Here we are in week 5. It's amazing how quickly time flies during the football season. It seems like just yesterday we were preparing for the draft and sweating over every little decision. Just yesterday Jamaal Charles was healthy and Arian Foster was injured. Now look at them.
0-4 teams are trading like crazy.
4-0 teams are laughing to the bank.
2-2 teams don't know WHAT to think.
Owners that are 1-3 and the leagues high scorer and tearing the hair out while owners that are 3-1 and know how lucky they are... well they are kind of pulling their hair out too. Happy to have a 3-1 record but also probably willing to make trades because you can only be lucky for so long.
Please leave any questions or comments down below, and as always you can hit me up on twitter.
The Five Sleepers
So far my sleepers have been my most successful preview picks this season. You don't expect sleepers to go off for 20 points. These are more like guys that I consider a success if they score between 8 and 10 points just for starters, because they're the type of player you start in a bind.
5. Mark Ingram
Thus far the supposed "stud rookie running back" Heisman winner has been a total disappointment, playing in a high-octane offense but scoring far fewer fantasy points than backup Darren Sproles. He's carried the ball twice as many times as Pierre Thomas, and a whopping 53-to-15 carry difference between him and Sproles, but its resulted in only 184 yards, 1 TD, and 1 fumble. Ingram has also caught 4 balls for exactly 0 yards.
Will things finally click this week for Ingram as the Saints play the leagues 2nd worst rushing defense in Carolina? I certainly hope so, as I'm flexing Ingram just to show that I believe. Or because I'm a stubborn idiot.
4. Dexter McCluster
Thomas Jones is averaging 2.8 yards per carry compared to McClusters average of 5.9. Dexter has also added 17 catches this season. The Colts meanwhile have allowed 6 rushing touchdowns and I expect that if anyone has a big game it will be McCluster. So settle down on Sunday and watch Dexter in the daytime and then Dexter on Showtime. Both will be ugly, bloody, and hilarious.
3. Austin Collie
I liked Austin Collie probably more than anybody going into the year, but the loss of Peyton Manning seems to have really hurt him. I don't know what the hell happened, whether or not he slept with Kerry Collins wife, or played keep-away with Kerry's Rascal Scooter, but Collie has gotten no love in the passing game this season.
He has 10 catches for 69 yards, and whether its Collins or Curtis Painter, at least the Colts are facing the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs are allowing 243 passing yards per game, but more importantly a league-high 10 passing touchdowns. At this point Pierre Garcon isn't really a sleeper, so that's why I present to you Austin Collie.
2. Mark Sanchez
I normally wouldn't recommend you let Mark Sanchez babysit your kids, let alone start for you fantasy team, but I guess if you found yourself hopeless this week there's a chance that Sanchez could do something. The Patriots are last in the league in pass defense and Sanchez will at least have the opportunity to put up yards on New Englands soft cushion of a secondary. They are giving up 369 yards per game with 7 touchdowns allowed against 7 interceptions.
Sanchez has gone back and forth between good starts and terrible starts against the Pats so far in his career. I'll guesstimate 300 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTS.
1. Jacoby Jones
Life without Andre Johnson starts this week for the Texans against the Raiders, who have allowed 273 passing yards and 2 passing touchdowns per game. Owen Daniels and James Casey can't catch all of the passes over the next few weeks, so that burden should on the shoulders of either Jones or Kevin Walter.
Jones was a popular sleeper pick going into the season after posting 51 catches for 562 yards in 2010, but so far he has been a huge disappointment with only 91 yards through 4 games. Neither Jones or Walter caught a pass last week, making them both super sleepers. Walter might be the better all-around receiver, but Jones is the bigger play guy of the two. It's just a matter of preference. Picking up either would be if you are in a really bind, or if you want to get a jump on the competition, because the passes are going to have to go somewhere until Johnson returns.
The Five That Struggle
5. LeGarrette Blount
The Bucs running back has gotten incrimentally better each week after a terribly disappointing start to the season that had owners scrambling for answers. He had a season-high 127 yards against the Colts on Monday night and looked every bit like the running back owners were hoping they were getting in the draft this year. However he faces a 49ers defense that hasn't given up a running touchdown this year and has so far shut down LeSean McCoy, Cedric Benson, Felix Jones, and Marshawn Lynch.
Find another answer.
4. Michael Turner
The Packers have turned around their rush defense, so far only allowing 1 score on the ground through 4 games. Not only is Green Bay 2nd in the league against the run, but they're 31st against the pass. Expect a shootout, and Michael Turner doesn't get involved in shootouts. I wouldn't be surprised if Turner carries the ball 9 or 10 times in this game.
3. Ben Roethlisberger
The Titans allowed a season-high 332 passing yards last week against the Browns, but it took Colt McCoy 61 pass attempts to get there. They haven't allowed over 200 passing yards in any other game, with 4 touchdowns allowed against 5 interceptions.
Roethlisberger is "enjoying" one of his worst seasons in 2011, but I see a lot of owners who start him because they didn't have a backup plan for Big Ben. He has 3 TDs against 5 picks, but he's been able to put up some yards like every other QB in the league.
2. Wes Welker
Dare I even say it? I mean, he's due to be stopped at some point right? Otherwise we might as well just declare Welker the greatest wide receiver in history right now. Move over Jerry Rice, here's that white guy that used to be a special teamer for Miami.. now the greatest wideout to ever play the game.
