Fantasy Football: (Weekend Update) Week 5 FLEX Rankings, Starts And Sits
Ben Tate appears as if he’ll be on the field in Tennessee, but he’s Ben Tate. A man that once appeared on TLC’s Strange Addictions showcasing his enslavement to suffering injuries. Let’s face it, this is the comeback no one wanted. Tate’s expected to be the primary ball handler with the Browns effusing Terrance West and the beloved Isaiah Crowell into the mix when they deem fit. How often will each be used, who knows? But guessing is pretty fun, so I’ma do that.
***Total Touches, inside 5-yard line carries in parenthesis
Tate: 17 (3)
West: 12 (0)
Crowell: 6 (2)
That was fun. I wonder where else this works…
Justin Forsett: 20 (2)
Lorenzo Taliaferro: 11 (2)
Bernard Pierce: 4(1)
OK, one more…
Superman, Darrin Reaves: 16 (2)
Chris Ogbonnaya: 9 (0)
Fozzy Whittaker: 4 (0)
Can’t wait to see how wrong I am on all of those. Also, Tweet me your guesses and the closest gets a prize. Not a good one, mind you.
Sooooooooo… the “expectation is Calvin Johnson will play on Sunday.” That’s positive news. I’m penciling MEGATRON into all of my lineups without hesitation. If he’s merely a decoy, like in Week 4, well, sucks to be me, but you always start him when he’s playing. Nothing is official, and won’t be until Sunday morning, so have a “worst case scenario” backup plan at the ready. Preparation is king! Jeremy Ross would gain the most value with Calvin on the sidelines.
Arian Foster’s been upgraded to probable. Use him, and pray he doesn’t tweak his hammy on his first carry. Andre Johnson’s shaping up to be a game time call after a lack of practice all week, however, Texans’ beat reporters anticipate he’ll be active against the Cowboys, so that’s how I’ve ranked him. He’ll be a quality WR3 in Week 5, if he’s in.
I’d prepare my roster as if I won’t have Vernon Davis, Joique Bell and Eric Decker available to use. Decker is the most likely to play, but he’s 50/50, at best. I’ve moved Reggie Bush inside the Top 15 RBs and Jeremy Kerley will get a slight bump too if Decker’s confined to the sidelines getting the rolling-pin treatment. But, Kerley’s is in no way a must start. Just a deep flyer.
Drew Stanton will be starting under center for the Cardinals. I’d start Michael Floyd and Larry Fitzgerald where I normally would, and John Brown is an interesting sleeper if you think the Broncos jump out to a sizable lead.
Jordan Reed falls into the Ben Tate camp of, “even if he’s active, can you really trust him to make through a quarter without getting carted off?” He’s one of those guys. I hate those guys. His status for Monday night is still uncertain and I wouldn’t wait on him. If Reed is somehow in uniform against the Seahawks, I still prefer Niles Paul for this week.
FYI: Add Cordarrelle Patterson to the list of buy lows. Better times rest ahead for CP, at least THEY BETTER, and if not, what you have to give up for his services coming off a dreadful Thursday night outing isn’t going to alter your season one bit. I woke up Saturday morning to discover my Allen Robinson for Patterson had been accepted. Seriously. This is what you can get Patterson for right now.
THE FLEXPERT v14.5 – Week 5 FLEX Rankings
There’s a singular, pervasive theme in THE FLEXPERT every season, stretching Week 1 through 16 – Mayo don’t do Week 17, and neither should you. Shockingly, this column isn’t exclusively reserved for non-sequiturs and deranged, esoteric allusions.
In 2013, my thesis was manipulating league rules and settings to use for personal gain. In 2011, it was seeing how many, uhhhh…….. sandwiches I could eat and come up with the most bizarre strategy theories possible. This year, it’s all about how perception affects every move you make, and exploiting that perception to shift the odds of winning in your favor. Consider it the card counting of Fantasy Football. Except, I demand someone better looking than Jim Sturgess play me in the movie adaption of this column, when the time comes.
