There were a lot of fantasy performances that were close to the worst. Below, you'll find the worst of the worst, such as it is.
I gave serious consideration to including a "dishonorable mention" to this week's "worst of" column. Matthew Stafford had 10 fantasy points and doesn't remotely merit entry. Reggie Bush had four. So did Ahmad Bradshaw and Chris Ivory. Keenan Allen and Victor Cruz had two. Steve Smith Sr. had one. There were a lot of awful performances Sunday.
I didn't include that "dishonorable mention" -- though, I suppose, that opening paragraph is one. Still, it felt too negative, too mean to list every bad performance I could find for the week. But rest assured, they were plentiful:
Worst quarterbacks in Week 5
The sadness of the New York Jets
Geno Smith (27 passing yards, 1 interception, 3 rushing yards, -1 fantasy point)
Michael Vick (47 passing yards, 14 rushing yards, 2 fantasy points)
This was incredible in so many ways. The Jets had 151 yards of offense in this game on 54 plays. That's ... that isn't supposed to happen. They committed more than twice as many penalties as the Chargers and held the ball for one-third of the game. And the one time they almost scored was this:
Just no, Jets. Yeesh.
Next game: The Jets host the Broncos in Week 6, and Rex Ryan has already said Smith will be the starter. Normally, a game against the Broncos means the other team will have chances to score, but man, how can you even consider using a Jets quarterback?
Ryan Fitzpatrick, HOU (154 passing yards, 1 interception, 3 rushing yards, 4 fantasy points)
Fitzpatrick threw for 93 yards in the fourth quarter. That's all well and good, but it means that he had 61 passing yards through the first three quarters. That's insanely bad, and it goes a long way to explaining why Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins were so quiet in this game. The Texans have what appears to be a really good team with a really bad quarterback, and that's just a bad recipe.
Next game: Thursday night, the Texans host the Colts. Indianapolis' defense has really improved the last few weeks, to the point where Fitzpatrick is even more of a stay-away than he already was.
Blake Bortles, JAC (191 passing yards, 2 interceptions, 14 rushing yards, 4 fantasy points)
This game could have been even worse for Bortles, who also fumbled twice, but recovered both of them. After back-to-back games where he looked at least decent as the Jacksonville quarterback, this game was a disaster for Bortles and the Jaguars offense as a whole. Starting running back (for now?) Toby Gerhart had 9 rushing yards. Only one receiver had more than 26 yards. The team never scored a touchdown. It's just gross.
Next game: The Jaguars travel to Tennessee for a game at the Titans next week. Does that matter? Were you thinking about using Bortles? Don't do that.
Worst running backs in Week 5
Montee Ball, DEN (7 rushing yards, 11 receiving yards, 1 fantasy point)
It kind of seems like the jury has come back on Ball. He was supposed to be the next big Created By Peyton running back, but he now has 234 total yards through four games, with as many touchdowns (one) as lost fumbles. And then he left Sunday's game with a groin injury that initial reports indicate will keep him out "a while." You probably can't drop him in fantasy -- though I'm not completely opposed to it -- but Ronnie Hillman and C.J. Anderson become far more interesting.
Next game: For the Broncos, it's next Sunday at the Jets. For Ball? Who knows. But you aren't using him then.
Bishop Sankey, TEN (27 rushing yards, 2 fantasy points)
I guess I'll be all "I told you so" about Sankey this week, but I did not understand all the love coming his way in fantasy circles this week. In the long run, I like Sankey, and I think by the end of the season he'll have good value. But the Titans indicated he was going to have more of a role in the offense, and I envisioned it as a gradual build, while people were just running out there and ranking Sankey as a starter. It didn't make any sense before Sunday, and it doesn't make any sense looking back.
Next game: The Titans host the Jaguars next week. Sankey almost makes sense as a fantasy play there, just because of the Jaguars' general terribleness. Then again, Shonn Greene was more involved in Tennessee's offense Sunday than Sankey was. Invest if you want, but tread lightly.
