Week 5 in the NFL is in the books after the Monday Night Columbus Day trouncing of the Jets got much closer at the end than many people expected as the Texans held on to win 23-17. Houston joined the Atlanta Falcons as the two unbeaten teams after five weeks of the season.
Here’s a full breakdown of all the week 5 games highlighting a fantasy stud and sleeper from each game. The sleepers are people to notice and try to snag from the waiver wire or possibly plan on starting next week. Stay tuned for more on waiver wire pickups and starting lineups throughout the week.
St Louis Rams 17, Arizona Cardinals 3
Stud: In this statistically underwhelming game, the Rams D/ST put up the second-most fantasy points of any defense. They’ve reached double digits in standard scoring leagues in three of the first five weeks and are a decent waiver wire option as they travel to Miami next week.
Sleeper: Don’t forget about Andre Roberts, even though he didn’t find the endzone this week. Roberts was targeted 10 times Thursday and caught five passes for 39 yards. Roberts is a great pickup-and-play for next week’s game against the woeful Bills defense if you have receivers headed into bye weeks.
Miami Dolphins 17, Cincinnati Bengals 13
Stud: In another game without a lot of scoring, A.J. Green still able to find the endzone and catch nine of his 13 targets for 65 yards. While his total numbers didn’t win your week for you, the ability to contribute even in “down” games is vital to being a top 10 weekly receiver.
Sleeper: On a season-high 10 carries, Daniel Thomas had 29 yards and a TD for Miami. For Cincinnati, Andrew Hawkins had 13 passes thrown his way and caught five for 47 yards.
Indianapolis Colts 30, Green Bay Packers 27
Stud: The Packers leading rusher in the game was Aaron Rodgers who scrambled for 57 yards while throwing for three TDs and 243 yards along with one interception. If you invested an early pick in Rodgers, you’re reaping the reward these last few weeks. Reggie Wayne also had a studly game on the receiving end of an astounding 20 targets while making 13 catches for 212 yards and a touchdown. Andrew Luck had a pair of touchdowns through the air and 362 yards while adding a rushing TD and 24 more yards on the ground. This game have fantasy points a plenty.
Sleeper: The Packers got bad news on running back Cedric Benson yesterday, but Alex Green immediately becomes a hot pickup with Benson being out for at least eight weeks. Green finished Sunday’s game with 55 yards on nine carries and a catch for eight more yards. The Packers backfield will likely be a timeshare but with bye-weeks coming up Green could rise to flex value status.
Baltimore Ravens 9, Kansas City Chiefs 6
Stud: In a 9-6 game?? Justin Tucker went 3-3 on field goals and Ryan Succop went 2-2. Other than that the only people who were even decent were Jamaal Charles and Ray Rice who both rushed for a nice total (140 and 103) but failed to find the end zone.
Sleeper: Anquan Boldin was dropped in some leagues early in the season but has become the most prolific receiver for the Ravens the last couple weeks. He led the team in targets for the second week in a row (10 this week while Torrey Smith only had four) and finished with four catches for 82 years. Boldin is a solid WR2 even though some thought he was basically done being useful in fantasy football.
New York Giants 41, Cleveland Browns 27
Stud: The top-scoring running back of the week in most scoring systems was Ahmad Bradshaw who ran for 200 yards on 30 carries and a touchdown while adding four catches for 29 more yards. The Giants offense started slow but in the end ran it up on the Browns hapless defense. Even though Victor Cruz only had five catches for 50 yards, owners were thrilled with his performance since three ended in the endzone with a touchdown and subsequent Salsa celebration.
Sleeper: In the absence of Browns receivers due to injury, it was Josh Gordon who emerged as a possible target to build on with a pair of touchdown catches and 82 total yards. Just don’t forget he only had two catches total in the game. The good news is he did have eight targets throughout the game and seemed to be developing a connection with Brandon Weeden. On the other side of the field, fellow rookie receiver Rueben Randle led the Giants in targets (9), receptions (6), and receiving yards (82). It still remains to be seen what his role will be when Hakeem Nicks returns but he’s definitely worth a pickup if you need immediate receiver help.
Pittsburgh Steelers 16, Philadelphia Eagles 14
Stud: In a game without many touchdowns, Rashard Mendenhall came back with a flourish rushing for 81 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries. He could easily be a RB1 once he gets back to a full workload, but for now he’s a solid RB2 option. There weren’t a lot of big numbers in this one unless you look at Vick’s fumbles.
Sleeper: There really weren’t many surprises in this game, but Antonio Brown led the Steelers with 10 targets while pulling in seven passes for a game-high 86 yards. Brown may be in store for more action the rest of the season as Big Ben looked determine to ge the ball into his hands as often as possible on Sunday.
Atlanta Falcons 24, Washington Redskins 17
Stud: Matt Ryan continues to break into the top tier of quarterbacks with 345 yards and a pair of touchdows. Ryan’s best receiver in the game turned out to be tight end Tony Gonzalez who caught a nice total of 10 passes for 123 yards and a touchdown. Gonzalez was the top tight end of the week and in most scoring systems leads the position in points so far this year.
Sleeper: The only surprise so far from this game is that Billy Cundiff hasn’t gotten cut or replaced by Washington after missing another field goal. Most of the players in this played close to their expectations.
