Week five has come and gone, and yet again; I am filled with disappointment. It’s not to say that fantasy football has ceased to be fun, it’s just that this season has been absolutely brutal. You may take that statement as an underlying confession to having a lack of success; which is completely untrue. I’m winning in all leagues I care about, (3-2, 5-0, 4-1) and feel mostly confident about my teams. However, the stress of this season has come in the form of accurately predicting the top players at each position. It’s tough work!
I came into this writing gig assuming that it would be a breeze considering my past success at fantasy football. What I failed to realize, was that verbalizing and providing accurate research in written form was harder than saying to a friend, “I think _____ is going to have a big week.” Not only are there more people reading, but there also records to my predictions. I can no longer rely on, “What? I didn’t say that, you must have heard me incorrectly.” Simply put, accountability has kept me in check.
This year, as I’ve said now and will say for the remainder of the season, has most likely been the most difficult, confusing and unorthodox year that I have ever seen in fantasy sports. To the delight of many, things are starting to level out in some positions (mainly quarterback), but every other position hosts a number of players in the top 10 which you would never anticipate seeing.
To give an example, here are the top 10 per position currently.
QB: Luck, Rivers, Cutler, Ryan, Manning, Rodgers, Wilson, E. Manning, Brees, Stafford
RB: Murray, Lynch, Bell, Forte, Foster, Bradshaw, Jennings, Forsett, Bernard, Gore/Asiata/Morris
WR: Brown, Nelson, Jones, Maclin, Cobb, Smith Sr., Bryant, D. Thomas, T. Williams, D. Hopkins
TE: Thomas, Gates, Olsen, Bennett, Walker, Graham, Gronk, Donnell, Kelce, Allen
Would anyone, ANYONE possibly believe that those would be the “elite” at the position. I’ll give you QB, as I could reasonably see people having 9/10 in their top 10. At RB, I can concede to 6/10 being reasonable top 10 picks pre-season, but I don’t think I’ve seen many people as in love with Jennings as I was; and no one predicted Bradshaw. The WR position offers even more odd inclusions with Maclin, Smith, Williams and Hopkins. Again, all players predicted as top 30, not top 10. TE is a hodgepodge of players, with the oddities being Gates (Everyone thought he was dead and Ladarius Green would emerge), Walker, Donnell, Kelce and Allen.
It is a tough year!
So as I spoke about in my very first article, the key to success in this tumultuous era of fantasy sports is constant vigilance, research and dedication. Reading the authors at this site, along with any others, will allow you to maintain a competitive edge in your leagues. If you’re not one of the first to submit for that flash in the plan player (Oliver Grey), then you will most certainly be left out. My hope is that things continue to normalize over the course of the year, and the star players will continue to rise to the top of the food chain. Specifically, I’m looking at Drew Brees. Come on man!
Let’s take a look at my predictions from week 5 and see If I achieved my 7/10.
Hits: Accurate predictions
Greg Olsen – Wow, this is where we land, with my 7th discussed player being the first hit. It’s going to be a rough recap. I expected big things from one of the elite tight ends in the game going into week 5, and I was not disappointed by his exceptional performance. Unfortunate to me, this performance did not impact Cam Newton quite as much. Olsen was the primary option, yet again, for the Panthers and helped carry the team to a 31-24 victory over the Bears. Olsen continues to remain a safe play.
Projection: 74 yards, 1 TD, 7 receptions
Actual Stats: 72 yards, 2 TD, 6 receptions
Travis Kelce – Here’s where the waters muddy a bit and I cheat. So my projection for Kelce was wrong in terms of actual numbers, but my predicted fantasy value was aligned with his actual value. Instead of picking up 8 points via yards/receptions; he picked up 7 points via TD’s. Ok, it was close, but he still finished in the top 10 of TE’s and I consider that a hit. I knew it was a risk putting Kelce on the list last week, especially knowing he was facing a SF defense which was ranked 5th against TE’s; however I wanted to see if he could step up and deliver. It’s not that he didn’t do what was asked of him, as he caught 2 of 3 passes thrown to him, but it was a matter of Alex Smith not getting him the ball. The 49ers are starting to get it together, and Kelce was eliminated as a threat. I still believe in this player and you should as well.
