Ladies and gentlemen: Your 2013 New York Football Giants!!
A quick side note before we begin: There’s a lot of parity in football right now. You think the Falcons are a Super Bowl contender and then they go out and lose to the Jets at home on Monday Night Football. You think the Browns are shutting it down for Clowney, and they rattle off three straight wins and take control of the AFC North. The unpredictability is what most of us love and hate about the NFL. However, through five weeks, one thing has emerged as “consistent” for the 2013 season: The Giants, my Giants, are awful. Big Blue has eluded parity for six straight games. 0-6. Clowney in sights. They just have to out-suck Jacksonville for 10 more weeks.
If the Giants don’t go 0-16 and lose the Clowney sweepstakes, the 2013 season will still hold a special place in my memory bank. Last Sunday, me and three buddies went to Giants/Eagles game. Sometime during the second half we noticed the large woman sitting in front of us was more focused on her tablet than the game. Which made us curious. What was it that drove her attention away from the NFL game she paid to come watch? Was she checking her fantasy team? No, turns out she was doing some online shopping. For spicy mayonnaise. Clowney or no Clowney, I will remember the 2013 New York Giants as a team so awful that a fan would rather shop for spicy mayonnaise from her seat at the game than watch the joke of an effort the Giants put out on the field.
To the High/Low!
It is easy to look at your lineup and say, “This guy is better than that guy, so he should start.” But that’s not the recipe for fantasy success. Fantasy champions carefully adjust their lineups each week based on several mitigating factors. It’s not easy to pull the trigger on the road less traveled, starting or sitting guys you normally might not. But sometimes, in fantasy, it is necessary. This column serves as a platform to put several players on your radar each week. Players I have a feeling might outperform your expectations (the “Highs”), and players I have a feeling might fall short of your expectations (the “Lows”).
Robert Griffin III, Redskins (@ Cowboys)
RGIII is in a serious sophomore slump right now. Handicapped by a knee brace and a safety-first mentality, Griffin appears out-of-sync, uncomfortable and lacking rhythm. When the game matters most though, RGIII typically plays his best. This week is a big game. The Redskins are 1-3, yet still remain half a game back of Dallas and Philadelphia for the division lead. They can erase all of the bad September brought with one strong effort on Sunday. Griffin torched Dallas for 4 TDs in this stadium last year. I think the former Texas native torches them again this week. Let’s not forget, Dallas ranks last against fantasy QBs in 2013. Click here to see our QB fantasy projections for Week 6.
Tony Romo, Cowboys (vs. Redskins)
Just because I expect RGIII to torch the NFL’s worst fantasy defense against QBs, doesn’t mean I can’t expect Romo to return the favor to the Redskins’ fifth worst ranked defense against QBs. This one should be a Texas shootout folks. Get in on the fantasy action and take the over. Also, I think I speak for all Tony Romo fantasy owners when I say, thanks for scoring 45 points this week Tony….on my bench!!!! (slams fist on table)
Cam Newton, Panthers (@ Vikings)
Carolina’s bye turned out to be a huge momentum kill for Killa Cam. Newton put together some quality drives, but in the end, turned the ball over three times, failing to reach the end zone even once. What’s most startling is the lack of rushing we’re seeing out of Cam. In his first two seasons, Cam averaged 45 rushing yards a game, finding the end zone a total of 22 times. This season, Cam has rushed for just 25 yards per game and one score. It may seem marginal, but those differences add up. The dual-threat really opened things up in the passing game for him. Limited in the pocket, we’re seeing more sacks and more overthrows from Cam. For whatever reason, the Panthers found the right balance against the Giants and forgot about it over the bye week. As desperation creeps in I think Rivera becomes less concerned with protecting Cam and more concerned about protecting his job. When he lets loose and lets Cam be Cam, we’ll see the Newton we all grew to love. At 1-3, in a must-win game against a poor defense, I think Cam’s turnaround begins.
Tom Brady, Patriots (vs. Saints)
The Saints are a top-1o defense against fantasy QBs. Tom Brady is the 19th ranked QB. The 19th ranked QB!!! All signs would point to another Brady flop, but I’m looking beyond the numbers this week. This guy is due. After an embarrassing loss to the Bengals it would be easy to assume NOLA runs away with this one. But if there’s one thing I know about the Patriots, it’s then when people doubt them, that’s exactly when they prove the doubters wrong. I think the Patriots knock off the Saints, as Tom Brady shows flashes of his old self.
