Thank you for returning (or joining us for the first time)! I will keep it short this week, and let you get right into the players. Partly because this is meant for those sports fans, like myself, with short attention spans. The rest being due to my sadness of learning the news of Julio Jones potential season ending foot injury. I filled in for the Week 6 Waiver Wire Grab’s (click here for article), so please find that helpful as the bye weeks and injuries begin to mount. Make sure you check out all of the articles on FakePigskin.com, as each of us authors strive to assist you in making great decisions. I hope you are all having successful seasons to this point, and if you need any specific advice pertaining to your team, please do not hesitate to contact me. As always, Twitter is my preferred method, so if you are not yet following me, please do so now. Without further ado…the Week 5 edition:
The concept of this column is to highlight the past weeks most notable Fantasy performances from the most influential positions (Quarterback, Running Back, Wide Receiver, and Tight End). I will identify a player whom you would generally rely on as one of your starters that you Coulda started, but due to their lackluster performance should not have. Next will be a player who more than likely is on your bench or waiver wire that you Woulda started, and had you done so would have been rewarded with Starter-like numbers. And finally, I will list a player that if you could have had your pick of the entire NFL you Shoulda started, essentially the top performer at his position.
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Coulda pulled the plug on Matt Schaub, HOU Texans. (173 Yards, 0 TD’s/3 INT’s) A Super Bowl contending team generally has a solid Quarterback, and as his track record shows Schaub has been pretty reliable. However, he now has thrown more interceptions (9) than touchdown passes (8) through his team’s first five games. It is no wonder the Texans are off to a 2-3 start, as Schaub has been dreadful in 2013. If you have still been starting him, call your doctor. His horrid play should get you at least one day out of work for suffering a traumatic experience.
Woulda believed Mark Sanchez lost to Geno Smith, NY Jets. (199 Yards, 3 TD’s) When Rex Ryan tabbed the rookie as the Jets starting Quarterback entering the season, many felt it was pressure from new GM John Idzik. A shoulder injury suffered from Sanchez quieted that debate, but it is becoming clear that the kid from West Virginia, who was passed up on Draft Day, may just have a future in this league. Facing a Falcons team at home on Monday Night Football, that was desperate for a win, Smith was un-rattled. A QB rating of 147.7 is no accident, but extremely rare for a Jet player. Take notice, he is a viable starter in this league.
Shoulda just stuck with Tony Romo, DAL Cowboys. (506 Yards, 5 TD’s/1 INT) You were the guy who took Romo, knowing despite all the criticism he is a very good fantasy relevant QB. You were probably shocked that thru the teams first four games he had only thrown one interception. The problem was, he also was not throwing for that many yards or touchdowns. Squaring off against a tough Denver team, you may have cringed at the thought of what this game would produce. When it was all said and done, he was the best QB on the field. For that matter, he finished as the best QB in all of the league this week. Is he back? I’m not sure he ever left.
Coulda thought the corner was turned by Lamar Miller, MIA Dolphins. (15 Rush yds, 0 TD’s) Last week, on Monday Night, you watched Miller scamper for a 5.6 yards per carry average. Had the Dolphins not been playing catch up most of the game, you figured that his rushing total could have been even greater than the 62 yards he finished with. Taking on the Ravens you probably thought he was a decent start, and felt comfortable plugging him into your lineup. Well decent does not win games, and Miller was not even that. A miserable 15 yards was all he could muster, and now the questions will again surface. I still believe he has a lot to offer, but do not view him as one of your top backs at this moment.
Woulda saw the rise of Pierre Thomas, NO Saints. (36 Rush yds; 9-55 Rec 2 TD’s) It feels like Thomas has been in the NFL for a very long time, during which he has always shown flashes. With Mark Ingram clearly out of the way, and Chris Ivory in New York, Thomas and Darren Sproles are the only RB’s in New Orleans. While he is not amassing record setting rushing yards, he has emerged as a superior receiver out of the backfield. Sunday’s 9 receptions brings him to 28 on the year, which puts him on pace for 90 catches this season. I do not think that number will be achieved, but his 19 rushing attempts this week is encouraging that he will remain on the field for a lot of plays. He is a solid start as your RB2 in standard formats, and is making a strong push for RB1 honors in PPR leagues.
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Shoulda not worried about the health of Jamal Charles, KC Chiefs. (108 Rush, 1 TD; 5-37 Rec) Injury concerns be damned, there is a new regime in town. The Andy Reid/Alex Smith led Chiefs have already more than doubled last seasons win total (2) by racing out to a 5-0 start. At the center of that is the consistency of the running game anchored by Jamal Charles. Although this was his first game of 2013 surpassing 100 yards rushing in a game, he has been scoring touchdowns and providing positive results in every contest. Charles is now the top producing fantasy Running Back, and should be viewed as such the remainder of the season.
Coulda knew there would be one for Marquis Colston, NO Saints. (2 catches for 15 yards) It is hard to not start every player running routes for Drew Brees, and so far his top target (not named Graham) has been great. But with so many options there is bound to be at least one week where someone gets left off of the leader board. Week 5 was Marquis Colston’s turn to take a seat, as he was only able to manage 2 receptions for a grand total of 15 yards. Do not worry though, he will be just fine.
