Week 5 is underway … such a quick turn around from Sunday to Thursday. The New NFL.
Indianapolis was surprising on the road, winning 27-20 behind a very effective and confident Matt Hasselbeck. Indianapolis now rests for 10 days until next Sunday night’s prime time game in Indianapolis against New England.
Total Number of Touches
More touches, more points. PPR, Running backs who are factors in the passing game are precious resources. Arian Foster had 9 catches this week, 21.80 fantasy points, 188 total yards but didn’t find the end zone. 28 touches, 19 carries to go with the 9 grabs and paying dividends to teams who stashed him away for 4 weeks hoping for his impactful return.
I struggled on playing Frank Gore this week in BAFFL, our 20 year old fantasy football league … Short week, horrific fumbles, Hasselbeck, questions regarding the offensive line, Houston can tie for the division lead with a win … the vibes were terrible for Indy this week. Conventional wisdom says conservative offense, Gore had 7 targets passing targets last week’s win against Jacksonville and is probably a lock for 15 fantasy points. He produced 15.80, 22 carries for 98 yards and a TD with zero catches on zero targets. 22 touches.
Ronnie Hillman, Marshawn Lynch, Devonta Freeman … a note on Freeman, a free agency acquisition in our league … I picked him up and he’s in my starting lineup for the third straight week … The acquisition was based on Freeman getting the touches Week 3 because of injury. The guy he normally split touches with, the rookie named “starter” the first 2 weeks of the season, fractured a rib and is missing games. Lynch, when healthy, get the touches in Seattle. Ronnie Hillman split touches evenly with CJ Anderson in Week 4. 12 touches, 70 total yards for Anderson, Hillman 108 total yards and TD because he broke a long run. Eventually, the better player will get the touches and there’s intriguing “crowded” backfield situations across the NFL with bountiful fantasy rewards down the road if you go with the theory, eventually the better player is going to be getting the most touches.
Currently, I’m gambling on the Denver backfield … gambling Hillman is the more talented back. Anderson got the chance last season because Hillman was injured … Hillman beat him out in the past, he was first up when Montee Ball didn’t work out. This week, against Oakland, Hillman has the potential for 150 combined yards and 2 TDs. Kubiak wants to run his offense while Peyton Manning has been running his own style of effective offense for 10 plus years, calling plays at the line of scrimmage based on his read of the defense …. there’s been “struggles” early. 4-0. There’s no struggles in Denver, they need more time to gel offensively and Hillman taking over as the guy who’s going to get 20 touches a game is a future reality.
The Dallas backfield, now more intriguing with the season ending injury to Lance Dunbar, is another opportunity if you have the right guy. 65 total touches for John Randle after 4 weeks with 4 TDs and 35 touches for Darren McFadden with 0 TDs. Dunbar was a factor in the passing game, 21 receptions through 4 games … 0 TDs. On the surface, Randle would seem the beneficiary of an additional 6 touches per game available due to Dunbar’s injury. Dunbar only had 6 rushes on the season, giving him 27 touches for the season. Neither McFadden or Randle are impressing … outside of Randle’s 3 TD game against Atlanta. Randle was a non factor in the second half of the Falcons game and was out touched by the more talented McFadden 11-10 in the loss to New Orleans on Sunday Night. This week at home against New England? It’s McFadden who will do more with his touches.
The situation in Philadelphia, 1-3 on the season. The offense showed signs of life this past week against Washington, despite the loss 23-20, and DeMarco Murray’s 10 touches were uninspiring. Another NFL backfield where the more talented back isn’t the starter. Mathews has looked more explosive and the offense has had more electricity when he’s been in the lineup. Hillman, McFadden, and Mathews … these are guys I would be trying to stash on a fantasy roster if you’re league allows the flexibility and you have the kind of team that can take risks at this point in the season because of players like Tom Brady, Demaryius Thomas, and Devonta Freeman.
No Brainer Starters
Tom Brady, Devonta Freeman, and Demaryius Thomas. Jordan Matthews. Travis Kelce. Frank Gore. No need to write about Le’Veon Bell, Jamaal Charles, Aaron Rodgers, Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, Rob Gronkowski … these are the fantasy elite, guys you’re starting regardless of matchup. The more “no brainer” starters your team possesses, well, the easier the fantasy football universe is to rule. You’re starting Todd Gurley every week regardless of matchup. Does this include Tavon Austin, a receiver in the magical 3rd year, against Green Bay’s Top 10 pass defense? A team 22nd against the run, against St. Louis, is going to have to commit pass defense resources to run defense giving Tavon Austin the opportunity to exploit his speed advantage in one on one coverage.
Week 5 Get Em in the LineUp
Tavon Austin. Ameer Abdullah, see Todd Gurley above last week against Arizona and see how tough the yards were in Seattle. Abdullah’s about to become a touch mongrel in Detroit, Joique Bell is out again Week 5 with an ankle injury. Duke Johnson, 10 targets in the passing game last week against a middle of the pack Baltimore Ravens team defensively. Sam Bradford, although Rivers may offer a better option based on this week’s matchup on Monday Night Football against the Michael Vick led Steelers featuring the return of Antonio Gates.
Week 5 There Has to be a Better Option
John Randle and Latavius Murray. Murray, at home against Denver, where the hope is 7-10 targets in the passing game. Murray is similar to Frank Gore, a top 5 pick for most antasy teams, and a virtual lock for 15 points because of this presence in the passing game. It’s tough to sit a RB averaging 20 touches per game, but this week’s matchup is ugly.
The Marshawn Lynch Dilemma
Your first round pick. All the wrong vibes. Not practicing. Missing games. Seattle offense struggling. Game time decision Week 5. A guy like Hillman is a better play than Lynch this week. On the road against undefeated Cincinnati, 7th in the NFL against the run and there’s been way too much pressure on Russell Wilson who’s 5/4 TD/INT ratio is unexpected. No TDs on the ground. Does Lynch, likely a game time decision, come through in the way his team Needs him to come through? When Lynch rushes for 150 yards and 4 TDs against the Bengals sending them to their first loss, I would try like the devil to trade him. He’s your first round pick … you start him without hesitation if he’s active for the game. Lynch needs another 25-30 touches to be in football shape and clearly Seattle needs his presence. This is his age 29 season. NFLs leading rusher since 2011 who hadn’t missed a game. Maybe Lynch needed a couple weeks to get over the hamstring issue caused by the calf issue.
Or perhaps the wheels have fallen off Lynch who considered retirement in the offseason. I almost jettisoned Lynch for TJ Yeldon. I don’t want Lynch making a fool of me, I’ll hold onto him another couple weeks because I have more intriguing options in BAFFLs PPR format because of the Freeman acquisition. Tavon Austin and Pierre Garcon. Ronnie Hillman. Even Richard Rodgers, the TE in Green Bay. 1300 yards with double digit TDs seemingly out of touch for Lynch this season and the schedule doesn’t lighten up with Carolina in Seattle Week 6 followed by road games against San Francisco, rivalry, and Dallas before their Week 9 bye.
Ha, I just read Lynch has been ruled out this week. Thomas Rawls is the guy this week. Read about touches above.
Week 5 Intrigues
No LeSean McCoy or Karlos Williams in Buffalo. Enter Boobie Dixon and Percy Harvin. Plus, Sammy Watkins might play this week, listed as Questionable, however, no practice. Do Alshon Jeffrey and Jay Cutler play for Chicago this week in Kansas City? Will Kirk Cousins have to throw the ball 50 times against Atlanta? Andre Ellington probable for Arizona against Detroit.
As Chris Berman says … “That’s why the play the games.”