Fantasy Football Insider - Week 5
by Tim Heaney
on October 4, 2008 @ 16:18:17
KFFL's Fantasy Football Insider for Week 5 is here. Each week, KFFL dishes the dirt with our network of insiders with every NFL team. Along the way, juicy tidbits will emerge to help determine your fantasy football team's lineup for the given week. Here are some of the key fantasy football tidbits that came across our desk for the upcoming week....
- Baltimore Ravens signal caller Joe Flacco has been aggressively thrust into the passing game. The rookie is more comfortable throwing to the outside, which has helped vet Derrick Mason. He's apt to throw 20 to 25 attempts per game now, and the team will switch to a run-heavy plan if they earn a lead.
- The Detroit Lions offense doesn't want to become Mike Martz Part Deux, but they want to try to be more aggressive with the pass early to avoid falling behind by large margins. They're not giving up on the run, though.
- The Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers (shoulder) remains a game-time decision. His absence would devalue the Packers wideouts.
- Will the real Peyton Manning please step forward? The Indianapolis Colts quarterback is 11-1 against the Houston Texans, so this could be the week he returns to form. The Colts offense was on the whole kept off the field in their last contest, but our source says Manning should return to his normal self this week. His O-line needs to block for him, though; his shuffling feet can't save him forever.
- The Jacksonville Jaguars' David Garrard has had less protection from his tattered O-line and less chemistry with his wideouts this year, in part leading to his fantasy disappointment so far this year.
- The New England Patriots have "no confidence" in Matt Cassel's ability to effectively throw beyond 20 or 25 yards with.
- The lack of protection for San Francisco 49ers quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan is a trade-off of the Niners' big-play ability under offensive coordinator Mike Martz. The Niners are tied for second in the league with 20 plays of 20 yards or more.
- Against the Green Bay Packers' battered run D, Atlanta Falcons back Michael Turner should be used frequently, and backup Jerious Norwood could also see double-digit totes.
- The Baltimore Ravens have contained speedy running backs both this year and years past (see: the Pittsburgh Steelers' Willie Parker), so it might be a letdown for the Tennessee Titans' Chris Johnson. Baltimore has the speed to keep up with speedsters, and the Ravens are happy to see a run-first offense come in with Kerry Collins at quarterback.
- The Carolina Panthers' O-line will be missing tackles Jordan Gross (concussion) and likely Jeff Otah (ankle), but it might not matter against the Kansas City Chiefs. Expect Carolina to pound the ball despite their infirmary.
- For the Cincinnati Bengals, new acquisition Cedric Benson should spell Chris Perry (hamstring) for a series or two, but don't expect much else. He's in good shape, though.
- The Dallas Cowboys ran only 10 times along with a quarterback scramble last week against the Washington Redskins. Expect that to change this week against the Cincinnati Bengals. They could showcase rookie Felix Jones more often against Cincy, who has struggled defending fast backs this season.
- Detroit Lions back Kevin Smith has been indecisive when hitting the hole and is still feeling his way through the offense as a rookie. This was the main reason for turning the starting job over to Rudi Johnson, who has been more explosive in his short time.
- Don't look now, but the Kansas City Chiefs O-line is developing some continuity. The Carolina Panthers will be a test as a positive performance would show that they're on their way to being formidable.
- Expect Ronnie Brown to dominate the touches for the Miami Dolphins backfield, with Ricky Williams serving as a reliable change-of-pace back. The Wildcat plays when Brown passed the ball against the New England Patriots in Week 3 could become a more frequent part of their system, especially in the red zone.
- The New England Patriots backfield remains a mess, and now Laurence Maroney returns to the fray. This week could be his final stand as a fantasy performer - or just a regular performer, for that matter.
- Our whisperer's gut feeling says Philadelphia Eagles back Brian Westbrook (knee) will play in Week 5, even if it's in a diminished role. He doesn't think Westy is 100 percent, though. It's a divisional game against the Washington Redskins, so they could put him out there even as a decoy.
- He also liked Correll Buckhalter's performance last week and could see him spelling Westbrook if he starts.
- We're hearing Mewelde Moore will see most of the touches in the Pittsburgh Steelers backfield, about 70 percent compared to about 15 percent for both Gary Russell and "Laundry Day" Najeh Davenport.
