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.
Kansas City at Tampa Bay
It’s the beginning of the Brady Quinn era in Kansas City! OK, so it’s not that exciting, but let’s be real here. Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe are more talented than any other players Quinn has ever played with and he at least has a puncher’s chance to Wally Pipp the struggling Matt Cassel. The Bucs are dead last in pass defense this season, so today is a huge opportunity for Quinn to resurrect his career.
For the Bucs, we’d like to page Doug Martin and ask him to show up this week. In his four games this season, Martin has 247 yards and one touchdown on 71 carries, good for a 3.5 yards per carry average. In addition, he’s caught just eight passes for 53 yards. Martin has been pretty disappointing thus far and today would be a great day to see him break out.
Indianapolis at New York Jets
Andrew Luck is currently on pace for 4,832 passing yards, 32 touchdowns and 20 interceptions as a rookie. Considering that would be good for the seventh best passing season in terms of yardage ALL-TIME, you could say he’s faring quite well as a rookie. With Reggie Wayne finding the fountain of youth, let’s see what the youngster has in store for us this week.
For the Jets, we’re just going to continue to put Shonn Greene on this list until he’s benched. It may be 2016.
Cincinnati at Cleveland
BenJarvus Green-Ellis is struggling this season. While the 300 rushing yards are fine, the 3.3 yards per carry leaves a lot to be desired. With Bernard Scott out for the year, the Bengals need much more from Green-Ellis. If he can’t give the team more, they may start taking a closer look at the waiver wire or even at Cedric Peerman.
For the Browns, we called out Josh Gordon last week and he delivered big time with two catches for 82 yards and two touchdowns. With Greg Little dropping virtually everything thrown his way, it’s time for Gordon to stake his claim as the team’s premier wideout. What does have in store for an encore?
Detroit at Philadelphia
We know Mikel Leshoure is going to be the starter for the Lions, but the performance of Joique Bell is getting harder and harder to ignore. Leshoure has yet to really set the world on fire in his two games as the bell cow. Can Bell start cutting into Leshoure’s workload?
For the Eagles, we know Jeremy Maclin has been battling some nagging injuries, but doesn’t it seem like he’s always battling nagging injuries? This season has been a mess for Maclin as he’s posted only seven catches and 69 yards over his last three games combined. For the year, he’s only on pace for 660 yards. While his two touchdowns have salvaged his fantasy value, he’s due for a breakout performance and his owners really need one to feel better about having him on their roster.
Oakland at Atlanta
The Raiders come off the bye looking to jump start their running game – that means all eyes will be on Darren McFadden. Which McFadden will we see? Will it be the one that ran for a combined for 88 rushing yards in three of the Raiders four games or the one that exploded for 113 yards against Pittsburgh in week three? The Raiders will have little choice but to attempt to slow the game down and that means a steady dose of McFadden if they can hang tight with the high flying Falcons.
For the Falcons, the focus has to be on Tony Gonzalez. If he can play this well at age 36, there’s a lot of hope for us all out there. He’s currently on pace for 125 catches, 1,242 yards and 13 touchdowns. While he likely won’t keep up that pace, he’s had an incredible start to the season. I said it in this week’s Dynasty Aftermath and I’ll say it again here – there will never be a better time to trade him if you’re not a contender. He’s likely going to retire at the end of the season, so the time is now.
St. Louis at Miami
Steven Jackson has eclipsed 100 yards rushing exactly one time in his last twelve games and seems to be finally wearing down. He’s been an absolute warrior for the past decade, but his production is really starting to tail off. Though it hasn’t helped that he’s been on some awful teams, Jackson seems to lack the same burst he once had. It’s a tall task to ask Jackson for a solid effort against a pretty solid Miami rush defense on the road, but we’ll ask anyway.
The stats don’t look good for Ryan Tannehill (two touchdowns, six interceptions, 57.4% completion rate), but he’s actually played much better than it seems. The Rams are much better defensively under Jeff Fisher, so let’s see what Tannehill can do with his first home start in three weeks.
Dallas at Baltimore
This is a big week for Dez Bryant. He’s coming off the first 100 yard game of his career, but he’s also coming off a game where he was plagued with mistakes and dropped passes. He’s always just been penciled in as a future WR1 because of his talent, but this is already his third season and he’s just not dominating the way he should. Let’s see if Bryant took the bye week to figure some things out.
For the Ravens, let’s put the spotlight on Anquan Boldin. After a slow start to the season, he has 13 catches for 223 yards over his past two contests. If he can keep stringing together some good performances and Joe Flacco continues to play at a high level, Boldin could be back on the radar as a good bye week fill-in or spot play.
