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Fantasy observations from Sunday’s Week 5 action:
- Now that Aaron Hernandez is back, expect split targets and split production from New England’s tight ends. Hernandez had five catches for 56 yards while Rob Gronkowski had four catches for 31 yards. Neither saw the end zone.
- After everyone got so excited about the prospect of Stevan Ridley taking control of the Patriots rushing offense, of course it was BenJarvus Green-Ellis who had a big day against the Jets. The Law Firm ran for 136 yards and two touchdowns in the win. And Ridley, you ask? 13 yards on seven carries. Classic Belichick.
- There hasn’t been a defense that has stopped LeGarrette Blount as well as the Bucs’ defense. In multiple games this season, Tampa’s defense has been torched early, forcing the Buccaneers to go into catch-up mode, abandoning the run in order to pass. It happened again on Sunday and Blount gained just 34 yards on 10 carries before leaving with a knee injury in the third quarter.
- No one is going to call for Alex Smith to be a full-time fantasy starter, but he’s earning looks as a decent replacement. His yardage totals will probably never overwhelm you (he only threw for 170 yards on Sunday), but his three touchdown passes are a welcome sight. This season, Smith has seven TDs to just one interception. In the past two weeks, he’s thrown for five scores without a pick.
- It looks like the Frank Gore that so many fantasy owners love is back. He had 125 rushing yards and a touchdown in the Niners’ blowout win on Sunday. Add that to the 127 yards and a touchdown from last week and it looks like the veteran is holding off Kendall Hunter for the time being.
- Speaking of Knowshon Moreno, that screen pass was a refreshing sight for fantasy owners, but he seems a long way from getting his starting job back. Willis McGahee ran for 125 yards as Denver’s starter on Sunday and has 228 rushing yards in the last two weeks. Coach John Fox may not have his quarterback spot settled, but his running back situation looks a lot clearer.
- Tim Tebow helped lead a rousing Broncos comeback that came up just short, but let’s not pump him up as a fantasy savior just yet. Passing-wise, Tebow was just 4-of-10 for 79 yards and a touchdown. But 28 of those yards came on a screen pass to Knowshon Moreno and the rest came on the final drive with the Chargers playing a prevent defense. Let’s see how he does against a regular defensive set before we start promoting him.
- The Chargers running back situation is worth keeping an eye on. Ryan Mathews dealt with a calf injury that put him on the sideline at times on Sunday. Then Mike Tolbert left the game with a concussion, leaving Jacob Hester to do a lot of the work late. At this point, there’s not much reason to be concerned about Mathews, but nagging injuries have a way of turning into nagging issues.
- If you haven’t already, it’s time to downgrade anyone involved in the Buccaneers passing game. Josh Freeman struggled with 187 yards, 0 TDs and 2 INTs. So it’s no surprise that Mike Williams was another fantasy non-factor, catching four passes for just 28 yards.
- Frank Gore is on his way to a nice day — 13 rush, 59 yards and a TD in the first half.
- Victor Cruz is working his way up the Giants’ priority ladder. Today, he had eight catches for 161 yards and a TD. In his past three games, he has 17 receptions for 369 yards and 3 touchdowns.
- As long as Curtis Painter is Indy’s starter, Pierre Garcon’s value will rise. Since Painter took over, Garcon has seven catches for 271 yards and four touchdowns. Contrast that with Reggie Wayne, who has eight catches, but just 136 yards and no touchdowns.
- The Texans continue to be solid against fantasy running backs, holding the previously red-hot Darren McFadden to 51 yards on 16 carries.
- Proving that the best fantasy backs are multi-dimensional, Arian Foster had a mediocre 68 rushing yards, but caught five passes for 116 yards.
- For the first time all year, a Panthers running back had a good day. DeAngelo Williams rushed for 115 yards, but 69 of them came on one run. There is still nothing to suggest either Williams or Jonathan Stewart is going to become a bigger part of the game plan.
- Mark it down, Jimmy Graham is a must-start fantasy tight end. The Miami (FL) product had eight catches for 129 yards and has become one of Drew Brees’ favorite targets.
- Michael Vick with another bittersweet fantasy week. The 315 passing yards, 2 TDs and 90 rushing yards is great. The four interceptions isn’t. Not all of them were his fault, but they count just the same. It’s becoming a consistent pattern behind a bad offensive line. It’s hard to sit Vick, but it’s getting hard to watch, too.
- Another week, another back goes over 100 yards against the Eagles. This time, it’s Fred Jackson rushing for 111 yards and a touchdown. You’ve probably figured this out already, but start your backs against Philly. His six catches for 85 yards ain’t bad, either.
- With a rushing TD in the third quarter, Cam Newton now has five rushing scores on the season. The Panthers running backs have combined for just one — that came from DeAngelo Williams in the second quarter today.
- Don’t look now, but Darrius Heyward-Bey is having a nice first half — five catches, 85 yards and a TD.
- The Bills are having a good day, but Stevie Johnson isn’t sharing in it. He’s been locked down by Nnamdi Asomugha for just one catch for eight yards.
- Michael Vick is on the verge of a major fantasy fail. He has thrown three interceptions in the first half. The offensive line hasn’t helped, but Vick hasn’t been himself, either.
- It’s a good day for Pierre Garcon. Early in the second quarter, he has four catches for 119 yards and two touchdowns and it’s becoming apparent that he has a good rapport with Curtis Painter. That’s good news for Garcon owners. Not so much for Reggie Wayne.
- Joseph Addai left the game with a hamstring injury and is questionable to return. Delone Carter will handle the Colts’ rushing duties from here on out.
- Just in case you didn’t believe us, Peterson has just added his third touchdown of the day to go along with 59 rushing yards. There is still 2:41 remaining in the first quarter.
- It’s looking like an Adrian Peterson stampede early. He’s already posted 46 rushing yards and two touchdowns…in the first quarter.
- The Eagles run defense continues to disappoint. Fred Jackson has started his day with six carries for 36 yards and a touchdown. Expect Buffalo to keep feeding him the rock.
- Not a good start for the Seahawks. Marshawn Lynch limped off after the second play of the game and several plays later, Zach Miller left after sustaining a wicked hit.
- For the second straight week, Jed Collins has a touchdown for the Saints. It’s hard to advocate rushing out to pick him up. If anything it muddies the waters in short yardage situations for guys like Mark Ingram and Pierre Thomas.
— Marcas Grant
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