New Orleans Saints
Jimmy Graham: 7-16-15-4-11 (53), Marques Colston: 6-7-8-8-2 (31), Darren Sproles: 6-8-6-8-3 (31), Pierre Thomas: 4-5-6-6-9 (30), Kenny Stills: 5-1-2-6-2 (16), Lance Moore: 4-4-3-dnp-dnp (11), Ben Watson: 3-0-2-2-1 (8), Jed Collins: 0-1-1-1-5 (8), Robert Meachem: dnp-1-2-1-1 (5), Nick Toon: 0-dnp-dnp-2-1 (3), Mark Ingram: 0-1-dnp-dnp-dnp (1)
Jimmy Graham is the main target for Drew Brees this season and it isn’t even close. Last season through five games Graham had 25 receptions on 42 targets for 215 yards and three touchdowns. But this season through five games he has caught 37 of 53 targets for 593 yards and six touchdowns. Dez Bryant is the closest player to his all-around stats and he has 170 less yards. He leads ALL non-quarterbacks in standard fantasy points. And there are only six quarterbacks ahead of him. In standard leagues last year he had 144 total fantasy points and finished first for tight ends. This season he already has 90 points through five games.
Graham’s success has hurt the other receivers on the team. His 53 targets are over 26 percent of all Drew Brees’ passing attempts. Last season he threw the ball to Graham on 20% of his attempts, just three more than Marques Colston who also was at 20%, but this year he has dropped to 15%. The problem is nobody can cover Graham. The Bears tried six different defenders on him and he caught passes against each one. It seems that teams will eventually have to send help his way and let Colston free, but with Sproles, Colston, and deep threats like Meachem and Stills, it might be tough to send help his way all game long.
It was Pierre Thomas’ show against the Bears. He saw 49 snaps to Darren Sproles’ 16 and had 28 touches to Sproles’ six. This comes off a huge game by Sproles so I’m chalking this one up to Sean Payton’s game plan wanting a slightly larger back running between the tackles. Thomas did very little on his 19 rushing attempts by accumulating just 36 yards for 1.9 yards per carry, but he caught all nine of his targets for 55 yards and most importantly, two touchdowns.
New York Giants
Victor Cruz: 8-11-8-16-12 (55), Hakeem Nicks: 8-7-1-9-12 (37), Rueben Randle: 6-9-4-4-13 (36), Brandon Myers: 9-10-6-1-5 (31), Da'Rel Scott: 8-4-3-2-dnp (17), David Wilson: 1-1-0-3-1 (6), Bear Pascoe: 0-2-2-1-0 (5), Jerrel Jernigan: 0-1-1-0-3 (5), Brandon Jacobs: dnp-1-0-1-3 (5), Henry Hynoski: 1-0-1-dnp-dnp (2), Louis Murphy: 0-0-1-0-dnp (1)
Eli Manning continues to make mistakes and his team continues to lose, but he’s still chucking the ball around and for fantasy degenerates like us, that means fantasy points!
It was disappointing to see Victor Cruz get 12 targets and only be able to haul in five for 48 yards, but that happens when you have been the team’s best weapon all season and have good players around you like Rueben Randle and Hakeem Nicks, who both had big games. Those three will continue to see targets with the Giants defense playing below average at best.
The running back situation is beyond dire now that David Wilson is hurting. After he left this game they had nobody, i.e. Brandon Jacobs. With Wilson out for the Thursday night game they re-signed Da'Rel Scott who is slightly less horrible than Brandon Jacobs. Manning is their only hope.
DeSean Jackson: 9-15-7-6-12 (49), Jason Avant: 3-7-8-4-7 (29), LeSean McCoy: 1-6-1-3-8 (19), Riley Cooper: 6-3-7-2-1 (19), Brent Celek: 3-1-5-6-3 (18), Zach Ertz: 3-2-1-2-3 (11), Bryce Brown: 0-1-0-3-2 (6), James Casey: 0-1-0-1-0 (2), Jeff Maehl: 0-0-0-2-0 (2), Chris Polk: 0-0-0-2-0 (2)
After a couple of down games DeSean Jackson shot back into fantasy greatness with seven receptions on 13 targets for 132 yards and a touchdown. He continues his resurgence under Chip Kelly and thankfully played well with Nick Foles under center after Michael Vick left with a hamstring injury. With no other playmakers at wide receiver, Jackson is easily the favorite of either quarterback on the season he is getting 31% of all their targets.
