Week 5 fantasy football moves to consider:
Nick Foles (St. Louis): Foles will never be a top-10 quarterback, but he could be a plug for teams in need of a quarterback during bye weeks. After just two passing touchdowns in Weeks 1-3, Foles connected for three scores last week. Foles has a bye week himself in Week 6, but he could find himself playing catch-up this week at Green Bay, then has four straight games in a dome after the Rams’ bye.
Antonio Andrews (Tennessee): Andrews might still be on your waiver wire as the Titans’ are coming out of their bye week. The Tennessee situation will likely be a timeshare, but Andrews is the best bet to come away as a clear-cut starter (with David Cobb out until Week 11). Andrews had 49 rushing yards on 12 carries in Week 3 and scored a touchdown (with another score called back on a holding penalty). Andrews had 3,161 all-purpose yards for Western Kentucky in 2013, which was the second-highest total in FBS history, behind Barry Sanders in 1988.
Christine Michael (Dallas): Michael gets another plug with the season-ending injury to Lance Dunbar. Look for Michael to potentially get some of the third-down work that had been going to Dunbar. At the end of the day, Michael has the most talent of any running back on the Cowboys’ roster.
Ahmad Bradshaw (TBD): Josh Robinson has under-performed as Gore’s backup in Indianapolis and the Colts have brought in Bradshaw for a team visit. Like with James Jones in Green Bay, Bradshaw is a a friendly face who should not be immediately dismissed if he is signed. Bradshaw had eight touchdowns last year in 10 games for the Colts and gave Andrew Luck a safety valve that he may be missing to help avoid some sacks.
Zac Stacy (N.Y. Jets): Bilal Powell left last week’s game with a groin injury, and that led to Stacy’s first touchdown as a Jet. This is still the Chris Ivory show, and Stacy is more of an Ivory handcuff, but Stacy is on the radar.
Charcandrick West (Kansas City): West is probably still a deep-flyer, and he would need an injury to Jamaal Charles to get any meaningful playing time, but there has been talk from Chiefs’ insiders that West has overtaken Knile Davis as the team’s No. 2 running back. West saw his first NFL touches last week with five carries and one reception.
Anthony Dixon (Buffalo): This is a pure short-term play if perhaps you have Chris Ivory, Lamar Miller, Adrian Peterson or Jonathan Stewart on a bye this week (or Karlos Williams if he can’t go). Dixon doesn’t have high upside per se, but he could be the Bills’ starter this week if Karlos Williams (concussion) can’t go, and with LeSean McCoy still out with a hamstring injury.
Terron Ward (Atlanta): The Atlanta offense has been so prolific that undrafted Terron Ward got in on the party this week. With the game out of hand, Ward came in for all-world Devonta Freeman and racked up 90 yards with a score. Ward doesn’t have much long-term appeal however once Tevin Coleman (ribs) returns, which could be this week.
Tavon Austin (St. Louis): The Week 4 coming out party for Todd Gurley, , who ripped off four 20-plus yard runs, could have a positive side effect for Austin. A star running back should add more defenders to the box to stop him, potentially giving Austin more room to maneuver out of the slot. For a week anyway, Austin had a dominant fantasy game with 116 total yards, six receptions and two touchdowns in the red-zone, where Austin easily beat one-on-one coverage with his quickness.
Stefon Diggs (Minnesota): After three weeks of being inactive, it was quite a welcome to the NFL for Diggs who was targeted 10 times and caught six balls for 87 yards last week. Charles Johnson missed the game so Diggs won’t likely see the same workload in the future, but Diggs surely will continue to be added to the mix for the Vikings after his impressive showing.
Kamar Aiken and Chris Givens (Baltimore): The wide receivers are falling like flies in Baltimore. First-round rookie Breshad Perriman (knee) is no where close to returning, Steve Smith left last week’s game with micro-fractures in his back and Michael Campanaro (ACL) went on injured reserve. The injuries prompted the Ravens to trade a conditional draft pick to the Rams for Givens. Givens is worth a stash in leagues with deeper rosters, and Aiken moves into the WR1 role for the Ravens until Smith can return.
Jaelen Strong (Houston): Aside from all-world DeAndre Hopkins I am not sure I want too much exposure to the Texans’ passing game, but that said Strong should have opportunities with Cecil Shorts (shoulder) and Nate Washington (hamstring) hurt. Heading into this year’s NFL draft many expected Strong to be a low-end first-rounder but he fell to the third round. Strong has an ideal build for the WR position and he is capable of making acrobatic catches look easy with incredible leaping ability and body control.
Dontrelle Inman (San Diego): With Steve Johnson (hamstring) out and Malcolm Floyd (concussion) shut down, Inman stepped in and caught his first passes of the season, three receptions for 88 yards. Inman could be a sneaky low-end hook-up for Phillip Rivers’ owners as Rivers has a history of making no-name receivers look good in short stretches.
Other news and notes
▪ Week 5 marks the return of suspended players Martavius Bryant (Pittsburgh) and Antonio Gates (San Diego), whose teams happen to square off on Monday Night Football. I would recommend instantly plugging both into lineups. Bryant showed some chemistry with Vick in the preseason as he hauled in three passes for 138 yards including a 63-yard bomb in the fourth preseason game. For San Diego, the return of Gates couldn’t come at a better time with Malcom Floyd (concussion) and Stevie Johnson (hamstring) both questionable.
▪ That was a quick hook in Miami as Joe Philbin is out as head coach after the team opened the season 1-3 after three years of mediocrity, especially despite a massive $143 million dollar payroll this year. Dan Campbell, the team’s former tight ends coach, will take over as interim head coach. It’s not clear what changes to philosophy Campbell might implement but a change at the top will likely have impact somewhere. Perhaps under Campbell the team will give Lamar Miller more opportunities – Miller is averaging just 9.3 rushing attempts per game this year. It also may mean that the team will figure out a way to feature wide receiver DeVante Parker more (especially with a bye week as a perfect time to implement changes). They should, because Parker has elite upside.
▪ For many teams, finding a competent kicker has been a challenge. With the NFL rule changes implemented this year already more extra points have been missed than all of last year combined. In Week 4, 14 field goals were missed and two more kickers were fired (Josh Scobee is finally out in Pittsburgh, with Chris Boswell is in; Kyle Brindza is out in Tampa Bay and Connor Barth is back). With bye weeks coming up, I would recommend resisting the urge to cut your kicker if you have an elite or very good one (like Steven Hauschka, Brandon McManus, Justin Tucker). Don’t buy into “it’s just a kicker” and don’t give your team a headache if you are strong at this position – add a second kicker and keep your “stud” kicker.
Alan Satterlee is a co-owner and senior writer for DynastyFootballWarehouse.com, a comprehensive fantasy football strategy site.