The NFL Network is in the windy city on Thursday night for the Giants and Bears. New York will be without David Wilson, but some would say the GIants have been playing without him all season. Atlanta and Miami are on bye this week, the Falcons are expecting Stephen Jackson back in week seven while the Dolphins running back situation is something I am thankful I have no stake in. Pittsburgh, Washington, Minnesota and Tampa Bay return after taking a break with bye's in week five. Fantasy nation very pleased to get Adrian Peterson, Alfred Morris, Le'Veon Bell and Doug Martin back in their respective lineups. Not much relief at the tight end position though, with the possible exception of Kyle Rudolph.
Your fantasy depth will really be tested this week with a full fledged bye week. Doug Martin, Alfred Morris, Le'Veon Bell and yes, Adrian Peterson owners muct find other options, at least for one week. Fantasy nation gets Carolina and Green Bay players back this week from bye and they are good to go for the remainder of the season. Four teams have week five off, Tampa Bay, Minnesota, PIttsburgh and Washington. Is Eddie Lacy healthy enough to start or are you a Jonathan Franklin believer. DeAngelo Williams remains a solid start, at least until Jonathan Stewart returns in a couple of weeks. Who had a breakout performance in week four? and who cost your team a win? Time to take a look in this week's report.
How important is it to have a running back that is a part of his team's passing game? In today's game, it is becoming more imporant, especially in fantasy. I have had Marshawn Lynch for several seasons and while I can't complain, it sure would be nice for him to be move involved on third down. The league awaits Rob Gronkowski's return, but for now its Jimmy Graham and Jordan Cameron at the top of the position. Green Bay and Carolina are on bye, so DeAngelo Williams and Greg Olsen get the week off. The Packers try to sort out their running back situation and Jermichael Finley gets a chance to bounce back from concussion issues.
Are you happy with your tight end? I ended up with Antonio Gates and almost cut him after week 1, now am glad I have him. With tight ends I think you have to be patient with the veterans. There are a few new stars emerging like Jordan Cameron, but for the most part it's the same guys from last year that are reliable scorers. Running backs are another story, other than Matt Forte and Jamaal Charles, how many are three down backs? Hopefully by tracking how much they are targeted week to week can help you get a handle on the situation.
How you look at running backs depends largely on the scoring in your particular league. Leagues that use PPR (Points Per Reception) pay much greater attention to their running back's involvement in their team's passing game. Much of the same can be said for tight ends, perhaps even more so. A good indication of how involved your player can be is the amount of targets (or looks) he is getting from the quarterback(s). Backs like Detroit's Reggie Bush may actually score more points receiving, while others like Seattle workhorse Marshawn Lynch get the majority of their production from the ground game.
No position is as negatively effected by off-week's as that of running back. It's not even close. There are plenty of quarterbacks and pass catchers around to fill a bye week hole for a week. Matt Forte and Maurice Jones-Drew owners, I feel your pain. You don't know how much they mean to you, until they're gone. Those owners throwing darts with Carolina and New Orleans backfields, might have even found a more reliable option this past week. Week seven is the busiest bye week of the season and plenty of 'hurtin to go around. Michael Turner, Willis McGahee, Jammal Charles, Reggie Bush and all-world backs Ryan Matthews and LeSean McCoy will leave gaping holes in fantasy lineups this weekend.
Is Demarco Murray on your fantasy squad? How about Darren McFadden or Doug Martin? They, along with Mikel Leshoure return from by this weekend. With Dallas, Detroit, Oakland and Tampa Bay completing their bye weeks, Carolina, Chicago Jacksonville and New Orleans take their turn this week. Take proper precautions if you have Matt Forte, Maurice Jones- Drew or running backs in Carolina or New Orleans.
Note to self- Do whatever it takes to get both Ray Rice and LeSean McCoy on my fantasy football teams in future seasons. Arian Foster you ask? Injury concerns and the Ben Tate presence are a slight distraction with Marshawn Lynch the only running back worthy of argument. Dreams aside, Jamaal Charles appears fully recovered from injury and is the next best all-around bet along with Maurice Jones-Drew. The sleeper of the year remains Alfred Morris, who has quietly been nearly as important to the resurgent Redskins offense as Rookie of the Year Robert Griffin III. Jason Witten owners are feeling a bit better this week, actually a lot better after he was targeted more than any tight end in week four, catching 13 of 14 Tony Romo attempts (with the rest going to the Bears).
Some new faces surfacing in the passing game among running backs. The new faces emerging gaining opportunity due to injury and unfortunately only for the short term. We also saw some old reliable backs not getting their usual “looks” but for the most part they made up for it in the ground game.
One player caught everyone’s attention this week; Washington running back Roy Helu Jr. Helu was everything in a dismal Redskins offense, targeted an amazing 17 times and catching 14 passes. With Tim Hightower out for the season and Mike Shanahan seemingly lacking confidence in Ryan Torain, Helu may be the go to guy for the remainder of the season. Tashard Choice was claimed on waivers last week, but he remains hurt and his role is undefined at this point.