ReviewOctober 13, 2009

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WaCoug’s Weekend Wrap-up for Week 5 - 2 comments

By Michael Stephens

First of all, I’d just like to say that if they decide to award me with the 2009 Pulitzer for this column, I will gladly accept with a stupefied smile and a gratuitous, bordering on obsequious, round of thanks. I certainly didn’t go into this thing thinking I would be able to win the most prestigious writing award out there, but you never know, right? Many players, like Miles Austin and Jeremy Maclin, went into Week 5 with similar expectations and aspirations, and look where that got them! Sometimes if you put your head down and do what you are supposed to do, you are rewarded beyond your wildest dreams. When that means sticking with your gut and playing a rookie wide receiver, in a good matchup and in an explosive offense, and you’re rewarded with twenty-plus points from the fantasy heavens, you’ll look like a genius and probably pick up a hard-fought win as a result. As long as you don’t let it go to your head and are able to make good decisions like this more often than not, you might just find yourself with a coveted Week 14 bye. What’s not to like about that? So without further ado, let’s reprise this week’s memorable performances in the world of fantasy football.

Dallas Cowboys v Kansas City Chiefs


    Matt Cassel (KC) – As far as I’m concerned, he’s back to being a top-20 quarterback in my mind. He makes for a great second signal caller in two-QB leagues, and you could do much worse as a bye-week cover. He has thrown seven touchdowns in the last four weeks, and while his yardage totals aren’t stellar, he’ll usually get you between two and four extra points with his legs. The 0-5 Chiefs are still a lost ship, but in fantasy football you can extract a lot of value from the captain of such a ship.
    Kyle Orton (DEN) – It’s becoming more clear each week that Kyle Orton is a usable fantasy quarterback now that he has realized the existence of Brandon Marshall, and…who? Eddie Royal! Marshall caught two touchdowns from Orton, and more importantly he was able to get Eddie Royal involved to the tune of a whopping 15 targets, 10 catches and 90 yards. With a solid running game headed by Knowshon Moreno and those two yahoos entrenched in Orton’s mind as options 1A and 1B, the time is now to grab Orton and Co. if they’re on your waiver wire.
    Chad Henne (MIA) – Don’t go doing anything drastic just yet, but I think the Dolphins have found their signal caller of the future, and he could even be fantasy relevant! Henne fits the mold of young quarterbacks who had to sit for at least a season behind a talented/effective starter before taking the reigns, and with 11 games left and no real competition in Miami, Henne will have chances to push the envelope and make some big plays with his big arm. Every game won’t be a 20/26 with 241 yards and two scores against a top-five defense, but with the Wildcat to protect him and a pretty good defense, I really like Henne in both dynasty and two-QB leagues this year and into the future. He has the ability to push the ball down the field and pick up large chunks of yardage through the passing game, as asset much needed in a Miami offense that never wants to repeat what happened against the Colts in Week 2.
    Derek Anderson (CLE) – No, that isn’t a mirage. Anderson completed TWO passes for the game, totaling an appallingly bad 23 yards against an average Buffalo defense on the road. His QB rating in this game was 15.1. To put things in perspective, Michael Vick was one for three with one passing yard and still managed a rating of 42.4. To anyone who thought he was going to jump back to top-10 status after winning his job back from the beleaguered Brady Quinn: the dream is over. Anderson should be fodder for the waiver wire in all but the deepest of two-QB leagues.
    • Guy’s you don’t need to hear too much about, though you still want your fantasy ego salved by a quick mention: Matt Hasselbeck (241 yards, 4 TDs), Ben Roethlisberger (277 yards, 3 TDs), Matt Schaub (371 yards, 3 total TDs), Peyton Manning (309 yards, 3 TDs), Kurt Warner (302 yards, 2 TDs), Tony Romo (351 yards, 2 TDs), Matt Ryan (329 yards, 2 TDs), Eli Manning (173 yards, 2 TDs in the first half), Donovan McNabb (264 yards, 3 TDs) and Carson Palmer (271 yards, TD).
    • Have faith, it’ll turn around before you know it: Joe Flacco (186 yards, TD, 2 INT), Tom Brady (215 yards, 2 TDs).


