Week 5 Fantasy Tips from the Playbook War Room: Part 2

Fantasy Tips, Inside the Game, Playbook War Room

Here’s Part II of our Week 5 Fantasy Tips. . .

Cam Newton (AP)


  • Both Defenses have struggled to prevent teams from scoring.   Coincidently, both offenses have been impressive with their ability to score points. Drew Brees has been his typical self this season. He seems to understand what a defense is doing on nearly every play and knows where he is going to throw the ball before it is even snapped. Some of the throws he has completed this season have been jaw dropping. Cam Newton has surprised everyone with his ability to throw the ball. This New Orleans Defense has not only struggled to stop the pass, but rush the passer as well. Cam should be able to put up big numbers as he tries to keep up with Drew Brees and the Saints Offense.
  • Last week against the Bears, Carolina got torched by Matt Forte for over 200 yards on the ground. The tape showed the Panthers’ inability to hold the edge and flow to make plays on the outside. The Saints have good size at RB with Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram to run between the tackles. We believe those guys should do fine, but we are most excited about Darren Sproles. We have heralded Sproles for his ability to catch the pass, but this week we think he will run the ball better. He possesses rare quickness and will hit the outside even faster than Forte did last week. He should be able to capitalize on about a dozen or so carries and put up good yardage totals.
  • We anticipate that the Saints are going to have to do something to stop Steve Smith down the field. Most likely they will keep a safety focused on him to try and limit his big play potential. That focus should play into the hands of Greg Olsen. Jeremy Shockey is banged up this week meaning Olsen should get even more time on the field. Olsen has an ability to get up the seam, which should be open if the safety is cheating towards Steve Smith. The Panthers are going to have to throw so Olsen should see targets his way.


  • Early Doucet has been the #2 WR in Arizona and we think he could be a good bye week option for fantasy owners. Doucet has received a good amount of targets from Kevin Kolb this season and that should continue this week. Minnesota possesses a talented front 4 that gets after the QB well. Doucet has been lining up in the slot a lot and has run a lot of underneath routes. If Kolb is under pressure often he is going to struggle to get the ball downfield. Doucet will not have to face getting jammed off the snap by lining up in the slot, so he should be able to be Kolb’s safety net all game.
  • Both Arizona and Detroit run a lot of similar coverages in their secondary. They both give a lot of two high looks with their safeties and their corners are not very physical at the line of scrimmage. They typically play a lot of soft coverage which allows the WR to get off the line cleanly. Michael Jenkins was able to feast off of the Lions in Week 3, but struggled against the Chiefs in Week 4. The Chiefs were more physical with the CBs which hurt Jenkins a bit. While Jenkins really goes as Donovan McNabb does, we think that McNabb should be ok throwing the ball and Jenkins should be open for him. Any Vikings WR is a slight risk to start, but if needed Jenkins could be a nice fill-in for you this week.


Eli Manning (AP)

  • The Seahawks seem to have found a weapon on the outside in Sidney Rice. They have really taken advantage of his ability to get down the field.   Teams have to respect his ability to stretch the field, which has forced them to play off of him and give him a cushion down the field. This has allowed him to run a lot of comeback and dig routes, two throws that are easy for a QB to make. The Giants CBs are not overly physical or fast so they will have to respect Rice’s ability to run. We expect Rice to continue to put up solid numbers.
  • Eli Manning has been on quite a tear the past few weeks, throwing for eight touchdowns in the past three games. Plain and simple Eli has looked very comfortable in the pocket. He has been getting protected well, but has also been comfortable standing in the pocket when pressure is in his face. The Seahawks do not possess a dominant pass rush, which means Eli should have time to throw. We anticipate that his success should continue into Week 5.
  • A big beneficiary of Eli’s recent success has been Victor Cruz. Cruz broke out in Week 3 against the Eagles, but we were not that sold on him right away. He only caught three passes and we blamed more of it on the defense than Cruz’s ability. However, last week Cruz put up more consistent numbers and we feel he can be a solid start this week if you need to fill a roster spot. The Seahawks play a lot of press coverage in the secondary, but they have not been overly physical with WRs off the line of scrimmage. Cruz has shown a knack for making plays down the field, and he should be able to do the same this week.

