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Fantasy Game Recaps: Week 5

It is that time of year when players are injured, on bye, under performing, or over performing and fantasy managers either manage to make the right choice or micromanage their way out of winning hand. Studs will sit. Nobodies will play. Some are great calls and others turn out to be head slapping, second-guesses that drive people crazy. You sat Santana Moss for three weeks only to put him in last week and when he had an amazing first half against the Cowboys, you knew you were riding him to your fantasy playoffs, only to see him go off for zero catches.

The Colts-Texans game was a perfect example. Do you play Marvin Harrison after the bye week and a bad performance? What about Peyton Manning over the hot handed Philip Rivers? With Indianapolis banged up are you convinced that its time to play Steve Slaton over Maurice Jones-Drew against Pittsburgh? This is when managing becomes fun.

Colts 31 - Texans 27

Fantasy Superman: Reggie Wayne, Steve Slaton, Andre Johnson
Fantasy Performers: Peyton Manning, Joseph Addai, Dallas Clark, Sage Rosenfels
Fantasy Hens: Marvin Harrison, Kevin Walter

Every once in awhile fantasy football takes a back seat to a really fun game to watch. This was one of those times. With only a QB left in my 3 And Out picks, and Peyton Manning being that QB, with 4:30 left in the game I had my face buried in my hands. Sure the Texans were a top pass defense, but a bye week, returning linemen and some time to gel, I thought this was a no-brainer. But enough about a 21-point comeback in the final four minutes, because those kind of things happen when Peyton Manning is leading the comeback on one side and Sage Rosenfels on the other side.

This game had all sorts of fantasy implications. On the winning side, Reggie Wayne was having a “nice day”, but nothing stellar. With less than 6 minutes to go, Reggie Wayne only had 59 yards on four receptions. In a late drive he caught two more for 33 yards. Then with less than two minutes left, Reggie made an amazing catch and stayed in bounds for a 5-yard TD and his six for 92-yard day turned into a seven for 97 yards and a TD. Joseph Addai ran for 71 yards and a TD. Dallas Clark reeled in five for 81 yards and Peyton Manning, who had less than 200 yards, 0 TDs and a interception midway into the 4th quarter, ended the game with 247 yards, two TDs and one pick. Dungy said earlier this week that Marvin Harrison looks like “the Marvin of old.” With four catches for only 32 yards, the statement may have been misinterpreted and it may be that Dungy thinks Marvin just looks old.

Steve Slaton had another good day with 93 yards rushing and two TDs. Andre Johnson returned to form with a nine-catch, 131-yard, one-TD performance. But for the Sage Rosenfels meltdown in the last half of the 4th quarter, a QB controversy could be forming in Houston. For those that had little confidence in Andre Johnson and instead played Kevin Walter, his 36-yard day was of little help.

Dolphins 17 - Chargers 10

Fantasy Superman: Ronnie Brown
Fantasy Performers: Chad Pennington, Greg Camarillo, Chris Chambers
Fantasy Hens: LaDainian Tomlinson, Antonio Gates

Those who sold high on Ronnie Brown may not have sold high enough. After a monster week against New England and a bye week, Ronnie Brown returned with a strong performance against the San Diego Chargers. Averaging over five yards per carry, Brown ran for 125 yards and one TD. Chad Pennington had an okay performance against the Chargers weak pass defense, throwing for 228 yards and one TD. His top receiver was Greg Camarillo who had six catches for 68 yards and a TD. Anthony Fasano’s 47 yards on three catches was a bit disappointing after his week three performance despite lining up against a Chargers defense that have given up TD’s to tight ends in every game until this week. Although it was against the Charger defense, it may be time to keep an eye on Ted Ginn, Jr., who caught seven balls.

About the only positive stat coming from San Diego was Chris Chambers’ 30 yards and a TD. Antonio Gates had all of one catch for 12 yards and LaDainian Tomlinson had a combined total of 57 yards and zero TDs. Philip Rivers threw for only 159 yards and a TD.

Redskins 23 - Eagles 17

Fantasy Superman: Clinton Portis, Chris Cooley
Fantasy Performers: Brian Westbrook, Reggie Brown
Fantasy Hens: Santana Moss, DeSean Jackson (except in individual points for special teams leagues)

Finally, fantasy managers started taking Santana Moss off the bench, just in time for his no catch, no yard performance. Clinton Portis may not be flashy, but it’s difficult to think of another fantasy first rounder who is producing as well. He is averaging over 100 yards a game and a nearly a TD each time out. Today he had 145 yards rushing, 13 receiving, and a TD. Chris Cooley had a monster game with 109 yards and a TD, which was thrown to him by Antwaan Randle El. Jason Campbell only had 176 yards.

