For the purist of the game, the return of the regular referees are proving to be a good thing; only slightly questionable calls are being grumbled about now. For fantasy owners however, it might be safe to say we kinda miss the horrible refs. Under the replacements, scoring was at an almost all-time high as teams were using every trick in the book to get in the endzone. Now, with the real deals back, we are seeing defenses asserting themselves as the offenses aren't getting away with the little things that were giving them the advantages.
Don't fret though. Even with weaker offensive performances from some, there is still plenty of fantasy action to go around.
Below were your top fantasy performers from week 5.
Alex Smith, San Francisco 49ers: 18-24 303 yards, 3 TDs. 3 rushes, 49 yds. (34 points)
While you can't fault the 49ers for attempting to snag Peyton Manning in the offseason, part of them has to be content in not getting him. So far this season, Smith has been better than advertised, tossing 8 touchdowns to just 1 interception. While not normally flashy, Smith has taken great strides in utilizing what the defense gives him while not making the big mistake. His numbers won't always be as flashy, but with his weapons and playing style, he should be fairly consistent.
Ahmad Bradshaw, New York Giants: 30 rushes, 200 yards 1 TD. 4 rec 29 yds (26 points)
The New York Giants offense has been unreal this season. With a potent passing game, the running game has been free to light it up without the extra man in the box, thus free Bradshaw to do his thing. This week, that 'thing' consisted of a 200 yard rushing game, thanks in large part to backup Andre Brown going out with a head injury early in the game. With Brown out, expect Bradshaw to get an increased workload in the weeks ahead.
Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts: 13 rec. 212 yards 1 TD (27 points)
Who says that players can't improve with age? Like Steve Smith of the Carolina Panthers a season ago, Reggie Wayne of the Colts has seen a resurgence thanks to a rookie signal caller. Wayne and new QB Andrew Luck seem to have developed a healthy rapport that has been beneficial to both. There is no reason this won't continue to be the case in the upcoming weeks.
Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta Falcons: 13 rec. 123 yards 1 td (18 points)
Don't look at the age. Even old dogs have a few tricks left up their sleeves. Gonzalez has been a staple at the tight end position for what seems like forever and he only continues to impress. Though eventually the clock has to strike midnight for this Cinderella, he seems to be doing what he does best: produce.
Blair Walsh, Minnesota Vikings: 3 for 3 with 3 extra points (12 points)
Don't look now, but the Minnesota Vikings are slowly becoming a force in the NFC. At 4-1, the Vikings are off to a great start and are looking better with each passing week. With a solid running game and good quarterback play, expect the scoring opportunities to be consistent for Walsh for the rest of the season.
Trent Richardson, Running Back, Cleveland Browns: 17 rushes 81 yards 1 TD. 5 rec 47 yds (18 points)
A lot of people gave Cleveland flack for taking Richardson with the No. 3 overall pick in the draft, but as of right now, it's the Browns who are smiling. Richardson continues to improve with each week as he gets acclimated to the tougher, faster NFL game. Already showing flashes of brilliance, the ceiling is still far above this guy in terms of potential greatness. Expect great things from Richardson as the season progresses.
Waiver Wire Watch:
Josh Gordon, WR, Cleveland Browns: 2 rec 82 yds, 2 TDs (20 points)
Josh Gordon exploded on the fantasy scene this week with two long touchdown receptions. Though how he performs in the coming weeks may be in question, if you are looking for some depth at wideout, you could do worse than taking a flyer on this little owned wideout.
Brady Quinn, QB, Kansas City Chiefs: 3 for 3 for 32 yards. (1 point)
Brady Quinn isn't a name that is lighting up fantasy boards as of yet but he is more than likely going to be the starting QB for the Kansas City Chiefs for at least a few games. Thanks to Matt Cassel's past inefficiency and current injury, the Chiefs will be turning to Quinn to make an impact. While his history is spotty, he's still worth a look if you need a bye week start or flex option.
James LeBeau is a sports contributor for CraveOnline Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @JleBeau76 or subscribe on Facebook.com/CraveOnlineSports.
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