Heading into Fantasy Football Week 5, it’s easy to panic and worry if your starting lineup is enough to win. Luckily, here is to bringing you some sanity for another unpredictable week.
Sep 25, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton on the sideline during the second half against the Denver Broncos at Paul Brown Stadium. The Broncos won 29-17. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
Hold on. Let me dust off my crystal ball and see into the future of fantasy football.
Wait. I see something. A handsome, bearded man with strong fantasy football opinions and access to ESPN stats and NFL team schedules. He’s not perfect, but he has — so far — been more right than wrong.
Oh. Wait. I’m looking at my reflection.
Trust me when I say that I drafted all four of my fantasy football teams rather well, though I have landed on some duds so far. Oh, I’ve landed some duds (coughcough JetsDefense coughcoughcough).
How about you? Are your duds the same as my duds? Stop looking at my duds, yo. Anyway, I’m being silly, however — depending on how you drafted — you may be going a bit silly yourself right now about your team.
Take my hand and lets walk into my Haunted House of Fantasy Football Sanity together. Yes, some of it will be scary and ugly, but other parts will just be funny and borderline stupid. Just keep telling yourself: It’s all just fantasy . . . or is it?
Next: PANIC: Andy Dalton
PANIC: Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals
Bengal with me on this one. Get it? Bear with me? Bengal with me?
Anyway, if ever there was a quarterback missing his long lost wide receivers in this league, it has to be Andy Dalton.
In his first two games (New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers), Dalton threw for 366 yards in each game for two touchdowns and one interception. Over the next two games (Denver Broncos and Miami Dolphins), he averaged 251 yards, with one touchdown and one interception.
What this tells us is that against okay secondaries, Dalton can and will tear them apart. However, the remaining schedule is a tough call for him, with matches against the Patriots, Giants, Redskins, Buffalo, and Eagles.
PANIC if you only have Dalton to rely on to get you to the playoffs. That said: Dalton has a nice Week 14 and 15 stretch against the Browns and the Steelers.
Oh! Keep an eye on Cam Newton. It’s okay to let your hand hover over the big red button on the Carolina quarterback.
Next: DON'T PANIC: Eli Manning
Sep 25, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) prepares to throw the ball during the first half against the Washington Redskins at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
DON’T PANIC: Eli Manning, New York Giants
I’ll admit: I’m an Eli Manning owner in two of my four leagues. Yes, the Minnesota Vikings handed Manning and that talented receiving corp a handy butt whooping in Week 4, but that’s about status quo for any quarterback or wide receiver playing Purple People Eaters this year.
Yes, I know he had four touchdowns and four interceptions on the year, plus one fumble.
However, Eli is averaging about 297 yards per game and, quite frankly, there is too much talent on the offensive side of the football. Manning no longer has to force the ball to Odell Beckham, thanks to the emergence of Sterling Shepard and the return to health of Victor Cruz.
Look for Manning to be a steady and — every so often –studly force behind center for your fantasy team. Don’t believe me? Just look at his remaining schedule. I’ll wait.
While I’m waiting, I’ll just remind you again to not panic on Andrew Luck. The man is just too good to not start every week, except for Week 15 @ Minnesota. Eek!
Next: PANIC: Kelvin Benjamin
Sep 18, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin (13) runs after a catch in the second half against the San Francisco 49ers at Bank of America Stadium. The Panthers defeated the 49ers 46-27. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
PANIC: Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina Panthers
I thought I was a genius. I thought I saw something no one else saw when I drafted Kelvin Benjamin in the fourth round in two of my leagues.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t start Kelvin every single week (any given Sunday, right?), but it is hard to trust Newton. Outside of the concussion, he sustained in Week 4, Newton has been getting lit up by opposing defenses for 13 sacks, giving him almost no time to throw.
All that said, Newton has thrown six touchdowns on the year, four of which have gone to Kelvin Benjamin.
Benjamin should be starting for you every week, but, hopefully, not as your WR1. He does have some nice match-ups the rest of the season, but with stops at the Cardinals, Rams, Chiefs, Seahawks, and Redskins (Week 15) sprinkled in there, don’t be surprised if he disappears half the time.
Next: DON'T PANIC: Odell Beckham Jr.
Sep 18, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham (13) motions to fans after a call in the game against the New Orleans Saints at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
DON’T PANIC: Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants
I’ve watched Odell Beckham Jr. get traded in three of my leagues thus far. This is insane.
He’s averaging roughly 76 yards per game, which is not WR1 numbers, certainly not what you might have been hoping for when you drafted OBJ high in the 1st round of the draft.
What I said about Manning a couple of slides back applies to Odell, as well. There is too much talent, especially with Beckham, for the dry streak to continue. There are many opportunities for him to go off.
Plus, you have to like the match-ups in Weeks 11 – 15 (Bears, Browns, Steelers, Cowboys, and Lions).
Odell can guide you to and win you a fantasy football championship.
Oh, yeah. Don’t panic on Larry Fitzgerald. The old man is just too good to keep down, regardless of who is throwing the ball.
Next: PANIC: Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman
Nov 22, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons running backs Terron Ward (33) andTevin Coleman (26) and Devonta Freeman (24) share a moment in the end zone before the game against the Indianapolis Colts at the Georgia Dome. The Colts defeated the Falcons 24-21. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
PANIC: Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons
I’m not a Jedi, but I just sensed a disturbance in the force . . . or in the comment section.
Here’s my reasoning: if you owned both Freeman and Coleman, who do you start? Exactly.
You’re going to and should be starting either one of these guys every week, but, outside of an insane game against the New Orleans Saints, both Coleman and Freeman have been middle of the road when it comes to starting running backs.
In all likelihood, you took Freeman in the top two rounds of the draft, with Coleman ending up somewhere near the bottom rounds, yet Coleman is the one with slightly better fantasy numbers per game.
I’ve seen Coleman dropped in one of my leagues thus far. Don’t go this far, but consider playing the match-ups from here on out. Even then, it’ll be hard to tell which one of the duo will go off. Panic if you’re relying on either one as anything more than your FLEX. Don’t trust them.
Honestly, if you didn’t listen to me about Todd Gurley before, you should now.
Next: DON'T PANIC: Matt Forte
Sep 15, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Jets running back Matt Forte (22) runs for a touchdown as Buffalo Bills strong safety Aaron Williams (23) pursues during the second half at New Era Field. The Jets beat the Bills 37-31. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
DON’T PANIC: Matt Forte, New York Jets
Would say this is a no-brainer, but, with the Jets this year, that’s a hard thing to say without laughing.
For some odd reason, offensive coordinator Chan Gailey has been under utilizing Matt Forte over the past two match-ups, dropping to 33 combined touches against the Seahawks and Chiefs after logging 59 combined touches against the Bengals and Bills.
While he is banged up a little, expect Gailey and Ryan Fitzpatrick to rely on Forte more and more over the upcoming weeks. Will he break 100-yards rushing and get you that bonus? Will he find the end zone for the first time in two games?
Maybe. One thing should be understood very clearly and that is Forte and the running game is crucial for the Jets to get back on the runway. Don’t panic.
Oh! Don’t panic on Frank Gore. If he’s your RB1, then you have to have gone heavy on receivers in the draft. On a powerful, yet inconsistent Colts’ offense, Gore is the steady presence in the backfield who might reward you with a touchdown now and then.