Jamaal Charles has torn his ACL and will be out for the remainder of the 2015 NFL season, according to preliminary reports, to shake the fantasy world more than anything in Week 5.
Week 5 has been a week low on breakouts and high on studs being studs, duds, or thuds, highlighted by the thuds and their trickle-down effect to be the agency of change that injuries are to every fantasy football season.
Charcandrick West or Knile Davis to head Chiefs rushing attack?
In the Week 4 Depth Charts report, we noted that there seemed to be a changing of the guard in the Kansas City backfield, as the Chiefs seemed to be favoring Charcandrick West over Knile Davis as the spell back. West dominated the snap count after Charles left the game with Kansas City up 17-6, so he should be the starting running back for a juicy Week 6 matchup in Minnesota.
West had three carries for 13 yards and caught one of two targets for five yards in the two series which followed Charles' exit. Both drives resulted in punts, so KC went with Davis for the next. Davis had a four-yard run and another for a loss of two before another punt. With 3:05 remaining in the game, West was on to close the game up 17-12, but couldn't muster up a first down, leading to another punt, and the Bears pulled off the 18-17 victory.
Davis is only 24 and in his third NFL season, averaging only 3.4 yards per carry, but has been fantasy gold when given the opportunity. In the five regular season games in which Davis has received 15 or more touches, he has totaled 491 yards from scrimmage at 3.96 yards per carry and six TDs. Starting their only playoff game in 2014, as a rookie, he totaled 100 yards in 25 touches (including seven receptions) for two TDs.
If this is West's job, he could be on a very short leash, as riding Davis has been Andy Reid's trusted Plan B for the previous two years. And that matters.
Julio Jones played hurt and it showed
The year of the hamstring leaving fantasy owners hamstrung continues. There were whispers of Julio Jones missing Week 5, but played through the tightness in his hamstring. And it was bad.
Jones was shut out of the first half, despite finishing the game with ten targets and a 5/67/0 slash, inflated by recovering a fumble for a TD--after which he displayed more agony than ecstacy. He did what he could, but it was visibly a very tough battle for him. He literally hobbled through this as a semi-decoy until the Falcons got desperate in endgame.
Odell Beckham, Jr. is the #1 WR in fantasy
I am sticking to this gun on Odell Beckham, Jr. (7/121/0) as the #1 receiver, rest of season. Their schedule is the juiciest for WRs. In a vacuum, we can easily trade Matt Forte or Jones for him. We can package Marshawn Lynch with a WR or Demaryius Thomas with an RB or something, but he should be on our teams.
Todd Gurley is a top-10 RB
Say it again: Todd Gurley (30/159/0) is a top-10 RB.
In a game where the Rams had no hope, but to pass the ball downfield, Jeff Fisher awkwardly kept running the ball. Fantasy owners were cool with this and Fisher DGAF what Rams fans think of it.
Demarco Murray got the grease
He wanted more touches and he got them. Demarco Murray (20/83/1; 7/37/0 in the pass game) got that bellcow workload and had the perfect scenario for it: terrible defense at home while his own defense held down the fort. He was their offense at the expense of Jordan Matthews (5/44/0).
The concern of the Eagles now isn't so much the run game is impossible to trust, but that it is impossible to trust their offense as a whole to be balanced enough to rack up fantasy points across positions. Sam Bradford had what we should typically expect--32/45, 335 yds, 2 TDs, 2 INTs--but 23 of those targets going to running backs and wide receivers forces us to predict which Eagles to love more from week-to-week and maybe abandon one facet of the game here and there.
T.J. Yeldon left with groin injury
T.J. Yeldon was not getting great rushing volume, as the Jaguars found themselves in a shootout in Tampa. His 11/32/0 run game was saved by a refreshing 5/31/1 slash in the receiving game. Unfortunately, he exited in the final quarter with a groin injury and did not return in a game where Jacksonville still had a chance to win. If he misses time, you want no part of that backfield; don't waste roster spots on Bernard Pierce or Toby Gerhart.
Blake Bortles perfect storm
Terrible opponent? Check. Losing big on the scoreboard? Check. Two big wide receivers and fun running back who can utilize space? Check.
The stars aligned for Blake Bortles (23/33, 303 yds, 4 TDs, INT) to have a monster fantasy week and create them for Allen Robinson (7/72/2) and Allen Hurns (5/116/1). What is best for fantasy owners is that Bortles is complete cool with slingin' the rock with wreckless abandon and zeroing in on these two. Jacksonville hosts the Texans in Week 6 before facing the Bills in London in Week 7, so the trend ought to continue where we are in a pinch with bye weeks.