Woulda been confused about TY Hilton, IND Colts. (5-140, 2 TD’s) A top pre-season sleeper, who is this guy really? He has become the lone deep threat in a very capable Colts offense, displacing Darrius Heyward-Bey in the pecking order. His Week 2 breakout of 124 receiving yards was supposed to be what should be the norm, yet back to back poor performances left many wondering. After this weeks re-emergence you would not be wrong to question how he should be viewed. My hunch is this latest is closer to the truth. Keep in mind, it was against the vaunted Seahawks secondary. Also keep in mind, the team is still getting acclimated to the mid-season arrival of Trent Richardson. I view Hilton as a must start moving forward as there will be more days like this.
Shoulda bought low on Alshon Jeffrey, CHI Bears. (10-218 Receiving, 1 TD) Sometimes it takes little while for a player to adjust to the professional level. When the Bears spent a second round draft pick on Jeffrey they envisioned a clone of All-Pro Brandon Marshall. Two imposing WR’s who would cause match up nightmares for their opposition. Two straight impressive performances has allowed Alshon to leapfrog past Marshall for the team lead in receiving yards (429), and the confidence is booming. Expect more of this scary production because it seems as though he is finally putting it all together.
Coulda ignored my advice on Mychal Rivera, OAK Raiders. (1 reception for 5 Yards) Ok, so I can admit I may have jumped the gun on Rivera. This is not to say I do not believe everything I have said about his future, it just may have been premature. I still think Rivera is a great add, and pretty soon will not be available, but the rookie still has some stumbling blocks to get over. One catch for five yards is a droppable offense, but I would not read too much into it. Not a reliable starter yet…and I emphasize YET.
Woulda stayed with ‘Ole Reliable Jason Witten, DAL Cowboys. (7 receptions for 121 yards, 1 TD) Another Cowboy who has reached the point of flying under the radar for being a bland name. Witten continues to turn in reliable contributions to fantasy rosters. He may lack the upside of some other Tight Ends, but his floor is among the best at his position. Continue to start him, he is the type of player that wins you Championships.
Shoulda been patient with Julius Thomas, DEN Broncos. (9-122, 2 TD’s) Where did you disappear to Julius? That opening week display was worthy of a standing ovation, and left us wanting more…oh there you are! You came back. And not only that, you outdid yourself. If you have been disappointed since you added Thomas off of waivers following Week 1, then this should be a lesson to you: Keep him in your lineup on a weekly basis. He is as good as advertised and is very capable of doing this again. Maybe even better than this.
Part Two, the section where I jinx guys based on my liking their matchup for the upcoming week. I call it the Play ‘Em/Pass ‘Em segment: one guy I like, and one I do not. If there are anymore results like what we got in Week 5, I may rename this the Mash Unit. Last week I suggested Brian Hoyer and David Wilson as strong plays. To the Hoyer family, I apologize and wish Brian a speedy and successful recovery. To the Wilson’s, you seem to have gotten off a little better, and I hope it is nothing more than a neck stinger (although he will be OUT in Week 6). Needless to say, I have become a little trepid to make any further selections. But if I did not, this article would be cut in half, and I am not in the business of giving refunds. So the show must go on! Do not forget: It is always easier for me, and more beneficial for you, to be asked to choose between specific players. You can do this by leaving your question in the comment section, emailing me at [email protected], or asking on Twitter. Week 6 Byes for Atlanta, and Miami.
Play ‘Em: Cam Newton CAR (@ MIN) The Vikings have been awful against the pass. The rust from the Week 5 Bye is gone, and Newton has been polished back to a shining star.
Pass ‘Em: Matthew Stafford, DET (@ CLE) A sketchy knee for top WR Megatron, and a feisty Browns secondary will be too much for Stafford to handle this weekend.
Play ‘Em: Trent Richardson, IND (@ SD) The Colts offense is beginning to take shape. Look for T-Rich to improve on last weeks 56 yard effort.
Pass ‘Em: Ray Rice, BAL (vs GB) The Packers have been surprisingly good against the run. A re-emergence was nice for Rice owners, but I do not expect it to continue.
Play ‘Em: Terrence Williams, DAL (vs WAS) Getting a chance to play with Miles Austin out has given the rookie a chance to show his skills. The Cowboys air attack will continue Sunday Night.
Pass ‘Em: Austin Pettis, STL (@ HOU) Although he has been great so far in becoming Sam Bradford’s top target, the Texans are in a must win situation. That does not mean good things for the Rams.
Play ‘Em: Vernon Davis, SF (vs ARI) Arizona’s strength against the run will open up holes in the passing game for the 49’ers. I like Davis to capitalize on those opportunities.
Pass ‘Em: Antonio Gates, SD (vs IND) Gates and Rivers have been vintage so far this season. But the new look Colts roll into town and the defense is better than advertised.
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