In a way Week 5 was just the beginning for some fantasy owners. It marked the return of Tom Brady and was the second week Le’Veon Bell was allowed to run at full throttle.
And both performed as expected with Bell amassing 154 total yards while Brady threw for 406 yards and three touchdowns.
It was like Brady never missed a game and if you had trouble deciding which tight end would be the most useful on the Patriots, either one was a good call. Martellus Bennett scored three touchdowns while Rob Gronkowski caught five passes for 105 yards.
Brady even raised the value of Chris Hogan, the wide receiver who caught four passes for 114 yards. He had just one catch for three yards in his two previous games.
Other quarterbacks who had big weeks were Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers and Derek Carr, who were all suggested as great starts in my column on Saturday. Roethlisberger, who continues to play better at home than on the road, had the best fantasy week as he threw for 380 yards and four touchdowns. Rivers threw for 359 yards and four TDs to go along with two interceptions. Carr is now a must-start quarterback after throwing for 317 yards and two scores against one pick.
A couple of signal callers who had surprisingly good weeks were Marcus Mariota and Brian Hoyer. Though I did suggest Hoyer as a pickup last week, it was a bit surprising that he had 397 yards and two touchdown passes. Mariota had his best fantasy performance of the year, accounting for four touchdowns, throwing three and rushing for one.
I’ll admit I missed on Eli Manning this week, who really disappointed against a Packers defense that usually lets quarterbacks score big in fantasy. He connected with Odell Beckham Jr. in the end zone for the first time this season, however.
This week’s top receiver was a surprise. Sammie Coates looks like he may turn into a nice replacement for the suspended Martavis Bryant as a deep threat. Roethlisberger connected with Coates six times for 139 yards and two touchdowns, including a 72-yard score.
Speaking of long scores, Ezekiel Elliott had a 60-yard run as he improved on his fantasy scoring once again, rushing for 134 yards and two touchdowns.
Two other rookies had big days as Jordan Howard rushed for 118 yards and caught three passes for 45 yards and a touchdown for the Bears. Tight end Hunter Henry had three catches for 74 yards and a touchdown, outscoring veteran Antonio Gates.
There was great play from T.Y. Hilton (10-171, TD) and Brandon Marshall (8 catches, 114 yards, TD) while Amari Cooper finally caught his first touchdown of the year to go along with 138 yards.
Other great games were had by Cameron Meredith of the Bears and the Vikings’ Adam Thielen. Meredith’s targets continue to increase with Hoyer starting for Chicago. Thielen broke out after being targeted at least three times in every game this year. You could probably pick him up with the Vikings set to have a bye.
Julio Jones, Julian Edelman and Jarvis Landry all had terrible weeks from the wideout position. Jeremy Hill (4 rushes, 12 yards), Lamar Miller (8-20) and Isaiah Crowell (13-22) were the worst fantasy starters running the ball.
In a surprising turn, both Falcons backs had big games against a tough Broncos defense. Tevin Coleman caught 4 passes for 132 yards and a touchdown. Devonta Freeman rushed for 88 yards and a score.
Finally I’ve got to give credit to the Bills and Vikings defenses for big weeks in which they both had four sacks and scored a touchdown. Vikings are a must-start defense.
Waiver wire suggestions:
Matt Asiata, Vikings (17 touches-101 yards, TD)
Sammie Coates, Steelers
Cameron Meredith, Bears (9-130, TD)
Adam Thielen, Vikings (7-127, TD)
Chris Hogan, Patriots