Welker's historic start to the season is well-documented and now its being put to the test: Welcome to Revis Island. It's not quite as scary as Jurassic Park, but it's a lot more boring. This could be a game where Chad Ochocino finally gets involved between tweets.
1. Sidney Rice
Things were looking pretty rosy for Seattle's offense last week at home against Atlanta, but they won't look nearly as good this week in New York. Frankly, a morning game on the east coast against the Giants screams blowout to me and I could see the offense maybe putting up a touchdown and some field goals against the Giants. It doesn't matter how many injuries they have, the most important factor for New York is the fact that the Seahawks will still be super sleepy by the 10 AM PST game time.
The Five Biggest Days
The five biggest days of the year are Christmas, Halloween, New Years, My Birthday, NFL Draft Day. Here are the 5 biggest days of week 5.
5. Fred Jackson
I put Spiller in my sleepers just because I think it would be great if the Bills shared the love, but the NFL's 4th leading rusher in Jackson should have a huge day against the Eagles and especially if Spiller isn't good to go. I expect 20 carries for 120 yards and at least 1 TD.
4. Philip Rivers
I feel like this isn't the first time I've put Rivers here, but if he doesn't perform this week then I'll never put him here again. Against a Broncos defense thats allowed 9 passing TDs and only 2 INTs, Rivers has a real opportunity to put up 400 yards and 3-4 scores. Do it already. Rivers seemed poised to solidify himself as a top 5 QB, but so far he's looked pretty average to below-average.
3. Santonio Holmes
Even if I'm wrong about my prediction on Sanchez, 350 yards of passing has to go somewhere. The Patriots keyed on Antonio Gates in their week 2 matchup against the Chargers, and if they do the same on Dustin Keller then Holmes or Plaxico Burress could have big days. I'm going to go out on a limb with Holmes, who has so far been a disappointment, and predict 8 catches for 140 yards. That would nearly double his season totals.
2. Adrian Peterson
The Cardinals haven't been terrible against the run in 2011, but they face one of the top 3 running backs in the league, travelling Minnesota to play in the dome against AP. The Vikings are on a hunt for the leagues worst record, and I see no reason why AP can't carry the ball 25 times for 120 yards on Sunday against a Cardinals defense allowing 105.5 yards and 1 TD per game on the ground.
1. Chris Johnson
I think the upward swing continues to Johnson this week against a Steelers rush defense allowing 4.8 yards per carry and 3 TDs through 4 games. He had a season-high 101 yards last week and I expect him to have another season high this week, along with 5-6 catches for 40 yards. 2 TDs for Chris Johnson this week as well.
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More Notes for Week 5:
- This weeks byes are the Ravens, Dolphins, Rams, Cowboys, Redskins, and Browns. If you think about it, you aren't missing much this week unless you have Ray Rice, a healthy Daniel Thomas, Brandon Marshall, Steven Jackson, Dez Bryant, Tony Romo, Jason Witten, Ryan Torain, or Peyton Hillis. For 6 teams on a bye, that's not too bad.
- My favorite game this week is the Monday Night matchup between the Bears and Lions. I haven't hidden my out-of-town love for Detroit all season long and I hope that they can whoop up on the Bears at home. I've loved the Lions ever since they drafted Charles Rogers with the 2nd pick in the draft, because I knew for a fact he'd be the next Randy Moss.
- The Bengals play the Jaguars this week and I can't help but wonder what the heck Roger Goodell is thinking with the Cedric Benson decision. Why is it taking 2 weeks already? I picked up Bernard Scott at the time of the announcement and now he's just wasting a bench spot until the NFL makes a decision. Do it already!
- Speaking of Jacksonville, the Blaine Gabbert expirement isn't going that well. The Jags have scored 2 touchdowns in their last 3 games, and Gabbert is completing less than 50% of his passes. Jack Del Rio will be the first coach fired this season, and you can't help but wonder the "What ifs" with David Garrard.
- Does the unstoppable Beanie Wells train take a detour against the leagues 5th best rush defense in Minnesota? An interesting matchup to watch.
- If the Chiefs beat the Colts this week, they can all but kiss Andrew Luck goodbye and give Indianapolis an inside-track to having the top pick. Don't forget that Steve Young sat behind Joe Montana for 7 years in San Francisco. If the Colts beat the Chiefs, then the Rams, Dolphins, and Vikings have the inside track. The only team that seems likely to trade the pick out of that group is St Louis, while the Dolphins probably need him the most.
- When the Eagles meet the Bills, it won't be surprising that one team is 1-3 and the other is 3-1, but of course its shocking which of this teams is 1-3 and which is 3-1. The Bills should have held on to go 4-0, while the Eagles got their 1 win against the Rams. The Bills should be the favorite at home, and if they pull out another victory, the Eagles won't have a chance of making the playoffs in that division. How many people get fired if the Eagles go 5-11?
- Texans or Titans for the AFC South? The Texans take on the Raiders at home and the Titans travel to Pittsburgh. I really hope that both teams win, but this could be a week that Houston takes a 1 game lead, but I think the Titans have what it takes to stay in the race all year long. If they beat the Steelers then we might get to see Pittsburgh stay home this January.
- If Cam Newton beats the Saints this week at home, the headline on ESPN will read "And I Jizz in my Panths"
- San Diego winning in Denver this week might not seem like a big deal, but this is exactly how the Chargers end up 9-7 or 10-6 every year... by blowing early season games that they should easily win.
- I'll be live tweeting from my local bar on Sunday for all the gameday fun.