Welcome to the 2016 Fantasy Alarm Fantasy Football Game Recaps! Nobody watches more NFL football than yours truly mostly because it is impossible to do so. Each week I’ll open up my notepad to all of our Fantasy Alarm readers so that you guys can go beyond the boxscore to get the information you need to win your league.
This week was a lesson in sticking to your guns. Those of you who listen to the SiriusXM radio show know that I spent most of the week defending my belief in players such as Ryan Mathews, Dwayne Allen and Rob Gronkowski. There is so much recency bias going on in fantasy football these days that it feels like players are swayed by literally whatever they see last. Well, I’ve spent 27 years playing and analyzing fantasy football and I don’t get fooled that easily. That is why I spend the entire offseason going through coaching tendencies, tracking offensive line movement and gaining an understanding of what each team wants to do on both sides of the ball. When you have this knowledge, you have all of the power. Everybody else is just reacting to what you already know. Those of you who bought our Draft Guide already know all of this of course.
But for the rest of you, you may be wondering how Rob Gronkowski played almost every snap or how the Eagles got beat up by the Lions. As usual, I watched every snap of every game and am spilling the goods from my legal pad to your screen.
Here are the Week 5 Fantasy Football Game Recaps:
33 – New England Patriots at Cleveland Browns – 13
Fantasy Player of Game: Tom Brady, QB, Patriots – 28-40, 406 yards, 3 TD’s
Fantasy Disappointment: Isaiah Crowell, RB, Browns – 13-22 yards rushing
Chris Hogan is still on waivers on 30% of fantasy leagues. Most fantasy analysts were recommending sitting Rob Gronkowski this week. I had people asking me whether to sit Julian Edelman and even whether they should wait to plug Tom Brady back into their lineup. I trust that all of those questions are over for the rest of the season. Oh, and yes…you should rush to pick up Chris Hogan.
The game flow went exactly how I thought it would today with the Patriots never letting up until under two minutes were remaining in the game. In fact, they actually went for it on fourth and short while up 23-7 in the third quarter today.
Martellus Bennett caught three touchdowns this afternoon but he almost didn’t get that opportunity. Bennett was knocked out of the game on the Patriots first drive with a right ankle injury but luckily returned on the next drive to begin his TD barrage.
Chris Hogan was removed from the game in the second half due to concussion protocol but he returned a few series later.
Browns QB Cody Kessler had an impressive drive that he capped off with a TD pass to Andrew Hawkins. On the next drive he threw a terrible pass behind the line of scrimmage which not only resulted in a safety, but also got him knocked out of the game. Kessler suffered injuries to his ribs and chest on the play and looks like he will miss some time moving forward.
The only bright spot for the Browns may be that if Charlie Whitehurst starts next week it could mean good things for TE Gary Barnidge who caught 5-76 today. Whitehurst seemed to have good chemistry with Barnidge especially in the second half.
23 – Philadelphia Eagles at Detroit Lions – 24
Fantasy Player of Game: Theo Riddick, RB, Lions – 11-49 rushing; 6-33-2 receiving
Fantasy Disappointment: Zach Ertz, TE, Eagles – 3-37 receiving
I was right. That’s all that really needs to be said here (though I will say more, lol!) because coming into this week nobody wanted anything to do with Ryan Mathews. I’ve told you all from the beginning that when healthy this is Ryan Mathews backfield. I agree 100% with everybody who is nervous about Mathews constant health concerns but that was not the miss here. The miss by most people is that this was a backfield by committee. It is not. Wendell Smallwood and Kenjon Barner didn’t touch the field today and even though the game flow went completely against Mathews, he still was the dominant RB for the Eagles today.
Now, the bigger problem with Mathews could be his late fumble that allowed the Lions to kick the go ahead and game winning field goal. It’s not clear how head coach Doug Pederon deals with fumbles by his running backs so we will have to evaluate this during the course of the week.
The Eagles defense isn’t among the elite in the NFL no matter what you may hear. They are probably a top third unit but it’s not a team that I would avoid or sit any of my star players because of.
The Eagles offense failed to score on their first drive for the first time this season.
Detroit is finding different ways of using WR Golden Tate. Tate lined up in the backfield a few times today and actually carried the ball three times for a measly six yards. Tate also had five targets today hauling in three passes for 39 yards total. Its good for his fantasy value the more he touches the ball.
Matthew Stafford has got to stop running so much. He had some success earlier this season picking up first downs with his legs but he it taking some serious shots and is putting the ball on the ground as well.
23 – Chicago Bears at Indianapolis Colts – 29
Fantasy Player of Game: T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts – 10-171-1 receiving
Fantasy Disappointment: Phillip Dorsett, WR, Colts – 2-26 receiving
I really doubt that Jeremy Langford gets his job back when he is healthy. Jordan Howard played 62 of 64 offensive snaps today and has been incredibly productive in his two starts so far. Langford is nothing but a handcuff for Howard at this point and if you are just holding him you can safely drop him now without worry.
