The Browns traded wide receiver Braylon Edwards to the Jets on Wednesday, causing a fantasy shakeup at his position. Here are the affected parties:
• Edwards’ value doesn’t change. He’s a fantasy WR2 with the potential to do more, but just like with the Browns, I want to see it before I buy that he’s a Pro Bowler again.
• Jets WR Jerricho Cotchery takes a hit in value. He was the team’s clear No. 1 before Edwards’ arrival, but now he has to share the looks from QB Mark Sanchez. I still like Cotchery, but not as much as I did before.
• Chansi Stuckey could get some more opportunities with the Browns, as head coach Eric Mangini is familiar with him. I like Stuckey, but he’s no more than a player that should be either at the end of your bench or on your “free agents to watch” list.
• Browns WR Mohammed Massaquoi caught eight passes for 148 yards in Derek Anderson’s first start last week. With Edwards out of the picture, Massaquoi could easily become the Browns’ top receiving option. Sure, that’s a little like saying someone is the skinniest guy at a weight-loss clinic, but Massaquoi could pay some fantasy dividends. He’s available in most leagues, and should be picked up right away. Someone has to catch passes for the Browns, right?
As always, all this week’s recommendations aren’t included below. There will always be a few more players you need to know about, and to find out who they are, you’ll need to watch the weekly Wide Write video blog.
Read on for your Week 5 fantasy football recommendations. If you have any questions, comments or insults, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who’s off in Week 5: Bears, Chargers, Saints, Packers
Start him: Matt Hasselbeck, Seahawks
Hasselbeck is apparently on target to return from a rib injury this week. Keep an eye on his status as Sunday approaches, but if he can go, it’ll be at home against the Jaguars and their awful pass defense, which has allowed 282 yards per game (tied for league-worst with the Titans). Kerry Collins threw for 284 yards against them last week, for crying out loud.
Sit him: Eli Manning, Giants
At press time, the Giants said Manning’s status would be a gametime decision, as he’s recovering from a foot injury. Even if he can play, do you really think they’ll put him in much danger with a bye week approaching? The Raiders’ 26th-ranked rushing defense is much worse than their 11th-ranked pass defense, so look for the Giants to ram the ball down their throats with Brandon Jacobs and another guy we’ll get to in a minute. I also wouldn’t be surprised if he gets pulled from the game with a big lead. Better safe than sorry, for you and the Giants.
Pick him up: Derek Anderson, Browns
Look, Anderson isn’t great, but he was pretty good throwing downfield when he was a Pro Bowler in 2007. The Browns will be behind in a lot of games this season, forcing Anderson to chuck, chuck and chuck some more. As long as you can live with some interceptions, you could do worse for a fantasy backup.
Start him: Ahmad Bradshaw, Giants
See Manning, Eli. Bradshaw is averaging 12 carries per game so far, and that number could increase this week, since the Giants are likely to pull away from the Raiders very early. They’ll be looking to run the clock, meaning that you can expect both Bradshaw and Jacobs to get plenty of work. Bradshaw’s usually a decent fantasy play anyway, but his value goes up a notch this week. He’s due for a touchdown, too.
Sit him: Cadillac Williams, Buccaneers
Williams’ performances have been borderline schizophrenic this season, with games of 97, nine, eight and 77 yards. What should we expect this week? Against the Eagles’ solid rushing D (3.6 yards per carry), and with teammate Derrick Ward hoping to return this week, look for something closer to the lower numbers.
Pick him up: Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers
A week after getting benched due to poor study habits, lack of preparation, etc., Mendenhall filled in spectacularly for the injured Willie Parker in Week 4, racking up 191 total yards and two touchdowns. Even if Parker comes back this week against the lowly Lions, the backfield situation in Pittsburgh appears to be at least a full-fledged committee. Grab Mendenhall if you still can, and cross your fingers for his big upside.
Note: I’ve seen Mendenhall available in about a third of leagues on FOXSports.com and elsewhere. I picked him up in a 12-team league yesterday, but he won’t last long if he’s still available in your league. Hurry!
Start him: Derrick Mason, Ravens
The Bengals are 26th in the league in pass defense. Mason has 19 receptions for 284 yards so far, and caught touchdown passes in each of the last two weeks. Receivers can be unpredictable, but Mason is about as solid a matchup option as you get this week, right?
Sit him: Roddy White, Falcons
Hey, did you know that the Falcons are the only NFL team without a play from scrimmage of more than 30 yards this season? White is averaging less than eight yards per catch so far, and while I think he’ll improve at some point, I have a feeling the pesky Niner D – which happens to be allowing just 5.9 yards per attempt, good for fifth in the league – will shackle him into another week of dinky, dunky plays. Boy, am I glad I took him in the third round of a draft. %$#@!
Pick him up: Kenny Britt, Titans
Upstream, red team!
Red team, upstream!
Rah! Rah! Rutgers RAH!
Thanks for allowing me to plug my alma mater, which happens to be Britt’s as well. The first-round rookie has 17 receptions for 271 yards so far, and after being targeted 11 times last week, we’re close to a point where we’ll be able to assume that Britt is Kerry Collins’ favorite target. It’s not like there are a bunch of Jerry Rices on the Titans’ roster to begin with, right? Grab Britt, who is owned in just 34 percent of FOXSports.com leagues, because he can be a solid fantasy contributor this season
Thanks for reading, and once again, make sure to watch this week’s edition of the Wide Write video blog by clicking here. Share it with your friends, post it on your Facebook page – really, I’d like to be just about everywhere if it’s OK with you.
John Halpin writes Wide Write and hosts an accompanying video blog every week throughout the NFL season. He also writes fantasy columns and early-morning blogs four days a week at FOXSports.com/fantasy.