6 Players You Can't Start In Week 5

Will Luck be on your side this week? We don't think so.

What's interesting about fantasy football is that it pretty much boils down to a game of risk. Not Risk the board game, mind you - although we've been over that one before! - but risk in the same way a stock portfolio is about risk. It's not really about always picking home runs; it's about not picking the players who will kill your roster.

So with that in mind, here's a few landmines you'll need to avoid in Week 5, powered by the mathematical models that make us the most accurate projection engine in the business. Remember kids, if it ain't math, it's probably just some fat guy and his opinion.

Andrew Luck

It's clear that Andrew Luck is going places in this league. He's got all the tools, s solid team around him, and his statistical comparables (Donovan McNabb 2008, Aaron Rodgers 2009) portend good things. But he's not right for your team this week, and there's a simple reason why.

The Seattle Seahawks secondary ain't nothing to screw with.

Home or away, rain or shine, the Seattle Seahawks D will shut you down. They're #3 in our defensive power rankings - scoring a nERD score of -31.61 - which means that an average defense would have given up an extra TD per game in the same situations. I think you still have to start Reggie Wayne and probably Trent Richardson too, but sit Luck. Start Pryor over him, and probably Brian Hoyer too.

numberFire Ranking: #17 QB

Rashard Mendenhall

Ever since he complained and sulked his way out of Pittsburgh, this dude has been nothing but disappointment. No, I'm not talking about Mike Wallace, I'm talking about the other moody, sullen ex-Steeler who is flatlining your team. Yes, I'm talking about Rashard, king of the two-yard run.

Even if he wasn't getting poached from Andre Ellington - a runner whose 4.61 at the combine sunk him to the 6th round - Mendenhall has been brutally ineffective toting the rock, registering just a 27% success rate on his carries. You can start Danny Woodhead and Joique Bell over him even if you're not in a PPR league; I'd strongly consider Rashad Jennings off your waivers as well.

numberFire Ranking: #25 RB

Jacquizz Rodgers

We want to like Jacquizz Rodgers, but the numbers just aren't there. We'd love to think of him as a low-rent C.J. Spiller, or even an NFC Danny Woodhead, but instead he's really just another version of Adrian Peterson, his top comparable.

(The Bear, not the Viking. Duh.)

With such anonymous, no-name comparables and at best a timeshare with Jason Snelling, how can you consider starting him? Not only that, the Jets D is much better than you think it is, even on the road - they rank #5 in our defensive efficiency. Don't get cute with Quizz, sit him.

numberFire Ranking: #29 RB

Nate Washington

He does this to us every year, doesn't he? Much like fellow old-timer and name-sharer Nate Burleson, Nate Washington hangs around the fringes of free agency/WR5, a dude you know can get you 3-4 receptions/game but will never make an actual impact on your roster.

You may be tempted to give him a run based on his performance last week, or maybe even because you're sitting some of your usual guys on a bye week. Problem is, Nasty Nate is going up against the #1 defense in all of the land - yes, you read that right - in the Chiefs. And not only that, he's doing it with Ryan Fitzpatrick instead of Jake Locker. Who needs a third strike when you've got those two?

If you're scouring waiver options to place over him, look at Alshon Jeffrey, or even Michael Floyd over Nate this week. And for the rest of the season, really.

numberFire Ranking: #35 WR

Donnie Avery

This one should be obvious, so I'm not going to spend a lot of time on it. Just stop it with Donnie Avery, will you?

Sure, Alex Smith has never met a seven-yard check down he didn't like, and sure, Donnie Avery runs 55 drag patterns per game. That's all well and good. What isn't well and good is Donnie's inconsistency, which gives him a confidence interval this week of 2.25-10.89. Yes, that means that 95% of the time he's going to score below 11 points - making his top-end only average for a starter - with a bottom end low enough to single-handledly ruin your team. No chance at a TD means no points for Avery. Simple as that.

numberFire Ranking: #40 WR

Houston D/ST

Defenses are always pretty much a crap shoot, so don't think twice about shutting down J.J. Watt and company for this week. They've been underperforming - ranking just #14 in our nERD power rankings - and the matchup on the road against SF isn't exactly a great one for them.

Instead, snap up Kansas City, St. Louis, or Carolina as a stream play. When it comes to D/ST, play the matchups (ie: anyone vs. Blaine Gabbert) and watch the points roll up.

numberFire Ranking: #23 D/ST