How about those games in Indianapolis, Minnesota, Jacksonville and San Francisco? That is the beauty of the NFL; you can have a close one like the game between the Packers and Colts, and a complete blowout like the one between the Bears and Jaguars. Because fantasy football is derived from stats, even fantasy teams can take away good things from a 9-6 game like the one in Kansas City.
Our fantasy team of James Morris and Jon Cope take a look at the winners and losers from week 5 along with a few players that might be worth adding to your team before week 6 begins.
Winners (by James Morris)
Alex Smith – QB 49ers: Anyone who knows me knows how I feel about the 49ers offense, and that is why I said to sit Smith. I am big enough to admit I was WRONG! That being said, I can’t ignore that Smith and the 49ers piled on to the helpless Buffalo Bills defense by throwing for 303 yards and 3 TDs on the day. Not only that, but Smith also ran for another 49 yards. He ranked #2 in NFL.com fantasy leagues for QBs, which means 11 percent of fantasy owners will be very happy about week 5 (that is how many people are starting Smith in NFL.com leagues).
Andrew Luck – QB Colts: I told you to start Luck this week, and hopefully you listened. The rookie shocked the Green Bay Packers by throwing for 362 yards and 2 TDs, and running for 24 yards and a TD on Sunday. He finished the week #3, and did exactly what I knew he could do against a struggling Packers defense.
Ahmad Bradshaw – RB Giants: There is a lot of concern about the Giants RB situation with the emergence of Davis Wilson, but I think Bradshaw cleared about a lot of the speculation with his great game on Sunday. Bradshaw finished with 200 yards rushing, 29 yards receiving on 4 catches and a touchdown. All totaled he was the #1 ranked RB in NFL.com PPR formats this weekend.
Ryan Mathews – RB Chargers: The Chargers have created a problem for fantasy owners by sticking Jackie Battle into the RB mix, so a lot of owners aren’t sure if they should start Mathews or leave him on the bench. I think he answered that question this weekend as he put up 81 yards rushing, caught 6 passes for 59 yards and scored a TD on a 13-yard run. He is a low-end RB1 going forward and should be played unless otherwise noted.
Stevan Ridley – RB Patriots: Ridley’s riddle, will the Patriots use him or not? Well, they did this week and he was able to weave his way to 151 yards and a TD. He did lose a fumble, but the numbers were still good enough to rank him as a RB1 in all formats, and that is great news for someone taken in the later rounds of fantasy drafts.
Reggie Bush – RB Dolphins: Bush may have only gotten 48 yards rushing and 24 yards receiving, but the TD vaulted him into the top 10 for fantasy RBs. It may not be the great numbers I expected from him, but a win is a win is a win, and I will take this from Bush and be happy with it.
Reggie Wayne – WR Colts: Reggie “Aloysius” Wayne had the best game of his NFL career as he hauled in 12 passes for 212 yards and a TD in week 5. Wayne is having a monster year, and owners brave enough to draft him are being rewarded handsomely for it.
Marques Colston – WR Saints: Colston and Drew Brees were in sync for the Sunday night game as they hooked up for 9 receptions, 131 yards and 3 TDs. As impressive as that is, it still took 2nd place o Wayne and the show the Colts put on.
Brandon Marshall – WR Bears: The entire Bears team was in full on Beast Mode on Sunday against the Jaguars. Marshall managed to rack up 12 catches for 144 yards and a TD, good enough to finish #3 in PPR formats behind Wayne.
* There are some honorable mentions for the WR position in Josh Gordon, Michael Crabtree and James Jones. Gordon finished with 82 yards and 2 TDs; Crabtree had 113 yards and a TD on 6 catches; Jones finished with 4 catches for 46 yards and 2 TDs. All three guys finished with WR1 numbers, but are highly unlikely to repeat them in the futures.
Tony Gonzalez – TE Falcons: We all keep waiting for Gonzalez to slow down and lose a step, and he just never seems to miss a beat. A fantasy TE is very much all-or-nothing for points, but Gonzalez was “all” that and then some with his 13 catches for 123 yards and a TD.
Chicago Bears defense: The Bears were my start ‘em defense this week, and they did not disappoint! They held the Jaguars to just a field goal, and racked up 3 sacks, 2 INTs, a recovered fumble and scored 2 defensive TDs. The Jaguars offense is just not clicking and you would do fine just shadowing them with whatever defense they play each week.
Losers (by James Morris)
Robert Griffin III – QB Redskins: Griffin was knocked out of the game with a mild concussion. While this kind of thing can’t be predicted or accounted for, numbers and numbers and RGIII didn’t put up many of them. He finished the game with just 91 yards passing and 7 yards rushing, and that equals 4.34 points in our Miami Dolphins NFL.com league.