We also saw a bump in targets for LeSean McCoy with Foles in there. He had eight which he caught six of for 46 yards and that really bolstered his day for PPR leaguers. In weeks 1, 3 and 4 McCoy totaled two receptions, but weeks 2 and 5 he had 11 for 160 yards. We know what he can do in the receiving game, so let’s hope they make those targets more consistent.
After these two it is difficult to find a consistent fantasy player on the Eagles. Zach Ertz has made some long gainers, but has seven receptions on the season. Brent Celek has found the end zone twice, but is averaging two receptions for 35.6 yards a game. Riley Cooper is just bad and Jason Avant is a possession receiver at best. And really, that’s good news for McCoy and Jackson. In this offense it is hard to key your defense on one or two players even when it is so obvious who you should be focusing on.
San Francisco 49ers
Anquan Boldin: 17-4-8-7-6 (42), Vernon Davis: 9-5-dnp-4-6 (24), Kyle Williams: 6-6-6-1-0 (19), Bruce Miller: 2-5-1-3-1 (12), Frank Gore: 2-3-4-2-0 (11), Vance McDonald: 2-2-3-2-0 (9), Jon Baldwin: dnp-dnp-dnp-2-2 (4), Marlon Moore: 1-1-1-dnp-0 (3), Garrett Celek: 0-0-2-0-0 (2), Quinton Patton: 0-0-1-1-dnp (2), Kendall Hunter: 0-0-1-1-0 (2)
The 49ers pretty much just sat back and let Matt Schaub give the game to them, so when you look at Colin Kaepernick’s numbers they hopefully aren’t indicative of how he would have played in a real game.
But with the wide receiver core they have they might have been. Their de facto number two receiver, Kyle Williams, has had one target the last two games and his counterpart in crime, Jon Baldwin, has had four. It’s pretty ugly. Thankfully they got a healthy Vernon Davis back this week and he was able to break a long catch and run for a touchdown. You won’t see Boldin do that too often this season. After his huge 208 yards season opener, Boldin has averaged 46 yards on 3.25 receptions a game.
Frank Gore has been able to keep the team from completely falling apart with his strong, bull-like running. It has taken some pressure off of Kaepernick as he adjusts to his first full year of NFL football, but he’ll need to get his legs back. Besides his garbage-timey yardage in a blowout defeat in Seattle, Kaepernick is averaging less than 20 yards rushing a game. That threat is what kept the defenses guessing and they aren’t guessing that much now.
Golden Tate: 7-2-8-5-11 (33), Sidney Rice: 3-5-7-5-4 (24), Doug Baldwin: 8-1-2-4-9 (24), Zach Miller: 4-4-3-3-dnp (14), Marshawn Lynch: 3-3-0-3-2 (11), Luke Willson: 0-1-5-0-4 (10), Jermaine Kearse: 2-0-1-1-1 (5), Derrick Coleman: 3-0-0-1-0 (4), Robert Turbin: 2-1-1-0-0 (4), Stephen Williams: 1-0-0-1-dnp (2), Kellen Davis: dnp-0-2-0-0 (2)
Russell Wilson once again showed his ability to run and run well as he rushed for 102 yards on 13 carries. Both of those numbers were highs for his short career and over his last two games he’s rushed 23 times for 179 yards. The threat of him and Marshawn Lynch running the ball from the same backfield has to be pretty scary for defenses.
Golden Tate finally got into the end zone, but there just aren’t any Seahawks receivers you can rely on. One player might flash a decent fantasy game, but there’s no consistency from week to week. And when receivers aren’t topping 5-6 receptions and 100 yards, they must get into the end zone and six players have caught a touchdown for the Seahawks and not one of them has more than two.
