Regardless of your record it’s time to prepare yourself for fantasy football battle in Week Five. Knowing that many fantasy owners’ are on the fence about which RB2, WR3 or Flex to start we approach this article as a way to talk about some of your question marks.
With that in mind, check out the Week Five edition of Bruno Boys Fantasy Football Roundtable.
WEEK FIVE BURNING QUESTIONS
1. No doubt about it many top players are not getting the job done thus far but in your opinion who is the one guy that stands out above the rest of being the biggest dud through four weeks?
Bruno Boys Whooley: Sadly, my vote is going to San Diego Chargers’ running back, LaDainian Tomlinson. While 2008 was a “down year” for LT, he still finished the season 6th among fantasy running backs, prompting many owners to take a gamble on him in the first round of their fantasy drafts. The thought was that if LT bounced back, you’d be getting perhaps the top fantasy RB in the middle of round one. If not, he’d still put up solid RB1 numbers. Unfortunately, 2009 has not gone LT’s way. Through four weeks, he’s suited up for just two games and has a combined 10 fantasy points, not exactly the way to start your “bounce back” season.
Bruno Boys Jimbo: It was a toss up for me between Tom Brady and Larry Fitzgerald, but I’m going with Fitz here. He ranks 26th among wide receivers thus far. The Arizona Cardinals’ passing attack has not been on fire like it was last year. This isn’t all Fitz’s fault because Kurt Warner is showing some signs of aging in 2009. All it’s going to take is one big hit and Warner will be on the shelf for awhile. Facing a weak Houston Texans’ defense this week, it’s a great chance for Fitz to have a breakout game. But for how much hype he got as the far and away top WR in all draft formats this year, he should have better numbers.
2. The Baltimore Ravens offense averages 31 points per game which is good for third in the NFL. Do you think they can continue to stay consistent on offense and be the surprise offense of the 2009 season?
Bruno Boys Jimbo: The Baltimore Ravens are going to slow down a little bit. Looking at their schedule, they still have to face Minnesota on the road, Cincinnati twice, Pittsburgh twice and when Troy Polamalu is back, Denver and at Green Bay. Those are some stiff defenses. Two of their first four games of the season were against Kansas City and San Diego. While I think the Ravens are one of the better clubs in the NFL this year, I think they’re going to go back to winning with their defense first. Also, I’m still not completely sold on Willis McGahee.
Bruno Boys Whooley: The Ravens’ M.O. has always been defense, but very quietly last season, they averaged a healthy 24.1 points per contest, good for 11th in the NFL. In 2009, as noted above, they’ve been even better. In Joe Flacco, the Ravens finally have a quarterback that provides them with a passing game presence. Add that to their already formidable rush offense and the excellent field position their defense provides, and it’s no wonder they’re putting up points. Look for them to continue to be solid throughout 2009.
WEEK FIVE LIGHTNING ROUND (Fantasy Football Questions in a Flash)
Real Deal or One-Week Wonder
1. Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers (30 points in Week Four)
Bruno Boys Jimbo: REAL DEAL. Fast Willie Parker is not fast anymore. Rashard Mendenhall looked extremely explosive last week against the San Diego Chargers. Granted, the Chargers don’t have a good defense this year, but Mendenhall still looked great out there. The Pittsburgh Steelers are a run-first offense traditionally, and if Mendenhall continues to be a force to be reckoned with, they give him the ball as much as possible.
Bruno Boys Whooley: REAL DEAL. Mendenhall wasn’t a first round pick for nothing. The guy has skills, and he demonstrated them in week 4 with his 29 carry, 165 yard, and 2 TD outing against the Chargers. He’ll likely show his skills off again this weekend against the 20th ranked rush defense of the Detroit Lions, making it hard for the Steelers to return to “Fast” Willie as their main ball carrier.
2. Mohamed Massaquoi, WR, Cleveland Browns (14 points in Week Four)
Bruno Boys Whooley: ONE-WEEK WONDER. I’m always a little weary of a wide receiver that comes out of no where to notch a big game, and I’m taking that stand here. Yes, Massaquoi showed a nice rapport with Derek Anderson, but as Anderson gets more comfortable under center during this go around as the Browns’ starter, look for him to spread the ball around a bit more. Does Massaquoi have potential to be fantasy relevant? Yes, but I want to see that potential put into action a couple of more times before going ga-ga over him.
