Week after week, the NFL never fails to prove why it is the pinnacle of sporting competition. At no other level of professional sports is there more unpredictability or frustration for fantasy owners. Here are the top fantasy performers, along with the biggest disappointments, from Sunday’s games in the topsy-turvy NFL:
1) Marques Colston, WR, New Orleans Saints
For the second week in a row, Colston has been the primary beneficiary of strong outings by Saints QB Drew Brees. Colston torched the San Diego Chargers in front of a national audience on Sunday Night Football, grabbing nine passes for 131 yards and three touchdowns. Although he was injured at the start of the season, Colston has proved over the past two weeks that he is healthy and playing at a very high level. Expect more good things to come for Colston and his fantasy owners.
2) Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, New York Giants
Bradshaw had a huge game Sunday for the Giants, gashing the Cleveland Browns all afternoon for his strongest performance of the year. By day’s end, Bradshaw finished with 200 yards rushing and a touchdown, leading all rushers for this week. Although the Giants fell behind in an early 0-14 hole, Bradshaw put the team on his back and carried them to a 41-27 comeback victory.
3) Tony Gonzalez, TE, Atlanta Falcons
Even at the age of 36, Gonzalez still manages to make it look easy. The 16-year veteran took advantage of the Redskins’ porous secondary Sunday, hauling in 13 receptions for 123 yards and a touchdown. Don’t look now, but Gonzalez leads the league in catches through Week 5.
1) Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay Packers
With Greg Jennings hampered by a lingering groin injury, Nelson was expected to have a big game against an inexperienced Colts secondary. Instead, he was only able to make two grabs for 29 yards. Although it was a disappointing day for the Packers as a whole, Sunday was the fourth time in five games that Nelson was held out of the end zone, a problem he rarely encountered last season.
2) Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Buffalo Bills
Entering Sunday’s game against the 49ers, Fitzpatrick was the NFL leader in touchdown passes. However, San Francisco’s stout front seven and physical secondary had their way with him, recording an interception while limiting him to 126 passing yards and no touchdowns in a 45-3 shellacking.
3) Steve Smith, WR, Carolina Panthers
After surpassing 100 receiving yards in the Panthers’ first two games of the season, Smith has been held in check by opposing defenses. Smith was limited to four catches for 40 yards against the Seahawks, who shut down the entire Carolina offense in a 16-12 victory. Many of Smith’s struggles can be attributed to the play of QB Cam Newton, who has performed inconsistently through the first five games. Once the two begin to click again, Smith’s production will increase dramatically.