Exactly like the league it mimics, fantasy football changes every week. Whether it be injuries (come back next season stronger than ever Jamaal—your roster spot is safe on both keeper league teams!), bye weeks, or even the quirks of the schedule no fantasy week is like another. And when you are managing 12 teams this uncertainly is multiplied exponentially. In Week 5, then, I was most concerned about one team: Sterling Sharpe. Unfathomably they had not yet secured a victory and they were playing the team with which they made this blockbuster deal prior to Week 3:
And how did that turn out for me this week? Quite well! Though Marshawn Lynch has still yet to play a game for me, Jeremy Maclin has been off the hook and Justin Forsett has regained his 2014 form. Despite having one less player, my new guys outscored his 32 to 30:
Here are how my 12 teams—the supercontinent Pangaea plays two games a week—fared in Week 5:
|Green Bay Gamblers||102.29-68.64||5-0||Won 5||Second||560.07|
|Sterling Sharpe||127.28-112.58||1-4||Won 1||Eleventh||479.97|
|TR’s Peepers||98.74-86.36||3-2||Won 2||Fifth||448.04|
|Curly’s Cadre*||110.20-73.80||4-1||Won 2||Fourth||487.70|
|Pangaea||220-171; 171-142||5-5||Won 1||Eighth||1,648|
|The Drop Bears*||133.4-72.8||4-1||Lost 1||Third||499.9|
|Fuzzy Dunlop||157-155||2-3||Lost 2||Eighth||803|
|The Taco Stand||199.80-153.10||3-2||Won 1||Third||769.68|
|Unironic Witty Name||207.68-130.04||1-4||Lost 2||Eighth||877.22|
|Team||Points Against||Rank||Differential||What If?|
|Green Bay Gamblers||402.13||Third||+1||Miss you tons Jamaal!|
|Sterling Sharpe||556.56||Ninth||-2||Biggest victory of the season!|
|Brc||687||First||-2||Welcome back Antonio Gates!|
|Snuffleupagus||627||Sixth||+3||End of the line for Darren Sproles.|
|TR’s Peepers||519.44||Seventh||+2||Winning all the close matchups.|
|Curly’s Cadre*||408.08||Third||-1||Nice to have Mr. Brady back running the show.|
|Pangaea||1663||Fifth||-3||Piling on the points (if not the wins)!|
|The Drop Bears*||424.2||Fourth||+1||Matt Ryan needs to be better.|
|GBG||471||Fifth||+1||One bad week. No worries!|
|Fuzzy Dunlop||638||First||-1||Two points (one Danny Woodhead reception) from victory.|
|The Taco Stand||713.70||Second||-1||Most dominating performance to date!|
|Unironic Witty Name||1,059.78||Seventh||-1||Not time to panic. . . . yet!|
*Denotes new team this season
Week 5 record: 7-6-0. Overall: 38-27-0 (.585).
Still Unbeaten: Green Bay Gamblers
Yet to Win: None!
If the Postseason Started Today: Eight of my 12 fantasy teams make the playoffs.
Week 5: 1,755.15
Week 4: 1,415.19
Week 3: 2,083.02
Week 2: 1,712.94
Week 1: 1,680.25
Second highest point total of the season didn’t produce an overwhelming amount of victories. The history of Week 5s:
2014: 4-8 (27-32-1, .458)
2013: 7-5 (37-23, .617)
2012: 6-6 (33-27, .550)
2011: 9-3 (37-23, .617)
And now for some hardware:
Player of the Week: Tie: Justin Forsett and Antonio Gates. The latter returned from a four game suspension to catch nine balls for 92 yards and two touchdowns and—most importantly—two victories. Forsett, meanwhile, looked the best he has all season against his former mates, rushing for 121 yards and a score and also catching four passes for 49 yards, good for a robust 20 fantasy points, nine more than projected.
Goat of the Week: Matt Ryan. Oh how the mighty have fallen!
Villain of the Week: Pick your poison: NFC South running backs Devonta Freeman and the Artist Formerly Known As The Muscle Hamster (Doug Martin) both killed me in multiple leagues.
Team of the Week: Brc had the most impressive—and consistent up-and-down the lineup—win but I have to give this to a team who hadn’t yet tasted the sweet taste of victory this season: Sterling Sharpe. Playing against the squad that they made their huge blockbuster with prior to Week 3, they came up with a bravura performance. Honorable mention goes to The Taco Stand who outscored all teams in the league by a whopping 27 points!
