Another week passes as we watch former fantasy greats fade into the sunset. Too dramatic? Maybe, but this year has been a slap in the face to many fantasy owners who expected big things from big stars, only to have said players scoff at the notion of elite performances. Drew Brees, Lesean McCoy, Calvin Johnson, Matt Forte, Doug Martin…the list goes on and on. While I understand some would argue Martin, the fact remains that he was a top 14 overall pick. Let’s take a look at the top 10 drafted in my home league, the IFFL: LeSean McCoy, Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles, Matt Forte, Calvin Johnson, Peyton Manning, Marshawn Lynch, Eddie Lacy, Le’Veon Bell and Demaryius Thomas.
Of those players, which are performing to the level you hoped they would when drafting? I’ll give you Manning, Lynch and Bell (who is exceeding expectations). It has been a brutal year for fantasy football. Look at your first three rounds and really think about how many owners are happy this season. It has been a crazy, crazy year. However, there is hope on the horizon as we’re really only four weeks deep. A lot of things can change, but a lot of things are going to stay the same. Isn’t that the most obvious of statement?
It’s our job here at MLFS to provide accurate information and predictions as to what will change and what will stay the same. This week, as with every week in “Words of Ingram”, I will discuss 5 quarterbacks and 5 tight ends. I’ll give my opinions on who should be played, who you should be skeptical of, and who you just want to avoid.
Before we get into Week 5, let’s look at how I did in week 4!
Hits: Players I got right!
Philip Rivers – I predicted Rivers to be a “lock of the week” and to finish as a top 3 QB. I missed top 3 by 1 point, but I still call it a hit as a “lock of the week”. After all, no one predicted Eli to go bananas (thanks for the spelling Gwen) on the ‘Skins.
Prediction: 343 Yards, 3 TD
Actual : 377 Yards, 3 TD
Aaron Rodgers – I said Rodgers would reestablish himself as an elite, or get on the right track, and he did exactly that by lighting up the Bears and reminding everyone of his own prowess, as well as the prowess of Nelson and Cobb. I was low on TD’s, but my prediction of ability was spot on.
Prediction: 312 Yards, 2 TD, 25 RuYD, 0 RuTD
Actual: 302 Yards, 4 TD, 8 RuYD, 0 RuTD
Jimmy Graham – I really, really expected big things from Jimmy Graham week 4. I can’t complain much, he did finish in the top 10 at the position. However, I was a little over zealous on the TD’s. I consider it a hit though!
Prediction: 98 Yards, 2 TD, 8 receptions
Actual: 86 yards, 1 TD, 8 receptions
Travis Kelce – So, this may be a cheat of a “hit”, but I’ve been high on him for a while and touting him to most who would listen. This week, he was challenged with proving whether he was the real deal or not. Guess what people, he is the real deal. Alex Smith loves him and he continues to impress. He is a must own in every league.
Prediction: 74 Yards, 0 TD, 6 receptions
Actual: 93 Yards, 1 TD, 8 receptions
Owen Daneils – I don’t feel that all is lost for Owen Daniels, but I do think he can be dropped for some higher upside players. Now, he could have had a pretty big play, but the ball bounced out of his hands and into Steve Smith Sr’s, and if he would have made that play his value would have gone up. The positive is that he was targeted. Keep an eye on him.
Prediction: 48 yards, 0 TD, 5 receptions
Actual: 43 yards, 0 TD, 4 receptions (should have been 5)
Jason Witten – I don’t think I hit or missed this one, but it’s more of a hit simply because I suggested benching him. He performed better than expected; but still finished as the #14 tight end. I call the suggestion to bench him a hit.
