By Eric Mack
October 04, 2012

The first-quarter pole has passed in fantasy, which is where the real fun begins with lineups and waiver movement. Four teams are on bye in Week 5, which might be one of the costliest weeks on the schedule.

Tony Romo has done little to help the Cowboys' fantasy numbers, but Dallas' bye will rob the NFL of Romo, DeMarco Murray, Miles Austin, Dez Bryant, Jason Witten and the Cowboys D/ST anyway. Also, Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson, Mikel Leshoure, Darren McFadden, Vincent Jackson and Doug Martin will post goose eggs with the Lions, Raiders and Buccaneers also on a bye.

We help you find the replacement options and answer your questions in's weekly Start 'Em, Sit 'Em:


Cardinals -- Ryan Williams, Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals D/ST: As good as the 4-0 start has been, this might be the best week for the Cardinals' offensive players as they are on the road against a Rams defense that isn't quite scary. Williams takes over as the feature back full-time, and the Rams are in the bottom half vs. running backs in fantasy. In addition to must-starts Fitzgerald and the D/ST, consider recently hot quarterback Kevin Kolb and receiver Andre Roberts as sleeper bye-week replacements.

Rams -- Steven Jackson, Danny Amendola, Greg Zuerlein: This isn't a great matchup for Jackson, but if you don't have better options, consider him among the top 24 running backs this week. Amendola gets a defense that made similar possession receivers Brian Hartline and Davone Bess look like fantasy stars, while Zuerlein is benefiting from an offense that can move the ball but struggles to punch it in the end zone.


Cardinals -- La'Rod Stephens-Howling, Early Doucet, Michael Floyd, Todd Heap, Jay Feely: Only the Seahawks and Ravens have allowed as few as two touchdown passes through four weeks. This is a quietly capable Rams secondary. None of these guys are trustworthy in this matchup.

Rams -- Sam Bradford, Daryl Richardson, Brandon Gibson, Chris Givens, Lance Kendricks, Rams D/ST: The Cardinals have an underrated defense and few of the Rams have been consistent enough to trust in fantasy yet.


Dolphins -- Reggie Bush, Brian Hartline: Don't get sucked in entirely by the surprising performance in Arizona last Sunday. Bush is the only trustworthy Dolphin against a Bengals defense bound to improve on its slow start this season. You can start Hartline, too, until he proves too inconsistent.

Bengals -- Andy Dalton, A.J. Green, Jermaine Gresham, Mike Nugent, Bengals D/ST: This is a great week to use most of your Bengals, especially at home. The Dolphins defense hasn't been poor, but Dalton is hot and the Dolphins have been seventh-worst in fantasy vs. receivers. Gresham is the best tight end they have faced, so consider this a good week to see him break out.


Dolphins -- Ryan Tannehill, Daniel Thomas, Lamar Miller, Davone Bess, Anthony Fasano, Dan Carpenter, Dolphins D/ST: There are some sleepers here, but there are no certainties with them week to week. This Bengals defense at home (despite what they have shown) is not one to test with a team as unproven as the Fins.

Bengals -- BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Andrew Hawkins, Armon Binns: BGE is a regular starter in most leagues, but this not a good matchup. The Dolphins, somewhat quietly, have one of the best run defenses in the NFL. Only the Seahawks have given up fewer rushing yards to date. Hawkins or Binns aren't in bad matchups, but coming off their quiet Week 4, there's little to feel confident about.


Packers -- Aaron Rodgers, Cedric Benson, Jordy Nelson, James Jones, Jermichael Finley, Mason Crosby, Packers D/ST: There is no reason to be wary of any Packers this week. In fact, it might even be better than Week 4 for all of the above. The Colts are eighth-worst in fantasy against running backs and receivers.

Colts -- Andrew Luck, Reggie Wayne: This has the makings of a potential. shootout as the Packers will be tough for the Colts to stop. That could force Luck to crank-up the passing game, which would be good news for Wayne. Donnie Avery is a decent sleeper option if you need a third receiver, and Adam Vinatieri could fill-in if you're missing your kicker.


Packers -- Greg Jennings, Randall Cobb: Jennings is a big risk due to his groin, if he even plays at all, and Cobb just hasn't gotten a big enough piece of the targets since Week 1.

Colts -- Donald Brown, Coby Fleener, Dwayne Allen, Colts D/ST: Brown has gotten off to a bad start, but expecting him to have a breakthrough against the Packers' run defense isn't advisable. Indy's tight ends are question marks right now and the defense isn't worth owning.


Ravens -- Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, Torrey Smith, Anquan Boldin, Dennis Pitta, Justin Tucker, Ravens D/ST: The extra rest provided by a Thursday night Week 4 makes this a start-all game for the Ravens. Flacco gets the eighth-worst team in fantasy vs. quarterbacks, which makes Boldin and Pitta sleepers as needed. Heck, if you're desperate, you might even give receiver Jacoby Jones and running back Bernard Pierce some consideration.

