Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Fantasy Football 2011: Week 5 Tuesday Takeaways

To call this NFL season a wacky one would be an understatement. It's downright ludicrous, crazy, insane. Six quarterbacks remain on pace to break Dan Marino's single-season passing yards mark, New England Patriots WR Wes Welker is on track to catch 144 balls for 2,368(!!!) yards and 16 touchdowns and at his current pace, Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson will catch 28 touchdowns this year.

While offenses have been thriving, defenses have been sieves. However, not to be lost in the mediocrity is Minnesota Vikings DE Jared Allen (pictured). He has 8.5 sacks through five games and is on pace for a 27 sack season (Michael Strahan has the NFL record with 22.5 sacks). So yeah, it's been a ludicrous, crazy, insane season so far.

Wait, you want more proof? The Lions, San Francisco 49ers and Buffalo Bills are a combined 13-2, while the Philadelphia Eagles, New York Jets and Atlanta Falcons all have losing records. Ludicrous, crazy, insane.

Every Tuesday The Source takes a look back at the weekend (and Monday night) that was in the NFL. Here are The Source's takeaways from week five.

1) If I were Mercury Morris and the '72 Miami Dolphins, I'd start getting worried about the Green Bay Packers joining my club. With an unstoppable offense and an improving defense, I don't see a loss on the Packers schedule.

2) It's Tim Tebow time in Denver and I couldn't be more excited about it. Tebow may not win many games under-center for the Broncos, but he will put up big fantasy points. In the final three games of last season (games Tebow started), he finished with 15, 17 and 21 fantasy points (standard scoring). Fantasy owners got a taste of what Tebow can do last week when he led the Broncos back against the San Diego Chargers, a game Denver eventually lost 29-24. Tebow finished with 79 yards passing, 38 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns (1 passing, 1 rushing) - that's 12 fantasy points in less than a half. Go get Tebow now!

3) Atlanta QB Matt Ryan needs a new nickname. Matty Ice is melting down late in games and it's led to the Falcons starting 2-3. Much like he did in Sunday night's 25-14 loss to the Green Bay Packers, Ryan has started games extremely well, but he's finished them poorly. In the five games Ryan has played this year, here are his stats by quarter:

  • 1st quarter - 75.7% 290 yards 3 TDs 1 Int
  • 2nd quarter - 61.2% 271 yards 1 TD 2 INTs
  • 3rd quarter - 53.2% 321 yards 1 TD 1 INTs
  • 4th quarter - 58.7% 420 yards 2 TDs 2 INTs
Ryan goes from a 75% passer to a 58% passer over the course of the game. And where is that big play offense with Roddy White and Julio Jones? All of Ryan's seven touchdown passes have come when the Falcons are in the redzone. How about the nickname: Matty Melt Down?

4) I think I'm over my obsession with Cincinnati Bengal wide receivers. I've now moved onto Buffalo Bills WRs. I'm mostly interested in them from a PPR standpoint, but it's also a healthier relationship considering the Bills are 4-1 and none of their WRs have a drug investigation pending (how does Jerome Simpson still get to play?). I was intrigued by the Bills WR group back when David Nelson started getting a ton of targets out of the slot. But then came Naaman Roosevelt and my mind was nearly blown (great name). Roosevelt is a little known WR from the University of Buffalo with shifty moves and good hands. Roosevelt saw a lot of snaps during Sunday's 31-24 win over the Philadelphia Eagles and ended the games with 5 catches for 41 yards (on 7 targets). Look for Roosevelt to be on the field more with starting WR Donald Jones expected miss 4-6 weeks with an ankle injury. Roosevelt will stay in the slot, which is a great place to be in Buffalo's offense, and former slot guy Nelson will move outside opposite WR Steve Johnson. If you're in a deep PPR league, Naaman Roosevelt is a name to remember (yaa-man).

5) Speaking of obscure names to remember, the Kansas City Chiefs have a new featured back and his name is Jackie Battle. Battle finished Sunday's game against the Indianapolis Colts with 119 yards on 19 carries, a game the Chiefs won 28-24. While Battle didn't find the endzone, he did force the Colts defense to focus on the run, which lead to a four touchdown day by QB Matt Cassel. Battle hits holes faster than Thomas Jones and finishes runs stronger than Dexter McCluster, which makes Battle a valuable commodity on fantasy waiver wire this week. Pick-up Battle and consider taking a flier on Cassel and WR Steve Breaston (2 TDs on Sunday) going forward. If Battle continues to run hard and keep defenses honest, this Chiefs offense can be (dare I say) explosive. They were pretty good last year when they had a consistent running game.

6) My Frank Gore apology (take 2): The San Francisco 49ers RB did it again, showing me once more that I was wrong. Two weeks ago, I suggested rookie RB Kendall Hunter should start getting more touches because he had looked more versatile than Gore. Gore responded by ripping off 127 yards and a touchdown two weeks ago against the Philadelphia Eagles and this past weekend against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers he rumbled for 125 yards and a score. That's 252 yards and 2 TDs since I ripped him. I guess motivation is born out of the keystrokes of The Source. Look for Gore to have another solid game in week six when he leads the 4-1 Niners into Detroit to face the unbeaten Lions on Sunday (BTW-Niners win this game).

7) The #SuckForLuck sweepstakes is down to two (maybe three) teams: Miami Dolphins and Indianapolis Colts (dark horse: St. Louis Rams).

8) Where has Clay Matthews gone? In five games this season, the Green Bay Packers OLB has just one sack, putting him on pace for 3.5 on the year. Matthews has been a disruptive force since coming into the league, recording 23.5 sacks in his first two seasons. Maybe it's his quad, which has kept him from practicing much of this season, or maybe it's a lack of talent around him. The Packers lost DE Cullen Jenkins in free agency to the Philadelphia Eagles and DE Mike Neal has been sidelined all this season with a bum knee. Or maybe (the most likely case) he's just as good as ever, but now teams are using two blockers on him each play. Despite Matthews having just one sack, the Packers have sacked opposing quarterbacks 12 times this season, good enough for ninth in the league. So to answer the question where has Matthews gone? He's the guy getting double-teamed every play and opening up opportunities for other players.

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