I was looking over my rosters last week and the thought hit me, "I'm starting way too many Lions." Which didn't seem like a bad thing the first few weeks of the season. But it seemed out of sorts for me. And full disclosure if you're not familiar with who am I (which I assume is most of you), I'm from the Burg.
Schaumburg, Illinois that is. I guess that could be kind of confusing. I suppose Pittsburgh people like to also refer to themselves as being from the Burgh as well. And I guess Fredericksburg. Lynchburg. Luxembourg. Fine, fine. There are a lot of Burgs out there.
But I'm from Schaumburg, Ill. and it was a little disconcerting to see a bunch of Lions in my lineup, no matter how well they are playing. And spoiler alert, I kind of paid for it. I thought about a switch of Kirk Cousins in for Matthew Stafford. But I didn't want to be a homer and bench Stafford because that would be stupid. Not 'benching Matt Ryan stupid,' but still pretty bad.
The good news is I was blown out so hard, there really wasn't anything I could have done different that would have prevented it. (I don't have Ryan on any of my teams, so there was nothing realistic I could have done. Speaking of which, this is one of the many problems with this gig. I advocated Ryan a few weeks ago but since all of my friends watch "Fantasy and Friends" they take my advice and pick up those dudes. A minor complaint, of course.)
And more disclosure. I'd much rather be in the boat of starting a host of Lions and having the Bears win. As opposed to the alternative, which would be being attacked by alligators. No, the alternative of benching all of the Lions and watching them put up 880 yards against the Bears. You know what I'm saying.
So this week, I'm in a similar boat. (And I don't know what my deal is with boats because this is the second time I've mentioned it and I don't even hang out with Brandon Marshall.) This week, though, now instead of Lions, it seems like the Bears are the stack to play. They have a great matchup against the Colts, who aren't great on defense. The Colts also played in London last week and refused the bye week. The first team in NFL history to do that. The Colts reportedly had the choice to take a bye this week but passed. (And don't get me started on the bye weeks. It's insanely foolish to have a bye prior to Week 8. Why can't two divisions take a bye Weeks 8-11 or Weeks 9-12? Why must the NFL almost make things as difficult as possible? I don't get it.)
And let's be honest. It's also because it's too good to be true. Because if we've learned one thing from fantasy football it's this; if the matchup seems too good to be true, then it must be.
All of that being said (and to completely contradict what I wrote not four paragraphs ago), I'm going to roll with Brian Hoyer this week. I'm going to trust the research. The Colts are ninth-worst overall in total defense allowed. They released two dudes (including Antonio Cromartie) on Tuesday, which seems super weird. So I'm going to go with that.
Plus, Hoyer has done really well over the last two weeks. He's started to follow the model of a lot of the younger quarterbacks to minimize his mistakes. He's made good throws. I kind of like it. And when it blows up in my face, I'll have nobody to blame but myself.
Rank's 11 Sleepers, Week 5
QB: Brian Hoyer, Chicago Bears
QB: Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens
QB: Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets
QB: Derek Anderson, Carolina Panthers
RB: Paul Perkins, New York Giants
RB: Terrance West, Baltimore Ravens
RB: Wendell Smallwood, Philadelphia Eagles
WR: Eddie Royal, Chicago Bears
WR: Robert Woods, Buffalo BIlls
TE: Hunter Henry, San Diego Chargers
D/ST: Tennessee Titans
Anderson and Ryan Fitzpatrick would be the "No-Emotion All Stars." If you wanted to stream a quarterback by just the research, both of these guys warrant consideration. I kind of like the idea of picking up Anderson if you want to wait out Cam Newton and see what he's got going on. Because if Cam's situation (concussion) spills into Monday night, DA gives you the chance to act quickly if Cam is ruled inactive for the game.
Perkins received just four total touches, but outgained Orleans Darkwa and Bobby Rainey. Of course, the majority of it came on a 67-yard catch-and-run deep into Vikings territory. He was a little winded and didn't get to finish it off, unfortunately. But he looked good when he was out on the field. Well, as a runner and a receiver. I won't be as critical as Jon Gruden during his first attempt at pass blocking. He picked up the right guy and he didn't deliver a pancake block, but he got in the dude's way. He also looked bad on another attempt. Which is going to happen to young running backs. He's not going to be the primary guy going forward, but the fact that he was trusted should be illuminating.
I'm an advocate of Kenny Dixon. But I really like West this week against Washington. The Redskins have had trouble against the run, and West should be able to take advantage here. As much as I want Dixon to be the guy (I have him in the vast majority of my leagues), I really feel like West can replicate the success Justin Forsett had two years ago when everybody wanted him to lose the gig, but he ended up with a career year.
There's something strange going on with the Bears. Kevin White led the team with nine targets on Sunday. Royal was perfect, as he turned seven targets into seven receptions for 111 yards and a touchdown. White has some injury concerns and was placed on injured reserve ahead of Week 5, so I envision Royal inheriting more targets. Again, I'm almost worried the matchup looks too good for the Bears. But you don't want to ignore it.
Henry was right there with Travis Benjamin and Melvin Gordon in terms of targets. He was just behind Tyrell Williams, too. Williams is currently the leader in terms of Chargers' red-zone targets. But this is a role that could eventually tilt to Henry. I know Philip threw to Antonio Gates for most of his career, but the tight end does get some red zone action in this offense. You can feel comfortable to kick Coby Fleener to the curb during the Saints bye week. Do check to see if anybody dropped Zach Ertz in a panic. But Henry should be a good option for you this week.