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Sunday Morning Huddle: Week Five

As always, there’s a ton of information out there this morning. We’re not going to waste your time by repeating the news and notes about who’s in or out this week, since that’s really not what you visit us for. We’re also not going to do another article on starts or sits this week – we already have week five’s personalized lineup advice for you as part of the premium content package. Again, there are 100 places you can go for game day reports, so we’re doing something different on Sundays for our premium content subscribers.

The Sunday Morning Huddle goes through each game and states what we’re looking to see from a dynasty perspective. We pick one player from each team who have our eye on and describe why their weekend performance is a key one for them in relation to their dynasty value.

Early Games

Philadelphia at Pittsburgh

It’s been a bit of a lost season for Jeremy Maclin so far as he’s on pace for just 45 catches, 630 yards and ten touchdowns. Worse yet, he’s been battling yet another health issue – this time it’s a bum hip. It’s time for Maclin to start playing like he’s the WR1 in Philadelphia before DeSean Jackson takes that distinction over permanently.

For the Steelers, we should finally see the season debut of Rashard Mendenhall. While he’ll likely be used sparingly, dynasty owners are surely very curious to see what type of burst he has and what type of shape he may be in. Any positive signs from Mendenhall will spell disaster for Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer, though they didn’t do much with their opportunities anyway.

Green Bay at Indianapolis

James Jones has been a pleasant surprise for the Packers so far this season as he’s posted 16 catches for 191 yards and three touchdowns in just four games. He’s always been known for bouts of inconsistency and numerous cases of “the drops,” but he’s been a bright spot for Green Bay this year. With Greg Jennings battling injuries and looking to be a free agent at the end of the year, Jones’ arrow is pointing up. Can he keep posting good performances?

The owners of Donald Brown have to be running out of patience about now. Brown is averaging just 3.6 yards per carry and is much more of a desperation flex play at this point. The Colts have to be looking to the future and it’s tough to see the future backfield mate for Andrew Luck on the roster right now. Brown needs a good showing to keep holding off the rest of the depth chart.

Cleveland at New York Giants

Seven catches, 93 yards and no touchdowns isn’t exactly what owners thought they were getting when they plucked Josh Gordon off waivers or in their league’s supplemental draft. He’s struggled mightily with his grasp of the offense and has looked out of sync more often than not. Reports are surfacing that he’s starting to “get it,” is he?

For the Giants, Ahmad Bradshaw has held off Andre Brown and David Wilson to stay the bell cow in New York. The pressure is squarely on him now to continue his string of good performances and to remain healthy. One slip-up for Bradshaw and all bets are off in New York.

Atlanta at Washington

Don’t look now, but Michael Turner has 183 rushing yards on 27 total carries (good for 6.8 yards per carry) over the past two weeks. Add two touchdowns to that total and you have yourself a player who has risen from the dead. If he can keep things going against Washington, it’s going to solidify his value for the time being – let’s just say we’re skeptical, though.

It’s natural to be skeptical with Alfred Morris as well, but for a totally different reason. However, he’s done nothing but be incredibly productive for the Redskins this year and is on pace for over 1,500 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns. His value might be capped a little by playing with a running quarterback like RGIII, but he’s been great through the first few weeks of the year.  Looks like we got one right this season.

Miami at Cincinnati

After catching 12 passes for 254 yards and touchdown against the stingy Cardinals last week, how could we not put Brian Hartline in the crosshairs? After all, he leads the NFL with 455 receiving yards now. An encore performance could make him one of the best waiver wire surprises in quite some time, though we may have had TWO right this year.

At some point, Andy Dalton needs to get some credit. Sure, he’s thrown one interception in each game he’s played this year, but he also has twice as many touchdown passes with eight. If you extrapolate his numbers over a full season, Dalton would give you 4,444 passing yards, 32 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. He’s no throw-in player in trade negotiations – he’s quickly becoming a target to acquire.

Baltimore at Kansas City

Torrey Smith has averaged 112 yards and six catches the past two games, leading some to believe he’s turned the corner from a WR2 to a legitimate low-end WR1. The Chiefs are not exactly a defensive juggernaut, so Smith could finally stake his claim as a serious threat in dynasty leagues.

