How We Fared With Our Teams in NFL Week Five

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Greg's Teamsphoto of journalist Greg Buch
Greg develops and updates FFSwami's website. He's played in various fantasy football leagues the last 15 years and is a life-long Cincinnati Bengals fan.
We're going to change things up a little and instead of discussing how we did with our picks, Matt and I are going to write about how our own personal fantasy teams fared this past week. Check out our Week 5 Week That Was blog if you'd like to see our first "report card" on our teams' performance.

photo of Bengalized fantasy football team logo

I've got four fantasy teams this year but decided to focus on my best and my worst team to provide a microcosm of the trials and tribulations I've gone through this year. If you read our Week 5 blog, you know my Bengalized team plays in a standard IDP league with a scoring scheme that favors rushing TDs over passing TDs. While the smart move would have been to draft a pair of mobile quarterbacks, I drafted Drew Brees and Nick Foles and haven't regretted it so far. They currently rank #2 and #8 in scoring in my league, while the best mobile quarterbacks, Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson, rank just 14th and 19th.

This past week I had my biggest test yet - a showdown of two undefeated teams. Ironically enough, on a week when the Cincinnati Bengals and New England Patriots squared off on Sunday Night Football, my team with a Bengals logo was playing an opponent with a Patriots logo. My opponent had a top-notch line-up, headlined by Jamaal Charles and Philip Rivers, so I knew I had my work cut out for me. I felt pretty good about the position players on my roster but decided to supercharge my defense and special teams, adding the San Diego SuperChargers and their super kicker, Nick Novak, and dropping the Texans defense and kicker Matt Bryant. I really liked the home match-up against a Jets team with a QB in Geno Smith who is to turnover what apple is to pie. I felt Smith could be counted on to throw a couple of ill-advised picks, since he'd thrown one or more in 16 of his 20 career games, and it didn't hurt that the Jets were allowing the 4th-most fantasy points to opposing defenses and would also be making a cross-country road trip. It wasn't hard to make the decision to jettison a Texans defense that had served me well, since the latter would be making a road trip to Dallas and then be hosting a high-powered Colts offense in Week 6. While the Cowboys were allowing a decent 7.5 fantasy points a game prior to Week 5, most of these came the first couple weeks of the season when Romo was rusty and throwing multiple picks. As for my raisonnement for swapping kickers, it was simple really: the Jets were allowing more points and San Diego was playing at home, whereas the Falcons were facing a tougher New York Giants defense on the road.

My line-up decisions turned out to be a mixed bag. I started Brees against a pretty dreadful Tampa Bay defense instead of Foles against the more solid Rams, who are only allowing 13.6 fantasy points a game to QBs, and that move paid off in spades. Brees ended up with 371 passing yards and a pair of TDs, which was good for almost 137 points, while Foles had a so-so outing with 220 total yards, 2 TDs and an INT - just 96 points. My choices at RB and WR weren't quite as good. I didn't get much production from either of my RBs - both Shady McCoy and Rashad Jennings failed to find the end zone and ended up with 10-11 points each but the RBs on my bench didn't fare any better, with the exception of Knile Davis, who scored almost 16 points. However, I don't blame myself for not starting a guy who's now been relegated to back-up status. I scored big time starting Jordy Nelson against Minnesota - not only did he have 66 yards and a TD but he got 9 bonus points for a 40+ and a 50+ yard receiving TD. I also goofed big time by assuming Victor Cruz would follow up back-to-back 100+ yard games with another big performance against an average Falcons pass defense. Atlanta did give up a whopping 26 points to New York's receivers, but their names were Beckham Jr. and Randle not Cruz. On the other hand I ignored a match-up with a DST giving up the 4th-most fantasy points to WRs and benched Vincent Jackson, who'd been pretty much invisible up to that point. Of course, he went off on the Saints, racking up 144 yards on 8 catches, which in a PPR league that awards bonus points for 100+ yard games added up to a crazy amount of points (31 to be exact). I did better with my TE, since I only had one on the roster and therefore couldn't make a wrong choice. Antonio Gates helped my team out greatly this week, putting up 60 yards and 2 TDs, which equated to a very solid 23.5 points.

