NFL DRAFT DIAMONDS

Week 5 NFL Fantasy Studs

By: Shaun DePasquale (@ShaunDoesDraft)

Here are four potential fantasy studs for week 5 that you want to consider starting this week:

• St. Louis Rams WR Chris Givens vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
– Once again, a Jacksonville matchup that holds big implications. Some will tell you to start Tavon Austin, but against the Jaguars, consider that big plays will be available down the field, and regardless of what anyone wants to believe, Chris Givens remains the Rams best downfield playmaker. I like Austin more against a tougher defense where you need to accumulate intermediate catches to effectively move the ball. Sam Bradford is struggling, but should have a field day this week, and revert back to 2012 form, finding Givens deep. A sign that Givens is progressing: he had 10 plays of 20 yards or more in 2012. He already has 5 this season through 4 games.

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• Philadelphia Eagles QB Michael Vick vs. New York Giants
– I picked the Giants to finally win their first game this week, but that doesn’t bail out the soft NY defense, or mean that Philadelphia won’t shred them this week. Vick has been strong vs. NY since joining the Eagles in 2010, and in Chip Kelly’s up-tempo offense, he should be even more effective. There is no doubt Vick is not blowing the roof off the barn this year, and is normally a risky fantasy start. But against the Giants, if you have him on your team, start him. The Giants defense does get the occasional turnover (4 interceptions forced), but cannot rush the passer (only 4 sacks as a team) and are allowing 384 yards per game.

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New England Patriots WR Kenbrell Thompkins vs. Cincinnati Bengals
– If you’re paying attention to what is going on in New England, Kenbrell Thompkins is becoming one of only 2 viable options for Tom Brady, along with Julian Edelman. It’s Thompkins , though, that gives you more bang for your buck. In the past 2 weeks, he has 168 yards with 3 touchdowns, 127 yards of that coming in a breakout performance this week on Monday Night Football vs. Atlanta. If you see Thompkins sitting on a loaded team in your league, make a trade offer. If you have him, consider starting him against a Cincinnati defense that is struggling at the moment.

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• San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers vs. Oakland Raiders
– Rivers is off to the start of his life, with 1,199 yards, 11 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions, completing 74% of his passes. Right now, Rivers is a weekly must-start, until he shows otherwise. Against the Oakland Raiders, Rivers should put up eye-popping stats and reward you with plenty of points. Unless the QB’s name is Peyton Manning, don’t start him over Rivers.

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Waiver Wire Extra

• St. Louis Rams RB Benny Cunningham
– If you have the opportunity to add Cunningham off the waiver wire, do it. Cunningham went undrafted out of Middle Tennessee State after suffering an injury during his senior season that prevented him from working out for scouts until April. The Rams saw the potential in Cunningham, and very quietly signed him after the draft. He made the team out of training camp, and has since seen only 10 carries in rotation with Daryl Richardson & Zac Stacy. With the news that Richardson is no longer starting, someone has to. While Richardson, Cunningham, and Stacy will all see carries, Cunningham has the potential to make the most of increased reps. A bowling ball at 5’10, near 220 pounds, and remember that this is the guy that brutalized the Georgia Tech defense last year to the tune of 217 yards and 5 touchdowns.

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