Russell Wilson, Seahawks (vs. Titans)
You never really know what you’re going to get out of Russell Wilson these days. He’s hot one week and cold the next. Squaring off against the league’s #2 ranked defense against fantasy QBs, I have to imagine we see another “cold” effort from Russell in Week 6.
Matthew Stafford, Lions (@ Browns)
Calvin Johnson is always battling injuries, but he rarely misses games. His absence in Week 5 has me a little worried about the severity of that knee injury. Even if he plays, Calvin won’t be his usual self. I think Stafford struggles against an underrated Browns defense.
Colin Kaepernick, 49ers (vs. Cardinals)
Since Week 1, Kaepernick has thrown for 127, 150, 167 and 113 yards. Looks like he’s really missing Crabtree. Not much more to say.
Arian Foster, Texans (vs. Rams)
A few fantasy owners I know gave up on Arian Foster a week too soon, dealing him right before he bounced back. Every year we doubt Arian Foster. And every year he makes us regret it. The Rams couldn’t stop a nose bleed right now, let alone one of the league’s top RBs. Matt Schaub is the most hated man in Texas. Time to get back to the basics. Let Arian loose. Click here to see our Running Back rankings for Week 6.
Bilal Powell, Jets (vs. Steelers)
The only team worse against the run than the Rams? The Steelers. That’s typically not the case on Troy Polamalu’s watch, but 2013 has been anything but a banner year for the Steel Curtain. I think the Jets run, and they run a lot.
Danny Woodhead, Chargers (vs. Colts)
I picked up Danny Woodhead for Adrian Peterson’s bye last week and he didn’t disappoint. In fact, I’m keeping him on my squad. I said before the season started he would make a case for your flex spot, even RB2 in PPR leagues. Turns out he might even be RB2 worthy in standard scoring as well. Ryan Mathews doesn’t fit in McCoy’s offense. Danny Woodhead is perfect for it.
Monte Ball, Broncos (vs. Jaguars)
I’m loving Monte Ball this week. Even featured him as my sleeper of choice. Odds are the Broncos are running away with this one in the first half, which means plenty of action for Ball in the second half. Denver seems to give Ball and Hillman a lot of work when these games gets out of reach. I’m thinking 80 yards and a TD is reachable.
C.J. Spiller, Bills (vs. Bengals)
Spiller is becoming a mainstay in the “Lows” this year. Much to the chagrin of “this guy.” I’m hanging onto the thread of hope I have left for Spiller, but some doubt is starting to creep in. Fred Jackson looks pretty solid. Until Spiller gets healthy, Marrone seems content on rolling with Fred Jackson. The 10-day rest was big for Spiller, but he’s still been limited in practice. Until healthy, I can’t trust my guy.
Leveon Bell. Steelers (@ Jets)
Leveon delighted fantasy owners that were patient with him, finding the end zone twice in his NFL debut. But I think the 2 TDs shielded owners from the problem that still persists: the Steelers offensive line is awful. Bell amounted just 57 yards on 16 carries. At 3.6 yards per carry, Bell is really a boom-or-bust kind of player. He basically needs to reach the end zone to be worth the start, and that’s really more a matter of luck. The luck was there against the NFL’s third worst fantasy defense against the run. I doubt it will be there against the NFL’s third best in that category.
Eddy Lacy, Packers (@ Ravens)
Baltimore’s defense is tops in the league against the run this year. If the Packers are going to get their first win on the road, it’s going to have to come courtesy of Aaron Rodgers’ arm. Expect a quiet day from Lacy.
Trent Richardson, Colts (@ San Diego)
I think its time for Trent Richardson owners to press the panic button. I can’t say I’m surprised Richardson is struggling. The low yards per carry was always a concern for me. His touchdowns covered up a very pedestrian rookie year on the ground. The Colts have never been great rushing the ball. Their offensive line isn’t great. Richardson’s clearly not good enough to overcome that.
Josh Gordon, Browns (vs. Lions)
I made a heavy investment in Josh Gordon this year. With the 2-game suspension a thing of the past, I’m starting to see a great return on that investment. Josh Gordon is a force to be reckoned with folks. It’s truly a shame Brian Hoyer is out for the year, but it shouldn’t be that hard for Weeden to keep him productive. Josh has all the physical gifts to be one of the elite receivers in the NFL. If he keeps it up, he could finish the year as a fantasy WR1. Check out our Wide Receiver rankings for Week 6.