Joe Flacco – QB Ravens: Just when I think Flacco and the Ravens passing attack is ready to put it on a team, they go out and fall flat on their faces. The Chiefs were giving up 24.0 fantasy PPG to QBs (7th worst in the NFL) heading into week 5, yet Flacco threw for just 187 yards and an INT. I don’t know if he will ever get over the hump of just an average starting NFL QB if he can’t put up numbers against a secondary like the Chiefs have.
Ryan Fitzpatrick – QB Bills: Because I truly do not believe Fitzpatrick should be on fantasy teams, I am going to throw him in here as a 3rd QB. Fitzy finished week 5 with 126 yards, an INT and no TDs, and his arm strength problems were evident throughout the game. I would cut bait if you own him (29.4 percent owned in NFL.com) and go with just about anyone else on the waiver wire.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis – RB Bengals: The Law Firm got put into fantasy football jail this weekend, as the Dolphins held him to just 14 yards rushing and 2 yards receiving. Those numbers are barely enough to manage a blip on the fantasy radar, and the Dolphins defense gets a thumbs-up for the effort!
Chris Johnson – RB Titans: I keep telling people not to trust CJ2K, but they just won’t listen. This week the Titans RB managed to shake and bake his way to an impressive 24 yards rushing and 5 yards receiving. To make it worse, he also lost a fumble and finished with 1.90 fantasy points in our NFL.com league. Way to go CJNOK!
Mike Wallace – WR Steelers: Wallace was targeted 8 times on Sunday, but managed to reel just two of them in for 17 empty yards. This is more of a credit to Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (yes, the Eagles got away with two holding calls) than a knock on Wallace’s fantasy value. Every player has a bad game from time-to-time.
Jordy Nelson – WR Packers: Like Wallace, Nelson hurt many fantasy teams because they expected WR1 numbers and got waiver wire garbage instead. The reality with Nelson is that Aaron Rodgers looked out of synch all game long, and the Packers default #1 WR has caught at least five passes in three of the first five games. So, the catches and targets are there, you just have to deal with the ups and downs that comes when you are missing Greg Jennings.
Jimmy Graham – TE Saints: And on the other end of the TE “all-or-nothing” spectrum we have Mr. Graham, who was taken as a top 2 TE in many drafts, and finished week 5 with a single catch for 4 empty yards.
Buffalo Bills defense: For the 11.4 percent of NFL.com fantasy leaguers that own the Bills defense, things couldn’t have gone much worse if they tried this week. The Bills allowed a league high 45 points and only managed to get a single recovered fumble to help their owners. Those horrific numbers accounted for a -2 total (that’s right, negative 2).
Week 6 Waiver Wire (by Jon Cope)
Alex Green- RB, Packers– (owned in 0.3% of NFL.com leagues) Green Bay’s starter Cedric Benson was seen in a walking boot after the game, and his status for the Packers game this Sunday against Houston is in doubt. Green rushed 9 times for 55 yards on Sunday in relief of Benson and figures to be the Packers primary ball carrier if Benson is out for an extended period of time. Green isn’t a great option against a stout Texans defense in week 6, but he can be an RB2 if the matchup is right down the road
James Jones and Randall Cobb- WRs, Packers (owned in 31.1% & 24.2% of NFL.com leagues)- as we wrote last week in this very same space, with Greg Jennings out, these two receivers are very good fantasy options in the explosive Packers offense. Jones found the end zone twice on Sunday, and Cobb racked up 82 receiving yards, a touchdown and plenty of return yardage. Both of these Green Bay playmakers are must-adds as long as Jennings is out, with myself giving a slight edge to Jones over Cobb because of his affinity for the end zone.
Kendall Wright, WR Titans (owned in 2.7% of NFL.com leagues)- Kendall Wright has been targeted with more passes this year than Calvin Johnson. After you let that fact sink in, consider Wright’s 9 reception, 66-yard performance against the Vikings was no aberration. Wright has become the top option in the Titans passing game with Kenny Britt still working himself back into the offense. I believe Wright will eventually showcase his high-end speed and make some big plays that will make him even a better fantasy option.
Brandon Gibson, WR Rams (owned in 1.6% of NFL.com leagues)- with Danny Amendola expected to miss almost 2 months, Gibson is now the #1 wide receiver option for Sam Bradford in the Rams. Gibson hasn’t produced great numbers this year, but with Amendola now out, Gibson will get every opportunity to prove that he can be a big-time receiver for the Rams.
Miami Dolphins Defense/Special Teams (owned in 1.9% of NFL.com leagues)- this shouldn’t come to Dolphin fans who witnessed a great performance by the unit against a talented Bengals offense on Sunday in Cincinnati. The Dolphins have a favorable matchup against a Rams team on Sunday that just lost their best wide receiver in Danny Amendola and has running back Steven Jackson banged up. Only 2 quarterbacks have been sacked more than Sam Bradford in 2012, and I’d expect Cam Wake and the Dolphins pass-rush to have success on Sunday.
Be sure to check back on Wednesday for Fantasy Q & A.
Also, for more fantasy guidance, follow James on Twitter here.
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.
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