If you're 1-3 or 0-4 in your fantasy football league, now is the time to break the cycle. You cannot go on living like this. The pain is too much.
In times of struggle, I often find comfort in the words of Mike Tyson:
"I wish one of y'all guys had children so I could kick them in the (expletive) head or stomp them on the testicles so you can feel the pain. Cuz that's the pain I have waking up every day. "
So true, Mike, so true. But no longer. This is week five and this is "The NFL Beat":
Ravens at Chiefs
Ravens QB Joe Flacco should come into Arrowhead and pick a reeling, injured Chiefs defense to pieces. In stark contrast to the recent past, it is the Ravens defense that presents Baltimore's biggest liability. I don't trust Chiefs QB Matt Cassel or anything that may be connected somehow to his arm, but I do trust the Chiefs to run the ball and love Jamaal Charles once again this week.
On the Waiver Wire: Shaun Draughn, RB Chiefs: Peyton Hillis is now droppable in 12-team leagues, and will not suit up once again Sunday. Draughn has proven capable of producing in spot duty, and owners needing a bye week fill-in can do much worse than a player who is likely to be on the field for at least one-third of his team's offensive snaps.
Dolphins at Bengals
Bengals RB Benjarvus Green-Ellis never fumbled as a Patriot. As a Bengal he has fumbled three times in the last two games. BJGE entered the NFL regular season with a bang, and has faded off to some extent. While he still runs hard and falls forward, I sense a bit of a early season swoon occurring and believe there will be an eventual relative bounce back. Just not this week. The Miami front seven is brutal.
On the Waiver Wire: The Dolphins are the ninth-best matchup for opposing WRs, and if you didn't listen to me telling you about Andrew Hawkins way back in week one, before an NFL snap had been played, then shame on you. Hawkins is likely owned now, but Armon Binns is widely available and represents a great plug-and-play option for bye-week fodder. Binns gave his (very few) owners a goose-egg last week, but was second on the Bengals high-powered offense in targets and had a few near misses on big plays.
Browns at Giants
With Giants WRs Hakeem Nicks and Ramses Barden both out, expect to see a lot more of Domenik Hixon this week against a dream matchup. I'm sorry Nicks owners. Fantasy football is so brutal.
On the Waiver Wire: All of your standard Giants guys will be taken, but picking which Cleveland WR to go with in this matchup is difficult. If Greg Little is available, I like him best, of course. After that, Travis Benjamin and Mohammed Massaqoui are both very iffy to play, leaving the most likely recipient of fantasy production against a porous (and now banged up) Giants secondary to be rookie Josh Gordon. I can't believe I'm saying that. Poor Cleveland.
Packers at Colts
Aaron Rodgers had a nice bounce-back for his owners last week after spending the first three games of the season barely inching out Kevin Kolb as a fantasy QB by less than one point. I like it to continue, but the Colts represent a sneaky-tough matchup against opposing QBs according to my system, and I am tempering my expectations.
On the Waiver Wire: If Colts WR Donnie Avery is on your waiver wire, he shouldn't be. I love the Colts WRs in general this season with Andrew Luck throwing the ball, and Avery is on the field more than any of them. Colts OC Bruce Arians believes they have a "diamond" in Avery and that he is the next Mike Wallace.
Eagles at Steelers
The NFL's two most lovable and cuddly QBs square off in a matchup that should leave a lot of folks with massive Monday morning bruising. Rashard Mendenhall makes his return against a brutal matchup, but if you have held him this long, you might as well stick him in your flex if you don't have other super-solid options. We've seen what Jamaal Charles and Adrian Peterson have done right out of the gates in their returns from 2011 ACL tears.
On the Waiver Wire: The players worth taking a chance to start in this game are more than likely owned. Look elsewhere.
Falcons at Redskins
Robert Griffin III plays football like he's Michael Jackson. An absolute Thriller. I love both QBs in this matchup, and have Griffin and Matt Ryan ranked in my Top 4 for the week.
On the Waiver Wire: Falcons WR Harry Douglas has been seeing more and more snaps recently. Julio Jones and Roddy White are both certainly owned, but if you're in a pinch, I see Douglas being a suitable flex option against the third-best matchup for opposing fantasy WRs in Washington.
