What a crazy Week 5 it was with the Bengals shocking the world by coming back to beat the Seahawks and improve to 5-0 on the season. WHODEY! Then to prove that there is a God, Josh McCown went all Joe Montana and crushed the hopes and dreams of their division rivals, the Baltimore Ravens.
I know this is a fantasy article, but I have been with the Bengals for 9 years as a writer, and this is the most exciting time by far! Hue Jackson has Andy Dalton dialed in; A.J. Green is an absolute BEAST at WR; Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill are executing the Running Back By Committee (RBBC) to perfection; Tyler Eifert is separating himself in the TE category; the defense is playing as a cohesive unit, and the D-Line is back to being a force; Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones have found their roles within the offense. Times are good in Cincinnati, and Bengals fans around the world are looking forward to seeing if the team can go 6-0 in Week 6.
Josh McCown – Browns: You can bet your bottom dollar that McCown asked for the game ball from Week 5 because this was a once in a lifetime performance from the back-up level QB. McCown vaulted to #1 in the QB rankings this week thanks to his 457 passing yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, 1 rushing TD, and a 2-point conversion. The Browns get the Broncos elite defense next week, so I wouldn't recommend you go chasing stats and pick up McCown for Week 6.
Eli Manning – Giants: Eli Manning was one of my sleeper picks at QB this pre-season because of the amount of weapons he has at his disposal. He stumbled out of the gate in Week 1, but has picked it up since then and topped it off with a monster performance on Sunday. The "other" Manning brother finished with a 441/3/1 line against the 49ers in a game that was closer than most expected. [Eli] Manning is someone I really like as a fantasy QB this season, and he has a good 4-game stretch coming up to pad the stats for his owners.
Andy Dalton– Bengals: Dalton did it again this week, racking up 331 passing yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, and adding another 17 yards and a touchdown on the ground. With this week's performance, Dalton is now the #1 QB in fantasy football, ahead of Aaron Rodgers by a slim margin. Can you believe that during the fantast draft Dalton was going in the 13th round, behind guys like Jameis Winston, Teddy Bridgewater, and Nick Foles? If only we had a time machine!
Devonta Freeman – Falcons: After last season Freeman was looking more like a bust than a featured back, but that all changed when Tevin Coleman went down with a rib injury in Week 2. Freeman has been an elite fantasy RB the past three weeks, totaling 362 rushing yards and 7 TDs if you include the 153 yards and 1 TD from this week. The Falcons have the perfect gameplan in place for Freeman and he is making the most of his opportunity. Ride him as an RB1 until the wheels fall off the bandwagon.
DeMarco Murray – Eagles: I bet you nobody would think we'd be saying "finally he had a good game" before the season started, but that is what we are all saying after this week. The Eagles finally gave Murray 20 carries, which he turned into 83 yards and a touchdown. And to pad his fantasy stats, Murray hauled in 7-of-8 targets for 37 yards. The combined yardage made Murray a RB1 for the first time this season. The question now becomes do the Eagles admit they were wrong to limit his touches through the first 4 games, or do they go back to the 8-13 carries he was getting before?
Andre Johnson – Colts: I knew Johnson would have a good game eventually this season, because the law of probability is real. But, I will also say that I didn't expect him to have it with a QB other than Andrew Luck. Matt Hasselbeck found Johnson for 6 receptions, 77 yards, and 2 TDs against his former team. I wouldn't consider Johnson as anything more than a dicey WR4 in fantasy leagues unless his snaps increase.
Marquees Wilson – Bears: The Bears are a mess, both on offense and on defense, but they managed to snatch victory out of the jaws of defeat on Sunday thanks to Wilson stepping his game up with starters Alshon Jeffery and Eddie Royal out. Wilson reeled in 6 passes for 85 yards and 1 TD, stats worthy of low-end WR1 play this week. Pay attention to the Bears injury report this week as Wilson might be a sneaky play off the waiver wire against a struggling Lions defense.
Tyler Eifert– Bengals: Eifert has been money all season long, and he continued that streak on Sunday as he torched the Seahawks defense for 8 catches, 90 yards, and 2 TDs. Tight End is a tough spot to fill in fantasy football as once you get passed the 5th or 6th best player, stats get dicey. That's why it is so important to have a guy like Eifert on your team, to anchor the thinnest position in all the fantasy game.
