James Morris hails from Rio Rancho, NM and has been playing fantasy sports for just over 15 years. Not only does he write the Bengals fantasy section, but he also does the Miami Dolphins fantasy section. Crossing over, Morris writes the fantasy sections for the Minnesota Timberwolves in the NBA. Just send him an email and he will reply back the same day with your answer. Or, find him on Twitter (Fantasyguy23) and get all your NFL news before it hits the national media.
Week 5 of the NFL season was a rollercoaster ride for fans and fantasy players alike. From Reggie Wayne and his 40.20 fantasy points (NFL.com PPR leagues), down to Jimmy Graham’s 1.40 points, fantasy owners found out just how rocky this road can be.
That is why the Bengals have stuck with me for so many years, because I know how to sift through the fact and the fiction, and the rumors and realities. Let’s take a look at who helped fantasy teams win, and who helped them lose from around the NFL in Week 5.
Alex Smith – QB, 49ers: Anyone who knows me knows how I feel about the 49ers offense, and that is why I said to sit Smith. I am big enough to admit I was WRONG! That being said, I can’t ignore that Smith and the 49ers piled on the helpless Buffalo Bills defense by throwing for 303 yards and 3 TDs on the day. Not only that, but Smith also ran for another 49 yards. He ranked No. 2 in NFL.com fantasy leagues for QBs, which means 11 percent of fantasy owners will be very happy about Week 5 (that is how many people are starting Smith in NFL.com leagues).
Andrew Luck – QB, Colts: I told you to start Luck this week, and hopefully you listened. The rookie shocked the Green Bay Packers by throwing for 362 yards and 2 TDs, and running for 24 yards and a TD on Sunday. He finished the week No. 3, and did exactly what I knew he could do against a struggling Packers defense.
Ahmad Bradshaw – RB, Giants: There is a lot of concern about the Giants RB situation with the emergence of David Wilson, but I think Bradshaw cleared out a lot of the speculation with his great game on Sunday. Bradshaw finished with 200 yards rushing, 29 yards receiving on 4 catches and a touchdown. All totaled he was the No. 1-ranked RB in NFL.com PPR formats this weekend.
Ryan Mathews – RB, Chargers: The Chargers have created a problem for fantasy owners by sticking Jackie Battle into the RB mix, so a lot of owners aren’t sure if they should start Mathews or leave him on the bench. I think he answered that question this weekend as he put up 81 yards rushing, caught 6 passes for 59 yards and scored a TD on a 13-yard run. He is a low-end RB1 going forward and should be played unless otherwise noted.
Stevan Ridley – RB, Patriots: Ridley’s riddle, will the Patriots use him or not? Well, they did this week and he was able to weave his way to 151 yards and a TD. He did lose a fumble, but the numbers were still good enough to rank him as an RB1 in all formats, and that is great news for someone taken in the later rounds of fantasy drafts.
Reggie Wayne – WR, Colts: Reggie “Aloysius” Wayne had the best game of his NFL career as he hauled in 12 passes for 212 yards and a TD in Week 5. Wayne is having a monster year, and owners brave enough to draft him are being rewarded handsomely for it.
Marques Colston – WR, Saints: Colston and Drew Brees were in sync for the Sunday night game as they hooked up for 9 receptions, 131 yards and 3 TDs. As impressive as that is, it still took second place to Wayne and the show the Colts put on.
Brandon Marshall – WR, Bears: The entire Bears team was in full-on Beast Mode on Sunday against the Jaguars. Marshall managed to rack up 12 catches for 144 yards and a TD, good enough to finish No. 3 in PPR formats behind Wayne.
*There are some honorable mentions for the WR position in Josh Gordon, Michael Crabtree and James Jones. Gordon finished with 82 yards and 2 TDs; Crabtree had 113 yards and a TD on 6 catches; Jones finished with 4 catches for 46 yards and 2 TDs. All three guys finished with WR1 numbers, but are highly unlikely to repeat them in the future.