Chiefs -- Jamaal Charles, Dwayne Bowe: These are the only Chiefs immune to bad matchups, and only because they are hot right now.


Ravens -- Ed Dickson: Pitta's rise has cost Dickson all of his fantasy value . Don't own him, much less start him.

Chiefs -- Matt Cassel, Peyton Hillis, Shaun Draughn, Steve Breaston, Jon Baldwin, Tony Moeaki, Ryan Succop, Chiefs D/ST: Despite their decline, this is still a Ravens defense to avoid.


Browns -- Trent Richardson, Greg Little: This is easily the best matchup the Browns offense has faced, especially for the receivers. The Giants are badly banged up in the secondary -- currently sixth-worst in fantasy vs. receivers -- so consider the drop-prone Little a viable start in deeper leagues. Little would be more questionable if Cleveland's other receivers weren't banged up.

Giants -- Eli Manning, Victor Cruz, Giants D/ST: This is not a great week for the Giants, despite coming off a loss. They tend to play down to their competition, and the Browns' defense is a lot better than anyone gives them credit for being, especially against the run. However, the Browns have been the worst team in fantasy vs. quarterbacks and second-worst against wide receivers, so Manning and Cruz remain no-brainer starts, while Domenik Hixon is a nice sleeper possibility if Hakeem Nicks (knee, foot) does not play.


Browns -- Brandon Weeden, Mohamed Massaquoi, Travis Benjamin, Josh Gordon, Ben Watson, Jordan Cameron, Phil Dawson, Browns D/ST: Only deep-league owners need pay attention. Weeden has shown some flashes, but he is still a huge risk against a team that can apply pressure like the Giants.

Giants -- Ahmad Bradshaw, Andre Brown, David Wilson, Ramses Barden, Rueben Randle, Martellus Bennett, Bear Pascoe, Lawrence Tynes: The Browns are one of four teams yet to allow a rushing score to a running back, and they are fourth-best in fantasy vs. tight ends. Only the Saints have allowed fewer tight end receptions through four games. Bennett was blanked a week ago, and Manning hit Pascoe for a short touchdown. Don't start either if you can avoid it.


Eagles -- LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, Eagles D/ST: The Eagles are coming off a big division victory and are due for a letdown against a rested and prepared Steelers (1-2) team coming off a bye. But this trio is fairly immune to tough matchups, so keep them active in all leagues.

Steelers -- Ben Roethlisberger, Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, Steelers D/ST: The Eagles are fourth-best in fantasy vs. quarterbacks, but Big Ben has earned must-start status along with Wallace and Brown. As for the maligned Steelers defense, expect a rebound against an Eagles team that is third-worst in fantasy vs. D/STs.


Eagles -- Michael Vick, Jeremy Maclin, Brent Celek, Alex Henery: It isn't often one should consider sitting Vick, but it's a good idea against a brutal Steelers defense that could knock him out. Vick takes more hits than anyone, and the Steelers deliver more crushing blows than anyone. Maclin is banged up; Celek disappeared a week ago and the Eagles offense cannot be certain to give Henery enough attempts to be useful this week.

Steelers -- Rashard Mendenhall, Isaac Redman, Jonathan Dwyer, Heath Miller, Shaun Suisham: The backfield is cloudy with the expected return of Mendenhall. Making matters worse, the Eagles have been sixth-best in fantasy vs. running backs. Mendenhall will take charge here, but he is a risk sight unseen. Miller has gotten off to a great start with three scores in three games, but the Eagles are third-best in fantasy vs. tight ends.


Falcons -- Matt Ryan, Michael Turner, Roddy White, Julio Jones, Tony Gonzalez, Matt Bryant: This is a Falcons "start-all" game, which could wind up a shootout. Jones has dealt with a hand issue, but sitting him while he is playing is a dangerous move. Don't do it.

Redskins -- Robert Griffin III, Alfred Morris, Pierre Garcon, Fred Davis: Garcon is the question mark here, but he came out of last week's game healthy and should get more snaps and targets. Davis is a viable start against a Falcons team that ranks in the bottom half against tight ends.


Falcons -- Jacquizz Rodgers, Falcons D/ST: Rodgers isn't a great option against a Redskins team that is in the top-10 against running backs. Like most teams this year, the Falcons figure to give up a lot of yards and points to RGIII at home in Washington.

Redskins -- Evan Royster, Ryan Grant, Leonard Hankerson, Santana Moss, Billy Cundiff, Redskins D/ST: Outside of Morris, the running backs just don't move the needle -- most of them shouldn't be owned. Hankerson should be, though, but it's best to sit him against a Falcons team that has been fifth-best in fantasy vs. receivers to date.


