Who's Hot, Who's Not After NFL Week 5?
Another great week of NFL action is in the books, and we can say with certainty—Denver/Dallas games are "Hot," Sunday Night Football games starting at 11:30 p.m. ET are "Not."
Aside from that, there was actually some football played during regular business hours.
Some of it was incredible to watch, while some of the efforts left a lot to be desired.
Let's take a look at some of the players who ended up impressing us and a few who depressed us.
As always, we only have so much space, so make sure to add your thoughts on players we missed down in the comments.
HOT: Alshon Jeffery
The last two weeks have been one long coming-out party for second-year Chicago Bears receiver Alshon Jeffery.
Last season, he was held back by inexperience, injury and the offensive line issues which plagued the offensive production for too many years.
He topped 100 yards last week, against the Detroit Lions, but really caught fire against the New Orleans Saints this past weekend. Jeffery was dominant in his 218-yard, one-touchdown decimation of what had been to date a solid Saints defense.
The funny thing is, since the Bears lost and the game was followed by the Dallas/Denver shootout, this was probably the quietest 200-yard game ever played.
That's despite the fact that Jeffery set a franchise record for receiving yards in a game.
NOT: Tom Brady
Naturally, you don't expect to find Tom Brady on this list, under this heading pretty much ever.
On the other hand, how often do you see a 197-yard, one-interception effort from "Tom Terrific."
You can blame at least some of it on his receivers, most of whom dropped more than their fair share of passes again this week. But he finally had Danny Amendola back and he's worked with these guys long enough to where the timing issues shouldn't exist—though they do.
Brady won't be here long, but this week was one of the shakier performances by a guy whom we all expect much better from.
HOT: Jamaal Charles
People (well fantasy people) were worried that the arrival of Andy Reid to Kansas City signaled a drop-off in Jamaal Charles' production.
On the contrary, Charles has been having a very solid year, if not one where success is focused on the ground game. As happens with Reid-coached teams, he gets a lot of receptions and Charles has been adept at turning those catches into yards.
This week was the best of both worlds—high water mark for ground accumulation and a solid receiving total.
Charles continues to play very well, and the red-hot Chiefs offense is benefiting him in a big way.
NOT: Chris Johnson
Yes, Chris Johnson had four receptions for 63 yards and a touchdown.
This just says, as a running back, Johnson makes a heck of a wide receiver.
He's certainly not doing well running the ball.
A 1.7 yards per carry during Sunday's loss to the Kansas City Chiefs netted him just 17 yards, following on the heels of a 21-yard effort against the New York Jets.
Johnson has yet to see a rushing touchdown this year, though he had a receiving touchdown Sunday.
After a decent start, Johnson has seen the wheels on his season completely come off, and it isn't going to get easier over the next two weeks, when he heads to Seattle and then sees San Francisco.
HOT: T.Y. Hilton
T.Y. Hilton can be a bit inconsistent, at least in terms of his involvement. He has games like this past weekend—five catches on six targets with 140 yards and two touchdowns—on the heels of a mediocre game against the Jacksonville Jaguars of all teams.
Still, he seems to be finding his feet again, and Andrew Luck continues to play exceptional football which means Hilton will continue to get more and more opportunities to make plays.
So we can expect more and more big plays from a player with years to come.
NOT: Joe Flacco
I suppose throwing just one interception is an improvement over five, but overall, Joe Flacco is pretty stone cold.
Six interceptions and just two touchdowns in two games (and actually just two touchdowns in the last three) is not what you'd call "trending upward."
Sure, Flacco has talent, but after losing Dennis Pitta to injury and Anquan Boldin in a trade, he might have a little less to work with.
Though, you wouldn't be wrong to make the argument that, perhaps, he was never quite as good as he looked late last year to begin with.
HOT: Justin Blackmon
If you're going to be suspended for four games, you'd best come to play when you come back.
Justin Blackmon did that with a five-catch, 136-yard, one-touchdown effort Sunday against the St. Louis Rams.
Blackmon is tremendously talented—we know that and have known that since he entered the NFL. His talent has never been a question—it's his off-the-field decisions.
On the field, though, Blackmon is an impressive player, and he showed us, once again, what he is capable of.
NOT: Andy Dalton
Three straight sub-250-yard outings for Andy Dalton, coupled with three straight interceptions and just two touchdowns mark him as pretty darn cold.
On the plus side, Dalton's team has come out on top in two of those three games, but it's not because of fantastic play on his part—and you can argue that, at times this weekend, it was despite him.
There was some nasty weather on Sunday, so, perhaps, this game was not entirely his fault.
Still, three games in a row, he's been less than excellent. Dalton has plenty of weapons and a good team around him; there's really no excuse for that.
HOT: Peyton Manning and Tony Romo
There's really only so much room on this list, but I can't, in good conscience, pick just one of these two players.
However, that is more than counterbalanced by the 506-yard, five-touchdown day Romo had and the 414 yards and four touchdowns Manning threw for.
Both had a lot of help from their supporting casts—tight end Julian Thomas (9-122-2) and Eric Decker (5-87-1) for Manning and Terrance Williams (4-151-1), Jason Witten (7-121-1) and Dez Bryant (6-141-2) for Romo. Meanwhile, both defenses weren't exactly playing at a high level.
Over the course of the season, Romo has thrown just two interceptions, while Manning has thrown just one.
In the end, Romo's one big mistake was the difference between a win and a loss.
That shouldn't discount how impressive both his and Manning's overall games were.
NOT: Matt Schaub
Matt Schaub is not playing good football right now. In two of his last three games, Schaub threw for under 200 yards and no touchdowns. In the other game, he totaled 355 yards, though he didn't exactly look like Peyton Manning doing it.
Over that same stretch, he has thrown six interceptions and just two touchdowns.
What he doesn't have is any more excuses for his poor decision-making.
The Texans won't make a change for next week. They will probably not make a change over the rest of the season.
However, the time is coming when they need to move on from Matt Schaub if they want to ever win a Super Bowl.
Andrew Garda is a member of the Pro Football Writers Association. He is also a member of the fantasy football staff at FootballGuys.com and the NFL writer at CheeseheadTV.com. You can follow him at @andrew_garda on Twitter.