Michael Crabtree (AP)


  • LeGarrette Blount and the Buccaneers running game has started to get on track after a tough first week. Blount finally cracked the century mark on the ground last weekend against a weak Indianapolis run defense. We think that success stops this week. The bread and butter of the Bucs running game has been their power run game. Their guards are strong at the point of attack and have been able to pull well to give Blount running lanes. We feel they are going to struggle because of the 49ers DL. These guys are big and strong and do not get moved off the ball. Blount should not expect the holes he saw last week and will have to be satisfied with short gains.
  • Michael Crabtree is finally looking like he is getting healthy. A foot injury has been lingering this season, but it looks as though he has been able to play through it. Going against a cover 2 defense, Crabtree should continue to improve on his numbers this season. Crabtree is a big WR and does a good job getting off of the press. Alex Smith is going to have some pressure in his face, so he is going to get the ball out quickly. Crabtree is emerging as one of his favorite targets and will surely see a good number of passes thrown his direction.


Jordy Nelson (AP)

  • Jordy Nelson has started to emerge as one of Aaron Rodgers’ favorite targets; especially around the red zone. The Packers do a good job of putting their pass catchers at all different positions on the field. Nelson has shown an ability to get open wherever he lines up and has been drawing the eye of Rodgers more and more as he continues to throw the ball extremely well. Last week, the Seahawks were able to throw the ball all over the field without facing much pressure up front. The Packers possess a much stronger passing attack and should be able to throw the ball with a lot of success this week.
  • Teams have really struggled against Roddy White and Julio Jones at WR. A good part of their attention has gone towards White which has allowed Jones to thrive.  Jones has stood out on film with his ability to get off the line of scrimmage. He has faced hard and soft coverages and has had success against both. Against the press, Jones has the physicality and the quickness to get away from the defender before they can get their hands on him. Against softer coverage, Jones has enough explosiveness to get on the DBs quickly to put them on their heels. Jones seems to feel more and more comfortable out there which should continue to pose problems for opposing defenses.
  • Michael Turner continues to get touchdowns and a good number of looks near the end zone, but he has really struggled to consistently produce on each carry. Against a high octane offense the Falcons are not going to be able to commit to the run throughout the game. This is going to hurt Turner. He has been able to generate a big carry or two each game, but if his touches are limited, so is his chance to break off a big run.

Titus Young (AP)


  • The Lions run defense has been much more stout than the Panthers’ was last week. Matt Forte was able to get around the edge with ease and proved to be difficult to tackle in the open field. The OL not only was able to set the edge, but did a good job getting to the 2nd level against a core of LBs that has yet to emerge after they were struck by the injury bug. Detroit possesses a physical front 4, especially on the edges. Their LBs do a good job running sideline to sideline and should be able to limit Matt Forte’s success. It would be crazy to assume that the Bears would stop running after so much success last week, so still expect Forte to put up good numbers on the ground and out of the backfield.
  • Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson should have no problems throwing against the Bears this week. Last week Cam Newton and Steve Smith were able to have a field day against a struggling Bears secondary. The Bears ran a lot of soft cover 3 which allowed Steve Smith to have a big day. What has really hurt the Bears secondary has been the play of Brandon Meriweather. Meriweather has been left alone in the middle of the field and has not displayed good instincts reading the QB or making plays on the ball. Smith was able to take advantage of the soft coverage to run a lot of post and dig routes, both routes that Calvin can get open on and throws Stafford can easily make.
  • A guy that has started to stand out to us is Titus Young. Young has started to get more playing time, which has translated into more looks from Matthew Stafford. Nate Burleson started the season off looking like Stafford’s number two WR, but Titus has cut into those looks. He is not a big guy, but is fairly physical for his size and seems to have a lot of natural ability. He runs good routes for a rookie and has good quickness; all things that will help him continue to get open. The Lions have so many weapons that Young will not do anything spectacular this week, but he is definitely someone to keep on your radar for the next few weeks.

Click here to read Part 1 of NFL Playbook’s Week 5 Fantasy Tips.

For more All-22 analysis watch NFL Playbook: Thursdays & Fridays at 8pm ET only on NFL Network.

Send your questions and comments to the Playbook War Room Team at playbook@nfl.com and on Twitter @NFLN_Playbook.

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