Even though the Dolphins weren’t able to pull out the last season win on Sunday, Ryan Tannehill continues to show that he is indeed the franchise quarterback that the Dolphins drafted him to be. The running game never got going, but Tannehill put the team on his back and kept them in the game.
Looking around the rest of the NFL, running backs continue to be a major disappointment as they accounted for just 4 out of the top 25 spots in fantasy football this week; Jay Cutler and Alshon Jeffery put up some impressive stats together; Michael Vick had a possible monster fantasy day cut short thanks to a pulled hamstring; Joe Flacco may be one of the league’s highest paid players, but he’s barely worth being owned in fantasy football; E.J. Manuel is out for a month or more; Brian Hoyer is done for the season, so the Browns are forced to turn back to Brandon Weeden; Johnathan Franklin and Isaiah Pead can both be cut in all but the deepest fantasy leagues; And as I predicted in the pre-season, Tom Brady is still sliding down the fantasy rankings as he finished as a low-end QB2 this week.
And I would have my internet privileges revoked if I failed to mention that amazing Sunday afternoon game against the Broncos and Cowboys. There wasn’t a person on the face of the planet that would have predicted Tony Romo (506 yards passing, 5 TDs, 1 INT, and a 2-point conversion) would finish with more impressive numbers than Peyton Manning (414 yards passing, 5 total TDs, but 1 INT). Granted, a late 4th quarter interception would be what lost it for the Cowboys, but Romo got the better of Manning in fantasy, whereas Manning walked away the winner in reality.
Ryan Tannehill – QB Dolphins: Tannehill finished with top 10 QB numbers thanks to his 307 yards passing and a touchdown on Sunday. The Dolphins passing attack is clicking now that Charles Clay and Mike Wallace (105 receiving yards, WR2 value on NFL.com) have found their groove. Tannehill still isn’t a QB1 on a weekly basis, but this week proves he can be a sleeper start given the right match-up… like week 7 against the Bills.
Sam Bradford – QB Rams: Who was the ONLY writer that said to start Bradford for this week? This one, that’s who! Bradford threw for just 222 yards in the air, but added 3 TDs which was good enough for a top 5 QB rankings this week on NFL.com’s standard scoring format. Bradford is a risky play because the Rams have not been able to run the ball consistently this season. That could change with Zach Stacy taking over the starting RB duties, but I wouldn’t run out to the waiver wire and pick Bradford up based on one week’s stats.
Fred Jackson – RB Bills: Jackson got the bulk of the carries as C.J. Spiller tried to play through an ankle injury, and was able to finish with 53 yards rushing, 40 yards receiving and 2 touchdowns on Thursday night. Jackson’s value will hinge on how well Spiller responds to the extra days of treatment before week 6, but I have him penciled in as a high-end flex play as of right now.
Pierre Thomas – RB Saints: Running backs not named Darren Sproles don’t usually make the winners list when on the Saints, but Pierre Thomas did this weekend. Thomas was able to run the ball for 36 yards on the ground and caught 9 passes for 55 yards and 2 touchdowns. Those numbers vaulted him to a #2 RB rankings in NFL.com standard scoring on Sunday. Thomas finished with 21.10 fantasy points.
Alshon Jeffery – WR Bears: I told people who emailed me or asked via social media to play Jeffery this weekend because the Bears WR is coming into his own in his 2nd NFL season. Jeffery was able to beat a tough Saints secondary in the redzone for a touchdown, and finished with 10 catches for 218 yards and a TD. Jeffery finished as the #1 WR and shouldn’t be on a single waiver wire after Tuesday!
T.Y. Hilton – WR Colts: Not a lot of good things happen when offenses play the Seahawks these days, but Hitlon hooked up with Andrew Luck in the 1st quarter of the game on a 73 yard touchdown pass and hauled in another one in the 3rd quarter for good measure. The first touchdown would have been good enough for fantasy owners, but the second was just icing on the cake. Hilton is a WR3 in most formats, but finished Sunday as the #2 ranked WR behind Jeffery thanks to his 5 receptions for 140 yards and 2 TDs.
