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Fantasy Intelligence Report: Week 5 News Nuggets, Hot Sheet, and First Quarter Blunders

Let’s get to it.

N.N. — News Nuggets

According to the Houston Chronicle Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson could miss up to three games, a huge blow for both the Texans offense and fantasy owners. His agent though, insists that he’s just fine, and will be back.

“Andre’s fine,” Kennard McGuire said Tuesday. “He’s looking forward to being back with his teammates.”

Johnson recently underwent a surgical procedure to prevent scar tissue from forming around a slight tear in his right hamstring. Wide receiver Jacoby Jones and tight ends James Casey and Owen Daniels will be targeted a little more in his absence.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Falcons receiver Roddy White isn’t exactly living up to his own standards and has dropped two critical passes in each of the past two games.

“Right now, I’m not playing at a high level,” White said. “I’m not really helping my team. I have to fix myself so that we can perform better. We’ll get better.”

The good news is that his quarterback, Matt Ryan, is confident that his top wideout will get back on track and start making the big plays when called upon.

“My thinking is, Roddy is going to make those plays,” Ryan said. “He has done it for such a long time and he’s going to continue to do it for us. It’s a long season. There are still a lot of plays for him to make and he’s going to make them. My confidence never wavers with him.”

Meanwhile, rookie Julio Jones has kicked it up a notch, and recorded his second consecutive 100 yard performance last week, while being targeted 17 times. This week both White and Jones are great plays against a Packers defense that allows big chunks of yardage through the air.

According to the St Paul Pioneer Press, Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield is expected to miss this week’s game against the Cardinals thanks to a neck injury. Chris Cook will likely replace him in the starting lineup.

Overall, Winfield has been a force for the Vikings, and his absence is a huge blow to the defense, but a huge gain for Larry Fitzgerald and Kevin Kolb fantasy owners this week. In other words, if you have Fitzgerald and Kolb it would be wise to start them, especially with bye weeks in full swing now.

According to The Dallas Morning News, Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant is getting closer to 100 percent and insists that it won’t be long before his recovery from a deep thigh bruise injury he suffered in Week 1 against the Jets is complete. “I’ll be 100 percent next week,” Bryant said after the team’s light practice on Wednesday.

Bryant has been posting pretty good fantasy numbers, even with the injury, but that mostly has to do with the fact that Miles Austin has been sidelined the last few weeks. Bryant still scares me overall, but he usually comes ready to play, when he is actually 100 percent. The Cowboys have the week off, so stay tuned.

According to the Associated Press it’s looking more and more like the Broncos may have a new lead horse at running back. Veteran Willis McGahee has been running wild lately and he has now caught the eye of head coach John Fox, who is perfectly comfortable giving the former Raven the bulk of the touches.

“We’re in a week-to-week, or a ‘What have you done for me lately?’ league, so right now, I think it’s fair to say that Willis is that guy,” Fox said. “I think his performance has kind of been the proof.”

McGahee has been re-juvenated since arriving in Denver and being reunited with his former running backs coach, Eric Studesville, from his days in Buffalo.

“It feels great. Coming here is a new beginning, a new life,” McGahee said. “My job is to take advantage of the opportunity that’s given to me, let nothing try to take it away from me, go out and do what I’ve got to do.”

For the season McGahee is averaging just under 65 rushing yards per game, has caught 11 passes for 49 yards, and has scored two touchdowns. He is a solid fantasy play this week at home against a Chargers defense he has scored four touchdowns against in four career games. The last time he faced the navy and gold he averaged 5.3 yards per carry, and scored twice.

W.4.R. — Week 4 Reactions

– Somebody is going to have to destroy Calvin “Megatron” Johnson at some point this season, right?  I’m so sick of seeing deuces in his touchdown column every week.  Then again, I’m also sick of seeing the Patriots Wes Walker catch more pigskins than a huge mud pit.  Just call it fantasy jealousy. 

– I love watching Aaron Rodgers slap the title belt on every week from a fan perspective.  But when you play the team who has Rodgers, it’s kind of hard to win, as was the case last week when the Packers quarterback went off for 53 points. 

– Do you think Eagles head coach Andy Reid is regretting loading up his roster with too many throwing running backs?  I know 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh wasn’t too upset to see Ronnie Brown try to imitate Michael Vick last week.  He even throws left handed too.  Yeah, nice dream team there Philly fans. 

