Breakdown: Let’s start this memorial to my week 5 blowout win by noticing my slight handicap due to bye weeks. Granted I wouldn’t have started Bortles even if he wasn’t on a bye and was playing a team of high schoolers — we all knew Brady was fixing to go on a tear. Also, how ’bout starting Jordan Howard over Lamar Miller? Yeah, that’s why I’m giving the advice here.
Breakdown: Hyde putting up 16 on Arizona scares me. I really want Arizona to be a good team but it’s just not happening for them in any facet this season. My opponent’s team could have a totally different identity with a healthy Peterson and Eifert. Blount, Peterson, Bell, and Hyde is a better RB group than I have. But as much as I’d love to, I can’t pick on my opponent this week as there was nothing he could do to keep this game even remotely close. It was just one of those weeks.
Now let’s breakdown the individual match ups.
Tom Brady vs Jameis Winston was definitely favored towards me, not only because Brady is just a better quarterback, but Brady against the Browns is a handout — even with the gunslinger Winston going against that shady Carolina secondary.
Tom Brady will be a must-start throughout the rest of the year until week 15 when he plays the Broncos. That defense is top ranking in recent history — the 2015 Broncos were 10th in history, and they’re still playing to that level. Barring injury, the only reasons you’ll need to have a second QB on your roster is for Brady’s bye (week 9) and the week 15 game against the Broncos. Brady is the new Benjamin Button – he’s seemingly getting more youthful with time.
Jameis Winston, on the other hand, is a spot start QB. His tendency to throw picks has carried over from college to the pros and those interceptions are deadly. The fantasy impact of an INT is far more than the -2 points — it’s also the loss of all the points that QB could have accrued through the rest of that particular drive.
Fantasy Impact: Brady and Winston actually compliment each other nicely this season. How, you might ask? Brady and the Patriots seem to have the AFC East under wraps (again) and that could potentially mean that Brady sits a few games if there’s no home field advantage competition. Winston is a great “handcuff” of sorts because starting Brady for week 15 — potentially your championship week — is too risky. Start Winston instead against Dallas that week.
David Johnson vs Le’Veon Bell is just the most beautiful match up in fantasy football right now. These are the two most dynamic players in the league — and they’re young. We’ve seen Marques Colston play the TE/WR spot and dominate for a short time; but the way Bell and Johnson both exercise premier patience in hitting holes and precision in their route running is something unique to all-time great players like Marshall Faulk or Ladanian Tomlinson. This week Johnson came out on top, but I can only attribute that to a better match-up.
Fantasy Impact: Oh, don’t trade either of these players.
Melvin Gordon vs Terrance West was also tilted in my favor due to how reliant the Chargers have become on Gordon since losing Danny Woodhead. Both had good match ups against below average defenses. But can we take a moment to appreciate a few things? First off, I drafted RB’s rounds 1 & 2; and other than convincing my buddy to trade me Ladanian Tomlinson for Felix Jones due to “better match ups,” years ago, this had to be my best fantasy move of all time. Secondly, let’s give Melvin Gordon credit for what looks to be a huge bounce back year. How better can you illustrate a bounce back year than Gordon yielding a fat goose eggs worth of touchdowns last year, and now he’s leading the league.
Melvin Gordon is at his peak of this year; he’s a scoring machine and getting tons of touches after the loss of Danny Woodhead. But, I can’t see this scoring trend continuing (he’s been dependent on TD’s for his fantasy numbers); so IF you have RB depth as I do, I recommend trying to trade Gordon and a WR2 for someone like Julio Jones or Antonio Brown (assuming you need a WR1).
Terrance West seems to be the the lead back, for now. But, I don’t like West in the RB2 spot due to the committee approach going on over there. In week 5, West had about 50% of the touches with both Buck Allen and the rookie Kenneth Dixon taking a quarter of the pie each. The concern here, is West averaged 8.6 YPC and still wasn’t given the lions share of the touches — I think they want Kenneth Dixon to rise up and be the future of that backfield. That being said, if Dixon can’t show up soon, West has been productive in that spot and may emerge as a 15-20 touch back.
