“Around the Ben”: The Good The Bad and the Downright Horrible – Week 5
Welcome back to the second week of this weekly post. Looking back at last week, I must say I did pretty well, WARNING you against Vincent Jackson and, well, I guess telling you not to start any Jaguars QB is not a surprise. Let’s see how well I really can forecast players. As always, if you feel the urge to bash, compliment, or make your own predictions, by all means go right ahead on this post.
Five Up Five Down
Philip Rivers – Remember that time I hated on Rivers last week? Well, I like him this week against a Raiders defense. Add that to the fact that he has two 400+ yard passing weeks in 4 weeks, and you could have yourself a late round steal.
Danny Woodhead – With the injury to Vereen, chances are the Patriots wish they never let Woodhead leave. If you are in a league where Woodhead is available, GRAB HIM IMMEDIATELY, because Woodhead : Rivers as Sproles : Brees. Big reason for Rivers re-emergence, and should continue to be a monster in the pass game.
Lamar Miller – After a solid showing against the Saints, all you need to know is Baltimore’s run defense is suspect, and the Dolphins will look to run the ball more against the Ravens than throw the ball.
Julio Jones – This should hardly be a shocker, as the Falcons are better than their record indicates. The Falcons are about to take a dump on Geno Smith (see attempted pass behind the back vs. TEN) and the Jets. As good as the Jets’ run defense may be, their pass defense and offense is that suspect. No offense to Jets fans here. Jones has 3 straight 100+ yard receiving weeks. 2 TDs should not be out of the question this week.
Mychal Rivera – For the second straight week, Singleton and I agree upon a player you should be starting. The Chargers pass defense is weak, and Pryor may look his way often, leading to a big week for Rivera. Rivera is young and raw, now let’s see if he lives up to his athleticism.
Joe Flacco – All you need to know is 347 yards passing, 2 TDs, 5 picks. The Ravens’ offense is reeling this year, and as such, you should stay away from Flacco.
Daryl Richardson – The Rams’ run game is more pitiful than the Jaguars team, who they play this week. The inability to block means you should move along until St. Louis fixes the issues upfront.
DeAngelo Williams – ESPN is promoting him. Guess what? Don’t care, never will care. The Panthers have Cam Newton, plus too many running backs to trust any Carolina RB. Williams is not going to be a factor this week and should be nowhere near you starting lineup. The Cardinals have been good against the run, and the only runner that matters is Cam Newton.
Hakeem Nicks – The atrocious nature of the Giants’ offense is the cause of this rank. Yes, the Giants play the Eagles, but the Giants are winless, and I don’t see Nicks as a must start. If you get 70 yards receiving out of Nicks this week, you’ll be lucky.
Anquan Boldin – Outside of Boldin’s 208 yard week 1 burst, he has been quite mediocre, and nothing should change this week against a pissed off Texans defense after a heart-breaking loss against the Seahawks last week. If you start Boldin and get 75 yards and a TD, consider yourself lucky, as the 49ers’ pass offense as a whole has struggled this season.
The Good, The Bad, The Horrible
Good: Alex Smith – His current TD to INT ratio stands at 7:2, and that ratio will only improve. The Titans are solid against the pass, but Smith is getting acclimated to Andy Reid’s offense, and should be in for a 250 yard/3 TD pass day.
Bad: Russell Wilson – The Seahawks’ pass game is sputtering, and are on upset alert in Indianapolis. The Seahawks are 4-0, but that’s more because of their defense than offense. Until the Seahawks rediscover their pass offense, consider keeping Wilson on the pine. Wilson has 6 TDs to 5 turnovers this season.
Horrible: Ryan Tannehill – This match-up looks bad on paper, and will be even worse on the field. The Saints exposed Tannehill for what he was, for the majority of the game last week. He is a gunslinger with accuracy and decision concerns, as well as a knack for getting sacked (18 times this season). The Ravens may not be pretty offensively, but they are still ballhawks in the pass game. Stay away.
Good: Maurice Jones-Drew – The fans might be paid to go watch the Rams and Jaguars because this is gonna be U-G-L-Y. The Jaguars can’t pass the ball worth a dime, and the Rams can’t run the ball, or stop the run. This could lead to a big day (finally) for MJD. The opponent is right, now the test: Can MJD rekindle the love his fantasy owners had for him before last season? Two TDs may be approachable.
