Fantasy football would be a lot easier if the good players were always good and the bad ones were always bad. Since that doesn’t happen, figuring out whom to start or sit is a much bigger challenge.
Week 5 featured more disappointment from top picks Eddie Lacy and Jeremy Hill, while Devonta Freeman continued his surprise run as a dominant starting running back. While you can’t predict everything, it just goes to show why you need to re-evaluate your lineup each and every week.
The upcoming weekend will feature plenty of tough decisions for all fantasy owners, but here is some advice for a few close calls heading into Week 6.
Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants
It’s easy to mock Eli Manning for the faces he makes, but he has been excellent on the field this season.
Over the last four weeks, the Giants quarterback is averaging 21 fantasy points per game in standard leagues with at least 18 each time out. Even with various injuries at receiver, Manning is spreading the ball around to running backs, tight ends and whoever is open at the time.
Against a Philadelphia Eagles defense that ranks just 26th in the NFL against the pass, Manning should be able to continue his hot streak and have another big game.
Eddie Lacy, RB, Green Bay Packers
Fantasy owners aren’t happy about Eddie Lacy’s lack of production this season. After managing just 27 rushing yards in Week 5 against the St. Louis Rams, the running back is now averaging just 6.8 fantasy points per game in standard leagues. He hasn’t reached double digits since Week 1.
On the plus side, a lot of this has just been circumstance and bad luck. Between injuries, tough matchups and game flow, the running back hasn’t been able to reach his potential yet this season.
That should come in Week 6 with a matchup against the San Diego Chargers, a team that ranks dead last in the NFL with 5.1 rushing yards allowed per carry. The Packers will likely lean more heavily on the run than they have all season, giving Lacy a chance to pick up yards and hopefully touchdowns.
If he’s on your team, don’t be afraid to keep him in your lineup. If he’s on another team, try to make a trade before the 25-year-old gets back on track.
John Brown, WR, Arizona Cardinals
Larry Fitzgerald was the star for the first month of the season and seemingly isn’t going anywhere, but John Brown can still be a valuable piece of this red-hot Cardinals attack.
Brown finished with 73 receiving yards in Week 5, including an 18-yard touchdown catch. Still, his best play might have been a 49-yard grab in a big moment for the offense, as described by Sports Illustrated:
A blowout win meant none of the receivers needed to do much in the second half, but Brown now has 11 catches for 148 yards over the last two weeks. He is clearly still a major part of this offense and will have more big games in his future, including against an inconsistent Pittsburgh Steelers secondary in Week 6.
Ryan Tannehill, QB, Miami Dolphins
Even though a lot of it has come in garbage time, Ryan Tannehill does have multiple touchdowns in each of his last three games. With his talent and variety of weapons around him, there is still plenty of upside for the rest of the season.
New interim coach Dan Campbell also noted there will be slight changes offensively, per Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald:
The problem is we don’t know how much things will improve, if they will at all. The Dolphins looked awful in Week 4 against the New York Jets, which is why Miami made a coaching change in the first place. The entire offense is too difficult to trust at this point, and the safer move is keeping Tannehill on your bench until we see more.
Alfred Morris, RB, Washington Redskins
The difference between someone like Lacy and Alfred Morris is that even with poor numbers, Lacy is going to keep getting touches. You can’t be as certain with Morris with both Matt Jones and Chris Thompson taking away playing time in the Redskins backfield.
According to Pro Football Focus, Morris only had 14 snaps in Week 5 despite getting the start, finishing behind both Thompson (26) and Jones (21). Master Tesfatsion of the Washington Post noted Morris barely saw the field late in a close game:
This would be more understandable in a blowout where a pass-heavy attack was needed, but Washington didn’t need Morris in a close game against an Atlanta Falcons defense that had struggled against the run to start the year. Morris is clearly being phased out in this backfield, and he isn’t worth trusting on your fantasy team.
Travis Benjamin, WR, Cleveland Browns
It figures now that Travis Benjamin has become a more consistent threat in the Browns offense he is no longer a smart play. This is due to the Denver Broncos’ impressive pass defense on display this season.
According to ESPN, the defense ranks first in the NFL with only 11.8 fantasy points allowed to opposing receivers per game.
Steve Smith Sr., Jeremy Maclin, Calvin Johnson and Amari Cooper were all limited against this defense, which makes Benjamin’s breaking the trend highly unlikely. The secondary will be all over him, and the pass rush won’t provide much time for deep routes, likely leading to a quiet day for the surprisingly productive receiver.
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