Jason Harward staff writer
Marty Schnapp co-editor-in-chief
We’re fairly settled into the season, and we have an idea of what players will make our fantasy rosters this year, but there are still surprises to come. Don’t get discouraged if your team lacks the punch that you thought it would bring; start the right studs and make some critical waiver maneuvers, and you might find yourself among the elite.
Jimmy Graham is on the Seahawks, Kenny Stills is on the Dolphins and Brandin Cooks is looking like a bust. There is room for a rising star in the Saints offense. Willie Snead is that rising star. Standing at 5-foot-11, Snead is a quick, compact receiver, and after watching last week’s game, I’m pretty sure Drew Brees has a crush on him.
Week 5 Projections: 8 receptions, 90 yards receiving, 1 touchdown
If three weeks ago you asked me if I thought of Freeman as a serious fantasy threat, I would have laughed in your face. I’m still not sure why the Falcons haven’t lost yet, nor am I sure what it is about Freeman that allows him to score so easily, but I trust his consecutive three-touchdown performances, and I think that he will finish the season as a top eight fantasy scoring running back.
Week 5 Projections: 17 carries, 112 yards rushing, 2 touchdowns
Philip Rivers is the most underrated quarterback in the NFL. Don’t overlook him. If you make the mistake of sitting Rivers against the worst Steelers defense that we’ve seen in years, you will be sorry.
Week 5 Projections: 28 of 42, 345 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception
Although Johnson may not be capable of performing at the caliber which he did years ago, I trust him to tear a hole straight through a group of Lions defensive linemen who are desperately missing their old friend, Ndamukong. I’m glad he’s been presented this opportunity to take on a starting role on an offense that has been playing at such a high level. Palmer and his receiving core bring the deep threat, which takes some of the pressure off Johnson. Perhaps we’ll get a glimpse of the old Chris this week.
Week 5 Projections: 18 carries, 90 yards, 1 touchdown
I’m catching on to a bit of a theme with my picks this week: speed. He is quick enough to weave through the Packers’ defense this week and find the endzone at least once. Also, targets to Austin have been increasing at a steady rate since Week One. He will prove himself as a solid WR3 option.
Week 5 Projections: 6 receptions, 70 yards, 1 touchdown
The 49ers are really bad. While Carlos Hyde has had flashes early in the season, the 49ers simply can’t score. The New York Giants under defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo have looked like a different team and they held Tyrod Taylor, who has a similar playing style, to one touchdown and one interception. Those stats are the best Kaepernick could possibly do, as his stats this year are a meager one touchdown to five interceptions, including a four interception performance against Arizona. As Clay Matthews said, “You ain’t Russell Wilson, bro.”
Week 5 Projections: 14 of 26, 113 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions
I’ll admit, the awfulness of Murray and the Philadelphia Eagles has caught me off guard. Last year through four games: 524 yards, five touchdowns. This season: 47 yards, one touchdown. The New Orleans Saints aren’t anything special on defense, but Rob Ryan is known for bringing lots of pressure and the Eagles will be behind against the Saints. And, of course, Murray is bad.
Week 5 Projections: 12 carries, 22 yards
The Raiders just lost to the Bears. While Amari Cooper had a 26 yard touchdown in the first half, he was virtually nonexistent in the second half, and finished with four receptions, 49 yards and a touchdown. Cooper will be lucky to get a touchdown this game, with either Aqib Talib or Chris Harris Jr. shadowing him for most of the game. However, he could be valuable in a PPR league, as the Raiders will definitely throw the ball after they get behind early against Denver.
Week 5 Projections: 9 receptions, 64 yards
I feel really sorry for Evans. His 6-foot-5-inch frame should make it easy for Jameis Winston to give it to him, however the duo has only connected 10 times for 133 yards in the three games Evans has appeared in. While the Jaguars do have a pretty bad secondary, they should be able to limit the opportunities Evans sees. Furthermore, Winston has identified Vincent Jackson, Austin Seferian-Jenkins and members of the opposing secondary as his favorite targets (seven interceptions). To those of you that picked Evans, I’m sorry.
Week 5 Projections: 6 receptions, 71 yards
The Lions have had a brutal schedule. Coming off a loss to the Seahawks, Detroit is against the Arizona Cardinals, who boast an impressive defense. Ebron will be guarded by Daryl Washington or Sean Witherspoon, both who possess the athleticism to shadow Ebron. Matthew Stafford will have another tough day against Arizona, and Ebron will underperform for your team.
Week 5 projections: 3 receptions, 34 yards