Sometimes I just feel so special. Thank you Sam Bradford, LaDainian Tomlinson and Dustin Keller for making me look so so good. Last week I made some risky choices and they paid off as Bradford is living up to all the hype with 289 yards and 2 scores over the mindboggling Seahawks. LT got his swagger back and ran rampant over the hapless Bills for 155 total yards and 2 scores. Dustin Keller decided he only wants to catch touchdowns from now on when 2 of his 4 catches were for scores. The only safe choice I made was DeSean Jackson and he just decided to not show up. You're dead to me. I was so close to being perfectly studly.
With Week 5 upon us, and the second Bye week, trends are staring to come to light and it is time to reevaluate where certain teams and players stand. Here is where we will start to see guys either succumb to the pressure of the season or bounce back and make a true run at the playoffs and even the Super Bowl. This week I have picked all guys who are vital to making their teams, and their fantasy owners, season a success. Don't let me down boys. Don't end up dead to me like DeSean Jackson and Kellen Winslow. Please, I beg you, I need another good week.
Here are my Stud and Dud picks for week 5 of the NFL fantasy season...
Stud: Aaron Rodgers
For all of Aaron Rodgers successes this season so far, there has been a correlating failure. Through three quarters of a game he will look like a top-5 QB, but then he seems to lose focus, force the ball downfield, and just look outright sloppy. Despite the fact that he has 8 TD passes so far, which is good, he also has 5 interceptions, which is not so good. Rodgers and the Packers are lucky to be 3-1 after barely squeaking out a win against the Lions in Week 4 where Rodgers threw 2 interceptions that kept Detroit in the game. What I am trying to get at is this: he is poised for a big week this week. With all of that behind him he has some great things to look forward to in Week 5. First off, he gets to face off against a Redskins secondary that cannot seem to stop anyone, having allowed at least 200+ yards passing and an aerial touchdown in each of their first four games. Also, it important to know that he likes to bounce back big; the last five games immediately following a multiple interception game, he has thrown a combined 9 touchdowns and only 1 interception. Expect big things come Sunday.
Honorable Mention: Shaun Hill - In what is possibly his last start of the season I see him going out with a bang against the Rams.
Dud: David Garrard
To be honest Garrard has been surprisingly productive all things considered. He has a shallow receiving corps, his stud running back has yet to really live up to expectations, and yet he has thrown 6 touchdown passes and his squad just knocked off the defending AFC champion Colts on an epic 59-yd field goal. While his team may have been on top of the world last week at home in front of their hometown crowd, this week will be a different story on the road. David Garrard is a notoriously bad road quarterback. In his past 6 road games, going back to last season obviously, Garrard has thrown 9 interceptions, 4 of those coming in Week 2 of this season against the Chargers. I am aware that the Bills are not the Chargers, or the Colts, but Garrard on the road is always a crapshoot and is certainly not worth the risk when he has yet to break 175 passing yards in a game so far. As a side note, Buffalo is not a team I want to play right now. They are extremely dangerous because people will overlook them and right now they see this as a very winnable game in their house and they will come out fired up and ready to go.
Stud: Steven Jackson
I am fully aware SJ39 is coming off of an injury and will be wearing a harness this weekend, but he was supposed to be injured and out of the lineup last week before he decided to play and accounted for 124 total yards in the Rams second straight win. Jackson says he is feeling much better this week and I can only see his form improving. The biggest influence on his game coming into the weekend is the play of rookie Sam Bradford. Usually with a rookie QB teams will stack up at the line and try to make their opposition one-dimensional and force the youngster to throw the ball, but that has yet to be successful this season as Bradford has exceeded expectations and become a fantasy stud all on his own. The Lions will have to respect the pass against Bradford, which is only going to open more lanes for Jackson to run through. If he gets the touches I assume he will, he will be able to punish the 20th ranked rush defense of the Lions up the middle as well as a swingman out of the backfield. Also, the last two games where the Lions have had to face elite running backs, LeSean McCoy and Adrian Peterson, they have gone off for 120 yards/3 TDs and 160 yds/2 TDs, respectively.
