NFL Real Talk: Week Five

This is one BJ nobody wants
Photo Credit: Keith Allison


NFL Real Talk functions as a cumulative fantasy football resource for gamers looking to sniff out every advantage they can week-to-week. Here, you will find recommendations for players to buy/hold/sell/drop, as well as matchups for you to exploit. 


Breaking Bad is over, and so are many of your title hopes after four insane weeks of football. What have we learned so far? The following:


1) The running back position is a bitch. In “Tiers, Not Fears,” I advocated a careful strategy that called for taking a few RBs throughout the draft to ensure some level of depth for when injuries/depth chart changes take effect. It’s looking more and more like the champions in fantasy leagues will be the teams that come out the most unscathed at the RB position.


2) The QB position also has it’s own level of volatility. Sure the Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, and Aaron Rodgers owners can kick their feet up, but everyone else seems to be sitting on a weekly boom-or-bust option. Things might settle down more at QB as the season chugs along, but the early returns indicate that there won’t be as many reliable point gatherers as there have been in the past couple of seasons.


3) A lot of us are hoping for major bounce-backs over the next few weeks. Forget Rob Gronkowski and the boost he can give fantasy teams. Guys with elite talent like Vincent Jackson, Doug Martin, C.J. Spiller, and countless others have started off the season poorly, being the source of more losses than any fantasy owner could’ve imagined back in August. A lot of these players seem likely to pick up their play in the coming weeks, but will it be too little, too late for the owners sitting on 2-2, 1-3, or (gasp) 0-4 records? 


So that’s one month of fantasy football in a nutshell. Fortunately, there is still plenty of football to be played and bye weeks (aka, the great equalizer) are upon us, meaning a lot of the top teams in the fantasy standings will go through some bumps in the road. Here’s hoping the playing field is even enough for some of you to sneak back into the playoff picture.


More after the jump:


Buzzy Brohams: Ditch, Grab, Or Pawn

The players here are generating ample buzz… though not all of it is good. Here, we’ll tell you whether to hold, acquire, or straight up ditch the dudes listed below.


Rashard Mendenhall

Once brimming with sleeper appeal as a member of a Bruce Arians offense, Mendenhall’s fantasy value is hanging on by a thread. He’s averaging a mere 3.4 yards-per-carry and is running with far less ferocity than when he was with the Steelers. Perhaps he’s still getting accustomed to his new coach’s sometimes-confusing playbook. Whatever the reason, fantasy owners are getting worried that Arizona’s deep well of RBs will begin to seriously encroach on Mendy’s playing time. Of course, that “deep well” is filled mostly with sewage. Alfonso Smith is not a starting NFL RB. Ryan Williams is more injury-prone than Ted Beneke. Andre Ellington is the most talented back in Arizona, but he’s still very raw and has only made a real impact in the passing game. In other words, Mendenhall doesn’t have a lot of real competition for the job. Now it’s possible that Ellington will continue to develop this year and push Mendenhall for touches as the season progresses. However, even if that happens, it shouldn’t hurt Mendenhall too much. For starters, Mendy was never much of a pass-catching option in the first place, so Ellington’s receiving skills don’t really infringe on his numbers. Second, Ellington isn’t the biggest back, so it’s hard to see him supplanting Mendenhall as the primary goal-line option. Mendenhall has been a tremendous disappointment no doubt, but if he (and Arizona’s offense) can start to turn things around, he can still be a valuable RB in fantasy (if only for some cheap TDs).

Verdict: Steal second base with a cheap grab.


BenJarvus Green-Ellis
The writing is on the wall. Giovani Bernard’s role continues to increase, with the rookie seeing 10 carries to BJGE’s six on Sunday. Sure Green-Ellis should be the primary option when Cincinnati is at the one yard line, but outside of that, he really offers nothing to fantasy owners. Fortunately for BJGE owners, the fantasy running back landscape is atrocious right now, so there will be someone out there willing to take a chance on any RB involved in an NFL offense. Bernard’s touches should continue to rise, making Green-Ellis the equivalent of Brandon Jacobs in New York.

Verdict: Pawn for pocket lint.