    Cedric Benson (CIN) – I know I said I wouldn’t sing high praise of stars in cupcake matchups, but since the former is still widely not believed and the latter is far from the truth, Mr. Benson more than earned his way onto this list. He ran for 120 yards and a score on a Baltimore defense that hadn’t allowed a 100-yard rusher in 39 games. Yeah, 39. With either 100-plus yards or a touchdown in four of five games this season, I’m really a believer in Benson. If you can get him cheaply, he’s proven he can run on anyone in this offense. Oh yeah, and the Bengals play the Chargers and Chiefs in Weeks 15 and 16. Those of you in the driver’s seat for the playoffs should take a note of that.
    Ray Rice (BAL) – He still didn’t score from in close this week, but what more do you want from this guy? Rice amassed 143 yards from scrimmage and scored a touchdown on just 21 touches Sunday. What’s more impressive, you ask? He touched the ball 21 times. Do you know how many times Willis McGahee touched the ball in this game? Twice. He’s still probably an RB2 most weeks, thanks to the vulture-like McGahee in goal line situations, but he’s as solid at that spot as you get, and he’s proven he can produce even in the toughest of matchups.
    Rashard Mendenhall (PIT) – As long as Willie Parker is out of the Pittsburgh lineup, Mendenhall should do just fine. I know, I know that it will only last for a short time, but you might as well ride the wave while you get the chance! He has at least 14 fantasy points in two straight games and next draws the hapless Browns. I say start him in that game (if he’s starting, of course) and then sell as high as you possibly can with a demonstrative Minnesota rush defense on the slate the week after that (as well as Parker looming to take touches away from him). No matter what happens with Parker, you have to hang onto Mendenhall, but just keep in mind that a Parker and Mendenhall two-headed backfield monster in Pittsburgh is worth little more than a flex play most weeks.
    Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw (NYG) – Before you go getting too excited about Bradshaw’s 28 fantasy points (to Jacobs’ 6), remember that Jacobs is still the workhorse on this team and will be as long as he’s healthy. As much as they wish they could play the Raiders every week (I mean, I want to be independently wealthy, but it just isn’t happening), they don’t. Bradshaw has shown me enough to warrant a flex play most weeks, but you can’t count on much more from him week in, week out. Take what you can get, and there will be some explosive plays here and there in the future.
    Jamal Lewis and Jerome Harrison (CLE) – On behalf of all fantasy football writers out there, I would like to apologize for this one. Going into Sunday’s game, Lewis was supposed to be sidelined with a nagging injury and Jerome Harrison was to steal our fantasy hearts by taking over the Browns running back gig for the season. Instead, Lewis got roughly 75 percent of the team’s carries (31 to Harrison’s eight) and amassed 117 rushing yards. Lewis looks to be the starter from here on out, but both he and Harrison are nothing more than flex plays unless Cleveland can find a semblance of a passing game. One thing I can take out of this is that James Davis’ injury status is the only thing I can trust in the Cleveland backfield. Oh wait, nevermind!
    Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson (BUF) – This situation went just about how I thought it would, with the slight difference that Lynch looks like he’ll be in the lead for the featured back gig instead of Jackson. Lynch had four more carries than Jackson, gained 39 more yards on those carries, and most notably was highly involved in the passing for a second straight week. Lynch has 11 catches in the two games he’s played since returning from suspension, while Jackson has only five during that span. It looks like those of you who took a chance on Lynch and let Jackson go on draft day might have made the right decision after all – I like the former Cal Bear (I never thought I’d say that out loud) a lot more going forward, that is, after they play the Jets in Week 6!
    • You already knew about these studly performances, right? I see no point talking up studs when they did something they were supposed to do, so unless their performance was absolutely superlative, I think a mention (just in case you forget about them) should do just fine: Michael Turner (97 yards, 3 TDs), Ronnie Brown (88 total yards, 2 TDs), Adrian Peterson (69 yards, 2 TDs), Clinton Portis (74 total yards, 2 TDs), Ricky Wiliams (14 touches, 138 yards), Thomas Jones (42 yards, 2 TDs) and Steven Jackson (109 total yards).
    • Don’t worry, it was just a down week for: Marion Barber (15 carries, 51 yards), Brian Westbrook (8 touches, 35 yards), DeAngelo Williams (20 touches, 69 yards), Maurice Jones-Drew (17 touches, 57 yards), Steve Slaton (19 touches, 98 yards) and Chris Johnson (11 touches, 43 yards).
Dallas Cowboys v Kansas City Chiefs


