Welcome to Tuesday Morning Buzz for Week 5! And what a week it was! This week we will attempt to break the record for most consecutive fantasy football recaps authored by an Aaron Williams. Let’s get right to it:
Cardinals – Rams
With many QBs struggling, injured, or on bye, many fantasy owners may be looking for a temporary fill-in. Kevin Kolb could be that guy. The Cards are doing well and Kolb is a big part of that, with a 60.5 completion rating and seven touchdowns. He’s no world-beater but could be a nice fill-in for you in the right matchup. Ryan Williams is now done for the year and Beanie Well is out until late November, so look for the Cards to trade for a running back soon. For the Rams, the perennially-too-highly-drafted Steven Jackson ran for 76 yards on 18 carries, which is still not enough to be worth your while.
Dolphins – Bengals
Daniel Thomas and Reggie Bush make up a true running back committee, with 48 an 29 yards, respectively, and a touchdown each. Either player would be great if he were playing alone, but as it is, the timeshare makes me uncomfortable starting either one. Brian Hartline again led the Dolphins passing attack—but this time with much more realistic numbers. He had five receptions, but so did fullback Charles Clay. Caveat emptor.
The story of this game for the Bengals was Jermaine Gresham’s 60 yards. Gresham is a borderline starter and definite fill-in. With future injuries inevitable for starting tight ends, Gresham should be stashed from the waiver wire or traded for cheaply before he does something great and becomes unavailable.
Ravens – Chiefs
This is the first of a couple of games that had very little fantasy value, as all of the scoring involved field goals. Rice and Charles both operated under their MO: running for high yardage totals but not touchdowns. Also, Shane Draughn got 12 carries, and he’s likely to fill the Peyton Hillis role. If Draughn continues on, he may prove Hillis superfluous. Don’t expect Matt Cassel (concussion) to play Week 6. Brady Quinn will be under center when the Chiefs travel to Tampa.
Speaking of Kansas City’s quarterback woes, Chiefs fans booed Cassel and cheered for his injury as he was knocked out after a legally vicious hit. The most effective illustration of my own opinion on the matter was quietly noted by Chiefs offensive lineman Eric Winston.
“We are athletes. We are not gladiators… It’s sickening. I want every fan to know it. We have a lot of problems as a society if people think that’s okay.”
I encourage you to Google his entire comment and take it in—especially if you happen to be a Chiefs fan or broadcast animosity towards any other fellow man. Many times, especially in terms of fantasy football, players are seen as objects instead of humans. I hope we can all agree that this perspective is ghoulish; we should all cheer the big hits, but not the injuries.
Browns – Giants
If the Browns could be guaranteed a day like this from Weeden (291 yds, 2 TDs, 2 INTs) each weekend, they could expect one of their best seasons ever. At some point these Browns are going to have to stop trading down and get some elite talent on their team, and maybe Trent Richardson is a good sign of the future.
The Giants passed the ultimate test this week as they were able to play offense and maintain their talent level against the Browns. Typically, Cleveland is able to sap the strength and will of opponents and force them to play some kind of penalty-laden mud fight. Until something changes, start ALL your Giants!
Eagles – Steelers
The Eagles broke an NFL record after Week 4, winning their first three games with the lowest margin of victory in history (+1, +1, +2). Now, after a 2-point loss to the Steelers, the Eagles have finally felt the numbing loss of giving away a football game. Michael Vick threw no interceptions but did have three fumbles and lost two of them. At this point, these Eagles are walking a thin line to fantasy sit-worthiness. Only LeSean McCoy had a great day for the Eagles.
For the Steelers, Big Ben and the passing attack had a mediocre game plagued by drops, but Mendenhall was excellent rushing the ball in split time. Be wary if the Steelers go back to him full time though, as Mendy is a very old 25 and could see more injury with a heavy workload. If Isaac Redman continues to spell him, he should be quite effective in fantasy and on the field.
Falcons – Redskins
Matt Ryan (345 yds, 2 TDs) was once again fantastic and should be started every week, as the coaching staff has finally done what they have been promising for years and taken off the reins. Tony Gonzalez made the most of the Falcons’ passing success with 123 yards and a touchdown, continuing his epic 16th season.
It was a scary game for Redskins fans as RGIII went down with a concussion; and I assure you no one was cheering, as Griffin was apparently unable to recall the score of the game or the current quarter. Yikes! It seems the effects of the concussion have worn off, However, and the electric RGIII should be back in action on the field and on your team in Week 6.
Seahawks – Panthers
The second un-fantastic football game of the week was played in Carolina. It seems the book is out on Cam Newton, and his play has decreased because of it. Fantasy owners would be wise to keep this in mind for Andrew Luck and especially Robert Griffin III next year.
Bears – Jaguars
The Bears defense has five pick-sixes through as many games and are well on pace to break the NFL record of nine held by the 1961 San Diego Chargers. The Bears DST should be started at all costs, and at this point I would consider trading someone like Marshawn Lynch or Alfred Morris for them; I don’t see any reason this defense will stop its ball-hawking strategy and success. Forget this game if you’re playing a Jag, as it likely wasn’t a good indicator of their performance—unless you’re starting Cecil Shorts.
Titans – Vikings
Chris Johnson is another bad game closer to being tradable for the Bears defense, too. The Vikings are playing way above their heads right now—but this is unacceptable for CJ2K. He was 15 for 24; however, considering one of those runs went for nine yards, the rest of his carries came to 1.07 yards per carry. The Vikings are now 4-1 and Peterson and Harvin should be started in all formats as long as this team is flying high. Ponder is another promising bye-week fill-in as well.
