This week was shaping up to be pretty light on the fantasy-relevant injuries. Although Thursday and Sunday had a few notable players get hurt, including
, David Wilson,
, the injuries were far from devastating. Mathews, Hoyer and Manuel’s absences won’t have a huge effect on most lineups, while as of right now the Stacy and Wilson injuries don’t look to be overly serious, and any remotely competent Vick owner knew this was inevitable and had a decent backup plan in place.
It was shaping up to be a relatively stress-free week, which is nice because fantasy football is supposed to be a leisurely refuge from the crippling stress of our daily lives. A small injury report also temporarily silences that voice in the back of our heads that reminds us that these young men are destroying their bodies for our entertainment. But then Jay Glazer dropped that bomb about
More than ever we see how important it is to stay vigilant. Even if you’re sitting pretty at 4-1 with a stacked roster and the most total points, like I am in both of my leagues (what, what!), the season of the league’s leading wide receiver can go up in smoke in a second, so don’t get complacent. Keep a close eye on the week’s most unexpected performances and always look for a way to stock your roster with potential studs. You know what? Let’s do that now. Barometer time!
Tony Romo (Week 5 vs. Denver: 506 yards, 5 TD, INT)
I’ve been called a
apologist before. The only reason why I stick up for the guy is because he’s been one of the league’s most consistently excellent passers by any conceivable metric for pretty much his entire career. The myopic assessment of Romo’s play was out in full force this Sunday, where he was criticized heavily for the loss to Denver. Yes, the interception late in the game was dumb, but he hung 48 points on a team that was previously allowing 23 a game, and his defense allowed more points to the Broncos than the stinkin’ Oakland Raiders did. It’s going to be really strange to suggest Romo as a buy-low when he was the top scorer of the week, but he is a complete and total fantasy stud who is always perceived as less valuable than he actually is.
Romo’s Status: Buy Low
Matt Schaub (Week 5 at San Francisco: 173 yards, 3 INT)
Schaub’s play Sunday night was about as brutally unwatchable as quarterback play gets, but the fantasy totals are actually not as bad as the overall level of play would indicate. Fortunately, pick-sixes count the same as regular interceptions. He actually has more fantasy points on the season than
. I also don’t see Schaub getting benched for
as a serious possibility as long as the Houston Texans have realistic playoff hopes. You probably drafted him as a bye week fill-in or backup to an injury-prone option QB, and as a player with more than 20 standard league points in three out of five games, he’s still acceptable in that role.
Schaub’s Status: Usable Fill-in
Sam Bradford (Week 5 vs. Jacksonville: 222 yards, 3 TD)
I don’t really have a ton to say about Bradford. He had a nice fantasy day this week, but it was against Jacksonville, so it doesn’t really count. This is just to remind you that he is presently ninth in fantasy points among quarterbacks, and he’s putting up more points per week than the likes of
Robert Griffin III
and Colin Kaepernick. Bradford isn’t consistent enough to recommend as an every-week play, since he’s thrown for eight touchdowns in three games and two scores in the other two games, but don’t be afraid to pull the trigger if your No. 1 guy is struggling and the Rams are facing a bad pass defense.
Bradford’s Status: Usable Matchup Play
Fred Jackson (Week 5 at Cleveland: 53 yards, 2 TD, 4 receptions, 40 yards)
I’m not going to go all-in to the point of calling Jackson a stud, but this latest performance is pushing him close. He’s running very well, at a pace of 4.75 yards per carry, but what really excited me about the game in Cleveland was his usage. He was used quite a bit in the passing game, as expected, but he also punched in two 1-yard touchdowns. Even if C.J. Spiller gets fully healthy and takes over the bulk of the carries, goal line and receiving work will still make Jackson a relevant every-week play. I would be extremely wary of trading for him on account of his age (32) and injury history, but I also wouldn’t want to sell him if I have him, because those same concerns should result in disappointing returns in a trade. Whatever you do, don’t consider benching him for a second. He’s outscoring
Jackson’s Status: Start With Confidence
C.J. Spiller (Week 5 at Cleveland: 66 yards, TD)
It’s a double serving of Buffalo backs! Crap, I just made myself hungry. I don’t know what a “Buffalo Back” is, but if Applebee’s deep-fried it, I would order a platter in a heartbeat. Spiller was limited to only eight carries on Thursday as he was nursing an ankle injury, but he did plenty with the opportunity, tallying up a 54-yard touchdown run. He showed good burst, and while that workload monster who will get the ball until he pukes may never show up, we still saw the potential for big fantasy numbers down the line. A long week to heal up should have him ready for a healthy amount of touches next week against Cincinnati. I’m going to give almost the exact same advice I gave in regards to
: the guy is too risky to try to acquire in a trade, and if you trade him away you’re not going to get anything in return that matches how heavily you invested in him. I also can’t really recommend benching him, because most rosters aren’t going to have a rusher with more upside.
Spiller’s Status: Keep Starting
Pierre Thomas (Week 5 at Chicago: 19 carries, 36 yards, 9 receptions, 55 yards, 2 TD)
I think this one can be pretty confidently written off as a fluke. Sunday was the first time since 2010 that he topped 15 carries in a game. Even if more carries becomes a trend, his 2.9 yards per tote on the season doesn’t give much cause for excitement. The nine receptions and multiple receiving touchdowns also feel very fluky, and I would expect
to resume the lion’s share of backfield receiving duties as soon as next week. On the plus side, Thomas has 28 receptions on the season with at least four grabs in each of the first five games. Even before Sunday’s outlier game he was a reasonably steady play in deeper points per receptions leagues. I don’t see starter potential here, but somebody in your league might bite.
Thomas’ Status: Take Anything You Can Get
Chris Johnson (Week 5 vs. Kansas City: 10 carries, 17 yards, 4 receptions, 63 yards, TD)
A long receiving touchdown saved another ugly rushing performance that pushed Johnson’s yards per carry up to 3.1. Look, I know anyone who drafted him instead of
hates themselves right now, but this is a very encouraging performance. He had five targets in the passing game on Sunday after getting five in the first four games combined. Unlike
, Ryan Fitzpatrick seems to recognize that, I don’t know, maybe you should actually use one of the better pass catching starting backs in the league if you have him. Also, Johnson’s rushing woes have been partly due to a pretty brutal schedule over the first half of the season. Receptions should help him smooth over the poor rushing performances he’ll likely put up in the coming weeks against Seattle and San Francisco, and after the Week 8 bye his schedule is like a fantasy football wet dream, including five games against St. Louis, Indianapolis and Jacksonville, who rank 30th, 31st and 32nd against the rush. If you can weather the next two weeks, take this man off the hands of his frustrated owner.
Johnson’s Status: Buy Low