On the flip side, I don’t know if Hoyer starts ahead of Jay Cutler when Cutler is healthy. Sure, Hoyer has been great the past few weeks but there is little question that Cutler is a superior talent Ideally, we all stay the hell away from the Bears QB situation and live our lives happily.
You want to know why Brian Hoyer doesn’t have great chemistry with Alshon Jeffery? Well that is simple. Practice is important and Jeffery doesn’t like to nor does he often attend practice. When your star receiver is missing practice and there is a QB change that often leads to disappointing efforts.
How ya’ll like Cameron Meredith now? We told you all week that this was the guy to target over Eddie Royal on waivers and he certainly paid off this week. I am not as high on him the rest of the way but the Bears do play the Jaguars and Packers the next two weeks so there may be a nice little run for him here.
T.Y. Hilton is the only player in the NFL to have 10+ targets in each of the first five weeks.
This is the Dwayne Allen that we have wanted all season long. I don’t know what the early season issue was but its clear that he is once again the dominant TE here in Indianapolis. The production from the TE position has been truly amazing so far this year. We just need it all pointed at the right person now.
30 – Tennessee Titans at Miami Dolphins – 17
Fantasy Player of Game: Marcus Mariota, QB, Titans – 20-29, 163 yards, 3 TD’s passing; 7-60-1 rushing
Fantasy Disappointment: Jarvis Landry, WR, Dolphins – 3-28 receiving
Marcus Mariota did look better today but not for the reasons you probably think. He still isn’t reading the defense and able to make quick progressions. But what he did today was when he timed out in those progressions, he took off and ran. It is amazing how impactful this dimension is for the Titans offense. I hope to see much more of this going forward.
Andre Johnson actually got the start this week over Rishard Matthews but other than a short TD catch, he did zilch. Matthews caught his TD later on and was playing ahead of AJ late but neither of them deserve our fantasy consideration moving forward.
If you are Miami resident and a big Dolphins fan, aren’t you at least a LITTLE bit disappointed that the Hurriane didn’t either wipe out the game or you so that you didn’t have to watch this mess?
Despite the down performance today, I am still firmly on board the Jarvis Landry train. I had hoped that Devante Parker would be able to step up and crush Perish Cox and this weak Titans secondary but that didn’t happen. Landry is the only player I consider of these Dolphins.
Jay Ajayi did get a rushing TD today and actually had another receiving TD called back for a holding penalty. But remember that Arian Foster was back at practice this week and will likely be back on the field next week.
16 – Washington Redskins at Baltimore Ravens – 10
Fantasy Player of Game: Terrance West, RB, Ravens 11-95 rushing
Fantasy Disappointment: Everybody Else
This game was played in windy conditions with gusts reaching over 30 MPH. Still, that is no excuse for how poorly both of these offenses played. Good teams play well even in bad weather. This was not bad weather but these were two bad teams.
The wind definitely made an impact in the kicking game today. Redskins kicker Dustin Hopkins missed an extra point and a long 56 yard FG attempt today.
Classic example of what Ted Schuster and I talked about all week with Matt Jones. Jones will flourish against terrible defensive opponents and he will completely shut down internally against tougher ones.
The Redskins lost CB Josh Norman for almost a quarter due to a right wrist injury. He came back in with his arm heavily taped and finished out the game.
The Ravens really blew this game. LB C.J. Mosely had what should have been a pick six interception that he fumbled through the endzone resulting in a touchback and the Redskins regaining possession.
Then there was Breshad Perriman’s game winning TD that got nullified because he was out of bounds.
Oh and why they didn’t run the ball more with Terrance West who averaged nearly 10 yards PER CARRY today was beyond my comprehension.
13 – Houston Texans at Minnesota Vikings – 31
Fantasy Player of Game: Adam Thielen, WR, Vikings – 7-127-1 receiving
Fantasy Disappointment: Lamar Miller, RB, Texans – 8-20 rushing
The Texans only had two first down midway through the first half of this game. Both of those first downs were results of penalties on the Vikings.
Brock Osweiler’s troubles can be traced directly to his footwork. He is shuffling his feet on his dropbacks and thus not really taking the appropriate number of steps (five or seven) and not finding a rhythm. This is something that his coaches absolutely MUST see and figure out immediately. There is actually a lot of good things that Brock is doing but he is a mess mechanically which crushes his reads and rhythm as a passer.
The Vikings are the only undefeated team in the NFL right now. They are also the first team since 1969 to begin the season 5-0 and not throw a single interctption.
