Week 5 Whiparound
I noted on the air Sunday morning when talking about selling high on Reggie Wayne that eventually the Colts were going to figure out how to take advantage of TY Hilton’s big play ability. Turns out “eventually” meant Week 5. If Hilton was dropped in your league, race to the waiver wire to pick him up. Same goes for Justin Blackmon, whose four-game suspension ended emphatically with 136 yards and a touchdown. The Jags won’t get to play the Rams every week, but he and Cecil Shorts split 19 targets as evenly as they could and that should continue.
Austin Pettis now has four touchdowns in his last four games. Sam Bradford obviously trusts him in the red zone, but he’s only averaging 44 yards per game. He’s a dangerous week-to-week fantasy play due to the lack of consistent yardage, but he’s got to be owned in all leagues at this point and can be used as a bye-week fill-in at least.
Maurice Jones-Drew managed 86 combo yards in the same game and probably has more upside with Chad Henne under center, but with his offensive line losing Luke Joeckel to a broken ankle on Sunday and having already traded Eugene Monroe you’re going to want to shop that 86-yard performance hard on the trade market this week. Jones-Drew may have just hit his high-water mark for the season.
There’ve been two games this season Russell Wilson was supposed to put up limited fantasy points in—against a soft Jacksonville run defense that he wouldn’t need to throw against, and against a decent Indy defense on the road. Instead, those have been his best fantasy games. It’d be one thing if Wilson was producing at least useable fantasy digits in his other contests, but he’s done virtually nothing. Owners are going to be stuck having to start Wilson regardless of matchup if they want to be in on the big games like he had Sunday, but there’s still a high disappointment risk that will come with it.
Speaking of disappointment, Trent Richardson owners couldn’t have been pleased to see Donald Brown score from three-yards out. That’s supposed to be where Richardson makes his money since he’s not been a big-play guy in his short NFL career. If Brown’s going to be stealing goal-line looks, Richardson is far from a must-start fantasy back in a landscape that lacks options at the position.
Also disappointed were Marques Colston owners, who saw him get just two targets against a Bears defense that’s ceded big fantasy points to No. 1 receivers all season. Drew Brees has plenty of weapons to work with, so the occasional down day for Colston will happen. But with no touchdowns since Week 1 and just one game with more than 71 yards, I’m sure there are plenty of antsy Colston owners out there. Might not be a bad time to send out a trade offer for him. You can probably buy low.
Meanwhile, Pierre Thomas was catching two touchdown passes. If you’ve got him, you’ll never have a better chance to sell high. Thomas will be picked up in most fantasy leagues this week with running backs at a premium. But I can almost guarantee that in 3-4 weeks he’ll be right back on those same waiver wires after Thomas does virtually nothing going forward.
Thomas’ touchdowns paved the way for Jay Cutler’s second straight garbage-time extravaganza, which has also turned into Alshon Jeffery time. I’ve been hesitant to buy into Jeffery just because Cutler has a tendency to lock onto Brandon Marshall—and because I sometimes I’m too conservative in my Bears predictions trying to overcompensate for my fan bias. But he’s a big target, has great hands, and apparently now has Cutler’s trust. That’s enough for me to say he’s in the weekly WR2 discussion. Hakeem Nicks is trying to get back in that conversation as well and took a good first step with 142 yards on Sunday, but he’ll have to do it against a non-Eagles defense to really show something. Eli Manning, Rueben Randle, same thing.
Finally, I’m hoping that the weather in Cincinnati can be blamed for the lack of production, because otherwise I’m starting to get worked about A.J. Green. Not that he’s doing anything wrong, it’s just that Andy Dalton’s been unable to get anything going since Green’s big Week 1 when he racked up 162 yards and two scores. Green’s scored just once in the next four weeks, and hasn’t topped the 61 yards he totaled against New England. Dalton has faced some tough defenses so far, and I’m not ready to endorse even considering benching Green, but I am keeping an eye on him.