Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Week 5 fantasy moves to make now


It is already officially that time of the season - coaches are being fired (Dennis Allen is out in Oakland) and quarterbacks are being benched (Kyle Orton will take over for an ineffective E.J. Manuel in Buffalo). Likewise, you may need to shake things up on your fantasy team. Let's take a look at some top targets heading into Week 5.

First let's take a look at quarterback. I spotlighted Teddy Bridgewater (Minnesota) and Blake Bortles (Jacksonville) last week so hopefully you already made the move. Rookies or not, they both look exceptional. If somehow they are still on your waiver wire, they are the prime quarterbacks to target. 

Kyle Orton will get the start in Buffalo. You had to see this one coming after Buffalo surprisingly signed Orton to a 2-year, $11M deal in late August, plus E.J. Manuel just doesn't look like a starting NFL quarterback. Through two seasons, Manuel has a career 58.6 completion percentage. Orton is worth adding for desperate teams. He was the 14th best fantasy quarterback in 2009 - still, I am saying only for desperate teams. The move should really help rookie receiver Sammy Watkins however. 

Who is next to get benched? It could be Jets' quarterback Geno Smith, who threw his 5th interception of the season this week (and lost a fumble) in a 7-point home loss to the Lions. Michael Vick seems likely to get the nod at some point. This is football blasphemy and I am not saying this is anywhere near on the horizon, but Tom Brady looks washed up. In the later part of the season, it is possible the Patriots turn to rookie Jimmy Garoppolo - crazier things have happened. In Philadelphia, Nick Foles' job is safe, but he is taking a beating. Mark Sanchez could find himself with the keys to the Philadelphia offense at some point. 

Jerick McKinnon finally got some touches in Minnesota, and he looked exceptional. His athletic skills are on a completely different level than that of Matt Asiata. McKinnon carried the ball 18 times for 135 yards (7.5 yards per carry) and showed why he was a third-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. That said, Asiata will still start (for now) but expect the workload to move closer to a 50/50 split. McKinnon is likely your top waiver wire claim this week if he is available in your league. 

I mentioned Lorenzo Taliaferro last week and he remains a priority add if Taliaferro is still available (or he is a good trade target). Justin Forsett had the better fantasy game, but I would much rather have Taliaferro for the rest of the season based on his upside. Taliaferro led the Ravens with 15 carries and he scored a 1-yard TD this week. Bernard Pierce didn't see a single touch.

The war of attrition that has decimated Carolina's backfield has left Darrin Reaves as the last man standing. Reaves has good size (5'10", 220 lbs.), but was unimpressive in Week 4 totaling just 26 yards on 12 carries (2.2 yards per carry). Games against Chicago next week and Green Bay in week seven might help the running game, but it's hard to get excited about a running back on a team that has yet to surpass 75 rushing yards in a game. Reaves is an emergency BYE week cover play at best.

Marvin Jones (Cincinnati) is slated to make his 2014 debut after recovering from a broken foot in pre-season. It's not the same offense as last year, but Jones scored 10 TDs last season. He is worth adding if on your waiver wire. 

It's hard to know what the Raiders offense will look now that Dennis Allen is out (offensive line coach Tony Sparano is expected to be the interim head coach but there are some rumors that they are trying to woo Jon Gruden to come back), plus Derek Carr left Week 4 with a sprained MCL and a high-ankle sprain, but wide receiver Andre Holmes is a good deep sleeper. Rod Streater (foot surgery) is out and could be miss the season while Holmes got the start this week and collected 74 yards with a TD. Holmes has big-play potential. 

In Tampa, Mike Evans injured his groin and he will be out a few weeks. Louis Murphy should draw the start in his absence. Murphy seemed to quickly earn the trust of quarterback Mike Glennon this week (they likely have been practicing together as backups), seeing 11 targets and converting six of them for 99 yards. Murphy is worth adding if you need BYE week help. The Evans injury, should also mean more targets for tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins (he saw 7 pass targets against the Steelers and he played in 71-of-71 snaps this week). Give it a week to sink in, but Mike Evans will make for a good buy low target if an impatient owner doesn't want to wait this one out. 

Based on ownership numbers, fantasy owners are leery of trusting Eddie Royal (San Diego) after his torrid start in 2013 (10 receptions, 114 yards, five TDs in weeks one and two) led to diminishing returns as the season progressed. In 2014, Royal has done more of the same in weeks three and four with 13 receptions for 147 yards and four TDs. Royal should remain a viable target for Philip Rivers, but don't expect the TDs to continue to come in bunches. 

Jarius Wright (Minnesota) showed to have a good rapport with Teddy Bridgewater (they also have been practicing together as backups). Wright was targeted 10 times this week and converted eight for 132 yards. Rookie QBs tend to rely on the short and intermediate receivers as they get acclimated to the speed of the NFL, playing right into the wheelhouse of Wright as Minnesota's slot receiver. Wright has appeal as a BYE week filler or occasional flex starter but he’s only really a target for deeper leagues. 

Other fantasy notes 
Carson Palmer (shoulder) could be back soon. Most importantly, that would be good news for Michael Floyd. Through three games Floyd is averaging a lethal 22.9 yards per catch but he has no touchdowns yet. You might be able to target Floyd in a trade at some discount. Regardless of who starts this week for the Cardinals, Floyd is a good buy-low target. 

Now might be a good time to try to trade Andre Johnson (Houston) based on name value. Through four games, Johnson is on pace for 88 receptions, 1,048 yards but zero touchdowns. Meanwhile, his teammate DeAndre Hopkins has 3 TDs on the season. 

Speaking of moving a player with solid name value, consider dealing Jets running back Chris Johnson. Chris Ivory simply looks like the better back (in fact, Ivory looks like a poor man’s Marshawn Lynch). Johnson scored a 35-yard TD run this week and that might also help to create some added buzz to move him and get a decent return. 

During Monday Night Football, I was engaged with several people saying how they would not trade tight end Travis Kelce for Rob Gronkowski straight up, and how Kelce is the new Gronk. Good points - Kelce does look like the new Gronk. You might want to try to work a trade like this if you own Gronkowski (and maybe you can still get something extra in return). For those on Twitter, you can follow me at @Speedkills_FFW

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