I may have lost some ground to my opponent with some poor RB and WR line-up decision-making, but my DST and IDP put me over the top this week. The Chargers defense turned out to be a great pick-up, as they blanked a hapless Jets team 31-0 and scored 17 fantasy points in the process, while my IDP players, Paul Pozluszny and Morgan Burnett cleaned up, with a bevy of stats that added up to 42.2 and 34 points, respectively. The real world Patriots may have opened a can of whupp ass on my Bengals but in the fantasy realm, the Bengals ruled this week! Final score: Bengalized 312.17, Tom Riddle 238.15.

The Fighting Aardvarks
photo of The Fighting Aardvarks fantasy football team logo

As you'll recall if you read the column last week, my Fighting Aardvarks play in an auction league that assigns more points for rushing TDs than passing scores, so I made the mistake of drafting two mobile QBs who've disappointed so far, RGIII and Cam Newton. Newton currently ranks just 22nd in scoring, behind such fantasy studs as Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brian Hoyer, and Austin Davis, while RGIII isn't even on the map due to injury (and didn't look very good prior to dislocating his ankle).

I wasn't too optimistic about my chances this past week, as my opponent, Sackers, had a lethal stable of RBs - Jamaal Charles, LeSean McCoy, and Montee Ball, while I had a bunch of underachievers like Bernard Pierce, Donald Brown, and Trent Richardson and only one solid RB (Rashad Jennings). So I went busy to work on the waiver wire, swapping out Justin Forsett for Pierce, and picking up wideouts Sammy Watkins and Torrey Smith. I decided a quarterback change was also in order after Kirk Cousins' meltdown the previous week in New York. Cousins also had what I considered to be a tough match-up against the Seahawks. Despite the fact the Legion of Boom had been allowing almost 19 fantasy points a game to opposing QBs, I didn't like the odds of an interception-prone QB against Richard Sherman & Company. So I picked up Eli Manning, who's been playing much better of late, and had a home date against a Falcons defense that's been average at best against the pass. Collectively these moves paid off, as Forsett had nearly 100 total yards and a TD, while Pierce gained only 30 yards and didn't reach the end zone but Cousins surprisingly had a solid mistake-free game against Seattle and ended up outscoring Eli by around 4 points.

The moves I didn't make turned out to be the best ones, as my both my kicker and my DST enjoyed fantastic games. Gostkowski nailed 5 field goals and 4 extra points in the Patriots' romp-and-stomp of the Bengals, while the Chargers defense didn't record a lot of stats but still produced 16 fantasy points by virtue of holding the Jets to just 151 total yards and zero points. Sometimes in fantasy though, it's better to be lucky than good, and that was definitely the case this week. Almost all of the studs in my opponent's line-up delivered duds this week, including Jamaal Charles, Shady McCoy, Michael Crabtree, and Montee Ball (who was also injured to add insult to injury). Aside from his quarterback, Tony Romo, none of his players reached the end zone this week. Regardless of how the victory was ultimately achieved, I'll take it, but I still don't like this team's chances of reaching the post-season. My only hope (aside from dumb luck) is that someone will make a few dumb decisions and I'll be able to pick up some higher-caliber players off waivers. Final Score: The Mangy Roadkill Varmints 102.1, Unlucky Sackers 58.06.

Matt's Teamsphoto of journalist Matt Brandon
Matt is a journalism major at SUNY Purchase College with a concentration in sportswriting. He graduates next January and is hoping to start a career as a sports journalist.

Reigning Champ
photo of Reigning Champ fantasy football team logo

This week, My "Reigning Champ" squad went up against "Bristol Hitmen" but what made the matchup interesting is that we completed a trade just prior to the start of games. Initially, the trade looked great for me but an injury ended up really hurting my team. I decided to trade Ben Tate, T.Y. Hilton, and DeAndre Hopkins for Montee Ball, Eric Decker, and Brian Quick. I already have great receivers in Julio Jones, Antonio Brown, and Golden Tate so I was happy with downgrading at that position in order to upgrade at running back. Unfortunately, we all know that Ball injured his hamstring against the Cardinals and will likely be out for about three weeks. Luckily for me, it didn't affect my matchup as my team dominated yet again to move to 4-1, good for second place.

