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NLL Fantasy Spotlight for Week 5

01/31/2012, 4:14pm EST
By Alexander Hinkley for NLL.com

This week's matchup: Colorado's John Grant Jr. versus Minnesota's Ryan Benesch


Take your pick: John Grant, Jr. (left) & Ryan Benesch are both capable of carrying your fantasy squad on any given night.

 We’re already in Week 5 of the season and a lot of surprising fantasy options have emerged. Several rookies are among the top fantasy scorers right now while a few of the more established veterans have been struggling. Before we get into this week’s players to avoid and buy, let’s start with the Fantasy Spotlight.
 
Fantasy Spotlight
 
The Fantasy Spotlight is a new section where two similarly priced players are selected each week to go head-to-head against one another. The previous spotlight was in Week 3 and pitted Colorado’s Gavin Prout against Rochester’s Cody Jamieson. Since Prout played back-to-back games, we’ll take his better performance. Here are their statistics from that week:
 

Gavin Prout (against Calgary): 2 goals, 4 assists, 3 loose balls for 19 fantasy points

Cody Jamieson (against Buffalo): 3 goals, 2 assists, 5 loose balls for 21 fantasy points
 
Both players turned in solid performances, but Jamieson squeaks out a victory with a couple more fantasy points as each goal counts for four points. Looks like the 69 percent of fans who voted for Jamieson to win this matchup were right!
 
This week’s matchup is a heavyweight battle between two of the best players in the league: John Grant Jr. ($25) from the Colorado Mammoth and Ryan Benesch ($24) from the Minnesota Swarm.
 
Benesch finished last season as the top scorer in the fantasy game with more than 300 points. On the other side of things, Grant is the top fantasy scorer right now. Both players have put up at least 20 fantasy points in each of their games this season (Grant has scored more than 30 in three of his). Who do you think will turn in the better performance in Week 5? Vote in the poll on the right to voice your opinion.
 
BUY
 

Shawn Williams (Edmonton $18) – Williams has had an impressive start to the season with his new team and has put up 22 fantasy points in each of his first two games. He had 22 fantasy points in the final week of the 2011 season as well, so this level of production is not new to him. Much of the Rush offense runs through Williams and he should continue to rack up assists, which makes him a great fantasy option at forward.

Adam Jones (Colorado $14) –Jones is one of the hottest players in fantasy right now with 88 points in four games. Jones has already seemed to establish a good rapport with John Grant Jr., which means there will be a lot more points in Jones’ future. He is worth putting on your fantasy team almost at any price, but is a steal for just $14.
 
Kevin Crowley (Philadelphia $17) - Crowley is another rookie playing phenomenally well with 28 fantasy points in each of his first two games. Like Jones, Crowley also plays alongside a superstar in Dan Dawson. Crowley may be a bit more expensive at $17, but was the top overall pick in the 2011 NLL Entry Draft for a reason.
 
Cory Vitarelli (Rochester $10) – Vitarelli is a great option to fill out your roster on the cheap. He is on pace for a 50-point season and currently ranks in the top 10 fantasy players with 67 points. He still has a low price tag and there’s not much risk involved here when compared to the potential upside. Buy him!
 
AVOID
 
Nick Patterson (Minnesota $17) – Patterson is an all-star goaltender that had a very rough start to the season. He posted -10 fantasy points (yes, that is negative ten points) in Week 2 against Colorado and then didn’t start last weekend against Buffalo. He’s too much of a risky play right now and is best avoided in fantasy for the time being.
 
Brodie Merrill (Philadelphia $22) – Since being traded to the Wings during the offseason, Merrill has yet to find the back of the net. He has just one assist in three games and his fantasy production has suffered as a result of this cold streak. He’s still scooping up plenty of loose balls and producing points, just not enough to justify spending $22 on him right now. Don’t put him on your fantasy roster until he breaks out of this slump.
 
SLEEPER
 
Tyler Carlson (Minnesota $8) – The rookie goaltender got the start last week for Minnesota and performed very well. He made 39 saves on 50 shots faced, but also had five assists, which skyrocketed his fantasy production to a 28-point performance. He is a very cheap option between the pipes and could be a good sleeper pick this week if he starts again. That’s not a guarantee and while there is nothing worse than spending money on someone who doesn’t even play, Carlson may be worth the risk at just $8.
 
MY TEAM
 
G – Tyler Carlson (Minnesota $8)

D – Ian Hawksbee (Colorado $6)

D – Kyle Rubisch (Edmonton $10)

T – Jordan MacIntosh (Minnesota $14)

T – Andrew Suitor (Minnesota $12)

T – David Brock (Philadelphia $4)

F – Adam Jones (Colorado $14)

F – Josh Sanderson (Toronto $19)

F – Kevin Crowley (Philadelphia $17)

F - Cody Jamieson (Rochester $19)

Team Value: $123

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