We’ve hit the Quarter-point of the NFL season, but for the fantasy regular season, we’re already close to 1/3 of the way done depending on your format. Trends have taken hold, and at this point, you should begin to have a pretty good idea of the value of each player on your team. But even so, there are always surprises every week (this is what makes fantasy football so much fun!). For example, the following players all scored 15 or more points in Week 4: Donald Jones, Chris Johnson, Greg Zuerlin, Jackie Battle, Brandon Bolden, Andre Roberts and Brian Hartline. At the same token, the following players all scored 6 or less points: Antonio Gates, Fred Jackson, Calvin Johnson, Steve Smith, Darren McFadden, Vernon Davis, Stevie Johnson and Julio Jones. Hopefully you made the right calls and found fantasy glory last week!
As I have mentioned before, these articles consider the ESPN and Yahoo standard scoring projections for players at each offensive position (QB, RB, WR and TE). I’m going to choose 2 players at every position to highlight: one as a "stud" and one as a "dud". A Stud is one who I think will significantly beat their projected total, and a Dud is one who I think will fall short of their projected total. It’s also worth mentioning that generally speaking, I’ll try to avoid players with injuries as it’s too easy to pick them as Duds if they’re unlikely to play. I will also keep a running tally at the end of the post each week to keep track of the accuracy of my predictions. If I can do better than 50% by season’s end, I’ll call it a success. So read on after the jump (still using it, so my user blog page is more manageable) to see who my picks are for Week 5.
QB Stud: Matt Schaub vs NYJ
The QB projections are getting tougher and tougher to crack, because they are all pretty sensible. But, I went with Schaub as sort of a gut call here. Sure, Schaub plays on a run-first team. But, he’s still averaging almost 16 points per game so far, and on the year he’s averaging 30 attempts per game. He’s still got elite receiving options in Andre Johnson and a resurgent Owen Daniels. The Jets defense has not looked as dominant this year as last, and they just lost probably their best player for the year Darrelle Revis. They are allowing an average of 14 points to QBs,and it’s possible that the Texans will run all over the Jets and Schaub may not have to throw much, especially if the Jets offense continues to sputter. So, I can understand the low projections…I just think they’re being exaggerated and are too low. ESPN has him projected for only 12.6 points and Yahoo is about the same at 12.19. I think Schaub will beat the Yahoo projection by at least 3 points this week.
QB Dud: Matt Hasselbeck vs MIN
This was a very difficult choice, as I already mentioned, most of the QBs were reasonably projected and followed the matchups pretty well. But of all the options, Hasselbeck’s projection seemed to be the most generous. Here’s a guy that lost his starting duties in training camp, is age 37, and hasn’t played since coming in for relief duty last week. I would expect some rust, and the Vikings secondary looks much improved. Kenny Britt is questionable again, and I’m not convinced Hasselbeck will have a stellar day. His ESPN projection is 15.2, while Yahoo has him at 14.98. I think he’ll miss the ESPN projection by at least 3 points.
RB Stud: Maurice Jones-Drew vs CHI
MJD had a down week last week as the Jaguars turned to the pass, and he’s got a tough matchup against Chicago. Even so, he’s still averaging 13.9 points per week. I also like the fact that the Chicago defense is having to travel on the road, again, on a short week. IMO, Jacksonville will look to get him more involved this week if they want to win. ESPN has him projected for only 9.9 points, but Yahoo has him at 13.47, which seems about right. I think he’ll beat his ESPN projection by at least 4 points this week.
RB Dud: Frank Gore vs BUF
Guess what, Buffalo has a TERRIBLE rush defense, but let’s not go overboard. Gore is only averaging 13 points per game, but even worse than that is his average carries per game: 16. The opportunity just hasn’t been there for elite numbers. Maybe this changes against Buffalo, but the Niners aren’t likely to deviate too far from a balanced gameplan that seems to be working IMO. ESPN’s projection is fairly outrageous at 23.9 points, while Yahoo’s is a much more sane 11.56. Even with a great matchup (and I think he’ll actually have a decent game), I think he falls short of ESPN’s projection by at least 6 points.
WR Stud: Andrew Hawkins vs MIA
Hawkins is easily the 2nd best WR on the Bengals offense, and his speed is undeniable. His fantasy production has been solely dependent on matchups so far this season, and in week 5 he gets a juicy matchup against Miami’s 25th ranked defense against WR. ESPN has him projected at 6.9, while Yahoo is insanely low at 3.88. I think he’ll beat Yahoo’s projection by at least 5 points this week.
WR Dud: Steve Smith vs SEA
So prior to last week’s game, Steve Smith got in the face of Cam Newton, and what did he do? He threw the ball for 215 yards and 2 TDs, and ran for 89 more and a score. Unfortunately, Smith only caught 3 passes for 52 yards, ran an end-around for 10 more and then fumbled. Not a great day for Smith. This week he gets the 9th best defense against WR, and I’m not convinced that Cam will get him the ball with what will likely be constant double-teams. Even so, ESPN has him projected for 15.1 points, while Yahoo has a more reasonable projection of 8.34. I think he’ll fall short of ESPN’s projection by at least 4 points this week.
TE Stud: Owen Daniels vs NYJ
I hate to dip into the same well twice (and I almost went with Heath Miller here), but ESPN hasn’t figured out that Daniels is an integral part of the Houston passing attack yet. So, I’ll continue to list him here until they do. The Jets defense is average against the TE, and I see that only getting worse with Revis out of the picture. ESPN’s projection of 4.9 is ridiculous, while Yahoo’s projection of 4.95 isn’t much better. I think he’ll beat ESPN’s projection by at least 4 points this week.
TE Dud: Jermichael Finley vs IND
Ahh, it feels good to put a Packer in the Dud section, doesn’t it? Get this: while he’s part of the Packer’s high flying passing attack, averaging almost 7 targets a game, he’s only averaging 5.7 fantasy points per game. He’s not getting the deep looks, or the endzone looks, so his fantasy value has been capped this year. This week they’re up against Indy, whose defense isn’t as bad as people think. In fact, they are ranked 2nd best against the TE this season. ESPN’s projection of 10.8 seems a bit high, while Yahoo’s is only marginally better at 8.51. I think he’ll fall short of ESPN's projection by at least 3 points this week.
Stud RB Cedric Benson (Yahoo Proj: 6.96, My Call: 10.96+, actual: 10.6, close enough!)
Dud RB Steven Jackson (ESPN/Yahoo Proj: 11.6, My Call: 7.6 or less, actual: 6.7)
Dud WR Stevie Johnson (Yahoo Proj: 12.15, My Call: 8.15 or less, actual: 2.3)
Stud TE Owen Daniels (Yahoo Proj: 5.35, My Call: 8.35+, actual: 13.2)
Dud TE Jermaine Gresham (ESPN Proj: 9.2, My Call: 6.2 or less, actual: 4.7)
Stud QB Christian Ponder (ESPN Proj: 12.7, My Call: 17+, actual: 4.9)
Dud QB Cam Newton (Yahoo Proj: 19.21, My Call: 15.21 or less, actual: 31.2)
Stud WR Leonard Hankerson (ESPN Proj: 4.2, My Call: 7+, actual: 5.7)
Overall Record: 18-14, 56% Accurate
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