I really can’t say it enough, but when it comes down to Fantasy Football the most important thing is not how good a team you have, but how healthy your team is. Injuries are a matter of fact in the NFL. It’s something we all have to deal with. This is why we stress that you must have adequate depth on your roster, especially at running back and wide receiver. Then again, maybe you are extremely lucky and have a healthy roster, if that’s the case, more power to you.
Perhaps QB Aaron Rodgers’ advice to Packers fans should also have been heard by Fantasy owners – RELAX. The Packers came out and annihilated the Vikings on Thursday. Rodgers was on fire, seemingly hitting his receivers at will, but the most important thing to come out of the game may have been the return to prominence of RB Eddie Lacy. Sure Lacy had a TD in Week 4 but that still came with only 48 yards rushing. Well, versus the Vikings on a soggy field, Lacy had two scores and 105 yards on the ground. Sometimes patience pays off.
How exactly do the Panthers have a 3-2 record? The defense has been a sieve for the last three weeks. Quarterback Cam Newton is clearly not healthy. He no longer runs with the football, which severely hampers his Fantasy value, and he isn’t exactly the most accurate passer in the NFL when he throws the ball. The running game, what running game? DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart are both banged up; Darrin Reaves and Chris Ogbonnaya are now their starting backs. Yikes! Thankfully, WR Kelvin Benjamin has been as good as the Panthers thought he would be when they drafted him in the first round, and TE Greg Olsen has been playing at a Pro Bowl level.
Not only did the Titans blow a big lead at home Sunday versus the Browns, but they also lost their quarterback to injury, again. Jake Locker was coming off a wrist injury entering the game, and then injured his thumb during the game. It might be kind of hard to grip the ball for a little while. Charlie Whitehurst looks like he could be the QB once again. I was hopeful that RB Bishop Sankey would have a breakthrough yesterday, but that didn’t happen, although, he wasn’t given much of a chance with just eight carries. This has to change soon.
We have been getting a ton of questions about RB LeSean McCoy. Do we sit him? Should we trade him? You always have to do what you think is best for your team, but the problem is twofold. If you try and trade him now, you will be selling low. Is that worth it to you? If you sit him, how will you feel if that’s the week he goes off and rushes for 110 yards and three scores? Can you live with yourself? McCoy did have 81 yards on the ground yesterday, so it isn’t like he was invisible; he’s just not the same player we thought we were getting. Bottom line is anyone can be dealt if the price is right and it makes your team better, but I’m not ready to abandon McCoy just yet.
Are the Giants for real? Quarterback Eli Manning is having a rebound season after a disastrous 2013 campaign. He may have the best set of offensive weapons he’s had in years. Wide Receiver Victor Cruz has come on strong after a slow start to the season, Reuben Randle is a solid number two, and first round pick Odell Beckham finally saw his first game action versus the Falcons and provided the Giants with another deep threat. Although TE Larry Donnell didn’t catch a pass in the game, he has already proven that he can be a weapon. The only negative is that RB Rashad Jennings may have suffered a serious knee injury, but even if that’s the case, Andre Williams should be able to handle the starting job and will be a must pick up in Fantasy leagues this week.
Speaking of injuries, we are still awaiting word on the status of TE Jimmy Graham. When Graham suffered the injury Sunday, we were told he would come back after getting x-rays taken, but his absence (plus the pain he was in when he did try and play though the injury at first) would lead you to believe that perhaps those tests showed something. The Saints offense can’t really afford to lose Graham, not with WR Marques Colston looking old and slow and no one else on the roster capable of stepping in as a WR1. I like Brandin Cooks, but he would be miscast as a leading receiver.
Well, RB Arian Foster certainly looked back to full strength versus the Cowboys. How long will that last? Well, that’s the $1,000,000 question now isn’t it? Would I trade him? I’d make some inquiries to see what is out there. I love his talent but this won’t be the last injury he suffers this season. If I can get top dollar or even more back in return, I do it. I do like Foster, but with QB Ryan Fitzpatrick looking like he’s regressing a bit, you have to think defenses will look to stop Foster and force Fitzpatrick to beat them.
The Lions are a mess right now. Wide receiver Calvin Johnson wasn’t a decoy yesterday but also didn’t play very long after taking a shot to the ankle. This is back to back weeks in which he has killed Fantasy owners, and now there is pretty good chance that he won’t play Sunday, which actually might be better for Fantasy owners. At least you won’t have to decide whether or not to start him. The news doesn’t get any better with the running backs. Joique Bell missed the game with a concussion. Although he probably will return this week, is there anyone who really believes that he won’t suffer another one this season? Reggie Bush also suffered an ankle injury during the game and is undergoing tests Monday to determine the severity.
The Ravens running game is why I like to stay away from three headed monsters. Justin Forsett had six carries, Bernard Pierce four, and Lorenzo Taliaferro five. Good luck trying to figure out who will have the hot hand each week. Forsett seems to be the back they will use in the passing game with Pierce the power guy, and Taliaferro somewhere in between. I’ll stay away if I can.
It’s officially time to give up on RB Toby Gerhart. He has been given ample opportunity by both the Jaguars and Fantasy owners but just hasn’t come close to getting the job done. This is yet another situation to stay far away from, and I’m not sure I’m talking about just the running game.
The Cardinals had better hope that QB Carson Palmer can return this weekend. Drew Stanton was nothing to get excited about, but starting Logan Thomas at QB if Stanton can’t play (concussion) is a recipe for disaster. Stanton’s play has made WR Larry Fitzgerald and WR Michael Floyd barely startable; Thomas would more than likely require both of them to be on the bench in Fantasy leagues. Palmer stated prior to the game yesterday that he has no timetable for a return, but he can’t get back soon enough.
What do we do with RB Knile Davis? The big issue this week was figuring out how the Chiefs would use Davis now that Jamaal Charles has returned to full health. Sure, Davis had a big game last Monday, but that was more than likely so that the Chiefs could ease Charles back into the rotation. Sunday versus San Francisco he had only two touches. The time to sell Davis to the Charles owner for a good price is probably over; you may now have to just give him away. I’d like to hold onto him for another week but the Chiefs have a bye in Week 6, and if I needed the roster spot, it’s time to say goodbye.
Where do I begin with the Jets? Geno Smith certainly doesn’t seem to be the quarterback of the future. Chris Johnson hasn’t brought big play ability to the running game and Eric Decker has been hobbled by a sore hamstring for a few weeks now. The secondary allows big play after big play, and now the front seven on defense (the supposed strength of the team) seems to be breaking down. While an in-season coaching change rarely helps, Rex Ryan may not be long for New York. As for Smith, even though he was benched at halftime yesterday, Ryan has already come out and stated that he will start this Sunday versus Peyton Manning and the Broncos. Good times.
So, how many of you were ready to throw up watching the Patriots destroy the Bengals in prime time Sunday knowing that you had benched QB Tom Brady? Perhaps you benched him for Ryan Fitzpatrick (I did in one league). Brady had looked horrible; he was coming off a short week and playing a defense that was thought to be one of the best in the game. Well, Brady shredded that defense. Decisions aren’t going to get any easier in Week 6, as Brady will face the Bills, another strong defense that just shut down the Lions and Matthew Stafford. As for that league where I started Fitzpatrick (2QB league), I still won, thank you Peyton Manning and Matt Forte.
As always feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask any questions you like, @georgekurtz