters in most fantasy league formats):
Matt Ryan vs. Cleveland’s pass defense
Ryan has been so-so this year, and coming off of a one touchdown and two interception effort against the 49ers, it’s probable fantasy owners are tempted to show their franchise quarterback the bench. That would be a mistake. The Browns rank 24th in passing yards allowed per contest, and tied for 22nd in passing scores allowed (seven). A week ago, Cleveland allowed Cincinnati’s Carson Palmer to throw for 371 yards. Ryan has better weapons than Palmer, and is just as safe of a fantasy bet. His first 300-yard day of the season may be on the horizon.
Thomas Jones vs. Indianapolis’ run defense
Two backs, in one game? Possibly. But regardless of how well Jamaal Charles plays on Sunday, fantasy owners may want to consider Jones. He has out-carried Charles, 52-34, and has averaged 72.3 yards per game. This week, Jones will face an Indianapolis run defense that has been squashed by opposing backs and allows 5.0 yards per carry. The Colts have surrendered two 100-yard efforts in four games, and the Giants’ Ahmad Bradshaw averaged 5.2 yards in his 89-yard effort. Jones is still a capable fantasy back who is about to encounter one of his more favorable matchups of the year.
Mike Thomasvs. Buffalo’s pass defense
The smallish Thomas is leading the Jaguars in most statistical categories, and is coming off of a five-catch, 68-yard effort against Indianapolis. As a rookie last year, Thomas had a rotten game against Buffalo (two catches, three yards). This game won’t disappoint fantasy owners like that one did. The Bills have allowed eight passing touchdowns, 7.4 yards per attempt, and they’ve allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete 66.4 percent of their attempts — all of that placing them in the bottom third in the league. It’s time for Thomas to produce a signature game.
Visanthe Shiancoe vs. New York Jets’ pass defense
Know who’s loving the Randy Moss trade? Shiancoe. Big time. The addition of Moss not only takes bodies out of the box to help running back Adrian Peterson, but it clears out the deep middle where Shiancoe can be so successful. Plus, New York’s secondary has had its share of issues when trying to cover tight ends this year (see Todd Heap in Week 1). Shiancoe has had a dismal start to his season, and has caught just one touchdown after catching 11 last season. This game should help get him back on the right track.