C.J. Spiller, BUF (8 rushing yards, 25 receiving yards, 2 fantasy points)
Maybe new quarterback Kyle Orton just gets along with Fred Jackson more, or maybe it was a fluke, but Jackson was far more involved in the Buffalo offense Sunday than Spiller, and he was far more effective in that involvement. Through five games, Spiller has yet to go for more than 84 total yards, and he hasn't scored an offensive touchdown since Week 1. He's pretty disappointing so far.
Worst wide receivers in Week 5
Michael Floyd, ARI (7 receiving yards, 0 fantasy points)
Floyd had one catch. On seven targets. Seven. That's crazy. The failures of Drew Stanton and (after Stanton got hurt) Logan Thomas to get Floyd (or Larry Fitzgerald, or John Brown, or John Carlson, or ...) the ball was painful to watch. Floyd now has two games of 114-plus receiving yards, and two of 19 or fewer. It's pretty disastrous, frankly, because there's no way to count on him.
Next game: Arizona hosts Washington next week. Assuming there is a competent quarterback on the mound, Floyd seems like a nice fantasy play, but I'll be darned if I really feel like I know what to expect.
Cordarrelle Patterson, MIN (8 receiving yards, 0 fantasy points)
Patterson left Thursday night's game early with a hip injury, but it doesn't seem to have been the real problem for the receiver. Heck, it didn't even happen until the third quarter. In the days since, Patterson has said he wants more touches, while his coaches have said he needs to get more open. It's not a fun situation there. But since his 18-point Week 1, Patterson has 14 total fantasy points in four games. If you're using him, you're braver than I am.
Michael Crabtree, SF (16 receiving yards, 1 fantasy point)
It's tempting to blame Crabtree's veritable no-show on his foot issues, but there was no sign of that being the problem Sunday. Brandon Lloyd and Anquan Boldin picked up the slack for the 49ers, and were the only two receivers to go for more than 16 (!) yards in the game. For the season now, Crabtree has two decent games and three horrible ones. He has to be downgraded in fantasy.
Next game: The 49ers play Monday night at the Rams. It's tough to justify using Crabtree there as anything but a low-end flex, and maybe not even that.
Worst tight ends in Week 5
Larry Donnell, NYG (0 receiving yards, 0 fantasy points)
Naturally, after his tight end had a huge game a week earlier, Eli Manning targeted Donnell exactly once Sunday, and didn't even complete the pass. In fairness, it seemed like the majority of Atlanta's gameplan involved, "Let's not let Donnell do to us what he did to Washington," which resulted in touchdowns to a bunch of other Giants, but it was still frustrating for those who bought all the way in.
Next game: The Giants travel to Philadelphia for a Sunday night game at the Eagles. Donnell still slots as a fine TE1.
Martellus Bennett, CHI (17 receiving yards, 1 fantasy point)
I'm not saying Bennett is now done as a top-tier tight end by any means. This could easily be a one-game blip, and he could bounce back with plenty of scoring going forward. But I will say that he has a history of being good for a month or so at the start of seasons before fading really quickly. So if this is the end of super-duper Bennett, consider yourself forewarned.
Jordan Cameron, CLE (33 receiving yards, 3 fantasy points)
I was willing to largely give Cameron a pass for his season to date before Sunday. He had 47 yards in Week 1 before getting hurt, missed Week 2, and was back-but-not-really-healthy in Week 3. It was disappointing, but unexpectedly so. Well, that's out the window after Sunday, when a supposedly healthy Cameron, in a game where his team had to play like mad to catch up, caught only three passes for 33 yards. Ugh.
Worst defense/special teams in Week 5
Cincinnati Bengals (43 points allowed, 1 sack, -8 fantasy points)
Well this was unexpected. The Bengals' defense had averaged nine fantasy points a game through its first three games, and the Patriots' offense had been terrible. Then this happened, and after the Bengals had a week to prepare, no less. If you have an explanation beyond "stuff happens," feel free to share it.
Arizona Cardinals (41 points allowed, 2 interceptions, 1 sack, -5 fantasy points)
Not much to say about this. Peyton Manning is good, and on the right days can make any defense look rough. The Cardinals just ran into the wrong buzzsaw on the wrong day. Sorry, guys.
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