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Fantasy Football Buy and Sell Candidates For Week 5

By Sgt. Kyle J. Richardson (DVIDS) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Putting The Fantasy Football Puzzle Pieces Together

By Sgt. Kyle J. Richardson (DVIDS) [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsSo you got past the NFL’s dreaded Week Four, which saw six teams on bye weeks, and you're still in contention in your league. Let’s face it: everyone (and I mean everyone) still has a chance to make the playoffs at this point of the fantasy season. Even if you are 0-4, you still have a shot! Don’t get me wrong-- it won’t be easy, but it can be done.

In order to help you out, I’ve dug up four more buy candidates, and I'll even provide you with a bonus WR buy option who is only owned in 1% of fantasy leagues. These guys aren't superstars who will on their own win you a fantasy championship, but each is a potential piece of the puzzle which, when combined with some of your fantasy superstars, can help with the evolution of your team as it continues its march towards a playoff berth.

Speaking of fantasy superstars, chances are some of your first-round picks aren’t doing too well.  Through the first four weeks of the NFL season, we’ve discovered that not only is LeSean McCoy a bad tipper, but so far he is a bad fantasy football player, as well. On the other hand, I recommended that you buy Eddie Lacy last week, and boom, he put up a 29 point effort last night in PPR leagues (26 in starndard). Every team and every organization needs its superstars as well as its role players, and in this article I’ve provided you with some darn good middle-of-the-road types who can help your team. Like last week, I’ve also chosen two players that you should sell while they and your team still have some value left. Good luck in Week Five!


Week 5 Fantasy Football Buys

Fred Jackson - RB, Buffalo Bills

Owned in 81% of Fleaflicker  leagues

If you need a little help at the running back position and play in a PPR league, you need to consider acquiring Fred Jackson. He is admittedly not a sexy choice, and so he often gets overlooked by fantasy managers. I liken him to a tough blue-collar back who just goes out and gets the job done; the poor guy doesn’t get (or seem to need) the glory.

With 4.8 yards per carry, Jackson has been more effective than fellow Bills back C.J. Spiller, but the coaching staff still refuses to increase his touches on the ground. That’s okay, because his true value comes from his ability to catch passes out of the backfield. In the last two weeks, Jackson has been targeted seven and ten times respectively, and if your team is suffering from the loss of Danny Woodhead or the inexplicable absence of Darren Sproles from the Eagles offensive scheme, Jackson could fill the role of a solid RB2 or flex play going forward. Since he is owned in most leagues, you will need to work out a trade, but the good news is that since he flies under the radar, you could probably work out a deal which doesn't require you to part with an A-list asset.

Bishop Sankey - RB, Tennessee Titans

Owned in 61% of Fleaflicker  leagues 

The Titans seem desperately to want Bishop Sankey to be their primary running back. If only he wants the job as much as they want to give it to him, he will make for a nice add to your fantasy football team. I’m advising you to buy Sankey because I love a young running back with fresh legs, and I believe that unless he develops a case of the fumbles, the Titans will continue to gradually increase his workload.

Every week, Ken Whisenhunt sends a message to Sankey through the media. Last week, Whisenhunt said that Sankey’s reps wouldn’t increase until he improved his footwork. This week, Whisenhunt confirmed that Sankey’s footwork had indeed improved and that he would see more opportunities. Should we look for Sankey to make a guest appearance on “Dancing With The Stars” during his bye week?

Get him on your team before that Week Nine bye-- his enhanced moves could help you finish out the fantasy regular season on a high note and get you ready for an extended playoff run. Sankey’s level of play has improved over the last two weeks; he has averaged 6.1 and 5.7 YPC in his last two games, respectively. Now, Sankey has got to continue taking his game to the next level and keep those feet moving.

Larry Donnell - TE, New York Giants

Owned in 45% of Fleaflicker  leagues 

If you didn’t start Larry Donnell last week and missed out on his prolific three-touchdown performance, don’t feel too bad, because neither did he. You read that right: in a radio interview this week, Larry Donnell revealed that he owns shares of himself on his fantasy team, but did not put himself into his own starting lineup. He revealed that he started Vernon Davis in his place, but I doubt he'll make that mistake again.

As the Giants opened camp this preseason, the tight end job was wide open. Donnell emerged out of nowhere, and he's been one of Eli Manning’s favorite and most consistent targets this season. With Dennis Pitta done for the season with a dislocated and fractured hip, and injuries to other top fantasy tight ends like Vernon Davis, Jordan Cameron, Kyle Rudolph and Jordan Reed, Donnell has developed into a top-five fantasy football tight end. As the Giants offense has begun to click, Donnell has become a must-start and someone you should target on the waiver wire or on the trade market.

