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NFL fantasy football: Week 5 fantasy recaps

Coverage by: Michael Fabiano

» The big news from this one is the mild concussion suffered by Robert Griffin III, who was forced to miss the end of the contest and finished with 4.34 fantasy points. It was his worst stat line of the year. Consider him day to day. ... Alfred Morris continues to dominate the competition, rushing for 115 yards while averaging a ridiculous 6.4 yards per carry. He's become a must-start in most leagues. … Pierre Garcon caught just three passes and had a few drops as well. He's a far cry from the wideout who had such a hot start to the season. ... Santana Moss had just two catches, but one went for a 77-yard touchdown. ... Fred Davis is getting back into the offensive mix, catching five passes. He has averaged 5.3 catches over the last three games. ... Billy Cundiff missed another field goal and could be in danger of losing his roster spot.

» Matt Ryan had a slow start, but he finished strong with 345 yards, two touchdowns and 18.20 fantasy points. He's a must-start next week against the Oakland Raiders. ... Michael Turner continues to put up good numbers, scoring 12.90 fantasy points. He has a touchdown in his last four games. ... It was obvious that the Falcons wanted to get Julio Jones involved, as he caught 10 passes and scored on an impressive 18-yard touchdown catch. Continue to start him with confidence. ... Roddy White wasn't so productive, but he did post 10.8 fantasy points in PPR leagues. ... Forget Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham, the best tight end in fantasy football is Tony Gonzalez. He hauled in 13 passes for 123 yards and scored his fourth touchdown of the season. The veteran has been one of the best draft bargains of 2012.

Coverage by: Adam Rank

» Jamaal Charles continued his comeback season with another solid performance, this time against the once-vaunted Baltimore Ravens' defense. Charles went for 125 yards during the first half, and finished with 161 scrimmage yards for 16.10 points. The Chiefs had a chance for a goal-line carry, but Matt Cassel fumbled the ball on a sneak. If you had a re-draft today, Charles would be a definite first-round pick. ... Cassel left the game with a concussion and was replaced by Brady Quinn. Cassel entered the game amid rumors of him losing his starting gig to Quinn. Neither has much fantasy value going forward. ... Dwayne Bowe had a touchdown called back because of a "pick play," which hurt his production. Bowe had just eight targets all day and finished with just six points. He is still going to be an excellent play going forward.

» Joe Flacco is a different quarterback on the road compared to when he's at home. Flacco has thrown six touchdowns in three home games, but only one touchdown on the road. Good news for Flacco owners, the Ravens play host to the Cowboys in Week 6. ... Torrey Smith struggled with just three receptions for 38 yards. Smith is still the center of the Ravens' passing attack and should be used as a WR2 next week against the Cowboys. ... Anquan Boldin had four receptions for 82 yards, his second consecutive solid week. Boldin is still little more than a flex option at this point, and owners are encouraged to go shopping this week. ... The good news is Dennis Pitta was not shutout this week. But Pitta finished with just three receptions for 22 yards. Pitta is still a viable option when the Ravens are at home, but is a risk when the team is on the road. ... Ray Rice topped 100 rushing yards for the third consecutive week as he continues to be one of the top running backs in fantasy football.

Coverage by: Jason Smith

» What stood out for me about Green Bay was how awful the Packers offensive line is. Indianapolis getting Dwight Freeney back was big, but they're no world-beaters. This is what's going to keep Aaron Rodgers from approaching his heights from a year ago. He didn't have the time or the rhythm to dominate for 60 minutes. Hey, he's still awesome and will throw for more than 30 TDs, but don't expect anything close to 45 again. ... I thought this would be the game Jordy Nelson would get untracked, but it was Randall Cobb and James Jones with the big days instead. Jones is a good flex play right now, especially if Greg Jennings' groin injury keeps him out of the lineup - but maybe even when Jennings returns. Nelson, boy it's hard but you might be stuck with him. I haven't seen any consistency from him following his magical 2012. I wait until he has his next big game and then try to trade him.