    Miles Austin (DAL) – Show me someone who saw a team-record 250 receiving yards and two touchdowns from Austin this week, and I’ll show you a liar of Bill Belichick proportions. Austin had a whale of a game, and the crazy part is he dropped two more touchdown passes in this one. Take note of that last fact before you get crazy and run to the wire to spend all of your free agent bucks though; Austin benefited from poor Chiefs tackling and an absence of Roy Williams in the Cowboys’ receiving corps this week, two things he won’t be able to enjoy after the Cowboys’ bye in Week 6. He’s certainly worth a pickup if he’s still out there, but temper your expectations going forward.
    Jeremy Maclin (PHI) – Although upon hearing the news of Kevin Curtis being inactive and Maclin getting the start Sunday, you probably didn’t have the guts to start Maclin in most leagues unless you were desperate. But if your desperation led to a gut-feeling start, the payoff was tremendous. Maclin had a team-high 142 yards and two touchdowns in his first career start, and more impressively, his eight targets were easily a team high as well. Don’t go plowing under an entire corn field to finance his signing, but this rookie really has a chance to shine in Philly’s explosive offense going forward.
    Austin Collie (IND) – I’m starting to think that Anthony Gonzalez is going to have a real fight on his hands when he comes back from his injury, and it won’t be like two trailer-park moms duking it out for the last copy of Deer Hunter 23 for the Wii. Collie has looked better and better each week, with Sunday night’s 21-point explosion as living proof. He now has at least 12 fantasy points in two straight, and after the Colts’ Week 6 bye, they draw St. Louis, San Francisco and Houston. Yes please! It’s unlikely you can get him on the cheap at this point, but I’ll pay a bit for a top-three target catching passes from Peyton Manning eight days out of the week.
    Braylon Edwards (NYJ) – Since he has never really cared about running precise routes or learning the playbook, but is still an immensely talented pass-catcher, is anyone really that surprised about what happened on Monday night? Edwards caught five passes for 64 yards and a touchdown from rookie Mark Sanchez in this game (and he missed another score by the length of Eric Mangini’s Pinocchio-like nose). Edwards looked motivated last night and played a very solid game – if you were lucky enough to grab him after someone lost faith in him in brown and orange, you just found yourself a top-20 receiver.
    Mike Sims-Walker (JAC) – O.K., now that’s annoying! After talking him up all week (both here and on the 4th and Goal podcast), MSW was a surprise game-time scratch for the Jaguars after violating a team rule. In a matchup that would have been as cakey as Devil’s food, Sims-Walker watched from the sidelines and Torry Holt garnered 11 targets and 95 yards against the Seattle secondary. Barring any further poor judgment calls, he should be back on the field, and consequently in your lineup, in weeks to come.
    Minnesota Vikings v St. Louis Rams

    Donnie Avery (STL) – He enjoyed his best game of the season in Week 5, with 87 yards and a touchdown, and as much as his ridiculous celebration in the midst of a Vikings blowout makes me want to jettison him into the fantasy atmosphere, I think now is precisely the time to grab him. With games against Jacksonville, Detroit, New Orleans, Arizona and Seattle in the next six weeks, Avery could have a chance for some nice games as the chemistry grows between him and quarterback Kyle Boller.

