Fantasy Football Contributor
Welcome to my Week 5 Fantasy Football preview column. I don’t delve into rankings, stats or data. You can find all of that at other sites. In fact, that’s where I find mine. My column is all about my impressions of different players and situations that could impact your fantasy team this week and in the future. We’ll check back in after Week 5’s games.
1. Brady’s back. Back again. Brady’s back. Tell your friends. I feel so bad for Cleveland. The league’s best quarterback — and one of its top fantasy football producers — makes his 2016 debut against the Browns and does it with an enormous chip on his shoulder in the likeness of Roger Goodell. Bad things, man. Bad things.
If you’ve got Tom Brady, start him. I am.
2. As I’m watching this on Thursday night thousands of fantasy owners are picking up San Francisco’s Jeremy Kerley. With 8 catches for 102 yards and a score, that’s the second straight week with borderline WR1 numbers. I poo-pooed him a few days ago. Now? If you need WR help, go get him.
3. Happiness is not having five players on your fantasy team on a bye. I have one available running back this week, so I’m going to have to drop someone — probably Ryan Fitzpatrick — to pick up a back that will probably score a handful of points just so I can have a complete lineup. Of course, I’m 0-4, so who cares, right? Well, I care a little.
4. My friends are kidding me about sharing a name with a certain hurricane. Of course, hurricanes are nothing to be flip about. I lived in Florida for four years and felt fortunate I never had to live through one. But, since this is a fantasy football column, I do feel the need to point out that there are two games that could be impacted by this weekend’s massive weather event — Titans at Dolphins on Sunday and Bucs at Panthers on Monday. The weather itself is likely to be out of there by the time both games are scheduled to be played. The real question is the potential damage in and around both cities and whether playing those games would even be possible. So if you have players from any of those teams, monitor the weather all weekend.
5. I have a hunch the New York Giants-Green Bay Packers game is going to lead to a plethora of points. The Packers are at home and coming off a bye. They’re healthy at skill positions. The Giants have put up very good passing numbers twice this year, as Eli Manning has hit for more than 350 passing yards. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers hasn’t led any of the Packers’ three games in passing so far this season and I think that ends Sunday night. If you have Manning and Rodgers or you have any of those receivers, I think I would start them on Sunday.
Perhaps Odell Beckham Jr. will shut up and just play, too.
6. Brice Butler or Terrance Williams? Both Dallas Cowboys receivers are probably available in your league, especially in deep leagues. But which one against Cincinnati on Sunday, now that Dez Bryant has been ruled out? If it’s a PPR league, take Butler. If your league rewards bonuses for long scoring plays, Williams is probably a better bet.
7. Who’s been a disappointment in terms of players you probably spent a late pick and were hoping he might go off? How about Arizona’s John Brown. I picked the wide receiver in two leagues, believing two straight years of 100 targets would continue. Well, no. Brown had a huge week, finally, against the Rams in Week 4. But after the Cardinals’ victory over San Francisco Brown now has three games with just one reception. Sometimes those sleepers don’t work out.
8. The guy you didn’t expect to be a productive fantasy player? Probably the Jets’ Quincy Enuwa. Three of his four games this season he’s hit double-digit points in a PPR league. He stands to have a good game this weekend, even if it is against Pittsburgh, because Eric Decker is probably out.
9. I don’t usually give kicker advice, but if you own Dan Bailey don’t drop him just because he’s unlikely to play this weekend. The Cowboys’ kicker has a sore back and may not play. Bailey is too valuable to drop, though. He has distance and accuracy, especially if you’re in a league that awards bonuses for kicks of 50 yards or more. This offense will only get more productive when Tony Romo returns at quarterback. He’s actually worth dropping a position player — or better yet putting a player on IR, if you’re that lucky — to pick up a second kicker just for this week.
10. My lineups. I play in three different leagues. If you care, here’s are my starting lineups this week (subject to change, of course):
LSFL (scoring only – 4-0 record): QB Ben Roethlisberger, RB Jeremy Hill, RB Charles Sims, WR Demaryius Thomas, WR A.J. Green, WR DeVante Parker, PK Nick Novak, Def. Carolina. I have to watch Sims this weekend. I may have to roll with Bilal Powell if he hasn’t practiced. I’m looking forward to seeing what Parker can do in his first start.
Dereliction (yardage/PPR with bonuses for long TDs and FGs – 0-4 record): QB Eli Manning, RB TBA, RB Ryan Mathews, TE Greg Olsen, WR John Brown, WR Tyrell Williams, PK Dustin Hopkins, DEF Pittsburgh. I may slide Eddie Royal in for Williams. Not that it matters.
NFFL (fractional scoring/PPR): QB Tom Brady, RB Bilal Powell, RB Frank Gore, TE Antonio Gates, WR Golden Tate, WR A.J. Green, PK Mason Crosby, DEF Minnesota. If Gates can’t go … I don’t have another receiver. You know this league could really use an IR. I have Thomas Rawls and Doug Martin.