It is getting very close to an important date in all fantasy leagues. The trade deadline is looming just around the corner. This is the last opportunity to swing a deal to save your season, turn your border line team into a real playoff contender, or solidify yourself as the true powerhouse of the league. Players start wearing down at this point in the year. The injuries start happening; just look at Julio Jones. When players wear out or go down, something needs to happen in order to save the roster from collapse. Some owners are afraid to trade away players in fear of making a bad decision, but every good fantasy player knows if you do not take a risk you might be sitting back and watching someone wear your fantasy crown. Do not let this happen. Here are some players to be targeting.
The week five performance reminded everyone of Tony Romo’s fantasy relevance. The guy has always been able to put up great stats week in and week out. He will never lose your fantasy matchup for you and some weeks, he will be the reason you won. He is consistent and is always a candidate for a monster game. This season Romo has limited his number of interceptions, only throwing two so far. He is has thrown 13 touchdowns and tallied 1523 passing yards. For now Romo is just making the cut as a top five quarterback because one third of his passing stats came in one week. If he can build off his stellar week five performance, he might be able to move up the list a bit. Look for Romo to sling the ball all over the yard against Washington’s 25th ranked passing defense. Also, all signs point to having Miles Austin back and all signs point to another big outing for the Dallas Quarterback.
The most impressive stat of Philip Rivers’ season is not his 1610 passing yards or his 13 touchdown passes. For the past three consecutive weeks, the Chargers’ gunslinger has thrown for over 400 yards. In fact, Rivers has only had one game where he threw under 200 yards, but he made up for it with four touchdown passes. Week five’s 411 yard and two touchdown performance was actually the worst outing of the season for Rivers due to his three interceptions. This is will not be repeated. The one thing Rivers has improved upon most is his ability to read the defense. He is simply playing much smarter football. The Phillip Rivers of 2012 tried forcing plays with his athleticism; the 2013 Rivers goes out and makes plays with his brain. The result is a comeback season nobody would have expected. This weekend the Chargers host the Indianapolis Colts. This will be a tough matchup for Rivers. Do not expect the 400 passing yard streak to continue past this weekend, but he will be able to find his receivers in the endzone and the limit the turnovers for a good number of fantasy points.
Aaron Rodgers may not have lit up the stat sheet last weekend, but he did not play poorly enough to lose the game for you. Keep in mind he was playing the Detroit Lions, which is a bit concerning because one would expect him to destroy them. Sometimes even the greats have just average performances. He will need to show up big this weekend against the Ravens, and he should do just that. Baltimore’s passing defense is average at best and with so many wide receivers to guard, Rodgers will be able to eat them alive.
The Saints are 5-0 for a reason. That reason is Drew Brees. Brees currently sits right behind Peyton Manning with 1722 passing yards. This weekend was an average week for the superstar quarterback, but average games do not happen very often for Brees. We can easily forgive him since an average week is 288 passing yards and two touchdowns with no turnovers against a tough Chicago Bears defense. This weekend, Brees will go into New England. The Patriots were just made a laughing stock by the Cincinnati Bengals. The Pats will look to come back strong after the loss, but Drew Brees will do what he does best. Fantasy owners do not need to be concerned.
Did Peyton Manning really score a rushing touchdown? The Denver quarterback is on pace for the best year of storied career in all statistical categories. He finally threw his first interception of the season, bringing his touchdown to pick ratio to 20/1. He also leads the league in passing yards. This weekend the Broncos take on the Jaguars at home: need I say more?
Marshawn Lynch is coming off a 100 yard rushing performance. Unfortunately, the Seattle stud did not find the endzone. He currently is sitting at 410 rushing yards and has added 96 more through the passing game. It is encouraging to see he has the second most carries in the league. Seattle will continue to give Lynch the ball because he is a big power back who will not wear out easily. As some of the smaller, speedy backs start to feel the grind of getting pounded, Lynch will prove his value even more than he already has. If your team is in line for a playoff berth, this is one guy who you definitely want on your roster. This weekend Lynch and the Seahawks are facing the Titans at home. Lynch will post a stat line that any fantasy owner could live with, but do not expect him to run all over the Tennessee defense.
Bear’s runningback Matt Forte is one of the best runningbacks at catching the ball out of the backfield. This is such a plus in fantasy land because it means Forte has more chances to touch the ball than others. Forte is now second in receptions by a runningback and has 575 total yards. Another good sign is his number of carries, 81, which is by far the lowest of any back on this list. This means Forte is not getting as much wear and tear as other feature runningbacks in the league. Since the Bears are keeping their star tailback fresh, he will be able to make it for the long haul of the season. This weekend is going to be a huge one for Forte. The Giants have not been able to stop the run at all this year and have been very poor against the pass as well. With Marshall and Jeffery occupying all the cornerbacks and safeties, Forte will get a lot of check downs from Cutler and be high effective with his touches. Once the Bears get a nice lead going they will turn to him and his legs to run down the clock.
