FIRST AND TED: Studs, duds, and bye week mayhem

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First Posted: 10/1/2013

Week 5 Positional Tiers

Another week of the NFL season has passed and fantasy team managers are making a mad dash to the waiver wire to fill their team’s needs and fix the few (or many) holes in their lineups. We have seen four weeks put in the books so far, and we’re starting to learn who’s for real, who’s been fooling us, and who we can put on our “never draft again list” (I’m looking at you, David Wilson).

Below are my picks for top adds of the week, players you’re better off letting someone else deal with, and positional power ranking tiers to help you fill in your lineup for Week 5.

Get ‘em while ya can:

Robert Woods (Buffalo-WR): Woods played every snap in Week 3 against New York, and he played 80 of 84 snaps this week against the Ravens. This means Woods is seeing more field time than bona fide number one receiver Stevie Johnson. Woods might not have the experience or the open field speed that Johnson has to offer, but he has spent the first few weeks of the season building solid rapport with rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel. He won’t be filling up the box score every week, but you can be assured a decent amount of targets in the near future.

Rashad Jennings (Oakland-RB): I rarely recommend picking up anyone on Oakland’s anemic offense, but if you need backfield help Jennings may be able to offer some short-term stability. He lacks the burst and elusiveness of Darren McFadden, but we all know that McFadden hasn’t put a full season together since the Reagan administration. Oakland also saw Marcel Reece leave Sunday’s game with a knee injury and he did not return. Jennings only averaged 3.0 yards per carry this week, but his upside lies in the Raiders’ passing game. Oakland’s passing game doesn’t have many bright spots, but that will lead to either Flynn or Pryor checking down to their running back as needed. Look for Jennings to have ample targets out of the backfield until McFadden is back in the Raiders’ starting lineup.

Alshon Jeffery (Chicago-WR): Many fantasy team managers targeted Jeffery in this year’s draft and many of these managers moved on and dropped him in the previous weeks, solely based on his lack of production. On Sunday we saw the Lions double cover Brandon Marshall, leaving Jeffery single-covered most of the afternoon. This strategy is something many teams will implement against the Bears moving forward. While Marshall was blanketed by the Lions’ secondary, Jeffery received double digit (11) targets on the day. If Cutler can give his young wide-out this many opportunities each game we will soon see him blossom into a legitimate fantasy WR2/3.

Leave ‘em behind:

Jerricho Cotchery (Pittsburgh-WR): Cotchery put a decent line together this past week, but don’t let the box score fool you. He reeled in most of his yardage and a touchdown during garbage time while the Steelers tried to claw their way back against the Vikings. He won’t see that many opportunities with players like Brown, Sanders, and Miller all seeing more looks in Pittsburgh’s offense.

Roy Helu (Washington-RB): Don’t get me wrong, I like Roy Helu. I think he might be one of the most talented backup running backs in the league. He is a quick and shifty back who can hurt you in the passing game just as much as the running game. The issue with Helu is that he’s in a bad situation. Alfred Morris did leave this week’s game with a rib injury, but Washington has a bye this week and it looks as if he will be ready to go in Week 6. If by chance you currently own Morri,s disregard this entire paragraph and grab Helu now! It never hurts to have a solid insurance policy.

Rashard Mendenhall (Arizona-RB): I know he got drafted in most leagues, but it’s time to cut him loose. This past week Mendenhall fumbled twice, dropped a pass, and ended up in head coach Bruce Arians’ dog house. Mendenhall has a knack for getting hurt and when he’s on the field he has been extremely ineffective. He will be losing carries to anyone else in Arizona who has an ability to carry a football and, as of right now, he is simply wasting a roster space in most leagues.

Hot start of the week: Either QB in the Giants/Eagles game this week. Neither Eli Manning or Michael Vick have been off to great starts this season but both teams have played so poorly that they each have a chance to rack up some fantasy points against one another in a game that both teams are desperate to win. Fantasy owners will have their fingers crossed for a high-scoring shootout in New Jersey this weekend.

Bust of the week: Not only is Ray Rice banged up, but he is also facing the Dolphins’ stout run defense. As I write this article Darren Sproles is currently lighting up the same Dolphins’ defense, but keep in mind that Rice doesn’t have as many offensive weapons lined up on the same side of the ball, and Joe Flacco doesn’t quite compare to Drew Brees. He might do some damage in the passing game, but look for Miami’s defensive line, with or without Cameron Wake, to bottle Rice up around the line of scrimmage.