NFL Recap – Week 5

Steelers v. Titans: Big Ben was the story here, as he tossed a career-high 5 TD passes on just 228 yards. Pittsburgh’s running game helped him out immensely, despite missing Rashard Mendenhall: Jonathan Dwyer (11 carries, 107 yards) and Isaac Redman (15 for 49) picked up the slack. That backfield is looking like a committee in the near future, totally destroying Mendy’s value. Mike Wallace (6 for 82, TD), Hines Ward (7 for 54, 2 TDs), and Heath Miller (3 for 46, TD) all had double digit fantasy point days. For Tennessee, Matt Hasselbeck was serviceable (262, 1 TD), Chris Johnson was useless until a late in the 3rd quarter TD run (51 yards rushing, 65 total), and Damian Williams caught the TD pass (6 for 66).

Bengals v. Jacksonville: MJD quietly is outperforming his late 1st/early 2nd ADP, as he rushed for 85 and a touch; again with really no strong passing game behind him; 476 in 5 games? Yes, please. Blaine Gabbert actually had a decent day throwing (221, TD), but did his best Kerry Collins/Eli Manning impression on the ground, with 2 fumbles lost. Andy Dalton had little yardage (179), but threw 2 TDs. Bernard Scott had a TD run for Cincy, but Cedric Benson still got the lion’s share of carries (24 to 6). A.J. Green continued his offensive ROY bid (5 for 90, TD), while Jermaine Gresham had a meh day, salvaged by a TD catch (5 for 21). Jason Hill (?) was J-ville’s leading receiver (5 for 118, TD); give yourself a hand if you 1) found him before Sunday and 2) actually started him. Makes a good story for the grandkids.

Saints v. Panthers: The usual suspects had their usual days in this one, with a few surprises. Brees (359, 2 TDs) and Newton (224 passing, 2 TDs, 27 rushing, TD) are automatic starts at this point, with Newton doing it with his legs almost as often as his arm thus far. Jimmy Graham (8 for 129) is also now entrenched as a set and forget TE; Brees’ TD passes were caught by Pierre Thomas and Jed Collins. Steve Smith (3 for 79, TD) was drafted, if at all, as a bench WR, but has been a #1 for ya; Greg Olsen caught the other TD. The surprises? DeAngelo Williams made his first foray into the end zone this year (9 carries, 115 yards, TD), while Darren Sproles had under a hundred total yards and/or no TDs (91 combined to be exact); Mark Ingram had the Saints’ lone rushing TD.

Raiders v. Texans: Did not see a close game coming here. No one on the Raiders had a great fantasy day, but there were some solid ones. Jason Campbell (190, 2 TDs), Darrius Heyward-Bey (7 for 99, TD) and – to an extent – Chaz Schilens (2 for 25, TD) all helped the cause; that makes two straight WR1 performances from Bey, but you know his track record, so proceed with caution. DMC was a dud, but I doubt you’ll see too many of those going forward. Houston may have lost the game, but Matt Schaub (416, 2 TDs), Arian Foster (68 rushing, 116 receiving), Joel Dreessen (5 for 112, TD), Owen Daniels (7 for 89), and Kevin Walter (5 for 81, TD) all had very good to monster days.

Eagles v. Bills: Michael Vick broke the all-time NFL QB rushing record on his way to another great fantasy performance (315 passing, 2 TDs, 90 rushing), but I’m sure he’d rather have not thrown 4 INTs on his way to a loss. LeSean McCoy was again effective (80 rushing, TD 27 receiving), and Jason Avant (9 for 139), Jeremy Maclin (6 for 54, TD) and DeSean Jackson (5 for 89, TD) were great WR choices, though I doubt many foresaw Avant having this kind of day. Fred Jackson was the bellcow for Buffalo (111 rushing, TD, 85 receiving), while Ryan Fitzpatrick had a sub-par day (193, TD); David Nelson caught the TD.

Cardinals v. Vikings: If you said Donovan McNabb had this line: 169 yards, 0 TDs, I’d probably say ‘must have been another Vikings loss.’ But, you’d have failed to mention the ridiculous day AP had (122 rushing, 3 TDs, all TDs in the first quarter). For the Cards, Beanie Wells (60 rushing, TD) and Early Doucet (8 for 92) were the only bright spots. Kevin Kolb is starting to look like who many thought he was, an emergency start at best.

