Jesse Pantuosco

Power Rankings

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Week 6 Power Rankings

Wednesday, October 11, 2017


Not that we ever were, but DeAndre Hopkins and I are no longer on speaking terms. I’ll explain.

 

I’m proud to say I had a mini-sweat on Sunday. I’m an admittedly low-stakes DFS player, usually limiting myself to between $50-100 a week in entry fees on FanDuel. That includes a handful of $5 head-to-heads, a few triple-ups and a GPP or two. That’s not to say I don’t take DFS seriously. Quite the contrary. I’m an avid listener of DFS podcasts and have been known to workshop my various lineups for hours at a time before submitting them.

 

Now that my high school buddies and I have moved to different towns across the state, teaming up on GPP lineups has become a way for us to stay connected. This idea was partially inspired by Swolecast, a popular podcast on Rotogrinders where Davis Mattek, Dan Gaspar (aka Tuttle), David Kitchen (you may know him as SocrDave) and our own Evan Silva come together each week to create joint lineups on both FanDuel and DraftKings.

 

It’s been a pretty hit-or-miss enterprise for the four of us, but once in a while the stars align and we actually do make some money. This Sunday was one of those momentous occasions. It all went according to plan. T.Y. Hilton predictably laid waste to the Niners while Melvin Gordon put up video-game numbers against the Giants. The Dak Prescott/Dez Bryant stack worked wonders, Austin Seferian-Jenkins salvaged the day with a touchdown and even Baltimore’s defense did its part against E.J. Manuel.

 

Picking the right guys is part of it, but dodging injury bullets is equally important to fantasy success. We didn’t dodge all of them on Sunday—DeVante Parker’s ankle injury was a serious setback. But avoiding Odell Beckham, Charles Clay and Bilal Powell kept us on the straight and narrow.

 

As you’d expect, it all came down to Sunday night. Our winnings went up with each Harrison Butker field goal and so did my heart rate. At one point, we rose all the way to 67th out of 19,965 entries in the Sunday Bomb. Each Deshaun Watson touchdown dropped us a few spots, but Butker’s busy night kept us competitive (imagine trusting a rookie kicker with hundreds of dollars on the line). And then on the last play of regulation … this.

 

Talk about your all-time gut-punches. In an instant, we dropped from 73rd to 175th. Hopkins’ last-second touchdown had no bearing on the game’s outcome—just my wallet. What’s ironic is that Hopkins’ touchdown actually helped me in a season-long league where I own Watson. In fact, I would have lost without it.

 

And that’s what makes fantasy so immensely frustrating. One seemingly insignificant play in garbage time can help you and ruin you at the same time. A good GPP sweat is always fun but it’s such an empty feeling when you come up short. I’ve never been so depressed about winning money in my entire life.

 

Anyway, you came here for Power Rankings, not my DeAndre Hopkins sob story. So here they are, with the Chiefs at No. 1 for the fourth week in a row.

 

 

1. Kansas City Chiefs

 

Record: 5-0

 

Last Week: 1

 

Take your pick, Kareem Hunt or Alex Smith—either would make a compelling case for MVP. Usually regarded as one of the game’s more buttoned-up signal-callers, Smith has taken the gloves off this year, throwing for 278.2 passing yards per game. That puts him on pace for his first career 4,000-yard passing season. If you took away all of Hunt’s first-half statistics (37 carries for 155 yards), he’d still rank second in the league in rushing behind only Jacksonville’s Leonard Fournette

 

2. Green Bay Packers

 

Record: 4-1

 

Last Week: 3

 

The Cowboys wisely kept the ball out of Aaron Rodgers’ hands in Week 5 by controlling the time of possession. It didn’t matter—24:54 of ball time was all he needed to put the Cowboys out of their misery. Rodgers got plenty of help from rookie Aaron Jones, who exploded for 125 yards on 19 carries. One week after almost getting his head taken off by Danny Trevathan, Davante Adams led the Pack with 66 yards and two touchdowns including the game-winner with 11 seconds left.

 

3. Philadelphia Eagles

 

Record: 3-1

 

Last Week: 7

 

Carson Wentz doubled his career-high in touchdown passes by putting up a four-spot in Sunday’s win over Arizona. That game featured the NFL’s first battle of two starting quarterbacks named Carson. During training camp, LeGarrette Blount was such a poor fit for the Eagles’ offense that reports suggested he might not even make the 53-man roster. So naturally, Blount has averaged a robust 92.3 rushing yards over his last three contests while averaging 6.6 yards per carry during that span. 

 

4. Atlanta Falcons

 

Record: 3-1

 

Last Week: 2

 

Devonta Freeman cashed in with a major payday this offseason and so far, the fourth-year back has been worth every penny. Despite not playing last week, Freeman is still tied with Leonard Fournette for the league-lead in touchdowns with five. Julio Jones had the bye week to heal his injured hip and should be a go for Sunday’s tilt against the Dolphins. He’s still looking for his first touchdown of 2017.