Tony Gonzalez – TE, Falcons: We all keep waiting for Gonzalez to slow down and lose a step, and he just never seems to miss a beat. A fantasy TE is very much all-or-nothing for points, but Gonzalez was “all” that and then some with his 13 catches for 123 yards and a TD.
Chicago Bears Defense: The Bears were my start ‘em defense this week, and they did not disappoint! They held the Jaguars to just a field goal, and racked up 3 sacks, 2 INTs, a recovered fumble and scored 2 defensive TDs. The Jaguars offense is just not clicking and you would do fine just shadowing them with whatever defense they play each week.
Robert Griffin III – QB, Redskins: Griffin was knocked out of the game with a mild concussion. While this kind of thing can’t be predicted or accounted for, numbers are numbers and RGIII didn’t put up many of them. He finished the game with just 91 yards passing and 7 yards rushing, and that equals 4.34 points in our Miami Dolphins NFL.com league.
Joe Flacco – QB, Ravens: Just when I think Flacco and the Ravens passing attack is ready to put it on a team, they go out and fall flat on their faces. The Chiefs were giving up 24.0 fantasy PPG to QBs (seventh-worst in the NFL) heading into Week 5, yet Flacco threw for just 187 yards and an INT. I don’t know if he will ever get over the hump of just an average starting NFL QB if he can’t put up numbers against a secondary like the Chiefs have.
Ryan Fitzpatrick – QB, Bills: Because I truly do not believe Fitzpatrick should be on fantasy teams, I am going to throw him in here as a third QB. Fitzy finished Week 5 with 126 yards, an INT and no TDs, and his arm strength problems were evident throughout the game. I would cut bait if you own him (29.4 percent owned in NFL.com) and go with just about anyone else on the waiver wire.
Ryan Williams – RB, Cardinals: When Williams took over for Beanie Wells as the starting RB in Arizona, I warned people not to jump on his bandwagon with both feet, but not everyone listened. What happened? Well, he tore up his left shoulder and will now miss the rest of the season. Did I know that was going to happen, no. But, I fully expected him to be as ineffective as Wells was (2.8 YPC). Now La'Rod Stephens-Howling will take over as the starting RB for the Cardinals and I again say, LET HIM BE SOMEONE ELSE'S HEADACHE!
Chris Johnson – RB, Titans: I keep telling people not to trust CJ2K, but they just won’t listen. This week the Titans RB managed to shake and bake his way to an impressive 24 yards rushing and 5 yards receiving. To make it worse, he also lost a fumble and finished with 1.90 fantasy points in our NFL.com league. Way to go CJNOK!
Mike Wallace – WR, Steelers: Wallace was targeted 8 times on Sunday, but managed to reel just two of them in for 17 empty yards. This is more of a credit to Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (yes, the Eagles got away with two holding calls) than a knock on Wallace’s fantasy value. Every player has a bad game from time-to-time.
Jordy Nelson – WR, Packers: Like Wallace, Nelson hurt many fantasy teams because they expected WR1 numbers and got waiver wire garbage instead. The reality with Nelson is that Aaron Rodgers looked out of sync all game long, and the default Packers No. 1 WR has caught at least five passes in three of the first five games. So, the catches and targets are there, you just have to deal with the ups and downs that come when you are missing Greg Jennings.
Andre Johnson – WR, Texans: Given the problems that the Jets defense has been having lately, fantasy owners were hoping Johnson would put up Reggie Wayne-type numbers on Monday night. The exact opposite actually happened as Johnson hauled in just one pass for 15 yards.
Jimmy Graham – TE, Saints: And on the other end of the TE “all-or-nothing” spectrum we have Mr. Graham, who was taken as a top 2 TE in many drafts, and finished Week 5 with a single catch for 4 empty yards.
Buffalo Bills Defense: For the 11.4 percent of NFL.com fantasy-leaguers that own the Bills defense, things couldn’t have gone much worse if they tried this week. The Bills allowed a league-high 45 points and only managed to get a single recovered fumble to help their owners. Those horrific numbers accounted for a -2 total (that’s right, negative 2).