Prediction: 38 yards, 0 TD, 3 receptions
Actual: 61 yards, 0 TD, 5 receptions
Misses: Players who I was just wrong about L
Tom Brady – Mr. Brady, welcome to Dumpsville, population you and some other people I’m not feeling clever enough to name. I gave you high props pre-season, I gave you love every single week and stated you would come back. You, sir, did me no such favor in return. We are watching the collapse of one of the greatest franchises and runs in NFL history and it is simply heart breaking. For some, you may take pleasure in this collapse, but I do not. I like Tom Brady and wanted to see him go out on top. I’m not quiet in my belief that he’ll be remembered as one of the greatest (top 3) QB’s of all time. This year is not going to leave us with a lasting memories to suggest his greatness, but the entire team looks bad and he suffers. Sorry Tom, but it’s over.
Prediction: 289 Yards, 2 TD, 1 Int
Actual: 159 yards, 1 TD, 2 Int
Nick Foles – So THAT is what happens when you face a powerful defense, you kind of crumble. Alright, alright, I see who you are now. Thank you Nick Foles for showing me, and by extension everyone who reads this column, what you really are. Foles cannot perform against a strong defense and has become 100% match-up dependent. The positive, is that if you drafted Foles you almost certainly have a back-up. If not, get one now. Yes, I am going extreme but I was uncertain of Foles from the get go and am happy with my pre-season ranking.
Prediction: 328 yards, 3 TD, 2 Int
Actual: 195 yards, 0 TD, 2 Int
Alex Smith – I still refuse to become a victim of the moment and say that you’ve rebounded, however what a damn fine showing Monday night. As the lovely Stephania Bell would say, you evoked Arrowhead and decimated the Patriots. This week, I’m staying far away as you’ll head to SF to face your former team, but don’t you worry buddy…I’ve got my eye on you.
Prediction: 231 Yards, 1 TD, 2 Int
Actual: 248 Yards, 3 TD, 0 Int
Antonio Gates – I have no idea what’s going on with Gates. I will readily admit that. Philip Rivers has been lights out, but Gates has suddenly fallen off the radar. We now have to assume your performance against Seattle to be an outlier. Regardless, you’ll face the Jets this week who have allowed three touchdowns to opposing Tight Ends. You get one more shot and are an HM for “Prove it.”
Prediction: 81 yards, 1 TD, 7 receptions
Actual: 30 yards, 0 TD, 3 receptions
I will take 6 out of 10 being accurate, though it’s a step down from last week, it was what I expected to hit. This week, let’s see if I can’t go 7 for 10. Here are our key players for week 5!
QB1 (Lock of the Week): Drew Brees – Essentially “lock of the week” is the QB I think will finish in the top 3. Obviously you’ll be playing Drew Brees, but let’s see how closely I can predict his finish right? Brees has been a huge disappointment this season, and it stings terribly as I went into this year with a specific mindset of, “I want Drew Brees, Julio Jones and Adrian Peterson.” I was able to draft Adrian Peterson, Dez Bryant (I could have had Jones but got gun-shy) and Drew Brees. Clearly, everyone can see where the pain started and hasn’t ended for my fantasy team. Brees currently sits as the #8 fantasy quarterback, though the likelihood of that being his final spot is incredibly slim. Brees is progressively getting better and this week, in Norleans, he will decimate the Tampa defense. The Bucs currently rank 25th against the pass, but were shredded by the Falcons who have a very solid QB. I love me some Drew Brees this week, and damn it if I don’t just want him to put up big numbers to quiet the doubters.
Prediction: 329 Yards, 3 TD, 0 Int
QB2 (Rebound Player): Cam Newton – Well, Cam Newton is comfortably sliding into “Tom Brady” territory for me in 2014. I had no love for him going into the season, as evidenced by my low pre-season ranking, and I still am incredibly skeptical of what his actual output will be. The Panthers were embarrassed (and if they weren’t embarrassed, they should be) by their performance in week 14. Newton seems to be a shell of the player he was before, and cannot seem to find a way to return to form. The Panthers have a decent offensive line, but running back woes have eliminated the team’s ability to present a dual threat. The visiting Bears should provide a reasonable opportunity to Newton to rebound from his soft week 4 performance. The Bears D currently ranks 23rd vs. the pass, so we hope to see Newton put up respectable numbers. He still has the ability to run and a very good WR in Kevlin Benjamin. Newton, don’t let me down now!
