What a week for Football! Some exciting finishes this week, with games coming down to the final seconds and overtime to get the results. Denver is still undefeated, despite looking bad again on offense thanks to one Peyton Manning. The best fantasy option on that Denver Broncos team is the defense currently. This marks the 5th week of the season they have scored 17 or more fantasy points. That is elite as a defense, and better then the likes of Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. I never write about defenses in the two years I have been doing this, but with what the Broncos have been doing, I just had to mention it at some point here.
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 position, 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 - Matthew Stafford 405 Passing Yards, 4 Passing TD's, 37 Rushing Yards, 1 INT, 33 Fantasy Points
Well this is awkward. A week after bashing Stafford in this very article, I now have to recognize him as being the top scoring QB. While this performance is vintage Stafford, I just don't buy into this statline. One TD was a fluke (more on that later) and the rest of this production can be chalked up to the Bears bad pass defense. The best part of this game was the resurgence of Calvin Johnson's fantasy value. Next week against the Vikings I wouldn't start him, but he does get the weak Chiefs secondary after that. If you still own him, keep him on the bench, but if he is on the waiver wire, I might hold off for a week and see if you can get him against the Chiefs instead.
QB - Philip Rivers 503 Passing Yards, 2 TD's, 28 Fantasy Points
What a great season so far for Philip Rivers. This marks his third straight game of over 350 Passing Yards, and his 4th on the season. In addition to that, he has been averaging 2 TD's a game, making him an elite option. I would put him in my top 5 at this point, with a lot of underwhelming top tiered QB's. He has his full arsenal of receivers at this point since Gates came back last week, so I don't see this train slowing down in the near future.
QB - Andrew Luck 312 Passing Yards, 3 Passing TD's, 35 Rushing Yards, 27 Fantasy Points
A nice bounceback game for Luck here. Maybe that time he took off to heal that shoulder injury is just what he needed to get back on track. I fully trust Luck going forward, and would place him back into the top 5, with Rivers, for the rest of the year. The rest of my personal top 5 would include, Brady, Rodgers and Cam Newton, with Luck and Rivers both before Newton in that order.
RB - Devonta Freeman 13 Carries for 100 Yards, 8 Catches for 56 Yards, 2 Total TD's, 27 Fantasy Points
Is there anything else to say here? This is now the 4th consecutive week of Devonta Freeman. I have run out of things to say about him at this point. The guy is a stud who was misjudged by everyone, myself included. Top 5 guy, and I would find it hard to trade him away at this point, unless you are getting Le'Veon Bell basically in return.
RB - Chris Ivory 20 Carries for 146 Yards and 1 TD, 3 Catches for 50 Yards, 25 Fantasy Points
A healthy Chris Ivory is a great Chris Ivory. Granted he put up numbers against a soft Washington defense, but none the less, he has been great in the games he is fully healthy. The Jets will keep force-feeding him the ball, and I don't see a reason that should stop. Ivory is realizing all that potential he has, and will continue to perform as at least a top 10-15 back the rest of the way.
RB - James Starks 10 Carries for 112 Yards, 1 Catches for 5 Yards, 2 Total TD's 23 Fantasy Points
I really don't get what is going on in the Packers backfield at the moment. Eddie Lacy does not look like the same guy we saw last year. Starks has been a thorn in owner's sides for his entire career now. I wouldn't jump to start him if you own him, but he is worth owning, especially for Lacy owners. Lacy is still the clear top back for the Packers, but if he keeps playing inefficiently, changes could be on the horizon.
WR - DeAndre Hopkins 15 Targets, 10 Receptions for 148 Yards and 2 TD's, 26 Fantasy Points
What a year it has been so far for Hopkins. Now if you look at his stats each week during the first half, you will be pulling your hair out. For some reason, even in close games, Hopkins erupts in the second half of games. I can't explain why this is, and frankly I don't care. All I care about at this moment is the end of game stats, and boy do they look good. Through 6 weeks, Hopkins has 726 yards, and 5 TD's. I made a bold prediction before the season of 1400 yards and 12 TD's, and it actually looks like he can beat those at the moment. Firmly in my top 5 the rest of the way, and might possibly be number one next week in my week 7 rankings.