 

5. Carolina Panthers

 

Record: 4-1

 

Last Week: 11

 

Cam Newton had a rough week with the media (and lost a yogurt sponsorship in the process) but didn’t let the off-field controversy affect his play in a spectacular win over the Lions. He’s lit it up the past two weeks, collecting 671 passing yards with six touchdowns over that stretch. In daily fantasy, you weren’t winning the million without Ed Dickson, who shattered his career-high in receiving yards with a 175-yard masterpiece in Week 5. That’s more yards than Dickson had all of last SEASON.

 

6. Denver Broncos

 

Record: 3-1

 

Last Week: 6

 

Despite a slight hiccup in Week 3, C.J. Anderson has still been the NFL’s fourth-best rusher on a yards-per-game basis (82.5) and should have no trouble surpassing his career-high of 849 rushing yards set in 2014. Trevor Siemian was the toast of the fantasy world early in the year but perhaps it’s time to pump the brakes on that narrative. He’s been wildly mediocre the past two games, producing a 72.7 quarterback rating with one touchdown and two interceptions during that span.

 

7. New England Patriots

 

Record: 3-2

 

Last Week: 8

 

Thursday’s victory was a first for Tom Brady, who had never won (or even played) at Tampa Bay before. It looked like Mike Gillislee was going to be a fantasy steal when he rushed for three touchdowns in New England’s opener. Since then, he’s scored just once and hasn’t caught a pass all season. Including the postseason, Chris Hogan has found the end zone a remarkable seven times over his last seven games.

 

8. Detroit Lions

 

Record: 3-2

 

Last Week: 5

 

Once a staple of PPR leagues, Theo Riddick has been dead weight this year, contributing just 166 yards from scrimmage with one touchdown through five contests. Eric Ebron has had a similarly disappointing year, falling off the fantasy map by averaging a mere 18.6 yards per game. Sunday was the third time this year he’s failed to reach double-digit receiving yards.

 

9. Seattle Seahawks

 

Record: 3-2

 

Last Week: 13

 

The Seahawks still boast a championship-caliber defense but their offense has a ways to go. Seattle averaged 2.48 yards per carry sans Chris Carson in Week 5 while Doug Baldwin was held under 50 yards receiving for the third time in four games. At least Jimmy Graham has come to life with 17 receptions over his last three outings after starting the year with a couple of clunkers.

 

10. Los Angeles Rams

 

Record: 3-2

 

Last Week: 12

 

Sean McVay, the Doogie Houser of the NFL, has drawn widespread praise for resurrecting the Rams’ offense this year, but I still have a bone to pick with him. Why has lead wideout Sammy Watkins seen just two targets over the last two games? With upcoming matchups against top corners Jalen Ramsey, Patrick Peterson and Janoris Jenkins, it may get worse before it gets better for Watkins.

 

11. Washington Redskins

 

Record: 2-2

 

Last Week: 10

 

While Sunday’s meeting with the Niners may not be a compelling matchup on paper, the game certainly has some intrigue given all the rumors surrounding Kirk Cousins and a potential reunion with Kyle Shanahan next year in San Francisco. Through four games, lead receivers Terrelle Pryor and Jamison Crowder have combined for just 292 yards and one touchdown. With Josh Norman out for the foreseeable future, the Redskins need their offense to kick it into high gear, and quickly.

 

12. Dallas Cowboys

 

Record: 2-3

 

Last Week: 15

 

If the TNT crew did a Shaqtin a Fool segment for the NFL, Terrance Williams would be on it most weeks. The football equivalent of JaVale McGee (and author of this iconic miscue against the Giants) had another brain cramp Sunday when he let this Dak Prescott pass bounce off him for a pick-six. Dez Bryant has scored in three of his last four games but has only topped 60 yards in one of them. Ironically, that game was the only one he didn’t score in.

 

13. Pittsburgh Steelers

 

Record: 3-2

 

Last Week: 4

 

Ben Roethlisberger wondered if he still has it anymore after Sunday’s embarrassing loss to Jacksonville, a game in which he threw a career-worst five interceptions. While Roethlisberger still has plenty of weapons around him in Pittsburgh, he’s a fade in fantasy leagues until further notice. Among running backs, only James White and Andre Ellington have caught more passes than Le’Veon Bell this season.

 

14. Buffalo Bills

 

Record: 3-2

 

Last Week: 9

 

How bleak has the Bills’ passing game gotten? With Jordan Matthews and Charles Clay both sidelined by injuries, Nick O’Leary led the team with 54 receiving yards in Sunday’s loss to Cincinnati. LeSean McCoy has yet to find the end zone after scoring 14 times in 2016. He’s averaging just 55.2 rushing yards per game, his fewest since 2009. 

