By: Mike Carlson
Week 5 of the NFL is in the books which not only means the season is nearly one third of the way finished, but also means an even larger chunk of the fantasy football season is over.
For some team managers this means, the end of the season can’t come soon enough. That running back you were positive was going to breakout has fallen into fantasy football oblivion or you were just the poor, unlucky guy who took both Dez Bryant and Tony Romo in your draft. For those team managers lucky enough to have avoided either of those circumstances, these next few weeks are crucial to cementing a playoff berth and engineering a playoff-ready roster which means there’s no better time than now for a fantasy football reality check.
Let’s jump right in.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Doug Martin: Up until two weeks ago, it looked like it would be yet another underwhelming season from Martin. He had yet to find the endzone and the very apparent growing pains of rookie quarterback Jameis Winston were only exasperating the matter. Since the calendar changed to October, though, it’s been vintage Martin. In the last two weeks, he racked up 229 yards, averaged 5.2 yards per carry, and scored three times. Moreover, he’s been effective catching passes out of the backfield as well. And while this is promising, these performances should be viewed as more of a trick and less of a treat. The two opposing defenses he’s carried the rock against haven’t been anything special against the run and his ability to score points is heavily reliant on an entirely unstable rookie signal caller. Ride the wave for now, but don’t be surprised when the mask comes off and the real Martin resurfaces.
St. Louis Rams RB Todd Gurley: Whatever concerns there were over Gurley’s return to action, have clearly been dispelled after back-to-back games in which the former bulldog rushed for more than 140 yards. Don’t expect him to slow down either. The Rams know how to maximize Gurley’s skillset as a runner and, given the lack of other offensive weapons, should expect to see the ball come his way early and often. Sure, an opposing defense may figure him out one week and he will have his share of rookie moments, but his potential to fill a stat sheet on any given Sunday completely dwarfs any risk.
Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning: It’s officially time for the Broncos to hit the orange panic button on Manning. Age has finally caught up to this once ageless wonder. He’s thrown at least one interception in every game this season and only has two multi-touchdown performances thus far. The consensus at the start of the season seemed to be that the offensive weapons around him would more than makeup for any of the shortcomings of age, but evidently this is not the case. Manning is still a serviceable fantasy quarterback in his own right, but don’t expect offensive fireworks every time he hits the field. It might not hurt to try and deal Manning before the fantasy trade deadline either as the he will be facing formidable opponents for the rest of the season.
Green Bay Packers WR James Jones: Jones has been a surprise fantasy star this season. He’s averaging a touchdown a game and, last week aside, has seen a fair amount of targets from quarterback Aaron Rodgers. As it stands now, he’s also the fourth best receiver in fantasy football. What’s better (as if things weren’t already pretty great) is that Davante Adams will likely be returning to action this week which means not only that the Packer’s offense will gain back their deep threat at wideout, but will also draw more attention away from Jones. All the makings of a rock solid rest of the season are there and owners should not think twice when it comes to starting Jones.