Amari Cooper vs Mike Evans is a battle of two young studs with promising young quarterbacks who love throwing them the ball. Cooper has been disappointing in terms of numbers, but that’s primarily because he likes to use more than what’s allowed for space on the football field. No joke, I won and lost week 3 all on the called back touchdown because of illegal touching. Oh, and that no catch in the back of the end zone this week; yeah, that happened too. The edge has to go to Mike Evans here though. Crabtree is slowly looking like the WR1 of that Oakland offense while Vincent Jackson hasn’t been a shred of his former self for years, and hasn’t scratched into Evans’ production.
Amari Cooper is a solid WR2 moving forward. His floor is high due to his targets(10th in the league), but the red zone chemistry isn’t there yet and with a WR with hands like Crabtree next to him, I don’t see that changing any time soon. Cooper could be used in a trade along with an RB1/RB2 as damage mitigation if you want to try and pry the elite receivers from someone else.
Mike Evans is a lower end WR1 as he is the only real receiving threat in that offense. He’ll draw quite a bit of double teams, so definitely be wary of him when he plays secondaries with a solid CB1. On the bright side though, the return of Doug Martin could loosen up the coverage and keep the safeties more honest if they have to respect the run. Oh, and Jameis Winston isn’t a bad QB either. Keeper leagues should consider stashing this guy if the price is right.
Sterling Shepard vs Julian Edelman was a battle of the slot guys. I expected more out of “Jules” with the return of Brady; but all the love was going in the TE’s directions in week 5. Per usual, the New England offense will be tough to predict; but at least Brady is delivering the rock. Eli Manning, on the other hand, is just looking ugly this year. Well, his play looks ugly, we all know they don’t make much better faces than this. Shepard, though, is a phenomenal WR, but that offense has other (big) mouths to feed and a lack of a running game. Being the second or third option in a one dimensional offense isn’t ideal, but the sky is the limit for this rookie down the line if this team can begin moving the ball consistently and Eli can throw multiple TD games.
Julian Edelman will get his, believe that. But, there are quite a few weapons in the offense he is competing with. What won’t change with Edelman are his opportunities; he will get the nickel-and-dime looks as he always has. But, what I do see changing for the worst is his relevance in the red zone. Gronk and Bennett are monsters and Malcolm Mitchell has displayed some quality hands so far this season, leaving a lot to contend with. But Edelman is the king of getting open — I’d consider him a flex option until we can get a better read on how he fits into this new “inside out” offense predicated on TE play.
Sterling Shepard is comparable in excitement to Odell Beckham Jr. Yes, you read that right. This organization has a knack for drafting wideouts and this offense is a few pieces away from being the best in the league. But, at this point in time, Shepard is only a match up based starter. Eli crumbles against good defenses and that drags down the effectiveness of his wide receivers, obviously. Against the Saints, Redskins, and Cowboys Shepard put up double-digit fantasy points illustrating his potential. Eli needs to bring his game back to 2015 levels before I would consider Shepard to be a weekly starter. It may be a great time to trade him if he can put up good number this week at home against a forgiving Baltimore secondary. They have a solid pass rush with Suggs and Dumervil, so Eli will have to get the ball to his slot guy (Shepard). Expect a good week from Shepard in week 6.
Delanie Walker vs Dennis Pitta scared me at first. Walker was a top-5 tight end last year and has played well thus far for the most part. But, we all know how Joe Flacco loves his tight ends. Any given Sunday a tight end can scorch you for huge points; and a likely candidate in that regard is Dennis Pitta due to how many looks he gets. The script wasn’t tilted in any favor, but it was Delanie’s touchdown that edged out Pitta in week 5.
Dennis Pitta is Joe Flacco’s dude. Pitta is third in the league in TE targets with 37 through 5 weeks. That’s opportunity. The glaring setback for Pitta right now is getting in the end zone. Other than Pitta, Baltimore doesn’t have much in the lines of a red zone threat so teams have been leaving 2 guys on Pitta in those situations. Don’t pull the plug on this guy, he will come into TE1 contention very soon and you’ll be happy you kept him. Those in dire need of a TE, he’s a good guy to buy low on right now.
