Week 5 featured 3 major upsets as the Chargers, Saints and Packers all lost on the road. A late fumble cost P-Riv the victory, Brees threw 3 picks and Aaron Rodgers is still nursing a banged up dome. I’m sure your survival pool thinned out significantly this week and it just goes to show you- picking an away team is always a risky play even if they are a 7 point favorite.
The most anticipated matchups on Sunday featured Indianapolis vs the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs and Houston vs the New York Giants. 29% of Yahoo! Survival Football players chose the 2-2 Colts to knock off the Chiefs, a risky play that paid off. While the rest of the NFL has run all over Indianapolis, Kansas City chose to throw the ball 29 times as opposed to 26 designed running plays (I don’t count Matt Cassel’s (QB KC) 1 yard scamper to avoid a sack a true run play). If there’s anyone to blame for this loss, it’s Todd Haley and competitive Twinkie Eating Champion/Offensive Coordinator Charlie Weis. Every team in the NFL should run the ball 75% of the time against the Colts, especially when you have an explosive offensive weapon like Jamaal Charles. They simply cannot stop the run for 60 minutes.
While my football experience consists of approximately 10,000 games of Madden and countless Sunday-fundays at the local pub, it doesn’t take an overweight and over paid football guru to analyze the following data and formulate a gameplan:
Week 1 vs Houston- 71% running plays, 257 rush yards, Colts LOSE
Week 2 vs NYG- 50% running plays, 120 rush yards, Colts WIN
Week 3 vs Denver- 24% running plays, 47 rush yards, Colts WIN
Week 4 vs JAX- 61.5% running plays, 174 rush yards, Colts LOSE
As I stated in Hook’s Week 4 NFL Wrap-Up, Jack Del Rio knows what’s up. It’s a two-step game plan when you play the Colts. Step 1: Run the ball. Step 2: Win. That’s it. I don’t care if your running back just got called up from the practice squad 3 weeks ago. Give him the ball 30 times. Expect Ryan Torain to put up huge numbers next week as I’m pretty sure Mike Shanahan does not have brain damage.
The Giants vs the Texans was an interesting matchup as Matt Schaub had his favorite target back in Andre 3k (WR HOU) and defensive stud Brian Cushing was back from his 4 week PEDs suspension. The Giants were coming off of a monster defensive performance against the Bears and came with the same intensity on Sunday. They held Schaub to under 200 passing yards and kept fantasy mega stud Arian Foster in check as he only managed 27 total yards of offense. Former Giant Derrick Ward scored the lone TD for Houston on a 1 yard run. The G Men won convincingly 34-10 as their special quarterback Eli Manning threw 3 TDs, 2 of them to Hakeem Nicks. Mario Manningham was blanked for the 2nd week in a row, and should be relegated to the bench in all fantasy leagues until Nicks or Steve Smith get caught sexting interns/suffer significant injuries.
The Titans vs the Cowboys was another game worth watching this weekend. In the end, it was Tony Romo’s 3 INTs that doomed the Cowboys while Chris Johnson carried the Titans to victory. I don’t know what pop star Romo is dating nowadays, but the guy is running out of excuses. At 1-3 with the Vikings on deck, the Cowboys are desperate for a W. The running game really needs to step up as they haven’t made much of an impact to date. The Vikings have some serious weapons and I can easily see Big D at 1-4 after Week 6.
The Monday Night game was delayed due to inclement weather as the Jets hosted the Vikings at the Meadowlands. Brett Favre and his cellphone full of dong pics gave a heartfelt apology to the Vikings squad for being a distraction all week as they geared up to face one of the best defenses in the NFL. Revis was back in action although Cromartie had the job of covering Randy Moss whom the Vikings acquired earlier in the week. The Jets held Minnesota scoreless in the first half, but didn’t do too much on offense themselves as Nick Folk kicked 3 FGs to give them a 9-0 lead. After another Folk FG in the second half, Favre hit Randy Moss for a 37 yard score to get them back in the game. Yet another Folk FG would put the Jets up 15-7 going into the 4th quarter.
The 4th quarter was everything you’d expect from a Monday night Brett Favre appearance, as the Vikings and Jets traded scores back and forth to the very end. Down 2 with 3 minutes to go, the Jets managed the clock terribly on a 3 and out, giving the Vikings one last chance to win the game. With less than 2 minutes on the clock, Favre barely overthrew a wide open Percy Harvin on what would have been a huge play if not a touchdown. The game was put away when Dwight Lowery picked off Favre shortly after and took it to the hizzy for a 29-20 Jets victory. This game let us know that the Jets (well, at least their defense) are for real and the Vikings are a much improved team with the addition of Randy Moss.
Your major fantasy impacts this week came in the form of injuries to big name players. As previously noted, Aaron Rodgers is concussed and will miss some time. Calvin Johnson hurt his shoulder as did Joseph Addai. DeSean Jackson was injured but managed to return. Jay Cutler is still in the locker room at the Meadowlands. Denver WR Demaryius Thomas got hurt while RB Knowshon Moreno sat out with a hammy injury. Mark Clayton is out for the season, Jermichael Finley was inactive. Michael Vick is still resting up from this injury http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xz2QNHi7aPE but hopes to return soon as the starting QB in Philly.
As for the players that managed to remain healthy, several guys had huge games this week. Matt Forte tallied 188 total yards and 2 TDs in a game you didn’t have to be Ms Cleo to see coming. With Cutler out and Todd Collins doing his best statue impression in the pocket, your girlfriend who only watches football to comment on the players “outfits” knew Forte was going to have a big game. Ray Rice scored twice, Malcom Floyd reminded Chargers fans why they don’t need scumbag WR Vincent Jackson with a 213 yard 1 TD performance and Brandon Lloyd produced another stellar game with 135 yards and 2 TDs. Lesser heralded guys Shaun Hill and Michael Bush had solid outings and Michael Crabtree finally showed signs of life. If you listened to the Total Sports Blog Fantasy Football podcast a few weeks ago, we told you he was going to turn it on around Week 6, and it may be too late to buy low on Crabtree. Marcedes Lewis scored 2 more touchdowns and can no longer be ignored. He should be owned in more than 55% of leagues.
Leading the dud parade was Peyton Manning, Matt Schaub, Arian Foster, Marion Barber, Anquan Boldin, DeSean Jackson, Ochocinco, Dallas Clark and Dustin Keller. You spent a high to relatively high draft pick on most of these guys and have come to depend on others and they simply did not produce in Week 5. Injuries played a part in some cases, in others it was stellar defensive performances or the gameplan. Boldin’s production suffered due to Ray Rice running free all day. Dallas Clark was sub-par because Peyton Manning was having difficulties. Dustin Keller didn’t get many looks because the Jets were trying to establish the run all night. With the exception of Marion Barber, I expect all of these players to bounce back and be just fine.
That’s all we have for Week 5. Check out Hook’s Must Adds, Must Drops, and other players to keep an eye on going into Week 6:
Must Adds: Danny Amendola (WR STL), Mike Thomas (WR JAX), Deion Branch (NE WR), Mike Hart (RB IND, may be good for just one week but he’s the only RB healthy in Indy), Giants DEF
Must Drop: Mark Clayton (WR STL, out for season), Legedu Naanee (WR SD), Kenneth Darby (RB STL, Jackson is healthy again), Demaryius Thomas (WR DEN), Colts DEF
Keep an Eye On: Laurent Robinson (WR STL), Shaun Hill (QB DET), Chris Chambers (WR KC), Deji Karim (RB JAX)