NFL Week 5 Hot Takes
Howard Bender gives you the hot takes rundown from all the action fantasy football owners saw during Week 5 of the NFL season.
Nothing punctuates a week in fantasy football like overreaction and in looking at everything that went down in Week 5 of the NFL season, we’ve got quite a bit to discuss today. Cries of “Fade the chalk” can be heard from virtually every frustrated DFS owner while the seasonal community starts dropping those disappointing high-end draft choices in order to hoard the rookie quarterbacks. Makes perfect sense, right? Probably not. But when did any hot take actually make sense? Temporary relief from your weekly anger is not something upon which fantasy championships are built. Taking advantage of someone in that mental state certainly is, though.
Welcome to the Year of the Rookie Quarterback
According to the Elias Sports Bureau research team, Week 5 was the first time in the Super Bowl Era that rookie quarterbacks have gone 4-0 in the same week. Spectacular, right? Sam Darnold led the Jets to a massively lopsided win over the Broncos, Josh Allen may have only thrown for 82 yards, but he’s winning games with his legs, Josh Rosen has re-ignited the Cardinals offense and Baker Mayfield led the Browns to what is likely their best start in the last two decades. Amazing stuff. Kinda? Sorta?
OK, not really. Darnold is going to continue having his ups and downs and while it was nice to see the Jets stretch the field a little more with him, he’s still not someone you’re ever going to start in fantasy. Forget Allen. There’s just nothing there in Buffalo. LeSean McCoy is literally their only legitimate weapon and without wide receivers, Allen is going to need to rush for 100 yards and two touchdowns every game to be worthy of a start. Rosen did a nice job of leading the Cardinals to a win over the 49ers, but come on…it’s the 49ers. Their secondary is one of the worst in the game and completing just 10 of 25 passes isn’t exactly taking advantage of that, is it?
Mayfield probably has the largest amount of fantasy potential right now, but that’s only because he gets five quarters instead of just four. That’s right, the Browns just played their third overtime game of the season and Mayfield continues to pad his numbers with the extra time. Unfortunately, these extra passes are really just ruining his completion rates as he’s now completed fewer than 55-percent of his passes over the last two games (10 quarters). If that’s what you think wins fantasy championships, yes, it is the Year of the Rookie Quarterback! Enjoy!
Matt Ryan is the New Big Ben – He Sucks on the Road
Over three home starts, Matt Ryan has thrown for an average of 355 yards with 10 touchdowns to just one interception. His completion rate sits at 76.5-percent. After yesterday’s debacle in Pittsburgh, Ryan is now averaging 268 passing yards with one touchdown, one interception and owns a 58.0-percent completion rate on the road. The schedule has been very kind to Ryan and the Falcons with two more home starts coming up before their Week 8 bye. So, what’s that mean? Yup! Trade Ryan now! The guy’s numbers have been strong enough to bring you a decent haul and you’ve got about two or three weeks to do it before it all comes crashing down. After the bye the Falcons have six games on the road over their final nine with stops in such nasty places like Washington, Cleveland and Green Bay. It’s going to be a rough road and once we hit the fantasy playoffs, he’s only got one pushover opponent in Arizona, but that’s Week 15. Think you’re going to get there riding this road bum? You’re better off with Big Ben, amirite?
Just Give Me the Damn Ball
Remember Keyshawn Johnson and that nightmare of a book he clearly needed someone to ghost-write for him? All that whining and crying about being the best in the business and having his talents wasted by the Jets who just weren’t getting him the ball enough? Well, in this wonderful era where the squeaky wheel always gets the grease, we’ve got another crybaby in New York in Odell Beckham and just like back then with Keyshawn, we’ve got a coach who rewards such behavior. Yes, he’s a dynamic player. Yes, he racked up 131 receiving yards, caught a touchdown and threw for another score – a 57-yard pass to Saquon Barkley – during yesterday’s game against the Panthers. But the bottom line is the Giants lost the game and all we’re doing is telling Odell Beckham that is you cry loud enough, head coach Pat Shurmur is going to give you what you want. You want to call his number as a receiver? Fine. He can prove his worth that way. But rewarding his outburst in which he trashed his coach, his teammates and the city he just signed a five-year deal to call home, is ridiculous and is setting a very bad precedent for the younger players. You see Sterling Shepard fight the garbage can yesterday? Looked like a little OBJ clone save for the stupid hairstyle. You think Barkley is going to stay humble? Or worse – how about his own Le’Veon Bell-style holdout? You just keep giving him the damn ball, Pat. Maybe he won’t slit your throat while you sleep.