I only mention this because most lack the skill of picking up on subtext – which links directly to peoples’ lack of perception and awareness. That’s what makes the masses morons. And that type of stupidity deserves to be abused. While it only takes a village to raise a child (and a enough money for a failed future presidential run), it takes the combined efforts of all of us – PROLETARIAT AND BOURGEOISIE… LET OUR POWERS COMBINE – to teach these senseless people a lesson. Consider it duty. And the best way accomplish this so it sticks, is to leverage their lack of logic against them and rip them off in a deal.
Fantasy players are panicky, with one-week blinders affixed to their noggins. YOU have clarity. YOU possess foresight. YOU deal in reason. Be a Fantasy psychic and drum up the intestinal fortitude to shame these idiots via trade. You owe it to your team. If not, just rely on me to tell you. I am an official Fantasy Miss Cleo, you know – CALL ME NOW!!!
There are two important factors to weigh before making a trade or assigning value to any player: 1) Your specific team’s needs, and 2) The size of your league.
It’s number two that most don’t understand. Take Isaiah Crowell. I heart Isaiah Crowell. But just because I love Isaiah Crowell doesn’t mean I have to own him in a 10-team league. I think I own him in every 14-plus team league I’m in. A few deep bench 12-teamers too. But with the bounty of available talent in shallow leagues, there’s not really a point to stash anyone. Aside from Josh Gordon. Who, hopefully, between now and Week 11, doesn’t decide keep a stash of his own. In a 10-team format, basically everyone on your roster is already a capable starter. There’s no need to pick up a player that won’t be able to contribute consistently, or at all, for AT LEAST a month or so. And, if Crowell is available to pick up in your league, unless he explodes over the next few weeks, he’s still going to be there in three weeks. Trust me.
As opposed to stashing a future talent in that type of league, you’d be better off adding a more immediate asset, hoping his value appreciates with a huge game, then short sell in a two-for-one trade to acquire an elite player. As a bonus, it opens up that same roster spot you wanted to blow on a stash in the first place, so you can do it then. With an added upgrade of having a superior squad than you did when you wanted to make the stash in the first place. Make sense? If not, I suggest enrolling in Everest College to obtain the proper skillz that pay the billz.
Another tricky thing to assess from a distance is trade value inside your particular league. You know that better than I do. You know these people: what they like, who their favorite team is, whether they’re one of those aforementioned imbeciles or someone with a modicum of brain activity. Objectively speaking, based on the trade questions you’ve been sending me, here’s who you should be targeting for a whole lot less than they’re worth right now. With names comin’ at ya with supersonic speed…
Rob Gronkowski – #GRONKSMASH has #GRONKSMASH’D in three of four games while physically getting healthier each week. His snap count was down from Week 3 but that was due to game flow – New England couldn’t sustain a drive, resulting in only 60 offensive plays. I was actually incredibly encouraged by the Pats feeling good enough about his health to keep him on the field when the game was out of hand. GRONK’s a Top 3 TE and a Top 35 player. Show him the proper respect.
Darren Sproles – This one is truly baffling. I’ve received a multiple questions asking whether Sproles should be dropped. For serious. Doesn’t matter that’s been a Top 10 RB in both standard and PPR formats, playing a very defined role in one of football’s most explosive offenses, coming off a week in which said offense was rendered inert, and his positional versatility still allowed him to find dirt. But, NOPE: Sproles sucks and I WANNA CUT HIM!!! He’s a Top 15 RB in PPR formats and Top 25 in standard, making him an every week FLEX, at worst. Tailor your trade offers accordingly.