Projection: 88 yards, 0 TD, 8 receptions
Actual: 15 yards, 1 TD, 2 receptions
Eric Ebron – I continue to question the value of this player and will strongly discourage anyone I speak to from owning him. I’ve said it from day 1, this guy has no value this year.
Projection: 17 yards, 0 TD, 2 receptions
Actual: 8 yards, 0 TD, 2 receptions
Misses: Oh boy, do we have a lot of them or what. This was certainly not my brightest moment.
Drew Brees – It’s not like Brees is reaching Tom Brady levels of anger, but what in the hell is going on this season? I would love to see any perspectives in the comments section as to why Brees is having such a rough go at it this season. I understand he’s still a top 10 QB, but he’s thrown an interception in 4 of 5 games this season! Usually, Brees is one of the most accurate passers in the game, but this season he’s been incredibly turnover prone. I can’t figure out if it’s his own decline or the offensive line. Either way, he continues to be a concern but also a player to never bench. He’ll have the BYE this week, so hopefully that allows he and his team to become aligned once more.
Projection: 329 Yards, 3 TD, 0 Int
Actual: 371 Yards, 2 TD, 3 Int
Cam Newton – After this week, Cam now holds a special place in my heart right next to Tom Brady. I went out on a limb last week in predicting Newton to rebound in a big way against an unimpressive Bears defense, but the dude let me down. I was down on Newton before the season started, and continue to be down on him. This week, he faces a legit defense when they travel to Cincinnati. Don’t expect anything from Newton, and honestly I’d drop him and stream a better QB option.
Projection: 287 Yards, 2 TD, 1 Int, 42 RuYd, 1 RuTD
Actual: 255 Yards, 2 TD, 1 Int, 6 RuYD, 0 RuTD
Eli Manning – Well, he had a fine week, but he didn’t have the week I expected. If you played him, you’re probably not thrilled with his output, but you’re also not completely dissatisfied. For some reason, Eli was never able to expose the soft Atlanta defense and as a result, put up relatively pedestrian numbers. The positive takeaway from his performance was the big goose-egg in the turnover column. Keep believing in Manning and remember, he is a top 10 QB with an incredibly favorable second half schedule (outside of weeks 10/11).
Projection: 310 Yards, 3 TD, 1 Int
Actual: 200 Yards, 2 TD, 0 Int
Joe Flacco – So Joe Flacco returned to Joe Fluke-o form in week 5. I really liked his matchup against the Colts, and anticipated a shoot-out (as did everyone else). What the fans received instead, was a low scoring game and a very unimpressive performance by Flacco. His schedule isn’t too bad going forward, but he’ll face a rough stretch from week 9-11 (with week 11 being a BYE). If you’re streaming, give him a shot this week against Tampa Bay and also in week 7 vs Atlanta in Baltimore. However, he’s a player I would keep my eye on, as well as keeping him at arms distance. I need to see more Mr. Flacco.
Projection: 310 Yards, 2 TD, 1 Int
Actual: 235 Yards, 0 TD, 1 Int
Tony Romo – I knew I would be going out on a limb with this prediction, but I learned plenty in watching this game. Tony Romo is legit, the Cowboys offense is legit, and Houstons defense is not what I wanted it to be. Romo looked very good in this game, and the Cowboys offense continues to be a lot of fun to watch. Romo is relying heavily on the run game to set up the pass, and the result is Tony producing top 12 numbers. This week, they’ll travel to Seattle to face the “Legion of Boom” and a Seattle defense which many people are now saying is overrated. Something tells me they will be on point, but I could be wrong.
Projection: 289 Yards, 2 TD, 3 Int
Actual: 324 Yards, 2 TD, 1 Int
Larry Donnell – So Donnell faced a top 3 TE defense and the results were incredibly evident. Donnell was basically a non-factor against the Falcons, and he failed to produce in any way. Hell, the guy received 1 target. There isn’t much more to be said. Donnell was a complete bust this week and a ton of fantasy owners were disappointed. For now, he remains a low tier top 10 TE but will face an Eagles defense which ranks 7th against the TE. I would be weary of Donnell this week.