Justin Blackmon – WR Jaguars: It seems like when the Jaguars take one step forward, they take one step backwards. Blackmon hit the ground running in week 5 as he hauled in a 67 yard touchdown pass on his first reception this season. Blackmon finished in the top 5 for fantasy WRs thanks to his 136 yards receiving and a touchdown. As for the step backward, 1st round pick LT Luke Joeckel is officially out for the season with a high ankle fracture. Blackmon is an immediate WR2/3 in all formats, depending on the match-up.
Charles Clay – TE Dolphins: Who was the only fantasy football analyst to say to start Clay? That’s right, this one again! I saw a televised fantasy broadcast that specifically said not to play Clay because he would “only get you 40 yards.” That’s why you come here and not there for your fantasy advice! Clay finished the day with 3 catches for 52 yards and a touchdown, good enough for a #5 ranking for TEs in NFL.com standard scoring formats. Clay is in the same boat as Tannehill in the fact that he can be a useful fantasy player, but in the right match-up. He is worth owning as a TE2 if you want the depth at the position.
Cleveland Browns defense: Even though the Browns defense allowed 24 points to the Bills on Thursday night, they still finished 2nd in NFL.com scoring thanks to their 4 sacks, 1 INT, 1 defensive touchdown and 1 return touchdown. The Browns are owned in just 9.5 percent of NFL.com leagues, yet are ranked 3rd overall this season. That being said, they have a tough 2-game schedule coming up with the Lions then the Packers, so don’t be so quick to pick them up as a waiver wire gem when your wire opens.
Carolina Panthers defense: The Panthers were my waiver wire defense this week because the Browns game was already over by the time my article came out. With that, they did allow 20 points to the Cardinals, but managed to off-set that by hauling in 3 interceptions and sacking the QB 2 times. All totaled, they finished as a low-end Def1 with their 9.00 fantasy points on NFL.com standard scoring.
Matt Schaub – QB Texans: If you are one of the 56.9 percent of unfortunate souls on NFL.com that own Schaub, now is the time to cut him loose. He has officially hit rock bottom as he threw for 173 yards, no touchdowns and 3 INTs Sunday night. Schaub put up a 0.92 on the fantasy scoreboard for his owners, which is dead last in the NFL for week 5 (I don’t count T.J. Yates’ 15 yards passing for 0.60 points).
Tom Brady – QB Patriots: Brady managed a humble 197 yards passing, no TDs and 1 INT on Sunday as the Patriots fell to the Bengals 13-6. Brady finished with 5.88 FP in NFL.com standard scoring, which was 25th and not even worth playing as a QB2 this week. Brady will get a boost when Rob Gronkowski is back in the line-up, but I don’t see him being worth anything near the top 5 QB drafting he got in the pre-season.
Carson Palmer – QB Cardinals: When Palmer went to the Cardinals people were excited because he now had Larry Fitzgerald to throw the ball to and fantasy analysts for those big box websites just assumed he would be a low-end QB1 or high-end QB2. What happened in reality is that Palmer is still Palmer and he is ranked just outside of the bottom 30 for fantasy QBs this season. This week he finished with just 175 passing yards, 1 TD and 3 INTs, bad enough for 4th worst in all fantasy football if you count Hoyer and Jeff Tuel. What makes that even more humiliating for the 22.5 percent of people who own him is that Hoyer only threw for 25 yards and ran for 11 yards, and Palmer finished just one spot ahead of him with 4.70 fantasy points to Hoyer’s 2.10!
Cam Newton – QB Panthers: There was a reason why I said to sit Steve Smith this week, because I had a good feeling that the Panthers offense wasn’t going to score against the Cardinals defense. Newton did manage to throw for 308 yards, but didn’t record a touchdown, threw 3 INTs, and lost a fumble. In the end, Newton finished 21st in NFL.com scoring this week with 6.82 fantasy points.
