Week five of the National Football League season taught me one thing. It is now time to believe in the Oakland Raiders and quarterback Derek Carr. The product of California State University put up huge numbers once again last week against the San Diego Chargers and should now be taken in fantasy football leagues.
Carr has the third most fantasy points at the quarterback position so far this year. He only trails Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons and Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers. In four of five weeks this season, Carr has reached a minimum of 24 points.
Another quarterback that should be worthy of consideration for the short term is Brian Hoyer of the Chicago Bears. Hoyer has been very effective as of late while Jay Cutler has been out with a thumb injury. Even though the Bears have a record of one win and two losses with Hoyer as a starter, he has had two touchdown passes and thrown for over 300 yards in his last three starts. Expect even stronger numbers on Sunday when Chicago hosts the defensively challenged Jacksonville Jaguars.
At wide receiver, San Diego Chargers playmaker Tyrell Williams might be available. Last week against the Raiders, he had five catches for 117 yards and a touchdown. However, I would recommend one show some hesitancy in picking up Williams at this time. Over the next three weeks, the Chargers play the Denver Broncos twice. Denver’s defense should still be taken seriously as a whole even though they are hurting at the quarterback position at the moment.
The projected three fantasy stars of the week this weekend are New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy and Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown. One must realize that Brady plays exceptional against above average defenses like the Cincinnati Bengals. I was also very impressed with McCoy last week against the Los Angeles Rams, as he had 150 yards rushing. The Bills now face the San Francisco 49ers this week. The Niners have given up the second most rushing yards in the NFL this year.
When analyzing the matchups this week, there are two intriguing matchups among the morning games. The first is the Los Angeles Rams at the Detroit Lions. The Rams have looked horrible at times this year in losses to San Francisco and Buffalo, but at the same time they have overachieved in beating Seattle and Arizona. The Lions have been equally inconsistent as they have lost to the Bears and Tennessee Titans. Those are two teams Detroit should beat. If you are forced to pick a team here I like Los Angeles, because the Lions tend to struggle against strong defenses.
The other matchup that is intriguing this week is the NFC South Division matchup between the Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints. The Panthers will welcome back Cam Newton with open arms and should get things back on track after his concussion injury. In his absence, Derek Anderson had problems with his decision making as he had four interceptions and a fumble in three games. The Panthers are a much better team in the red zone with Newton at the helm.
Finally stay away from picking the games featuring Houston and Indianapolis as well as Baltimore and the New York Giants. If you have to pick teams however, go with Houston and the Giants. The Texans defense is still ok even without J.T. Watt, while the Ravens are experiencing some disarray offensively with the recent firing of offensive co-ordinator Marc Trestman.