First, I have to say how good it is to get through week 5 unscathed. I won every single one of my fantasy football matchups this past week, but not without a significant close call. Going into Monday night I had a 10 point lead in my favorite league, all my players were done, and my opponent had the Falcons’ coach left to go. I’m new to the concept of having a coach win or lose points for your team, but even I knew that a win by the Falcons meant I would lose my match, as a win for a coach garners at least 11 points. At work all of my colleagues laughed at me when I said the Jets could win, when in fact in my column last week I told you to be wary of the Falcons when dealing with survival leagues. They still almost succeeded, but when that field goal went through the uprights I had survived to be perfect another week.
How did I do it? With a balanced fantasy attack. Even though Michael Vick went out after only one half of play, I had enough other playmakers to deliver the victory nonetheless. LeSean McCoy and Jamaal Charles on the ground, Eric Decker and DeSean Jackson through the air. Even Brent Celek chipped in with a touchdown. And that’s how you’re going to win your matchups more often than not. Play the odds. Jackson playing against the Giants was a no-brainer as they give up tons of yardage to wide receivers. Decker plays for the Broncos and Peyton looks his way quite often near the end zone, another easy pick. I left Eddie Royal on the bench where he belonged, I sat Martellus Bennett because he was hurting, even though he played. And by playing Vick instead of Tom Brady (who was also on my bench) I still got more points from him in just one half.
That’s the key. But if you’re not playing with a full deck, if you have people on a bye this week (Miami and Atlanta are off), if you’re just not satisfied with your production, or if you keep getting production from your bench players no matter which switches you make, here are a few receivers to play this week or to pick up and play off the waiver wire:
Alshon Jeffery – Chicago Bears
Grab him off the waiver wire and insert him straightaway into your lineup. With teams double-teaming Brandon Marshall, and with Martellus Bennett still hurting, Jeffery may just be your best bet to score some major fantasy points this week. Cutler and Jeffery have developed an obvious chemistry over the past two weeks, and I don’t see that going away here against a Giants defense that can’t seem to stop receivers from scoring on them this year.
Mohamed Sanu – Cincinnati Bengals
Sanu has been relatively quiet the past couple of weeks for the Bengals, but if they are to keep winning they need more than solid performances from their defense, or they will be exposed like the Browns and Hoyer exposed them a couple of weeks ago. Dalton needs to throw the ball more, and I think he gets it going against the Bills defense this week. All hands will be on deck. Count on a big game from both A.J. Green and Sanu. He is sitting on a lot of waiver wires.
Justin Blackmon – Jacksonville Jaguars
On a team that is downright miserable, Blackmon is a bright light that can shine brightly this weekend. You saw what receivers did to the Denver defense in Dallas, and even though Jacksonville doesn’t have a quality passer like Tony Romo, they can still get the ball to Blackmon, as evidenced by his surge on Sunday in his return after a suspension. He will keep up the numbers, if only because Jacksonville will have to keep throwing to try and keep pace with the juggernaut that is the Denver offense.
And, as usual, here are some running backs that could keep your team motoring along:
Willis McGahee – Cleveland Browns
With Weeden under center, the Browns have to play more smashmouth football, and they showed that in the second half of the game against the Bills last Thursday night. McGahee might be getting up there in age, but he’s proven that he can still produce in this league. He’s finally up to speed with the offense, and trusted more in the play calling. Get him active this week for the game against the Lions.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis – Cincinnati Bengals
I think the Bengals will have a great game this week, so this pick shouldn’t be a difficult one to figure out. The Law Firm had the majority of the carries this past Sunday for the Bengals, and for some reason the coaches trust him more than Bernard at this point. I say go with him this week, and he will get you at least one touchdown and over 70 rushing yards in the process. He may even be available at this point on the waiver wire as many people believe Bernard to be the better option. He isn’t. Not yet.
Bilal Powell – New York Jets
Even with the return of Mike Goodson and the relatively down game from Powell against the Falcons, don’t forget that the Jets had to throw a lot in the second half to keep pace and to ultimately win it. Powell should have room this week against a horrible Steelers run defense, and he might even get into the passing game as well. Count on him for at least 10 fantasy points, with a lot of upside this week. And Goodson will get in on the fun too, if you’re up for taking a bigger risk and adding him off the waiver wire.