Jerick McKinnon got the workload we hoped for today but did absolutely nothing with it. Some of this has to do with the offensive line which is actually in terrible shape right now. But it also has to be said that McKinnon may be an extremely gifted athlete, but is he a really talented RB? I am not so sure right now.
Please do not go out and even consider picking up Cordarrelle Patterson. We’ve been down this road before and it leads absolutely nowhere. If you are desperate for a WR you can go ahead and grab Adam Thielen if need be but you really should look elsewhere if you are in need of wide receiver help.
The Vikings lost RG Brandon Fusco to a concussion on the first drive of the game and he did not return.
13 – New York Jets at Pittsburgh Steelers – 31
Fantasy Player of Game: Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers - 34-47, 380 yards, 4 TD’s passing
Fantasy Disappointment: Matt Forte, RB, Jets – 12-53 rushing
On the bright side Jets fans, at least Ryan Fitzpatrick didn’t throw an interception today.
I don’t care what anybody says, I am not buying into Austin Seferian-Jenkins here in New York. The skills are there for ASJ, but the Jets never really get the ball to the tight end.
The Jets suffered a number of injuries this afternoon. All-Pro center Nick Mangold was taken off the field in the third quarter after suffering a knee injury. They also lost LB David Harris whit a hamstring injury, CB Darryl Roberts with a shoulder injury and DT Sheldon Richardson who left late with a knee injury.
Steelers WR Sammie Coates has a 40+ yard reception in all five games that he has played so far this year. He also dropped two would be touchdowns in today’s game one of which was as simple a catch as you would ever see.
Nobody should own a Steelers kicker. Why? Because between the two point conversion attempts, the reluctance to attempt a field goal of 50+ yards and the fake field goal calls every so often there is just too much heartbreak here. Stay away from Chris Boswell and find a kicker elsewhere.
The Steelers lost DE Cam Heyward due to a hamstring injury in the first half and he did not return to the game.
23 – Atlanta Falcons at Denver Broncos – 16
Fantasy Player of Game: Tevin Coleman, RB, Falcons – 6-31 rushing; 4-132-1 receiving
Fantasy Disappointment: C.J, Anderson, RB, Broncos – 11-41 rushing
This is a big win for the Falcons. That is obvious. But this kind of win is a message to the rest of the NFL that this team can win against anyone and anywhere. That confidence is a big deal for fantasy production for guys like Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and of course those big time running backs.
Don’t be mad at yourself (or me!) for not starting Tevin Coleman today. There was a lot of speculation about how he would do with his sickle cell trait and whether that would limit him today. It actually did but the stat sheet didn’t show that. Coleman got only about 60% of his usual snaps today which is less than 50% anyways. But he was able to maximize those touches to the fullest extent.
On the other side, if you benched Devonta Freeman you deserve to lose. Freeman is an every week starter no matter the matchup.
My biggest miss of the week was Broncos RB C.J. Anderson who only went for 11-41 today. What is worse is that Devontae Booker was featured pretty heavy in the second half and got 10 of what should have been CJ’s touches. I don’t anticipate this being a regular occurrence but it should be noted that a message has been sent to Anderson that he needs to improve his production quickly.
Last week Paxton Lynch looked as if he not only could run the Broncos offense but do it as well if not better than Trevor Siemian. This week, not so much. Lynch is still a very talented kid, but he didn’t react well to pressure today. This performance pretty much solidifies Siemian’s status as the clear QB1 here in Dnever.
14 – Cincinnati Bengals at Dallas Cowboys – 28
Fantasy Player of Game: Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Cowboys – 15-134-2 rushing
Fantasy Disappointment: Jeremy Hill, RB, Bengals – 4-12 rushing
The Bengals have lost two offensive coordinators over the last three years and it has showed in the early parts of 2016. This team is without an identity so far this season as they continue to throw the ball far more than either Hue Jackson or Jay Gruden preferred to over the last few years.
It was curious that Bengals RB Jeremy Hill did not start this game nor did he play in the entire first quarter. He was said to have had a chest injury during the week but there was never any mention of the injury being that bad. Hill only got four carries before leaving the game for good with a right shoulder injury. He will be reevaluated on Monday and his status will be updated throughout the week.
On the bright side, the Bengals should get TE Tyler Eifert back next week when they visit the Patriots. It turns out that his back injury isn’t that severe and he should be fully healed from that and his ankle injury this week.
The Cowboys welcomed back DE DeMarcus Lawrence who was suspended for the first four games of the NFL season for violating the substance abuse policy. The Cowboys defense hurried Andy Dalton a lot today and it seemed as if they were playing with a much higher intensity than they have in awhile.
Brice Butler had a touchdown catch taken off of the board today due to an illegal shift penalty on the Cowboys Jason Witten. Butler only hauled in two catches for 20 yards on the day but the TD sure would have made it tolerable.
