The sky is either in the process of falling or has already fallen for many fantasy owners – depending on your perspective.
If you spent a top-five draft pick on New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham, you’re likely going with fallen. The fourth-year pro’s season is over compliments of a broken ankle – an injury that could cost Beckham tens of millions of dollars.
If you drafted New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, there’s no need for a helmet yet. But as Mike Reiss reported for ESPN, recent reports that the Golden Boy is dealing with sprained AC joint in his left shoulder after absorbing 17 sacks in five games probably doesn’t have you dancing in the streets either.
Or maybe you made the mistake of having anything to do with whatever they’re passing off as an “offense” in Miami, and the only dancing you feel like doing is out a window 12 stories up.
Injuries are a fact of life, both in the NFL and in fantasy football. So are underperformers. And bad beats. Add one or more together and a promising fantasy season can fall apart in a hurry.
As Mike Tyson once said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.”
But once you do get hit, all you can do is get up, dust yourself off and keep going. Try as best you can to get back on track in Week 6.
And Step 1 in that regard is fielding the best fantasy lineup possible.
That felt like some kind of segue.
Buffalo, Cincinnati, Dallas and Seattle.
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay (at Minnesota)
Tom Brady, New England (at New York Jets)
Drew Brees, New Orleans (vs. Detroit)
Matt Ryan, Atlanta (vs. Miami)
OFF THE LIST: Russell Wilson, Seattle (BYE): Wilson’s a superstar, but the Seattle offense is a hot pile of garbage, mostly because the line play has been horrific. It’s hard to be consistently productive when you’re fleeing for your life all game long.
SPOT START OF THE WEEK
Carson Palmer, Arizona (vs. Tampa Bay)
Palmer’s on pace to set career bests across the board, but he told ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss it’s been borne of necessity. “It’s early,” Palmer said. “We have been down and we haven’t had leads where we have been able to run the ball. I don’t know if we have had a lead yet. So, that’s part of it. Losing David [Johnson] is part of it. You get away from the run a little bit quicker. I think those two things factor in more than rest in practice.”
The talk this week regarding the Cardinals has centered around their acquisition of Adrian Paterson, but the addition of “All Day” isn’t going to magically turn the Redbirds into a running team. There will be plenty of pass attempts at home this week against a Tampa Bay Buccaneers club allowing the third-most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks in 2017.
ROLL THEM OUT
Cam Newton, Carolina (vs. Philadelphia)
After shoulder surgery wiped out much of his offseason, Newton and the Carolina offense looked out of sync the first few games of the year. However, the 2015 has settled in (two straight 300-yard passing efforts, seven total touchdowns, one interception) and this Thursday he draws a matchup with an Eagles club giving up the eighth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks in Sharks League Scoring.
Alex Smith, Kansas City (vs. Pittsburgh)
Forget everything you knew about Alex Smith prior to this season. Forget about all of the “game manager” crap you’ve heard the last few years. Forget that the Steelers aren’t a great fantasy matchup for quarterbacks. With the way Smith and that Chiefs offense are clicking, he’s become a no-brainer every-week fantasy start half a step this side of “stud” status.
SIT THEM DOWN
Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams (at Jacksonville)
After a red-hot start to 2017, Goff came back to earth a bit in last week’s loss to Seattle – he failed to throw a touchdown pass and turned the ball over three times. The sledding isn’t going to be any easier this week against the Jaguars, who lead the NFL in both pass defense and fantasy points surrendered to quarterbacks this year.
Eli Manning, New York Giants (at Denver)
Manning probably wishes he could hibernate like a bear and wake up a year from now when he might actually have some receivers to throw to. When Manning takes on the “No Fly Zone” Sunday night, he’ll do so with no Odell Beckham. And no Brandon Marshall. And quite possibly no Sterling Shepard. And absolutely no chance at a good game.
Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles (at Carolina)
Wentz has made great strides in his second NFL season, he’s a quality fantasy QB1 after five weeks and he’s fresh off tearing the Arizona Cardinals a new one last week in Philly. However, this week Wentz is on the road on a short week against a Carolina Panthers defense that ranks 25th in fantasy points given up to quarterbacks.