Chiefs v. Colts: Boy, has Matt Cassel come back with a vengeance (257, 4 TDs); that now makes 7 TDs and 686 yards his last three weeks. Dwayne Bowe (7 for 128) and Steve Breaston (4 for 50) each caught 2 TDs, and Bowe has so far proven his doubters (including me) dead wrong. The Chief’s backfield situation just got clearer or cloudier, depending on your point of view; Jackie Battle had 119 yards rushing on 19 carries, while Thomas Jones had 10 for 55. For Indy, Curtis Painter was solid (277, 2 TDs), Joseph Addai got hurt (hamstring), Delone Carter rushed for a TD, and Pierre Garcon had a second straight great week ( for 125, 2 TDs).

Giants v. Seahawks: It hurts to recap this one. Eli Manning (420, 3 TDs) and Victor Cruz (8 for 161, TD) had great fantasy days, but awful real life ones. Manning and Cruz both lost fumbles, and Cruz also dropped a pass that he actually tipped straight into the air for a game ending pick six. Jake Ballard (3 for 72, TD) and Hakeem Nicks (4 for 65, TD) rounded out the scoring. For Seattle, Tarvaris Jackson (166, TD) strained a pectoral muscle after getting hit on a scramble, while Charlie Whitehurst (149, TD) stepped in admirably in relief; stay away from this mess if you can. Marshawn Lynch looked like Shawn Alexander (98, TD), and Doug Baldwin (8 for 136, TD) and Ben Obomanu (6 for 51, TD) led the ‘hawks receiving group.

Bucs v. 49ers: It was all SF here. Seriously, no Tampa player came close to a productive day. Alex Smith (170, 3 TDs), Frank Gore (125, TD), Vernon Davis (3 for 39, 2 TDs) and Delanie Walker (2 for 37, TD) were your fantasy stars of this one. Gore owners can breathe easy, at least for one more week.

Chargers v. Broncos: Philip Rivers had a below average game for him (250, TD), and V-Jax fell flat (3 for 34). SD loss? Nope, because Ryan Mathews (125 rushing) and Malcolm Floyd (3 for 100, TD) picked up the slack. Also, Denver didn’t do much offensively. Kyle Orton was replaced early by Tim Tebow, who actually had a decent day fantasy-wise (1 passing TD, 38 rushing, TD), while Willis McGahee (125 rushing) and Knowshon Moreno (3 for 40 receiving, TD) provided some semblance of a Denver threat. Ryan Mathews did strain a calf, and Mike Tolbert got a concussion for SD, so can’t be too happy if you own either of them.

Jets v. Patriots: Mark Sanchez didn’t turn the ball over, so there’s that. He also helped your fantasy team; bonus! (166, 2 TDs). The bigger story is Shonn Greene not having a single digit day (83 rushing, TD), Santonio Holmes following suit (4 for 60, TD) and some guy named Jeremy Kerley (3 for 35) caught a touchdown. For the Pats, just cut and paste what happens every week for Brady (321, TD), and Welker (5 for 124), to go along with Deion Branch (7 for 74, TD) having a nice day. The New England TEs have cooled off of late – Aaron Hernandez was back, but was just ok, Gronkowski was worse –  so your sell-high window may have passed on those two.

Packers v. Falcons: At first it looked like Rodgers was not going to have his typically amazing fantasy day, but you knew better, as he tossed 2 TDs in the second half to go with 396 yards. GB barely bothered with the running game, and it showed in the receiving stats; James Jones (5 for 140, TD), and Greg Jennings (4 for 82, TD) led the way there. For Atlanta, Matt Ryan had a rough day (167, TD), while Michael Turner rushed for a TD to save his day (56 rushing). Roddy White (6 for 50) caught the Ryan TD pass.

Bears v. Lions: Man, wish I had me some more shares of CJ this year, the guy is on another planet (5 for 130, TD, most in the first half). Well, if you are going to nit-pick, he did have only the one TD this week, so yea, all downhill from here. Matt Stafford only threw 26 times, but still gave you decent stats (219, 2 TDs), while Jahvid Best had his, well, best game of the young season (163 rushing, TD). Brandon Pettigrew (4 for 39, TD) now has three solid to very good TE weeks in a row. Outside of Matt Forte (116 rushing, 35 receiving), the Bears didn’t have much to write home about; Cutler was respectable, that’s about it (249, TD).

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