Week 5 Fantasy Football Preview
Time waits for no man, particularly your fantasy football team. At this point you’ve probably got a handle on what type of season your fantasy squad is looking at. There are teams flying high at 4-0 and the beauty of that kind of start is you really only have to maintain a .500 record herein to make the playoffs. There are teams that are looking to 2017, trying to move on from the Adrian Peterson-Keenan Allen draft.
Football coaches like to talk about an offense “staying on schedule” and that’s how I feel about a fantasy season. I like to be 2-1, 4-2, 6-3, and 8-4 as the season moves along. In every season I’ve been involved with, 9 wins gets you into the playoffs so staying on the 2-1 schedule means you only have to split your last two games to get to the magic number. Sure, you might sneak in with 8 or even 7 wins but 9 is your goal. If you take a 1-2 run, you’re going to have to make it up with a 3-0 run later. If you take an 0-3…well, that’s tough to recover from. Keep that in mind when you’re dealing with that tough loss or thinking about phoning one in on a particularly tough bye week stretch.
This week, we need to go back and take a look at our QB situation. For starters, the Jaguars, Chiefs, Seahawks, and Saints are all off this week. That’s two (Brees, Wilson) and maybe even three (Bortles) regular starters in our fake game. Brees is playing great, Wilson is somehow getting it done the last two weeks with no offensive line and leg injuries, and despite being a bad QB, Bortles still puts up useful fantasy lines. They’re all who we thought they were and expect them to be useful moving forward.
I’m sure you all printed off and memorized the QB rankings from August 2nd to help you with your fantasy drafts. The biggest movers from that list if I were to do it again would be flipping Cam Newton and Ben Roethlisberger. I still believe in Cam, but you’ve got to be concerned with how his game seemingly erodes as the Panthers are showing something that could be called a Super Bowl hangover. That, and that Carson Palmer ranking…okay, I missed that one pretty bad. Tom Brady will be back in action and hopefully he can share his kale smoothies with Rob Gronkowski and get him going as well. Rest of the season, Brady is as likely as anyone to be the #1 guy. With that in mind, here’s my top 10 for the rest of the season.
1. Ben Roethlisberger
2. Tom Brady
3. Cam Newton
4. Drew Brees
5. Russell Wilson
6. Andrew Luck
7. Aaron Rodgers
8. Derek Carr
9. Matt Ryan
10. Carson Wentz
If you have one of those guys, you should be good. If you have two of them, see if you can swing a trade and upgrade a wide receiver. Oh yeah! And I’m putting Derek Carr, Matt Ryan, and Carson Wentz into the top 10. I’m not sure I would have imagined that a month ago. Feel free to rip this list to shreds in the comments.
Shotgun Longshot – Brian Hoyer (16% ownership)
For those of you looking for help to fill in for Brees or Wilson, look no further than Hoyer the Destroyer. Hoyer has put up back to back 300 yard efforts and has shown the ability to move the offense down the field. Against a pretty bad Colts defense, Hoyer could find success with Zach Miller and Alshon Jeffery. If Hoyer can improve his red zone efficiency, he has a chance to turn in a top 10 effort this week. If you’re in a league with rabid Bears fans and Hoyer is already scooped up, take a look at the Denver QB situation. Trevor Siemian has been, um, passable as a starter but is banged up and rookie Paxton Lynch might get the start. Whoever gets this start will draw the Atlanta Falcons who have yielded the most points to opposing QBs.
We’ve done a lot of deep diving into the running back market this year because it is such a mess. What isn’t a mess is David Johnson. The Northern Iowa product has vaulted himself into the conversation for best back in the league and really, only Le’Veon Bell has a better argument. Both guys are patient runners that can produce in the passing game. Bell is the better receiver but Johnson might be the better running back. If you’re lucky enough to have either one, I can’t make an argument for what kind of value would be worth receiving in return for a trade. If you have a barren roster and need to swing a high level 2 for 1 or even 3 for 1, that might make sense.
As for some of the new names on the field, Jordan Howard is the hot name right now. Of course, Bears fans had high expectations from the start and we discussed his prospects in May. “I’m still not quite sure how Jordan Howard was there for Chicago in the 5th round but Bears fans will take it…Howard may be the best pure running back in this year’s class and it is not a stretch to envision Howard getting 1st and 2nd down carries and handling goal line work with Langford as the change of pace back. If that arrangement materializes, Howard could easily fill the stat sheet with dependable RB2 numbers.”
If you’re in a league where you can swing a trade for Howard now, I’d try to do it. He’s got an explosion to his game that makes him a favorite to keep the job when Langford returns from injury and has several juicy matchups on the schedule.
Toss Sweep Sleeper – DeAndre Washington (44% Owned)
The running back game is tough and you need to constantly be on your guard. Latavius Murray is going to miss this week with a toe injury, opening the door for Washington. He’s a rookie back with a soft opponent in San Diego. If he’s somehow out there or if you picked him up and aren’t sure whether or not to roll with him, I’d throw him in there. The Raiders don’t necessarily seem convinced that Murray is their future and a strong performance from Washington could shake up the depth chart.
As we struggle to find running backs every week, we seem to be in a truly golden age of wide receivers. Antonio Brown is keeping pace with his insane fantasy production from a year ago and the Julio Jones 300 yard game justified your first round selection by itself. AJ Green has been great and we’ve gotten surprising production from Larry Fitzgerald, Marvin Jones Jr., and even Michael Crabtree. One of my favorite things to track is the Triple Crown for wide receivers – catches, yards, and TDs. Here are the guys to keep an eye on that could threaten for the crown (Brown, Jones, Green) or prevent someone from getting it with single category dominance.
1. Antonio Brown - 28/369/4
2. Julio Jones – 22/488/3
3. AJ Green – 32/468/2
4. Larry Fitzgerald – 5 TD (5 games)
5. Marvin Jones – 482 Yards
6. Jarvis Landry – 31 Catches
I can’t explain the lack of targets or production from DeAndre Hopkins (17/227/2) but I believe in talent and believe in a rebound. Check in with the Hopkins owner in your league and see if there’s a panic. It may be worth a buy low chance if he can rebound.
Fly Route Flier – Quincy Enunwa (49% Owned)
We’ve discussed Enunwa before but he’s still under half owned and Eric Decker is likely out this week and maybe even longer. The Jets may be forced into the air early and often against the Steelers this week and there’s only so many targets that can go to Brandon Marshall. Enunwa has been impressive thus far and the only reason he’s not a bigger deal is a lack of TDs. However, he’s got the size and the Jets don’t have any tight ends to speak of in this offense. If Enunwa is available, grab him and consider him a WR3 herein.
How did the first quarter of the season treat your hopes and dreams? Check out the image to see the Official WCG Standings.