Avoid all Bills until someone, anyone, can suit up
LeSean McCoy (hamstring), Karlos Williams (concussion), and Sammy Watkins (calf). Neither McCoy nor Watkins have looked good at all when on the field, so keeping them out until they are absolutely ready can only help. Williams has shown flashes of fantasy greatness, but will likely be out Week 6, as well, according to Rotowire.
Due to this, the Bills were forced to lean on Dan Herron (9/28/0) and Boobie Dixon (7/19/0) and that worked out about as well as one would expect. To be fair, Herron was signed off the street last week.
Cierre Wood left in the first half and did not return, so Week 6 could be Herron's week, but it is not a great matchup against the Bengals. You have to be really desperate to have any Bills in your Week 6 plans, but beware on dropping them, as they play the chicken soup incarnate Jaguars in London for Week 7. I can't even see how we can start Tyrod Taylor in 12-team league, despite the rushing value--which hasn't existed until this week.
Start the Cardinals Big Four every week
Chris Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Carson Palmer, and John Brown are a four-headed monster making our fantasy scores skyrocket every week, as they run up the score on bums--and there are plenty of bums on their schedule. The Lions are bad--and may lose DeAndre Levy (hip) for more time--and Arizona took advantage with 28 points in the 2nd quarter.
Palmer only needed 14 passes to throw three TDs--one each to Brown and Fitzgerald--while CJ1k closed it out for a 11/103/0 line. The olds were left for dead and Brown not scoring TDs was underwhelming, but they are for real.
Peyton Manning is a QB2
The Broncos defense is incredible. Peyton Manning is not being forced to extend himself with porous play on the other side, and is struggling very badly all season, so far. Were the need for him to put up points present, we could bank on volume, but despite an anemic rushing game of 43 yards, he only threw 35 times and threw two INTs--against the Raiders. I repeat: against the Raiders.
This keeps Demaryius Thomas (5/55/0) out of the top-5, but still elite. And Emmanuel Sanders (9/111/0) is still the security blanket, so we can keep him in the top-15, but is a legitimate must-start PPR stud. As long as Peyton doesn't threaten with his arm, this rushing game will not rebound.
Start everyone against the 49ers, Buccaneers, Jaguars, Lions, Saints, Ravens, Browns, Texans, and Colts
Not going to bloviate any further. Just trust me on this one. Studs murdered these teams this week, and this has become a trend. Mainly take note because it is the season to give up the ghost on the Niners, Ravens, Lions, or Texans being tough matchups for anyone.
Buy low on Raiders
It is two weeks in a row where the Raiders have struggled. In Week 4, they traveled to Chicago and were beat by a Bears team with their back against the wall; in Week 5, there was never any hope against Denver. No Raiders have put up great games, recently, but the best is yet to come.
They are on bye for Week 6, then come out swinging at San Diego. Beware of the Jets in Week 7, but empty the benches the following five weeks where they are at Pittsburgh, vs. the Vikings, at Detroit, at Tennessee, and hosting the Chiefs. It is going to be an awesome ride past Thanksgiving. Then, the fantasy playoff schedule is Packers, Chargers, and Chiefs in the final three weeks of the season. Trading for them right now can win your leagues.
Giants run D is penetrable
The last two weeks have been awesome for the Giants run defense. Week 5 was the first they have allowed more than 88 yards on the ground. But Carlos Hyde (21/93/1) validated himself to us again and showed that we can have our studs out there against New York, even if we have to bite down on a towel. Hyde ran up the middle ten times for 40 yards and a TD, while Colin Kaepernick added a 15-yard run.
Jon Beason sustained a concussion early and has struggle to stay on the field in recent years. This should continue to make it difficult for the G-men to take that next step to being a team we completely avoid.
Avoiding the Saints backfield on the road
Drew Brees' home-road splits have always been dramatic, but without Jimmy Graham it getting much worse. Brees was forced to throw for 335 and two TDs, Willie Snead (6/141/0) and Brandon Cooks (5/107/1) had great games for us, but it took 20 targets for them to get those 11 receptions and the defense is terrible. We can never really bench Mark Ingram (12/57/0). We just have to be careful with C.J. Spiller (6 touches, 2 yards) and should not take the risks of New Orleans abandoning the run on the road for DFS plays.
The Cowboys defense was incredible at home in spurts
They rushed the hell out of Tom Brady, sacking him five times in the 1st half. They are a bad team and should feel bad, so they lost 30-6, and we are not benching anyone because of them. But when looking for streamers, it may be smart to avoid facing them. The usual suspects are leaned upon to beat them.
Stats via Pro-Football-Reference.com.