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Monday, October 10, 2016

FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 5 WRAPUP

-Well everyone saw that coming.  Tom Brady's return from his four-game Deflategate suspension was going to be an awesome and angry-filled display of offensive fireworks for the New England Patriots and the Cleveland Browns defense obliged to say the least.  There was nothing Brady was not able to do as he completed 28-of-40 passes for 406 yards and 3 touchdowns in the ame and that is why we had him as our nunber 1 rated QB for fantasy football Week 5.  Brady got everyone involved and hooked up three times for score with tight end Martelus Bennett.  Rob Gronkowski also caught five passes as he looked like his old self with his QB back under center.  The rest of the NFL is screwed as they are going to be receiving the wrath of Brady the rest of the season.

-It was a game of pitch and catch between Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger and his receivers on Sunday as the early fantasy football MVP candidate completed 34-of-47 throws for 380 yards and 4 touchdowns in the team's torching of the New York Jets.  Big Ben had no trouble continuing what has been a spectacular start to his season where he has thrown at will and piled up the numbers.  Again Roethlisberger is on the short list of current fantasy football MVP candidates for this season. As long as he doesn't get hurt, 40 scores actually seems like a lock.

-We said at the beginning of the season that detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford was going to be the value play passer of the year in fantasy football and the first two weeks he was every bit that player.  The last two weeks not so much though as the Lions went through an offensive dry spell.  While Matt Ryan is clearly the value play QB of the year so far, Stafford got back on track Sunday by completing 19-of-25 passes for 180 yards and 3 touchdowns.  Two went to Theo Riddick and one to Marvin Jones.  Stafford should be back in your good graces going forward off this game.

-Boy the Houston Texans are in big trouble both on the field and in the front office in terms of QB Brock Osweiler.  It was a horrific game for Osweiler Sunday against the top defense in the league in the Minnesota Vikings as he completed just 18-of-42 passes for 184 yards with a garbage-time score and yet another pick.  Not only is Osweiler struggling badly but he is dragging down receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller. Not only that, Lamar Miller is now seeing 8-men in the box as opposing defenses are not longer fearing Osweiler.  The Texans are almost obligated to start Osweiler given the contract but this is going as bad as possible.  If you haven't done so by now, drop Osweiler in all leagues.

-The QB situation in Cleveland is a downright joke right now.  After starter Robert Griffin III and then backup Josh McCown were lost to injury, third-string rookie Cody Kessler went out Sunday with a rib injury.  In went fourth-stringer Charlie Whitehurst who was justsigned off the street a few weeks ago and then he too got injured late in the loss to the New England Patriots.  Whitehurst got hurt himself but gutted it out the rest of the game as he completed 14-of-24 throws for 182 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT.  We have gotten to the point now where every single Cleveland Browns offensive player needs to be benched outright and all defenses you can stream against them is a terrific play to do.

-Sammy Coates dropped a few passes throughout but the bottom line result was significant Sunday as he caught 6 balls for 139 yards and 2 scores against the New York Jets.  It now is becoming abundantly clear that Coates is the number 2 wideout now opposite Antonio Brown and the incredible productioin of the Steelers passing game makes him a must add this week if he is on the wire in your league.

-While he is never going to be a high-impact runner, Theo Riddick got back to what he does best in contributing in the passing game Sunday as he caught 6 passes for 33 yards and 2 scores, while also picking up 49 yards on the ground on 11 carries.  Dwayne Washington figures to get another long look when he gets back on the field but Riddick's status as a prime RB 2 in PPR formats is secure.

-Getting back to the joke that is Brock Osweler this season, rookie wideout Will Fuller became the biggest victim of his ineptitude in Sunday's game as he caught just one pass for four yards.  Fuller has been either all-or-nothing this season with his production and the struggles of Osweiler is severely undermining him and DeAndre Hopkins.

-All fantasy football owners of New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski rejoiced in the Tom Brady return Sunday as he the All-Pro caught 5 passes for 109 yards.  Coming into the game, Gronk has just one catch in two games after sitting out the first two games with a bum hamstring.  Big things are in store for Gronkowski now that Brady is back and he can now be safely used every week.  Just stay healthy bro.