Bruno Boys Jimbo: ONE-WEEK WONDER. I don’t like any member of the Cleveland Browns. Mohamed Massaquoi had a nice game last week, and should see more targets with Braylon Edwards out of the picture, but the Browns may have the second-worst offense in the AFC after the Oakland Raiders. I don’t think this guy is ever going to be a consistent fantasy play.
3. Ricky Williams, RB, Miami Dolphins (15 points in Week Four)
Bruno Boys Jimbo: REAL DEAL. With the loss of Chad Pennington, the Miami Dolphins are going to rely more heavily on the run. Especially since they have had success running the Wildcat offense, this bodes well for Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown. Williams currently ranks 12th among running backs and has scored in the last two games. There’s no reason to think this team will stop trying to run the ball.
Bruno Boys Whooley: REAL DEAL. The Dolphins have allowed Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams to carry the ball on average 30.5 times a game. That number means there’s plenty of carries to go around in the Dolphins’ backfield, and as we always say, carries mean opportunities and opportunities mean fantasy points.
4. Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay Packers (10 points in Week Four)
Bruno Boys Jimbo: ONE-WEEK WONDER. Aaron Rodgers has been spreading the ball around more than usual with the sudden disappearance of Greg Jennings. Since all reports say that Jennings’ wrist is OK, Jennings is due for his next big breakout game any week now. Besides Jennings, Donald Driver has once again been a strong fantasy play. There’s just too many options in this passing attack for Jordy Nelson to be a consistent contributor.
Bruno Boys Whooley: ONE-WEEK WONDER. Yes, Nelson had a double digit fantasy day in week 4, but his final stat line was just 3 catches for 47 yards and a score. There are just too many talented receivers ahead of Nelson to make him a legitimate fantasy option. After all, Nelson had just 33 catches for 336 yards and 2 TDs in all of 2008, when he was in a similar situation to the one he’s occupying now.
5. Derek Anderson, QB, Cleveland Browns (18 points in Week Four)
Bruno Boys Jimbo: ONE-WEEK WONDER. He just lost his top target for starters. Secondly, as I stated earlier in this article, I just don’t like anybody on the Cleveland Browns right now. His accuracy is so bad that without a good enough receiver to go get his passes, Anderson’s liable to get picked off a lot and/or just completely miss his receivers. It’s going to be a long year in Cleveland.
Bruno Boys Whooley: ONE-WEEK WONDER. No doubt Anderson has fantasy upside. I mean, we all remember his stellar 2007 season, but he’s regressed so much since then that I just can’t trust him. Plus, with Eric Mangini at the helm, don’t be surprised to see a QB switch back to Brady Quinn at some point in the season if Anderson has a lengthy period of struggle.
WEEK FIVE MATCH-UPS (Who’ll Have the Better Week?)
1. Andre Caldwell (Cin) vs. Kelley Wasshington (Bal)
Bruno Boys Jimbo: CALDWELL. As tough as the Baltimore Ravens’ defense is, they’ll be focused first and foremost on stopping Chad Ochocinco and Cedric Benson. This should leave some room for Andre Caldwell to put up respectable fantasy numbers. The problem for Kelley Washington is while Derrick Mason is expected to play, he’s probably not going to be 100 percent, which should make it easier to cover all of the Baltimore wideouts in general. On top of that, I really like the way the Cincinnati Bengals’ defense is playing right now.
Bruno Boys Whooley: WASHINGTON. Besides Caldwell’s impressive play towards the end of the Bengals’ game with the Pittsburgh Steelers, he’s done very little. In fact, he has two outings this season with 1 fantasy point. Washington at least has been somewhat consistent in that he’s put up no less than 3 fantasy points in any given week.
2. Jerome Harrison (Cle) vs. Marshawn Lynch (Buf) vs. Fred Jackson (Buf)
Bruno Boys Jimbo: LYNCH. Given how terrible the Cleveland Browns’ rush defense has been thus far, you have to take either Marshawn Lynch or Fred Jackson here. I think this game will be Lynch’s coming out party. Fred Jackson did a great job holding down the fort, but Lynch is the feature back on this offense, even if there is going to be a split.
