Week 5 Offensive Rankings Analysis
The San Diego Chargers have allowed more fantasy points to QBs than any other team. This means Terrelle Pryor is a potential bye-week filler, and a solid one at that. They’ve allowed at least 244 yards to every QB they’ve faced through the air, including 299 to Jake Locker, 346 to Matt Schaub, and 428 to Michael Vick. Locker also scrambled for 68 yards and a touchdown against them. In essence, Pryor could very well have a multiple score game with 250-300 total yards if he plays like he’s capable of. The Raiders should also rely on him more given that Darren Mcfadden is doing what he does best, being injured and not playing football. Pryor clocks in at consensus No. 12, which does make sense.
The Saints have been surprisingly good against the pass this year, allowing four touchdowns while intercepting seven passes. Both their team pass rush and coverage grade out in the top 10 using PFF metrics, and the only QB who’s had a passable game against them was Matt Ryan, who showed up with 304 yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT. Though he’s playing at home, Jay Cutler showed his ugly side last week, and though he salvaged his fantasy day with garbage time, it’s clear that the ugly Jay can still show up in spades. It’ll be hard to trust him as more than a high-end QB2 with some upside, especially since he’s turned it over 7 times and been sacked 6 times in his last 3 games.
If there’s a week Hakeem Nicks should be started, it’s this week, as the Eagles have allowed more fantasy points to wide receivers than any other team in the league, including huge days to Leonard Hankerson, Eddie Royal, Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, Donnie Avery, and Malcom Floyd. Nicks has been targeted 25 times in three games, and should face off against the mediocre Cary Williams. The G-men are obviously desperate for a win, as the NFC East is so bad that 8-8 could still win the division. While No. 18 is far too high for my tastes, I think he settles in as a high-end flex play in the mid-20s. There’s upside here.
If not for a few short screen-type TDs to San Diego, the Texans would have barely allowed anything to opposing WRs all season. They rendered the Seahawks receiving corps useless, the Titans WRs combined for roughly 130 yards, and Baltimore WRs combined for just above 100 yards. A big part of it is obviously the pass rush, while Jonathan Joseph is playing decent is unspectacular. The reason all this is being thrown at you is that Anquan Boldin is literally the 49ers only threat besides Vernon Davis through the air, and Joseph is certainly good enough to match up against Boldin. Ed Reed has also played well since returning to the field. Temper expectations for Boldin, and play him as a low-end WR2 or high-end flex.
Reggie Wayne has some serious variance ranging from No. 18 to No. 32. You’re not benching him, but you all know the Seahawk defense and defensive back story by now. Richard Sherman has the ability to shut anyone down, and Wayne could be his next target. There’s a reason several of the staff is low on him this week. As with Boldin, proceed with caution.
Two of our analysts love Gio Bernard this week, while the rest stick him in the 17 to 20 range. So why the No. 7 and No. 11 ranks? For one, his touches and snaps are increasing rapidly, as the Bengals are realizing that he offers far more than the Law Firm. He’s caught 10 passes out of the backfield the last two weeks, and the Patriots are now down one of the best DTs in the league, Vince Wilfork. This means the Bengals have to test the Patriots in the run game and up front, especially if they stay in the sub defense as they have with most games. If anything, Bernard will get his big chunks through the air, as the Pats have been known to give up a big leak or screen to running backs in recent history. This will be set up by the run game. I don’t know if Bernard will hit the top 10 this week, but he’s definitely an RB2 with upside.
This is the week, Maurice Jones-Drew. If you’re still an NFL-caliber running back, you’ll be able to do something against the Rams, who have allowed the most points to opposing running backs in the NFL. So far, MJD is a bottom-15 RB averaging a whopping 2.4 yards per carry with a season long run of 10 yards. Oh, and he’s caught 4 total passes, which I’m pretty sure Darren Sproles eclipsed in about a quarter last week. But seeing what Demarco Murray and every Niners running back did to the Rams means that MJD should hopefully be able to rack up a season high in rushing (which would be 46 yards) and maybe a score. Flex play? Sure. Roll those dice, fantasy stud.
Although he’s old, decrepit and probably slower than you, there’s a chance Dallas Clark could so something for you, especially if you’re in a PPR and desperate for a handful of points. I mentioned Jimmy Graham was a lock for multiple touchdowns last week, and he went plain rude on the Dolphins to the tune of 100 yards and 2 scores. Ben Watson also scored a touchdown. In fact, the Phins have allowed a tight end TD in every game this season. I don’t know if that’s likely for Clark, but there’s sure a possibility for a 5/50 type game, and if you’re in desperation mode in PPR, 10 points can’t hurt. Especially if your other option is Zach Sudfeld.
Greg Olsen isn’t really benchable, but the Cardinals have shut down TEs in every game they’ve played this season. Granted, that’s 3 games, but it’s fair to say he’s a back-end TE1 this game, especially since there are so many other ways to beat the Cardinals, including the ole’ sack-fumble-return for TD getup against Carson Palmer. Temper expectations and play some high upside guys in other spots.
Defense and Special Teams
Some good streaming Ds this week include: Carolina, Atlanta, St. Louis. Arizona’s o-line is still mediocre, and Carolina can get to the QB. Especially when Greg Hardy releases the Kraken. Atlanta plays a Jets squad who features a turnover prone QB and starting WRs such as Stephen Hill, Jeremy Kerley and Clyde Gates. The Rams play the Jags, which is about all I need to say.