What a Sunday that was. We saw our first tie of the season with the Bengals and the Panthers. We were reminded that we absolutely hate seeing ties in football. There were some more great games, and with that, great fantasy performances. Who would have expected the Bengals defense to falter as much as they did? Could you have foreseen Derrick Carr and the Raiders being able to move the ball on the tough Charger defense? This is why football is great though, as what you might have thought of being a longshot to happen becomes a reality. Now that all but the Monday night game has been played, it is time for a weekly look at the top performers from the games on Sunday, and on Thursday. After going over my thoughts on the top performers at each positon, I will also select a few other players who either performed above expectations, or maybe have you questioning whether you should continue starting him or not.
The goal of this article is to highlight those top guys, and if you can expect some similar performances in the future from them or if it was a flash-in-the-pan, and also whether you should be worried about top picks in drafts that put up less than stellar performances. So without rambling on longer in this intro, let's take a look at those who performed well in week 5.
QB - Cam Newton 284 Passing Yards, 2 Passing TD's and 1 INT's, 107 Rushing Yards and 1 Rushing TD, 33 Fantasy Points
I wrote about Newton last week, and mentioned how his lack of running was killing his value to fantasy owners. The main point that was made in this article last week was that you need to see that he is healthy and running again before you can trust. Well it didn't take as long as I once thought for that to happen. Newton went out and had an amazing performance against the Bengals on Sunday, and was exactly what owners needed to see. He isn't going to be a top 5 QB the rest of the way like you hoped when you drafted him, but he is in the top 10, and could possibly be in the top 5 discussion soon.
QB - Joe Flacco 306 Passing Yards, 5 TD's, 32 Fantasy Points
It didn't take long for Flacco to get started on this performance. He threw four of his five TD's in the first quarter. Before you go out and immediately pick him up, or consider benching your starter for him, remember this one fact, he was playing against Tampa Bay. The Bucs have an awful defense, as the last four weeks now a QB has thrown for at least 300 yards and two scores. If you are an owner who has been playing the matchups with your QB, always check to see who the Bucs are playing in a given week.
QB - Tom Brady 313 Passing Yards, 4 TD's, 30 Fantasy Points
Has Tom Brady figured it out now? I was on the fence last week about saying that Brady was back, but this performance here made me feel a lot more confident in him going forward. He is someone you can now trust as your starter, but do not mistake him for a top guy at his position. I would have him as a borderline top 10 guy the rest of the season, but that is only because his WR's are not ideal.
RB - Matt Forte 17 Carries for 80 Yards and 2 TD's, 10 Catches for 77 Yards, 27 Fantasy Points
This is what happens when a top 5 RB gets to go against the worst defense against RB's. Not much can be said here except that Matt Forte is amazing, and he will continue to prove that top four pick you invested in him was well worth it.
RB - Arian Foster 20 Carries for 109 Yards and 2 TD's, 3 Catches for 32 Yards, 25 Fantasy Points
Wrote about Foster last week in this same column, and everything is still true as one week earlier. He is a borderline top 5 back as long as he can stay healthy. His injury from earlier this year is clearly behind him, so those of you who got him at a discount on draft day be thankful for this treat.
WR - T.Y. Hilton 9 Targets, 9 Receptions for 223 Yards and 1 TD, 28 Fantasy Points
I wrote briefly about Hilton in my WR ranks last week, and noted how he has been used in a different role than years past. For the first two years of his career Hilton was viewed as an extreme boom or bust guy, but now in his third year he has turned into a volume guy. This is great news for fantasy owners, since when he puts up these big performances you don't need to worry about the 2 for 24 yard one the next week. Hilton is clearly a top 20 WR the rest of the way, and may be even higher with Luck looking like an elite QB.
WR - Andre Holmes 8 Targets, 4 Receptions for 121 Yards and 2 TD's, 24 Fantasy Points
This was surprising to see happen against the Chargers. Derrick Carr had a terrific start to the game, and Andre Holmes was a big beneficiary of that. Holmes has the mold of a prototypical WR, as he is big with great speed, but was a little raw. From what I saw in Sunday's action, he is starting to shed that raw label and turn into a big performer. If I could trust Carr going forward, Holmes would be nicely ranked, I just can't trust a rookie QB quite yet. Should be available in a lot of leagues, unless you had to play against him like someone here (slowly raises hand), and is a worthy waiver wire pickup if you need another WR.
WR - Brandon LaFell 6 Targets, 4 Receptions for 97 Yards and 2 TD's, 21 Fantasy Points
I can't trust LaFell. Too many times have I been burned by LaFell back in Carolina when he was this great athlete who would dazzle with a couple of plays, but then he would be absent for large stretches of the season. Brady is playing better now, but he spreads the ball around so much that I don't see LaFell being a consistent player. He may have another week like this, but it is not worth it for the other three weeks in-between with a total of 5 fantasy points.
TE - Julius Thomas 6 Targets, 4 Receptions for 51 Yards and 2 TD's, 17 Fantasy Points
How many more weeks am I going to have to write about Julius Thomas in this series? I don't know what else I can say about this guy that hasn't already been said. He has provided great draft day value, and has already justified that early pick in him with 9 TD's in only 5 games!
TE - Jordan Cameron 5 Targets, 3 Receptions for 102 Yards and 1 TD, 16 Fantasy Points
It is good to see Cameron put up this kind of a game once again. His owners have been panicking about him because of his injuries and lack of production up to this point. I wouldn't vault him back up to the top 5 TE conversation yet, as he didn't have too many targets in this game. Next week he gets the Jaguars, so for that particular matchup he will firmly be in my top 5.
Now a look at a couple of other performances that stood out to me from Sunday's games:
QB - Matthew Stafford 185 Passing Yards, 1 TD, 11 Fantasy Points
I am concerned about Stafford for the rest of the season. Apart from his top two performances, he hasn't been startable compared to waiver wire guys in the other weeks. Now that Calvin Johnson is out for an unknown period of time, and even when he comes back we don't know how effective he will be. Next week he goes up against the Saints, so he should have a nice game with about 20 fantasy points. His schedule is nice for the next few games, except for the one against Miami, so I guess you have to stick it out and hope for the best. If an offer comes that is close to his draft day value, I would accept it.
RB - Antone Smith 2 Carries for 5 Yards and 0 TD's, 4 Catches for 64 Yards and 1 TD, 12 Fantasy Points
Are the Falcons coaching staff even watching their games? How has Antone Smith not earned anymore touches? All this guy does is break a long play each game for them, but he continues to see a lack of touches. I would add Smith is you have room for him, as if he starts to get more touches, like he deserves, who knows what he could do with them. Free Antone Smith!
WR - Mohamed Sanu 14 Targets, 10 Receptions for 120 Yards and 1 TD, 14 Fantasy Points
I have been very pessimistic about Sanu this entire year, but starting to see the light now. With A.J. Green out for next week most likely as has been reported, Sanu will soar up my rankings, and could be someone you can trust the rest of the season as well. Marvin Jones may come back soon, but if Sanu keeps performing like this, how do you stop throwing his way if you're Andy Dalton? Until a downfall occurs, if it even happens, keep riding Sanu in your lineup as someone who can get 5+ receptions and a good shot at a TD.
Want thoughts on a specific player? Leave a comment on who it is, and I will respond with my thoughts on that guy's performance and where he stands going forward.