Fantasy Football - Week 5
QB's Start 'Em
Matthew Stafford (Detroit Lions) Now that Detroit Lions (3-1) QB Matthew Stafford (1,262 YDS, 7 TD, 96.2 RAT) has a running game to help support the offense, he gets to pick and choose his spots much better - which many fantasy owners can see as a double-edged sword, while he's not slinging the ball down-field 40+ times per game, he's also not getting picked off time and time again, forcing the opposition to respect the run. However, if the past tells anything of the future, Stafford has thrown the ball 45+ times in his each of his last two visits to Lambeau Field. The Green Bay Packers (1-2) have given up the 5th-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, and they have yet to really face anyone who is seen as a real threat (Kaepernick, Griffin, III and Dalton). Stafford will exploit and show just how weak the Packers 28th ranked passing defense is, allowing 311.0 yards-per-game through the air - I assume more after Sunday's game. And, I also have absolutely NO IDEA why Green Bay is 8-point favorites this weekend? I see Detroit pulling the win out, straight-up!
Philip Rivers (San Diego Chargers) Not sure if you've noticed or not, but San Diego Chargers (2-2) starting QB Philip Rivers (1,199 YDS, 11 TD, 118.8 RAT) has more touchdown passes and a better rating than Drew Brees (1,434 YDS, 10 TD, 103.8 RAT), reeling and looking like the Philip Rivers we knew just a few seasons ago. The need for Rivers to have quality games (and why they're only 2-2 on the season) comes from his lackluster defensive help, both rushing (allowing 120.5 YPG) and in the air (allowing 312.3 YPG). Mid-level QB's like Schaub, Vick and Romo have all had good days through the air when facing the Bolts, keeping Rivers heaving the ball in the air to either pull off the victory or simply just to keep up. Start Rivers this weekend against a Raiders team suspect to giving up almost 20 points-per-game to the opposition's quarterback and be happy you did. Your're welcome.
Matt Ryan (Atlanta Falcons) Last week the Atlanta Falcons (1-3) looked absolutely lost in the first half of Monday Night Football and it was clear to me that QB Matt Ryan (1,330 YDS, 8 TD, 97.7 RAT) forgot how to throw a simple 5-yard-out route to the sideline. We won't talk about the horrendous call to go for it on 4th-and-goal from the 7-yard-line instead of taking the chip-shot field goal that your tenured kicker Matt Bryant (9/10 FG, 10/10 XP) could've made with his eyes closed. Nope, we won't talk about it. Or the fact that those crucial 3-points ended up being the deciding factor in the game. Not going to even mention it. You know, the decision to just wing it and disappoint not only your home crowd, but three mooks like my buddies Josh, Nick and myself who have mortgages riding on it. NOT EVEN GOING TO BRING IT UP!!! Ok, now that I've gotten that out of my system... we're good. Even though the New York Jets (2-2) have respectable defenses, Matty Ice needs to put something together and make his home field Georgia Dome a place to be both feared and respected like it was once before. Look for Ryan and the Falcons to have a better game plan, especially when hosting Monday Night Football.
RB's Start 'Em
Ray Rice (Baltimore Ravens) For reasons unbeknownst to myself (and quite possibly everyone else I know) the Baltimore Ravens (2-2) have been opting more towards the committee system with their running backs instead of allowing their premier RB Ray Rice (30 ATT, 89 YDS, 1 TD) to carry the load as he had done in years past. This week Rice is told to be getting more touches and rightfully so with a Miami Dolphins (3-1) rushing defense currently ranked 10th in the league, giving up only 98.5 yards-per-game on the ground but somehow allowing the 7th-most fantasy points to running backs in their first 4 games of the season. If the Ravens don't start running the ball more with Rice, they can expect to stay right around the .500 mark for the season and to exploit just how sub-par QB Joe Flacco (1,091 YDS, 5 TD, 69.4 RAT) is in the grand scheme of things... as if the stats of his I just posted didn't tell you enough!
DeMarco Murray (Dallas Cowboys) Based upon Dallas Cowboys (2-2) RB DeMarco Murray's (72 ATT, 356 YDS, 1 TD) rushing totals, being on pace to rush for over 1,400 yards this season and handcuffed with the fact that the visiting Denver Broncos (4-0) have surrendered the 5th-most fantasy points to opposing running backs while allowing 7 total touchdowns, it would seem as if the rushing attack should be set to overdrive on Sunday. Not to mention, the key to keeping this game from getting out of hand is to keep superstar QB Peyton Manning (1,470 YDS, 16 TD, 138.0 RAT) out of play and on the sidelines for as much of the game as possible. The only problem with that is the fact that Denver also possesses the league's top-ranked defensive front, allowing only 74.0 yards-per-game on the ground. Many may think it's a tall task to ask, but... ok, let's cut right to the main reason I put DeMarco Murray in this position: I just found out that Jessica Hansen (from Vine fame) is from Dallas and I am assuming the only way I have a chance of taking her out in a few weeks is if I butter her up as much as possible. Ok? There, I said it. Now that that's out of the way, can we move on? Thank you!