Justin Hunter – It’s funny, Hunter and Travis Kelce would have been lumped together if Kelce hadn’t realized his Fantasy potential Monday night. But the same principle applies, as it uses expected expectations – preconceived notions – many have regarding the duo. Both Hunter and Kelce (along with Ahmad Bradshaw!!!) were at the top of my 2014 sleeper list, and it wasn’t just me. So, both trigger a certain “upside” cachet association. It all perfectly played out with Kelce. This time last week, many were starring at the Chiefs’ big man on their waiver wire, but didn’t want to commit a roster spot to him because he hadn’t broken out yet. Fast forward to now, and people are demanding to know if Kelce is a Top 5 TE the rest of the season. He’s not. Yet, the same inquiries are not flooding my inbox concerning Larry Donnell. Why? Because there was no expectation for him to ever be good. After the amount of sleeper buzz Kelce created in the preseason, actually being able to see it realized during a game exponentially increased his value. And the same thing’s happened to Hunter. I loved Hunter coming into the year, and while I must admit he’s been far worse than I ever would have anticipated, one good game will skyrocket his value. Again, it’s all about perception. Despite posting back-to-back monster games, it seems like no one truly believes in Eddie Royal – myself included. But if Hunter posts just one of those games, everyone will forgive his slow start and value him as a Top 25 receiver, because that’s what a few Fantasy writers speculated his upside could potentially be, like, eight weeks ago. Sound insane? That’s because it is. But it remains true. I actually still believe in Hunter’s Fantasy outlook as a startable option at some point this season. Through three weeks he had the largest discrepancy between actual Fantasy points and projected Fantasy points based on game action, and still sits 32nd in targets among wide receivers – the Titans simply need to either A) Get Jake Locker healthy ,or B) Never play Checkdown Jesus, Charlie Whitehurst ever again, or C) Use Zach Mettenberger and his glorious deep ball; that would fix Hunter’s issues. Purchase Hunter for a quarter today and sell him for a Salmon P. Chase tomorrow.
Andre Ellington – Remember when everyone loved this guy in the preseason? Nether does anyone else. He’s still Top 15 RB because of skills and touches, and he’s not being treated that way in the present. BUY.
Calvin Johnson, LeSean McCoy & Brandon Marshall – These guys are all still awesome, but performance has scared a lot owners, especially if those owners are sitting at 1-3 or 2-2. In fact, they’re so terrified right now, their fear alone would be enough to keep Dr. Vink’s evil soup shack in business for eternity. Whether you’re at the top of the standings, the middle or the bottom, be certain to target this underperforming triumvirate. It’s critical decisions like this that put you in position to win in December.
Montee Ball – Trade for Ball now if you want. But, if you wait for him to get stymied by the Cards and Jets first (1st and 10th in run defense DVOA), you’ll get him for a quarter of the price. Patience, you must have my young padawans.
Matt Asiata – Again, use expectations against your opposition. I feel like we’ve come to a consensus that, talent wise, Asiata is lacking. Yet, that doesn’t appear like it will alter his opportunity. Now, conduct some expectation alchemy with Jerick McKinnon’s performance against the Falcons, which was so electrifying it made The Rock raise both eyebrows, and everyone thinks Asiata is finished. He’s far from finished. He’ll persist as the Vikes’ primary ball carrier between tackles and at the goal line. Through attrition alone, he’ll be fringe Top 25 running back. But still, everyone wants to rid themselves of him for the new hot thang. Capitalize on their ignorance.
WEEK 5 Top 20 QBs (Most Updated QB RANKS)
I’m Philip Rivers?
Smokin’ Jay Cutler
“Gonzo” Colin Kaepernick
HELLO JOE Flacco. Iron helps him play!
“Secret Bald” Mike Glennon
Eli Manning Face
EARLY GAME WATCHABILITY INDEX
GB over MIN
WEEK 5 D/ST RANKS
THE REVENGE SOCIETY
Greg Jennings at GB
Alex Smith at SF
Greg Olsen vs CHI
If you’re a big fan of streaming, well, just about anything, you have to be using Google Chrome and downloading AdBlock immediately. BOOM!!! I’ve changed your life. You’re welcome.
