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Fantasy Football: Week 5 takeaways

Week 5 in the NFL produced some electrifying games that came down to the wire, with comeback victories for the Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills, New York Giants, and Pittsburgh Steelers. Cleveland Browns quarterback Josh McCown threw for 457 yards in a stunning overtime win against the Baltimore Ravens, while Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ streak without an interception at Lambeau Field came to an end after 1,043 days and 586 passes. Here’s your fantasy football takeaways for Week 5:

Chiefs’ arrowhead pointing down

Week 5 could not have gone any worse for the Kansas City Chiefs. Not only did the team blow a 17-3 lead over the Bears, but they also lost superstar running back Jamaal Charles to a non-contact injury in third quarter of the game. An MRI revealed a torn right ACL for the fantasy stud, which immediately sent him to Injured Reserve. Backup running back Charcandrick West is now in line for the bulk of the carries after leapfrogging Knile Davis on the depth chart. West will be the top waiver wire add this week and can be slotted in as a viable second running back. If West is out of reach, make sure to scoop up Knile Davis as a bench stash in hope that he reclaims the job down the line.

The lone star state

The Houston Texans have had a tough start to the season: They currently stand at 1-4 and lack any semblance of an identity. Despite this, wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins hasn’t been slowed at all by the team’s woes—he is on pace for an implausible 1,850 yards and 10 touchdowns on 240 targets. Even with the Texans playing musical chairs at quarterback on a weekly basis, the blossoming wide receiver nevertheless gets open at will and reels in whatever is thrown his way. With the Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins, and Tennessee Titans on deck, expect Hopkins to continue his string of monstrous games. Start him and reap the benefits.

Tight ends wanted

Other than the superhuman Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots, the tight end position is in a state of disarray this season. To the despair of many, Jimmy Graham, in his first year as a Seattle Seahawk, has only posted one game above 60 yards and found the end zone just twice. Similarly, Kansas City’s Travis Kelce has been quiet since his Week 1 two-touchdown performance. For those in desperate need of a new tight end, help has arrived in the form of Gary Barnidge. Currently ranked third in scoring at the position, the Browns tight end has emerged as a weekly difference maker. This past Sunday, Barnidge hauled in eight catches for 139 yards and an improbable catch-between-the-legs touchdown. He is a must-add and should start every week for your team.

Muscle hamster keeps churning

Following disappointing campaigns in 2013 and 2014, this year was set to be a make-or-break season for Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin.. With the Bucs reportedly losing patience with their fourth-year back, the Muscle Hamster amassed an underwhelming 176 rush yards through three weeks, splitting snaps almost evenly with third-down back, Charles Sims. In the two weeks that have followed, however, Martin has posted over 300 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns. Leave him in your lineups as long as he’s hot, but be warned that his usage rates will be heavily dependent upon the Bucs’ in-game situation.

The Lions’ den is caving in

Falling to 0-5, the Detroit Lions put up another unwatchable performance against the Arizona Cardinals in an embarrassing 42-17 loss. Offensive line protection issues, coupled with ill-advised throws led to quarterback Matt Stafford’s benching after an awful three-interception performance. Not all the blame, however, could be placed on Stafford’s drooping shoulders; the Lions have been ineffective in the run game and future Hall of Fame wide receiver Calvin Johnson looks like he has lost a step—he has no 100-yard games and just one touchdown up to this point. The Lions’ season is all but over and Stafford cannot be trusted as anything more than a bottom-of-the-barrel second quarterback, whereas Johnson is a nice buy-low target as a number two wide receiver.

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