Projection: 87 Yards, 1 TD, 6 receptions
Actual, 0 Yards, 0 TD, 0 Receptions
Heath Miller – I don’t feel too terribly about this one, as I only missed on the touchdown. However, at this position a missed TD is everything. I think everyone was surprised to see the Steelers offense only hang 17 of the Jags and this week they will travel to Cleveland to face a very tough secondary. I typically get nervous in suggesting players when facing the Browns (unless it’s Antonio Brown), so you won’t hear me pushing Miller on anyone this week.
Projection: 62 yards, 7 receptions, 1 TD
Actual: 46 Yards, 3 receptions, 0 TD
All in all, 3 for 10. Not a good week by any means. A lot of players failed to produce which should have, even outside of my projections, as we saw bad teams play well and good teams play badly. I put a lot of thought into my picks this week, so hopefully, I can actually put everyone on the right path. Here we go!
QB1 (Lock of the Week): Jay Cutler – I’ll drink and pour my own kool-aid in my lock of the week. Prior to the pre-season, I had Cutler as a top 10 QB, and even as a top 5 in one of my bold predictions. This prediction was met with a plethora of hate from all angles (even from Bears fans on reddit). However, he’s currently a top 5 fantasy QB and has at least two TD’s per game. The Falcons are 24th in the league in Pass defense, and despite a respectable showing last week; I look for them to fade against the huge receiving options at our aforementioned quarterbacks disposable. Have faith in Cutler this week, and reap the benefits!
Projection: 335 Yards, 2 TD, 0 Int
QB2 (Rebound Player): Nick Foles – You know that feeling you get when you’re doing something bad, something you know is wrong, but it’s something that you do anyway? That’s the feeling I have right now as I talk about Nick Foles being a great play and one of my key starts for week 6. I don’t like Nick Foles that much, and I feel strongly that he’s an overrated quarterback. After all, his production has dramatically dropped off since he came out of the gate firing on all cylinders through the first three weeks. This week, the Eagles welcome the Giants to the city of brotherly love, as they look to solidify their place as the best team in the NFC East. Foles has plenty of weapons on offense, and the team desperately needs its star QB to produce. The Giants are sleepers in the division, so I expect this to be a shoot out. The NYG defense is right in the middle in terms of points allowed to opposing QB’s, but I’ll be damned if I don’t think Foles will have a really fine game.
Projection: 297 Yards, 2 TD, 1 Int
QB3 (Fact or Fiction): Brian Hoyer – Alright, we’re going outside of the box a little bit with this pick. In week 5, Hoyer finished as the #6 QB. He did so against a Titans defense which was highly touted prior to the season beginning, but has been unbelievably inconsistent. The Browns are finding a way to win, and the re-emergence of Ben Tate has a lot to do with it. I’m expecting Hoyer to finish within the top 12 in the position, and won’t have much to fear from a Steelers defense which barely rattled rookie Blake Bortles. It may seem wild and crazy, but I like Hoyer this week.
Projection: 289 Yards, 2 TD, 0 Int
QB4 (Spotlight): Austin Davis – So I’m changing things up a little bit, and making my “QB4” a “Spotlight” discussion. It’s not that I necessarily think this person will do great or do poorly, but it’s a player that I think everyone should be paying attention to. When I saw Austin Davis play against Tampa Bay, I saw one of the most passionate performances of the season. Here is a kid, a third string player who no one knew about, or really cared about. After the injury to Sam Bradford (shocker), everyone anticipated Sean Hill to be an upgrade and for the Rams to have a decent season. After the Hill injury, all eyes turned to Austin Davis and the predictions of another poor Rams season begun. Since then Davis has found comfort in the driver’s seat, and has not taken his foot off the pedal. He is one of the top fantasy QB’s over the past two weeks and will have a bit of an uphill battle over the next few weeks, but that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be watched. If this kid produces against SF and Seattle, you’re looking at a great option for streaming QB’s or as a BYE week fill in. Hell, he could even be that option if you’re hanging on to a Cam Newton or Tom Brady. Finally, one of my favorite things about the sport of football is the true underdog story, and Austin Davis is that underdog.
