Patrick Daugherty

Goal Line Stand

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Week 5 Rankings

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Updated 10/6/2013 at 12:35 PM ET. 

Travelling to San Francisco to take on one of the league’s top run defenses just three days after being acquired, Trent Richardson was never expected to have a big first week as a Colt. He didn’t, rushing 13 times for 35 yards. But his second week? Against a Jaguars’ run defense that entered Week 4 allowing 167.7 yards per game and 5.2 yards per carry? He was expected to go off. To look like the player that two separate teams have now made a first-round investment in. But once again, he didn’t. It wasn’t for lack of opportunity. With no Ahmad Bradshaw (neck) around to siphon carries, T-Rich got the rock 20 times on the ground, but somehow managed only 60 yards against a Run D that made Darren McFadden look “back” in Week 2.

What gives?

Film review reveals it certainly isn’t a talent issue. T-Rich is built like a fullback, but still looks every bit his 4.48 40-yard dash time once he gets a head of steam. And when he gets a head of steam … man, he’s hard to bring down. Even Sunday he was ping-ponging off of defenders, and dragging them with him when he wasn’t running headlong into a 5-6 man pile. But here’s where we arrive at our problem: T-Rich was running into too many piles. There were many reasons why. Although not sub-par, the Colts’ run blocking was far from stellar. OC Pep Hamilton was also getting too cute. He seemingly wanted to get Richardson up to speed on every play in the playbook, while too many of his zone-blocking calls took too long to develop. At one point, CBS play-by-play man Kevin Harlan quipped that Richardson was “going to see every play in this playbook, isn’t he.”

But much like T-Rich’s talent, neither the Colts’ blocking nor play-calling were ultimately the issue: It was T-Rich’s head. In a nutshell, he was taking too many “thinking steps.” Too often, T-Rich took the rock and then stood around with it, letting the defense come to him instead of taking the fight to the defense. On one hand, it’s admirable that a runner so violent at heart could be so patient. But while T-Rich was thinking about where to take the rock, the defense was penetrating. More often than not, it resulted in 2-3 yard runs for a player who very much has the ability to average five yards per carry. T-Rich is simply giving the defense too much time to react. He needs to turn off his brain and just go. Occasionally, it’s going to result in some “brick wall” runs. But T-Rich is fast enough to hit the hole before the defense knows what hit them, and strong enough to drag them once he does.

No matter what Richardson does Sunday, it’s going to be tough sledding against the Seahawks’ run defense. Pete Carroll’s ground unit is tougher than the numbers (4.1 yards per carry, 109 yards per game) suggest. Richardson isn’t going to be a new runner overnight. But he could learn more on the sideline than he does on the field. All he needs to do is watch his Seattle counterpart Marshawn Lynch, who hits the hole first and asks questions later. Richardson has Beast Mode’s violence. He just needs to start using it as soon as he gets the rock, and not once he’s in the company of four defenders.       

Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-week $15,000 Fantasy Football league for Week 5. It's just $5 to join and first prize is $2,000. Starts Sunday at 1pm ET. Here's the link.  

Week 5 Quarterbacks 

Rank Player Name Opponent Notes
1 Peyton Manning at DAL -
2 Drew Brees at CHI -
3 Aaron Rodgers vs. DET -
4 Michael Vick at NYG -
5 Tom Brady at CIN -
6 Cam Newton at ARZ -
7 Philip Rivers at OAK -
8 Matt Ryan vs. NYJ -
9 Colin Kaepernick vs. HOU -
10 Tony Romo vs. DEN -
11 Matthew Stafford at GB -
12 Andrew Luck vs. SEA -
13 Russell Wilson at IND -
14 Terrelle Pryor vs. SD Probable (concussion)
15 Eli Manning vs. PHI -
16 Jay Cutler vs. NO -
17 Sam Bradford vs. JAC -
18 Ryan Tannehill vs. BAL -
19 Joe Flacco at MIA -
20 Alex Smith at TEN -
21 Matt Schaub at SF -
22 Andy Dalton vs. NE -
23 Brian Hoyer vs. BUF Sidelined (knee)
24 Carson Palmer vs. CAR -
25 Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. KC -
26 E.J. Manuel at CLE Sidelined (knee)
27 Geno Smith at ATL -
28 Blaine Gabbert at STL -

QB Notes: The Peyton Manning Express rolls into Dallas this week, where the Cowboys are allowing 305 passing yards per game and 7.8 yards per attempt. Monte Kiffin’s unit is one week removed from allowing Philip Rivers to complete 35-of-42 passes. Perhaps Manning will remain on pace for 64 touchdowns, after all. … The Bears’ formerly imposing defense is relying entirely on creating turnovers this season, allowing enemy passes to average 8.3 yards per attempt. That’s fourth worst in the NFL, and up two whole yards from the Bears’ 2012 mark. They aren’t going to slow down Drew Brees. … Michael Vick is locked in as a top-five option against the Giants’ barely-there defense, but has seen his fantasy effectiveness decline three straight weeks. With injury nearly an inevitability, Vick is a sell-high candidate. He should remain a QB1, but he’ll never be more valuable than he is now.