Broncos – Patkowskis
The Broncos are actually not playing that well. The Patriots controlled this game from the onset, and the Broncos simply defended their honor by scoring late in garbage time. Here’s the great thing about fantasy though: none of that matters! The Broncos getting down and fighting back through the air will lead to Peyton Manning, Demaryius Thomas, Willis McGahee, and Eric Decker having great fantasy days and winning matches for your team. Wise fantasy owners of said Broncos should be actively rooting against Denver.
This is the best Pats running game we’ve seen in some time. Stevan Ridley, Brandon Bolden, and Danny Woodhead all performed admirably, but Ridley especially proved his fantasy effectiveness and could be great trade bait right now. From an owner looking through Pats-colored glasses, you could probably get yourself a RB who’s much better than Ridley.
Bills – 49ers
At this point, any offense playing Buffalo should be started with gusto. The Bills have the dubious honor of breaking multiple team and NFL records for being a miserable defense. They broke a team record for most yards given up (580) last week to the Patriots and followed that up by breaking it again, allowing 621 yards to the 49ers on Sunday! On top of that, the Bills became the first team since the NFL–AFL merger to give up 300 yards passing and rushing in the same game and also became the first to give up 550 or more yards in consecutive games. It was truly a defensive stenchfest of epic proportions.
For the 49ers, it was obviously a fantastic day. But be warned that this won’t be the norm. This is not a 45-point team, and they likely won’t eclipse 25 points in most games this season. Don’t get sucked into an Alex Smith trade either, as there are plenty of cheaper and equally valuable options out there.
Chargers – Saints
Both quarterbacks had fantastic nights, but this one belonged to Brees. Floyd and Meachem looked great for the Chargers, and Colston and Henderson swung a lot of fantasy games with elite performances. Even Greg Camarillo got involved, catching four passes for 44 yards. The only rusher worth his weight on Sunday night was Ryan Mathews, who rushed 12 times for 80 yards—and a hyper-athletic touchdown—and tacked on six receptions for 59 yards.
$#^% Chris Collinsworth Says
On Brees having to crane his neck to see over his offensive linemen:
“It’s a six-year-old trying to see over Dad to throw a pass or something—but this six-year-old is pretty good!”
Collinsworth certainly has an interesting way of putting things, but my own thoughts on Brees are best summed up in the following hotly-contested piece from last year’s Tuesday Morning Buzz.
Brees for MVP!
I have made no bones about my infatuation with Drew Brees or about making outlandish statements of opinion. Last year I argued that Drew Brees was just as legitimate of a candidate for MVP as Aaron Rodgers and is the best quarterback playing today. This year I will argue one step further: I believe that Drew Brees is the best quarterback the NFL has ever seen. Consider what Brees has done in his limited play time: Most passing yards in a single season (5,476), most seasons with 5,000+ yards, Highest completion percentage in a season (71.2), most seasons with a 70 percent completion percentage, most completions in a season (468), Most 400+ completion seasons, most consecutive 4,000-yard and 30+ touchdown seasons (4), Most games with 5+ touchdowns, and dozens more. I highly suggest anyone skeptical of my opinion to view his full list of accomplishments. Oh, and guess who is leading the league in yards and touchdowns through five weeks?
This week, however, Drew Brees broke one of the records that, as commentators love to say, “I thought would never be broken” in Johnny Unitas’s streak of 47 games with a touchdown pass. It should be said that Johnny U played primarily in a rushing league, which intensifies how epic that record was then. But as no other quarterback is really close to that number (Brady is next at 37), I don’t view today’s passing league as having anything to do with Brees’ domination.
In his pursuit of this record, Brees has used his great accuracy to burn through passing yardage stats (fastest to reach 40,000 yards in a career as well as fastest to reach 3,000, 4,000, and 5,000 yards in a single season). Just to use the stats presented during the game, Brees broke Unitas’s record of 1,302 completions on 1,891 total passes (68.8%) compared to Unitas’s 697 completions on 1298 passes (53.7%). In addition, Brees threw 114 touchdowns with 50 picks while Unitas threw 102 touchdowns and 61 picks over the same span.
Finally, Brees’ leadership quality and personality traits cannot be questioned. He is a fiery competitor, a fierce teammate, a consummate professional, and carries the entire city of New Orleans on his back. There simply is no category in which another quarterback has ever been better. Now, if your requirement for “greatest quarterback ever” is Super Bowl wins, then he likely will not meet your expectations; but in efficiency, skill, or any other quarterback trait, Brees cannot be definitively outmatched and is a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Sadly, I don’t believe most of the NFL fanbase realizes the greatness we’re seeing.
Texans – Jets
The story of the Texans offense in Week 5 is the story of Arian Foster and Owen Daniels. We’re used to Foster (152 yds, 1 TD), but it’s been a while since Owen Daniels put his targets to good use. If he’s able to maintain the level of production this Texans offense can give him, he can easily crack the top 5 at his position this year. For the Jets, this seems to be a lost season. They started slow in the preseason, had a fantastic Week 1 win against the Bills’ pitiful defense, and then went on a slew of unimpressive performances up to, at least, Monday night. I can’t imagine there are many New York Jets on fantasy teams, but if you’re hanging on to someone like Shonn Greene, I’d find other options.
And that’s it! For Week 6, I believe you should maximize matchup decisions and bye-week fill-ins using players from the following teams: Falcons, Lions, Eagles, Vikings, Packers, Texans, Broncos, and Chargers. Feel free to ask me questions in the comments here, but please also ask them/follow me on Twitter!