Hits & Misses – Week 5: Pierre Garcon makes the list

Here are our “Hits” and “Misses” for week five, listing players you want to make sure are in your lineup, as well as those you might consider shelving for the week (or at least lowering your expectations!) As always, I’ve tried to leave the most obvious picks off the list, such as Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne’s scheduled abuse of the Titans secondary on Sunday night, so that I can save space for players that might have you scratching your head a little more. Anyways, here is your hits and misses for the week…

Quarterback
Hits
Misses
Matt Schaub, Texans @ ARI – Through just three games (they had a BYE last week), the Cardinals have given up seven passing touchdowns, four of which came at the hands of Peyton Manning. While Schaub is not Manning, he should still have some success, especially if Steve Slaton can get the ground game going. Tom Brady, Patriots @ DEN – Should you bench Tom Brady? Probably not, unless you have a very appealing alternative (none are coming to mind), but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t temper your expectations as the Patriots head to Denver to take on a very tough Broncos defense. If you didn’t agree that the Cowboys were Denver’s first real challenge this year, it’d be hard to deny classifying them as one of the top defenses in the league if they can handle New England.
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers @ DET – While the Lions gave up a whole lot less yardage than I predicted against Jay Cutler and the Bears last week, they still gave up touchdowns and have now given up 12 this season! Until their redzone defense can step it up a few notches, any quarterback that plays Detroit is going to find themselves on the “hit” list…and this week it’s Big Ben. Matt Ryan, Falcons @ SF – If you were playing against a guy who had the San Francisco defense last week, you know first hand what they’re capable of. While the Rams offense is a bit more inept than the Falcons, the 49ers should still handle them with ease. Expect a rough day for Matt Ryan and the Atlanta receivers.
Tony Romo, Cowboys @ KC – Through the first four games Romo has only throw four touchdowns (compared to four interceptions.) He severely misses having T.O. to distract everyone (on the field AND off), but this game could take his mind off of that as he plays a Chiefs team that is giving up two passing scores a game. He’ll get his 250 yards and a couple touchdowns and everyone can give him the week off from the criticism he usually takes. Kerry Collins, Titans vs IND – You weren’t going to start Collins this week were you? Let’s pretend you never had that idea creep into your head if you indeed were thinking about it. The Colts have given up two touchdowns through the air this year and the only way the Titans are going to break their losing streak is to get the running game going…in a BIG way.
Running Back
Hits
Misses
Clinton Portis, Redskins @ CAR – Portis has had to fight hard for all of his 281 yards so far this season, with only one run longer than 14 yards. This week he should be rewarded for his efforts, as he gets to play the Panthers, who have been one of the worst teams in the league in terms of stopping the run. I don’t see 100 yards and his first touchdown of the season being unreasonable. Steven Jackson, Rams vs MIN – Not unlike Portis, Jackson has also had to battle for every yard he’s gotten this year in an offense that consists of zero other real threats. Unfortunately for Steven, he has to play a solid run defense that hasn’t allowed a running back to score all season.
Brandon Jacobs, Giants vs OAK – With his backup (Ahmad Bradshaw) nursing a foot injury and the Raiders being halfway decent against the pass, the Giants should lean on Jacobs this week to carry the team. Expect Brandon to hit the century mark for the first time this season. Kevin Smith, Lions vs PIT – While the Steelers defense has suffered some key injuries, they’ve still held it together against the run. Kevin Smith has done a decent job for Detroit this season, but I have a bad feeling about his chances this week against a Steelers defense that is surrendering under 60 yards a week to tailbacks.
Fred Jackson, Bills vs CLE – This could be his last chance to show that he’s worthy of the starter role, as Marshawn Lynch begins taking over that spot for the Bills. Jackson has a great matchup this week against the Browns, who have given up around 150 yards and two touchdowns per game this year to running backs. Donald Brown, Colts @ TEN – As bad as the Titans are against the pass, they’re very good against the run (their record wouldn’t make you think so though!) Tennessee is currently allowing around 2.7 yards per carry and I’m thinking this game will be all about Peyton Manning.
Wide Receiver
Hits
Misses
DeSean Jackson, Eagles vs TB – In the two games heading into the BYE week, Jackson combined for 250 yards and two touchdowns. Now he comes back nice and fresh to play the Buccaneers, who have struggled to stop wide receivers all season and have given up eight touchdowns to the position. Randy Moss, Patriots @ DEN – The Broncos and Falcons are the only teams that have not allowed a wide receiver to find the endzone this season. With Champ Bailey hounding him all day, this could be a game where Moss is used more as a decoy and New England uses the short game with Wes Welker and running backs out of the backfield.
Santonio Holmes, Steelers @ DET – Holmes isn’t the most consistent receiver out there, but he’s got a great matchup with the Lions. Last time he played one of the worst pass defenses in the league (week 1), he put up 131 yards and a score. I’d expect something almost that good this week. Brandon Marshall, Broncos vs NE – While the Broncos are busy shutting down Randy Moss, the Patriots will work their magic on the Broncos formerly disgruntled, star wide receiver. Unless Marshall can run more short patterns like Derrick Mason did last week, don’t expect a lot of production this week.
Pierre Garcon, Colts @ TEN – For an 0-4 team with pass defense problems, the Colts are the LAST team you want to play against. Peyton Manning should have a field day on prime-time Sunday night and Garcon (and maybe Collie too) should benefit greatly. Get him in your lineup as your WR3 or even possibly a WR2 depending on your other wide outs. Ted Ginn, Dolphins vs NYJ – Ginn has been non-existent the past two weeks and this week things won’t get any easier for him. Keep him on your bench until he breaks out of this funk he’s in.
Tight End
Hits
Misses
Dallas Clark, Colts @ TEN – The Titans have just been awful against the pass this year, whether it’s wide receivers OR tight ends running wild. Clark is one of the top TE’s in the league, so you can imagine how this should play out. Tony Gonzalez, Falcons @ SF – After two big weeks to start the season, Gonzo was shut down by the Patriots. After a BYE week, he returns to play another top-tier defense that is capable of shutting down the tight end position. While it’s tough to sit someone of his caliber, you might at least lower your expectations this week.