Need some evidence as to why selecting a quarterback in the early rounds of your fantasy draft probably wasn’t the smoothest move this year? Week 5. Week 5 is your evidence.
The top-12 quarterback options this past week scored 17 to 40 points – Luck to Romo – and that group didn’t include Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, Michael Vick, Colin Kaepernick, Cam Newton or Tom Brady. It did, however, have Jay Cutler, Geno Smith, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Sam Bradford, Terrelle Pryor and Philip Rivers.
Now, I know the Peyton Manning owners out there are yelling at their computer, proclaiming that he’s led their pretend pigskins team to a 5-0 start. Yes, I’m sure he has. But for the majority of fake footballers, this week once again proved that fantasy football quarterbacks have little value (trade value, too) in 2013. Streaming quarterbacks – playing a different one each week based on matchup – may just be the way to go.
And if that’s the way you’ve approached the season, you’re in luck. I’ve got a perfect streaming passer to target for Week 6.
Add Matt Schaub
You know what cures a 173-yard, three-interception performance on Sunday Night Football? A matchup, at home, against the leagues least efficient pass defense.
That’s what Matt Schaub will get in Week 6, as he faces the middling Rams in Houston. Though St. Louis doesn’t rank 32nd in the league in fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks, they do rank 21st, having allowed at least two touchdown passes in every game this season.
Schaub’s been a roller coaster this year, but he should be expected to turn around a decent game against a poor defense.
Add Zac Stacy
I’ve mentioned many, many times in the past to stay away from the Rams backfield, but as a flier, Zac Stacy isn’t a bad add this week off the wire. He got his shot this weekend against the Jaguars, and carried the ball 14 times for a solid 78 yards.
Now, keep in mind that it was the Jacksonville defense and the Rams have been unpredictable this season in the backfield. If you do get Stacy, a decent thought would be to trade him while his stock is high. The Rams get the Texans, Panthers, Seahawks and Titans over the next four weeks, which aren’t the best matchups in the world.
Buy Jay Cutler
Two weeks ago, in this very column, I recommended you add the then 19th-ranked Jay Cutler to your squad. His upcoming matchups were great, even if he had to score fantasy points in garbage time.
Since, Cutler has jumped to the 11 spot among quarterbacks, and has had back-to-back games with over 300 yards and multiple scores. And the schedule doesn’t get any harder: Cutler will get the Giants this week, the Redskins next week and then the Packers thereafter. It’s time to buy Cutler and his play in Marc Trestman’s offense, if you haven’t already.
Hold Chris Johnson
The Titans speedster has a combined 38 rushing yards over his last two contests, but was fortunate to bust a long receiving touchdown against the Chiefs on Sunday. As of now, his average yards per carry is just 3.1, and he’s been the least worthwhile runner outside of David Wilson according to our metrics.
But it’s not time to sell. If you’re a CJ.8K owner, you have to at least be patient over the next three weeks. He’ll see two solid defenses in Seattle and San Francisco before his bye week, but then he'll face the Rams, Jaguars, Colts, Raiders and Colts (again) defenses after the break.
If you’re not a Johnson owner, feel out the guy who owns him and see if you can get him for cheap over the next few weeks. There’s a chance a disgruntled owner would trade him for a piece of dog food, which gives you a nice opportunity to buy low. Unless that owner really values dog food, of course.
Sell Maurice Jones-Drew
Now. Do it now. This is the week to get rid of MJD, as he saw his highest yardage total of the season on 17 attempts. It’s not time to think things are looking up: Jones-Drew faced a defense that had surrendered over 400 yards rushing to opposing backs over the two weeks prior. The Jags upcoming schedule doesn’t bode well for Maurice’s long-term potential, so if you can get him for a low-end RB2 or high-end flex guy, you should probably go for it.
Add Alshon Jeffery
Our fearless leader, Nik, has been telling you all to add Alshon Jeffery in his weekly waiver pickups article for three weeks now. This isn’t a fluke: Alshon Jeffery is a solid wide receiver option in fantasy football.
Not only is he talented, but the offense is a good fit for him to make big plays. Back in July, I wrote about what Marc Trestman can bring to the Bears offense, and noted the following:
And while Brandon Marshall is a machine at receiver, I’m expecting his overall effectiveness to drop a little this season. It’s not to say we shouldn’t draft him as a top-5 pass catcher, but seeing the way Trestman spread the ball around in Oakland could mean more to Alshon Jeffery than it does to B-Marsh. [sleeper alert]
Get Alshon if he’s somehow still out there.
Buy Philip Rivers
I don’t care how ugly Rivers’ play was against the Raiders during the early Monday morning hours on the East Coast. And neither should you. Fantasy football isn’t about how pretty a player throws a spiral: It’s about scoring fantasy points. And that’s what Rivers has done in 2013.
