Go ahead. Laugh.
Laugh at your unbelievably bad luck at having to face Peyton Manning or Tony Romo. Or laugh at your unbelievably good luck with Terrence Williams or Rueben Randle.
It’s all you can do with fantasy football, the capricious beast that it is. Here is what that beast whispers after tearing through the fantasy realm in Week 5.
Danny Amendola, WR, New England Patriots
9 targets—4 receptions, 55 yards @ Bengals
In a bit of a surprise, Danny Amendola wound up suiting up against the Bengals last week. He was reportedly going to get limited action, though, and the Patriots were facing a tough Bengals defense. Despite that, Amendola garnered nine targets, the most on the team on the day.
Amendola will be back producing big-time PPR numbers soon enough. In fact, with Rob Gronkowski’s impending return, things are looking up for the Patriots offense.
Terrence Williams, WR, Dallas Cowboys
4 targets—4 receptions, 151 yards, 1 touchdown vs. Broncos
What a breakout game for the rookie! Terrence Williams took full advantage of Miles Austin’s absence to post the first big game of his career. He took full advantage of Tony Romo’s magnificence, namely on an 82-yard bomb over the middle. But can you trust him over the rest of the season?
After all, Miles Austin will eventually be back. Williams did his damage on just four targets, and the long touchdown came when cornerback Tony Carter couldn’t knocked down Romo’s pass or subsequently tackle Williams.
Hakeem Nicks, WR, New York Giants
12 targets—9 receptions, 142 yards vs. Eagles
Rueben Randle, WR, New York Giants
13 targets—6 receptions, 96 yards, 2 touchdowns vs. Eagles
The Eagles have one of the worst passing defenses in the league, and last week showed us exactly why.
Eli Manning shook off his awful start to throw for 334 yards and two touchdowns, albeit he also threw three big interceptions. The biggest beneficiary of his rebound was none other than second-year pro Rueben Randle.
The big receiver saw the most targets this week, and he made the most of them with two touchdowns. Could this mean more targets are coming his way?
Denarius Moore, WR, Oakland Raiders
8 targets—5 receptions, 84 yards, 1 touchdown vs. Chargers
Rod Streater, WR, Oakland Raiders
3 targets—3 receptions, 56 yards, 1 touchdown vs. Chargers
It seems we are beginning to get some consistency out of the wide receiving corps in Oakland, particularly from Denarius Moore. It was his third touchdown on the season, that Week 2 goose egg getting smaller in the rear view mirror each week.
He’s getting some help from Rod Streater, who cashed in on an early touchdown. But if you’re going to hitch your wagon to a Raiders receiver—it seems Moore has become the clear No. 1 in Oakland.
Trent Richardson, RB, Indianapolis Colts
18 touches—18 carries, 56 yards vs. Seahawks
Maybe there was something to that whole trade thing.
The Browns were roundly ridiculed by some when they gave away their “franchise” running back for a mere first-round pick. But there was a method to their madness, and it is revealing itself if it hadn’t already been obvious.
Richardson averaged fewer than four yards per carry last season. Some blamed it on injury issues, a fair assessment given what the rookie played through at the time. But he is faring no better this season, showing little propensity to make big plays. Donald Brown wound up scoring a touchdown on the Seahawks.
Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
19 touches—17 carries, 70 yards; 2 receptions, 16 yards @ Rams
This was probably the best matchup Maurice Jones-Drew will have all season, and he delivered an average game that was buoyed by some garbage time statistics.
It’s just not going to happen for MJD. He will have one or two more unexpected outbursts like he had in Seattle, but there is just no confidence in his fantasy prospects as long as he is with the Jaguars.
David Wilson, RB, New York Giants
6 touches—6 carries, 16 yards, 1 touchdown vs. Eagles
David Wilson was in line for a big day against the Eagles. It got off to a great start as he scored a touchdown early. Then disaster struck—Wilson injured his neck, which forced him from the game.
Wilson was also targeted on a potentially huge pass play that fell incomplete. Eli Manning led him too much, and Wilson made a great diving attempt despite the ball being severely overthrown.