    Dennis Northcutt and Calvin Johnson (DET) – With the extent of Johnson’s injury still as an unknown (though it’s highly likely he’ll miss time and/or be slowed in the coming weeks), Northcutt makes for a sneaky pickup at WR this week. He had a team-high eight targets from Daunte Culpepper and hauled in five of them for 70 yards and a score. You could do a lot worse in a bye week.
    Josh Morgan (SF) – He has at least seven fantasy points in two straight, and more importantly had nine targets in this game. Since the 49ers might be who we thought they were after all (especially without Frank Gore), this is the last week Morgan should sit on your wire without a speculative pickup.
    Santonio Holmes (PIT) – That’s another week with five or fewer fantasy points for Holmes (which makes three in a row). Do you still think he’s consistent enough to be a weekly start, much less the top-10 guy many thought would emerge this season?
    Mohamed Massaquoi (CLE) – Don’t go giving up on him just yet – he did catch 50 percent of Derek Anderson’s two completions on Sunday. Anderson will have to throw to someone in the future, and the Browns are bound to be down early in a lot of games this season, so don’t give up on that waiver claim from last week just yet.
    Terrell Owens (BUF) – T.O., you and I are finished, at least professionally. With a measly four catches for 44 yards on Sunday, Owens now has 12 catches through five games and has only topped six fantasy points once. There are some tasty matchups coming down the road when the Bills face Houston, Tennessee and Jacksonville in Weeks 8-11, but you saw what he did against a soft Browns defense, right? I’m just sayin’…
    • The obvious name department: Roddy White (8 catches, 210 yards, 2 TDs), Andre Johnson (101 yards, 2 TDs), Nate Burleson (98 yards, 2 TDs) and teammate T.J. Houshmandzadeh (77 yards, 2 TDs), Larry Fitzgerald (79 yards, 2 scores), Brandon Marshall (64 yards, 2 TDs), Wes Welker (8 catches, 86 yards, TD), Reggie Wayne (60 yards, score) and Chad Ochocinco (7 grabs, 94 yards).
Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Philadelphia Eagles


    Kellen Winslow (TAM) – He’d had a couple of down weeks after a nice start to the ’09 season, but it’s hard to ignore what Winslow did on Sunday in catching nine balls for 102 yards and two touchdowns. He and young quarterback Josh Johnson could be onto something here, and if you are hurting in the tight end department and still have a shot at him, it could be looked back on as a very wily pickup in a couple of weeks.
    Heath Miller (PIT) – I’m not saying he’s an everyday fantasy tight end again, but with scored in two straight games, and at least five catches in three in a row, he’s certainly worth at least a sell high if you don’t need him to cover any early byes.
    • Always start your top-eight tight ends, even if they leave you eating a bagel for the week (just hope it’s an everything bagel – mmm…)! Therefore I won’t need to mention Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Gates, Jason Witten, Dallas Clark, Owen Daniels, Chris Cooley, Brent Celek and John Carlson in any further detail.
Cleveland Browns v Buffalo Bills


    Keith Ellison (BUF) – he has at least nine tackles in four of five games this year. Oh yeah, and he plays for a team that has scored 23 points in their last three weeks and can’t keep its offense on the field long enough get booed off it.
    Russell Allen (JAC) – In a fill-in role for the injured Justin Durant, Allen tallied 10 tackles (eight solo) against the Seahawks. If Durant misses more time, Allen could be a nice bye-week option at LB.
    • Worth a mention, just not a bullet of their own: Keith Brooking (11 tackles), Kirk Morrison (16 tackles, 13 solo), Jon Beason (10 tackles, sack), Ray Lewis (10 solo tackles), Patrick Willis (12 tackles, 6 solo), Aaron Curry (10 tackles, 9 solo, sack), Leigh Bodden (11 tackles), Keith Bulluck (11 tackles, PD), Stephen Tulloch (11 tackles, 9 solo), Bart Scott (10 tackles, 9 solo) and Gibril Wilson (12 tackles, 11 solo).

That’s all I have this week, but I’ll gladly fly anywhere in the world to accept my award! Keep those fantasy ears to the ground, play it smart and I’ll see you again next Monday/Tuesday!

Michael Stephens is an avid fantasy sports enthusiast who writes for the Cafe. He hails from the Pacific Northwest and is a die-hard Seahawk and Mariner fan to the core! You can find Michael in the Cafe's forums where he actively posts under the name of WaCougMBS.
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2 Responses to “WaCoug’s Weekend Wrap-up for Week 5”

  1. User avatar Navyseal says:

    Another fine synopsis, keep up the great work, funny as well as informative stuff, once again! thx

  2. User avatar coltsrock says:

    Individual Defensive Players :)


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