That didn’t last long. Tom Brady’s QB1 status was up in the air, for what … two weeks? Brady was up to his old tricks against the Falcons, elevating the play of everyone around him while producing his most fantasy points of the season. With Danny Amendola (groin) possibly returning this week and Rob Gronkowski (back) not far behind, Brady’s early-season struggles are going to seem like a distant memory this time next month. … When we last left Cam Newton in Week 3, he was dynamiting what remained of the Giants’ once stout defense. The sledding won’t be much tougher against an Arizona pass defense that’s gotten lit up by every non-Mike Glennon quarterback it's faced. … We talked about it at length on Monday, but the short of it? Maybe Philip Rivers’ isn’t all the way “back,” but he’s definitely no longer the shell-shocked, turnover-happy has been he was under Norval Turner. Rivers is completing 73.9 percent of his passes. The Raiders are allowing a league-worst 72.1 completion percentage. You know what to do.

Matt Ryan is the No. 5 fantasy quarterback through four weeks, but coming off a game where he missed a number of easy throws behind his ramshackle offensive line, he’ll be feeling the heat against the Jets defense. Gang Green ranks fifth in opponent’s YPA (6.2), and is tied for third in sacks (14). Ryan is still a QB1, but a lower-end one for Week 5. … Maybe Colin Kaepernick’s solid Week 4 against the Rams wasn’t enough to convince you he’s “back.” But then again, the joke’s on you for thinking he ever went away. Kaep didn’t suddenly stop being one of the league’s most dynamic dual-threat players overnight. You can either trust what you’ve seen with your own eyes — his gazelle-like running ability, his laser arm and uncommon accuracy — or think that one week in Seattle and another without Vernon Davis “exposed” a quarterback who was one play away from winning the Super Bowl. … Tony Romo is off to a slow fantasy start, averaging just 6.72 yards per attempt. He’s on pace for only 4,060 yards, which would be his lowest total in a non-injury shortened season since his rookie year. Encouraging, however, is his 8:1 TD:INT ratio. He’s a safe QB1 against a Broncos’ pass defense that hasn’t played quite as well as the hype would suggest.

The matchup is imposing for Andrew Luck, but unless you’ve got a backup like Philip Rivers waiting in the wings, you stick with your stud. Luck is already to the point where no opponent makes him a bench option. He’s simply too good, run-heavy offense and all. … The Seahawks are currently calling on Russell Wilson to attempt only 24 passes per game, which is over two fewer than he averaged during the infamously conservative eight-game stretch to begin his career. The ‘Hawks are eventually going to open things up — perhaps once Percy Harvin returns — but for now Wilson is just a borderline QB1 despite his solid peripherals. … We’ve seen a bit of everything from Terrelle Pryor this season. Good plays with his arm, great plays with his legs, some bad plays with both, injury. What we haven’t seen is that one game that really makes him pop as a QB1 disruptor. Despite all the hype, he’s still averaging just 19.6 fantasy points per start, putting him behind the likes of Ryan Tannehill and Geno Smith. The matchup is admittedly inviting in the Chargers — no team is allowing more fantasy points to opposing QBs — but the idea of Pryor is still more intriguing than the reality. He’s a legit, high-end QB2, but still not a player you sit your studs for. At least not yet.

On one hand, Eli Manning has managed just 336 yards and one touchdown over his past two starts. On the other, he’s playing the Eagles, who are allowing 325 yards per game through the air. Manning might end up a better fantasy than “real life” player for Week 5, but that’s what we’re here for, right? … Jay Cutler is on pace for 32 touchdowns. He’s also on pace for 32 turnovers. We’ve seen glimpses of a “new” quarterback under Marc Trestman — a much higher completion percentage, more spreading the ball around — but more than enough of the “old Jay” that he can’t be considered more than a QB2. … Sam Bradford was abominable in Week 4 after being horrid in Week 3. Bradford’s line and supporting cast — the Rams don’t have a run game — remain issues as big as ever, but at some point, something’s got to give. If there was a football god, it would be OC Brian Schottenheimer’s job. … Matt Schaub’s slump isn’t going to end on the road in San Francisco. … Brian Hoyer’s start has been encouraging, but it’s a bit early to trust him in the Thursday night game, which has become the league’s weekly house of horrors.

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Patrick Daugherty is a football and baseball writer for He can be found on Twitter .
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