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Fantasy Football Pop Quiz - Week 5 Lineup Questions

Normally I try to write this column somewhere around mid-week, usually in the vein of trying to spend some quality time with my wife, work out a reasonable amount, and get my dog to stop biting my hand long enough to tire her out. Usually it doesn't mean I wait until Thursday to meet that Friday deadline, but this week's column was the exception. By the time I had a paragraph written, we saw Andrew Luck get the Drew Brees neck-sack treatment as well as a Patriots offensive player being attended to by medical personnel. Sometimes an injury like that just sticks with you. Lately, I've been thinking a lot about "AB."

In this case, AB isn't the guy whose frustrating fantasy owners on the Steelers. Much like how Adrian Peterson wasn't "All Day", nor did his initials even match, in this case, Christion Abercrombie's nickname doesn't make much sense either (apparently it's due to the first two letters of his last name). Abercrombie doesn't even play in the NFL, instead playing at Tennessee State University. Abercrombie had five tackles and hurried the Vanderbilt quarterback in a matchup Saturday, before collapsing on the turf later on in the game. He complained of a headache. Suddenly, he was being rushed to Vanderbilt's top-of-the-line medical facilities. Abercrombie doesn't even play in the NFL, which means things like raising money for the young player have been complicated, with in fact the only GoFundMe being allowed by the NCAA is the one set up through his school. TSU worries about his eligibility when it comes to these sorts of things. His family hopes he wakes up again. The linebacker went into emergency surgery not long after complaining of that headache, and went from being unresponsive to being conscious but unresponsive, to as of the writing of this article starting to show responsive signs of brain activity as he reacts to the gospel music that his mother plays for him. There's plenty to stay updated about on the subject, and a quick search of his name will bring you hours of reading.

Abercrombie doesn't even play in the NFL, but you can quickly muster up enough stories of guys whose mortality was fingertips or moments away, though none have yet happened on an NFL field. In a week that has so many injuries, both big and small, they've become so mainlined that we forget about the much bigger deal of it all. Many of these guys will be taken care of and cared for. I feel bad for them and get tired of looking for the "next man up" the more I think about the guys who are left on the pile, but I don't carry many of those injuries around for a week thinking of what happens next. Abercrombie doesn't even play in the NFL, so he won't affect your fantasy life. But you can affect his. I encourage you to donate, even just a little, to "AB" this week.

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Week 5 Pop Quiz

For everyone new to this column, I'm highlighting running backs and wide receivers for the 2 and 3 slot, and a tight end slightly outside of the normal top-eight. You won't see anyone named Gurley or Beckham Jr. here, but more of guys who are likely on your bench or in some cases on waivers, and why they might be a good fit this week specifically.


Running Back Questions

Against all odds, should you take a look at ___________ as an RB2 now?

A: Austin Ekeler
B: Matt Breida
C: T.J. Yeldon
D:Carlos Hyde

My dad called me this week to complain about not having enough RB's, and since he's gloated so much about beating me when we face off in three weeks, I didn't want to tell him that Austin Ekeler is just sitting on his bench and he doesn't even realize it. Ekeler is only boasting a 20% start percentage, which is understandable if you're nervous about Melvin Gordon's full workload, but Ekeler looks more like a Kamara-esque pass catching backup option than he does a traditional touches-the-ball-if-the-other-guy-falls backup. He's seeing more work running the ball than catching, but he's likely to ramp up his through the air targets, and certainly continuing his trend of catching touchdowns. With two so far through the season (and none on the ground), Ekeler is still likely to average just shy of a hundred total yards a game.

And what of the Raiders? Though it's easy to remember their performance against Cleveland only for a sort of inaccurate QB shootout between Carr and Mayfield, they also allowed three touchdowns on the ground. Given that the Chargers get up early and likely keep their foot on the gas, they'll likely exploit the porous redzone defense through both Melvin Gordon and Ekeler, making them both top-10 guys by Tuesday morning.

CAUTION: Bad ___________ performance ahead.

A: Isaiah Crowell
B: Tevin Coleman
C: Giovani Bernard
D: Philip Lindsay

Well, we gave him lead-back status, but I'm quite done with the Tevin Coleman as the number one guy experiment. Despite the Steelers defense (correctly) getting a bad rap, they haven't allowed more than a single touchdown on the ground, and it's not like Tevin Coleman has seen a touchdown in that regard either since Week One. You still have reason to suspect that Coleman will eat into Devonta Freeman's workload a little bit when he returns, long gone are the days of the two-headed monster in the Falcons backfield.


Wide Receiver Questions

Yes, despite a bad performance you're starting _______ this week

A: Marvin Jones Jr.
B: Mike Williams
C: Chris Godwin
D: Kenny Stills

I was too optimistic in the Tampa Bay offense last week, but if you had asked me about the Dolphins vs the Patriots I would have Thanos'd out that entire fantasy offense. But Kenny Stills is going to get past those five receptions this week finally, right? Right? If you're starting Stills it's likely in a FLEX or second FLEX position, but he's a decent pick to finally break right against a Bengals secondary that's just bleeding fantasy points. The guys on this list are pretty firmly in that FLEX position, but Stills is worth the roll of the dice more than the others outside of the top-30.

The fire is out and for _______, it's all smoke in Week 5

A: Corey Davis
B: Jordy Nelson
C: Tyler Boyd
D: Keenan Allen

I will bring up at least every other article that I missed getting Tyler Boyd for a buck in a dynasty league because I didn't trust my own fantasy advice (he went for $23 weeks later), but in Week 5 I actually really hate this play. Don't get me wrong, he's been money so far, 2018's Robby Anderson Award for biggest out-of-nowhere performance and a genius looking pick for the boldest. But the Dolphins defense is actually pretty legitimate, and though Bill Belichick did Bill Belichick things to them (as noted above), I think that the Dolphins could stymie Tyler Boyd's performance in Week 5. It'll be almost impossible to bench him, but if you have a wealth of riches, it may be time to be cautious.


Tight End Question

Look, I don't think I've ever declined to pick a player at a position before, but there's no position more ugly than the combo blockers and pass catchers this week. If you've got anyone inside the top-10 who is healthy, consider yourself lucky. If you don't, players like Austin Hooper and CJ Uzomah represent little more than just a dart throw in a bad week. Pick your favorite, roll a 20-sided die, convince yourself CJ has the coolest name and that's good enough for you, it's up to you. But ultimately, a lot of guys will give you a lot of names in hopes of helping you out, but there's as much analysis in this position this week as playing a real game of darts with the tight end waiver wire.

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