Neither QB performed well as Donovan McNabb was held just under 200 yards and zero TDs. Brian Westbrook came back from his injury and may not have burned up the field, but his 33 yards rushing, 51 yards receiving and single TD were good enough for many teams. Reggie Brown had a second straight decent performance with four catches for 84 yards. On the other hand, DeSean Jackson’s 13 yards on the ground were better than his eight receiving yards. Only in leagues where individual points are awarded for special teams play, did Jackson assist his fantasy team owners with his 68-yard punt return.

Cowboys 31 - Bengals 22

Fantasy Superman: Tony Romo, Felix Jones, Jason Witten, T.J. Houshmandzadeh
Fantasy Performers: Terrell Owens, Carson Palmer
Fantasy Hens: Chris Perry, Chad Johnson

This game is an enigma. Yes, Tony Romo had three TDs, but he did it on only 176 yards and one interception. One of those TDs came on a late blown coverage TD to Terrell Owens for 57 yards. Other than that, Owens only had one catch on the day for 10 yards. The real star in the Dallas offense was Felix Jones, whose 33-yard touchdown, led to a 96-yard day on just nine carries. His backfield mate Marion Barber ran for 84 yards on 23 carries. Jason Witten continues to be the number one receiver in the Dallas offense with eight catches for 79 yards and a TD. It should be noted that Miles Austin may not have had any fantasy stats for the first time in three weeks, but he had a beautiful assist in the end zone to give Patrick Crayton a TD on one catch for 15 yards.

The Bengals once-mighty offense is circling the drain. In week two of 2007, Chad Johnson caught 11 balls for 209 yards and two TDs. After five weeks in 2008, good old Ocho Cinco does not have a combined total that even comes close to his second week performance of last year. After his 43-yard performance, Chad now has 14 catches for 159 yards and one TD. It may be impossible to get rid of him and may be impossible to dump him, but most teams are at the point where they will probably have Ocho Cinco benched that one week he finally goes off. Chris Perry and Cedric Benson virtually split carries with equal performances of 31 and 30 yards, respectively. Carson Palmer’s elbow did not appear to bother him significantly as he passed for 217 yards, two TDs and 1 interception. His favorite receivers were T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Antonio Chatman, who each caught seven balls. Housh had 85 yards and two TDs, and Chatman had 55 yards. Chatman may not be a bad waiver wire pick up as he has now caught 15 balls over the last three games (beware the fact that Chris Henry was just activated).

Giants 44 - Seahawks 6

Fantasy Superman: Brandon Jacobs, Sinorice Moss, Domenik Hixon
Fantasy Performers: Eli Manning, Bobby Engram
Fantasy Hens: Matt Hasselbeck, Deion Branch, Julius Jones

The self-imposed suspension factor seems to work out very well for NFL teams and their passing games. Carolina did okay in weeks one and two and now New York fared well in benching Plaxico Burress. Eli Manning threw for 267 yards and two TDs. Amani Toomer was being swept up in most leagues for the one-week play, but only caught four balls for 65 yards. Meanwhile, his teammates Sinorice Moss and Domenik Hixon had much better games. Moss, who only had 4 catches for 45 yards, made the best of two of them, by scoring two touchdowns. Hixon caught as many balls, but eclipsed 100 yards and scored once. Brandon Jacobs topped the charts with 136 yards and two TDs.

The return of the wide receivers not only made Matt Hasselbeck worse, but apparently Julius Jones was adversely affected by their return. Matt Hasselbeck could only hook up with his receivers 11 times for 109 yards and threw one interception. Reports early this week had an “explosive” Deion Branch poised to make a comeback and some owners bought into this philosophy. Four quarters and 31 yards later, these same owners are scratching their heads. Bobby Engram returned to being Hasselbeck’s favorite target, catching seven of Hasselbeck’s 11-completions (and one from Seneca Wallace) for eight catches and 61 yards. Julius Jones had 61 rushing and 13 receiving yards.

Broncos 16 - Buccaneers 13

Fantasy Superman: None
Fantasy Performers: Jay Cutler, Brandon Stokley, Antonio Bryant, Ike Hilliard, Warrick Dunn
Fantasy Hens: Brandon Marshall, Eddie Royal, Denver Running Backs

The Bronco aerial attack finally got grounded. Eddie Royal sprained an ankle and caught only three balls for 23 yards. Brandon Marshall finally looked human with his three catches for 25 yards. Brandon Stokley and Tony Scheffler were the offensive leaders with Scheffler catching four for 65 and Stokley catching six for 52 and one TD. The Broncos ran the ball 26 times and no back had more than Selvin Young’s 10 carries for 38 yards, or Michael Pittman’s 39 yards (and 22 receiving). Jay Cutler threw for 227 yards and one TD.