Markus Wheaton - Pittsburgh Steelers

Owned in 62% of Fleaflicker  leagues 

Antonio Brown is one of the most productive fantasy wide receivers in the game, but before he became the player that he is today, he learned his craft from one of the game’s best wide receivers, Hines Ward. Markus Wheaton finds himself in a similar situation, because like Brown, he has a great teacher. He is a quick, capable receiver whom the Steelers can line up all over the field.

His versatility has allowed the Steelers to use him out of their backfield, as well as sometimes on kick-return duty. He succeeded Emmanuel Sanders as the Steelers WR2, and he is developing a good rapport with Ben Roethlisberger. Wheaton has seen his targets range anywhere from five to eight per game, and with opposing defenses eventually double-teaming and focusing more on covering Brown, those numbers should continue to rise.


Bonus Buy, But Only If You Must….

Louis Murphy  - WR, Tampa Bay Bucs

Owned in 1% of Fleaflicker  leagues

If you are absolutely desperate and need a little short-term pop at the wide receiver position, take a look at Louis Murphy. He is available in 99% of all leagues and you’ll be the first kid on your block… I mean the only fantasy player in your league to own any shares in him. With Mike Glennon likely to be the Bucs’ starting QB for the rest of the year and WR2 Mike Evans expected to miss two to three weeks of action due to a groin injury, Murphy should see his fair share of action.

Since both were backups and practiced with the second team, Glennon and Murphy are comfortable with each other, a situation that bodes well for the Bucs. At 6'2'', Murphy is an imposing presence on the playing field. He caught six of eleven targets from Glennon for 99 yards this past week. I personally would like to have seen him catch a higher percentage of those targets, but the fact that he saw that many opportunities in a game he didn’t even start is very encouraging.

Murphy, who was cut in preseason due to injury , was added back to the roster just a few days prior to Week Four’s game and is a super sleeper pick up. His is the kind of potential rags-to-riches story that makes you feel warm and tingly all over. With the Bucs running game in shambles, they'll be focusing more on their passing game, which could make Murphy a good add in deep leagues. Only pick him up and start him if you have a strong stomach, though.


Week 5 Fantasy Football Sells

Pierre Thomas, RB, New Orleans Saints

Owned in 84% of Fleaflicker  leagues 

New Orleans running backs never had too much fantasy value because of the prolific Saints passing attack, but over the years Pierre Thomas has been a nice complement to your fantasy running game and a good flex option in PPR leagues. Last season, he caught 77 passes, a total that too many alleged WR1’s don’t approach. This season, he has been slowly phased out of the Saints offense.

Thomas was targeted seven times in Week One and caught six passes, but ever since, he hasn't topped three targets in a week. With Mark Ingram breaking his hand and missing several weeks of action, you'd think that Thomas would get more work, but instead the opposite has happened. The Saints are relying on their younger backs, and the emergence of 25-year-old Travaris Cadet and 24-year-old Khiry Robinson has drastically cut into Thomas’s playing time.

Cadet did lose a fumble late in last week’s blowout loss, a no-no that some coaches find hard to forgive.  That could help Thomas regain a larger role in the Saints game plan, but once Ingram is back in the regular lineup, that backfield will be very crowded, and Thomas could find himself as the odd man out. I would hope that he has a good game in Week Five-- if he does, put him on the trading block and hope that your fellow owners didn’t read this column.

Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots

Owned in 95% of Fleaflicker  leagues

I hate to jump on the bandwagon and advise you to sell Tom Brady, but I have no choice. As I prepped for my draft this preseason, I considered drafting Tom Brady. I had heard that he was working with a quarterback guru in the offseason, and he was going to be available in the middle to late rounds of most drafts.  Also, he's Tom Brady, and I thought the fantasy football community was selling him short.

Even after Monday night where Brady and the Pats looked awful, I still think he has a shot at salvaging his season. I have faith in both Bill Belichick’s system and Brady’s ability. Ultimately, though, I think he'll end up a serviceable real-life quarterback but a bad fantasy option. Belichick and Brady have a lot of work ahead of them and many obstacles to overcome. The Patriots offensive line is terrible, and they lack a wide receiver who can be a deep-ball threat. The fact that they had only three active wide receivers for Monday night’s game shows that they don’t have enough offensive depth.

Julian Edelman has been one of Brady’s favorite targets, but he inexplicably stopped running on a pass route, and that led to one of Brady’s two picks on the night. Rob Gronkowski has been able to play, but let’s face it-- he is definitely not the Gronk that we've grown used to seeing on the field.

Opposing defenses don’t fear the Patriots running game, and even though Brady can still throw a deep ball, he has no one to throw it to… are you starting to get the picture? Sell your shares of Brady while you can. You may not be able to get much in return, but something is better than nothing.