There was no shortage of stories in the NFL during Week 5. Surprising winners, losers, a quarterback battle, a record, and of course plenty of injuries. Just don't cheer for them!
The injuries that is. You can root for the quarterbacks and winners, I suppose.
There is plenty to review for all of you on a "need-to-know" basis for fantasy football. Here is what you need to know about the quarterbacks:
Drew Brees against the Chargers (AND THEN HE WILL UNITAS)
All eyes were on Brees on Sunday night as he charged towards breaking Johnny Unitas's consecutive-games-with-a-touchdown record and no, it was not a coincidence that he was on national TV. I'm sure NBC can count. I hardly think that very many folks care about this record, just as most people don't care about any records outside of baseball, but it was a good moment for Brees and the Saints. Still, it wasn't as important as picking up their first win of the 2012 season and Brees was as good as ever: 29-of-45, 370 yards, 4 TD and 1 INT.
Brees is now at 344 yards per game this season and he threw for 342.3 yards per game during his record-breaking 2011 season. So we're all back on notice: Drew Brees is marching towards another record. Brees fantasy owners also be on notice: Saints have a bye in Week 6, so best you hope have a backup plan.
Andrew Luck against the Packers (IT'S* ALL PAYING OFF)
*Sucking for Luck that is.
The legend of Luck grows and the rookie got the biggest signature win of his young career, even though you also have to look at the Colts win over the Vikings and say that in retrospect that looks pretty good too. Luck was 31-of-55 for 362 yards, 2 TD and 1 INT, including the game-winning score to Reggie Wayne with :35 left to seal the win. I picked the Colts as my surprise team in the AFC, and yes I will keep beating that drum until there's no reason to do it anymore. At 2-2 and the clear second-best team in the South, that drum is looking pretty good.
So is Luck.
His 54.2% completions could be better, but he's now over 300 yards per game with 7 TD and 5 INT. He's a high-end back QB in fantasy and as the year goes on, could give you a pretty good trade chip. The Colts face the depleted Jets secondary in Week 6.
Aaron Rodgers against the Colts (STILL GREAT, BUT NOT 2011 GREAT)
I always caution using a top pick on a quarterback coming off of a great year and so far Rodgers is not proving to be an exception. Of course he is still great, but he's not that close to his phenomenal 2011 season when he averaged 3 TD and 309.5 yards per game. Rodgers threw for 243 yards and 3 TD with a pick against Indy, great numbers, but this isn't quite the same production overall as last season. For 2012, he now has 10 TD and 4 INT through five games, after he threw 6 INT in all of 2011.
Even worse for Packers fans, they are 2-3.
Rodgers and Green Bay get another major test in Week 6 when they face the Texans, one of the top defenses in the NFL.
Robert Griffin III against the Falcons (MILDLY CONCUSSED)
"RG, how many numbers are in your name?"
RG3 had his lowest fantasy output of the season on Sunday when he was 10-of-15 for 91 yards with seven yards rushing and no touchdowns against Atlanta. Worse than that, he left the game with what turned out to be a mild concussion after taking a hard hit on the sidelines, where in the future he might try to avoid such things. Kirk Cousins was 5-of-9 in relief for 111 yards, 1 TD and 2 INT.
Griffin will be the hot injury update all week, so stay tuned for that! The 'Skins take on the Vikings in Week 6.
Matt Cassel against the Ravens (HURT, AND WE'RE 'SICK' ABOUT IT)
Actually, it's Chiefs tackle Eric Winston that's 'sickened' by Kansas City fans that cheered after Cassel left the game with what turned out to be a concussion. You mean we can't be happy that a guy could be seriously hurt if he is playing bad football? Okay, I guess that makes sense.
Cassel has really struggled this year, bringing his interception total to nine on the year before leaving, and it appears that Brady Quinn could be taking snaps under center by next week in place of the injured Cassel. How many throws will he actually get though? Kansas City threw the ball 18 times compared to 50 runs, and those numbers were skewed even heavier in favor of the run until late in the game. If you were in a league deep enough to actually have Cassel, you'll probably need to pick up Quinn, who would be facing the Bucs next week.
Russell Wilson against the Panthers (SO THIS IS WHAT RUSSELLMANIA IS ALL ABOUT?)
Well, I wouldn't exactly call it a "Hulkian" performance, but Wilson had his best game as a pro, going 19-of-25 for 221 yards, 1 TD and 2 INT. He made a couple of big mistakes in the game, and the Hawks paid for those mistakes, but he was more efficient than he had been in his previous four games. He is also completing 63.2% of his passes, even if it only feels like he's thrown in nine times this year.
Wilson is still significantly off-the-pace of a starting fantasy QB, but this was a step in the right direction. Or the Panthers pass defense is just that bad. Russ gets the Pats at home in Week 6.
Cam Newton against the Seahawks (PROBABLY WISHES HE HAD BEEN AS GOOD AS RUSSELL WILSON)
Sophomore slump? I don't know, Newton came into the game with an NFL-leading 9.5 yards per attempt but he had also thrown five interceptions against just four touchdowns. Those yards did not come against Seattle, however. Newton passed for a career-low 141 yards against the Seahawks, with no touchdowns and 42 yards rushing.
The Panthers get a week off to think about it, while Tom Brady can test out the Seattle defense in Week 6. For what it's worth, Seattle has allowed three passing touchdowns in five games and they've faced Newton, Rodgers, Sam Bradford, Tony Romo, Kevin Kolb, and John Skelton.
Christian Ponder against the Titans (REAL OR NOT REAL?)
I just need to keep monitoring Ponder and whether or not he's actually stepped up to be an every-week starter. Despite the Vikings surprising 4-1 start, I still really haven't seen him be that consistent fantasy option. He was held out of the end zone in Week 1 and Week 4. He threw his first TD of the game in Week 5 in the third quarter when Percy Harvin made a couple of phenomenal juke moves, and then his second to Kyle Rudolph in garbage time. He also threw two interceptions against a terrible Titans defense.
He now has 6 TD and 2 INT through five games. Again, how consistent can we expect him to be going forward? They take on the Redskins next week.
Peyton Manning against the Patriots (A GOOD LOOKING LOSER PERFORMANCE)
Maybe the Broncos lost that marquee matchup against the Patriots and Tom Brady. Maybe Denver did trail 31-7 at one point. But why should a fantasy owner care about that when Manning goes for 345 yards, 3 TD and 0 INT? That puts Manning firmly in the mix with the best in the NFL with 14 TD, 3 INT and 1,507 yards on the season. A lot better than that "winner" Brady who only had 223 yards and one touchdown. Way to "win" Tom!
Alex Smith against the Bills (EITHER HE'S FINALLY GOOD OR THE BILLS ARE EXCEPTIONALLY BAD)
Eh, the latter sure makes a lot more sense, doesn't it?
I looked up Smith's career numbers and this one ranks up right with the best of them: 18-of-24, 303 yards, 3 TD and 0 INT. It's just off his career high of 310 yards. It's just the third time that he's thrown three scores without a pick. And his 156.2 QB rating is a career-high. Smith isn't asked to do a lot for San Francisco but he proved his worth as one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the league right now, and he has 8 TD and 1 INT through five games. Then again, how bad are the Bills? Kevin Kolb could be a sleeper start against Buffalo in Week 6.