» What stood out for me about Indianapolis was, well, what else? Andrew Luck has now become a must-start QB in fantasy. He was sixth overall prior to Week 4 (where he had a bye) and you will see him stay a Top 10 fantasy QB this season. No matter who the opponent is, the Colts will throw and throw and throw. Every week he has the opportunity for 20-plus fantasy points. He needs to start over guys like Michael Vick, Philip Rivers, Tony Romo, Cam Newton, Joe Flacco and Ben Roethlisberger. ... What can you say about Reggie Wayne except what we did in the pre-season: he's the 2012 version of Steve Smith. 20 targets? 212 yards and a TD? He's all Luck looks for and he has enough left in the tank to be at worst, a WR2 for you the rest of 2012. ... Another sneaky-nice game for Donald Brown, who got you over 10 fantasy points and should be a pretty good flex option during these bye weeks.

Coverage by: Akbar Gbajabiamila

» I've said it over and over again -- the ACL injury is the new sprained ankle. Rashard Mendenhall by far had the best return performance compared Ryan Williams and Adrian Peterson. Mendenhall's 16.10 fantasy points says one thing: he is your starter regardless of matchup. When I recommended not playing Mendenhall against an Eagles defense that had only allowed one rushing touchdown in eight games, I fell into my own trap. ... The most disappointing performance came from Mike Wallace, bringing in only 1.70 fantasy points. When you have a big match up against elite corners like Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, that's when you are suppose to bring your "A" game. NO EXCUSES! Wallace still is a must play every week. ... One receiver that showed some life is the Steelers wideout workhorse Antonio Brown. If you want consistency then Brown brings that to your roster. He brought in his usual, finishing the day with 8.60 fantasy points.

» Every week is like deja vu with Michael Vick. This is the fourth game where Vick is trying to dig himself out of an abyss. Fantasy owners should have the right to expect a minimum of 20 points every week. God only designed one Michael Vick, so why not get the most out of him? At this point in the season, Vick looks like a roster liability. You need a quarterback who can protect the ball. Don't let the name sink your roster, his 12.60 fantasy points doesn't make the cut. ... As Vick goes so does the fantasy value of Desean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. ... LeSean McCoy has the raw ability to be that first-round talent we all drafted in in our leagues. McCoy needs more opportunities to rack up more points. His consecutive weeks of 14 fantasy points shows that consistency. Continue to play him in all formats.

Coverage by: Matt "Money" Smith

» How about that explosive 49ers offense? After back- to -back weeks surrendering 500-plus yards, it's apparent if a team has any semblance of an offense, the Bills and all their high priced off-season defensive acquisitions are more than happy to watch it peddle its' wares.

» Consider this. All those Joe Montana and Steve Young 49ers teams never equaled the 621 yards of offense that Alex Smith and company posted in Week 5 of the 2012 season. They were so dominant on both sides of the ball, they tripled the output of the Buffalo Bills who mustered up a measly 204 total yards with two turnovers. The Bills offense can be summed up by pointing out they ran into the 49ers. I've said it before and I'll continue to say it: Unless you have no other viable options, sit all your fantasy players when they pull San Francisco on the schedule.

» Ryan Fitzpatrick was coming off a 30 fantasy point Week 4 performance against the Patriots. Up against the 49ers, he managed to garner 1/10th of that.

» CJ Spiller, the top producing running back in the league before his injury, was held to just over three fantasy points, as was fellow running back Fred Jackson. No receiver had any meaningful impact, save Scott Chandler, whose late second-half fumble opened the floodgates for the 49ers scoring barrage that ensued in the second-half.

» Alex Smith scored 29.02 fantasy points. He was the best quarterback of the week and it wasn't even close. Much like Tom Brady was the week prior when he got his licks in on Buffalo. Smith was efficient, precise with his passes, and he used his legs when he needed to, adding some bonus points to help out his owners. Not to mention, he left some yards on the field. Two long plays that would have totaled another 80 yards were called back thanks to penalties, and the 49ers would have to punt on each of those possessions. Smith isn't a must start every week, but with the Giants in town next week, I'll have him ready to go.