Bad: Eddie Lacy – Bad news, I didn’t sputter. I don’t like Lacy this week, and after seeing Franklin do work against Cincinnati (13 rushes for 103 yards, 1 TD), should Lacy struggle or show ill signs of the concussion he sustained, Franklin may take the gig and run. I see Lacy rushing for 60 yards and no scores. If there’s a rush TD to be had, it will be by Franklin.
Horrible: Bilal Powell – He might be the best play maker on the Jets, the problem is the Falcons can actually defend the run. The Falcons’ run D may have gotten stomped last week, but let’s remember the opponent and the QB. This is going to be a long day for the Jets, and an even longer one if you start Powell. I don’t think you can make a case that any Jets offensive player is a “must start” any week.
Good: Tavon Austin – Something has to give in the Rams -Jaguars match-up. What will give is Austin going off against this very suspect Jaguars defense. Despite the questions at QB and offensive line for the Rams, Austin is too raw and too talented not to make an impact on this game. His receiving skills and use in the return game will equate to a 2 TD total day for Austin. 100+ yards receiving in the cards? Don’t bet against it.
Bad: Mike Wallace – The problem with boom/bust receivers is not the upside, but the inconsistency. Outside of week 2’s 9 reception, 115 yard, 2 TD game against the Colts, Wallace has disappeared (6 receptions 61 yards, 0 scores). Add to the mix Wallace hasn’t played well against the Dolphins in his career, and his prospects are even more diminishing this season. When Tannehill and Wallace get on the same page, consider starting Wallace. Until then, don’t start him outside of the deepest of leagues.
Horrible: Golden Tate – The Seahawks -Colts is going to be more of a defensive battle than most think. Indianapolis defends the pass really well and the Seahawks are just nuts against the run. This bodes badly for Tate and the rest of the Hawks’ pass offense. Tate’s usage in the return game is nice, but without the receiving numbers to put forth most weeks, he won’t net you a good week off just return yards like Trindon Holliday could.
Good: Sean McGrath – The Chiefs may have a new sheriff in town at TE, and it’s not Moeaki again, it’s Sean McGrath. In all likelihood, you had never heard of the Henderson State product, but he could be a sneaky start this week. The Titans aren’t exactly a great football team, and have rendered four TDs to tight ends the past three weeks.
Bad: Kellen Winslow – People will be rushing the wire to grab Winslow. DON’T. The Falcons have given up touchdowns to TEs in the past few weeks, but those TEs also generally had QBs. Brees and Brady were two of the QBs. The Jets have too many questions with Geno at QB for Winslow to warrant consideration, even with their top options dealing with injuries (Holmes, Hill).
Horrible: Rob Gronkowski – This is getting to be ridiculous. Some reports say he could have played last week, and he seems to be healthy, so what’s the hold up? He is pulling a Derrick Rose, and this has to strike a nerve for those owners who used a likely early-mid middle round pick on him. When we stop getting conflicting reports from the family and the patriots about his status, I’ll care. Until then, leave him on the pine. He is worth a speculative add if he’s on your waiver wire, as he should play next week.
Good: Richard Sherman (CB) – I bashed Sherman last week, and he quickly shut me up. Going up against the Colts, he will likely have his hands full with Reggie Wayne, so the opportunity for a pick is there, just not guaranteed. Should be a good source of passes defensed and tackles this week, at any rate.
Bad: Julius Peppers (DE) – Not sure what’s happened to this future Hall of Famer, but he isn’t living up to the ranking I had him going into this season. The retirement of Brian Urlacher set the stage for peppers to have a great going away season, but he’s all but disappeared. Considering the opponent (New Orleans), if you can afford it, find a replacement for Peppers this week. If you have to start him, hope he gets you a sack.
Ugly: Curtis Lofton (LB) – Lofton is showing signs of slowing down and seems to have lost a step. With just 26 tackles and 1 forced fumble, Lofton is quickly moving from LB1 status to borderline LB2-3 play. Tread softly in this week. The Bears are physical, and Forte is a bruiser.