Seattle Seahawks 16, Carolina Panthers 12
Stud: In a game where fantasy points were hard to come by, there weren’t any great performances. Russell Wilson‘s 221 yards and a touchdown is about all there is but his pair of interceptions cost his owners a decent week from the rookie if your league subtracts for turnovers.
Sleeper: Rumor has it that Golden Tate really made a touchdown catch in this game as part of his three receptions for 31 yards. Tate will forever be linked to his game-winning inter-reception that ended the referee lockout. You don’t get fantasy points for ending lockouts, but you do for touchdowns and it looks like Tate may emerge as a legit option. Keep an eye on him, but there’s no need to storm the wire for him just yet.
Chicago Bears 41, Jacksonville Jaguars 3
Stud: The Bears D/ST definitely qualify after leading all defenses by a wide margin for the second week in a row. Matt Forte was back over 100 yards but kept out of the endzone, and Brandon Marshall had a great game with 12 catches on 17 targets for 144 yards and a touchdown.
Sleeper: Owning any Jag receiver is a dicey proposition with Blaine Gabbert under center, but Cecil Shorts III continues to show he may have talent worth keeping an eye on. He made another great catch on Sunday and finished with two catches for 43 yards. The Jags have said each week they’re committed to getting him more involved but its yet to produce results. Keep an eye on Shorts usage rate moving forward and be ready to add if he starts to see more time and passes coming his way.
Minnesota Vikings 30, Tennessee Titans 7
Stud: The Vikings continue to surprise and impress, and this time it was Percy Harvin leading the way with 108 yards receiving with eight catches and a touchdown as well as a second touchdown rushing and eight more yards. The Vikings got him involved in the offense early and it paid off for Minnesota and his fantasy owners.
Sleeper: Before the game, I gave you Kyle Rudolph who didn’t disappoint with four catches for 23 yards and a touchdown. The big emergence though came on the other side where Kendall Wright let the team in targets, catches, and yards while finishing with 66 yards on 9 catches. Kenny Britt played limited snaps, but Wright should be a big part of the Titans passing game whether Jake Locker or Matt Hasselbeck is under center.
San Francisco 49ers 45, Buffalo Bills 3
Stud: Anyone in a 49er uniform had a good game; anyone playing for the Bills not so much. Alex Smith led the way with 303 yards, three touchdowns, and no turnovers as usual. Frank Gore had 106 yards and a touchdown, Michael Crabtree had 113 yards and a touchdown, and Vernon Davis had 106 yards. Remember that this is against a Bills team that was coming off a beatdown by the Patriots and earlier this year gave up 48 points to the Jets… Let that sink in a minute… Next week they play Arizona, then Tennessee. I’d add some Cardinals this week if available.
Sleeper: For the 49ers, Colin Kaepernick is definitely the future of the franchise as he continues to show talent in the glimpses we get in his few snaps on the field. He’s not fantasy relevant yet but could be soon. The other notable ‘Niner was Mario Manningham who had four catches for 26 yards and a touchdown and is definitely an option is you need receiver depth.
New England Patriots 31, Denver Broncos 21
Stud: The Patriots offense is being remade behind Stevan Ridley who had another huge day running for 151 yards and a touchdown. However, the more things stay the more they stay the same as Wes Welker proved by hauling in 13 passes for 104 yards and a touchdown. So much for his “reduced role.” For Denver, Peyton Manning had another statistically great game throwing for three touchdowns and 345 yards. The beneficiary on most of those throws was Demaryius Thomas who caught nine passes for 188 yards against the Patriots work-in-progress of a secondary.
Sleeper: These teams are so well known it’s hard to find a true “sleeper,” but it is worth noting that Thomas tied for the team lead in targets with Jacob Tamme who ended with five catches for 51 yards but could be getting more connected with Peyton as the year goes on.
New Orleans Saints 31, San Diego Chargers 24
Stud: There was no shortage of fantasy points here. Marques Colston led all scorers in standard scoring with three touchdowns on nine catches and 131 yards receiving. Drew Brees was second with 370 yards and four touchdowns as well as a pick. Ryan Mathews also showed signs of getting a heavier workload in San Diego as he ran for 80 yards on just 12 carries and was involved in the passing game as well with 47 yards on five catches.
Sleeper: Before the game, I said Devery Henderson would be the receiver that would benefit from Lance Moore’s absence the most. He sure did hauling in eight of his 10 targets for 123 yards and a touchdown. His role will probably be minimized after the bye since Moore should be ready to return, but Henderson is used to the third WR role in New Orleans and is fantasy relevant once again.
Houston Texans 23, New York Jets 17
Stud: The Texans offense was powered by Arian Foster who ran for 152 yards and a touchdown and added a catch for 16 yards (which is one more yard than Andre Johnson had). He was the only big-time fantasy scorer in last night’s game.
Sleeper: I really liked what I saw from Jeremy Kerley who led the Jets in targets, receptions, and yards with 94 yards on five catches. With all the injury issues the Jets have, Kerley should continue to get plenty of looks. The problem is those looks are coming from Mark Sanchez who continues to show he’s not the answer at quarterback for New York. Kerley’s value is limited as it’s tied to Sanchez but he makes a decent add for receiver depth. Owen Daniels continues to quietly have a very nice season and last night finished with 79 yards on four catches and added a touchdown.