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Fantasy 411 - Week 5

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After racking up 149 yards on 27 carries in Week 3 against Buffalo, Bilal Powell was up to his old tricks again on Sunday, logging 66 yards on 14 carries. Three catches for 42 yards made Powell’s day look better than it actually was. Thirty-six of those yards came on one play. Throughout his career, Powell has proven himself to be a dependable, but underwhelming, NFL back. Now Mike Goodson returns to the New York Jets from suspension and will look to carve out a role for himself in the backfield. Goodson possesses the shiftiness and speed that Powell lacks and will certainly take some carries from Powell. A complete shift away from Powell is unlikely to happen right away, but if you are looking for a potential starting running back at a bargain basement price, Goodson might just be your guy.

It seems like an eternity since Rashard Mendenhall was a bell cow back and a dependable high end RB2 for fantasy owners. Mendenhall has been subpar this season for the Arizona Cardinals. His ineffectiveness and some nagging injuries have lead to him only tallying nine and 12 carries in the last two games. The Cardinals used the offseason to stock their stable of running backs with several promising, young runners.

A fourth of the way in to the season and Andre Ellington is emerging as a viable candidate to demand more carries for himself. I know that over the same two weeks, Ellington only had three and four carries himself, but he was on the field for 27 snaps in Week 3 and managed to be targeted six times each week out of the backfield. Following the Week 4 win over Tampa Bay, Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians voiced his displeasure with Mendenhall, saying that he “had a very tough day, and he can’t play that way.” It may be a longshot to add Ellington this week, but it appears Mendenhall’s grasp on the starting gig is slipping out of his hands.

Let’s face it, someone is going to add Rashad Jennings off waivers this week, but I can’t find a compelling reason for that person to be me. In an expanded role last season in Jacksonville, Jennings proved to be little more than a plodding runner capable of taking only what he is given. Now with Darren McFadden and Marcel Reese banged up and possibly missing time, the Raiders may have to lean on Jennings for a couple of weeks. Jennings did his damage in relief this week as a receiver and has only averaged 3.8 yards per carry on the season. With the San Diego Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs being among the better defenses against running backs, Jennings is nothing more than a desperation play until the Raiders can nurse their more talented backs back to health.

Brian Hoyer was able to mask the warts of his three interception outing last week by tossing three touchdowns and throwing for more than 300 yards. Facing a stingier defense in the Cincinnati Bengals this week, Hoyer was again impressive racking up 269 passing yards and two more touchdowns to go with no interceptions. Hoyer is not an elite, dependable every week starter, but you may be able to plug him in as a matchup play during the stretch of bye weeks. While he does not possess a great skill set, he does have the veteran savvy to know who his weapons are, and, as long as he continues to look for Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron, he will register respectable numbers.

No player has done more with less this season that Baltimore’s Marlon Brown. Despite only catching 14 passes on the season, Brown has hauled in three touchdowns. A long, rangy receiver, all three of Brown’s touchdowns have come as red zone targets. Brown is still very young, and is a work in progress, but if you are set at receiver and in position to make a calculated gamble stash him now and reap the rewards later.