Week 5 Studs/Duds
Last night’s game was higher scoring than most Thursday Night Football games. However, that still doesn’t mean it was easy to watch. Both starting QBs suffered knee injuries. Brian Hoyer is suspected to have a torn ACL and EJ Manuel has a knee sprain of unknown severity. I don’t think it’s too bad because he was jogging and stretching on the sideline without much of a limp. The Bills better hope it’s minor because Jeff Tuel looked AWFUL. Stevie Johnson also left the game with a back injury. CJ Spiller had limited work but managed to break out for a long TD run because of busted assignments. Other than that, he looked to be favoring his ankle a lot. Fred Jackson poached two one yard TD runs off of pass interference penalties, so he had a useful fantasy day. For the Browns, Jordan Cameron finally showed he was human and didn’t get in the end zone or rack up a ton of yards. The Bills were definitely trying to take him out of the game plan. As a result, it left Josh Gordon with more room to maneuver and he was able to snag a nifty TD grab to continue his solid start to the season. The Browns are now in first place in their division-who saw that coming? Keep an eye on the injury updates coming from this game as they could have major fantasy implications.
Now it’s time for another weekly dose of my studs and duds. I would say I did quite well last week, and even got one prediction exactly right. Let’s see how I fare this week.
Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati RB-Bernard has clearly taken over the lead role in the Bengals backfield from BenJarvus Green-Ellis. He is also a big factor in the passing game and can it to the house any time he touches the ball. He also gets the Patriots in their first game without All-Pro DT Vince Wilfork. I think that Bernard’s role will increase with each passing week, and this week will be his fantasy breakout game. Prediction: 85 yards rushing, 50 yards receiving, 1 TD.
Andre Johnson, Houston WR-Johnson has been battling a shin injury but has seemingly recovered. The Niners pass D is suspect this year and he will probably be matched up with Tarell Brown, who has battled inconsistency this year. I would expect a big game from him, especially if the Niners shut down Arian Foster. You can never discount the Matt Schaub factor, but I can’t see him playing so badly after the debacle last week. Prediction: 8 receptions, 90 yards, 1 TD.
Jason Witten, Dallas TE-Witten has been fairly quiet after a big game in the opening week of the season. However, I think he breaks out this week out of necessity. Miles Austin is hurt yet again, so Tony Romo has to lean on him and Dez Bryant even more in the passing game. Plus, they are playing the Broncos this week, so I expect Dallas to be down big and have to throw for most of the game. Garbage time may benefit Witten the most if Romo is looking for short completions to move the chains. Prediction: 10 receptions, 105 yards, 1 TD.
Philip Rivers, San Diego QB-I never thought I would put Rivers in the studs category, but his recent play has forced my hand. I’m still a little skeptical about him being “back” to his old self when he was a top fantasy pick, but his numbers so far have been great. He is also going up against a poor Raiders defense, so he is a top 5 option for me this week. Prediction: 340 yards passing, 3 TDs.
David Wilson, New York Giants RB-Wilson has been one of the biggest busts in fantasy this year, but he may finally get on track this week against an awful Eagles defense. The Giants released third-stringer Da’Rell Scott for some reason, so that leads me to believe Wilson is in line for more touches. Brandon Jacobs clearly has nothing left aside from a goal line plunge here and there, so I think the Giants are going back to Wilson by default. If he doesn’t fumble, he could become a fantasy commodity once again. Prediction: 105 yards rushing, 20 yards receiving, 1 TD.
Trent Richardson, Indianapolis RB-Richardson has scored in each of his first two games with the Colts, but he has not looked good otherwise. Part of it is because he doesn’t have a complete grasp on the playbook, but the other reason is because I think he’s just vastly overrated. His YPC average is never good and he has way too many games of 20 carries for 60 yards for my taste. Even though Arian Foster gashed the Seahawks defense last week, Richardson is not on his level. Trent may get his usual cheap 1 yard TD run, but don’t expect much else. Prediction: 55 yards rushing, 10 yards receiving, 1 TD run of 2 yards or less, at best.
Vernon Davis, San Francisco TE-Davis is still battling the lingering effects of a pulled hamstring suffered two weeks ago. He came back last week against the Rams and had a TD, but was otherwise held in check and looked like a decoy. He is back to his inconsistent ways and I don’t think he has a good game against a very good Texans defense. They will force Colin Kaepernick to use his other options and try to take Davis out of the game as much as possible. Prediction: 3 receptions, 40 yards, 0 TDs.
Kenbrell Thompkins, New England WR-He has scored 3 TDs in the past two weeks, but I think his nice run ends against the Bengals. Even with these improved numbers, he is not even catching 50% of his targets. If Rob Gronkowski finally returns this week, there will be even less targets available. This doesn’t even take into account the likely return of Danny Amendola. Thompkins is going to have a down week and is nothing more than a flex start this week. Prediction: 3 receptions, 35 yards, 0 TDs.
Chris Johnson, Tennessee RB-The Titans just lost starting QB Jake Locker for at least a month, which leaves turnover machine Ryan Fitzpatrick to take over. I don’t think this bodes well for the Titans offense, and it certainly doesn’t help that they go against the Chiefs outstanding defense. Johnson has been a disappointment and it looks like the days of CJ2K are long gone. He will probably do better than last week’s 21 yard effort, but not by much. Prediction: 55 yards rushing, 10 yards receiving, 0 TDs.
Matthew Stafford, Detroit QB-This is a bit of a reach on my part, but after an average game last week, I think Stafford goes into Lambeau and plays poorly. He may get his yards because the Lions throw the ball constantly, but I don’t expect a monster game from him. I’ve seen him ranked as a top-5 option this week, and I think he has a good chance of falling outside the top ten. Prediction: 325 yards passing, 1 TD, 4 INTs.