In Kansas City, Matt Cassel may lose snaps to Brady Quinn. That’s bad on a whole lot of levels. This game is a huge one for Cassel. We’ve never been the biggest supporters of him and another laid egg will likely find him on the bench. Of all the players on this list, Cassel may very well have the most pressure on him.

Late Games

Seattle at Carolina

Speaking of pressure, Russell Wilson hasn’t moved the ball nearly as well as the Seahawks hoped he would early on this season. While the coaches are partly to blame since they’ve been so conservative, Wilson didn’t help his cause by throwing three interceptions last week. Matt Flynn is warming in the background and Wilson needs to start making some magic happen or he could be the first rookie quarterback to get benched this year.

Cam Newton seems to be clearly in a Sophomore slump at the moment. To make matters worse, his post game behavior has been comparable to a three year old. With a really tough defense in town, let’s see if Newton is more focused on winning a game than doing ridiculous Superman poses.

Chicago at Jacksonville

Matt Forte is finally healthy and faces one of the league’s worst rushing defenses in the Jaguars. It’s about time Forte rises up and starts playing like a RB1 and puts Michael Bush in his rearview mirrow.

For the Jaguars, it’s time for Justin Blackmon to build on his six catch, 48 yard performance from last week. He’s been slow to develop after a solid preseason, so his owners are cautiously optimistic that he’s turned a corner.

Denver at New England

With Peyton Manning starting to look more and more comfortable in the offense, it’s time for Demaryius Thomas (much like Torrey Smith) to emerge as a legitimate WR1 in dynasty leagues. He has all the talent in the world and needs to just do the little things (like not fumbling away the ball on what should be a 78 yard touchdown) to finally reach his full potential.

After a relatively insignificant touchdown last week, Brandon Bolden exploded for 137 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries, becoming the hottest name on the waiver wire this week. Was this part of a new Patriot backfield committee or just a way to spell Stevan Ridley, who had 106 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries of his own? This is easily the biggest question in dynasty leagues this weekend.

Buffalo at San Francisco

So, Ryan Fitzpatrick is on pace for almost 4,000 passing yards, 48 touchdowns and 28 interceptions this year. After this game, the one number on that list most likely to stay on pace is the interception total. If any of the others are, we have a developing story taking place.

Randy Moss is being dropped in a lot of leagues as he’s been being used more as a decoy than anything else of late. It’s a head scratcher for most who have seen him dominate in practice, but it seems the 49ers are more than content using him on only a handful of snaps each game. We’re already 1/4 of the way through this season and we need to something here soon or his existence is going to be completely irrelevant.

Tennessee at Minnesota

Is he back or was it a fluke? We need to say no more about Chris Johnson – let’s just see what happens.

Jerome Simpson made his much anticipated return last week and caught four passes for 50 yards. That was a solid first outing for him. If he can continue to progress in the offense and give Christian Ponder another legitimate weapon opposite Percy Harvin, the Vikings could really surprise people.

Sunday Night

San Diego at New Orleans

Everything I said about the Brandon Bolden story being the biggest one in dynasty leagues this week, I take back right here. The Chargers seem to be playing mind games with their running back depth chart at the moment. Is the starter going to be Jackie Battle or Ryan Mathews this week? If Battle starts and Mathews continues to be punished for his fumbling problem, we have a serious issue in dynasty leagues.

You can’t focus on anyone but Drew Brees in this game from the Saints side. All he needs is a single touchdown pass to move past Johnny Unitas for most consecutive games with a touchdown pass with 48 – I’m betting it goes to Darren Sproles.

Monday Night

Houston at New York Jets

Arian Foster is having a monster season so far and should put up great numbers on Monday night. So, why is he the focus? He’s being used a ton this year and will approach 400 touches if this pace keeps up – that’s the danger zone for running backs. His yards per carry continue to go down each year and while he’s still a dominant player, the Texans are starting to run him into the ground a bit. Let’s see if his workload gets scaled back just a bit this week.

For the Jets, I’m just going to continue putting Shonn Greene in the crosshairs until he gets benched. At this point, he’s getting the Wayne Fontes treatment, so that could be 2018.

Have a great weekend of football!

Ken Kelly
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