What craziness is going to happen this week in the NFL? Every week there is someone, somewhere that has quite the game and makes a name for himself, only to seemingly disappear forever after that. In the fantasy world, we could care less about those players because they’re one-hit wonders and no one had them in their starting fantasy lineup anyways.
But what about the guys you rely on, week in and week out, to produce serious fantasy points for your team. What if you could look into the future to figure out who was going to have a big game and who was going to suck?
Thankfully, if you’re reading this, you’ve struck gold.
Let’s peer into my magic crystal ball and see who’s going to be produce and who isn’t in Week 5.
Philip Rivers Finished at the No. 1 Fantasy QB
Rivers was very, very good last week. Finally playing at home after two mediocre road games on the East Coast, he lit up the Cleveland Browns for 26.22 fantasy points thanks to 358 passing yards and three touchdowns. This week he gets an even better matchup on Monday night with the Pittsburgh Steelers coming into town. What really makes Rivers special this week is he finally gets his all-time favorite target back in the lineup – Antonio Gates, after a four-game suspension. Look for Rivers to air it out all game and finish with close to 400 yards passing and another three touchdowns.
Antonio Gates is Back – Big Time!
As mentioned above, Gates will finally be back on the field after serving a four-game suspense for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. With lots of rest Gates will start this year at 100 percent and instantly build on his uncanny rapport with Philip Rivers. Seeing that the Chargers are struggling to run the ball with Melvin Gordon and they can’t run Danny Woodhead up the middle, and the fact that both Stevie Johnson and Malcolm Floyd are banged up and might not even play, Gates will easily see at least 10 targets and should finish the game with over 100 yards receiving and two touchdowns.
Devonta Freeman Comes Back Down to Earth
What an incredible two weeks Freeman has had. He’s ran for 209 yards, caught 11 passes for 133 yards and scored six touchdowns. In case you’re wondering all those numbers add up to an incredible 70.2 fantasy points (standard scoring), by far the most in the league over that span. Freeman just can’t keep it up. Even including the last two games, his yards per carry average is still under four and this week he goes against a stout Washington run defense that has only allowed one rushing touchdown all season. Plus, it looks like Tevin Coleman is going to play and while there is no way Coleman will be the lead back, he could still steal about 5-8 touches that were all Freeman’s the last two weeks. It’s time to temper your expectations on Freeman and if you own him, start thinking about selling high.
Le'Veon Bell Goes Bananas for Over 200 Total Yards and 3 TDs
Bell basically single handedly carried the Steelers to a victory last week against their archrivals the Baltimore Ravens. With Michael Vick under center you know that the only way the Steelers are going to stay in the game against the Chargers Monday night is to use Bell all the time. The matchup also is in Bell’s favor. So far this season the Chargers have given up the second-most fantasy points to running backs and last week made Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson decent fantasy players. Just imagine what Bell can do when he gets 20-plus carries and around 10 targets out of the backfield.
Marcus Mariota Throws 4 Touchdown Passes
Remember in Week 1 when Mariota took the world by storm throwing four touchdown passes against the Bucs? Well, because the Titans had the bye week last week, it seems like that game was forever ago. But believe it or not, Mariota has eight touchdown passes in three games, and hasn’t thrown less than two in any game. This week he gets a Buffalo Bills defense that for whatever reason, just can’t get out of its own way and defend the pass. The Bills currently rank 29th in the league in total passing yards allowed, not good, especially for a Rex Ryan team. Also, keep in mind that the Titans really don’t have much of a running game and are going to have to rely on Mariota to carry them to victory this week.
Alex Smith Has Another 300-yard Passing Game and 2 TDs
You might have to read that headline twice, but Smith has actually been playing really well as of late and it looks like Andy Reid has taken Smith’s chastity belt off and is allowing him to throw down the field. It also helps that Smith has some serious offensive weapons in Jeremy Maclin, Travis Kelce and of course, Jamaal Charles. This week the Chiefs host the Chicago Bears, which of course is a recipe for success. The Bears have given up the ninth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season and with Reid’s curious decision to limit Charles’ touches, look for Smith to keep airing it out.
Amari Cooper Scores Less Than 5 Fantasy Points
Cooper has lived up to his pre-fantasy draft hype and been one of the most explosive players this season. But everyone has their "off" games and this will be one of those weeks for Cooper and the entire Raiders offense. This week the Raiders play host to the Denver Broncos and their vaunted pass rush and pass defense. So far this season the Broncos have given up the fewest fantasy points to wide receivers. That’s because they’ve allowed just two receiving touchdowns and only 185 receiving yards per game. As good as Cooper is and will be, this is not the week to keep the talented rookie in your starting lineup.
— Written by Michael Horvath, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Horvath is a Canadian who also happens to be a fantasy football (not to be confused with CFL) and fitness nut. Follow him on Twitter @realmikehorvath.