The NFL, like any other league, has had its fair share of notable suspensions. Who could forget the Michael Vick suspension that made him the most hated athlete in America? Or the time everybody blamed Tom Brady for deflating footballs? Saints running back Mark Ingram and Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman return from their suspensions for performance-enhancing drugs (PED) next week to the delight of many owners, but their suspensions are incredibly plain.
There are two suspensions that come to mind that strike me as particularly interesting. The first was in 2016 when “Johnny Football” Manziel was suspended for four games for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy while he was already awaiting review from the NFL for domestic violence allegations. What makes that so interesting is that Manziel wasn’t even on an NFL roster at the time, and he would never play another NFL game.
The second suspension that comes to mind is technically an NCAA baseball suspension, but it’s too unbelievable to leave out. In 2014, Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston was suspended by the NCAA for walking out of a grocery store with stolen crab legs in his pants. It’s hard to laugh when you have a suspended player on your roster, but it’s easy to smile when they come back.
Quarterback – Blake Bortles
Blake Bortles has a bad reputation as a noodle-armed waste of a roster spot, but he’s really not all that bad. “Bortle Kombat” has two top-10 weeks already this year, and I expect another one this week. The Jaguars face the Chiefs this week, who have a high-flying offense and an extremely weak pass defense. Ignore Bortles’ reputation and start him this week. Another viable option this week is Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton, who plays the Dolphins this week and has a great upcoming schedule.
Running Back – Sony Michel
Patriots RB Sony Michel carried the ball 25 times against the Dolphins in Week 4. The Patriots held a lead the whole game, and Michel received a lot of touches as a result. In Week 5, Rex Burkhead will still be on injured reserve, and New England plays against the Colts at home. This looks like it could follow the same path as the Dolphins game, and Michel could be due for another big game. Jacksonville’s T.J. Yeldon is another strong start this week, as Leonard Fournette will likely be restarting his hamstring recovery process.
Wide Receiver – Chester Rogers
With T.Y. Hilton out this week, Chester Rogers is going to receive a large portion of the Colts’ target share. In Week 4, Andrew Luck threw the ball 62 times. It’s hard not to start a member of that receiving corps with that kind of volume, and the Colts will more than likely play from behind on Thursday Night Football against the Patriots. Tyler Boyd of the Bengals is another strong start this week. He’s posted two straight 100-yard games and looks to do the same against the Dolphins this week.
Tight End – Vance McDonald
The Falcons have given up at least 18 points in every game this year and have given up over 30 in three of their four games. Vance McDonald and the Steelers play the Falcons in Week 5, and it’s probably going to be another offensive battle. I expect Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster to do very well in this game, but I also expect Vance McDonald to be involved. The sixth-year veteran has increased his reception total in every game this year, and his chemistry with Roethlisberger will continue to grow throughout the season. Another option is Indianapolis TE Eric Ebron. If Jack Doyle sits again, Ebron will see a lot of targets and should post another top-10 week.