Last week, I paid homage to Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen for his remarkable streak of 100-yard games, and now we can officially crown him the king of this category. No player in the modern era has accomplished his five-game run of topping the century mark worth of receiving yards to begin the year. Truly impressive when all of the greats are considered.
Odell Beckham Jr. had himself a day in Week 5. On a personal note, one of my opponents had both Beckham and Saquon Barkley going … I’m pretty sure that is the first time I have experienced a wide receiver-to-running back TD against me in fantasy. Luckily, I still have a shot!
David Johnson continues to find the end zone, and the San Francisco 49ers lost yet another player to injury. Dallas didn’t have the fortitude to go for one yard and instead lost. Aaron Rodgers once again looked down from the heavens on the rest of the league … as the world turns.
Running back James Conner was awfully quiet for a few games there until unloading on the Atlanta Falcons in Week 5. He now has two games with at least 100 rushing yards and two touchdowns this season. You know who cannot claim the same accomplishment? Le’Veon Bell. Just sayin’. Bell is likely to return to the team during the Week 7 bye, but Conner is absolutely worth hanging on to after Bell returns. The only way he should be removed from a roster in the short term is if the Bell owner wants to get their hands on him as insurance.
OBJ’s 57-yard touchdown pass traversed 45 yards of air distance, which is longer than any single competition by Eli Manning in 2018. The New York passing game has concerns not exclusive to Eli, although it has to be embarrassing when your star wideout is outplaying you at your own game. How much longer until the now 1-4 G-Men feel like they’ve seen enough of Manning and begin to embrace the Kyle Lauletta era? My guess is Manning — whose play really hasn’t been that awful — has a three-game leash. Without a single Manning-led win in the stretch of vs. Philly, at Atlanta and vs. Washington, Lauletta, while being extremely raw, could see the 49ers in Week 10 after the bye. The consecutive-starts streak was broken last year. The stigma of moving on from the two-time Super Bowl champion is practically fiction at this point. If nothing else, the idea will be entertained behind closed doors.
31-28-22: The Green Bay Packers’ Week 5 offensive snap count for RBs Jamaal Williams, Ty Montgomery and Aaron Jones, respectively. Both Williams and Jones averaged at least 5.5 yards per carry and each caught two passes for 19 yards. The Packers have two talented backs and a former receiver pretending he’s something he clearly is not, all while fantasy gamers have to suffer through the realization this never will be what it could have been in 2018. Sure, game flow played a role, but a three-headed attack is invariably disastrous for fantasy purposes. Good luck with that headache of a guessing game. …
Wide receiver Tyreek Hill continues to hold the fastest two times (21.95 and 21.78 mph) from Week 1 of any ball-carrier using NFL Next Gen Stats technology. Next on the list, a pair of Dolphins (not real ones, the Miami kind) in Albert Wilson (21.74 mph) and Jakeem Grant (21.58 mph). At some point, one should expect the Dolphins to do more to get the ball into the hands of Grant and Wilson in space to take advantage of their big-play ability.
Let’s call this one “fluke-ish” … Last year, LeGarrette Blount found the end zone twice in a diminished role with the Philadelphia Eagles. Sunday, Detroit afforded him as many trips to paydirt on 12 carries. Even though the veteran has been seeing meaningful touches of late, and rookie RB Kerryon Johnson is nursing a minor ankle injury, Blount’s performance should be considered an outlier. It is absolutely within reason that he doesn’t score two more times all year as Detroit eventually transitions more toward KJ and is still among the more pass-happy teams in football. Blount offers nothing to fantasy lineups without finding the end zone.
The combination of Robby Anderson and Isaiah Crowell exploding as they did — both recording touchdowns of at least 75 yards — against the Denver Broncos should be chalked up as a bad day at the office for Denver rather than a true testament of how strong the New York Jets looked on offense. Anderson was completely invisible during the first four weeks of the season, aside from a lone TD grab in the opening week’s drubbing of the woefully unprepared Lions. Anderson still caught only three balls on five looks. It wasn’t just Crowell’s franchise-record 219 rushing yards to cause problems for Denver. Bilal Powell added 99 of his own. Crowell’s 14.6 yards per carry was the largest average with 15 attempts or more in NFL history, and the 77-yard jaunt was the longest TD run since 1983 by a Jet. Crowell is a weekly consideration, whereas Anderson is a risk-reward flier until he shows more consistency.
This one is a from the “wild flier” category: San Francisco 49ers running back Raheem Mostert could be a worthwhile fantasy play in PPR leagues over the next two or three weeks. I say this fully aware of how terrible he looked in Week 5’s relief appearance. A week or more of first-team reps should only help. The offense looks mostly competent with C.J. Beathard running the show, and the loss of Matt Breida (ankle) for an undetermined number of games paves the way for the similar Mostert to take on more work in the passing game. I suspect he won’t have much success on the ground, so expect the contributions to come via the short-passing game. Battles with the Green Bay Packers, Los Angeles Rams and Arizona Cardinals over the next three weeks suggests this style of running back will have utility.
We are witnessing Seattle’s coaching staff realizing its best chance at winning is to be more balanced and remain committed to the ground game. The former was evident back to the first-round pick spent on Rashaad Penny, but his lack of materialization as a force hasn’t deterred the desire to pound the ball as much as justifiable based on game flow. Chris Carson (19 carries) and Mike Davis combined for 31 handles in Week 5. Davis had 21 carries in the Week 4 contest with Carson sidelined, and the week before Carson hauled the rock 32 times. In Week 5, Penny didn’t carry it as a running back (did see special teams return action). Pete Carroll has shown several times he doesn’t care about about perceived status of a player if they are underperforming. Carson passed the eye test in 2017 before being injured, and yet Seattle reached in the first round for a running back the have have largely abandoned. Such a strategy makes total sense when your defense is in shambles and weaponry in the passing game is mostly laughable. At any rate, Penny is 100 percent cut material at this point, and Davis is definitively rosterable. Carson is a weekly play until he proves otherwise, and Davis is a fringe lineup consideration for the time being.
Exactly how many passes do the Indianapolis Colts intend on throwing in 2018? Andrew Luck — five games into his return from shoulder surgery that cost him all of 2017, mind you — has thrown the ball 49 times per game. For perspective, the NFL record over a season is 727 by Matthew Stafford in 2012. Luck is on pace for 784 throws. The Colts need to establish some form of a running game, whether it be through a revamped design of playcalling or by finding someone out there capable of doing it the old-fashioned way. None of the current backs on the roster have shown capable of doing the latter, so where could they turn? The waiver wire isn’t quite teeming with talented backs: DeMarco Murray retired. Eddie Lacy has proven himself useless. Jamaal Charles cannot hold up to that kind of pounding, but he at least knows the system. Terrance West is more or less just a dude. Orleans Darkwa has a hint of intrigue. Without this changing in a significant way (read as “it won’t”), Luck will continue to throw until his arm falls off — and maybe literally.