The big news for Week 5 was the trade of Randy Moss back to the Vikings. From a fantasy standpoint this is excellent news for Brett Favre, but how does this effect Tom Brady? The Patriots are relying on Brandon Tate and Aaron Hernandez stepping up to fill the void of their #1 receiver and I am not sold. Tom-Terrific will remain a QB1, but I am knocking him down a peg with the departure of Moss. The good news is they are on a bye this week, so they have two weeks to figure out how to gameplan without a sure-fire Hall of Fame WR.
Byes: Dolphins, Patriots, Steelers, Seahawks
Eli Manning: I am not in the habit of starting "The other Manning" most weeks, but this week he finds his way to Houston to face the leagues last ranked pass defense (337.8 YPG). As if the yards weren't bad enough, they allow the 2nd most passing TDs too, so Manning could have the best game of the season this weekend.
Matt Ryan: Ryan and the Falcons 10th in the NFL in passing offense at 233.5 YPG, as well as tied for 9th with six passing TDs. The Browns enter this game 24th in pass defense and 3rd for TDs allowed via the pass. All indications point towards Ryan putting up mid-low QB1 numbers on Sunday.
Peyton Hillis: Hillis has taken the league completely by surprise, but fantasy owners smart enough to snag him are reaping the rewards. He is averaging 80.5 YPG on the ground and he has scored a touchdown in each of the four games this season, but those numbers would have been much better had he got more than 17 carries in the first two games combined. The Falcons are 11th in run defense, but I like Hillis to take them out of the top 15 after this weekend.
Ryan Torain: News came out Wednesday that Clinton Portis would miss 6-8 weeks due to a groin injury. And, that means Torain moves into the starting spot for the Redskins and is primed to become Coach Mike Shanahan's next great find. I'd give Torain a play as a low-end RB2 this weekend and see how he is used before betting too much on him.
Hakeem Nicks: I like Nicks to be the biggest beneficiary of the Texans horrific pass defense. Nicks is 15th in targets for WRs and he is averaging 13.3 YPC, so play him this weekend and expect WR1 numbers.
Mark Clayton: Clayton has been reborn with the Rams and rookie QB Sam Bradford. Through the first four games of the season, Clayton has averaged 5.5 catches and 75 yards a game, but the Lions give up 241.0 YPG in the air and have allowed the second most passing TDs (8) so far. Expect solid WR2 numbers from Clayton this weekend.
Zach Miller (Oak): As little of a fan of Gradkowski as I am, I am a huge fan of Miller's. Miller busted out last week with 11 catches for 122 yards and a touchdown, and I expect more of the same this week against the Chargers. Not that I see another double-digit catch/triple-digit yardage performance, but I do expect big numbers from him once again.
San Diego Chargers Defense: The Raiders are going to be without Darren McFadden this weekend (not official yet, but it will happen) and you will see below why I don't trust Gradkowski. The Chargers are ranked 2nd in the NFL at total yards allowed with just 238.0 YPG, and the Raiders are putting up 354.2 YPG on offense… but that was with McFadden.
Bruce Gradkowski: A lot of people jumped on the Gradkowski bandwagon when he took over for struggling starter Jason Campbell. The truth is that Gradkowski is throwing one INT for every TD he throws this season and that is not what I want to see from my QB. This weekend he faces the Chargers in a rivalry game, so I am going to go ahead and sit him until he proves he has better decision making abilities.
Mark Sanchez: Yes, Sanchez gets back Santonio Holmes this week and that is a bonus for his fantasy owners. But, the Vikings 8th in the NFL defending the pass (189.0 YPG) and there is no telling how much rust Holmes will have to knock off before he gets back to gameshape. I'd leave Sanchez on your bench this weekend and see how Holmes looks before putting him in as a QB1.
Adrian Peterson: Oh yes… I said it! The Jets are 4th against the run and they are allowing 74.8 YPG and just a single TD on the ground. Many people will say to play AP because the Jets will be focused on Moss and Visanthe Shiancoe, but I am not buying into what they are selling and neither should you. The Jets defense will take care of Favre and the Vikings WRs without letting AP run wild. I think Peterson will be a bust this weekend and someone else on your bench would have better off in the starting line-up.
LeSean McCoy: McCoy fractured a rib last week and is sounding unsure that he will even play this weekend. The smart money is on McCoy not risking further injury to the rib in a game that they can win without him. I'd just sit him now regardless of his game status because even if he does play, his touches are going to be severely limited.
Mike Sims-Walker: Until the Jaguars get their QB problems figured out, I am going to sit Sims-Walker completely. The Bills are 12th in passing defense and the Sims-Walker has just 23 targets on the season, which ranks him 36th in the NFL for WRs.
Santonio Holmes: Too many people are going to stick Holmes into their starting line-ups in his first week back, and that is the wrong move to make. As I mentioned before, there is a lot of rust to knock off and chemistry to build before he will be worth playing.
Jason Witten: And I do it again! Witten was drafted as a top 3 TE in any format and I have a feeling that he will perform as a low-end TE1 or high-end TE2 against the Titans 13th ranked pass defense who have only allowed three passing TDs this season.
Baltimore Ravens Defense: The Ravens defense has been as good as any defense this season. But, this week they run into the Broncos surprisingly good offense that is putting up 394.5 total YPG. I do think the Broncos will take a step back this week, but the Ravens aren't going to shut them out.
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