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Start or Sit? Week 5 AZ Fantasy Football Projections

Who are the players to start or sit this week for Arizona as they take on San Francisco, as well as others around the league?

Well, as we enter a quick turnaround some positive news for the Cardinals also comes along with some negatives.  While Tyrann Mathieu (perhaps sensing the season slipping away) is resuming his "Honey Badger" role as the team's nickel corner, they will be without the services of Carson Palmer.

So, what's a fantasy owner to do?  Let's begin:

Start of the Week: Either Defense

Look, Blaine Gabbert is not a great quarterback, and he's going up against a Cardinals' defense that knows they are backed into a corner in their playoff aspirations and have to be on point with a backup quarterback starting.

Meanwhile, Drew Stanton has been a turnover machine in the preseason, and threw two interceptions (one of them egregious) versus the Rams.

It's not going to be a great day offensively for either team most likely, so start the Arizona Defense and, if you need a quick bye week substitute, give San Francisco a look in case Bruce Arians keeps up with his passing mentality (instead of running it versus the 32nd ranked rush D) and Stanton has four turnovers.

Is that as likely?  No, as this is a game Arizona should win.  And yet we've been saying that for the last few weeks and San Fran is good at home...

Cards Start of the Week: Jaron Brown

Now, this isn't REALLY the Cards start of the week.  That would be David Johnson in a game without Carson Palmer vs. the worst-ranked run defense in the NFL which just lost DeForest Buckner and Navarro Bowman, the latter for the season.

But you should be starting him every week already.

No, Jaron Brown has a great rapport with Stanton, and got three targets from him on the limited snaps Stanton had in the Rams game.  As the backup QB, he and Jaron worked together a ton in camp and preseason, so the familiarity is there.  John Brown is another possiblity for having a big week again, as Stanton looks deep more often than Palmer (which can lead to picks) but also to big plays.

The other big reason is that Jaron Brown had more snaps last week than Michael Floyd, who's been dropping almost half of the throws coming his way so far this season.  Jaron Brown might be a sleeper for an 80 yard game and a touchdown, especially if Floyd's time continues to decrease.

Cards Sit of the Week: Larry Fitzgerald

Maybe I'm wrong on this and Fitzgerald is looked to a lot by Stanton, but in his time starting for Arizona in which he went 5-3, Stanton targeted Michael Floyd far more than Larry, due in part to his affinity for deeper throws and Floyd's skill set being a better fit.

This game will likely be a travesty on offense for both sides, and low scoring, so I would keep Larry on the bench unless you have no other choice due to a bye week.

Niners Start of the Week: Vance McDonald

The Cardinals have had problems with blown coverages, especially when teams are targeting either their corner not named Patrick Peterson OR at times Kevin Minter over the middle.

McDonald is a fast tight end and while Carlos Hyde will get a ton of work, Arizona seemed to regain their ability to stop the run last week verus St. Louis and seems to be prepared for the misdirection of Chip Kelly's offense.

So I will go with McDonald to have a nice game for this week.

Niners Sit of the Week: Torrey Smith

I can't say to sit Carlos Hyde just yet, as he will be the focal point of the Niners' offense and has been mostly matchup-proof so far this year.  Smith, on the other hand, is going up against Patrick Peterson and Peterson might draw him in coverage all day.

Considering it's Blaine Gabbert, I wouldn't expect him to target Smith with Peterson draped all over him.

Other Sits/Starts and Sleepers:

Start: Michael Crabtree

With Jason Verrett out, San Diego might go from a top defending team to a lower one of Wide Receivers.  It's like if Patrick Peterson was out for AZ.  Crabtree's been Carr's favorite target and more consistent than most.

Sit: DeAndre Hopkins

I hate to advise this with how good a talent Hopkins is, but he'll get the Xavier Rhodes treatment from the Vikings.  And the fact that MInnesota has allowed the 2nd most yards to wide receivers might be a bit misleading--they get up early and force teams to throw by shutting down the run....but they also shut down the top option as well and keep them out of the end zone.

Start: Victor Cruz

Cruz has been the beneficiary of teams keying in on Odell Beckham Jr. and faces a poor Green Bay secondary and a national TV game that should see Eli Manning throwing the ball a ton.  Expect Cruz to salsa his way into the endzone

Sit: Isaiah Crowell

While Crowell has been dominant for the Browns, it's Tom Brady's return to action on Sunday.  Considering how fluid the offense looked under Garoppolo, it might be a little rusty but I would expect the Patriots to start running up the score to prove a point to Roger Goodell (and because that's who Belichick is) and that means a lack of rushing attempts versus a tough Patriots defense.

Any questions, hit me up at @blakemurphy7 on Twitter or in the comment section and I'll try to get to answer as many as I can.

Have a good week, let's hope the Cardinals can put up some points on a bad Niners team even with Drew Stanton.