While the difference between Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton has a major impact on Arizona’s receiving corps, it won’t affect Andre Ellington. Juke’s back to full health coming out of the bye, and running backs tend to excel off a bye. Playing Denver is an excellent situation for a pass catching back too. Ahmad Bradshaw’s the only true receiving RB the Broncos have faced in 2014, and he racked up five catches for 70 yards. And even though Denver too is coming off bye, they’ve still ceded the fifth most rushing TDs of any defense.
Bye weeks can be a nightmare for Fantasy owners, but me, I love ‘em. A week away generally deflates players’ values, or outright Men In Black’s them from our collective memory. Prime example: Brian Quick. Who had posted three straight Top 25 WR scoring weeks to open the season before taking a mandated leave of absence. And in his big comeback, he gets the Eagles – the fourth most generous team to opposing wide outs. Quick is far and away the most targeted receiver among the Rams’ pass catchers, and based on expected game flow – Philly getting ahead – there’s going to be a lot of passing.
Another guy to start coming off bye: Andrew Hawkins. Who, despite playing in one fewer game than everyone else, is still in the Top 15 of targets on the season. Hawkins is consistent, and his elevated floor is very enticing. What do I mean? He has AT LEAST six catches in every game. Andre Johnson hasn’t had a stretch like that in over a year. Then consider the Titans get GASHED by receivers that are one part L’IL and one part QUICK. Look at T.Y. Hilton in Week 4 as a reference. Hilton set yearly highs in receptions and yards per catch against this awful Tennessee defense. Expect Hawkins to do the same. I like Miles Austin in this game too.
Need a Tight end? Use Garrett Graham. He’s playing Dallas. Dallas can’t cover tight ends. Got it? Good. If you don’t, I’m sure you’ll hear Graham’s name pop up on every sleeper list this week. Because it’s true. However, in daily formats, always beware of sleeper buzz. If everyone agrees someone’s a sleeper, they’ll show up on every roster and you don’t want that in large tournaments. Winning a giant DFS event requires fading the public and generating a unique roster. If you want to go contrarian, abstaining from Graham and the top TEs, give Clay Harbor a glance. With Marcedes Lewis out and Cecil Shorts sentenced to hamstring Hell… again, Blake Bortles has no more safety valves other than Harbor. And rookie QBs, they love their safety valves. Bortles peppered Harbor with eight targets in Week 4, producing eight receptions for 69 yards. That lack of yardage is directly attributable to Harbor’s minuscule 2.8 aDot. He merely hovers around the line of scrimmage, soaking up a slew of high percentage catches. PPR players, YOU’RE ON NOTICE.
Ben Roethlisberger has historically been an unreliable Fantasy quarterback. For years, many of his red zone TDs were hamburgled away by the running game. Not no more. Because Big Ben be passin’ all the time these days, no matter where the Steelers are on the field. Ben’s on pace for a career high in attempts and completions – only Drew Brees has put the ball in the air more in 2014. Fuse that with the Jags’ brutal defense, which has given up the most Fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks AND are proud owners of the league’s second worst pass rush, and you have another Big massive Ben week upcoming.
Like streaming defenses? Then Week 5 is your week, PALLLLLL. Cleveland might get Charlie Whitehurst (but IT DOESN’T MATTER if Locker’s in either way), the Steelers draw the Jags – who’ve given up 10-plus Fantasy points to the opposing D/ST every week – and the Lions will beat up on Dave Grohl’s loser younger brother who looks like he sits at home and play C.O.D. all day – Kyle Orton, who actually kind of looks like fat Keanu Reeves as well. But I like Philly the best. The Rams have scored 51 points in their past four road games and the one thing they want to do, run the ball, isn’t going to work against a formidable Eagles run D. Expect Philly to jump out ahead and make Austin Davis play catch up. Think about what “make Austin Davis catch up” means for a moment. Need a hint? Turnovers. Ones, hopefully, that produce touchdowns.
