Fantasy Football Risers and Fallers: Week Five
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The combination of bye weeks and injuries could be giving you a nice, old fashioned, fantasy football headache.
However, all need not be lost. If you depend on NFL Soup to help you with your fantasy quandaries, you’ve gotta be in good shape, right?
So, what are we waiting for?
On to the list.
Carson Palmer, QB, Cincinnati Bengals
After a pair of games during which is looked as though Carson had secretly been replaced by his backup brother Jordan, Palmer broke out in the loss to the Browns, going 25-36 for 371 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.
With weapons like Chad Ochocinco, Terrell Owens, Jordan Shipley, and Jermaine Gresham at his disposal, it’s difficult to imagine a talented passer like Palmer struggling throughout an entire season.
I’d hesitate to start the guy just yet, but if he starts consistently having success, he may well be on his way back to being one of the most productive fantasy quarterbacks in the league.
Ryan Torain, RB, Washington Redskins
There isn’t a bigger “riser” on the list than Torain, who has gone from the backup to the featured back for the foreseeable future in Washington.
With Clinton Portis out indefinitely, the Redskins will turn to Torain, who has shown that he may have some serious ability.
He rushed for 70 yards on 18 carries with a touchdown against the Eagles, and, with the unreliable passing game in Washington, expect to see heavy doses of Torain.
If he proves to be productive, don’t be surprised to see him retain the job even if Portis is able to come back healthy at some point this season.
Fred Jackson, RB, Buffalo Bills
I’m not a huge fan of having many Bills on your fantasy roster, but Jackson is a rare exception.
With Marshawn Lynch now out of town, the starting job is Jackson’s to lose.
Rookie C.J. Spiller will still have a role, but Jackson will be seeing the bulk of the carries.
Jackson raised eyebrows by rushing for over 1,000 yards last year, and, with no other major weapons on that offense, expect the Bills to rely heavily on his services.
Donald Driver, WR, Green Bay Packers
Donald Driver may be 35 years old, but his steady fantasy production has him looking 25 again.
Opposing defenses have been gearing themselves towards stopping big-play threats in Greg Jennings and Jermichael Finley, and Driver has been the beneficiary.
Driver’s yardage totals haven’t jumped off the page, but he has scored a touchdown in three of the Pack’s first four games.
With no rushing attack to speak of, Aaron Rodgers is going to continue to throw, throw, and throw some more.
Driver is reliable.
Percy Harvin, WR, Minnesota Vikings
Other than America’s favorite gunslinger, I think Percy Harvin is the player that gains the most with Randy Moss coming back to Minneapolis.
With Moss receiving the majority of the attention from opposing defenses, there should be much more room for Harvin to operate than he’s seen so far this season.
He excelled in the slot role with Sidney Rice as the deep threat last season, and I see no reason to think differently with Moss out there.
Teams will still have to worry about tight end Visanthe Shiancoe down the seam, and Harvin, as we saw last week, is explosive enough to break any play at any time.
Zach Miller, TE, Oakland Raiders
Miller enjoyed a big, 11-catch, 122-yard performance against Houston, and he’s scored in each of the first two games in which Bruce Gradkowski has started.
Clearly, these two have some chemistry going here.
With Oakland’s receivers not as useless as we’ve seen in recent years, Miller won’t be the only guy receiving attention from the defense.
As long as Gradkowski is the guy in Oakland, I’m high on Zach Miller.
Matt Schaub, QB, Houston Texans
Wait, the NFL’s leading passer from 2009 is on the “fallers” list?
Yes, but it has very little to do with Schaub’s personal performance thus far.
With injury concerns to Andre Johnson, Jacoby Jones, and Owen Daniels, Houston’s passing attack may not be what we’re used to seeing in the coming weeks.
Combine that with the amazing fact that Houston, who ranked 30th in the league in rushing in ’09, is the NFL’s top rushing attack through the first four weeks of 2010.
With the way Arian Foster has looked, there’s no reason at all to think that’s going to change anytime soon.
I’d still have a tough time benching Schaub, but his numbers won’t be as gaudy as they were last season.
Jonathan Stewart, RB, Carolina Panthers
I’ve always been a big fan of Stewart, but this season, he’s been all-but useless.
His fantasy numbers looked good last week, but, if you take away the fluke, broken-play 55-yard TD catch, he had just 21 total yards.
That’s not getting it done, and, with the way DeAngelo Williams showed signs of life against the Saints, I still expect Stewart to struggle for looks.
With the dire situation in the receiving corps, the Panthers should be running the ball like crazy.
However, until I see that Stewart can be the guy we saw last year, I’m not buying.
Since rushing for over 1,000 yards and scoring 15 touchdowns in 2008, Jacobs’ career has taken a sharp downturn. His head also appears to be in the wrong place, and until he frees himself from Tom Coughlin’s doghouse, there isn’t much value here.
Mike Sims-Walker, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
MSW made like Randy and Santana Moss in week four, catching a total of zero passes for the second time in four games.
With Mike Thomas and Marcedes Lewis emerging in the passing game, Sims-Walker’s role appears to be diminishing at a rapid rate. He’s got lots of talent, but very little to show for it.
Louis Murphy, WR, Oakland Raiders
Murphy has a shoulder injury, and with the aforementioned rapport developing between Gradkowski and Zach Miller, the receiver’s fantasy stock has taken a hit. While he’s still likely the No. 1 receiver, he won’t be getting the majority of the targets.
When healthy, he’s dangerous. Since he isn’t healthy, he isn’t particularly dangerous.
Owen Daniels, TE, Houston Texans
I think Daniels will come around as the season progresses, but for now, you’re not getting much from him.
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