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What Did We Learn – Week 5 Edition

If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve watched a segment on television or read an article over the past few days about how much Al Davis meant to the NFL. While some of his decisions in recent years may have been questionable, his legacy with the league is beyond question. Without him, the NFL as we know it today probably doesn’t exist. Thanks, Al.

Now on to Week 5:

DeAngelo Williams is now a sell high. Williams had a nice week last week, rushing 10 times for 82 yards. For an encore on Sunday, he ran 9 times for 115 yards and a score. With Cam Newton looking so good, running lanes have opened up. While his running has been much improved, I’m not sure it can be sustained. I own him in two leagues, and rest assured I’ll test the market this week.

Jackie Battle is worth owning. Thomas Jones ran well, gaining 55 yards on 10 carries. But it was Battle with 19 carries for 119 yards that looked impressive. He’s getting the opportunity, as well as the production. And while it was against the Colts, there’s still something to be said for the workload he received. If he’s still available, you may want to try to grab him off waivers.

Victor Cruz can be a solid player during bye weeks. Originally, Cruz was a fill-in while Mario Manningham was out with a concussion. But he played well in Manningham’s absence, and now that the receiving corps is back to full strength, Cruz is still getting the ball. I think there will be highs and lows, but this may end up marking a real change in the Giants’ scheme. They may be looking more to Eli, and less to that ground and pound mentality they’re known for.

Don’t count out the Steelers. Ben Roethlisberger, playing with a sprained foot, turned in what was easily his best game. He spread the ball all over, with Mike Wallace and Hines Ward were his go-to guys. While his yardage total was a modest 228, he threw five touchdowns with Jonathan Dwyer getting 11 carries for 107 yards in Rashard Mendenhall’s absence. Even the Steelers’ defense seemed to find itself, holding the Titans to just 66 yards on the ground. Just something to keep an eye on.

Matt Schaub doesn’t need Andre Johnson to be productive. I had figured that Matt Schaub might struggle without Johnson in the lineup. And while the Raiders’ defense is one of the worst in the league, Schaub proved that he has enough weapons to put up stats without him: 416 yards passing with a pair of scores. And that was with Arian Foster struggling to the tune of 68 yards on 22 carries.

Frank Gore looks fantastic. Last week, he torched the Eagles for 127 yards and a score. This week, he ran over the Bucs for 125 yards and a touchdown. Gore is gaining confidence, and looks to be hitting his stride in the second quarter of the season. The biggest reason for his increased production has been the improved play of quarterback, Alex Smith. Gore’s biggest concern going forward will be health.

One word: Tebow. It looks as though Tim Tebow may get the call when the Broncos return from their bye in Week 7. He came off the bench to start the second half, and provided a spark for the Broncos, coming just short of a comeback win. In a half of football, he threw for 79 yards and a score, while adding 38 more yards on the ground and another score. Last year, when he started, he was incredibly productive as a fantasy starter. If you’re struggling at the position, or just want some additional depth, pick him up.

The Law Firm is still the Pats’ horse. BenJarvus Green-Ellis has been really good this season, with consistent production almost every week. And now, he may have put the Stevan Ridley talk behind him. It had started to look like Ridley was going to take serious touches away from Green-Ellis, but after a 27 carry, 136 yard, two score performance, he’s not going anywhere. The Jets’ run defense has been uncharacteristically porous this season, but Green-Ellis just became a household name all over again.

Cam Newton is a Top-5 quarterback. Seriously. Rodgers, Brady, Brees? I’m running out of names to put above him. You could make a case for Vick, Stafford, and even Eli Manning, but Cam Newton looks incredible. His coaching staff is giving him the opportunity, and he’s taking advantage. And what he provides in the running game is reminiscent of Michael Vick, only if Vick was the size of a defensive end. Newton has been putting up numbers all season long, but this is something that looks to continue throughout the fantasy season.

Jahvid Best is a guy to target. Prior to Week 5, Best had as many points as Maurice Jones-Drew. He now has more than him. The firepower that the Lions are packing means that teams are now gearing up for Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson. As a result, opposing defenses are forgetting that Best is one of the fastest, most explosive backs in the league. And while the majority of his points on Monday night came on an 88-yard touchdown run, his carries should start to rise as the Lions play with more leads, but again, the main obstacle to his breakout is health.

Week 6 byes: Arizona, Denver, Kansas City, San Diego, Seattle, Tennessee

Good luck.

Drew Magyar is a staff writer and can be reached at

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