 

15. Jacksonville Jaguars

 

Record: 3-2

 

Last Week: 22

 

T.J. Yeldon led the Jaguars with 465 rushing yards in 2016. Leonard Fournette has already surpassed that this year with 466 yards including 181 in Sunday’s win over Pittsburgh. Fournette’s “come at me, bro” call-out of Steelers safety Mike Mitchell gave me goose bumps. Coach Doug Marrone said the Jaguars would try to hide Blake Bortles this year and so far, he’s been a man of his word. Bortles attempted just 14 passes in Week 5 including one in the second half.

 

16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

 

Record: 2-2

 

Last Week: 19

 

Well the Bucs sure know how to pick ‘em don’t they? Shortly after pulling the plug on their failed Roberto Aguayo experiment, the Buccaneers had to cut the cord on Nick Folk, who shanked all three field goal attempts in Thursday’s loss to New England. On the bright side, Doug Martin looked spry in his season debut, rushing for 74 yards and a touchdown while out-touching Jacquizz Rodgers by a convincing 14-4 margin.

 

17. Houston Texans

 

Record: 2-3

 

Last Week: 14

 

Throwing for 300 yards against New England’s mess of a defense? Beginner’s luck. Hanging 57 points on the Titans? Okay, now you’ve got my attention. Slinging five touchdowns against the undefeated Chiefs in primetime? I’m sorry I ever doubted you, Deshaun Watson. I think I may also owe an apology to Will Fuller, who I bashed in last week’s Roundtable. He’s caught four touchdowns in two games since coming back from a broken collarbone. I think we can finally apply the injury-prone label to J.J. Watt now that he’s suffered season-ending injuries in consecutive years.

 

18. Oakland Raiders

 

Record: 2-3

 

Last Week: 16

 

This is more than a slump, folks—Amari Cooper is broken. The former fourth overall has nabbed just four catches for 23 yards over his last three games and is currently the WR73 in PPR leagues. Cooper could be in for another rough week with shutdown corner Casey Hayward coming to town in Week 6. At least Derek Carr (back) will be back under center for that game. 

 

19. Minnesota Vikings

 

Record: 3-2

 

Last Week: 17

 

Jerick McKinnon had himself a monster fantasy day Monday against the Bears, but let’s keep it in perspective. Fifty-eight of his 95 rushing yards came on one run, meaning that he averaged just 2.47 yards on his other 15 carries. That’s nothing special, though McKinnon’s role in the passing game—he led the Vikes with 51 receiving yards in Week 5—is what gives him a leg up on one-dimensional plodder Latavius Murray.

 

20. Baltimore Ravens

 

Record: 3-2

 

Last Week: 23

 

Mike Wallace only saw three targets Sunday at Oakland, but boy did he know what to do with them. He finished with three catches for 133 yards, which is more yards than he had in his previous four games combined. Terrance West went down with a calf injury early in Week 5, opening the door for Buck Allen to log a season-high 25 touches. Allen’s rushing touchdown on Sunday was his first since 2015.

 

21. New Orleans Saints

 

Record: 2-2

 

Last Week: 20

 

The Saints gave Alvin Kamara a huge vote of confidence by dealing Adrian Peterson to the Cardinals on Tuesday. The third-round rookie ranks second on the team in both catches (20) and receiving yards (147). Drew Brees has yet to throw an interception this year despite averaging 38 pass attempts per game. The Saints are hoping to have Willie Snead back this week. He missed Week 4 with a hamstring injury after being suspended for three games to start the season.

 

22. Cincinnati Bengals

 

Record: 2-3

 

Last Week: 25

 

After weeks of trying, Joe Mixon finally found the end zone Sunday versus Buffalo. While Mixon’s early production has been a bit underwhelming (2.8 yards per carry), at least he’s finally getting a steady workload with 15-plus touches in each of his last three games The Bills have been stingy against the pass this year, but that didn’t stop A.J. Green from hanging 189 yards on them in Week 5. Only Antonio Brown (109) has averaged more receiving yards per game than Green (100.8) this year.

 

23. New York Jets

 

Record: 3-2

 

Last Week: 24

 

I don’t think anyone expected the Jets to have the same record as New England through five games, but here we are. It may be just a coincidence, but New York is 3-0 with Austin Seferian-Jenkins in the lineup. He scored his first touchdown of the year in Sunday’s win at Cleveland. With Bilal Powell (calf) and Matt Forte (turf toe) both on the shelf, sixth-round rookie Elijah McGuire should have the backfield all to himself in Week 6.