Dud: Joseph Addai
We all know that the Colts can throw the ball, but this season they have been trying to establish the fact that they can run the ball. Their backfield is talented with Addai as the starter and second year man Donald Brown backing him up, but they have yet to really stick with the run for an entire game. Every single time it starts working for them they go back to the pass and never seem to look back for no apparent reason. Granted this usually works for them, but still, in order for them to win another title they are going to need a ground game of some description. I believe they will rely on it more and more as the season progresses, but unfortunately for Joseph Addai owners, this will not be the weekend things change. When he gets 16+ touches he has been a solid contributor averaging around 4+ yds/carry, but I just do not think they will risk it against this Chiefs defense that ranks fifth against the rush only surrendering 75 yards per game and has only allowed one a single touchdown on the ground so far. In order for the Colts to bounce back after that deflating loss to the Jaguars the ball will be put in Peyton Manning's hands, not Addai's.
Stud: Roddy White
Yes, he has been hot all year, but I have yet to mention him, so please relax. Roddy White has been a godsend for fantasy owners because he produces every week one way or another. He either goes for 100+ yards or he doesn't, but makes up for any lost points by scoring a touchdown. It is an undeniable fact that White is easily Matt Ryan's favorite target and their connection has been on all year so far. Ryan has targeted White a whopping 50 times and completed 32 of those passes for 362 yds and 2 TDs. I do not expect this to slow down in Week 5 as Hotlanta rolls into Cleveland. The Browns haven't really faced an experienced WR/QB pair like this in 2010. They have seen Flacco/Boldin (4 games together), Palmer/TO (4 games together), Cassel/Bowe (running team), and Freeman/whoever happens to be playing that week (uhhhh, Tampa Bay?), but none of those combinations have been working together for as long as Ryan and White have. That experience is invaluable, and considering the Browns just gave up 222 yards to TO alone, I can't imagine the damage Roddy White will inflict this weekend.
Dud: Brandon Lloyd
I am going way out on a limb on this one. I am also pretty sure Lloyd as been picked up off waivers in every fantasy league within the last two weeks. Lloyd and the Denver passing attack have been putting on a show in 2010, there is no doubt about that. Who would have thought that Kyle Orton and Brandon Lloyd would be one of the biggest deep threat combos in this early season so far? It scares me. It really does. My worry is that the two of them have been up on cloud 9 for far too long already and this week they will come crashing back to reality. Lloyd's numbers are undeniable, 25 catches for 454 yards and 3 100+ yard games, but retrospectively you also have to look at who he has played. After Week 4 the teams he has played have the 15th, 16th, 29th, and 30th ranked passing defenses. This makes me wonder if these are performances that any mid to top receiver could do, or if this is truly something special. We will definitely find out when Lloyd lines up against a top 3 defense in Baltimore that holds their opponents to an average of 119 yds passing per game and has not allowed a 100 yard receiver since Week 11 of last season.
Stud: Zach Miller
Ever since Jason Campbell rapidly plummeted from grace and lost the starting job to Bruce Gradkowski, Zach Miller has been unstoppable. Gradkowski and Miller have had great chemistry and with the effectiveness of Darren McFadden on the ground the aerial game has opened up nicely. In the two games that Bruce Gradkowski has started, he has hit Zach Miller for a combined 15 catches, 186 yards, and 2 touchdowns. In Week 4 alone he had 11 catches for 122 yards and a score. His confidence is certainly riding high and in Week 5 he matches up against a San Diego team that has struggled against elite tight ends in the past. Since Darren McFadden is a bit nicked up this could turn into an aerial battle, which could spell great things for Zach Miller fantasy owners.
Dud: Tony Moeaki
Tony Moeaki and the Chiefs have been one of the biggest surprises in this early NFL season. Who would have thought that the Chiefs would be 3-0 with emphatic wins over both San Diego and San Francisco. Now they come off of their early BYE and run smack dab into Indianapolis. Even with two weeks to prepare, this is still going to be a challenge. We all know that Indy can not stop the run, and the Chiefs love to pound the ball up front, which is all we are going to see. Matt Cassel will be kept on a short leash, which means that Moeaki and co. are not going to see much action down the field in the passing game as their aerial attack will mostly consist of screens and short slants. With all of that in mind you still have to acknowledge this scary fact for Moeaki owners: the Colts have only allowed 47 receiving yards to tight ends this season.