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Lust: Fantasy Football Week 5

Have you ever been homesick? Maybe it was your first year at college and you couldn’t help but miss your perfect bed at home, or you just missed your parents paying for everything (a common reason). Maybe you can’t help but miss your friends or pets back home.
Whatever the reason is, it’s a pretty widely agreed upon idea that things are just better at home. Including team records. Being at home has one of the most significant psychological effects on teams during today’s game. Being on your home turf is just…familiar. It’s accepting; and no matter if you win or lose, your fans will be there, even if they’re smashing bottles and flipping you off yelling “THANKS FOR THE TERRIBLE SEASON. STOP PLAYING FOOTBALL”.
Take the 1980 New Orleans Saints. Their record hit 0-12, and Saints fans started showing up to games with the word “Aints” written on paper bags that they then put over their faces. Sure, it’s not the most sincere form of flattery, but the fans still showed up. Over the past decade, the 12th man has emerged, creating stadium environments unrivaled by any other football stadium in history. The New Orleans Saints Superdome, for a succession of years, was considered the loudest stadium in the NFL, and for a while was also rated the most difficult stadium to play in.
Within the past year, the Kansas City Chiefs set the record for the loudest stadium of all time; twice. Fans always stick close to their teams, no matter what that team is doing. And being at home means more of your fans, which means more noise, which means a harder environment for your opponent to play in.
Some teams practically can’t stand being away from home, and it’s almost as if they throw temper tantrums when they’re on the road. In the past 16 games, the New Orleans Saints have a record of 1-7 on the road, and a record of 8-0 at home. They simply cannot be without their dome sweet dome. Being at home provides a feeling that you can’t really get anywhere else. Home is where your fans are to cheer you on no matter how terrible your season is.
Home is where the noise is. Home is where the love is, and home is where the wins are.
QBs I like for Week 5:
1. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers (vs. Minnesota Vikings): This is a bit of a no brainer. I mean come on. Aaron Rodgers connected with Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson for 28 of the Packers 38 total points against the Chicago Bears on Sunday. This week, Rodgers is going up against the mediocrity that is the Vikings secondary, who have already given up an average of 247 passing yards per game this year, and gave up the most in 2013 (an average of 287 per game). With weapons like Cobb and Nelson, and even Lacy to receive some if need be, Rodgers should provide at least 25 fantasy points this week, most likely more.
2. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (@Jacksonville Jaguars): There aren’t a lot of words to describe the Jaguars of 2014 (or of just about any year), but I guess lackluster could be somewhat of an understatement. Aside from the Blake Bortles-first-time-on-the-field-throwing-a-60 plus-yard-touchdown thing, the Jaguars haven’t had a lot of luck this season. They’re 0-4, which is largely due to their lack of a secondary. In four games, they have managed to give up an average of 320 passing yards to opposing quarterbacks…per game. This puts them at number 32 out of 32 on that list. Big Ben and Antonio Brown have been connecting fairly well recently, and I would not at all expect anything less from them this week against such a subpar defense. Not to mention, even though the Steelers lost, Big Ben still managed to put up three touchdowns on 314 yards again Bucs last weekend, and two touchdowns on 196 yards against a rising Panthers defense the week before.
3. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers (vs. New York Jets): I know it may seem like I’ve picked quarterbacks who are going up against some of the worst secondaries in the league, and that’s because that’s exactly what I’m doing. Rivers and Keenan Allen have been a bit of an underrated couple over the past few weeks. All I’ll say is this: if Rivers can carve up the stellar Seattle secondary, who gave up the least amount of passing yards per game to opponents last season (as well as the second least amount of touchdowns per game), then I can’t wait to see what he can do against a Jets team who always seems to be struggling with something.
RBs I like in Week 5:
1. Andre Williams, New York Giants (vs. Atlanta Falcons): This season, the Falcons lead the league in fantasy points allowed per game to opposing running backs, clocking in at an average of 29.5 points allowed. Last week, the Giants faced the Redskins, who have only allowed an average of 87 rushing yards per game, and only 10.3 fantasy points per game to opposing backs, and yet Williams still managed to put up a fairly good game with 66 yards on 15 attempts with one touchdown. If you’re looking for something new and your other backs just aren’t doing it for you, I guarantee Williams is in your league’s free agency, so don’t hesitate to pick him up and put him in your RB2 position.
2. Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers (@Jacksonville Jaguars): The Steelers are going up against the Jaguars this week, who have been one of the most mediocre teams to ever grace the National Football League. As explained before, their only flash of hope was the pass from Blake Bortles last week, but that flash ended quickly when they found themselves 0-4 at the beginning of this week. The Steelers should shine in all facets of the game, and Bell has been an excellent replacement for Rashard Mendenhall. If you don’t already have him and you don’t have surefire choices already, see if you can pick him up and he might even be worth an RB1 spot.
3. Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals (@New England Patriots): As I said before, I have no idea what’s going on with the Patriots this year. For as long as anyone can remember, the Patriots have consistently been super bowl contenders. But this year something’s up. Tom Brady is off his game for sure, and this past week they gave up an unheard of amount of yards to Kansas City Chiefs’ running backs Jamaal Charles and Knile Davis (199 yards on 34 attempts between the two of the running backs). And aside from that, they gave up one rushing and two receiving touchdowns to Charles. Bernard has been on an absolute hot streak this year; he has three touchdowns in the three games the Bengals have played this year. Bernard is an easy RB1 pick this week.
WRs I like in Week 5:
1. Steve Smith, Baltimore Ravens (@Indianapolis Colts): Last week, Steve Smith showed up big time. Named one of the greatest trash talkers in the league since the creation of the NFL, Smith doesn’t take rivalries lightly, and this one was with his previous team, so he didn’t let up one bit. He put up 139 yards on seven receptions with two touchdowns. This week he goes up against the Colts, and although there’s no past team rivalry there, you can always count on Smith to be fired up, especially after great performances. Although the Colts have only given up an average of 14.3 points per game to opposing receivers, I wouldn’t count on them stopping a train like Smith. He should be showing up again this week with numbers at least over 15. I would definitely consider putting him in one of your WR slots.
2. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers (@Jacksonville Jaguars): Antonio Brown has had a pretty good relationship with his quarterback Ben Roethlisberger over the past few weeks. In week 3 against Carolina, Brown put up 21 fantasy points, which came from 90 yards on 10 receptions with two touchdowns. In week 4, he put up 25 points, which came from 131 yards on just seven receptions and two touchdowns. This week he’s facing the Jaguars, who just can’t seem to do anything. Ever. The Jaguars have already allowed an average of 27 fantasy points per game to opposing receivers; the second most in the league. If you don’t already have Brown, see if you can trade for him or pick him up, cause he’s gonna be worth it this week.
3. Victor Cruz, New York Giants (vs. Atlanta Falcons): Remember back in 2011 when Cruz came into the league and absolutely dominated? He became number three on the list for 2011’s receiving leaders, just under Wes Welker and Calvin Johnson. Cruz has managed to be a threat ever since, making his salsa dance widely known throughout the league. This year hasn’t been the best of times for Victor, but he’s still there, and coaches know it. This week he’s facing the Atlanta Falcons, who have already allowed an average of 169 yards per game to opposing receivers this year (and their number four on the list of most passing yards allowed per game at an average of 276). If Victor can find his UMASS self again, he should be able to provide some ample numbers this week.
TEs I like in Week 5:
1. Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints (vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers): I’m not even sure what to say about Graham anymore. He’s easily one of the most talked about tight ends in history, and he’s been such a workhorse for the Saints. But this year it’s just been weird. His point progression in his first four games has been this: 8, 23, 5, and 12. No real consistency there, so it’s extremely difficult to decide whether or not to play him. The only reason I put him in here is because he’s at home, and the Saints are the epitome of homesickness. Over the past 16 games, the Saints’ record on the road has been 1-7, while their home record has been 8-0. They love their dome. If history continues to repeat itself, Brees should be on fire, and he should be picking on Graham a majority of the time.
2. Martellus Bennett, Chicago Bears (@Carolina Panthers): Bennett has proved to be quite a force in the NFL this year. He has put up an average of 13 points over the past four weeks, which is quite the number when talking about tight ends who aren’t Jimmy Graham or Rob Gronkowski. Jay Cutler seems to really like Bennett, so chances are if he’s not going to Brandon Marshall, he’s probably searching for Bennett.
3. Julius Thomas, Denver Broncos (vs. Arizona Cardinals): In 2013, Julius Thomas wowed us with his athleticism, speed, and hands on the field. He sat at number five on the list of receiving leaders (by number of touchdowns) by the end of the year, tied at 12 touchdowns with Brandon Marshall. This year, he’s already worked his way in to tying at the number one spot with five touchdowns in the past three games. Peyton Manning has a tendency to spread his throws across the field to a multitude of targets, but over the past two years, Thomas has proved himself to be one of Manning’s favorites.
Taylor Lust is a HottyToddy.com contributor and can be reached at tdlust@go.olemiss.edu.

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