Projection: 274 Yards, 2 TD, 2 Int
QB5 (Avoid): Tom Brady – Don’t get fooled readers! Tom Brady may have responded to the harsh fantasy criticism by posting his best numbers of the year, however he also had four games prior in which he looked like gahbage. Don’t be a victim of the moment. Brady travels to Buffalo to face a top 3 defense and I can’t fathom him posting impressive numbers again. The historic method towards beating Brady is to constantly pressure the legend, and the Bills have more sacks than anyone else in the NFL. Bottom line, avoid Brady.
Projection: 241 Yards, 1 TD, 2 Int.
TE1 (Lock of the Week): Delanie Walker – Only Jimmy Graham has more receiving yards than Delanie Walker, he’s fourth in receptions and has three touchdowns on the year. There are very few TE’s as consistent as him, and with Graham on a bye he’s an easy prediction to finish in the top three. Also, they’re playing Jacksonville and well, it’s Jacksonville.
Projection: 83 yards, 1 TD, 6 receptions
TE2 (Rebound Player): Jordan Cameron – In retrospect, I sure did enjoy discussing Jordan Cameron this season; but the shoulder injury hampered the early season production from this former elite player. He was targeted three times, caught all three passes, and totaled 33 yards in week 5. This gives a good indication that he’s on the right track, and will be looking to return to form in a big way against Pittsburgh. I’m hoping the trigger isn’t being pulled too early, but I have faith that Cameron re-emerges in week 6.
Projection: 61 Yards, 1 TD, 4 receptions
TE3 (Fact or Fiction): Owen Daniels – Alright Owen Daniels, I’m sold. Now, a touchdown and a few more yards will solidify you as a top 10 TE going forward. I absolutely love the match-up against the 31st ranked vs. TE Tampa Bay defense in week 6. Daniels has been targeted 24 times over the past 5 games and 6 targets over the last two. He was one of the biggest pickups on the waivers with the loss of Dennis Pitta, and Joe Flacco continues to show that he loves throwing to tight ends. This is going to be a great week for Owen Daniels owners.
Projection: 72 yards, 0 TD, 6 receptions
TE4 (Spotlight): Vernon Davis – What happened to this guy? I get that he’s been injured, but even in his healthy games he’s failed to produce anything respectable outside of week one. The speculation is that he’s healthy again, and will see some game time against a pretty good Rams defense. After the Rams, Davis faces Denver, a BYE and the Rams again. It’s a tough stretch, however weeks 10-16 seem very favorable outside of two games against Seattle. He’s someone that is very much worth watching, and if you have the roster spot and someone dropped him, snag him. He’s a player with an incredibly high ceiling, and when healthy is dominant.
Projection: 41 yards, 0 TD, 5 receptions
TE5 (Pass): Zach Ertz – I fel that Ertz is a player who is constantly talked about here at “Words of Ingram”, but his inconsistency is striking and I’ve never been too big of a fan of his. He had a great start to the season, but he’s seen a steady decline in production since week 1. To recap, here is a quick look at his weekly numbers: 13, 8, 1, 2, 3. I cannot advocate starting Ertz, especially when faced with a Giants defense that is holding opposing tight ends to 3.8 yards per game. A lot of people are high on Foles, but even if you are, don’t expect Ertz to be a factor in this game.
Projection: 32 Yards, 0 TD, 3 receptions
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________(click link below to listen live) Major League Fantasy Football Radio: Join Ej Garr and Corey D Roberts on Sunday October 12th from 11am-12pm EST for this weeks episode 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 areRyan Ingram and Jeff Nelson. Ryan writes a weekly article every Friday discussing QBs/TEs and who to get into your line up that week. Ryan is also an owner in Major League Fantasy Football. Jeff Nelson is the DB Coach for White Hall H.S. in PA. and a two-time MLFF Champion. We will be taking questions on offense, individual defensive players, or Team Defenses/Special Teams. Be sure and check out Bryan Robinsonevery Saturday on /r/fantasyfootball on Reddit. He will be doing a live question & answer session so take advantage. Here is a link from his Q&A from week 4.