Whoa… It’s Week 5 already? How’d that happen? Time flies, right kids? Or as Bill Shakespeare would say “the swiftest hours, as they flew.” I love going all 1609 on you. You’re impressed, admit it. Plus the college girls just love it when I show up to the local watering hole and quote “Othello” all night until they acknowledge me. Ha! Just kidding. I’m too old for college girls. They all ignore me anyway. Plus, I’m way too busy on Saturday nights for any kind of commitment. So there! Here’s a typical Saturday night for me: Check all 158 fantasy lineups….for the fifth time. Check voicemail…..Empty….Iron my Ed Hardy shirts in case anyone calls….Update my “Dream Journal.” Update my “Fear Journal.” Look in the mirror….do six push ups…..Look in the mirror again. Log into Facebook…..get political information. Work on application for Trump University. See folks, Honcho’s time is at a premium. I need to be efficient in every aspect of my life. That’s why I put so much time into what’s important: Fantasy football stats. Really, to be honest, I do it all for you. Because we’re best friends. You’re just not aware of it yet. Invite me over sometime and I’ll prove it. So here’s the deal. This week contains a handful of nice passing match ups, but there’s one that really stands out. I’m going in big on Ben Roethlisberger this week as the Steelers host the Jets at Heinz Field. The Jets’ pass defense has struggled mightily this year, and they allowed 288 yards passing, three touchdowns and had zero interceptions vs Russell Wilson and the Seahawks last week. Through their first four games the Jets are allowing 285 yards passing per contest and they’ve yielded 8 passing TDs as well. They’re also giving up 23.9 fantasy points per game to opposing QBs (5th most) and 10.4 (8th most) fantasy points per game to TEs. The Steelers are absolutely loaded at wide receiver so you can expect Ben to continue his air assault this week against a Jets group ranked in the bottom half of the league in points allowed to WRs.
Here’s a look at some of my favorite passing and rushing matchups for Week 5:
Carson Wentz – We’re still looking at a small sample, but there’s a lot to like here. The Eagles are averaging 30.7 points per game under Wentz’s leadership and the rookie has compiled a 103.8 QB rating through the first three weeks. The Lions have been miserable against the pass allowing QBs to complete 71% of their attempts and they’ve allowed 12 passing scores against just one interception. Detroit has allowed opposing QBs to score 23.7 fantasy points (sixth-most) per game this year, while giving up 11.6 points to TEs (sixth-most).
Philip Rivers – Generally, I like my QBs to have more touchdown passes than kids four weeks into the season. That’s a tall challenge when you’re talking about Southern California’s most potent gunslinger. Rivers continues to light it up despite the fact that his offensive weapons are falling at a rapid rate. Sunday he’ll face a Raiders’ secondary that’s giving up 325 passing yards per contest and they’ve allowed 8 touchdowns through the air while generating just 5 sacks. Oakland is ranked 22nd in the league when it comes to fantasy points allowed to opposing QBs so it’s a good bet that he’ll abuse this group in the same fashion that Joe Flacco did just one week ago.
Joe Flacco – This is not a misprint. We’re going to the well two weeks in a row with Smoking Joe and I’m totally fine with this decision. Totally. Fine. Seriously. The Washington secondary is pretty banged up and they’re allowing 280 passing yards per game this year. Flacco’s 170 passing attempts through four games puts him on pace for 680 this year – well beyond his career high 614 which he accomplished in 2013.
Terrance West – Until I see proof that Kenneth Dixon and Javorius Allen are serious threats to West’s workload, I’m calling him the feature back in this offense. Last week West saw 21 carries to Allen’s 3 and plowed his way to 113 yards and a score while averaging 5.4 yards per carry. The Redskins’ defense has allowed an average of 133 rushing yards per game and they’re tied for last in the league in rushing scores allowed with 8.
Bilal Powell – This is a PPR special right here kids. The Steelers have allowed more receiving yards (318) to running backs than any other team and are currently ranked as the 5th worst team in football in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing RBs. He’s quietly put together two consecutive games of at least 70 total yards and six catches.
Jerick McKinnon – Aside from the occasional Asiata vulturing ritual, McKinnon owns this backfield. He out-touched Asiata 21-8 last week – averaging five yards per carry and saw five targets as well. Over the last two weeks the Houston rush defense has been destroyed by DeMarco Murray and LeGarrette Blount – proving that without JJ Watt they’re a compromised unit.
Frank Gore – I’ll wager that this is NOT the running back you expected to see listed from this game. Sure Jordan Howard is impressive, but the Colts’ rush defense ranks 18th in the league. That’s merely a neutral match up my friends. I’m turning my attention to the seasoned vet in the Colts’ backfield. Gore has been more than useful this year, in fact, he ranks as the RB 15 in PPR formats. The Bears have allowed an average of 123.8 rushing yards per game this year (26th in NFL) and they’re allowing 21 fantasy points per game to opposing RBs. Gore is averaging 16 carries and 4.5 targets per week through the first four contests.