He’s probably owned in your league, but if not – get him. If he is, it’s not a bad idea to try and trade a bench player for him. Rivers is going to continue to throw a high volume of passes, and will face the Colts, Jags and Redskins over his next three games. Each of those matchups could force Phil to be a top-10 fantasy option during those weeks. If you’re in need for a win, Rivers could be the right quarterback to add to your squad.
Sell DeAngelo Williams
I’ve taken some heat for my DeAngelo disliking before and after the season started, but I think my feelings about him are warranted. The elderly runner hasn’t been that bad efficiency-wise this season – in fact, I’d say it’s been a good year for him in terms of rushing net expected points – but he’s yet to find the end zone and hasn’t been a factor through the air. When you add this to the way this offense performs (unpredictably) and the fact that Jonathan Stewart could return in Week 7, there’s just not a lot of upside with Williams.
Sell Willis McGahee
McGahee owners have a couple of options this week, with selling being my favorite one. His running ability wasn’t really there against a mediocre Bills defense on Thursday, but he was able to put up a nice fantasy day with a touchdown. If you don’t believe he can do that again, go ahead and trade him. That’s what I’d personally do if there’s a decent offer.
However, keep in mind that the Browns face Detroit this week, a team that’s given up a rushing score in all but one game, and just surrendered 100 yards to Packer running backs on Sunday. After the Lions, the Browns will get the Pack, too, who are average at stopping the run. If you feel McGahee is capable, hold onto him until Week 7. But again, I’d look for a trade.
Add Charles Clay
If you’ve read this column in the past, Clay shouldn’t be on your waiver wire. If he is, it’s time to add him and believe in him.
Though he’s not flashy, Clay is the seventh-best .5 PPR tight end in the league this year, and has three scores in five games. He’s caught an average of 4.6 passes per game, giving him a pretty high floor, and has a reception net expected points total that ranks in the top-10 among tight ends. He’s been more effective than the majority of the players at his position this year according to the metric. Don't let him see another week on the wire.
Add Keenan Allen
The Chargers have had to lean on their rookie wideout with injuries to their receiving group, and he’s stepped up to the challenge. Over the last two weeks, Allen has 11 receptions on 15 targets for 195 yards and a touchdown - this coming after just four targets in his first three games. As I noted, the Chargers passing game has an easy upcoming schedule, and Allen could benefit greatly from it.
Add Austin Pettis
Pettis was a deep sleeper for me this past week, and there were two reasons why: The matchup was nice, and Pettis has seen the most targets within the Rams offense this season.
Clearly his multi-touchdown performance proved the logic was correct, as Pettis has continued to be Sam Bradford’s favorite target (*back pat*). But he’s owned in just 1.2 percent of ESPN leagues, and is a decent add if you’re in need of wide receiver help.
Hold the Jacksonville Receivers
Like Maurice Jones-Drew: remember, it was the Rams. Justin Blackmon, fresh off a suspension, was great in the Jaguars loss on Sunday, and Cecil Shorts got some love as well. Chad Henne stepped in at quarterback for an injured Blaine Gabbert during the game, and it’s now been reported that Gabbert could be out for an extended period of time. It’s awful for him, but good news for Jags receivers. After all, Gabbert ranks dead last in the league with a -51.31 passing net expected points total. In other words, a quarterback in his situation would have given the Jaguars a 51-point swing throughout the first five weeks of this NFL season.
As Brian Luzier noted, Henne behind center is a good thing for Jacksonville receivers. Because this is the case, it’s time to hold them on your team and see if they can get something going through the air with Gabbert out.
Bench New York Jets Running Backs
The return of Mike Goodson was not so good for Jets running backs in terms of fantasy production. Bilal Powell is still the leader there, seeing 12 carries in the Jets win on Monday night versus the Falcons. But Goodson saw third downs, and Chris Ivory still had a few touches as well. It could be time to sell high on Powell if you can.
Buy Eddie Lacy
A favorite of mine entering Week 5, Lacy toted the rock 23 times for 99 yards in the Packers big victory over the Lions. Buying Lacy doesn’t have to do with his matchups as much as it does with his situation. The 23 carries shows us that the Packers aren’t ready to give the ball to fellow rookie Johnathan Franklin anytime soon, as Lacy continuously gets positive yardage on the majority of his carries. In fact, his 41.03 percent success rate, which looks at the percentage of carries contributing positively towards a player’s net expected points value, is 16th-best among 30-plus carry running backs, better than Marshawn Lynch, Adrian Peterson and Trent Richardson. Lacy is a very solid RB2 option this season.