 

24. Tennessee Titans

 

Record: 2-3

 

Last Week: 18

 

Matt Cassel predictably tanked in Marcus Mariota’s absence, throwing for just 141 yards while absorbing six sacks in Sunday’s loss to Miami. No Titan finished with more than 34 receiving yards in the loss. DeMarco Murray out-touched Derrick Henry by a surprising 18-4 margin in Week 5, suggesting that Murray has regained control of what had been a split backfield.

 

25. Miami Dolphins

 

Record: 2-2

 

Last Week: 28

 

That’s two offensive touchdowns in three games for the Dolphins, who did just enough to squeak by Sunday against a Titans team playing without Marcus Mariota. Losing DeVante Parker to a first-half ankle injury obviously didn’t help, but Jay Cutler should be embarrassed to have thrown for just 92 yards against a team Deshaun Watson ripped to shreds a week earlier. Since the start of last season, Jay Ajayi has rushed for 210 yards per game against Buffalo and 65.5 versus everyone else.

 

26. Arizona Cardinals

 

Record: 2-3

 

Last Week: 21

 

So, a month after Chris Johnson tweeted in support of Adrian Peterson, the Cardinals acquired Peterson from the Saints and cut Johnson. Pretty ironic, huh? At least Johnson had a sense of humor about it. Carson Palmer ranks second in the NFL in passing yards per game but how long will he last? He’s already taken 19 sacks this year, which leads the league. Sunday extended Larry Fitzgerald’s catch streak to 200 games.

 

27. Los Angeles Chargers

 

Record: 1-4

 

Last Week: 29

 

At long last, the Los Angeles Chargers have their first victory. And all it took was an absolutely bonkers performance from Melvin Gordon, who went scorched Earth with two touchdowns and 163 yards from scrimmage against the Giants. The Bolts gave Gordon the squeaky wheel treatment after he complained about his light workload in Week 4. Hunter Henry has scored in back-to-back weeks but still has only 138 receiving yards, which ranks 25th among tight ends.

 

28. Indianapolis Colts

 

Record: 2-3

 

Last Week: 30

 

Marlon Mack made the most of a limited workload in Week 5, turning nine carries into 91 yards and a touchdown in a win over the Niners. With Frank Gore looking long in the tooth (3.2 yards per carry this year), maybe it’s time for Mack to get a bigger piece of the backfield pie. Not a believer in home/road splits? T.Y. Hilton has averaged 43.5 yards per game in his two road contests this year compared to 126.3 in his three games at Lucas Oil Stadium.

 

29. Chicago Bears

 

Record: 1-4

 

Last Week: 26

 

Mitchell Trubisky had his moments against the Vikings in Week 5, but still completed under 50 percent of his passes while sinking the Bears with a late interception in Minnesota territory. With Kendall Wright, Markus Wheaton and Tre McBride leading the receiving corps, Trubisky is unlikely to emerge as a fantasy option anytime soon. On the bright side, this two-point conversion was pretty legit.

 

30. New York Giants

 

Record: 0-5

 

Last Week: 27

 

Bad starts, though not ideal, can be overcome. But it’s tough to imagine the Giants digging themselves out of an 0-5 hole, particularly without the help of Odell Beckham (ankle) and Brandon Marshall (ankle), who are both done for the year. With Sterling Shepard (ankle) also banged up, Roger Lewis could very well be the Giants’ No. 1 receiver for Sunday night’s game in Denver. No wonder the Broncos are priced so high on FanDuel ($5,400 this week).  

 

31. San Francisco 49ers

 

Record: 0-5

 

Last Week: 31

 

Carlos Hyde got off to a roaring start this year (7.04 yards per carry in Weeks 1 and 2) but has slowed down considerably over his last few outings while losing work to undrafted rookie Matt Breida. Pierre Garcon is on pace to become the Niners’ first 1,000-yard receiver since 2014, but fantasy owners are still waiting for his first touchdown of the year. Marquise Goodwin’s 116 yards in Week 5 were a career-high.

 

32. Cleveland Browns

 

Record: 0-5

 

Last Week: 32

 

Are we ready to give up on Isaiah Crowell yet? Last week should have been your cue (60 yards on 16 carries against the Jets) to get out, but if you still need convincing, consider this: Crowell has eclipsed four yards per carry just twice in his last 14 games and hasn’t reached the end zone since Week 16 of last season. With DeShone Kizer struggling, the Browns have named Kevin Hogan their starting quarterback for Week 6. Yup, that’s where we’re at.

 

Biggest Jump: Jaguars 7

 

Biggest Drop: Steelers 9



Jesse Pantuosco is a football and baseball writer for Rotoworld. He has won three Fantasy Sports Writers Association Awards. Follow him on Twitter @JessePantuosco.
Email :Jesse Pantuosco



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