Wes Welker, Broncos (vs. Jaguars)
Pick your poison of Broncos wide receivers. My guess is at least 2 out of 3 reach the end zone. The likeliest candidate? Wes Welker. He’s quickly emerged as Peyton’s favorite target around the goal line (along with Julius Thomas). Jacksonville doesn’t have an answer for anyone. Wes Welker is a far too difficult match-up for them. By the way. The day the Jaguars win a game (if it ever happens) is the day every survivor pool drops to zero survivors. If it wasn’t for the three repeat divisional match-ups and “pick-two-teams” weeks, there’s a good chance every survivor pool across the country would end in hundreds of people splitting the final pot, as they all hastily celebrate the Jags 0-16 season.
Dez Bryant, Cowboys (vs. Redskins)
If this one’s a Texas shootout (and I said it would be) then Dez is going to be top gun. He was targeted 15 times in his last home outing against the Skins, catching 11 balls for 145 yards and 2 scores. Washington’s pass defense is bad folks. Very bad. Dez Bryant is catching fire. You should have bought low when you had the chance. He may cruise to the #1 WR spot going forward.
T.Y. Hilton, Colts (@ San Diego)
Hilton got off to a slow start, but he officially arrived last week against the league’s top pass defense. I’ve been saying it for ten months now. Hilton is the better fantasy option than Reggie Wayne. Luck may give Wayne more targets, but Hilton does more with them. He’s got great ball skills and can absolutely fly. As the Colts continue to establish the run game with Richardson, Hilton only becomes more valuable in my eyes. He’s got all the talent. It’ll be on display against the league’s third worst fantasy defense against WRs this week.
Tavon Austin, Rams (@ Texans)
Houston is due for a bounce back game. As I mentioned before, I think they go back to the basics: A heavy dose of running and some hard-nosed defense. Austin leads the NFL in drops this year. He’s been a bit of a disappointment. Then there’s Sam Bradford, who seems to have more lives than a cat at this point. How many years does he have to fail miserably before the Rams commit to another option? Expect a combination of woes between the two of them to leave Bradford and Austin with disappointing afternoons against a good defense.
Anquan Boldin, 49ers (vs. Cardinals)
See Kaepernick, Colin.
Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals (@ 49ers)
Fitzgerald is still overcoming a hamstring injury that’s been hampering him. Matched up against a vaunted Niners defense that’s finally playing up to its billing, expect Fitzgerald’s struggles to continue in Week 6.
Jason Witten, Cowboys (vs. Redskins)
See Romo, Tony. Got to ride the hot hand.
Jermichael Finley, Packers (@ Ravens)
Baltimore has struggled against TEs this season. Fully recovered from his concussion, expect Finely to get back on track against the Ravens.
Kyle Rudolph, Vikings (vs. Panthers)
Matt Cassell barely looked his direction against the Steelers. I wasn’t a fan of Kyle Rudolph before Cassell took the reigns and nothing has changed since he has. You should pretty much stay away from all Vikings not named Adrian Peterson for now.
Tyler Eifert, Bengals (@ Bills)
It’s pretty obvious Eifert and Gresham will continue to hurt each other’s fantasy value in 2013. It’s also pretty obvious Andy Dalton will do the same. Matched against a surprising top-5 defense against fantasy TEs, expect Eifert to be average at best.
Cincinnati Bengals (@ Buffalo)
I love Thad Lewis this week about as much as I love bee stings. Spiller still isn’t 100%. The Bengals are boasting a top-10 defense. It’s a good week to be the guy/girl that drafted the Bengals defense.
Denver Broncos (vs. Jacksonville)
The team playing the Jacksonville Jaguars will be on this list every week for the rest of the year. Sadly, I might have to say the same about the team playing the Giants as well.
Houston Texans (vs. St. Louis)
I have reiterated my feelings about this game throughout the column. Bounce back game for the Texans. As long as Sam Bradford keeps doing Sam Bradford, the Texans should be a great start.
New Orleans Saints (vs. New England)
I like the Patriots to shock most and come away with a victory here. The Saints defense has been surprisingly solid, but Tom Brady has got to be due, right? Right?
Carolina Panthers (vs. Carolina)
Is it just me or does Minnesota always play high-scoring shootouts at home? Adrian Peterson has a lot of anger built up inside right now. I wouldn’t want to be the defense he channels it against. I think AP has a big day in honor of his tragically departed son.
I’d also like to add that what happened to Adrian’s son was truly senseless and disgraceful. I think I speak for all of us at Gridiron Experts when I say our thoughts and prayers are with Adrian Peterson and his family in the wake of his son’s tragic death.
Don’t forget to check out our customized rankings and projections before you finalize your lineups this weekend. Have a great week everybody.
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