Brandon Jacobs did nothing to prove he should get more playing time than Wilson, and the Giants didn’t allow another running back to touch the ball. Sure, they brought Da’Rel Scott back this week after cutting him last week, but what kind of confidence does that show in him? This is clearly Wilson’s job if he’s healthy.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
19 touches—19 carries, 67 yards, 1 touchdown vs. Patriots
Giovani Bernard, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
15 touches—13 carries, 62 yards, 1 fumble; 2 receptions, 7 yards vs. Patriots
It seemed like Giovani Bernard was about to close The Law Firm after getting more action over the past few weeks. BenJarvus Green-Ellis had other plans.
Actually, it’s the Bengals who had other plans. They continue to give Green-Ellis the short-yardage work, and it paid off with a touchdown for the veteran plodder. Part of that came because of Bernard’s late fumble that could have given the game away. But how you give a guy who is averaging 2.9 YPC on the season more touches than one who is averaging 4.6 is a question for the fantasy gods to ponder.
Lamar Miller, RB, Miami Dolphins
7 touches—7 carries, 15 yards vs. Ravens
Daniel Thomas, RB, Miami Dolphins
4 touches—2 carries, 1 yard; 2 receptions, 11 yards vs. Ravens
You read that correctly. The Dolphins gave the ball to their top two running backs just 11 times total against the Ravens. Head coach Joe Philbin went into the game prepared for a tough run defense, so apparently we should have expected these shenanigans.
Not all is lost here, though. Perhaps the best news out of this game was the fact Miami might finally be getting wise to Lamar Miller’s superiority over Daniel Thomas. Miller played 45 snaps in the game, while Thomas was just in on 11. One game doesn’t make a trend, but hopefully this sort of distribution becomes the norm. Miller’s production will bounce back.
Nick Foles, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
25 throws—16 completions, 197 yards, 2 touchdowns; 3 carries, 1 yard @ Giants
We all knew this day was coming. We just didn’t know when.
Michael Vick was knocked out of the game in the second quarter against the Giants. His hamstring injury was enough to get him pulled, and Nick Foles took over with gusto. The question is whether or not Foles will continue to sling it for the Eagles.
At least for this week, that will be the case. Vick isn’t going to play in Week 6, giving Foles a chance to wrest that starting job from the veteran lefty if he plays well. He goes up against a Buccaneers team coming off a bye. Tampa Bay hasn’t been bad on defense either.
Foles is worth a look if you are looking for a bye-week filler this week, but he isn’t a top-flight option just yet.
Brandon Weeden, QB, Cleveland Browns
24 throws—13 completions, 197 yards, 1 touchdown vs. Bills
Just when you thought the Browns had found a reprieve at quarterback, Brian Hoyer tore his ACL on an awkward slide. Back to Brandon Weeden, Cleveland goes.
At first, Weeden looked like a lost deer in the headlights of a caravan. Hoyer’s injury took the air out of the stadium, and Weeden’s initial ineptitude brought a nauseating odor. But once he got his bearings, he led the Browns to a win. And he is certainly the starter for the rest of the year with Hoyer’s unfortunate fall costing him the rest of the season.
Weeden had an awful start to the season, but his performance against the Bills was encouraging. Granted, Buffalo’s secondary may as well be nicknamed Swiss Cheese, but Weeden wound up shining when could have wilted under that pressure.
It helps that he now has Josh Gordon whereas the talented receiver was suspended to start the year. Combined with Jordan Cameron—assuming the Browns don’t trade Gordon away like all the rumors say—Weeden has himself a couple of big-time targets to play with.
Terrelle Pryor, QB, Oakland Raiders
23 throws—18 completions, 221 yards, 2 touchdowns; 11 carries, 31 yards vs. Chargers
Slowly, surely, Terrelle Pryor is gaining traction as a fantasy starter.
A week after missing a game with a concussion, Pryor found himself staking the Raiders to an early 14-0 lead against the surprising Chargers. He got off to a fast start, and he had a nice fantasy day as a result. But the final line belies his night. For starters, the Chargers don’t exactly have a world-beating defense. That defense all but shut him down in the second half, to boot.
The good news is that Pryor gets to play the Steelers, Giants and Eagles after a tough matchup against the Chiefs this week.