The Buccaneers went into Denver hoping to take advantage of the Bronco’s porous defense. But Brian Griese only connected on 13 of 19 passes for 88 yards before leaving the game with a shoulder injury. Antonio Bryant caught 7 for 58 yards and Ike Hilliard caught four, for 29 and a TD catch from Jeff Garcia. Warrick Dunn outran Earnest Graham with 87 combined yards to Graham’s 80 combined yards.

Cardinals 41 - Bills 17

Fantasy Superman: Larry Fitzgerald, Lee Evans
Fantasy Performers: Edgerrin James, Tim Hightower, Kurt Warner, Steve Breaston
Fantasy Hens: Marshawn Lynch, Trent Edwards

Larry Fitzgerald may not have blazed the field in the absence of Anquan Boldin, but two touchdowns makes up for only having 52 yards on seven catches. Steve Breaston replaced Boldin with seven catches for 77 yards. LSU rookie Early Doucet even got into the action with 6 catches for 42 yards. Edgerrin James ran for 57 yards and caught two for 21 yards, with a TD. Tim Hightower is among the league leaders with his 4th and 5th touchdowns on 37 yards.

I always hate calling an injured player a hen, but it doesn’t matter whether it is the player’s fault or not. If Trent Edwards is on your roster and he throws for 18 yards before a concussion knocks him out of the game, you still get zero points. Marshawn Lynch however, is responsible for his numbers and his 65 combined yards is not the makings of a first round pick. Lee Evans only caught the ball twice, but an 87-yarder for a TD is always good for fantasy owners and a nice run gave Evans 100 yards receiving, 22 yards rushing and a TD.

Patriots 30 - 49ers 21

Fantasy Superman: Randy Moss, Isaac Bruce
Fantasy Performers: Frank Gore, Kevin Faulk, Wes Welker, J.T. O’Sullivan
Fantasy Hens: Laurence Maroney

One week helped Randy Moss get healthy and owners who want to trade him may be able to get the value they once hoped for. Matt Cassell was able to get the ball into Moss’s hands five times for 111 yards and a 66- yard TD reception. Wes Welker continues to haul in his average seven catches a game with an eight-catch game for 73 yards. Laurence Maroney has yet to cross the 100-yard mark for the season, with his 26 yards rushing. Maroney is not even the second best running back in the Patriot offense. Sammy Morris rushed for 63 yards and Kevin Faulk rushed for 32 yards and received for 29 yards and crossed the goal line twice.

Isaac Bruce only caught the ball three times, but two of those were for TDs and accounted for 44 of his 49 yards. Frank Gore only carried the ball 12 times, but he averaged 4.5 yards per carry for 54 yards and caught four balls for 24 yards and one TD. J.T. O’Sullivan threw for 130 yards and three TDs, but in leagues awarding negative points his three interceptions were less then helpful.

Panthers 34 - Chiefs 0

Fantasy Superman: DeAngelo Williams
Fantasy Performers: Steve Smith, Muhsin Muhammad, Jonathan Stewart, Jake Delhomme
Fantasy Hens: Larry Johnson, Tony Gonzalez

A common theme this season seems to be super performances from bench players. With the emergence of Jonathan Stewart and news out of Carolina’s beat reporter that the reigns are being readied for a handover of the starting RB position to Jonathan Stewart, it’s hard to imagine many teams running DeAngelo Williams this week. DeAngelo Williams went Ronnie Brown-lite, with 123 yards rushing, 25 yards receiving and three TDs. But Panther player owners need not fear, there were many points to pass around. Jonathan Stewart ran for 72 yards, Steve Smith caught six for 96 and Muhsin Muhammad caught three for 71 and one TD. Jake Delhomme aired it out for 236 yards, two TDs and one interception.

Outside the cozy confines of Arrowhead, the Chiefs struggled again. Its kind of bittersweet to see talented Dwayne Bowe catch 5 receptions for 57 yards and say and admit that he basically outperformed the rest of the Chiefs combined. Larry Johnson owners will not know what to make of their blue chip running back who has averaged 100 yards on the ground in the last two games, unfortunately 198 of those 200 yards came in that last game, with just two yards on seven carries in this one. Tony Gonzalez’s three catches for 17 yards was equally anemic.