-Martellus Bennett proved my theory correct over the summer when I said that the Patriots can have two fantasy football-worthy tight ends to start every week in out fake game.  Bennett was a monster in Tom Brady's return as he caught 6 passes for 67 yards and 3 touchdowns as he took advantage of double-coverage on Gronkowski.  Yes Gronk will likely produce more than Bennett on a weekly basis but like when Aaron Hernandez was around and not killing people, the Pats can supply enough passes to both to keep them relevant.

-I tweeted during the game and will say it again that Chicago Bears running back JOrdan Howard could be the fantasy football value play of the year.  I am talking about a guy who can change the complexions of more leagues than anyone else given what we have seen in his first two outings.  After running for over 100 yards in his starting debut a week ago, Horward made it 2-for-2 Sunday by rushing for 118 yards on 16 carries, while also catching 3 passes for another 46 yards and a score.  There is almost no way in hell John Fox can involved anyone else when it comes to running the football and Howard all of a sudden has the look of a running back 1.

-T.Y. Hilton has been on the best tear of his career the last three weeks, which included the insane 10 catches for 171 yards and 1 touchdown Sunday against the Chicago Bears.  Always a much better standard league wideout then a PPR one due to having good but not great reception totals, Hilton is right there as a WR 1 in all formats right now.

-There will be a lot individuals in the fantasy football community who will be looking up who Minnesota Vikings wideout Adam Thielen is after the Stefon Digss replacement caught 7 passes for 127 yards and a touchdown Sunday in the team's win over the Houston Texans.  It was Thielen and not Cordarelle Patterson who was the featured Diggs replacement and now this could be an actionable move if the latter is out again next week.  Still for now don't go crazy chasing Thielen as Diggs is expected back for the team's next game.

-Having earned a bunch of well-deserved criticism with some ugly early season performances, Tennessee Titans QB Marcus Mariota was on the short list of fantasy football stars of Week 5 as he accounted for FOUR touchdowns in the team's win over the Miami Dolphins.  Mariota completed 20-of-29 passes for 163 yards and 3 touchdowns, while also adding another 60 yards and a score on the ground on 7 carries.  Some momentum should be gained with Mariota as he gets the awful Cleveland Browns defense next week which makes him a possible option with the bye weeks in full force.

-Nothing doing for Wendell Smallwood during the Philadelphia Eagles' loss to the Detroit Lions Sunday as he didn not even touch the football in the game.  Darren Sproles was the featured back in the passing game, while Ryan Mathews did the job on the rushing side of things.  I still think there are some big plans ahead for Smallwood but for now it is impossible to hold onto someone who is hardly even playing.

-We have already been on record too many times to count regarding how awful a QB Ryan Tannehill is and that point should have been driven home on Sunday as he completed just 12-of-18 passes for 191 yards with 0 TD and 2 INT.  The point is now being reached where Tannehill could be benched and like in Houston with Brock Osweiler, he is dragging down the potential values of Jarvis Landry and DeVante Parker.

-With Kevin White out for awhile, up stood fourth string wideout Cameron Meredith who had a smashing outing Sunday to say the least.  In a "putting your name on the map" game, Meredith caught 9 passes for 130 yards and a touchdown in the team's loss to the Indianapolis Colts.  The way Brian Hoyer instantly connected with Meredith was telling and that should make him a decent waiver add this week.

-So much for the Golden Tate comeback in Week 5.  The much-criticized wideout caught just 3 balls for 39 yards and it looks like there is no end in sight for how awful he has performed. Again we have no answers here as this is the same guy who caught over 90 passes in the same offense a year ago.  It could now be time to think about releasing him outright.

-While he ultimately suited up in Denver despite the concerns of having the Tay Sachs trait, Atlanta Falcons running back Tevin Coleman had an impactful day as he caught 4 passes for 132 yards and a touchdown, while also picking up 31 yards on the ground on 6 carries.  Devonta Freeman has gotten more and more of the rushing load of late (22 carries) which has hurt Coleman though and that has pushed him down to RB 3 status for now. 

