Fantasy Fast Forward: Week 5
Here is a buried aspect of the bye-week season: It makes jumping on the previous week's surprises a bit more tricky. You really have to be sure that one-week wonder isn't merely that and is capable of more big weeks going forward.
You don't want to jump on a flavor of the week, only to ride him on your bench during his bye and then find out weeks later he is just as worthless then as he was in the first four weeks of the season. You really want to be smart with your bench spots, as much as your starting ones right now.
Here is one to stash during next Sunday's byes, though: Tim Tebow.
It is Tebow time in Denver. He came on against the Chargers (at home, where they were clamoring for him) and led a comeback, throwing a touchdown pass and scoring on the ground. He is a poor man's Cam Newton now.
We shouldn't forget how many fantasy titles Tebow helped win down the stretch last year by being that kind of a dual threat. His revival comes at a perfect time for him, even if it is heading into a bye week for fantasy owners. He will get the next couple of weeks to prepare to be the Broncos' starter indefinitely.
Kyle Orton might be preparing for a trade to Miami, who had tried to get him in the preseason and has now lost Chad Henne for the season.
But, forget the speculation, queue up Tebow on your waivers for this week and get ready for some Newton-like production.
As for the rest of Week 5's action, we recap it here in the Fantasy Football Fast Forward:
• BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Shonn Greene have come to life, a sign teams are going to go more to the running game when the chips are down. BGE has another Ryan defense to contend with next week against the Cowboys. Greene should be a star next Monday night against the Dolphins.
• Aaron Hernandez had a successful return to health, which took a chunk out of Rob Gronkowski. Both should be active in most leagues going forward, though. Tom Brady is plenty capable of keep them, Wes Welker and Deion Branch all productive.
• Jeremy Kerley caught a touchdown pass, but he can be ignored off waivers. The Jets are going to go more to Dustin Keller in future weeks. The Pats just know how to blank tight ends.
• Mark Sanchez had two scores, but he wasn't quite as productive as he should have been against a beaten up Patriots secondary. Santonio Holmes was good enough, but Plaxico Burress was underwhelming and Derrick Mason looks like he is fantasy waiver fodder now.
• Mike Tolbert (concussion) and Ryan Mathews (leg) both left the games with injuries, but they should be fine when the Chargers come off the bye in a couple of weeks.
• Malcom Floyd had a breakthrough game with a 42-yard touchdown, but the bye week will keep him from being a truly useful waiver pickup. Remember, we should fully expect Antonio Gates to return after the bye.
• Willis McGahee has taken over as the Broncos' No. 1 back and he doesn't look ready to relinquish that role. It is too bad he will have a bye amid this hot stretch. Knowshon Moreno did at least score via the air and could prove to be a key Tebow target after the Broncos' bye week.
• Brandon Lloyd and Eric Decker were shut down by one of the best secondaries in the NFL and the move to Tebow (presumably) could make them far less intriguing fantasy options. Deal them now if anyone deals for receivers heading into a bye week.
• Michael Vick remains productive for fantasy owners, but not quite on the level his drafters were hoping. The costly turnovers are holding him back, but at least he is making his receivers much more consistent now.
• Jason Avant had another productive game and has made Steve Smith a non-factor. Avant warrants being owned during the bye season, while Smith does not.
• Brent Celek is worthless for fantasy owners. Cut him.
• Ryan Fitzpatrick wasn't at his best against the Eagles and this kind of performance the last few weeks we should be expecting from him -- more of a bye-week replacement type than a surefire fantasy starter.
• Fred Jackson had another big effort and should be considered a must-start next week against the Giants.
• So much for Ben Roethlisberger being banged up. He finally added scores to his surprising yardage totals. He made Hines Ward viable again, even if Mike Wallace and Heath Miller are his primary targets.
• Jonathan Dwyer thoroughly outperformed fill-in starter Isaac Redman. Dwyer is going to get more looks, especially if Rashard Mendenhall cannot return Week 6 vs. the Jags. Dwyer and Redman could both be sleeper options to start in fantasy if Mendenhall is out again.