It was definitely nice to see Shady reach the endzone this weekend. Fantasy owners would like to see more of that from him going forward. LeSean McCoy leads the league in rushing yards with 514 and has the most carries of any runningback. Last week he only posted 46 rushing yards. The number of carries and the decrease in yards is a bit concerning this point in the season. Without the touchdown, McCoy would have put up a mediocre performance and we would be screaming about him. The Eagles need to start scaling his playing time back a bit in order to keep him fresh. There is nothing worse than seeing your star player on the sideline, but it is better to see him sit out a play or two than seeing him rolling in the dirt after a season ending injury. This weekend will not be a walk in the park against a Buccaneers defense that ranks ninth against the run.
Jamaal Charles has touched the ball more than any other player this season. He leads all runningbacks in receptions and receiving yards. He has over 600 total yards from scrimmage and has scored five times. These numbers are terrific, but what about this little lagging injury he has. This weekend against the Raiders, Jamaal Charles is once again listed as questionable. He was last week as well and ran for over 100 yards, but when will it start slow him down? The Raiders are a hard hitting team who will try to put the hurt of the Chiefs’ star. Still, expect Charles to have a good game, but make sure you grab some depth on your bench at runningback just in case something happens down the line. If this pain he has keeps up, he might end up missing a game or two.
Nobody played well enough to knock Adrian Peterson out of the top spot while he was resting at home during his bye week. Peterson still leads all runningbacks with six touchdowns. The extra rest Peterson received will prove to be a good thing this week against the Carolina Panthers’ good run defense. AP will have a fresh set of legs and will be able to pick up right where he left off.
Victor Cruz is proving to be one of the make or break fantasy players. He has posted some big games and some bad games. If you have a good fantasy lineup around him he can be a huge asset, but if you count on him to win you the game week in and week out you might end up being up a creek without a paddle. If the Giants do not turn around their extremely poor play, this will be the story all season long for Cruz. It is highly suggested for Victor Cruz owners to obtain a second wide receiver and flex player who are extremely consistent. This way, even if Cruz has a dud of a week, the two will balance his poor performance out. This weekend the Giants are taking on the Chicago Bears. The Bears are much better at playing the run than the pass, so theoretically Cruz should have a big game. Unfortunately, with the up and down season he has been having so far we will not know until the game is over.
Wes Welker leads the league in touchdowns with seven. When the Broncos enter the redzone, Manning turns to his slot guy to get in the endzone. His number of receptions and touchdowns are saving him from his average amount of receiving yards. It would be nice to see him get over 100 yards in a game. Until something happens to increase his yards total, this will be the highest position Welker gets. The good news is Jacksonville is coming to town in week six. The Jaguars have actually not been too bad against the pass and are pretty good in the redzone. Thomas and Decker will draw a lot of attention on the outside of the field this week, which will force the Jags to put a linebacker on Wes. Historically, this has not worked well for opposing defenses. However, unless Welker can break a tackle and run one in from outside the redzone it is hard to see him scoring. On the other hand however, his quarterback is Peyton Manning so maybe not.
DeSean Jackson has potential to be the number one wide receiver in league. He is so fast and so good at catching the deep ball and has finally become a weapon in the shorter yardage game. He is second in the league behind Julio Jones in receiving yards with 525. With Julio out for the year, Jackson could very easily be at the top of this category at the end of the season. However, there is a major problem with this weekend. Darrelle Revis is going to be covering him. Revis is much bigger and much stronger than Jackson and has the speed to cover him on his deep route. It is hard to expect Jackson to catch many balls this weekend, so the only way for him to have a decent day will be to beat Revis down the field once or twice. Definitely do not expect Jackson to be a factor in the redzone at all.
Dez Bryant is coming off a monstrous week in which he caught six passes for 141 yards and two touchdowns. Prior to last week, he was performing nicely, but never giving anyone anything to rave about. Now we can start raving. Romo has come alive and that means good things for the Cowboys’ number one pass catcher. There is no reason to doubt his ability to repeat his performance from last weekend in the sixth week of the season. The Redskins do not have anyone who is strong enough or fast enough to shut him down the whole game. Bryant will get open and when he does he will make the most of it.
Honestly, Demaryius Thomas is catching a break this week. He would not be the top receiver if Julio Jones had not gone down for the rest of the season with a foot injury. Thomas is coming off his first mediocre performance of the season. In the 51-49 win over the Cowboys, the Broncos’ best wide receiver only caught five passes for 57 yards. However, this is not a completely terrible outing. If this is as bad as it gets for Thomas then there is nothing to worry about. This weekend Demaryius Thomas is going up against the Jacksonville secondary. The Jags are a good team down in the redzone. This might force the Broncos to try a few deep balls early in the game and see if the Jags are ready for them. Make no mistake; the guy on the receiving end of those deep balls will be Demaryius Thomas.