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JL’s Week 5 Observations

Contender or Pretender?

The AFC looks to be one of the most clustered conference races in recent years. I am going to sort this out right now.

Buffalo Bills – Pretender. As weird as it might sound, their running game is OVERRATED. Marshawn Lynch, considered by many a star RB in the NFL, has averaged only four-plus yards per carry in only one of his last four games; the one was yesterday in which he carried 13 times for 55 yards in a game in which Arizona had a comfortable lead all day. Lynch is only averaging 3.6 yards per carry on the season. Combine that with the fact that neither QB can still be fully trusted in

Buffalo, and you find a team who will be on the outside looking in when the playoffs start.

Miami Dolphins – Contender. This team will win the AFC East. Which quarterback in the division takes care of the ball in the best fashion? It is undoubtedly Chad Pennington. Which team has the best rushing offense in the division? Which team can pressure the opposing quarterback better than any in the AFC East? The Dolphins will finish 9-7 and that will be the best in the division. This team has one thing now they have not had in recent years: confidence, the most important aspect of winning football games.

Washington Redskins – Contender. This one is obvious, but I don’t think people realize how good they are. In about Week 9 of last season I was quoted as saying I thought the New York Giants were the second-best team in the NFL, the best in the NFC. People thought I was crazy, and I wished I would have been wrong. With the eyeball test I feel the same way with the Redskins in 2008. They have all the aspects needed to WIN the Super Bowl this season. Top notch running game, top notch secondary, big play WR’s, aggressive defense, a pass-catching TE and they don’t turn the football over. Plus they can win on the road. I predict them to finish second in the NFC East and make a deep playoff run.

Green Bay Packers – Contender. Ryan Grant is only averaging 3.6 yards per carry on the season, but this trend will not continue. I expect them to rally the troops and fight back to win the NFC North. It is either them or the Bears, and when the Packers get healthy it will be a battle. In Week 11,

Chicago will have to travel to

Green Bay, and in Week 16, when the Packers will presumably be full strength,

Green Bay will go into

Chicago and lock up the division. I think their loss to

Atlanta just proved one thing – just how important A.J. Hawk and Atari Bigby are to this team as a whole.

Denver Broncos – Contender. Forget the Chiefs loss two weeks ago; that was the fluke of all flukes. They proved this week they can play hard-nosed physical football against the likes of

Tampa

Bay. I believe Michael Pittman should be the team’s starting RB. He brings a different aspect to the offense, the kind of swagger that says they can overpower you if they want to. Jay Cutler is still a Top 5 QB in the NFL this year, even though it might have not looked that way this past week. Jon Gruden is an expert as creating problems for opposing quarterbacks.

New England Patriots – Pretender. The pretenders of all pretenders. No Tom Brady will equal no playoff berth. This will prove once and for all just how important one player, mainly one QB, is to a team. The NFL is a quarterback’s league and without Brady, Bill

Belichick

and the Patriots are nothing. There is a reason Matt Cassel has not started since high school. It is because he makes reads like a high school QB. He stares a WR down, and if he is not open, he can’t make his progressions and looks to run. The problem is he is not athletic enough to run. This team is done.

Quick Hits

Greg Camarillo of the Dolphins was targeted eight times Sunday, which ties his season high. He has caught a respectable 63 percent of his targets this season and is the main WR in

Miami‘s offense. He has good speed and is worth an add in deep leagues around the nation as a nice bye week fill-in.

Matt Forte has been amazing this year no doubt. For a rookie though, touching the rock 129 times in your first five NFL games might be a little much. He has 80 fantasy points through only five games, and I love his talent. Problem is, I just don’t know if he can hold up for 16 games. In the last two weeks combined, he has carried it 34 times for 79 yards, 2.3 yards per carry. I am not saying go out and trade the boy, but just be weary that he might not be the Top 5 back he appears to be right now.

Chris Chambers has five touchdowns on 11 receptions this season; his trade value will never be higher then it is right now. The same can be said for guys like Isaac Bruce (four TDs on 14 catches), and Lavernanues Coles (four TDs on 18 catches).

Jason Witten has 10 more receptions and 150 more yards then the next closest TE to him in each category. Any question of who the top fantasy TE is has already been answered in 2008.

David Garrard, who is currently ranked as the 15th best QB in fantasy football, is starting to get hotter. I would recommend acquiring him before his value gets high at all. After a slow start, I expect him to put up many solid 17-point plus fantasy games. You can count on him for around 200 yards passing, a touchdown or two in the air and some rushing stats. From Week 6 on last season, Garrard had seven multi-touchdown games and threw for over 185 yards in eight of his nine full games played. Now is the time folks: his next four games are against the Broncos, Browns, Bengals and Lions.

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