Jimmy Graham is the new Jermichael Finley of the fantasy world, and Greg Jennings is the new Marques Colston (from a targets standpoint).  It’s a classic case of perception versus reality.

– I know Mike Shanahan hates fantasy owners and only cares about winning football games, but does he really have to start the running back carousel this early in the season?  I mean, by week eight are we going to see Roy Helu rushing for 120 yards and two touchdowns?  For now, I guess fantasy owners will just have to empty those pockets to get a slice of new fantasy phenom Ryan Torain.  What a joke! 

– If somebody would’ve told me that Chris Johnson wasn’t going to score any touchdowns on the ground by Week 4 while Matt Hasselbeck was going to connect on eight through the air I probably would’ve laughed and thrown a slushy in their face.  If anyone wants to throw one in mine I tend to like the blue raspberry kind the most. 

W.5.F.H.S. — Week 5 F.I.R. Hot Sheet

The weekly hot sheet is intended to give fantasy owners a quick reference guide/card to help with the filling of starting lineups. It is in Google Docs format, and is provided below. This will be a feature that will be provided every week. If there are any enhancements you would like to see, please send any suggestions, I’m always looking to improve and provide the best material.


F.S.F.Q.B. — Fantasy Story: First Quarter Blunders

The first quarter of the NFL season is over, and I’m pretty sure there are plenty of owners heading to their nearest Target for some Rogaine, a few boxes of Kleenox, and one of those serenity music compact discs. Yes, it’s true, the first four weeks have made fantasy owners like myself lose enough hair to clog a vacuum, cry as much as a 50-year old woman watching a Julia Roberts movie, and have forced a more drastic approach than just a stress ball and a few Aleve. So how and why has it been so bad? Let me tell you, in the form of a story. My story.

Once upon a time in a suburban town of many, there sat a mad fantasy scientist convinced that his team was worth more than five thousand pennies. Now, he didn’t want to cause a big scene, so he just called his team “The greatest show on a 13″ Plasma lap-top screen.”

Hold up, hold up. This story and rhyming thing just isn’t working for me. Let me just give it to you straight.

In Week 1 the staples that were supposed to bind my team together laid fantasy eggs even Big Bird couldn’t protect. A ten-year old could’ve seen that the production from both Jamaal Charles and Vincent Jackson was about as appetizing as liver and onions. Meanwhile, the starts of both Lance Kendricks and Mark Ingram’s official NFL careers were about as sour as baby formula. By 11:00 PM Monday night I ultimately came to the conclusion that I’m all done drafting Chiefs players and watching preseason games.

In Week 2 I took some big hits Ray Lewis-style. The first missile was sent through my fantasy ship early on Sunday when my first round bust Jamaal Charles decided to get fancy with his footwork, leaping like a ballerina, and completely obliterating his, and perhaps, my entire season. And if that wasn’t bad enough I had to watch Kerry Collins persistence on throwing up ducks, while avoiding Austin Collie altogether, and making Peyton Manning shake his head in disgust.  By 11:00 PM Monday night I was ready to scratch my eyeballs out like I was Justin Long in the movie Jeepers Creepers.

In Week 3 I really started to hit rock bottom, and was readying that bottle of Captain Morgan to drown my fantasy sorrows. Free agent acquisition David Nelson was my lead scorer at wide receiver on a team that features Reggie Wayne, and the previously mentioned Jackson. Luckily I was smart enough to start Joe Flacco instead of Romo, who was the lead dog of my fantasy sled. And I was feeling pretty good upon watching Flacco light up the stat column and giving me triple digit hope. Of course, that was before realizing my opponent had Wes Welker in his starting lineup. Fifty points later I was handing a grocery clerk two dollars for the two liter bottle of Coke I needed to counter the rum required to even attempt to watch my only hope, Reggie Wayne. Yeah, some hope he was.

And then there was last week. Week 4. Yeah. Just put it this way — as soon as I saw the halftime score of the Buffalo-Cincinnati game I knew I was in for yet another long, and couch pillow-throwing week.

Now, I have to be brutally honest, and say that I’m not comfortable at the bottom of the fantasy tank at 0-4 (who would be?), and am trying my very best through trades and free agent moves to climb back towards at least the middle. It’s a challenge I’ve never faced before, but I am up for, and can overcome it with a few good moves, and a little luck. Or so I hope.

Thanks for reading! 

Eric Huber is a staff writer for

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