Prediction: 287 Yards, 2 TD, 1 Int, 42 RuYD, 1 RuTD
QB3 (Fact or Fiction): Eli Manning – I, like the rest of the fantasy universe, was blown away for the outstanding performance against the terrible Washington Redskins. Oh, speaking of the “Redskins”, did anyone catch South Park? Pretty funny! I really hope Washington changes the name of their team. Anyway…Eli Manning has been steadily improved as a fantasy option, and this week should be an immediate pickup for anyone ditching Tom Brady, Any Dalton, or Tony Romo. I love Eli against the Atlanta defense which lost to my Minnesota Vikings. The Falcons are really, really bad defensively, and Eli should show up big time. This is the week to find out whether Eli can continue his trend of solid output, and a match-up at home against the Dirty Birds is exactly what’s needed.
Prediction: 310 Yards, 3 TD, 1 Int
QB4 (Prove it): Joe Flacco – So I’m really trying to figure out whether Joe Flacco deserves to be mentioned in the top 16 of QB’s, or whether he’s just fluking his way through each game. Right now, Flacco is currently the #10 QB in fantasy (raise your hand if you thought this would happen, now put your hand down because you’re LYING) and will look to continue an impressive early season showing when the team travels to Indy to face Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts. I don’t see the Ravens winning this game, but I do see it being a bit of a shootout. Steve Smith has shown that he hasn’t missed a beat, and the Ravens will need to pass to keep up with the high-powered offense of the Colts. I’ll be looking at Flacco’s ability to make the right read and the right decision in this game. A strong showing here, and a mostly favorable schedule the remainder of the year could put Flacco into the QB2 range. In deeper leagues, this is the week to watch Flacco and determine whether he’s worth owning.
Prediction: 310 Yards, 2 TD, 2 Int
QB 5 (Pass): Tony Romo – It wouldn’t be any fun if I didn’t get out of the comfort zone when making a prediction on what QB should be benched in week 5. I don’t love Tony Romo, but even I can’t ignore his weekly improvement in fantasy numbers since week 1. Last week, Romo absolutely torched the Saints in a game that I was surprised to see as one-sided as it was. The much maligned and mocked Cowboys defense held Drew Brees and co in check, while the Cowboys offense rumbled up and down the field at will. Michael Irvin (take it for what it is) commented that the Cowboys offense was unstoppable. Yeah, ok Michael. When the ‘Boys welcome their neighbors to the big “A” (the stadium is in Arlington, get it?) they welcome a team that’s held opposing QB’s to 13.25 points. I don’t see much of a home field advantage, nor do I think the Texans are going to look as sketchy as they did against Buffalo. I think Romo will have an ok night, but I also expect to see the Texans defense give him fits. This will be a really, really entertaining game to watch; but I’m suggesting you bench Tony.
Prediction: 289 Yards, 2 TD, 3 Int.
TE1 (Lock of the Week): Larry Donnell – I know the Falcons are 3rd in the league vs. opposing tight ends, but I simply don’t care about that statistic. Larry Donnell has proven to be a hot commodity for Eli Manning, and I don’t see that relationship changing for the worse this week. The Falcons simply are unimpressive and, as evidenced by my love for Eli above, I have a strong belief the Giants show up. Donnell is the epitome of a no name player becoming a somebody. He, obviously, should be owned in all leagues.
