Week 5 is now in the books. For some of you playoffs seem a reality and for some of you playoffs seem more like a dream. Whichever place you are in, it only takes one good waiver wire pickup, or one advantageous trade to turn your season around. I am currently sitting on the top of my division in my league at 4-0-1. One player in the other division is 5-0. I am however by far the highest scorer of the season and I have the 3rd, 4th and 6th best running backs in the league through week 5 (Ezekiel Elliot, Carlos Hyde, and LeSean McCoy respectively)
I want to take this week to look at some of the suggestions I made during the first two weeks for who you should pick up and I think it’s about time we grade those suggestions. I am going to take a look at each one on its merit and grade it accordingly. Here is my grading scale:
A or A+: Amazing pickup, should be a key piece in getting you to the playoffs (Think Allen Robinson last year).
A- or B+: Quite good, starts most of the time for your team, makes an impact when he starts. This player isn’t necessarily game changing.
B or B-: Solid contributor on a week in and week out basis. Most likely a flex player or backup with potential to start based on the matchup.
C+ or C: Backup flex player, could play if needed, but generally isn’t a preferable start in most situations.
C- or Below: Generally just there to stash on your bench in case of injury to a starter on your team. Often thought of as a last resort player.
F: Quite poor
Jameis Winston- Winston has been the definition of an up and down player. Winston scored 25 in weeks 1 and 3 but failed to score above 10 points in weeks 2 and 4. I start consistency, and I bench high upside players until they get reasonably consistent, or until they have favorable matchups. Monday night Winston had a solid night, going for 14 points against a stingy Panthers defense. Winston is currently the 11th rated quarterback and definitely worth having on your team and playing occasionally unless you have a top tier quarterback. Another solid week and I would feel comfortable playing him into matchups that aren’t preferable. Right now he seems consistent enough to start against bad teams (i.e. Cleveland).
Justin Forsett- Released from team. After falling from the Ravens starting lineup Forsett asked for a release from the team and one was granted. Rumors are he will be trying out for the Lions and other teams, but until he gets picked up by another team this suggestion was a miss. If he gets picked up watch this grade rise significantly.
Davante Adams- This is the toughest of my predictions to grade. That is partially due to the fact that he sat out week 4 because of the Packers early bye-week. That being said Davante scored 14 points this week and is averaging just over 8 points per week. The problem is that he seems entirely touchdown dependent. He is only averaging about 3 catches per game which is underwhelming to say the least. Of the 33 points scored by Adams thus far, 18 of them have come through touchdowns. Adams still has the potential to start, at the flex or even possibly as a low tier WR2 but his troubling trends have stopped me from playing him and I don’t think I will play him unless he sees significantly more targets. Fortunately, I see that happening and I believe he will develop into a strong WR2 by the end of the year. His upside and raw statistics for me justify a B- grade though I did originally have him graded as a C+ as he probably fits that criteria better.
Carson Wentz- Carson Wentz thus far has exceeded every expectation for a rookie. Wentz is already throttling defenses. I believe it was a pretty common expectation for most people that Wentz would need time to adjust to the speed of the game coming from division two college football, but instead of sitting behind Bradford for a year as previously expected, Wentz stepped up to the plate and is dominating. The trade Philadelphia made for Wentz was the 8th pick in the draft, a third round pick in the draft, a first round pick in 2017 and a second round pick in 2018. But by trading Bradford to the Vikings, they got a first round pick and a fourth round pick, making what they gave up pale in comparison to what they got. With Chip Kelly gone, it looks like the Eagles are making great moves. Wentz scored 16 points this week and is averaging 17 points per game on the year and has only thrown one interception so far this year. Wentz is definitely a QB1 option unless you have a top tier quarterback. The fact that you most likely got him in free agency makes this such a great value pick. That being said, I wouldn’t be surprised if he falls off as the season progresses and this grade drops a bit.
Tyrod Taylor- My original target in the draft, before Carr who I eventually took. Taylor has played well, but not great so far this year. Taylor is still only owned in 55% of leagues. That being said I believe he is a strong candidate to get starts on most teams. He is in the same league as Wentz as they are not proven QB1s but can be started in favorable matchups and shouldn’t let you down too hard against any team. So far, I think Taylor has been a good suggestion thus far. As a reference point Taylor scored 14 points this week, that so-so performance I believe is indicative of his season so far.
Tevin Coleman- Some would say that Tevin Coleman is having a monster season thus far, and those people who are saying this are understating how good of a season Coleman is having. If you take out week 4 against the Carolina Panthers a team with a notoriously good defense, Coleman would be averaging almost 18 points per game. That being said he is still available in 20% of leagues. I predicted this from the start and I am sure teams with Coleman who started him are having pretty good win rates.
Victor Cruz- The definition of consistency over the course of the first four weeks, Cruz took a step back in week 5 by scoring 0 points. Obviously quite disappointing but probably more of an outlier than a sign of things to come. That being said, I thought Cruz would start to creep up the priority for Eli as the year went on but it seems that other players have been stepping up and gaining more favor with Manning than Cruz is. Ultimately Cruz has been below average but not terribly so.
Some more suggestions
Cordarrelle Patterson (WR-MIN) A player with so much athleticism, but lacking in consistency, Cordarrelle has been every fantasy experts “sleeper” player at one time or another over the course of the past several years. But I think this may actually be his time. Patterson has seen his touches increase over the past two weeks and it seems like without Peterson, the Vikings are trying to get the ball into Patterson’s hands more and more. Patterson has unlimited upside and if Patterson is starting to get things to click into place, be prepared to see monster numbers, if not, stashing a player with this upside isn’t going to be a major impediment to your success.
Sammie Coates (WE-PIT)- Coates is slowly asserting himself as the Steelers best wide receiver not named Antonio Brown. Which doesn’t sound like a big deal but it’s actually massive. With the high flying Steelers offense lighting up the score board each week, and more teams focusing on stopping both Brown and Le’Veon Bell watch Coates tear up defenses like he did in week 5. Make sure to place your waiver wire claim on him shortly because he will most likely be one of the most added players this week and rightfully so.
Sam Bradford (QB-MIN)- Dear Sam Bradford, you are the only reason (okay, okay besides Alabama) Tim Tebow isn’t considered the single greatest college football player in history. I still think Tebow deserved that second Heisman trophy but that is beside the point. Bradford is starting to finally turn into the aerial king that he was in college. It’s obvious that without Peterson, the Vikings are changing their offense to suit Bradford, so instead of lining up in the I-formation and allowing Asiata to pitifully try to gain yards the Vikings are using a spread attack to unlock all of Bradford’s potential. If Bradford can avoid injury, and that is a big if, look for Bradford to start posting 20 point games on a regular basis. With a bye week on the horizon, I expect the Vikings to come back week 7 with a much more developed passing attack utilizing more spread looks in the shotgun formation that suit Bradford’s skills because if they don’t that offense will continue to struggle, and that defense won’t play this great forever.