College is easy. Fantasy football? That’s tough. I’ll trust someone who tells me which year the world’s going to end before I trust someone who tells me how many touchdowns Peyton Manning will throw Sunday against the Patriots.
The only tools you can use to make viable predictions are stats and instincts. Pay attention to the numbers. Pay attention to your gut. Be smart. Be patient. It’s not easy, people.
Sometimes the matchup is more important than the name. Would you rather have an elite quarterback playing against the best passing defense in the league or an above-average quarterback playing against the weakest passing defense in the league? There are only 16 games. There’s no such thing as over-analysis.
With that in mind, we humbly prepare for the fifth week of the NFL season.
Having bye week blues? While there may not be a top tier player on the waiver wire to temporarily supplant Calvin Johnson or Miles Austin, there are some zesty matchups out there that could prove to be valuable to the prudent gamer.
Ramses Barden is currently available in 83 percent of Yahoo! Leagues. Given the uncertainty of Hakeem Nicks’s playing status for Sunday’s game, coupled with the porous Cleveland secondary, the six-foot-six receiver is a decent fill-in option. In case you were wondering, not one starting defensive back on the Browns is taller than six feet, and after four games, Cleveland’s defense ranks 28th overall in total passing yards allowed. Stop drooling, please. You too, Eli Manning.
NOTE: There is some concern that Barden won’t be cleared to play due to concussion-like symptoms, so it may be a wise choice to stash Dominik Hixon or Rueben Randle as a precautionary measure.
Davone Bess holds a 25 percent ownership tag in Yahoo! Leagues at this moment. Be thankful. He’s currently tied for 27th in the NFL in targets this season and is coming off two very solid performances. The Dolphins head to Cincinnati this week to square off against a defense ranked 25th in points allowed, despite the luxury of having played the Jaguars and Browns. Bess has averaged over 100 receiving yards per game over the last two weeks, and could very well be on his way to a breakout season. He should be on your radar at the very least.
While these are only two suggestions, there are many unclaimed players in your league right now who are destined for roto greatness in Week 5. It only takes a little bit of research.
These short-term pickups don’t always work out. Don’t get too frustrated if they don’t. Don’t get too attached if they do.
It’s easy to get burned by a team’s game-plan. The success of a running back is often determined by the number of carries he’s allowed, despite rushing ratios. Each team has a unique red-zone scheme. Martellus Bennett will likely catch more touchdowns than owners of Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks would prefer this season, but that’s football.
The best fantasy football teams do not always have the most recognizable names or the most talent. They have the best cumulative numbers.
Do your homework before you set your lineup for the week. Pay attention to schemes. Watch the games. Gambling on the outcome of a game is fairly simple. Gambling on the story? Anything but.