Cincinnati Bengals defense: The Bengals held the Seahawks offense to 18 points, while also piling up 4 sacks and snagging 1 INT on the day. When the final whistle blew, the Bengals finished with a starting fantasy defense, ranked in the top 7 in most formats. They will again be in the Def1 discussion in Week 6 when they head to Buffalo to take on a banged up Bills team.
Peyton Manning – Broncos: It looks more and more like Peyton Manning waited just a year too long to retire, as the Hall of Fame QB reminded me more of Willie Mays in the Mets outfield than John Elway in the Super Bowl. Manning finished the game with 266 yards passing, no touchdowns, 2 interceptions, and 2 sacks, stats worthy of the 2nd worst performance by a starting QB in Week 5. Brandon Weeden was a better fantasy QB than Manning this week, and Weeden is going to lose his job because of his game!
Matthew Stafford – Lions: Stafford isn't quiet on the same level of "done" as Peyton Manning is, but he is in the boat downstream from him rowing just the same. While I will give his apologists the point that the Cardinals have a very good secondary to contend with, it doesn't absolve him from all responsibility for completing just 20-of-32 passes for 188 yards, with 1 TD and 3 INTs. To put the cherry on top, the Lions benched Stafford in favor of Dan Orlovsky in the 3rd quarter. There's no quarterback controversy in Detroit, but Stafford has been a bust so far this season. If he can't put up QB1 numbers against the Bears Swiss cheese defense in Week 6, it will be time to cut bait and move on.
Jamaal Charles – Chiefs: The early word out of Kansas City is Charles tore his ACL, ending his 2015 season. He was able to gain 84 total yards before the injury, but that is little consolation to those who invested a 1st round pick in him. Charcandrick West will be the must-add RB from the waiver wire this week, with Knile Davis more of a deep-league pick-up.
Ronnie Hillman – Broncos: With Manning no longer able to scare defenses into playing heavily against the pass, Broncos RBs Ronnie Hillman and C.J. Anderson are finding it harder and harder to put up consistent numbers running the ball. Hillman managed just 21 yards on 7 carries this week, while Anderson totaled just 22 yards on 11 carries. I understand the whole RBBC theory, but I see where it is not allowing guys to get into a rhythm. Fantasy owners are hoping the trend we are seeing is just that, a trend, and things will go back to the days where one guy carried the load for most teams.
Donte Moncrief – Colts: On the other end of the Colts WR spectrum we have Moncrief, a WR that burst on to the scene this season for fantasy owners to snatch off the waiver wire. This week Moncrief saw a season-low 3 targets, catching 1 of them for 3 yards. It seems obvious that the Colts plan was to let Johnson be featured against his former team, at the expense of Moncrief and his fantasy owners. I wouldn't be too concerned about this week's totals.
Nelson Agholor – Eagles: The Eagles rookie WR had high expectations entering the season, but has failed to live up to the hype after the first 5 weeks of the season. Agholor hit rock bottom this week by seeing just 1 target, which he did catch, for 5 yards. Agholor is tied with Riley Cooper for the 2nd most targets out of the Eagles WRs with 17, but the production just isn't there to continue to play him in any fantasy format. You can hold on to him because of his upside, but I wouldn't play him until he gives you a reason to.
Charles Clay – Bills: The man that every big-box fantasy website out there was touting this week laid a big fat zero on the table for fantasy owners in standard leagues this week. Those in PPR formats at least got a point (1) from him thanks to his 1 catch for 7 yards. Clay is the perfect example of those so-called "fantasy experts" on TV doing nothing but chasing stats and throwing darts at a dartboard. The Bills are a running team, with a running QB, and a WR corps that is less than intimidating with Sammy Watkins out. The deck was already stacked against Clay before the ball was even snapped in Week 5.
Houston Texans defense: It is getting a little old to keep saying the same thing over and over, but it doesn't make the forthcoming statement any less true. The Texans defense is NOT a good defense this year, ranking out as fantasy football's worst defense throughout 5 weeks of the season. This week they gave up 27 points to the Colts while managing to not get a single sack, INT, fumble recovery, or defensive touchdown on the day. Even the Browns got a sack; even the 49ers got an INT. The zeroes across the board are actually impressive, in a terrible kind of way.