Titans 13 - Ravens 10

Fantasy Superman: None
Fantasy Performers: Le'Ron McClain
Fantasy Hens: Chris Johnson, LenDale White, Willis McGahee

Sure, these two teams were collectively 6-1 coming into today. But between them, there are not too many fantasy points to be had. And guess what? Not many were. Today’s fantasy stud for this game was LeRon McClain with his 63 combined yards and 1 TD. Willis McGahee carried the ball 22 times and averaged less than three yards per carry with only 64 yards. Joe Flacco only threw for 152 yards and two interceptions and his number one receiver was Todd Heap with only 41 yards.

The winning team had nothing to brag about either, but given the Raven defense this year this is not all too surprising. Chris Johnson only tallied 44 yards on the ground while his running mate LenDale White had four yards. Bo Scaife caught seven for 72 yards and Brandon Jones had three for 54 yards.

Falcons 27 - Packers 24

Fantasy Superman: Michael Turner, Roddy White, Aaron Rodgers
Fantasy Performers: Matt Ryan, Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, Ryan Grant
Fantasy Hens: None

Michael Turner loves the home cooking in the ATL, but it was even more impressive that Turner went over 100 yards and had a score in Lambeau Field. Turner’s 121-yard, one-score effort was outperformed by Roddy White’s 132 yards on catches for one TD. Rookie Matt Ryan threw for 194 yards, two TDs and one interception.

Aaron Rodgers’ shoulder did not appear to hinder his game at all. Rodgers threw for 313 yards and three TDs. Rodgers disbursed the ball evenly with six receivers catching between three and five receptions. Greg Jennings and Donald Driver each had a TD, Jennings on 87 yards and Driver on 68. Ryan Grant began warming up on the Atlanta defense with 83 rushing yards.

Bears 34 - Lions 7

Fantasy Superman: Kyle Orton, Matt Forte
Fantasy Performers: Rashied Davis, Devin Hester, Greg Olsen, Kevin Smith, Roy Williams
Fantasy Hens: Calvin Johnson, Jon Kitna

When Kyle Orton, who has only had one game over 200 yards this year, and has neutralized every TD with a corresponding interception in the same game, goes for 330 yards, two TDs and zero interceptions, you know who is to blame. Translation - start the QB playing Detroit each week. Virtually every player on the Bears offense put up respectable numbers. Rashied Davis had 97 yards. Gregg Olson had 87 yards. Devin Hester had 66 yards and one TD. Matt Forte had a combined 61 yards and two TDs.

The Lions finally got a nice performance from trade bait Roy Williams who hauled in seven catches for 96 yards. Kevin Smith looked like Matt Forte with five fewer combined yards and one less TD. Hopefully, the owners jumping on the Rudi Johnson bandwagon recognized this was not the week to do so (and I did not see him played in most leagues). However, his five carries for 23 yards still outpaced Calvin Johnson and his two catches for 16 yards. Jon Kitna was not a good play even before he went out with back spasms with only 74 yards.

Steelers 26 – Jaguars 21

Fantasy Superman: Ben Roethlisberger
Fantasy Performers: Nate Washington, Santonio Holmes, Hines Ward
Fantasy Hens: Fred Taylor, Maurice Jones-Drew, Matt Jones

I remember a Star Trek episode where the more the Enterprise shot its photon torpedoes at the enemy, the bigger it became. Why does Ben Roethlisberger remind me of that episode? The more he gets injured, the bigger and better he performs. In Sunday night’s game every time he went down with a clearly painful injury, Roethlisberger got back up and threw bigger and better, for 309 yards, three TDs and one interception. Three receivers got into the mix with Nate Washington reeling in six for 94 and one TD, Hines Ward going seven for 90 and one TD, and Santonio Holmes catching four for 65 yards. Mewelde Moore did a fine job as the number four RB running for 99 yards and catching three for 17 yards.

The Jaguars running backs had a tough night. Fred Taylor averaged less than two yards per carry on 10 carries of 19 yards. Maurice Jones-Drew may have had a TD, but he had little else (except in ppr leagues) with six catches for 23 yards and seven yards rushing. Mike Walker should be a good waiver wire addition with six catches for 107 yards. Other than Marcedes Lewis’s 24-yard touchdown reception, the Jaguar receivers were unmentionable. David Garrard had a second-straight, error-free performance, throwing for 200 yards and 1 TD.

Week 6 Waiver Wire Players

QB: Jeff Garcia, J.P. Losman
WR: Chris Henry, Antonio Chatman, Mike Walker
RB: Don’t go rushing to get Mewelde Moore as Fast Willie Parker should be back after the bye week.