Believe It or Not - Week 5
by Heath Cummings
October 2nd, 2012

Just when we thought it couldn't get any crazier and the real officials were here to restore normalcy, week four happened. Peyton Manning, Michael Turner and Anquan Boldin returned from the grave, Brian Hartline torched the Cardinals secondary, and the New England Patriots had two rushers with 100 yards and touchdown. Kevin Kolb is 4-0, Drew Brees is 0-4 and Robert Griffin III is still the top scoring quarterback in fantasy football. Is your head spinning yet? Let's try to make sense of some of it in this week's Believe it or Not.

Reports of Michael Turner's demise have been greatly exaggerated (171 total yards and 1 TD vs Panthers)

It wasn't so much that Turner put up 100 yards rushing against the Panthers woeful run defense that surprised everyone as his 60-yard touchdown catch. That Turner still has the ability to run 60 yards in one spurt is surprising enough, but coming out of the passing game is especially encouraging for his owners. Matt Ryan is on a blistering pace early in the year, but Turner has continued to find ways to contribute.

Verdict: Don't believe it. I still firmly believe that most weeks you're going to be begging for a one yard touchdown to save your day with Turner. His long touchdown was the result of a perfectly called inside screen and a Panthers blitz. While he did break some tackles this week, you have to remember what Andre Brown did to this defense. This is a perfect sell high opportunity.

Despite having Matt Cassel as his quarterback, Dwayne Bowe is a WR1 (342 receiving yards, 3 TDs in 4 weeks)

Dwayne Bowe is piling up yards and touchdowns in garbage time as the Chiefs' trend of falling into huge holes early on continues. Matt Cassel is a terrible quarterback, but Bowe is his security blanket and that's worked well enough to make Bowe the 4th ranked receiver in fantasy points so far in 2012. Unless the Chiefs decide to hand the reigns to Brady Quinn you can continue to count on Bowe to put up big numbers.

Verdict: Believe it. In 2010, with Cassel healthy for a full season Bowe finished as the #2 receiver in fantasy football. In 2011, he played nine games with Cassel and accumulated 630 yards and four touchdowns. As long as both players stay healthy you can count on Bowe for true WR1 production.

The New York Jets offense is fantasy poison, stay away! (0 points and 145 yards of offense vs. 49ers)

What a train wreck, and everyone likes to say they saw this coming, but don't forget the talk after week one. Remember week one? The Jets scored 48 points in that game, Shonn Greene almost ran for 100 yards, Mark Sanchez looked like a decent quarterback. Since then they've scored 33 points in three games including 23 in overtime against the Dolphins.

Verdict: Believe it: The only real question is the one we all expected to be asking. Why trade for Tim Tebow if you aren't going to give him a chance after this? I know he's not a very accurate passer, but neither is Sanchez really. If I owned a member of this offense I would trade them immediately. Maybe you could get a mid-level defense, or a backup tight end. Kidding, kind of.

It's time to start worrying about Darren McFadden (34 rushing yards vs. Broncos)

If you take out McFadden's 64 yard touchdown run against the Steelers, he's had an abysmal opening quarter of the season. He's been held to 34 yards rushing or less in three of his four games and has only reached the end zone on that long run. A 13 catch game against the Chargers salvaged week one for him, but since that he's not had more than two receptions in a game.

Verdict: Don't believe it. McFadden has the easiest schedule of any running back in the league following his week five bye so this is no time to sell. The thought at the beginning of the season was that as long as McFadden stayed healthy he would be a top five back. The Raiders are going to ride him for the remainder of the season and he'll start producing sooner rather than later.

Fred Davis is starting to build rapport with Robert Griffin III (11 catches, 160 yards in his last two games)

Davis had a quiet start to the season, but in the last two weeks he's become somewhat of Griffin's go-to guy. He's led the team in receiving the last two weeks and once teams start to better game plan for Griffin's red zone running, the touchdowns will come.

Verdict: Believe it. Only a four game suspension at the end of last season kept Davis from being a top five tight end. Much was made about Griffin's lack of use of tight ends in college, and that may have had a little to do with Davis' slow start. After the last two week's I think it's safe to assume that we're past that and Davis can be counted on to produce at TE1 level the rest of the season.

Ryan Tannehill's development is turning Brian Hartline into a startable wide receiver for fantasy purposes (12 catches, 253 yards, 1 TD vs. Cardinals)

Hartline put up what will most likely be the high yardage mark for any receiver in the league against a defense that before this game had been downright stingy. Tannehill looked much improved, and with no other real competition, Hartline looks to be a lock as the WR1 on that team. In a division with the Patriots, Bills, and Jets (sans Revis) there will be plenty of poor secondaries for Tannehill and Hartline to pick apart.

Verdict: Don't believe it. Do you know who the last receiver to have more receiving yardage in a game was? Lee Evans. Hartline is not the type of receiver that will beat defenses when they're focused on him, and Arizona was clearly focused on stopping the run in week four. I'm sure Hartline will have a couple of nice games down the road, but he won't be near consistent enough to start as anything more than a bye week replacement.

Questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome to cummings@footballguys.com.

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