Eddie Lacy (Green Bay Packers) Green Bay Packers (1-2) RB Eddie Lacy (15 ATT, 51 YDS, 1 TD) had been recently sidelined with a concussion. After sitting out against Cincinnati it looks as if this weekend Lacy is back in the Packers lineup which means he should be back in your fantasy lineup, as well. Through the first four weeks, the Detroit Lions (3-1) have allowed over 100 yards-per-game on the ground and the third-most fantasy points to the position. While the Packers aren't necessarily a ground-and-pound team, Head Coach Mike McCarthy and staff will have to find a fine balance if they want to compete with this "numbers in bunches" visiting Lions team. This is the kind of game that I see the last possession walking away with the victory. That being said, why Detroit is an 8-point dog absolutely blows my mind?! Make some money and take Detroit to cover this spread while you're at it - and, shhhhh! You didn't hear that from me!
WR's Start 'Em
Jordy Nelson (Green Bay Packers) The Green Bay Packers (1-2) and Detroit Lions (3-1) match-ups are almost always shootouts to the finish. Expect nothing short of that this weekend when Detroit looks to stand atop of their division while the Packers are simply trying to get to .500 in a marquee game between two bitter rivals. With one of the absolute best franchise players in the league, QB Aaron "Discount Double-Check" Rodgers (1,057 YDS, 8 TD, 105.1 RAT) is going to look for his number one target, WR Jordy Nelson (18 REC, 289 YDS, 3 TD) deep and often this weekend at Lambeau. In his last home game against Detroit, Nelson put up monster numbers, tallying 162-yards and 3 touchdown receptions in regulation!
DeSean Jackson (Philadelphia Eagles) Although Philadelphia Eagles (1-3) have only come away with one win on the season and WR DeSean Jackson (21 REC, 393 YDS, 2 TD) rarely has good outings against the still winless New York Giants (0-4), they find themselves hanging onto 2nd place in their division... somehow? Granted, the Giants were bad before, but now they're terrible - not to mention it's all in their heads at this point, all one-hundred percent mental. Take full advantage of the position the Giants are in and the ways in which premier wide receivers like DeSean Jackson can exploit them. Just trust me on this one, the Giants couldn't stop a nose bleed.
Eric Decker (Denver Broncos) When it comes to the Denver Broncos (4-0) WR Eric Decker (24 REC, 340 YDS, 1 TD) no name means more than... no, not the defensive back manned up on Decker... hell, it's not even Decker himself... it's more the gunslinger lookin at perfection behind the line of scrimmage calling the plays. Plain and simply put, if your team's captain is QB Peyton Manning (1,470 YDS, 16 TD, 138.0) he could make Stephen Hawkins look like an All-Pro wideout. Each and every game, Decker seems to find a way to release ever-so-sneakily and finds himself wide open... usually in the end zone. Start Decker this week, if for no other reason than the fact that Peyton Manning is throwing the ball to him.
QB Sit 'Em - Seriously, don't you even think about it, young man!
Colin Kaepernick (San Francisco 49'ers) Little do most fantasy owners know, but the Houston Texans (2-2) have the top-ranked passing defense in the NFL, allowing an average of only 141.0 yards-per-game through the air, with All-Pro defensive ends like J.J. Watt and friends taking the opposition down or at the very least, making it difficult for nearly any quarterback to get good, quality throws off. Look for the San Francisco 49'ers to do most of their work via their 8th-ranked rushing attack (131.0 YPG) - just not with QB Colin Kaepernick (856 YDS, 5 TD, 81.0 RAT) this week. Trust me, Kaepernick doesn't want to test Houston's defensive ends anymore than he has to.
RB Sit 'Em - Did I stutter?!
Ryan Mathews (San Diego Chargers) For the two seasons prior to this, I must admit that I fell victim to the San Diego Chargers (2-2) and drank all of the RB Ryan Mathews (64 ATT, 226 YDS, 0 TD) Kool-Aid that was offered up to me. That being said, I didn't fall for it this season and it's looking to be a solid move on my part because, no matter what the packaging promises, the product just simply falls short. To make things worse, Mathews is heading to face off against the Oakland Raiders (1-3) who actually have a rather decent run-stopping defense, who have allowed just over an average if 14 fantasy points to opposing backs this season. True, the Raiders still kind of suck... but Mathews sucks just a little worse.
WR Sit 'Em - Think about it again and you'll be grounded for TWO weeks, mister!
Mike Wallace (Miami Dolphins) Right now, that $60 million contract WR Mike Wallace (15 REC, 176 YDS, 1 TD) signed with the Miami Dolphins (3-1) is making them look more and more foolish with each game he goes out and gives yet another lackluster effort, time and time again. Until he proves himself... or at least until he runs a route hard enough to show that he either cares or knows the play call, sit him. At this point, Miami has paid Wallace $60 million for each touchdown reception he's gotten. You know, there are children starving in South Africa, but Mike Wallace makes that kind of money for this?! Cute.