Isaiah Pead – RB Rams: I couldn’t believe that 56.0 percent of people on NFL.com still own Pead, but they do as of Sunday evening. Pead didn’t record a carry or a reception in week 5, and was listed as the #4 RB behind Stacy, Daryl Richardson and Benny Cunningham. There is no reason to hang on to Pead at this point, so go ahead and cut him loose for whatever you can find on the waiver wire.
LeGarrette Blount – RB Patriots: Blount was a hot waiver wire pick-up this week (a +22.6 percent change in week 5 on NFL.com) when Steven Ridley was ruled out. Blount managed 51 yards on 12 carries, but lost a fumble in the second quarter and touched the ball just three times after that. You can be sure that the Patriots do all they can to get Ridley back for week 6 against the Saints; but, should Ridley miss that game, Blount is a low-end desperation flex play.
Darren Sproles – RB Saints: Playing the Bears defense isn’t easy, but Sproles coming out of the backfield in the Saints pass-heavy offense is usually money in the bank for those in PPR leagues. However, this week Sproles managed just 10 yards rushing, and 31 yards receiving on 3 catches. Sproles is no different than most other RBs in the NFL season, being a fantasy disappointment. Despite that he is still ranked in the top 15 for RBs in standard scoring, and is worth playing every week.
Andre Johnson – WR Texans: A victim of his quarterback, Johnson managed just 3 receptions for 39 yards and no endzone visits Sunday night. Johnson did get targeted 10 times on the night, but two of them ended up as INTs and he dropped another that could have gone for a touchdown. Johnson is sure to rebound next week against the Rams, but the QB situation in Houston isn’t going to allow fantasy owners to sleep any easier this season.
Kenny Britt – WR Titans: Britt was talked up all week by Titan’s coach Mike Munchak, saying how good he looked. But, when it came time to put those looks to work, Britt managed just a single catch for 9 yards. That amounts to 0.90 points in NFL.com standard fractional scoring and a big fat 0 if your league doesn’t use fractional scoring. Britt is owned in 64.8 percent of NFL.com leagues and currently ranked 115 at WR; those who have been holding on should start to look elsewhere for WR depth as Britt is obviously a 2013 bust.
Marques Colston – WR Saints: Colston’s days of WR1 value are fading as he finds himself in the middle of the WR3 pack this season on NFL.com. This weekend he managed just 2 catches (on 2 targets) for 15 yards and no TDs. Colston holds more PPR value than standard value because the Saints tend to throw more to the TE and RBs when they get close enough to sniff the endzone. Next week the Saints get the Patriots defense and I have Colston as an early sit ‘em player as he will likely draw coverage from Aqib Talib all game long.
Brandon Myers – TE Giants: I saw that some of those same big box websites that I speak of said to start Myers this week because the Eagles have problems on defense. But, I was smart enough to recommend you sit him because the Giants have more problems on the offensive line that forces Myers into a blocking role. When all was said and done, Myers caught 2 passes for 35 empty yards and finished 19th in NFL.com scoring.
Houston Texans defense: The Texans defense is owned in 89.1 percent of NFL.com leagues, and started in 77.1 percent of them. This week the defense gave up 28 points while only registering a single sack for defensive stats. The sack was enough to keep them out of the negative column for fantasy points, but that’s all it did as they finished with 0.00 points this weekend. They didn’t hurt their owners technically, but they also didn’t help them as their owners basically didn’t play anyone on defense this week.
New York Giants defense: The Giants defense was projected #15 on NFL.com before the season started, and after week 5 they are ranked 31st in the NFL. This week they managed to allow 36 points to the Eagles, while totaling just a lone sack for defensive stats, giving them a -3.00 fantasy points in NFL.com scoring. It’s uncommon to see a negative in the fantasy points column in most scoring formats, but the Giants did it this week. If you are still one of the 12.9 percent of people who have not dropped the Giants defense, please do so right now!
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.