The one mistake you can never make in fantasy football is to look at the standings to determine who you should and shouldn't own. The Jaguars may be 1-4 this season, but their players have propelled many fantasy teams to winning records thanks to their production on the field. Say what you will about the Jaguars, but they are in every single game right up to the last whistle. That is a good trend and a sign the ship IS headed in the right direction. Progress isn't measured by wins and losses alone!
Switching gears to fantasy football, the fantasy gods went all Space Jam on the NFL this week by stealing powers from good players and distributed them to the lower-tiered guys around the league. Josh McCown forgot he was Josh McCown and ran up the stats like he was playing Madden on rookie level; Devonta Freeman is running away with the Falcons RB job like a man on a mission; and it looks like Peyton Manning saved the worst for his last season in the NFL.
The fantasy football landscape is an ever-changing picture, so make sure you lift your head from the keyboard every now and then to make sure your names match up with the stats. Don't get hooked on a player because his name is Peyton Manning; it's better to cut that anchor loose and set sail with someone who will help you swim instead of sink. Enter, Blake Bortles and Allen Hurns!
Josh McCown – Browns: You can bet your bottom dollar that McCown asked for the game ball from Week 5 because this was a once-in-a-lifetime performance from the backup level QB. McCown vaulted to #1 in the QB rankings this week thanks to his 457 passing yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, 1 rushing TD, and a 2-point conversion. The Browns get the Broncos' elite defense next week, so I wouldn't recommend you go chasing stats and pick up McCown for Week 6.
Blake Bortles – Jaguars: Did you know Bortles is the 7th-ranked fantasy QB this season? Did you know he is 7th in passing yards (1,299), 5th in passing TDs (10), tied for 12th in INTs (4), and has taken 8 fewer sacks (14) than Russell Wilson (22)? Bortles has been a stud in fantasy football this season, and continued his winning ways in Week 5 when he threw for 303 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT, and broke off a run for 21 yards. Combine the numbers and you get fantasy football's #3-ranked QB for Week 5, ahead of studs like Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and Russell Wilson. Sleep on him at your own risk!
Eli Manning – Giants: Eli Manning was one of my sleeper picks at QB this preseason because of the amount of weapons he has at his disposal. He stumbled out of the gate in Week 1, but has picked it up since then and topped it off with a monster performance on Sunday night. The "other" Manning brother finished with a 441/3/1 line against the 49ers in a game that was closer than most expected. Eli Manning is someone I really like as a fantasy QB this season, and he has a good 4-game stretch coming up to pad the stats for his owners.
Devonta Freeman – Falcons: After last season Freeman was looking more like a bust than a feature back, but that all changed when Tevin Coleman went down with a rib injury in Week 2. Freeman has been an elite fantasy RB the past three weeks, totaling 362 rushing yards and 7 TDs if you include the 153 yards and 1 TD from this week. The Falcons have the perfect gameplan in place for Freeman and he is making the most of his opportunity. Ride him as an RB1 until the wheels fall off.
DeMarco Murray – Eagles: I bet you nobody would think we'd be saying "finally he had a good game" before the season started, but that is what we are all saying after this week. The Eagles finally gave Murray 20 carries, which he turned into 83 yards and a touchdown. And to pad his fantasy stats, Murray hauled in 7 of 8 targets for 37 yards. The combined yardage made Murray a RB1 for the first time this season. The question now becomes, do the Eagles admit they were wrong to limit his touches through the first 4 games, or do they go back to the 8-13 carries he was getting before?
Allen Robinson & Allen Hurns – Jaguars: It's not often that you find a team's No. 1 and No. 2 WRs in the top 10 for fantasy football, but that is just what happened this weekend as the duo combined for 12 catches, 188 yards, and 3 TDs (Robinson 7/72/2 - Hurns 5/116/1). For their efforts, Robinson finished #2 for fantasy WRs and Hurns was #6 for Week 5. Hurns better be owned in your league or I will block your IP address from all fantasy leagues… FOREVER!
Andre Johnson – Colts: I knew Johnson would have a good game eventually this season, because the law of probability is real. But, I will also say that I didn't expect him to have it with a QB other than Andrew Luck. Matt Hasselbeck found Johnson for 6 receptions, 77 yards, and 2 TDs against his former team. I wouldn't consider Johnson as anything more than a dicey WR4 in fantasy leagues unless his snaps increase.
Marquees Wilson – Bears: The Bears are a mess, both on offense and on defense, but they managed to snatch victory out of the jaws of defeat on Sunday thanks to Wilson stepping his game up with starters Alshon Jeffery and Eddie Royal out. Wilson reeled in 6 passes for 85 yards and 1 TD, stats worthy of low-end WR1 play this week. Pay attention to the Bears injury report this week as Wilson might be a sneaky play off the waiver wire against a struggling Lions defense.