Seahawks -- Marshawn Lynch, Steven Hauschka, Seahawks D/ST: This should be a huge week for Lynch against the second-worst defense in fantasy vs. running backs. Hauschka is a nice sleeper at kicker -- the Panthers are worst in fantasy vs. kickers -- while Seattle's defense has proved good enough to start even in an unfavorable matchup. On the other side is a Panthers run defense so bad you might consider Robert Turbin a potential flex play out of necessity, especially with as little as the Seahawks attack through the air.

Panthers -- Cam Newton, Greg Olsen: The tough Seahawks defense is one to avoid, but there is not sitting Newton in any matchup and Olsen has emerged as his leading target.


Seahawks -- Russell Wilson, Sidney Rice, Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin, Braylon Edwards, Zach Miller: The Seahawks might be the worst passing team in the NFL, and the Panthers -- somewhat surprisingly -- are sixth-best in fantasy vs. receivers. Avoid everyone in their passing game..

Panthers -- DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart, Steve Smith, Brandon LaFell, Justin Medlock, Panthers D/ST: The Seahawks are the fourth-best team in fantasy vs. running backs, allowing a league-low rushing yards against. That makes Williams and Stewart a pair of must-sits. Smith is also a marginal option against a very good Seahawks secondary. Now that we think about it, avoid most of your Panthers in this matchup.


Bears -- Jay Cutler, Matt Forte, Michael Bush, Brandon Marshall, Robbie Gould, Bears D/ST: This is a start-all game for the Bears, even coming off a big Monday night victory. The Jags are fourth-worst in fantasy vs. running backs, so both Forte and Bush are solid plays, along with Cutler, who will have the benefits of the play-action pass.

Jaguars -- Maurice Jones-Drew: The Bears' defense did a number on the more talented Cowboys, so avoid all of your Jags if possible. Even MJD is a bad play against a Bears defense that is third-best in fantasy vs. running backs, although you probably don't have an option better than him on your roster.


Bears -- Devin Hester, Alshon Jeffery, Earl Bennett, Kellen Davis: The Bears need one of these targets to prove consistent -- Davis might -- but none of them should be trusted in fantasy right now, even in a matchup this favorable.

Jaguars -- Blaine Gabbert, Rashad Jennings, Justin Blackmon, Cecil Shorts, Laurent Robinson, Marcedes Lewis, Josh Scobee, Jaguars D/ST: Gabbert is in for a long day, while makes Blackmon tougher to start than usual. Blackmon is the only Jags option even worth owning right now.


Titans -- Chris Johnson, Nate Washington: The only reason Johnson rates as a start against the Vikings' run defense (No. 2 in fantasy vs. running backs), is because of what he did against the Texans' solid run defense in a blowout loss last week. This is still not a great time to expect much out of Johnson. Washington is a better bet to compile some numbers in garbage time.

Vikings -- Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin, Kyle Rudolph, Blair Walsh, Vikings D/ST: This is a start-all game for the surprising Vikings, including the likes of Christian Ponder, Toby Gerhart and Jerome Simpson as bye-week fill-ins. The Titans have allowed 10 touchdowns by opposing quarterbacks while making only one interception. They are also forgiving on the ground (third-worst vs. running backs). Rudolph should be in for a big day, too, against a defense that has been dead last in fantasy vs. opposing tight ends.


Titans -- Matt Hasselbeck, Kenny Britt, Kendall Wright, Jared Cook, Rob Bironas, Titans D/ST: Going back to Hasselbeck leaves things a bit uncertain for the Titans receivers. Hasselbeck might be able to make this offense work again, but it's hard to trust that against a surprising Vikings defense.

Vikings -- None: If you own a Viking, start him with confidence this week. Don't rush out to pick up and start anyone that isn't already listed above, though.


Broncos -- Peyton Manning, Willis McGahee, Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Matt Prater: This figures to be a shootout, which makes Manning and his primary options must-starts. Jacob Tamme is a sleeper, too, perhaps. McGahee is facing a tough Pats run defense, but he has proved consistent enough in a run-first Broncos offense to keep active even in this one. He could reach the end zone.

Patriots -- Tom Brady, Stevan Ridley, Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd, Rob Gronkowski, Stephen Gostkowski: Brady woke up a week ago, and while the Broncos have a solid defense, all of the Patriots' primary offensive options should be in play. Ridley is facing a top-10 defense in fantasy vs. running backs, but the Pats are more committed to the run than ever and Ridley is their primary guy. Keep him active.


Broncos -- Ronnie Hillman, Lance Ball, Knowshon Moreno, Brandon Stokley, Joel Dreessen, Broncos D/ST: These guys are going to be touchdown vultures at times this season, but trusting them on a weekly basis is tough, even in this likely shootout. Any defense is a bad play against the Pats.