Enough with the Kickers
Maybe we should take our cue from all the little kids who play backyard football and we eliminate the kickers altogether? Why do we continue to bother with them? Is it the gambling aspect of the game? Is that why we keep these guys around? So we have scapegoats for when we lose this month’s mortgage payment? I’ll give a shout-out to Graham Gano who kicked a 63-yarder to send the Panthers to victory, by what about poor Mason Crosby ? The dude missed five kicks yesterday. Five! Four field goals and one extra-point. He leaves 13 points on the field and the Packers lose by nine. What do you think his front lawn looked like when he got home? How many flaming bags of dog poop were sitting on his front porch? We need to stop putting these poor bastards into such nightmarish situations. Are we trying to increase our suicide rates? How about when a team reaches the opposition’s 30-yard line and it’s fourth down, they can either go for it or just declare that they’ll take the three points? Leave it at that. We can go old school and just have someone “throw it off” rather than kick it off for a touchback and maybe we have a more enjoyable game? Maybe we have fewer wives and children of kickers fearing for their husbands’/fathers’ state of mind? Anyone..? Anyone…?
Blake Bortles Isn’t as Good as many Believe
Yes, Bortles was the fantasy savior for so many last year as his performances in Weeks 14 and 15 were outstanding for fantasy owners. But was that him or just the product of playing a couple of crap teams at just the right time? This guy is so wildly inconsistent yet so many put him on a pedestal as the most underrated quarterback of all time. He had a great game against a weak Patriots pass defense in Week 2 and he threw for 388 yards with two touchdowns against a Jets team that looked like a lost babe in the woods. In Week 1 and 3 he threw for fewer than 180 yards in each game and has one touchdown pass to one interception. Yesterday against the Chiefs, sure he passed for 430 yards, but four picks to one TD? Come on. This guy just isn’t good. The Chiefs have the worst secondary in the NFL – the worst – and this guy still turns the ball over to them four times? Five if you want to count his fumble too. Puh-leeeze! Let’s stop living in the past. The 2017 fantasy playoffs are over and if you’re still leaning on Bortles, you won’t see the playoffs in 2018.
Adam Gase Hates the Drake Less But Still Hates Him
How else do you explain just six carries to 12 for old man Frank Gore ? Yes, Drake saw 11 targets and was featured in a moderately successful passing attack, but do we really believe that Gore should be leading this backfield? Is the Drake nothing more than a third-down, pass-catching back? Sure feels like it. I mean, it only makes perfect sense, right? That feeble 7.7 yards per carry average? Why would you increase someone’s volume when they’re running that well? Seems stupid, doesn’t it? Seriously, though, this has got to stop. The Fins lose again as the Drake sees single-digit carries. Gase continues to ignore the formula that worked so well last year – give your lead back 20 carries and you win the game. That’s exactly what happened last year and this idiot can’t seem to grasp it. Your best bet right now is to try and trade the Drake while he’s coming off a good game like this. Do not buy into the hype that this is the turnaround game for him. His coach doesn’t trust him, plain and simple. You shouldn’t either.
Time to stick a fork in the Rams defense, people. Apparently, they’re not very good. Or at least they aren’t without Aqib Talib . Since Talib went down, the Rams have allowed 71 points in two games and have barely escaped with the win over these last two weeks. Fantasy owners can feel comfortable going back to streaming.
Maybe now that Patrick Mahomes has thrown his first interception the announcers can stop sucking him off during every broadcast? Yes, he ran a touchdown in. Yes, he threw for 300-plus yards, but no, it really wasn’t that good of a game for him. Maybe you can blame the rain. Maybe it was the defense he was facing. Or maybe he doesn’t belong in Canton just five weeks into his first season as a starting quarterback. Yeesh! Get a grip, people.
The day for Kerryon Johnson owners was ruined long before the running back left early with an ankle issue. Can anyone please tell me why this guy isn’t getting all the carries out of this backfield? Why do we feel the need to give LeGarrette Blount all the work in the red zone? Why are we even giving Theo Riddick touches? If Adam Gase hates the Drake, what are we to think with Matt Patricia, Jim Bob Cooter and Kerryon Johnson ? You just keep on enjoying that sub-.500 record, Detroit. Enjoy a lifetime of mediocrity. And stop bitching about not having a decent ground game since Barry Sanders. You have one. Your coaches are just being idiots about it.
More coaching misfires with John Harbaugh and the ravens. You deserved to lose to the Browns. You don’t run Alex Collins enough, even when he’s crushing it for you, and you rely on Joe Flacco to throw the ball 50 times a game. Are you serious? How’s that dinking and dunking working for you? Flacco throws 56 times and still doesn’t crack 300 yards? You folks just keep this game in mind when you ask if stashing Flacco for your fantasy playoffs is a good idea.
And just to show you that not all hot takes are bad or riddled with sarcasm and disappointment, allow me to say that Adam Thielen is the best wide receiver in the game right now and far too many of you are two dumb or too blind to see it. You keep flipping out over Julio Jones and his lack of touchdowns while I do unspeakable things to myself as I get the pleasure of watching five-straight 100-yard efforts that come with three touchdowns in his last four games.