» Michael Crabtree's 17.3 points nearly equaled his totals from the previous 4 weeks combined. It was clear that Smith was targeting Crabtree and liked the matchup he had with Stephon Gilmore or Aaron Williams, whichever Bills corner was trying to slow him down. We've been hearing about Crabtree getting ready to "break out any week" and this apparently was it. If you remember him from his Texas Tech days you know the talent is there. He's got some of the best hands in the league, and it's clear he's got the trust of his quarterback, especially considering he's one of the top receivers in the league when it comes to third down receptions.

» Frank Gore. Big deal says the big bruiser, just another day at the office. His 16.6 points helped Gore remain the model of consistency. Shame on all of you (and I'm talking to myself here) for passing on Gore when he was sitting there in the third round. He's been over 13 points in every week but one, and shows no signs of slowing down. He's the definition of a low No. 1, rock solid No. 2 running back in fantasy, and you're lucky if you have him on your roster.

» Vernon Davis scored 10.6 fantasy points. Props to my man Dave Dameshek, who claimed you can hold off on Gronk and Graham and get Davis in the fourth round and he'll be the better tight end when it's all said and done. He's right, and the key with Davis is Alex Smith and Jim Harbaugh trust him implicitly. He is the player they're looking for early, late, on third down, in the red zone, for the long ball and for a short gain he can turn into something big. While his 106 yards and no touchdown might leave a little to be desired, understand he had another 51 yard grab called back, and had a touchdown reception just slip through his fingers when it was tipped at the last minute by Jarius Byrd.

» Quick Note. If you have a roster spot to spare, or are in a legacy league, and really don't need anything to help you along, consider picking up Colin Kaepernick. While you would never start him while Alex Smith is healthy, if by chance Smith gets injured, and we certainly don't want to see that happen, or in the future when he does become a starter somewhere, he's going to be fantasy gold.

Coverage by: Elliot Harrison

» Peyton Manning had another outing to assuage that increasingly rare fear that he is not a top-ten fantasy quarterback...31 of 44, 345 yards and three touchdowns should lay to rest all doubt.

» Demaryius Thomas still looks like the better play than Eric Decker and a must start in all formats. D.T. caught nine passes for 188 yards and is always a threat to get "chunk yardage," IE, plays of 20 plus yards that make him more valuable than wideouts who catch all the underneath stuff.

» Eric Decker catches a lot of the underneath and short stuff in the Broncos offense, but as long as Peyton Manning looks for him in the red zone, who cares? Decker caught a two-yard touchdown pass, but that's still 6.2 fantasy points for your fantasy team.

» Willis McGahee hurt fantasy owners and his own team with a late-game fumble, but the benefit of flexing McGahee is the amount of plays he's on the field, and his involvement in the passing game. The veteran tailback caught five balls for 51 yards on Sunday.

» What more can you say about Tom Brady other than he loves kittens? He's tossed a touchdown pass in 37 straight games. The only concern here is New England's recent commitment to the run game, which limits his pass attempts. This was seen Sunday when Brady had a fine game in reality (23-31, 221 yards and a score) yet that would only be worth 12.8 points in fantasy. Luckily, he tacked on a rushing score, but you can't bank on that every week as a fantasy owner.

» Wes Welker is on pace for nearly 1,600 yards receiving. He's a must start every week in all formats. Rob Gronkowski had another so-so game versus Denver. His explosiveness doesn't seem to be there, while defensive coordinators (like Broncos DC Jack Del Rio) seem determined not to let Gronk beat them.

» Stevan Ridley had a huge game against the Broncos, going over the 100-yard mark again, but a fourth quarter fumble could mean his touches are limited in Seattle. Bill Belichick doesn't do late-game fumbles. Look for Brandon Bolden to get more work, as Belichick wants a running back who runs north-south and doesn't cough up the football. With New England employing the ground game more than in recent seasons, Brandn Lloyd is a No. 3 wideout or Flex option and not much else.

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