Patriots -- Brandon Bolden, Danny Woodhead, Julian Edelman, Deion Branch, Aaron Hernandez, Daniel Fells, Patriots D/ST: Bolden is the only question among the Patriots' complementary options this week. The Broncos are a good enough run defense to be wary of Ridley, much less his change-of-pace backup. Bolden is worth owning, but not starting, this week.


Bills -- Stevie Johnson: This is a bad week to trust the surprising Bills. Johnson might be the only one immune to this matchup and he barely rates as a top-24 fantasy receiver.

49ers -- Frank Gore, Vernon Davis, David Akers, 49ers D/ST: The Bills, ripped by the Pats on the ground a week ago, are sixth-worst in fantasy vs. running backs. That makes Gore a potential Week 5 star and even backups Kendall Hunter or goal-line option Brandon Jacobs potential flex-play sleepers. The passing game is a question mark in weeks where it won't be needed, so only consider Davis safe among the receivers.


Bills -- Ryan Fitzpatrick, Fred Jackson, C.J. Spiller, Donald Jones, Scott Chandler, Rian Lindell, Bills D/ST: Fitzpatrick's magical run ends against this defense, while potential stars Jackson and Spiller are bad plays against the No. 1 team in fantasy vs. running backs. The best you can hope for between them is if Spiller breaks a long one in the passing game. And none of the secondary targets are good plays with the error-prone Fitzpatrick.

49ers -- Alex Smith, Michael Crabtree, Mario Manningham, Randy Moss: It isn't that the 49ers can't pass, or the Bills can stop the pass (fifth-worst in fantasy against quarterbacks and receivers); the 49ers just don't always need to pass. The defense and running game should be fully capable of running out the clock from the opening kickoff, making the quarterbacks or receivers difficult to trust.


Chargers -- Philip Rivers, Ryan Mathews, Jackie Battle, Malcom Floyd, Antonio Gates, Nick Novak: This is a start-all game for the Chargers, which can include the likes of Eddie Royal and Robert Meachem, as needed. Mathews won't start or get goal-line carries in lieu of Battle, but the Saints are so bad against running backs in fantasy (dead last), that both backs figure to be productive starts. Floyd and Gates (finally) should put up some numbers, too, in a game that figures to be the biggest shootout of the week. Novak will continue to kick for the injured Nate Kaeding, so consider him a sleeper as well.

Saints -- Drew Brees, Darren Sproles, Marques Colston, Lance Moore, Jimmy Graham, Garrett Hartley: After Colston's breakthrough last week, this group is hitting on all cylinders against anyone, especially at home. The Saints cannot stop anyone defensively, so that should keep the offense as wide open as ever in their weekly shootouts.


Chargers -- Nate Kaeding, Chargers D/ST: Sitting a defense against the Saints might be the easiest call in fantasy.

Saints -- Mark Ingram, Pierre Thomas, Saints D/ST: Check that, avoiding these dead beats is.


Texans -- Arian Foster, Andre Johnson, Owen Daniels, Shayne Graham, Texans D/ST: Don't laugh, but the Jets are still a defense to be cognizant of in fantasy. You still shouldn't have any reservations with these weekly horses, though.

Jets -- None: The only one to possibly consider is new No. 1 receiver Chaz Schilens. But only the desperate own that guy at this point.


Texans -- Matt Schaub, Ben Tate, Kevin Walter: Schaub is the one to avoid against a Jets defense that is much better than public perception credits. The 49ers didn't do anything in the air a week ago and this game might be similar in what could be a defensive struggle. Tate is banged up and not getting enough touches to use him, especially against the Jets run defense sure to be better than it was a week ago.

Jets -- Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow, Shonn Greene, Bilal Powell, Stephen Hill, Jeremy Kerley, Dustin Keller, Nick Folk, Jets D/ST: Greene faces yet another elite run defense, which makes him tough to start and has made the Jets offense completely worthless. Tebow might be asked to save this lost cause, but until he does, avoid them all in bad matchups like this one vs. the Texans.

An ideal lineup for those playing in salary-cap games:

QB: Jay CutlerRB: Adrian PetersonRB: Marshawn LynchWR: Demaryius ThomasWR: Marques ColstonTE: Jermichael FinleyFLEX: Jordy NelsonK: Steven HauschkaD/ST: San Francisco 49ers

Think you do better? Hit me up on Twitter @EricMackFantasy.

Eric Mack writes fantasy for Track his weekly starts and sits every Thursday, his Scouting Report on Friday and his Fantasy Fast Forward on Sunday nights. You find also him on Twitter, where you can mock him, rip him and (doubtful) praise him before asking him for fantasy advice or challenging him to a head-to-head fantasy game @EricMackFantasy. He reads all the messages there (guaranteed) and takes them very, very personally (not really).

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