Bears at Jaguars
Jay Cutler decided he needed to grow up in week four against the Cowboys, so he picked a fight with his offensive coordinator as opposed to his teammates. Coming off a big win against Dallas (in which Matt Forte appeared 100% healthy), the Bears are going to play in the rain against Jacksonville, my sixth-best RB matchup for week five. Michael Bush is alarmingly touchdown-dependent, but I like Bush as a solid flex play in week five while I view Forte as an elite RB1 option.
On the Waiver Wire: I would say Kellen Davis, TE Chicago but Jacksonville is tough on opposing TEs in fantasy. Look elsewhere.
Seahawks at Panthers
Cam Newton thought he had week four won in Atlanta before Matt Ryan told him to "Get the (expletive) off his field." If Cam wants to defend his home turf this week, he is in for a task. The Seahawks are as tough a matchup as there is, while admittedly they do seem to play much tougher at home. I am downgrading all Panthers offensive players this week except for TE Greg Olsen who seems to have a matchup-proof 5-6 point floor.
On the Waiver Wire: A very bad Carolina secondary looks to be getting worse this week at their best player, CB Chris Gamble, is doubtful to go Sunday. Get Sidney Rice in your lineups, and if you need a solid fill-in WR option, look at Golden Tate then Doug Baldwin in your free agent pool.
Vikings at Titans
I am sorry Chris Johnson owners, but I fear last week was the exception, not the rule. I hope you may have been able to trade him this week after the breakout performance against a very stiff Texans front seven. Adrian Peterson, on the other hand, will go bananas.
On the Waiver Wire: I called it last week, and I'll call it again. I like Tennessee TE Craig Stevens. He was trending positively even before Jake Locker got hurt, and now Matt Hasselbeck returns who loves Stevens as an intermediate target.
Bills at 49ers
Good luck, C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson owners. No matter who gets to tote the rock for the most hand-wringingly frustrating fantasy RB tandem of 2012 on Sunday in San Francisco; they won't be doing much. I expect pain.
On the Waiver Wire: Brandon Jacobs is listed as probable, and it just seems like he might be in line for a TD during his first action as a 49er.
Broncos at Patriots
Elite vs. elite. Peyton Manning is leading a whole new group of ponies into Gillette to face Captain America himself. Tom Brady and the Patriots. This is the kind of programming that makes you warm and fuzzy to even think about. Forgetting chores, ignoring people you love. Game of the week.
On the Waiver Wire: I hope you were able to scoop up Pats RB Brandon Bolden this week, but if you did, beware. Bolden has been iffy all week in practice, and looks to be heading toward becoming a game-time decision.
Chargers at Saints
Drew Brees is 0-4. Let that sink in, the Saints are 0-4. Now, Drew Brees has his old employer coming to his house, led by Philip Rivers, the man who Brees was forced to vacate his spot for. Anyone who doesn't think Brees will have a monster game this week doesn't know the kind of person he is. Stone cold.
On the Waiver Wire: Robert Meachem has been an abject fantasy disappointment in 2012, and has been dropped in many leagues. Meachem comes home to New Orleans this week, and these are the kinds of games that these guys break out in. Meachem was a very, very respected member of that locker room from everything that I have witnessed at camps and practices through the years. It was beyond obvious. He wants to have a big game and his teammates and coaches know it. Give him one more shot if you held onto him.
Texans at Jets
Monday Night? Toughest opponent imaginable? Santonio Holmes, your best offensive weapon it out for the season. You have no running game. Your quarterback is Mark Sanchez who is regressing. What do you do? Tebow Time. Things are about to get a whole lot more fun in the Big Apple.
On the Waiver Wire: James Casey of the Texans is a fullback who lines up everywhere and looked like Aaron Hernandez in training camp. I believe he will be a secret weapon that the Texans are beginning to slowly roll out, and I am stashing him on every bench I can. That kind of weapon in that powerful offense can be a season-maker down the stretch if things keep up.
[Alex Dunlap (Follow on Twitter) is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America, Founder of Rosterwatch.com, Host of RosterWatch on ESPN Radio Austin and ESPN San Antonio, and Nationally Featured NFL Columnist at Bleacher Report.]
Copyright © 2013 Austin Chronicle Corporation. All rights reserved.