Delanie Walker is still the #1 option in Tennessee. Might I say Delanie is the only option in Tennessee? He’s a solid TE1 to ride throughout the year, but I say due to team’s game-planning against him as many teams try to take away the #1 option; Delanie is best used in conjunction with another match up based guy. I like my Delanie Walker / Jimmy Graham duo, as smart defenses will do what they can to stop Delanie, leaving Mariota uncomfortable and needing to “force” the ball to a different option. I wouldn’t recommend trying to trade for or trade away Delanie, his stock is high right now due to his touchdowns but he hasn’t been dominate enough for you to fetch someone big time.
Jordan Howard vs LeGarrette Blount was a huge gamble for me. Blount has been consistently getting in the end zone and owns nearly all of the touches in that backfield; for now. Lamar Miller is usually my flex play as it’s hard to bench someone who gets nearly 30 touches a game. That’s plenty of opportunity for points. But, if you don’t follow Matt Jarecki on Twitter, you may not have been privy to this new rule of fantasy football.
New rule: start all fantasy players possible vs Colts
— Matthew Jarecki (@Outsidetheleagu) October 9, 2016
Yeah, so I started Jordan Howard; and it paid off.
Jordan Howard moving forward is a sticky situation. Right now, while Jeremy Langford is out, Howard is a great RB2 option. If the Bears offense keeps ticking with Brian Hoyer, chalk him up as an RB1. What we really need to see is whether or not he will get enough touches to warrant a start when Jeremy Langford returns. This is a fantasy piece where I’m providing the knowledge so I’ll give it my best guess — I think it’s going to be a Jeremy Hill / Giovanni Bernard type backfield. That assumption, though, is entirely predicated on the notion that Jeremy Langford can produce at the pace he was before the injury; because anything short of that may mean Howard is getting a vast majority of the touches going forward. I can’t recommend trading for him unless you need an RB in the short term while there are still a few key running backs out with injury. In regards to trading him away, his stock is high right now. We may be witnessing the emergence of a great back of the future, or we may be seeing another stop gap player who does his part in the mean time.
LeGarrette Blount has been a TD machine thus far. With no other viable big back on the roster, you can rest assured that Blount will be getting the short yardage and goal line touches for the remainder of the season. But, I refuse to bet against the past and say that this is going to be a predictable Patriots backfield. Things will change inevitably; the Patriots game-plan takes on totally different forms each and every week which ultimately means LeGarrette could get phased out on any given week. I recommend a sell on Blount, when he’s high. His stock that is… Right now he’s top 10 at the position and enough people are desperate for running backs that they will buy him at his perceived value, rather than the value he’ll plateau at for the rest of the season.
Defense/Special Team Match-up:
Minnesota Vikings vs New England Patriots was definitely a toss to my opponent. The Vikings are stellar against anyone, and clearly the favorite every week; even a quietly good Patriots defense playing against arguably the worst offense, or team, in the NFL. The rise of the Vikings has been an odd one; but of all the teams in the league, this one is my favorite to come out of obscurity due to all their injuries and other setbacks.
The Minnesota Vikings this season have been a total show. A piecemeal team playing in a brand new, and beautiful stadium. Marcus Sherels has more TD’s than Odell Beckham, and Everson Griffin is making a case for Defensive Player of the Year. I don’t see anything changing too drastically for this defense. I do think the team as a whole will come down to earth, but they will end the season as a top 3 defense; and for that reason they’ll cost too much to trade for and you won’t want to trade them away — unless someone is willing to give up a WR1 or RB1 for them. You think that’s too expensive? This team scores more defensive touchdowns than a majority of your starters; take notes.
The New England Patriots defense has been spotty this year with no real return threat as Cyrus Jones hasn’t held the gig. Shutting out the Texans was an accomplishment, but they did give up 24 points to a hideous Miami Dolphins offense in the second half of that week 2 game. On the bright side, this defense is giving up an average of 19 points per game. A number Brady won’t have any trouble topping. Consider this defense a streaming option.
Feel free to tweet any of your fantasy football questions to me @jakeOTLrandall or comment them below.