Buffalo at Arizona
The Bills have given up 97 points over the past two games, so it’s almost unfair to put any type of offensive player in the crosshairs, but since that’s what this article is all about, let’s focus on Ryan Fitzpatrick. It’s tough for any quarterback to be forced to play the Patriots, 49ers and Cardinals in successive weeks, but that’s what he’ll have to do. Fitzpatrick has been, well, Fitzpatrick so far this season – he gets his QB2 numbers, but makes a ton of mistakes in the process. He has to start picking up his game or the Bills are going to be in market for a quarterback this off-season. Fair or unfair, that’s the position they’re in.
For the Cardinals, the running game is squarely the focus this week. With Beanie Wells out for an extended period of time (again) and Ryan Williams being lost for the season (again), the Cardinals are in search of someone to be productive out of the backfield. Can William Powell, LaRod Stephens-Howling or Alfonso Smith take advantage? We mentioned Powell two weeks ago and have the most hope there from a dynasty perspective, but with that offensive line, it’s going to be tough for anyone to emerge.
New England at Seattle
Stevan Ridley has been fantastic for the Patriots this season and is fifth in the league in rushing yards so far. He’s shown power, speed and the ability to break tackles in the process.
So, what’s the problem?
Ridley was benched last year for fumbling issues and he’s fumbled in his last two games. With Brandon Bolden nipping at his heels, the Patriots use of Ridley is a huge story today.
For the Seahawks, Sidney Rice has increased his catch totals in each of the last three games. Seattle has been riding Marshawn Lynch and limiting the chances Russell Wilson has been taking. Is Rice on his way back on the radar? Can Wilson make him relevant again? Can he stay healthy? There are a ton of questions that need to be answered here.
New York Giants at San Francisco
For all the talk about the Giants going to some type of running back committee featuring some form of Ahmad Bradshaw, David Wilson and Andre Brown, it’s all quickly becoming irrelevant with the recent play of Bradshaw. After a 30 carry, 200 yard performance against Cleveland, he staked his claim to remain the featured back in the New York offense. If he can have even half that success against the vaunted 49er defense, it will be a huge boom to his short term value in dynasty leagues.
San Francisco has outscored their opponents to the tune of 79-3 the past two weeks. With all the talk about Frank Gore being done this year, he’s on pace for just under 1,400 rushing yards this year and somewhere around 13 touchdowns. With the defense being as dominant as they have been, it’s tough to see him not getting a healthy dose of carries the rest of the way this year, even with Kendall Hunter playing well behind him.
Minnesota at Washington
There’s legitimate talk about Percy Harvin being the NFL’s MVP this season and it’s really not that ridiculous. Through five games, he has 38 catches for 407 receiving yards, 62 additional rushing yards and three total touchdowns (including a kickoff return). He’s always been a bit of a feast of famine player, but it really looks like he’s taking it to another level this season.
How about the play of Alfred Morris so far this year? Through five games, he has 491 rushing yards on 100 carries (4.9 yards per carry average) and four touchdowns. His yards per carry average has increased in each of the last three games as well. We know how Mike Shanahan is, but there are really only two things that could get Morris benched – a lack of production or a fumbling issue. At this point, he has neither and is bordering on RB1 status. After all, he’s fourth in the league in rushing right now and is showing no signs of slowing down. Sell if you want to, but at some point, we all just have to believe what we see.
Green Bay at Houston
The Packers and their running game are in trouble with Cedric Benson out with a lisfranc injury. Alex Green and James Starks will have to shoulder the load unless the Packers hit the free agent market. It’s time for one of them to emerge now that they each have a second chance to impress the coaching staff.
For Houston, all seems just peachy with the team entering the Sunday Night game being undefeated. However, Andre Johnson has been a bit of a disappointment so far this year. He’s currently on pace for just 54 catches, 906 receiving yards and six touchdowns. While that would be a solid season for most receivers, that’s not close to what Johnson owners are expecting from him this year. With the Texans content to run Arian Foster and control the clock, it’s Johnson who is suffering from a fantasy perspective. Can he rebound?
Denver at San Diego
It’s very apparent that Demaryius Thomas has emerged as the WR1 in Denver. After all, he’s on pace for over 1,500 receiving yards this year. With Peyton Manning at the helm, Thomas is finally starting to realize his potential. If he can cut down on the drops and fumbles, he has a legitimate chance to become an elite dynasty receiver for the foreseeable future. He’ll have another chance to impress under the lights of Monday night.
For San Diego, the owners of Robert Meachem are just praying he’s finally turned a corner. After doing virtually nothing all season, he finally broke through with two touchdowns last week. With Ryan Mathews back and commanding attention, Meachem should have room to roam the secondary and Philip Rivers has never been afraid to take chances. If those two are finally on the same page, it could do wonders for both their dynasty values.
Have a great weekend of games!