Tyler Eifert – Bengals: Eifert has been money all season long, and he continued that streak on Sunday as he torched the Seahawks defense for 8 catches, 90 yards, and 2 TDs. Tight end is a tough spot to fill in fantasy football as once you get passed the 5th- or 6th-best player, stats get dicey. That's why it is so important to have a guy like Eifert on your team, to anchor the thinnest position in all the fantasy game.
Cincinnati Bengals defense: The Bengals held the Seahawks offense to 18 points, while also piling up 4 sacks and snagging 1 INT on the day. When the final whistle blew, the Bengals finished with a starting fantasy defense, ranked in the top 7 in most formats. They will again be in the Def1 discussion in Week 6 when they head to Buffalo to take on a banged up Bills team.
Peyton Manning – Broncos: It looks more and more like Peyton Manning waited just a year too long to retire, as the Hall of Fame QB reminded me more of Willie Mays in the Mets outfield than John Elway in the Super Bowl. Manning finished the game with 266 yards passing, no touchdowns, 2 interceptions, and 2 sacks, stats worthy of the 2nd-worst performance by a starting QB in Week 5. Brandon Weeden was a better fantasy QB than Manning this week, and Weeden is going to lose his job because of his game!
Matthew Stafford – Lions: Stafford isn't quiet on the same level of "done" as Peyton Manning is, but he is in the boat downstream just the same. While I will give his apologists the point that the Cardinals have a very good secondary to contend with, it doesn't absolve him from all responsibility for completing just 20 of 32 passes for 188 yards, with 1 TD and 3 INTs. To put the cherry on top, the Lions benched Stafford in favor of Dan Orlovsky in the 3rd quarter. There's no quarterback controversy in Detroit, but Stafford has been a bust so far this season. If he can't put up QB1 numbers against the Bears Swiss cheese defense in Week 6, it will be time to cut bait and move on.
Jamaal Charles – Chiefs: The word out of Kansas City is Charles tore his ACL, ending his 2015 season. He was able to gain 84 total yards before the injury, but that is little consolation to those who invested a 1st-round pick in him. Charcandrick West will be the must-add RB from the waiver wire this week, with Knile Davis more of a deep-league pick-up.
Ronnie Hillman – Broncos: With Manning no longer able to scare defenses into playing heavily against the pass, Broncos RBs Ronnie Hillman and C.J. Anderson are finding it harder and harder to put up consistent numbers running the ball. Hillman managed just 21 yards on 7 carries this week, while Anderson totaled just 22 yards on 11 carries. I understand the whole RBBC theory, but I see where it is not allowing guys to get into a rhythm. Fantasy owners are hoping the trend we are seeing is just that, a trend, and things will go back to the days when one guy carried the load for most teams.
Donte Moncrief – Colts: On the other end of the Colts WR spectrum we have Moncrief, a WR who burst on to the scene this season for fantasy owners to snatch off the waiver wire. This week Moncrief saw a season-low 3 targets, catching 1 of them for 3 yards. It seems obvious that the Colts' plan was to let Johnson be featured against his former team, at the expense of Moncrief and his fantasy owners. I wouldn't be too concerned about this week's totals.
Nelson Agholor – Eagles: The Eagles rookie WR had high expectations entering the season, but has failed to live up to the hype after the first 5 weeks. Agholor hit rock bottom this week by seeing just 1 target, which he did catch, for 5 yards. Agholor is tied with Riley Cooper for the 2nd-most targets out of the Eagles WRs with 17, but the production just isn't there to continue to play him in any fantasy format. You can hold on to him because of his upside, but I wouldn't play him until he gives you a reason to.
Charles Clay – Bills: The man that every big-box fantasy website out there was touting this week laid a big fat zero on the table for fantasy owners in standard leagues. Those in PPR formats at least got a point (1) from him thanks to his 1 catch for 7 yards. Clay is the perfect example of those so-called "fantasy experts" on TV doing nothing but chasing stats and throwing darts at a dartboard. The Bills are a running team, with a running QB, and a WR corps that is less than intimidating with Sammy Watkins out. The deck was already stacked against Clay before the ball was even snapped in Week 5.
Houston Texans defense: It is getting a little old to keep saying the same thing over and over, but it doesn't make the forthcoming statement any less true. The Texans defense is NOT a good defense this year, ranking out as fantasy football's worst defense throughout 5 weeks of the season. This week they gave up 27 points to the Colts while managing to not get a single sack, INT, fumble recovery, or defensive touchdown on the day. Even the Browns got a sack; even the 49ers got an INT. The zeroes across the board are actually impressive, in a terrible kind of way.