• Chris Johnson finally found the end zone, but it was surprising the Titans didn't give him a bigger piece of the game plan. The Titans are heading into a bye and Johnson could have been ridden a bit harder with the off days coming up.
• Third-year receiver Damian Williams could have been a popular waiver option after leading the team in receptions and picking up a score, but the Titans bye week makes Williams a man to avoid still.
• The Texans missed Andre Johnson in the loss, but they developed other options for Matt Schaub, more importantly. Owen Daniels was good, backup TE Joel Dreessen was great and Kevin Walter was the best option on the outside. Next week against the Ravens, only Daniels is a sure fantasy starter. Walter is more of a fallback option and Dreessen should be ignored on waivers.
• Ben Tate's sleeper status had completely disappeared amid Arian Foster's return to health. Foster remains a must-start even against the Ravens stiff front.
• Darrius Heyward-Bey had put back-to-back productive games together at Denarius Moore's expense. Heyward-Bey just might be that third-year receiver breakout for us. Pick him up with confidence off waivers. This could be legit.
• Moore should no longer be considered a viable starter.
• Eli Manning might have thrown for a career-high 420 yards and three scores, but the Giants didn't establish the run with Ahmad Bradshaw and it cost them and Bradshaw fantasy owners.
• Tarvaris Jackson's loss is Charlie Whitehurst's gain. Whitehurst could make the Seahawks receivers more productive as a downfield passer. Sidney Rice took a step back -- he had been great with Jackson -- but rookie Doug Baldwin had a breakthrough effort. The problem with picking him up is he and all your Seahawks are going to be dead weight heading into their bye next Sunday.
• Don't bother picking up Baldwin or Ben Obomanu, who also caught a touchdown. Mike Williams and Golden Tate are also candidates to cut if you need roster space to fill a bye-week hole.
• Marshawn Lynch posted a strong effort against a Giants D/ST that was shredded by the Cardinals on the ground a week ago. We have to stop thinking of the Giants as a bad matchup for anyone in fantasy.
• Victor Cruz might have cost the Giants the game with his gaffes, but fantasy owners are loving his production right now. He is worth owning in all three-receiver formats. Cruz's emergence makes up for the Giants' lack of a tight end, but he has also cut deep into Mario Manningham's totals. This could be a continuing trend.
• Mark Ingram and Pierre Thomas scored the touchdowns, but Darren Sproles got more carries and catches than either. He remains the Saints RB to have. Ingram is a risky bye-week replacement and Thomas is hardly worth owning.
• Marques Colston was better this week than last, but Jimmy Graham is clearly the Saints target of choice right now. He is a must-start tight end. Robert Meachem and Devery Henderson are merely bye-week replacement options.
• D'Angelo Williams has been much better of late and has distanced himself some with Week 5 disappointment Jonathan Stewart. Williams won't be going over 100 yards next week against the Falcons, though.
• Cam Newton wasn't his stellar self, but this performance was one of his most important of the season. He has shown he can handle one of the tougher secondaries in the league.
• Steve Smith remains a monster with Newton, but don't be counting on Legadu Naanee.
• As we said, Steve Breaston and Matt Cassel were ready to take off. Breaston is a great option as a bye-week replacement. Make him your No. 1 priority on waivers this week. He is much better than he has shown. Breaston is worth picking up, even if he is heading into his bye week.
• Cassel is going to get a week of rest through the bye week, who can only help his rib injury that slowed him earlier this season.
• Dexter McCluster was a bum, which makes him a candidate to cut right now. Jackie Battle's emergence cuts into McCluster and makes it even more apparent that Thomas Jones' day has passed. Jones could be losing more carries to Battle as the weeks wear on.
• Curtis Painter and Pierre Garcon are pretty much best buddies. Garcon has been an elite receiver with Painter and the Colts have been a better offense with Painter. They are going to stick with him.
• Dallas Clark remains a slug. Painter will eventually involve him, though, so don't sell low on Clark.
• Joseph Addai (hamstring) is banged up, but you won't want to consider Donald Brown, Delone Carter or Addai next Sunday at Cincy.
