Ryan, Bucs fall short in Week 5

BY foxsports • October 10, 2011

Fans and fantasy owners settled in for a highly-anticipated and high-scoring affair between the Packers and Falcons to close out Sunday’s action. They received an exciting game and more brilliance from Aaron Rodgers following a slow start. (Any thoughts after watching your former teams do battle, Mr. Favre?). However, most of our other would-be fantasy heroes left us flat.

Matt Ryan started strong, but finished the game with 167 yards, one touchdown pass and two interceptions with one sack. Ryan faced persistent pressure and, remember, it doesn’t matter how the interceptions came to pass. They count just the same in fantasy lineups.

The Packers did a fantastic job to shut down Julio Jones following his huge back-to-back efforts in Weeks 3 and 4. Jones caught a single pass for 17 yards with one carry for 16 yards before leaving the game because of a hamstring injury.

James Starks was established as the top option in the Green Bay offense. Starks was limited to 40 yards on 12 carries in the victory, adding two receptions for 19 yards.

Jermichael Finley caught four of seven targets for 67 yards and dropped a sure touchdown pass. Finley has registered at least 53 receiving yards in four of five games. His only three touchdown receptions of 2011 came against the Bears in Week 3.

James Jones and Greg Jennings were the receiving stars in Sunday’s win over Atlanta. Jordy Nelson was limited to three receptions on seven targets for 17 yards.

Bill Belichick pulled his best Mike Shanahan impression on Sunday. Just as fantasy owners climbed aboard the Stevan Ridley bandwagon, Belichick pounded the rock all day long with BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Ridley touched the ball seven times for 13 yards. Shake your fist and curse the fantasy gods.

Rob Gronkowski caught each of his four targets for 33 yards in the Patriots’ victory. Green-Ellis dominated the red zone as Gronkowski was denied his points in the low post.

Derrick Mason was on the board for “Ninja” success against the New England secondary. He spent most of the day watching the action like us and yielded a single reception for seven yards.

Dustin Keller was equally invisible in the New York passing game. Keller was targeted just twice and matched Mason’s output. Following a strong start to the 2011 campaign, Keller has registered just three receptions for 19 yards in the past two games.

Plaxico Burress lobbed a nice quote about Buffalo and “Buffalo wings,” but he offered little contribution to the box score with three receptions for 42 yards on eight targets.

I’ll summarize the woes of the Denver passing game this way:

- Kyle Orton was replaced by Tim Tebow. Orton completed 6-of-13 passes for 34 yards and an interception before getting yanked by John Fox.

- Brandon Lloyd caught one of four targets for 20 yards. Hit that panic button.

- Waiver wire darling and would-be PPR hero Eric Decker was targeted five times. Decker produced two catches for – 4 yards. I’ll sigh for the lot of you.

San Diego receiver Vincent Jackson popped onto the injury list late in the week. He played in Sunday’s road trip to Denver and drew coverage from Champ Bailey. Jackson was limited to 34 receiving yards on three receptions (six targets).

I had hoped to see Michael Crabtree build on his strong Week 4 performance. Alas, the former first-round pick was limited to two receptions for 36 yards on five targets. Of course, who (other than Tony Romo) is throwing the ball with such a large lead?

The Buccaneers traveled to San Francisco on a short week for a date with the 49ers. I anticipated a comfortable 49ers victory, but the absolute obliteration of Raheem Morris’ squad came as a surprise.

As predicted, LeGarrette Blount was a non-factor in this contest. He rushed 10 times for 34 yards, adding two receptions for 31 yards.

The Buccaneers couldn’t establish the run, thereby putting Josh Freeman in a bad spot. Freeman completed 17-of-33 attempts for 187 yards with two interceptions.

Kellen Winslow caught five of nine targets for 54 yards. He’s yet to catch a touchdown pass this season. Deep threat Arrelious Benn logged an early 33-yard reception, but he finished Sunday’s blowout loss with three catches for 46 yards. “Ninja” favorite Preston Parker was targeted thrice and finished with one reception for 13 yards. Mike Williams’ sophomore slump continued with another dismal performance. Williams caught four passes for 28 yards and lost a fumble. He was targeted nine times in the blowout loss.

Ahmad Bradshaw rated as one of the best running back plays of the week. Brandon Jacobs was sidelined, so a heavy workload was in the offing. He left you flat with 58 rushing yards on 17 attempts, adding two receptions for 27 yards.