30 – Buffalo Bills at Los Angeles Rams – 19
Fantasy Player of Game: LeSean McCoy, RB, Bills – 18-150 rushing
Fantasy Disappointment: Robert Woods, WR, Bills – 2-26 receiving
The secret to the Bills recent success is their offensive line. They physically dominated the Rams up front and allowed McCoy to run free all afternoon.
Everything you need to know about Tyrod Taylor can be learned by watching him lineup behind his left guard twice today one time calling out the snap which almost cost the Bills the ball.
The Bills lost safety Aaron Williams to a shoulder injury in the second half and he did not return.
Todd Gurley is transforming right before our eyes. He is turning into a pass catcher all of a sudden. Over the past two games Gurley has 10 targets, 8 receptions and 85 yards. Considering he had 26 targets in 13 games last year this is quite a development. This will help his fantasy value quite a bit especially in PPR league formats.
One of the worst things that I saw all day was when Tavon Austin had nothing but 20 yards of daylight between him and the endzone and he inexplicably ran out of bounds. Austin sensed that somebody was closing in on him which was just not true or even close.
The Rams CB Trumaine Johnson was carted off due to a right ankle injury late in the game. It doesn’t look good for the Rams top corner. His status will be updated on Monday.
31 – San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders – 34
Fantasy Player of Game: Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers – 21-30, 359 yards, 4 TD
Fantasy Disappointment: DeAndre Washington, RB, Raiders – 9-23 rushing
The Chargers were the second team to play for a tie and have it completely blow up in their face today. Instead of throwing the ball down the field and taking a shot at the endzone the Chargers decided to call a couple low risk running plays that got them nowhere and set up ad would be 36 yard field goal. Instead the holder mishandled the snap and let the game slip away.
Antonio Gates returned this week after missing the last two weeks with a hamstring injury. But he got a rude awakening when he had the ball punched out on his first reception of the game and Oakland recovered. Gates and Hunter Henry both played a good amount even sharing the field quite often late in the ballgame.
Chargers first round pick DE Joey Bosa made an immediate impression in his first NFL game of his career. Bosa had a sack on his first series and added another one later on. The Chargers defense wouldn’t be that bad when healthy but unfortunately that isn’t going to happen this season.
As we discussed on the Fantasy Alarm Show all week, this turned out to be an Amari Cooper game today. Cooper huled in 6-138-1 today but also had two other touchdown receptions each nullified by penalty or for being out of bounds. Michael Crabtree caught a TD as well today but clearly played second fiddle behind Cooper for the first time this year.
DeAndre Washington was a giant disappointment in his first game as a starter. You always have to worry about how a RB will perform when he becomes the guy that defenses plan against and not just the change of pace back. The five receptions and 52 total yards were enough in PPR leagues to suffice but it was not a sustainable effort for fantasy purposes.
16 – New York Giants at Green Bay Packers – 23
Fantasy Player of Game: Randall Cobb, WR, Packers – 9-108 receiving
Fantasy Disappointment: Orleans Darkwa, RB, Giants – 7-11 rushing
The Giants really miss RB Rashad Jennings right now. For this offense to function correctly they need to be able to run to set up the pass. Tonight the Packers rushed just four and sent everybody else back into coverage which befuddled Eli Manning all night. Jennings has a fair chance to play next week as he further recovers from the thumb injury.
Odell Beckham Jr didn’t have the big game that I thought he would tonight but he was under a lot more control which was nice to see. He had handwritten messages on his gloves reading “just smile” which is either cute or completely demented. You decide.
There was a lot of love in the DFS community about Giants TE Will Tye tonight. Tye only had 2-37 on the day but did come within inches of hauling in what could have been a 60+ yard touchdown. Eli Manning’s pass floated just outside of his reach as he roamed free in the Packers secondary.
Rookie CB Eli Apple made it just one quarter before having to leave with a groin injury. Apple had missed last week’s game because of a hamstring injury so this new injury is quite concerning.
I think that I am going to start playing Jordy Nelson in DFS every week from now on. Not because I think that he is good, just that he always gets his production early on in the game which is a huge relief to fantasy owners or players. Think about it for a minute. When was the last time you saw a big play by Jordy Nelson late in a ballgame?
Randall Cobb had a big game tonight and it was about time. Not only did he haul in 9-108 but he also made the final first down grab to ice the game for the Packers. In fact, on the play he got hit in the head pretty bad so you will have to monitor his status throughout the week.
Oh and Cobb also had a touchdown catch in the first half that was called back due to an offensive holding penalty on the Packers.
Eddie Lacy had 11-81 rushing on the night when he got sideswiped on a third quarter carry that knocked him out of the game. Lacy had his left ankle treated on the sideline and never returned to the game.