Week 5 of the fantasy football season is now a wrap and there’s just one undefeated team left in the NFL (my Vikings), but this is about the players, and not the teams. Specifically, which key players should you stay the course with and which may be it time to sound the alarm on.
As Frank Costanza would say “I gotta lot of problems with you people! And now you’re going to hear about it!” Each week another fantasy owner is surely sunk with a mediocre or terrible performance from a supposed fantasy commodity. This season any No. 1 wide receiver has gone missing when facing Minnesota, while any star running back has not fared well at all against Green Bay’s defense.
But what about the players with optimal matchups in Week 5 who once again underperformed or disappointed? When is it time to hit the panic button, make a trade or some sort of desperate move and cut ties with them? At some point your patience will likely run thin, so I am here to help guide you through these tough times.
Panic or Patience will be here every week, but for now you need to know if that big-name player who is stinking up your roster is worth holding on to, benching, trading away or even cutting.
Patience or Panic?
1. Eli Manning, QB New York Giants
Manning had what should have been a drool-worthy matchup against one of the worst secondaries in the league this season in the Packers. The outcome however was a repeat of his Week 4 performance in Minnesota. In fact he actually threw for FEWER yards on Sunday night than he did last Monday night. Owners of not only Manning but also Odell Beckham Jr. are officially in high-anxiety mode.
The Verdict: PANIC
Manning has had by quarterback standards a miserable season so far. Aside from his serviceable Week 1 outcome in Dallas, he only has five touchdowns on the year, even with arguably the best wide receiver in the league. He also has four interceptions so he is officially in bench mode. If you don’t have a serviceable backup it is time to scour the wire for options until he rights the ship. IF he rights the ship. Depending on the size of your league he is droppable, but if it is 12 teams or more I suggest the bench for now.
2. C.J. Anderson, RB, Denver Broncos
Oh what should have been in Week 5 for Anderson. Rookie quarterback filling in, head coach saying the Broncos need to get back to their successful running game. Instead, Anderson had 11 carries for 41 yards and was unable to find the end zone. Gaining nearly four yards per carry makes up for the lack of rushing attempts somewhat, but if it weren’t for his three receptions his day would have been hideous.
The Verdict: Patience
Anderson is the type of back who has done this before. Just last season he came on very strong to finish and I simply can’t help but seeing that happen again. It is very important to monitor his usage and if he is falling into a timeshare with rookie Devontae Booker. If Anderson has similar showings over the next two weeks he will likely be back in the Panic category. For now sit tight and cross your fingers. Bench him if you must, but only if you have safe options. A Week 1 explosion could easily reappear Thursday night on the road against San Diego.
3. Alshon Jeffery, WR, Chicago Bears
This speaks more to his quarterback situation than his talent obviously. Weeks 4 and 5 saw him playing with Brian Hoyer. Even though Hoyer finished with big numbers (699 yards, 4 TDs) against Detroit and Indianapolis, Jeffrey was nearly non-existent, registering just eight receptions for 123 yards in the two games combined. To make matters worse, even though Eddie Royal (calf) played Sunday against the Colts, it was waiver-wire darling Cameron Meredith who had the monster (9-130-1 on 12 targets) game.
The Verdict: Patience
Jeffery is an elite talent, and when Jay Cutler comes back, and if he gets the starting QB job back, Jeffrey will be the focal point of the passing game. That said, you have no choice but to continue to start Jeffery every week he’s active and know the touchdowns have to come. Even if it’s Hoyer throwing, Jeffery is too talented to only have 22 catches this season.
4. Melvin Gordon, RB, San Diego Chargers
Gordon is an oddity to me, even though most will see his fantasy points (or simply his seven total TDs) and say what and the heck are you worried about? But that is just it, I am worried about Gordon for a few reasons. For one, his 3.1 yards per carry reminds me of Jeremy Langford or Thomas Rawls. Volume has helped Gordon mask his mediocre productivity from a yardage standpoint. Sunday (4.3 ypc) was the first time since Week 2 he fared better than 2.2 yards per carry. The other thing is his two lost fumbles over his last two games. Those negative points will hurt more when you consider he’s not gaining a bunch of yards.
The reality is that Gordon doesn’t really have to worry about losing carries, especially with Danny Woodhead and Branden Oliver both on injured reserve. But the schedule doesn’t look all the promising either with two games against Denver lined up over the next three weeks. Be prepared for some low fantasy point totals, as he may not be able to find the end zone to beef up his low yardage totals.
The Verdict: Patience
Gordon has been hoisted by his touchdowns this season, and for this reason my flag waving may be early, but many of the warning signs for a current top-5 fantasy back to fall from grace are here. Tough schedule, and unimpressive yardage should be concerning for fantasy owners going forward. In fact if you can get a top-tier wide receiver in exchange for him, I wouldn’t scoff.
— Written by Chris Meyers, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a member of the FSWA. Meyers' work appears on many other sites, including socalledfantasyexperts.com. Follow him on Twitter @FantsyChillpony.