• We learned a lot about how tough it is to go to the West Coast after a Monday nighter. LeGarrette Blount and Josh Freeman were awful against a great 49ers defense.
• That 49ers D/ST has become a must-have and must-start in fantasy. You likely have to use them even against the potent Lions, who will also be coming off a Monday nighter.
• Kellen Winslow and Mike Williams were better than they have been, perhaps, but still not good. All of the Bucs should be far more productive next week against the Saints.
• Frank Gore has re-emerged as a must-start fantasy option, especially since Alex Smith has proved capable and the 49ers are a contender with a great defense. They are going to run and stop the run.
• Donovan McNabb didn't do enough to quiet the washed-up talk, but it is mostly the fault of his lack of receivers. Or is it McNabb not finding a way to get Percy Harvin involved in the passing game?
• Kevin Kolb had one of his worst games and he, too, is held back by a bad receiving corps after Larry Fitzgerald. Early Doucet made an impact here, though, and looks like he could be a solid option during the bye season.
• Beanie Wells was just fine and registered another rushing touchdown. He is one of the loneliness backs in the NFL in that the Cardinals just have no one else to take carries from him. It makes Wells one of the breakout backs of the year, even if the Cards are a non-contender that trails in a lot of games and has to throw from behind.
• Blaine Gabbert had a productive game and he made a sleeper out of unheralded Jason Hill. Hill could be useful during the bye weeks in deeper leagues, but only out of necessity. Mike Thomas and Marcedes Lewis are going to be the primary targets, even if they were disappointments here against an underrated Bengals defense.
• Bernard Scott finally made an impact, albeit in relief of Cedric Benson and not in lieu of him. Scott is a marginal flex option during the bye season, particularly season Benson isn't likely to get suspended now.
• Andy Dalton wasn't productive here, but he at least has made things clear for us in fantasy. A.J. Green is the primary receiver and Jermaine Gresham is going to do enough to be a consistent presence, too.
• Matt Ryan isn't looking like the breakthrough quarterback we projected. Sure, he has an improved supporting cast with the addition of Julio Jones, but he hasn't shown the same consistency he did a year ago. The Packers had been abused via the pass thus far this season and Ryan performed worse than the likes of the Panthers' Newton, the Bears' Cutler and even the Broncos' Orton. You have to keep running Ryan out there, though.
• Ah, those Packers, just keeping us on our toes. James Jones made a big play and has looked far healthier in recent weeks. He stole the limelight that was on Jordy Nelson and now looks like a solid fantasy starter. Nelson will have better weeks forward, but it will be far more of a crapshoot figuring which Packers receivers to use after Greg Jennings and Jermichael Finley, apparently.
• James Starks is more productive than Ryan Grant, but neither are really fantasy-starter worthy right now. They get another solid defensive front to face next week against the Vikings, too. You might only use them out of necessity at this point.
• Jahvid Best had a huge effort, the best of his career. Not only was this his first 100-yard game, but his 88-yard run went for more yardage than he had had total in any previous game. This came against a good Bears front, too. It is enough to keep him active against the 49ers next week at home. The 49ers have the stingiest rushing defense in the NFL right now, but it will be tough to sit Best after this.
• Brandon Pettigrew remains one of the hidden gems of fantasy, but more prime-time touchdowns is going to change that. Consider him a solid starter in all leagues, if not a must-have with the arrival of Matthew Stafford as a legit fantasy star.
• Dane Sanzenbacher just might be the Bears go-to receiver right now. It says more about Jay Cutler's lack of quality targets more than it does Sanzenbacher. Johnny Knox hardly made a dent, while Devin Hester and Sam Hurd did more than we usually see -- albeit not much. Cutler would be a fantasy star with even a modicum of talent around him.
• Kellen Davis reeled in a score, but this is likely the one-week wonder phenomenon common with tight ends. Cutler needs someone to replace Greg Olsen but leave Davis on the waiver wire until he does this a few more weeks.
• As long as Calvin Johnson and Pettigrew are healthy (maybe Tony Scheffler, too), Nate Burleson is not worth owning, much less starting in fantasy. Even rookie Titus Young looks more intriguing at this point.