- The San Diego Chargers O-line is still a bit behind on the power curve. Center Nick Hardwick is about two or three more weeks away from being back to normal after returning in Week 4. The big five might not be right for a few more weeks.
- Those desperate enough to play Seattle Seahawks back T.J. Duckett should see six or seven carries from him as Maurice Morris (knee) is not expected to play.
- To owners hanging on to Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cadillac Williams: Don't look for the team to activate him from the Physically Unable to Perform list after Week 6. They're not using a third back, and they will go down to the deadline of when they need to decide.
- There's a chance Arizona Cardinals wideout Anquan Boldin (head) could return after their Week 7 bye so he can rest. The team has not revealed extensive details on what has been reported as a fractured sinus. Check out KFFL's Breaking News Analysis on this topic.
- Baltimore Ravens wideout Demetrius Williams should be more involved than Mark Clayton this week.
- The Buffalo Bills gave Lee Evans a bunch of money - maybe too much - to avoid slapping the franchise tag on him. They were desperate to keep him because of the lack of reliable wideouts on the market.
- Expect the Arizona Cardinals to exploit Buffalo Bills rookie cornerback Leodis McKelvin, who is replacing the injured Terrence McGee (knee). Though Ashton Youboty is probably going to start in McGee's place, the Bills should see some complicated looks to confuse the patchwork group.
- Chicago Bears wideout Marty Booker will start alongside Rashied Davis with Brandon Lloyd (knee) out for Week 5. Devin Hester should also see work with Earl Bennett dressing for the first time in his career.
- The Cincinnati Bengals now have wideout Chris Henry and running back Cedric Benson. They feel both have had their days in court, so each player's character isn't in question anymore.
- Houston Texans wideout Andre Johnson has been frequently double teamed but has dropped some passes in the end zone this year which would've padded his stats. The instances of multiple coverage isn't anything new for the athletic freak, but they failed to feature him much in Week 4 as he was out-targeted by Kevin Walter nine to six.
- Minnesota Vikings wideout Bernard Berrian (knee) injured his knee in practice Friday, Oct. 3, and is now questionable. Our source thinks he goes, but with a bad toe and a bad knee, how much can you really expect from the first-year Norseman?
- The Vikings will have a bigger dose of Sidney Rice (knee) this week, but the turf in the Superdome might not be conducive to his chance at fantasy production.
- The New England Patriots should try to give Randy Moss the ball this week, but quarterback Matt Cassel's lack of arm strength could hinder that once again as they lean toward dink-and-dunk passing.
- Our New Orleans Saints source nailed Lance Moore's impact (seven catches, 101 yards, two scores) and said that should continue for some time. He could still be No. 2 when Marques Colston (thumb) returns.
- New York Giants wideouts Amani Toomer and Domenik Hixon should benefit with the one-game suspension of Plaxico Burress. Hixon goes from special teams work to a chance at four or five catches. Steven Smith should remain in the slot and see a normal workload.
- Philadelphia Eagles wideout DeSean Jackson made some miscues last week, including fumbling a punt return and running an incorrect route that led to a pick.
- Eagles wideout Reggie Brown should be involved about as much this week as he was last week, especially with Kevin Curtis (sports hernia) still out.
- Curtis is just returning to football shape and might not play until after the team's Week 7 bye.
- The San Diego Chargers value Chris Chambers as the go-to guy despite his miniscule eight catches. Remember that half of them are touchdowns.
- Seattle Seahawks wideout update: The returning Deion Branch (knee) and Bobby Engram (shoulder) will play in Week 5 but might see some snaps taken away. Branch will start opposite either Keary Colbert or Billy McMullen (likely Colbert according to our source) with Engram returning to his natural slot position.
- Tennessee Titans receiver Justin Gage (knee) is not expected to play. Brandon Jones replaces him in the lineup, but Justin McCareins would be the fantasy stand-in.
- The Atlanta Falcons prefer to utilize a blocking tight end; offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey, a former NFL tight end, was more of a blocker than a receiver. Current position holder Ben Hartsock is more of an H-back.
- Rookie John Carlson should still see some involvement in the Seattle Seahawks offense despite the influx of returning receivers. They don't want to cut him off completely because they like his talent.
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About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.
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