Chris Johnson took to Twitter last week and reminded impatient fantasy owners that he didn’t ask them to draft him. Five games in to the season, fantasy owners are echoing that regret. Johnson’s final numbers on Sunday against the Chiefs were salvaged thanks to a 49-yard touchdown reception where he snatched the ball from a scrambling Ryan Fitzpatrick and rumbled down the field for his first score of the season.
Johnson owners who are hoping to hear that this is an indication of good things to come will be slightly disappointed to hear me say…Not yet. The dynamic run illustrates what Johnson is capable of, but the upcoming schedule is stacked against him and the Titans. With upcoming games against Seattle and San Francisco before the bye week, Johnson may be throttled for a few more weeks. However, following their bye in week eight the Titans draw several favorable matchups that should help Johnson get on track. If Johnson takes a few lumps in the coming weeks, take advantage and make a trade offer to his frustrated owner.
No doubt Alshon Jeffery will be talked about quite a bit this week in fantasy circles. A week after eclipsing 100-yards and hauling in a touchdown catch, Jeffery outdid himself, setting a franchise receiving record of 218 yards on ten catches and a touchdown. For the third straight week, Brandon Marshall turned in a subpar effort, only reeling in four catches on five targets. Recently teams seem intent on taking Marshall out of the game and seeing if the Bears can beat them with other weapons.
Could this signal a changing of the guard? Nope! I would actually argue the opposite. The emergence of Jeffery as a dependable target for Jay Cutler will mean that teams can no longer key solely on Marshall. A boune back seems in order in this week’s battle with the hapless Giants and their depleted secondary.
Cowboy’s rookie wide receiver Terrance Williams has shown promise in limited action leading up to his breakout performance Sunday in the 51-48 loss to the Broncos. While eighty-two of his 151 yards came on his touchdown where he showcased his blazing speed scampering to the end zone. The Cowboys have a potent offense and are comfortable in shootouts, as evidenced by their nail biter with the Broncos.
Williams has been able to find his way on to the field for more plays as result of a hamstring injury to Miles Austin. Stop me if you have heard that one before! Austin has a history of lingering injuries that have kept him sidelined and opened the door for other receivers to step up like Laurent Robinson did in 2011 when he tallied over 850 yards and found the end zone eleven times. Williams’ situation is a little different, as the rookie receiver figures to get a longer look as he is much more a part of the Cowboys future than Robinson was. Williams is still raw and could make some mental mistakes that will limit his productivity, but he has lottery ticket potential with very little downside.
Early in the season when the Giants and David Wilson were struggling, I suggested that a stalled running game could mean added value to third receiver Rueben Randle. Randle came up big this week with six grabs for ninety-six yards and two scores against the Eagles. You certainly can’t dismiss his week four stinker, where he only registered one catch for seven yards, but if you are in a deep league and looking for a capable receiver, he’s only an injury away from contributing on a regular basis, Randle is a prime candidate.
The Giants are in disarray and figure to be playing from behind a lot this season, meaning Randle will find his way on to the field more often. Still unable to get his wheels rolling through five weeks, David Wilson also exited Sunday’s contest with a neck injury. With the season spiraling out of control and a shallow stable of backs behind Wilson, the lines may be aligning for Randle to play a bigger role throughout the rest of the season.
After barely being drafted in most leagues, Philip Rivers has catapulted himself in to the upper echelon of fantasy quarterbacks after five weeks. While many of us were deep asleep on the east coast, Rivers was busy tossing the football for over 400 yards for the third time this season. An otherwise great performance was thwarted by the three interceptions he threw. Rivers and the Chargers have a mixed bag of matchups coming up and he can’t yet be trusted to lead your team on a weekly basis.
At his current pace, Danny Woodhead will finish the season with 99 catches for over 700 yards and nine touchdowns. Count me among those who are highly skeptical of those numbers playing out over the entire season, but that doesn’t mean that Woodhead doesn’t have a lot of value, particularly in PPR leagues. While Ryan Mathews was sidelined with a concussion, Woodhead was on the field quite a bit, logging nine carries compared to seven for Ronnie Brown. You can’t ignore that the nine carries only lead to a paltry thirteen yards, but the bigger story is Woodhead’s increased role in the offense. Regardless of Mathews’ health, Woodhead does not posses the skills to be an every down, between the tackles, feature back, but fantasy football doesn’t award points for looking the part. Grab Woodhead and plug him in if you are shallow at running back or have bye weeks staring you in the face over the next several weeks.