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Fantasy Football Sit/Start Advice, Week 5: Cardinals vs. Rams

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The Cardinals travel to St. Louis for a divisional matchup with the Rams on Thursday night. We break down the fantasy football sit/start implications.

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The Cardinals have surprised everyone in 2012 by starting out the season undefeated. At 4-0 they've relied on their defense that only allowed 61 total points in the first four weeks. On the other side, the Rams already matched their win total from 2011 and look like an overall improved team under the coaching of Jeff Fisher.

Thursday night's matchup won't be loaded with fantasy studs all over the field, but there are a few names you certainly need to keep an eye on for your Week 5 matchup.

We'll break down the rest of Sunday's games later on. Right now, though, let's take a look at who needs to be sitting on your bench from Arizona and St. Louis, and who is a must-start this time around.


Kevin Kolb, quarterback - John Skelton practiced full on Tuesday, but Kolb is still going to be the starter in this shortened week. Kolb put up 322 yards and three touchdowns last week against Miami, actually looking like a decent fantasy option. Unfortunately the Dolphins possess one of the worst pass defenses in the league, while the the Rams rank 11th overall at this point. St. Louis is also second in interceptions with eight. Don't expect an impressive performance from Kolb this week.

Ryan Williams, running back - Pegged as a huge sleeper for 2012, Williams seemingly owns the workload in Arizona's backfield now with Beanie Wells out. He actually played fewer snaps than William Powell last week, but the majority of them were in passing situations. Williams gained just 26 yards against Miami. Keep in mind, though, that the Dolphins rank No. 1 in the league in stopping the run. The Rams rank 26th overall. Feel free to take advantage of his matchup this week.

Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Roberts, wide receiver - Fitzgerald is one of those aforementioned must-start guys. Cortland Finnegan has been great in coverage this year, so he might limit Fitz depending on how often he lines up against him. However, you can't sit one of the best wide receivers in the league. Roberts on the other hand exploded in Week 4, finding the end zone for the third week this season. The Cardinals probably won't throw the ball 48 times again in Week 5, so temper your expectations with Roberts. He might be worth a start in deeper leagues, but there's not enough evidence to go off of yet to assure a solid performance is on the way.

Rob Housler and Jeff King, tight end - Neither of these guys are worth a start/roster spot. Todd Heap is out, so they'll handle the load at tight end. That means nothing, though, to fantasy owners. Avoid at all costs.

Cardinals defense/special teams - After severely limiting opponents in the first three weeks, the Cardinals gave up a ridiculous 431 yards to rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill this past Sunday. They still managed to allow just one passing touchdown, so that's a promising sign at least. Don't give up hope yet on this defense. St. Louis has only scored 79 points in four weeks. Also, Patrick Peterson is always a threat to take a punt return back for six.


Sam Bradford, quarterback - Bradford has just two touchdowns and five interceptions in four games in his career against Arizona. He also failed to throw a single touchdown the past two weeks against strong defenses (Seattle, Chicago). Basically Bradford has one big performance on the season. He doesn't look like he'll do you much good this week, but don't give up on him altogether.

Steven Jackson, running back - The Cardinals have just one touchdown against their defense on the ground through four weeks. Despite yielding 101 rush yards per game, they're only allowing 3.6 yards per carry to opposing backs. Jackson is dealing with injuries already (big surprise), but he's listed as probable for Thursday. He's worth a start if you're extremely limited by back weeks or injuries. Just don't get your hopes up.

Danny Amendola, wide receiver - Amendola is worth a start every week in PPR leagues. Everyone will focus on Tannehill throwing all over the Cardinals secondary in Week 4, but they've only given up three passing touchdowns in four weeks, and one was to Brian Hartline who apparently appeared invisible on his 80-yard score. Amendola scored on a fake field goal against the Seahawks, but he's only hauled in one touchdown from Bradford in 2012. He's your best option if you're looking for a Rams receiver, but if you're hoping for Hartline-esque stats, don't get ahead of yourself. The Cardinals know more about Amendola.

Lance Kendricks, tight end - Another team that doesn't utilize tight ends often through the air. Kendricks caught nine passes for 81 yards in the first quarter of the season. The Cardinal have allowed one touchdown to an opposing tight end, and his name was Rob Gronkowski. Don't start Kendricks. Don't even own Kendricks.

Rams defense/special teams - This defense is right around middle-of-the-road. They rank No. 16 overall in points per game and No. 14 in yards per game allowed. Eight interceptions in four games looks impressive, but six total sacks on the year does not. Arizona's offense has scored as many points as St. Louis has given up. The Rams D/ST in Week 5 might be a decent play if you're looking for the right matchup.

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