-It is becoming a weekly occurence to see Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott go nuts on Sunday and he did it again in the team's win over the Cincinnati Bengals by rushing for 134 yard and 2 touchdowns on just 15 carries, while also catching 3 passes for 37 more yards.  There is not much more than can be said right now about how well Elliott is playing and our missives early on in the season have proven to be unfounded.  Right now Elliott is earning every bit of his first round grade. 

-Julio Jones got well-acquainted with how good the Denver Broncos defense is as he caught just two passes for 29 yards which came just a week after he topped 300 yards 7 days earlier.  The whole Atlanta passing offense was halted so this was just a one-week anomoly in terms of Jones' poor game. 

-The Dallas Cowboys are also playing some defense as they held Cincinnati Bengals wideout A.J. Green to four catches for 50 yards.  The Cowboys defensive backs were very physical with Green and banged him around a bit but his fantasy football owners took a beating there. 

-It was a bit of a surprise for Jeremy Hill fantasy football owners when Gio Bernard got the start at running back against the Dallas Cowboys.  With no injury to speak of, Bernard got the nod and rushed for 50 yards on 9 carries, while also catching 6 passes for another 46 yards.  It was a decent PPR outing but Bernard continues to be a liability in standard formats since he doesn't net many scores. 

-The Garbage-Time Special was in play Sunday at the end of the Bengals-Cowboys game and the main beneficiary was Cincy wideout Brandon LaFell who caught 8 passes for 68 yards and 2 touchdowns.  LaFell has done little of note coming into the game so there is no actionable move to make in terms of fantasy football.

-It was a rough go of it for rookie Denver Broncos QB Paxton Lynch who completed 23-of-35 passes for 223 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT in the team's first loss of the season to the Atlanta Falcons.  The one scoring toss was to Demaryuis Thomas, with the latter making it three games in a row he has hit the end zone.  Trevor Siemian is expected back for Thursday Night Football against the San Diego Chargers though so this is not much of story. 

-While they somehow found yet another way to blow a fourth quarter lead, San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers did his job by completing 20-of-29 passes for 359 yard with 4 TD and 2 INT.  Once again Rivers is shaping up as one of the best value play QB's in fantasy football and his string of 300-yards games has grown to 3 in a row.

-While Michael Crabtree scored yet another touchdown, Amari Cooper finally got in on the fun by catching 6 balls for 138 yards and his first score of the season.  Crabtree clearly is the preferred target of QB Derek Carr near the red zone which has hurt Cooper's fantasy footbal upside.

-It was a mess in the Oakland Raiders backfield on Sunday as the injured Latavius Murray left behind a three-headed mismash of backs that included Jalen Richard, DeAndre Washington, and Jamize Olawale.  Washington was the one who most in the fantasy football community went with but he ran for just 23 yards on 9 carries but he did manage 5 catches for another 29 yards.  Murray should be back for Week 6 though but Jack Del Rio has also hinted at going with the hot hand.

-Something could be brewing in the Denver Broncos backfield as Devontae Booker got almost HALF the carries along with C.J. Anderson.  After his big outing in Week 1 versus Carolina, Anderson has been relatively quiet since which has opened the door to the more dynamic Booker.  Booker also is the better receiver so anyone who owns stock in Anderson can't be happy right now.

-Another one of the biggest stars in fantasy football Week 5 was Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy who exploded for 150 yards on 18 carries, while also catching 2 passes for another 8 yards.  One of the few bellcow backs left in the game, McCoy has been terrific this season but no one seems to be talking about him.  He has a great matchup next week as well versus the San Francisco 49ers as McCoy is in the low-end RB 1 conversation given how good he is playing.

-Aaron Rodgers did throw two interceptions but he also tossed in two scoring passes in dismantling the New York Giants defense Sunday night.  Rodgers completed 23-of-45 throws for 259 yards and is one pace for 36 TD's this season.

 

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