Week 5: Player Downgrades
Big Ben had a great fantasy game Sunday in the Steelers' 27-24 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, throwing for 314 yards and three touchdowns. For all intents and purposes, Roethlisberger looks like someone you would want to have in your lineup right now. However, the one thing that should be focused on is the Steelers' next two opponents. In Weeks 5 and 6, Pittsburgh plays at Jacksonville and at Cleveland, respectively. Those two teams are giving up an average of 27.7 fantasy points per game to running backs. With that in mind, Le'Veon Bell owners should be the beneficiaries of some big fantasy days. Yes, the Jags' defense also gives up the most fppg to quarterbacks. We're aware. But since we're in the business of making predictions, we'll lean towards the Steelers preferring to feed Bell and even his partner in crime, LeGarrette Blount, more than looking to Roethlisberger to air it out.
There aren't many fantasy football sites that would say a running back who's coming off a three-touchdown game and getting ready to take on a team (Green Bay) that allows the fourth-most fppg to the position deserves a downgrade. However, that's exactly what we're doing here. A couple weeks ago, it looked as if Asiata could be looking at a role as a true feature back. While everyone else was bidding on Asiata, our experts were going bargain-basement on a guy who wasn't even getting carries. That guy, Jerick McKinnon, had 135 yards on 18 carries and added a 17-yard reception Sunday versus Atlanta. McKinnon is easily the more dynamic of the two and has gotten better as a pass-blocker. This has led to him being trusted with more playing time. The Vikings took advantage of a Falcons defense that simply isn't very good in Week 4. They aren't going to score 41 points very often. As such, you have to wonder which running back is the more viable fantasy option going forward. The best-case scenario for Asiata owners is a true timeshare in which he gets the goal-line carries. That's still not a bad thing, but it's not nearly as good as some people thought it could be just two short weeks ago.
The Redskins got hammered by Eli Manning and the Giants in Week 4. When they are playing from behind, the team likes to use Roy Helu since he is more of a receiving threat than Morris. For the game, Morris ran for 63 yards on 12 carries, better than five yards per carry. That's respectable enough. He also added three catches for 27 yards. Helu, on the other hand, caught five balls for 78 yards. The Redskins will probably be playing from behind in their next two games, against Seattle and Arizona. That leads to the downgrade for Morris. In addition, those two opponents boast defenses that don't allow more than 12 fppg to running backs. Morris is a risky play for the next couple weeks due to all of these factors.
The Saints are struggling, so it can fully be expected that they will put the ball in the hands of All-Pro quarterback, Drew Brees, in order to right the ship. If the Saints do indeed start to rely more on Brees than their running game, Robinson, despite tallying more than 100 total yards in Week 4, figures to be the running back who will suffer the most as Travaris Cadet seems to be getting more involved in the passing game. On top of this, it doesn't appear New Orleans' defense is really excited about stopping anyone after giving up 38 points to the Cowboys in Week 4. This just plays more into the hands of the passing attack. The Saints also expect to get Mark Ingram back after their Week 6 bye. If you've got Robinson and can shop him for something decent, now may be the time.
Stacy has a rough stretch in the next few weeks as the Rams will square off with the Eagles, 49ers and Seahawks. Philadelphia's defense isn't particularly imposing. However, its offense can be. The Eagles opened the week as a touchdown-plus favorite and figure to get their offense rolling against the Rams, meaning St. Louis should be playing from behind. Stacy, despite his five receptions in Week 3, is not much of a receiving back. When the Rams are in catch-up mode, RB Benny Cunningham is more likely to be on the field. Following the Eagles, games versus San Francisco and Seattle will have the Rams going against two defenses that are both giving up no more than 12 fppg to running backs.
Coming off a breakout game Monday night in which he caught eight balls for 93 yards and a touchdown, Kelce is going to be a hot name within the tight end ranks this week. We may want to tap the brakes on that hype train a bit. We love Kelce. He's a freak athlete that is going to have more big games like Week 4. Week 5, however, will probably not be one of those days. The Chiefs head to San Francisco to take on a 49ers defense that gives up only 4.9 fppg to tight ends. Kelce will get plenty of attention in the Bay Area this weekend. Lower your expectations for him for at least one week.