WR - Martavis Bryant 8 Targets, 6 Receptions for 137 Yards and 2 TD's, 25 Fantasy Points
Martavis Bryant is back everyone. After sitting out the first 4 games due to a suspension, and last week as well, Bryant burst back on the scene here. Bryant's TD's and big plays all came with Landry Jones as his QB, not Mike Vick. Vick left the game early with a hamstring injury, and I wonder if he didn't just lose the job to Jones. Bryant will vary in my ranks next week, as it depends who his starting QB is. With Vick I wouldn't rank him inside the top 30, but with Jones he may be near the top 20.
WR - Calvin Johnson 9 Targets, 6 Receptions for 166 Yards and 1 TD, 22 Fantasy Points
Well with the outburst that Stafford had, it would have been shocking if Johnson wasn't on here. The good news is that I can start to trust Johnson a little bit more going forward. I mentioned last week he was on notice until he had a big game again, and it looks like we have one here. Next week against the Vikings may not be this good, but I feel as though he can put up respectable numbers regardless of the matchup.
TE - Greg Olsen 11 Targets, 7 Receptions for 131 Yards and 1 TD, 19 Fantasy Points
For someone who has been mister consistent for his Panther career, Olsen sure has been hit or miss this year. I really don't know which Olsen you are getting the rest of the season, but I would be willing to bet it isn't either extreme he has shown this season. I believe that Newton will continue to look for Olsen, making him more of that consistent option we are used to seeing.
TE - Benjamin Watson 12 Targets, 10 Receptions for 127 Yards and 1 TD, 18 Fantasy Points
This one came out of nowhere. For a guy who had a season high of 4 receptions, he goes out and gets 10 on Thursday night. It would be nice if Drew Brees would go back to being pre-2015 Brees, but I don't think that can happen. Watson will have a couple more big games the rest of the season, but I can't honestly tell you when those will be. I wouldn't bother starting him going forward, unless he starts to play like the next did on this list.
TE - Gary Barnidge 9 Targets, 3 Receptions for 39 Yards and 2 TD's, 15 Fantasy Points
Just like with Devonta Freeman, I don't know what else to say about Barnidge. It is almost like Freeman and Barnidge both have to be on this list. Top 10 guy as long as McCown stays as his QB. If for some reason Manziel has to start playing, he becomes unplayable.
Now a look at a couple of other performances that stood out to me from Sunday's games:
QB - Colin Kaepernick 340 Passing Yards, 2 TD's, 10 Rushing Yards, 22 Fantasy Points
For someone who is erratic, I am intrigued by Kaepernick. The highs are high, but the lows are oh so low. This marks though 2 straight good weeks, and while that isn't a decent sample size, I just can't quit the talent he has. If the Niners would start to develop more run plays for Kaepernick, he may find himself back in the top 15. For the moment only startable in deep leagues unless a bye week dictates it for shallower than 16 team leagues. Let's hope the 49ers can figure out a way to unleash this guy with so much potential.
RB - Carlos Hyde 21 Carries for 55 Yards and 0 TD's, 2 Catches for 5 Yards, 5 Fantasy Points
So after that great first week, we have yet to see that Carlos Hyde return. The skills are still there, but this offense just isn't working at the moment. Sure I mentioned above Kaepernick is intriguing to me going forward, but that is because the run game has been so ineffective that they may decide to let Kaepernick throw the ball more. I just can't consider Hyde being in my top 20 RB's in any given week going forward, and that is with him getting a good chunk of carries. Tough schedule coming up is also discouraging, as his next game is against the Seahawks, and then they have to go to the Rams.
WR - Golden Tate 9 Targets, 6 Receptions for 40 Yards and 1 TD, 10 Fantasy Points
Can someone explain to me what a Touchdown is? Before this week, I thought I was starting to get a hang of what a TD actually was, and then the Detroit game happened. Any and all help in this department would be greatly appreciated by the NFL, as I don't even think they know at this point. Does the rule change every week? Anyways to get away from that mini rant, Tate has little fantasy value for me. I don't trust Stafford enough for him to make Tate a viable starting option going forward. It would take a Calvin Johnson injury to make Tate an option I would consider starting. It took a fluke call for him to get his first score, that isn't a good sign.
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.