(Disappointing) Team of the Week: Unironic Witty Name. It all starts at the top—especially in a two quarterback league. So when your top signal callers, Peyton Manning and Russell Wilson, are not producing you are going to have issues. I have a feeling Manning has a breakout game this weekend in Cleveland. As for Wilson and his porous offensive line I’m less convinced the first quarter of the season was an anomaly. I’ve already instructed Raiders QB Derek Carr to be ready to play. Ditto for Tony Romo when he’s healthy.
Pure Genius: Curly’s Cadre acquiring the St Louis defense off of waivers to start in Week 5. Though it was not necessarily smart for this week (I dropped them for the New York Giants who were hosting turnover machine Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers) I thought it a stellar move going forward. And to top it off they actually produced nine fantasy points in Lambeau, a first positive mark against the Packers this season. Going forward I will rotate them and the New York J-E-T-S squad based on preferred matchups.
What was I thinking?!: If he has indeed taken over the pass-catching scat back role from Lance Dunbar, dropping Dallas running back Darren McFadden in Lambeau Field (a PPR league) may have been unwise. That said I always feel much cleaner not consorting with Cowboys. Plus I think Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Julius Thomas is going to be a key player going forward.
Coach: Put Me In—I’m Ready to Play: Andre Johnson. But can you do it two weeks in a row?
Trade of the Week: Nothing doing during this time period.
Pickups of the Week: Securing Jamaal Charles perceived heir apparent—the mellifluous sounding Charcandrick West—was the top priority this week. Thanks to sage cultivation of my waiver wire priority, I managed to get him in three different leagues, though unfortunately not in either of the ones where I own Charles. In an otherwise quiet week, I also picked up the New England defense, Raiders team quarterback to use when the Packers have a bye next week, running backs Christine Michael and Charles Sims, and Patriots wide receiver Brandon LaFell.
Drops of the Week: With the exception of Derek Carr and Alex Smith—who led Sterling Sharpe to their first victory this week—those I have jettisoned have been major fantasy disappointment so far this season: running back Darren Sproles, tight ends Charles Clay and Larry Donnell, and wideouts Nelson Agholor and DeVante Parker.
Worrisome Injury of Week: Sadly this one is all too easy. I have Charles on two of my three keeper teams—one PPR and another two points per reception—and, to put it frankly, he is irreplaceable. But life—and fantasy football—must go on.
Team Ready to Break Out: Sterling Sharpe (again)! With their first victory finally in the books, hoping this squad can go on a nice long winning streak!
Lambeau Field update: Another huge win—the second in three weeks against Andrew Alexander—keeps me undefeated through five weeks:
And Then There Were Four
Stay alive and advance: that’s my mantra for the Survival Pool, now in its 12th season. To pay tribute to the most drama-filled fantasy sport of them all—and by far the most popular of my gambits—I will provide a weekly update of this terrific enterprise. For those unfamiliar this is how it works: You pick one NFL team every week. If they win, you stay in. If they lose, you’re out. You cannot pick the same team twice.
I still have no idea how the Kansas City Chiefs lost that game to the Chicago Bears. Jamaal Charles or not no way they should blow that late lead, especially at home. But lose they did and another entrant of the Survival Pool is no more.
Most Popular (Successful) Choice: Green Bay (2)
Most Popular (Unsuccessful) Choice: Kansas City (1)
Least Popular (Successful) Choice: Atlanta and New England (1)
Least Popular (Unsuccessful) Choice: None
Around the world, too, mistakes made:
Thus the 7,903 perfect survivors have been whittled down to:
Can’t wait to find out what happens this week!
I also partake in a confidence pool. You pick every game every week—straight up not against the point spread—and rank your selections based on how confident you are that they will win. For example, in Week 1 I thought there was no way the Packers would lose to the Bears, so I slotted them in at number 16. Conversely, I thought the Rams would pull the upset of the Seahawks, but in order to hedge my bet I gave them the lowest possible number: one.
Well I am nothing if not consistent. My point totals the previous four weeks: 110, 52, 119, and 96. (If Week 2 seems low remember that was that bizzarro week when seemingly everyone lost and the high score was a paltry 81). As for Week 5? Ninety-five points:
I correctly predicted 11 of 16—erroneously thinking Kansas City, Baltimore, Jacksonville, San Diego, and Houston would prevail—that ranked 55th (up from 63 last week) out of 135 weekly entries. The total keeps me 10th overall, but I’ve trimmed my overall deficit seven points to 20 with 12 weeks left in the NFL regular season.
Follow my quest for fantasy football dominance—including the highs and lows of such a dynamic and distressing hobby—on Twitter: @nicholasjonwood.