Marshawn Lynch is once again putting up good numbers. He’s averaging over 100 total yards a game and has four touchdowns in five games. He’ll continue to be consistent in Seattle’s run first offense and if Wilson keeps running it will help open the defense up a little more for him as well.
St. Louis Rams
Tavon Austin: 7-12-7-8-6 (40), Austin Pettis: 6-11-5-9-5 (36), Jared Cook: 10-6-7-9-3 (35), Chris Givens: 3-8-8-8-7 (34), Lance Kendricks: 4-3-5-1-6 (19), Daryl Richardson: 6-6-dnp-2-1 (15), Isaiah Pead: dnp-4-7-dnp-1 (12), Brian Quick: 2-1-4-3-2 (12), Benny Cunningham: 0-1-3-1-0 (5), Cory Harkey: dnp-1-1-0-2 (4), Zac Stacy: 0-dnp-dnp-0-1 (1), Mike McNeill: 0-1-dnp-dnp-0 (1), Stedman Bailey: 0-0-1-0-0 (1)
The Rams were able to beat the Jaguars at home. That is officially better than losing to them. Austin Pettis caught two more touchdowns giving him four on the season. Bradford seems to trust him, but I don’t think I can for fantasy purposes. Seven Rams caught passes from Bradford in this one. He’s spreading the “wealth” around a little too thinly for my liking and they won’t face the Jaguars every week. In fact, they face Houston, Carolina and Seattle the next three weeks.
Zac Stacy got the start in the musical chair running back committee and he played better than any of the other running backs rushing 14 times for 78 yards. He left the game with a blow to the gut, but seems to have secured the early down work for a little while.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
(With the Buccaneers on bye last week let’s rewind to Week 4)
Vincent Jackson: 13-11-6-11-BYE (41), Mike Williams: 8-6-9-6-BYE (29), Doug Martin: 6-1-6-4-BYE (17), Tim Wright: 0-0-2-6-BYE (8), Eric Page: 0-0-5-0-BYE (5), Brian Leonard: 1-0-2-2-BYE (5), Nate Byham: 1-1-1-0-BYE (3), Erik Lorig: dnp-0-1-2-BYE (3), Mike James: 0-0-0-1-BYE (1), Jeff Demps: dnp-dnp-dnp-1-BYE (1)
This was a nightmare game to watch with Mike Glennon unable to move the team through the air giving the Cardinals every opportunity to stack the box and stop Doug Martin who ran an unbelievable 27 times for just 45 yards.
Tight end Timothy Wright led the team in receptions and yards, so you know the game was not going as planned. Hopefully with a bye week and time to practice with his two best receivers they will have more chemistry on deep passes.
(With the Washington on bye last week let’s rewind to Week 4)
Pierre Garcon: 11-13-13-7-BYE (44), Santana Moss: 9-5-9-3-BYE (26), Leonard Hankerson: 7-3-7-7-BYE (24), Jordan Reed: 6-3-6-dnp-BYE (15), Josh Morgan: 5-6-2-1-BYE (14), Logan Paulsen: 0-3-6-2-BYE (11), Roy Helu: 2-1-3-3-BYE (9), Fred Davis: 4-2-dnp-1-BYE (7), Aldrick Robinson: 2-2-2-0-BYE (6), Alfred Morris: 1-2-1-0-BYE (4), Niles Paul: 0-0-1-3-BYE (4), Darrel Young: 1-0-0-2-BYE (3)
Alfred Morris and Roy Helu combined on 29 rushing attempts for 112 yards and a touchdown. That’s not a huge number, but it is by far the most rushing attempts on the season for Washington, which is their bread and butter and allows Robert Griffin III to set up the intermediate pass for easier completions.
Pierre Garcon led the way again in targets and receptions, but it was his least number of yards and receptions on the year. Thankfully for his fantasy owners he got into the end zone for the second time this season.
This is the formula for them to win, and get Alfred Morris fantasy points, but the garbage time stats for RGIII were nice to have over the last three weeks.
Snap count data comes from our friends at Pro Football Focus.