Nate Washington

With 18 targets over the last two weeks, Nasty Nate is looking like a favorite of emerging QB Jake Locker. Washington has always had deep speed, but has topped 1,000 yards once in his career and suffers from bouts of inconsistency. Can fantasy owners expect him to put it all together this year? Probably not. Don’t get it twisted, he’s a solid pickup in all leagues thanks to his recent usage in Tennessee's offense, but let’s not forget that Washington is not a very diverse player. He’s a player who is easy to game-plan for thanks to his mostly vertical game, so expect him to have plenty of quiet weeks when teams give him the appropriate coverage. Washington will probably rack up a couple more big games on the season, but here’s hoping they come in the next two weeks so that you can sell-high to some clumsy owner.

Verdict: Grab and sell. 


Danny Woodhead

With over 80 yards and at least 10 touches in each of his last two games, Woodhead is making noise at the thin-as-fuck RB position. OK, so he’ll never be a top option for QB Philip Rivers and he’s sharing backfield touches with Ryan Mathews and Ronnie Brown. Simply put, there just isn’t a lot of upside here. However, what Woodhead lacks in offensive ceiling, he makes up for in reliability. Remember, the RB position is horrific, and with bye weeks forcing our hands, having a RB like Woodhead (who can get you a solid 10-13 points weekly) is a goddamn luxury. If you can get your hands on him, do so (pause).

Verdict: Grab ‘N Roll.

Aaron Dobson

Kenbrell Thompkins is getting all the attention, and Danny Amendola and Rob Gronkowski are about ready to return, but owners should really be showing more love to Dobson. Of all the Patriots WRs, Dobson has the most pure talent. Tom Brady knows this, as he targeted Dobson 20 times in their first two games playing together. Granted, Dobson is injury-prone (he left last week’s game with a neck injury) and is still learning the ropes of playing in the NFL. Still, the Pats will continue to throw it often, and I’m expecting Dobson to earn a bigger role in this offense as the year goes on (providing he stays healthy). He could be a real difference-maker down the stretch.

Verdict: Like the hair above Tom Selleck’s lip, he’s a must-stash.


Matchup Macking
Got a QB platoon or a start/sit quandary on your roster? Or perhaps you enjoy to dabble in weekly money leagues? Whatever your vice, you’ll find matchup plays that will tickle your roster’s fancy. This is where borderline options come to thrive (or die). Points are based on default Yahoo! settings with 0.5 points-per-reception.


Start ‘Em If You Got ‘Em

This week’s recommendations

QB – Terrelle Pryor vs. SD

WR – Rueben Randle vs. PHI

RB – Maurice Jones-Drew @STL

TE – Sean McGrath @TEN


Last week’s points-per-recommendation (Yahoo! standard scoring with .5 PPR)

QB =  16.32 points (Ben Roethlisberger)

WR = 8.60 points (Denarius Moore)

RB = 22.40 points (Le’Veon Bell)

TE = 3.60 points (Logan Paulsen)


This season’s points-per-recommendation 

QB = 15.22 points (two recommendations) 

WR = 11.10 points (two recommendations) 

RB = 21.80 points (two recommendations) 

TE = 1.80 points (two recommendations) 


Sits ‘N Giggles

This week’s recommendations

QB – Carson Palmer vs. CAR

WR – Marlon Brown @MIA

RB – Jacquizz Rodgers vs. NYJ

TE – Scott Chandler @CLE


Last week’s points-per-recommendation (Yahoo! standard scoring with .5 PPR)

QB =  10.26 points  (Geno Smith)

WR = 21.90 points (Alshon Jeffery)

RB = 12.30 points (Ryan Mathews)

TE = zero points (Brandon Myers)


This season’s points-per-recommendation 

QB = 10.86 points (two recommendations) 

WR = 19.75 points (two recommendations) 

RB = 12.6 points (two recommendations) 

TE = 2.65 points (two recommendations) 


About Starbonell

Starbonell is the co-founder of Sons of Roto and one of the most insightful and colorful fantasy analysts in the game. Mixing intelligent and well-researched advice with an entertaining style of writing that is easy to digest, Starbonell is the king of info-tainment.