Arizona 3, St. Louis 17
It would be safe to say the overwhelming theme for the Cardinals was horrible offensive line play. This has become a reoccurring theme as Kevin Kolb was sacked eight times in week four and nine times in this game. I read a stat that Kolb was hit on 52% of the Cards offensive plays. A popular addition in many leagues last week, Kolb’s fantasy value is more along the lines of a mid QB2 as a desperation spot starter.
Speaking of the Arizona passing game, another popular sleeper in recent weeks has been Andre Roberts. Thursday night Roberts had the worst fantasy performance of the 2012 season. However, the astute fantasy owner will recognize his 10 targets, including a badly overthrown ball that would have resulted in a surefire touchdown. Roberts remains a mid WR3.
Ryan Williams has officially taken control of the Zona backfield with the continued absence of Beanie Wells. If heart dictated fantasy production, Williams would be an every week starter. However, he doesn’t possess the raw talent to make defenders miss or the strength to gut out tough yardage. Further compounding Williams problems is the terrible o-line play. Williams also suffered a mysterious shoulder injury forcing him to exit this matchup. Even with the 27th ranked Bills rush defense up next, the second year tailback is only a high end RB3.
Nothing is more devastating to a fantasy team than injury, and guess who reared her ugly head on Thursday Night? Danny Amendola went down hard on his right shoulder causing “joint separation” with a projected recovery time table of 6-8 weeks. This puts Amendola on track to return Week 12 against San Francisco. We should further note this is Amendola’s second straight season with a significant injury meaning he is a “red flag” in future seasons. As for the here and now, if you have the room on your roster he’s worth holding on to, but if you get desperate, I wouldn’t fault you for dropping him. We’ll be watching which, if any, of the Rams alternate wide receivers step up.
As a Steven Jackson owner I kick myself for drafting him, then I wonder where that old Jeff Fischer 3-down running back has gone, ala Eddie George and Chris Johnson. For long stretches of this game, the less effective Daryl Richardson was taking carries, including goal line packages. Very tough to sit, but with a brutal schedule and limited touches S-Jax owners are in for a long season.
The final position of note from Thursday night was the Rams defense. Over the past couple of years they’ve put considerable resources into this unit including; James Laurinaitis, Chris Long, Robert Quinn and Cortland Finnegan. The NFC West is slowly becoming the new Black and Blue division. The Rams are an excellent spot start next week against Miami, but don’t be so fast to drop your current defense. After that it’s the Packers (Week 6), Patriots (Week7) and their bye (Week 8).
Miami 17, Cincinnati 13
Although his fantasy production won’t reflect it, the maturation of Ryan Tannehill is more and more evident with each passing week. Still void of real fantasy value, his progress should provide comfort for owners of Brian Hartline.
Speaking of Hartline, coming off his record setting game last week, he finished with 59 yards on only five targets. Be informed this game was more a product of circumstance than performance as the Dolphins leaned heavily on their rushing attack. Hartline is a low end WR3 with the 4th ranked Rams pass defense upcoming.
Reggie Bush looks to be stuck in a running back rotation with Daniel Thomas. Bush still managed a solid outing with 72 total yards including a 13 yard scamper into the end zone. However, Bush is losing goal line looks to his much bigger running mate, as it now appears his touchdowns will need to come from outside the 10-yard line. His stature as a weekly must-start is waning slightly.
The running game of the Bengals is oddly reminiscent of last season as BenJarvus Green-Ellis found little running room between the tackles. Before jumping to conclusions, we must remind ourselves that the Fins were the number one ranked rush defense in terms of rushing yards allowed entering this game. The Law Firm is a mid RB2 facing Cleveland next week.
Bengals wide receiver Andrew Hawkins saw an astounding 13 targets including a red zone look, as he becomes an integral piece of Cincy’s passing game. Hawkins’ targets have been all over the board .However, the trend I’ve come to recognize is when the Bengals face a stiff rushing defense Hawkins becomes an extension of the running game, as evident week one against the Ravens. Up next are the Browns meaning Hawkins should be returned to our bench.
Indianapolis 30, Green Bay 27
Like many teams on this day, the Colts offense got off to a slow start falling behind 21-3 at the halftime intermission. Andrew Luck turned up his game finishing with 362 yards passing and two touchdowns. Luck’s talent is overly impressive as the rookie remains a borderline QB1.
Donald Brown’s solid fantasy season continued, averaging 4.9 yards per carry on 17 carries. As one of the few 3-down running backs in the NFL, Brown has starter value in the mid RB2 range.
Through four games (Colts had a bye week 4); Reggie Wayne is the most targeted wide receiver in football. The number two option on this team is a gray area as both Donnie Avery and TY Hilton were targeted eight and nine times, respectively. Avery had a long toss just barely overthrown on what would have been a surefire touchdown. Gun to my head, I’d start Avery over Hilton.
The Packers came to play, opening up their passing attack leading to Aaron Rodgers 243 yards and three touchdowns.
A beneficiary was wide receiver Randall Cobb, as he caught all four of his targets totaling 82 yards while scoring his first touchdown of the season. Cobb has value so long as Jennings is absent, but more along the lines of a high end WR4.
The other Packers wide receiver to take advantage was James Jones. He led the team with seven targets, two of which resulted in touchdowns. Like Cobb, so long as Jennings is ailing Jones will have solid fantasy value as a high end WR3.
Although it didn’t look all that bad Cedric Benson left the game on a cart after getting his ankle rolled up. With James Starks still recovering from a turf toe injury, it was second year man Alex Green taking nine carries for 55 yards. As a potential starter, Green will be a coveted waiver addition this week and rightfully so. His value will be predicated upon Benson’s recovery period.