Bruno Boys Whooley: JACKSON. Were Jamal Lewis going to be out, Harrison would get the nod simply because he’d be the “man” for Cleveland. However, Lewis looks like he’ll be playing, which means I had to go with one of the Bills’ RBs here as the Browns allow the most fantasy points to opposing RBs. I went with Jackson simply because he’s been explosive on the ground, which is where the Bills will attack Cleveland.
3. Jason Campbell (Was) vs. Jake Delhomme (Car)
Bruno Boys Jimbo: DELHOMME. Nobody has liked Jake Delhomme this year, but fresh off a bye week and playing at home, I think the Carolina Panthers will get the offense clicking this week. Last week, Jason Campbell wasn’t all that impressive against a pretty weak Tampa Bay Buccaneers team. If the Panthers run more and defenses load up in the box as a result, that should allow Delhomme to find Steve Smith.
Bruno Boys Whooley: DELHOMME. The Redskins have actually allowed less fantasy points to opposing QBs per week, but they’ve also faced the Rams, Lions, and Buccaneers. With a full week off, I think Delhomme finally gets everything working and posts a solid one here.
4. Kevin Smith (Det) vs. Rashard Mendenhall (Pit)
Bruno Boys Whooley: MENDENHALL. Smith has had some pretty solid fantasy outings up to this point, including last week’s 17 point effort against the Chicago Bears, but the majority of Smith’s points have been coming via the TD. Against a Steelers’ rush defense that has allowed just one rushing TD on the year, I don’t see a trip to the end zone in the works for Smith this week.
Bruno Boys Jimbo: MENDENHALL. Give credit to Kevin Smith, he didn’t miss any time with that shoulder injury. But he’s still not 100 percent, and he’s facing a defense that I believe is still the toughest to run against. Combine that with how explosive Rashard Mendenhall looked last week and this one looks like a no-brainer to me.
5. Miles Austin (Dal) vs. Patrick Crayton (Dal)
Bruno Boys Jimbo: CRAYTON. If Roy Williams was healthy, I would have selected Miles Austin here because he has a higher chance of making a big play. Even if Williams does play, Patrick Crayton is going to get a lot more looks this week against a weak Kansas City Chiefs’ defense. Crayton is just more of a consistent option for this week.
Bruno Boys Whooley: CRAYTON. A good stat to check when looking at wide receivers is how many times they’ve been target. Here, Crayton has the advantage as he’s been looked at twice as much as Austin (24 to 12).
6. Steve Smith (NYG) vs. Brandon Jacobs (NYG) vs. Ahmad Bradshaw (NYG)
Bruno Boys Jimbo: JACOBS. Eli Manning is a little banged up right now, which hurts the fantasy value for Steve Smith slightly this week. The New York Giants should be more reliant on the run this week and despite how good Ahmad Bradshaw has been, Brandon Jacobs is still the top man in this backfield. He should punch in at least one goaline score this week.
Bruno Boys Whooley: JACOBS. The Oakland Raiders rank 26th against the run and 11th against the pass. That means the way to beat them is on the ground. With two straight games of 92 yards rushing, Jacobs is returning to his dominant self. Look for him to pass the century mark for the first time this season.
7. Cadillac Williams (TB) vs. Brian Westbrook (Phi) vs. LeSean McCoy (Phi)
Bruno Boys Whooley: WESTBROOK. While I know McCoy will be given the ball at the end of the game once the Eagles have this game in hand, I believe Westbrook will play a roll in getting them to that point, giving him the bigger fantasy day.
Bruno Boys Jimbo: MCCOY. I think the Philadelphia Eagles are going to go easy on Brian Westbrook this week. Since this SHOULD be an easy game for the Eagles, they’re likely to sit Westbrook once the game is decided and let LeSean McCoy get more work. Cadillac Williams is the main man in the backfield for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers right now, but the Eagles defense should shut down this offense.
8. Steven Jackson (StL) vs. Minnesota Rush Defense (Min)
Bruno Boys Jimbo: MINNESOTA. Steve Jackson is still a legit fantasy running back, liable to have a monster game any week, but I don’t like his chances this week. Last Monday, the Minnesota Vikings’ defense capitalized on a weak offensive line. The St. Louis Rams don’t have the improved offensive line that they were supposed to this year. The Rams are going to struggle passing and running once again this week.
Bruno Boys Whooley: MINNESOTA. The Vikings have been impressive thus far against the run, allowing just 89.5 rush yards per game and absolutely no rushing TDs. Add to that the fact that they key in on stopping Jackson, the only semblance of an offense the Rams have, and things do not bode well for SJAX.