Mario Manningham caught five passes for 56 yards, a solid effort for owners in PPR leagues. He watched helplessly as Eli Manning targeted Victor Cruz 11 times.

Dallas Clark has now bottomed out. The veteran tight end and former fantasy superhero registered a single reception for seven yards against the Chiefs. Clark has finished every game with 46 or fewer receiving yards.

Austin Collie caught the only two passes for which he was intended for 50 yards.

Nobody expected Dexter McCluster to become a workhorse for the Chiefs following Jamaal Charles’ season-ending injury. However, I believed he’d see more than five touches against the run-deficient Indianapolis defense. McCluster carried the ball four times for eight yards, adding a single reception for 10 yards.

The Arizona passing game sputtered miserably in Sunday’s blowout loss to Minnesota despite the absence of top cornerback Antoine Winfield. Kevin Kolb completed fifty percent of his pass attempts (21-for-42) for 232 yards with two interceptions, a lost fumble and four sacks.

Top target Larry Fitzgerald earned 66 receiving yards on four receptions. He was targeted eight times in the defeat. Fitzgerald has been held under 70 receiving yards in three of the Cardinals’ first five games.

Percy Harvin could only watch Adrian Peterson run wild in Sunday’s win over Arizona. All of the good will earned by the Minnesota coaching staff in fantasyland for getting Harvin the ball was thrown away. Harvin caught a single pass for 11 yards on two targets and carried the ball once for 12 yards.

Harvin’s name appeared in ample “either/or” questions this week in tandem with Seattle receiver Sidney Rice. Rice earned a narrow victory in the head-to-head battle by catching four passes for 38 yards on five targets.

The Buffalo receiving corps failed to make a dent against the Philadelphia secondary. It’s a small victory to savor for Philadelphia fans while the sky continues its fall. Stevie Johnson caught four passes for 29 yards on five targets. David Nelson was targeted only twice, but did record a six-yard touchdown reception for his only grab. Scott Chandler was one of the radar as a waiver wire pickups for Week 5 in deeper leagues because of the Bye week. He caught his only target for four yards.

The Texans earned a consolation prize in Sunday’s loss to Oakland. They were able to contain all-world running back Darren McFadden. McFadden was limited to 51 yards on 16 carries, adding two receptions for 17 yards. He’d recorded at least 123 total yards in each of the Raiders’ first four games.

Jacoby Jones was on the radar as a hot pickup in Andre Johnson’s absence. He certainly received ample attention from Matt Schaub. Jones caught one of 11 targets for nine yards.

DeAngelo Williams finally wrested the top spot in the Carolina backfield away from Jonathan Stewart. Stewart amassed just six carries for 20 yards, adding one reception for 13 yards.

The New Orleans passing attack is a dangerous place to roam, much like a Mike Shanahan backfield. Jimmy Graham is the lone steady option, and Marques Colston’s return lowered the ceiling for the other receivers. Lance Moore was limited to three receptions for 30 yards on six targets. Robert Meachem caught four of his five targets for 38 yards. Devery Henderson was targeted once and registered a single catch for 11 yards.

I’ve banged the drum for the Jacksonville run defense through five weeks, but gave Cedric Benson the nod as a RB2 with thoughts that the Bengals would be running downhill in the second half. Benson carried the ball 24 times for 53 yards in the Bengals’ hard-fought 30-20 win. He’s averaged 80.2 rushing yards per game through five weeks with a single touchdown.

Tight end Marcedes Lewis figured to take on a larger role in terrible weather and on week further removed from his injury. Lewis was limited to one reception for six yards on four targets and dropped a sure touchdown.

Mike Thomas of the Jaguars celebrated the signing of a new contract earlier in the week. He produced mediocre results for Blaine Gabbert in Week 5. Thomas caught three passes for 53 yards on seven targets.

Antonio Brown didn’t get to participate in Ben Roethlisberger’s breakout performance in Sunday’s resounding win over Tennessee. Brown registered just two receptions for 23 yards on four targets, his lowest output since Week 1. He lost targets to veteran Hines Ward, who openly questioned his role in the passing attack this past week.

Fantasy owners tagged Isaac Redman as a second running back for Week 5 with Rashard Mendenhall sidelined. Redman logged a heavy touch count (18), but generated only 61 total yards (49 rushing on 15 carries). Jonathan Dwyer’s also carries the ball 11 times, so the backfield is muddied for Week 6 against the Jaguars should Mendenhall be held out again.

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