NFL Week 5 Risers/Sliders (cont.)
Michael Crabtree, 49ers -- For the first time in his four-year career, Crabtree appears to be completely buying into the 49ers offense and is poised to finally become the receiver everyone predicted he would be when he was taken 10th overall in 2009. He has caught at least six balls in four of San Francisco's five games this season, and with the Giants on the horizon he's likely to continue that trend.
Josh Gordon, Browns -- The rookie second-round supplemental pick who sat out all of 2011 following a reported failed marijuana test at Baylor is unpolished but also vastly skilled with excellent speed. That speed was on full display at MetLife Stadium, when he caught the first two touchdown passes of his professional career against the Giants. Inconsistency is a common thread among this crop of Browns receivers. But Gordon on Sunday became the first Browns receiver to catch two touchdowns in a game since Braylon Edwards in 2007. With Brandon Weeden's continued improvement as a passer, Gordon deserves fantasy consideration.
Robert Meachem, Chargers -- Chances are Meachem's two-score return to New Orleans will be a short-lived resurgence against a very beatable defense, but it was still good to see that he has the ability to do something for his new team. Don't count on anything resembling this on a regular basis but he's not a bad choice if you're trying to fill a bye week receiver or flex spot, especially in Weeks 7 through 9.
Chris Givens, Rams -- Sleeper alert: Danny Amendola's dislocated collarbone gives the rookie from Wake Forest a chance to see some serious playing time for the next two months at least. His 28-yards-per-catch average is noteworthy, even if it is in just four grabs.
Mike Wallace, Steelers -- We'll give the former holdout a pass on his two-catch, 17-yard showing against Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and the Eagles, but any more like this and we'll have to start recommending Antonio Brown instead (which we may do anyhow).
Jerome Simpson, Vikings -- The king of the flying leap into the end zone has yet to land on his feet in the Vikings offense, surrendering touches to the more sure-handed Devin Aromashodu. Neither should be in your lineups in the coming weeks.
Alex Smith, 49ers -- The Niners offense is clicking, and Smith is a main reason why. Although his 303-yard game against the Bills was an outlier, he's been throwing touchdown passes with regularity and is not the worst choice to face a vulnerable Giants secondary this Sunday.
Andrew Luck, Colts -- The rookie played like a seasoned veteran in the Colts' emotionally-charged comeback win against the Packers. Thanks in large part to a career-day for future Hall of Famer Reggie Wayne, Luck reached 300 yards passing for the third time in four NFL starts, and has thrown at least one touchdown in each. Not only is he a good bye week replacement, he's becoming a solid alternative to struggling passers like Matthew Stafford, Tony Romo and ...
Brady Quinn, Chiefs -- Matt Cassel has been an abject failure as starter of the Chiefs, so much so that the Arrowhead faithful, in an act of classlessness, cheered when he was injured in yesterday's loss to Baltimore. With Cassel unlikely to play this week due to his concussion, Quinn, the former Brown and Bronco gets his first start since 2009. With Dwayne Bowe, Jonathan Baldwin and Dexter McCluster to throw to, perhaps he can jump-start the Chiefs tepid passing game.
Cam Newton, Panthers -- Not only did Newton lay an egg against the Seahawks Sunday but he's been making a habit of it. Over his last 17 games, dating back exactly one year, Newton has thrown for 300 yards exactly once. Over that span, 38 other quarterbacks have reached 300 yards a total of 122 times, including the likes of Dan Orlovsky, Rex Grossman. Kyle Orton and Vince Young. Yes, you're getting some rushing yards and scores from Newton, but he's just not scoring enough to be a starter. And worse, he looks bad trying.
Michael Vick, Eagles -- The turnovers keep piling up, but until yesterday so did the wins, so there was no chance Vick would lose his job. Well, there's still no chance but given his notorious durability problems and inability to keep the ball with the good guys, he can't be trusted on a weekly basis with a clear conscience.
Aaron Hernandez, Patriots -- After missing nearly four total games with a sprained ankle Hernandez is just about ready to make his return to the Patriots offense. Although Wes Welker is back in the good graces of his coaches and quarterback, we fully expect Hernandez to regain all of the value he had prior to the injury. If he was somehow dropped in your league, he should be priority No. 1 pickup this week.
Joel Dreessen, Broncos -- Quietly Dreessen is becoming a reliable fantasy player. Tthe former Texan has a mere 11 catches for 96 yards but he's scored a touchdown in three straight games and has posted 9.7 PPR points in each. And since the start of 2012 he ranks eighth in the NFL in touchdown catches by a tight end with 13, ahead of the likes of Brent Celek, Jermichael Finley, Marcedes Lewis and Brandon Pettigrew.
Jimmy Graham, Saints -- The league's most dangerous tight end suffered an ankle injury that limited him to just one catch for four yards on Drew Brees' record-breaking night. While it's possible he may return after the Saints' much-needed bye next weekend, it's also possible that he will be out through Week 7. If so, David Thomas would make a solid and available fill in.
Jermichael Finley, Packers -- Finley has been plagued by drops the past few years, and although he pledges to play against the Texans next week after injuring his shoulder on the turf in Indy, his lack of productivity (39.6 yards per game, one touchdown through five games) tells us that he's better off being left on the bench.
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