Fantasy Clicks: Trend-spotting
Chargers tight end Antonio Gates has scored a TD in nine straight games
Greg Jennings hasn't had more than 25 yards in any of Packers' last 3 games
Randy Moss' teams are 7-0 against the Cowboys with 11 TDs lifetime
Through five weeks, fantasy football fortunes have risen and fallen quicker than you can say, "And with the first pick of the 2011 NFL draft, the Buffalo Bills are on the clock ..." Heading into the weekend, here's a snapshot of players worth focusing on in a fantasy-land market watch.
Here are three red-hot picks for Sunday based off last week's outings and their upcoming matchups.
Hakeem Nicks, Giants: The Lions' pass defense is awful and one week after shredding the Texans, Nicks and the Giants should continue the air raid. The former Tar Heel has relegated Mario Manningham to a forgotten man and has turned Steve Smith into a WR2 sidekick.
Antonio Gates, Chargers: Gates puts his nine-game scoring streak on the line at the Rams, which should have any and all San Diego player owners frothing at the mouth. The unstoppable tight end and the rest of the 'Bolts should take out some of their recent frustrations by burying the Rams and their 22nd-ranked pass defense.
Frank Gore, 49ers: Even in the worst of weeks for the San Fran offense, Gore seems to find a way to produce 100 or more combined yards and get in the end zone. Playing a Raiders defense that yields nearly 150 yards rushing a game will be the perfect chance for him to explode.
Here are three players who have been moving up from off the radar and hopefully into your lineup. And if they're starters already, play with confidence
Matt Forte, Bears: Madly inconsistent this year, Forte carried Chicago last week in a Herculean performance. A must-start every week, it's still too soon to worry about the Bears' offense and Forte is as featured as a No. 1 back gets.
Percy Harvin, Vikings: Perhaps the biggest beneficiary of the Randy Moss trade not wearing No. 4, Harvin should shine as the No. 2 target sliding from the outside to the slot. Last week's 2-TD outburst Monday could be just the beginning as the struggling Cowboys come to town.
Marcedes Lewis, Jaguars: An unlikely source of points, Lewis has become a go-to starting option in tight-end required leagues and is looking like David Garrard's No. 1 pass-catching option.
Keep an eye on: Michael Crabtee, Michael Bush, Terrell Owens, Shonn Greene
Three names to consider benching, or who, at the very least, are torching the goodwill of fantasy GMs everywhere as their values drop minute by minute.
Greg Jennings, Packers: Maybe the most frustrating "supposed" elite receiver out there, Jennings might have scored two out of the last three weeks, but hasn't gone over 25 yards in any of them. The injury to Jermichael Finley should be a chance for more targets and a chance to rebound.
Matt Schaub, Texans: His diminished production is somewhat due to the emergence of Arian Foster and the Texans' running game, coupled with Andre Johnson's injury issues.
C.J. Spiller, Bills: With 19 carries this season, meet the poster boy for fantasy futility. The moving of Marshawn Lynch should have opened up more work for the speedy first-rounder last week (six touches, really?), but his shelf life as a flex starter should be tabled until the Bills show an effort to get him the ball.
Keep an eye on: Beanie Wells, Marques Colston, Chad Ochocinco.
It might not be too late to add these waiver-wire candidates with no risk and potentially nice rewards.
Brandon Tate, Patriots: With Moss gone, the rookie represents the best home run threat the Pats have.
Kenny Britt, Titans: The second-year wideout is finally rounding into shape and becoming a consistent threat on a team lacking quality receivers.
Steve Johnson, Bills: Sometimes going with the flow and pitching logic out the window works best, and this case is no exception. A garbage time scoring magnet, Johnson's four TDs this year make him a great pickup in larger leagues.
Week 5's predictions weren't just brutal for yours truly, but forecasters everywhere took a bath as games such as Packers-Redskins, Chiefs-Colts and Saints-Cardinals ended up fantasy football wastelands. Natural order should be back in play Sunday with the following foursome producing plenty of points to go around.
1. Ravens at Patriots: Baltimore will unleash its best offensive attack in recent memory and the Pats will have to battle to keep up.
2. Jets at Broncos: Kyle Orton, Brandon Lloyd and the rest of the high flying Mile-high offense get another test in a game that could be a shootout.
3. Cowboys at Vikings: Two teams sliding as expectations and reality collide; the upshot is the number of great skill players with a chance to shine.
4. Titans at Jaguars: The wait for Monday will be worth it as Chris Johnson and Maurice Jones-Drew both get showcased.
1. Seahawks at Bears: Both run defenses are pretty good, both offenses have struggled.
2. Falcons at Eagles: It has the makings of a tight matchup of good defenses and risk adverse QBs in Matt Ryan and Kevin Kolb.
3. Dolphins at Packers: With Aaron Rodgers out, or, at best, limited, look for the Pack to be conservative while Miami tries to resurrect its running game.
4. Saints at Bucs: Blame it on the injured backs, but something is seriously wrong with the Saints offense, while the Bucs are seriously better.
The Jerome Harrison trade helps both fantasy owners on both sides as it crystallizes the role of Peyton Hillis in Cleveland while also providing the Eagles a way to reduce LeSean McCoy's quantity of work while boosting his quality of work (think Jamaal Charles) ... Ben Roethlisberger should be just fine in a nice welcome back game against the injured and undermanned Browns ... Ray Rice and the goal line, an unlikely combination but one that had to happen sooner or later. Thank you, coach John Harbaugh for finally playing your best back at the stripe ... Why is it that Calvin Johnson and nagging substantial injuries have become an annual event ... Randy Moss' teams are 7-0 against the Cowboys with 11 TDs lifetime -- a grudge fantasy owners can love.
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