Prediction: 87 Yards, 1 TD, 6 receptions
TE2 (Rebound Player): Greg Olsen – Yes, I’m going to this well once more. Olsen looked like a “not so wonderful” option in week 4, but I expect to see a big rebound for my favorite TE in the game. I don’t fear the Bears defense and despite my displeasure in Cam Newton’s abilities this season, I still see him hooking up with his favorite option regularly. The Panthers just ran into a Steve Smith fueled Ravens team, and they simply didn’t have a prayer. The Ravens are killers! Well, they were killers, now they’re just tough guys. It’s topical!
Anyway, I like Olsen to rebound and continue producing top 5 worthy stats. Don’t get nervous owners, he’s still the man.
Prediction: 74 yards, 1 TD, 7 receptions
TE3 (Fact or Fiction): Travis Kelce – I love this kid. I’m thrilled that I’ve been hyping him for the past few weeks, and thrilled that my cousin Travis turned me on to him. He has become the receiving option that’s been desperately needed in the Chief’s offense. Alex Smith feels incredibly comfortable throwing to him, and let’s be honest, the guy is a beast. Watch any game footage or highlights and you will see a player who could become elite at his position. As stated above, he is a must own. He will face a steep challenge when KC travels west to “Levi Stadium” (Bugle Boy Stadium would have been loads funnier) to face the dreaded(?) 49ers. They certainly have a much better defense than New England, but I’m hoping the team rallies heavily around Alex Smith and, should that happen, Kelce will be a big part of that. My optimism runs high!
Prediction: 88 yards, 0 TD, 8 receptions
TE4 (Prove yourself): Heath Miller – “Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeath”, they moan in unison in Pittsburgh. Heath Miller has always been an average tight end with great longevity and reliability. Last week, Miller had a breakout type game when he hauled in 10 receptions for 85 yards and a touchdown. This week, Miller and Big Ben head to Jacksonville to face the worst pass defense in the league. The Jags are noticeably soft to the tight end, so I actually anticipate Miller snagging a touchdown. If he can continue to provide similar numbers to his week 4 output, he will be someone worth discussing as a week to week option.
Prediction: 7 receptions, 62 yards, 1 TD
TE5 (Pass): Eric Ebron – I refuse to drink this kool-aid, but I’ve already seen plenty of columnists proclaiming the emergence of this first round pick. I said it before, and I’ll say it again. Until the Lions make a decision on what TE is their true TE, he is 1 amongst three, let alone the fact that the Lions offense has plenty of other options. Look elsewhere, and don’t be a victim of the moment. No chance he makes the top 10, and an even slimmer chance he scores 3 points. Pass, pass, PASS!
Prediction: 2 receptions, 17 yards, 0 TD
So there we have it, week 5 in a very specific nutshell. As stated, I’m hoping to go 7/10 this week and that everyone is gleaning some sort of value from these columns.
Also, a quick update on my three main fantasy leagues.
IFFL: 3-1 and in first Place
FWO: 4-0, first place
MLFF: 4-0 and first place (also the highest scoring team). That’s right, yours truly has been having his way with the opposition, and just last week trounced the owner of MLFS. I’m surprised he didn’t make a separate post bowing down to the greatness of Ryan Ingram. And yes, I’m quite aware that I could lose every single game from here on out, HOWEVER…I will enjoy things from the top of the heap for now. Hey Corey, if you need any fantasy advice, you know where to come!
GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!
Major League Fantasy Football Radio: Join Ej Garr and Corey D Roberts on Sunday October 5th from 11am-12pm EST for this week’s installment of Major League Fantasy Football Radio sponsored by theSports Palooza Radio Network. We will be taking live callers at 646.915.8596. Our guests this week will be Andy Macuga who is the head football coach for Borrego Springs H.S. in CA. Jeff Nelson will also be joining us who is the DB Coach for White Hall H.S. in PA. Andy is an offensive minded coach and Jeff is a defensive minded coach so it should make for a great discussion. Andy and Jeff are both owners in Major League Fantasy Football and Major League Fantasy Baseball. We will be taking questions about offensive players, individual defensive players, team defenses/special teams, as well as daily fantasy plays. Take full advantage!