Editor's note: Welcome to the weekly installment of "Tacklin' Fantasy," our recap of the news and trends you need to keep top of mind for fantasy dominance
49er to start: Defense/ST
After giving up 27 or more points in each of the first three games of the season, the 49ers defense has regained its mojo. Last week, San Francisco held the St. Louis Rams to 182 total yards and just 11 points. This week should be no different. Yes, the Texans have some big names in Arian Foster, Andre Johnson, Matt Schaub, and Owen Daniels, but they are susceptible to turnovers, with seven in four games. The 49ers are coming off a two-turnover performance against the Rams.
Raider to start: Terrelle Pryor, QB
With Terrelle Pryor healthy from his Week 3 concussion, expect big things through the air and on the ground. On Sunday, the Raiders play the division-rival San Diego Chargers, whose defense, to put it nicely, is atrocious. In four weeks, the Chargers have allowed eight passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns. They also give up a league-high 6.7 yards per play.
[RELATED: Allen: Pryor to start on Sunday]
49er to sit: Vernon Davis, TE
While Vernon Davis is a supreme talent at the tight end position, the Houston Texans shut out the passing game, specifically tight ends. In four weeks against the Texans, opposing tight ends have gained a measly 113 receiving yards with one touchdown. While Davis is now healed from his previous hamstring injury, he is still a risky start against the No. 1 ranked pass defense in the NFL.
Raider to sit: Rod Streater, WR
After catching eight passes for 112 yards in the first two weeks of the season, Oakland wide receiver Rod Streater has practically disappeared. Streater has seen declining targets in each of the past four weeks, and has just five catches for 60 yards in the past two games. While the Chargers’ secondary has been unable to contain No. 1 wide receivers -- 10.2 targets per game, 105.1 yards -- they fare much better against No. 2s like Streater -- 6.2 targets, 69.3 yards.
NFL Week 5 trend: What can Fitzpatrick do for you?
Tennessee Titans starting quarterback Jake Locker will be sidelined for “a few weeks” after sustaining a hip injury, opening the door for former Buffalo Bills starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick is a downgrade from Locker, who was on pace for a career year and should be avoided this week against a daunting Chiefs’ pass defense. But there are two key ramifications to Fitzpatrick starting in the fantasy world. Running back Chris Johnson should shoulder a bigger part on the offense. And wide receiver Nate Washington, the speedster of the receiving core, loses value due to Fitzpatrick’s lack of arm strength.
NFL Week 5 trend: The return of Blackmon
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Justin Blackmon returns for Week 5 following a four-game suspension for multiple violations of the NFL substance abuse policy. In the last nine games of his rookie season last year, Blackmon had 46 catches for 672 yards and five touchdowns. Although the Jaguars aren’t known for their lethal passing game, Blackmon should be owned in all fantasy leagues.
Buy-low candidate: Ray Rice, RB, Baltimore Ravens
Due to a hip strain and poor offensive line play, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice has had a poor start to the 2013 season, rushing for 89 yards in three games. To improve the offensive line, the Ravens traded for 2009 first-round left tackle Eugene Monroe on Tuesday. Rice is healthy and will play the Dolphins this Sunday (seventh-worst defense in total yards), and the Packers a week later (fifth-worst defense). Look for the Rutgers alum to improve in the next two games and get back to his career elite numbers.
Sell-high candidate: Cecil Shorts, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
With Chad Henne as his quarterback, Jaguars wide receiver Cecil Shorts has been dominant since 2012 -- six receptions, 11 targets, 94.9 yards averaged per game. With Blaine Gabbert, it’s been another story -- 3.6 receptions, 7.3 targets, 61.8 yards. Gabbert was announced as the full-time starter going forward. Furthermore, No. 1 wide receiver Justin Blackmon returns from suspension this week, taking potential targets and production away from Shorts.
Star to sit: C.J. Spiller, Buffalo Bills, RB
With only 230 yards on 66 carries (3.48 average), Bills running back C.J. Spiller hasn't played up to the first-round hype this year, and there are three reasons why he might not turn in big-time fantasy points this week. Through four weeks, backup Fred Jackson has outperformed the starter in every facet of the running game, leading in rushing yards, yards per attempt, rushing touchdowns, receptions, and receiving yards. Though he is expected to play on Thursday, Spiller is dealing with a sprained ankle that kept out of practice Monday and Tuesday. And the Bills face the Cleveland Browns and their stout defense (2.9 yards per carry) this week. Don't count on much from Spiller.
No-name player to start: Jeremy Kerley, WR, New York Jets
With starting wide receivers Stephen Hill (concussion) and Santonio Holmes (hamstring) ruled out for Week 5, the Jets need someone to throw to. Enter Jeremy Kerley. As the Jets' leading receiver in 2012 -- 56 receptions, 827 receiving yards -- Kerley is more than capable. To boot, the Jets face the Atlanta Falcons, who give up an average of 301 passing yards per game.