9. Tony Gonzalez (Atl) vs. Vernon Davis (SF)
Bruno Boys Jimbo: GONZALEZ. You have to tip your hat to Vernon Davis for how much he’s turned things around this year. There’s no doubt, though, that Tony Gonzalez has been Matt Ryan’s favorite target so far this year. I like his chances of getting into the endzone more than Davis this week.
Bruno Boys Whooley: GONZALEZ. Davis has finally put some of that athleticism we’ve heard so much about to good use this year, but I can’t go against the consistency of Touchdown Tony. Much like weeks 1 and 2, I expect 70 yards and a score from Gonzo in week 5.
10. Kevin Walter (Hou) vs. Steve Breaston (Ari)
Bruno Boys Whooley: WALTER. While Breaston has been the leading receiver for the Cardinals their past two games, I have to give Walter the edge here and it is simply due to the match-ups. Houston currently ranks 9th in the NFL against the pass, while Arizona resides at 30. Look for Schaub to carve up the Cardinals, leading to a solid fantasy outing from Walter.
Bruno Boys Jimbo: WALTER. Steve Breatson is the third option in his offense, while Kevin Walter is the second wide receiver on the Houston Texans. This game is likely to be a shootout, but Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin are going to get more looks than Breaston.
11. Knowshon Moreno (Den) vs. Randy Moss (NE)
Bruno Boys Jimbo: MOSS. In his first start in the NFL, I see Knowshon Moreno having a slight setback this week. In the long run, I like Moreno to turn the backfield into a one-man unit, but this week, the New England Patriots are going to slow him down a bit. I’m also not drinking the kool-aid yet on the Denver Broncos’ defense. I see Tom Brady connecting with Randy Moss for at least one score.
Bruno Boys Whooley: MORENO. Both have match-ups on the more difficult side this week, but Moreno will be the one of the two touching the ball more, and I think simply because of that fact, he’ll have the better day.
12. Mike Sims-Walker (Jac) vs. T.J. Houshmandzadeh (Sea) vs. Nate Burleson (Sea)
Bruno Boys Jimbo: HOUSHMANDZADEH. It looks like Matt Hasselbeck is back this week, which should bring smiles to the faces on all the wide receivers for the Seattle Seahawks. T.J. Houshmandzadeh is due for his first big game of the year. He got over 100 yards last week and he gets a weak defense this week. I also like Nate Burleson to produce nicely, but I’m giving the nod to Housh.
Bruno Boys Whooley: SIMS-WALKER. MSW is undoubtedly the No. 1 WR in Jacksonville, and he’s drawing quite a bit of attention from quarterback, David Garrard, who’s gone to him no less than 9 times in each of the past three weeks. Burleson and Housh, meanwhile, cut into each others catches, some what hurting their fantasy value.
13. Austin Collie (Ind) vs. Pierre Garcon (Ind) vs. Nate Washington (Ten) vs. Kenny Britt (Ten)
Bruno Boys Whooley: WASHINGTON. A big part of fantasy football for me is consistency, and with 10,8, and 12 fantasy points over the last three weeks, Washington has provided that. He’ll be around those numbers again in week 5 as the Titans will play catch-up in this one, leading to a lot of late looks Washington’s way.
Bruno Boys Jimbo: WASHINGTON. The Tennessee Titans’ passing defense is just terrible this year, but I’m sticking with Nate Washington on this one. Washington has proven to be the Titans’ top receiver, finding the endzone on numerous occasions. Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon remain boom or bust plays right now.
14. Ronnie Brown (Mia) vs. Ricky Williams (Mia) vs. Thomas Jones (NYJ) vs. Leon Washington (NYJ)
Bruno Boys Jimbo: BROWN. No Chad Pennington means relying more on the run and the Wildcat offense. Ronnie Brown may as well be the quarterback right now since he’s the most important member of the Miami Dolphins’ offense now. He may not rack up as good of numbers as he did last week, but I think he’s your best bet out of these four.
Bruno Boys Whooley: BROWN. The Dolphins are highly dedicated to the run, which means the carries will be there for Brown, even against a tough Jets’ defense, to keep his double digit streak alive. And, out of these four, I think that’s enough to give him the edge in this match-up.
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