Everyone’s on the Eddie Royal bandwagon. But beware of Malcom Floyd, because he’s hankering to commit some regicide on Royal’s value, at least this week against the Jets. New York’s been brutal against the pass as is, but WR2s have exploited Gang Green, averaging almost a 100 yards and a score per week against.
You see, if Chris Ivory could catch, he’d be a Top 10 RB. But, he can’t, so he’s not. Doesn’t stop him from trying, though. SUPREME EFFORT!!! His rushing prowess? That’s top notch. Ivory set season highs in carries and routes run in Week 4 and is only one of five running backs to earn double-digit Fantasy points every week this season.
The Colts are a very very sneaky match up for Joe Flacco, since they can’t tackle around the line of scrimmage. Consider that Darren Sproles managed 152 receiving yards against them with an aDOT of just 0.2. That’s not good. Plus, Bert Flacco is completing 75-percent of his passes inside 10 yards. And when you have YAC specialists like Steve Smith, Jacoby Jones and an excellent passing catching back in Justin Forsett (who’s a Top 20 RB play this week, btw), the blueprint for Flacco having a big day is evident. He’s not a must start, because you should have better options at pivot, but he makes a stupendous stream and a terrific value play in DFS.
PPR WEEK 5 FLEX RANKINGS
NOTE: PPR scoring only truly affects outliers. PPR Ranks and Standard Ranks are similar with the exception extreme reception magnets like Pierre Thomas, Justin Forsett & Darren Sproles (PPR Positive) and the stonehanded Alfred Morris, Frank Gore & Stevan Ridley (PPR Negative).
SHUNNED!!!: Ray Rice
RESHUNNED!!!: Adrian Peterson
Probable: Jamaal Charles (Ankle), Doug Martin (Knee), Ben Tate (Knee), Arian Foster (Hammy), Alshon Jeffery (Hammy), Allen Hurns (Ankle), Delanie Walker (Shoulder)
Questionable: Maurice Jones-Drew (Hand), Calvin Johnson (Ankle), Andre Johnson (Ankle), Brandon Marshall (Ankle), Harry Douglas (Foot), Tavon Austin (Knee), Marvin Jones (Ankle), Niles Paul (Concussion), Vance McDonald (Knee), Ladarius Green (Hammy), Joseph Fauria (Ankle), Ladarius Green (Hammy)
Doubtful [Not Ranked]: Deangelo Williams (Thigh), Joique Bell (Dizzies), Cecil Shorts (Hammy), Mike Evans (AHHHH MY Groin), Eric Decker (Hammy), Vernon Davis (Ankle/Back)
Out: Marqise Lee (Ankle), Deangelo Williams (Thigh), Mark Ingram (hand), Knowshon Moreno (Elbow), Ryan Mathews (Knee)
Keep Stashing: Josh Gordon (Suspension)
Byes: Oakland, Miami
DeMarco Murray, Present
STEVE SMIFF SEÑOR
The Wreck of the Larry Fitzgerald
Golden Tate III
Brandin Weber Cooks
Zac Stacy. Film Credits: “Super Mario Bros.” as Goomba
Miles Austin 316
Donald Brown (Ranking courtesy of Gregg Sussman)
Brandon LaFell Sexwell
The Walls of Jerricho Cotchery
Kenny Stills to Pay the Billz
THE OG DAWG – Chris Ogbonnaya
Denard Dog Robinson
“High Speed” Kenny Britt
Nasty Nate Washington
Fozzy Wozzy Whittaker
Bobby Chocolate Rainey
Dexter McCluster: Telling you not to LOL and Drive
Benny Cunningham, and his wife, Oprah
The New ODB, Odell Beckham Jr.
Country Music Sensation Griff Whalen
Jonathan Grimes (Or, Grimey, as he likes to be called)
Zach Miller (SEA)
Second Worst RB of all time, Trent Richardson
Oh, hai Mark Ingram
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