Fantasy Football Week 5 – The Trick is to Ignore Distractions

By M3Swagger

The Great Ballantine was a genius. The late, great vaudeville comic/magician had an act that received laughs by giving away each trick. Prior to pulling a rabbit from his hat, he would wave a magic wand but drop it, then reach his entire arm into the hat to retrieve it, thus revealing a compartment below. He would then scold the audience by saying “well if you’re watching that closely, then the trick is off.”

Fantasy football players can learn a lot about their mock sport from the great one. Watch closely. Pay no attention to diversions such as fantasy football websites that are promoted by photos of sexy women. Look past the sirens and shiny objects for the real clues. And, like Ballantine, don’t take the game too seriously.

Owners are scrambling to obtain the Vikings’ defense, the Dolphins’ Brian Hartline, the Patriots’ Brandon Bolden, the Cards’ Andre Roberts or the Packers’ James Jones. Most teams who own them are doing so for a second time.

Well, except for Bolden who came out of nowhere and is likely headed back there soon. But yes, many who had drafted these “discoveries” gave up on them and, after last week, “rediscovered” them. Most will be dropped again.

Whenever the crowd does the wave, ignore it. When the crowd moves in a wave, don’t follow. Ignore the flavor of the week because it is based on last week. Look instead for players who were dropped and consider whether they can help your team.

Looking beyond some of these one-game wonders leads one to view who or whom teams have released to create roster room. The likes of Beanie Wells and Santonio Holmes had to be dropped due to their injuries, but what about the Brent Celeks and Jermaine Greshams of the fantasy world? They have been understated and underappreciated, but still hold value especially considering future schedules.

If Ben Tate is suddenly available, then he too is a great addition, considering the Texan’s penchant for running its starting backs into the ground. Does anyone remember Steve Slaton?

The Vikings are earning respect and perhaps the best investment from them going forward is kicker Blair Walsh. Even if the offense stalls, he is reliable and kicks indoors at least half the season. Another byproduct of a sputtering offense is Rams’ kicker Greg Zuerlein.

Trade bait remains the subtitle for several underachievers. What would you give – or expect – for Ryan Matthews? How about his Chargers teammate Jackie Battle? Either of these players could have big weeks against the “Ain’t No” Saints.

The Johnson Watch provided its usual surprises last week as Chris broke out for a big game while Stevie was quiet. Andre was almost as nondescript. Can you believe it is week 5 and Calvin has caught just one TD pass? It seemed inevitable last week, but didn’t happen against the emerging Vikings.

It won’t happen this week either because the Lions are on a bye. It looks quiet elsewhere this week too: Chris faces the Vikes, Andre (who only seems to do well in shootouts) is up against the Jets, and Stevie faces the 49ers.

Congratulations to owners who had the foresight to acquire either the Rams’ or Vikings’ defensive units. They are turning out to be defensive fantasy point machines, which depending on your league’s scoring system, could be very good or at least non-harmful.

Starters for a dream team this week would be Philip Rivers, Marshawn Lynch, Arian Foster, Victor Cruz, A.J. Green, Ray Rice in the slot, Jimmy Graham, Walsh at kicker, and the Bears defense.

Ah, it would be nice, but that lineup would be the work of a draft, waiver and trade magician. In fantasy football, what you’ve seen is not as important as what you foresee. I again defer to The Great Ballantine who, while tying a blindfold around his own head, said: “I will now make the audience disappear.”


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