My only quarterback is Andrew Luck and he produced yet again with 24.68 points. At wide receiver I went with the matchup proof duo of Julio Jones and Antonio Brown who scored 26.5 and 13.4 points, respectively. Then I decided to start my new acquisition, Montee Ball, along with Jamaal Charles at running back. Obviously, Ball did nothing and produced just 3.8 points before exiting and Charles disappointed too with a mediocre 9.4 points. Had I known Pierre Thomas would score 31.2 points, I would have started him but I thought Ball would begin to prove why he was drafted in the second round of our draft. At tight end I went with Julius Thomas over Travis Kelce which paid dividends as the Bronco scored 24.6 points compared to my opponent's Martellus Bennett, who only produced 4.7 points. With Calvin Johnson hampered by an ankle injury, I figured Golden Tate would be a huge part of the game plan for the Lions. I was right on the money as he went for over 100 yards and scored his first touchdown totaling 31.4 points. My kicker, Parkey, put up a solid 10 points and prior to the matchup, I decided to drop Toby Gerhart (who remained on my team for all of one hour) and added the Steelers defense due to their matchup with the horrendous Jaguars. I wasn't comfortable starting the Texans as they were playing a very solid Cowboys offense. I made the right choice as Pittsburgh scored 12.5 points compared to Houston's 5.5.

Overall, I played it practically perfectly, other than starting Ball (3.8) over Pierre Thomas (31.2) and Antonio Brown (13.4) over Brian Quick (25.7). "Reigning Champ" defeated "Bristol Hitmen" 156.28-119.42. I increased my win streak to three, won by the largest margin for the second week in a row, and have now scored the most points in the league. Next up, I take on the undefeated "lupati in My Pants" without my best running backs- Jamaal Charles (bye week) and Montee Ball (injury) - in a matchup that is crucial for both squads.

Somewhere Over Dwayne Bowe
photo of Somewhere Over Dwayne Bowe fantasy football team logo

In my rotisserie league "Somewhere Over Dwayne Bowe” entered the week in 7th place out of 10 teams. However, the top 8 teams were all within 60 points of each other. This week I had a tough choice to make between starting Nick Foles (13.59) or Collin Kaepernick (13.84). I went with the Eagle because he has more weapons but it didn't make much of a difference, as they scored within decimal points of each other in less than average performances. At wide receiver I have a lot of options. My receivers are Antonio Brown, Julian Edelman, Michael Floyd, Josh Gordon, DeAndre Hopkins, Alshon Jeffery, and Reggie Wayne. Because I added Ryan Mathews after dropping Donald Brown, and was not comfortable starting Ben Tate in his first game back from a sprained knee, I could choose three receivers to plug into my lineup, one of them at the Flex position. I went with Brown (13.4) as he has been unstoppable this year and had the perfect matchup against a horrendous Jaguars defense, Jeffery (21.7) because with Brandon Marshall struggling with an ankle injury, I figured he would be Cutler's top target this week. And at the Flex, I went with Hopkins (12.6), since he has been a complete stud this season and was playing in a game in which I figured the Texans would be chasing the Cowboys by throwing the ball a ton. I knew I didn't want to start Edelman (8.5) due to Cincinnati’s big and tough cornerbacks but I was unsure about Floyd (1.7) and Wayne (14.7). Fortunately, I fared well with these picks as I picked three of the top four scorers on my team at wide receiver.

At running back I went with my first round draft pick, LeSean McCoy and Justin Forsett. As mentioned above, my only other option at the position was Ben Tate since Ryan Mathews is still sidelined and I didn't think Tate would play well after missing three weeks of football. I was wrong, as he scored 13.1 points compared to McCoy's 10.6, but there was no way I was ever going to start Tate instead of Shady. Surprisingly, Forsett was my top running back this week producing 22.7 points. At tight end I continued to trust Gronkowski and it paid off. The Patriot star produced 22 points compared to Delanie Walker's 8.7. My kicker, Matt Bryant (8 points), had a decent game and the San Diego defense (12 points) shut the Jets out and played quite well.

Overall my team had the third-highest score of the week with 136.28 points and moved two spots up in the standings. I am now in fifth place and only 23.68 points behind the leader. "Somewhere Over Dwayne Bowe" is making a come back. Watch out!