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Monday, October 9, 2017

2017 FANTASY FOOTBALL WRAPUP: WEEK 5

-Boy has Jacksonville Jaguars rookie back Leonard Fournette been something else.  While Kareem Hunt and previously Dalvin Cook have gotten most of the pub in 2017 fantasy football, Fournette has been a monster as he showed again Sunday in rushing for 181 yards and two scores on 28 carries.  The workload has been tremendous here and Fournette has scored in every game to make him one of the most dependable players in all of fantasy football this season.  While I do worry about the workload given Fournette's lengthy injury history, he has been performing like a top tier back no matter the setup. 

-It was a not a good day at the office for Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger to say the least.  His fantasy football owners got a dud from him as he completed just 33-of-55 passes for 312 yards with 0 TD and FIVE interceptions.  Two of the picks led to pick-six scores and over the last three games Big Ben has all of two scores.  The weaponry in Pittsburgh is way too top shelf for Roethlisberger to continue struggling like this but he is 37 years old. 

-Fantasy football owners of Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford know the drill with the comeback kid.  Even if Stafford has a bagel in the scoring column going into the fourth quarter, there is no need to get nervous since he is just getting started.  Stafford once again was a fourth quarter passing game as he tossed two late touchdown passes to save his fantasy football day and overall he completed 23-of-35 for 229 yards.  Next week Stafford gets the New Orleans Saints and so he will be in line for another huge day.

-It was Daniel Fells and not Eric Ebron who was the pass-receiving tight end of the day Sunday as he caught both of Matthew Stafford's TD passes in the loss to the Carolina Panthers.  Fells caught just those two balls for the two scores and 24 yards as Erbon dropped one pass after another.  While Fells has zero fantasy football value, Ebron might have reached the point where he can be dropped as it simply is not happening here. 

-San Francisco 49ers QB Brian Hoyer continues to play well despite the team now being 0-5 on the year.  Hoyer completed 29-of-46 passes for 353 yards with two scores in the OT loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday and in two-QB formats he has gained value once again like during his stints in Houston and Chicago. 

-Surprisingly Colts wideout T.Y. Hilton has made the best of a very bad QB situation in Indy as he continues to put up numbers despite being without Andrew Luck.  Hilton caught 7 balls for 177 yards in the OT win over the 49ers Sunday but still is on the WR 2/3 border going forward until Luck returns. 

-A changing of the guard could be happening in the Indy backfield as rookie Marlon Mack rushed for 91 yards and a score on just 9 carries Sunday.  Mack shows flash that aging Frank Gore doesn't possess anymore and so look for the kid to continue to eat into the carries of the latter.  Mack should be added where available this week.

-For the second week in a row, Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton was a stud as he completed 26-of-33 passes for 355 yards and 3 touchdowns in the win over the Lions.  While he failed to pick up one rushing yard, Newton is looking so much better than he ever has as a pocket passer.  This is clearly what head coach Ron Rivera had in mind when he said over the winter he wanted Newton to stay in the pocket and his QB's fantasy football value right now is the highest it has been since 2015.  While I have been as big a Newton critic as there is, even I can't argue with how well he is playing right now. 

-Cam Newton loves his tight ends and whether it is Greg Olsen or Ed Dickson, the numbers flow from the spot.  Dickson showed that he can be a very solid Olsen replacement on Sunday as he exploded to the tune of catching 5 balls for 175 yards.  This from a guy who previously was a blocking tight end.  Of course we have to consider this game a fluke but Dickson has become a safety valve outlet now for Newton.  If you really are hurting at tight end, take a shot. 

-Melvin Gordon has really been testing the patience of his fantasy football owners since the start of the season with some listless game results but in Week 5 he broke out big by rushing for 105 yards on 20 carries, while adding 6 catches for another 58 yards and 2 scores.  Gordon has all the ability in the world but the workload will always be there and the PPR numbers are flowing again as well.  He will be fine. 

-Devin Funchess is becoming a story in Carolina as he has taken over from Kelvin Benjamin the mantle of being the top receiver on the offense.  He went for 7 catches for 53 yards and a touchdown and has had 8 targets in three straight games.  Funchess' ascension has come at the expense of Benjamin who can be downgraded to WR 3 status.  Meanwhile Funchess is knocking on the WR 2 door. 

-While he did score his first NFL touchdown, Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey only picked up 7 rushing yards on 3 carries as he remained a complete non-factor in the running game.  McCaffrey did catch 5 balls for 31 yards and a score to save his day but he is now a volatile weekly fantasy football option in all formats given the extreme dependency on catching the football. 

-Miami Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi struggled yet again Sunday in picking up just 77 yards rushing on an insane 25 carries.  He also added just two catches for two yards as whispers continue to grow that he is dealing with a sore knee again.  Ajayi has not looked right since debuting in Week 2 and he has now dropped to RB 2 status and the bust talk is starting to grow as well. 

-Jarvis Landry has always been a much better PPR wideout than one in standard due to his lack of scoring but he got into the end zone Sunday as part of his 5-catch day for 44 yards.  Without the score, Landry was barely as WR 3 in even PPR formats and so it is imperative that the catch totals remain high.

-A big part of the problem for Landry, Ajayi and the Miami offense as a whole is the brutal play of QB Jay Cutler who should have stayed in retirement.  Cutler was a bomb for the third game in a row as he completed just 12-of-26 throws for 92 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT.  Those numbers don't work anymore and the offense really needs to be overhauled. 

-We wrote in our draft guide this past summer that Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz was one of the very best value play options at any position when it comes to drafts and the guy has more than made us look smart with his incredible play through five weeks.  Piloting an offense with a massive infusion of offensive talent, Wentz completed 21-of-30 passes for 304 yards with 4 TD and 1 INT, while adding 11 rushing yards.  Wentz now has 10 touchdowns on the season and the Eagles are throwing more than ever.  This is on stock moving up sharply. 

-While the Eagles brought in Torrey Smith and Alshon Jeffery in the offseason, it has been Nelson Agholor who arguably has been the best wideout on the team.  Agholor had a second monster game this season as he caught 4 balls for 93 yards and a score in the team's win over the Arizona Cardinals.  While Agholor has been completely inconsistent in the past, he seems to have found a rapport with Wentz which puts him on the WR 3 map.

-It was fun while it lasted but Los Angeles Rams QB Jared Goff saw his big start to the season end with a thud as he completed just 22-of-47 throws for 288 yard with 0 scores and 2 INT's in the team's loss to the Seattle Seahawks.  Nothing to worry about here just yet but it is a reminder that Goff is still just in his second year in the league and there will be some additional growing pains. 

-With the Seahawks defense looking as ferocious as ever, Rams running back Todd Gurley had his first dud of the year as well as he rushed for just 43 yards on 14 carries and a lost fumble.  He also caught just one pass as the Seahawks defensive game plan worked wonders.  Gurley had been the highest rated fantasy football running back this side of Kareem Hunt the first four games however and so no need to worry about any long-terms struggles. 

-DeShaun Watson is insane.  For the second week in a row, the Houston Texans rookie QB accounted for FIVE touchdowns.  Yes the garbage time theme was in working order here as the Texans had to throw on almost every play in the second half but Watson still completed 16-of-31 passes for 261 yards and the five scores.  He also added 3 carries for 31 yards.  Clearly Watson has the tools to succeed at the NFL level and those who snagged him off waivers last week could really have something big on their hands with the rookie. 


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