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Inside the Matchup
Week 5
10/3/19; Updated: 10/4/19

By: Andy Swanson | Jason Katz | Nick Caron | HC Green



Sunday Early:



Sunday Late:




- Green highllight indicates plus matchup (top eight)
- Red highlight indicates negative matchup (bottom eight)

Rams @ Seahawks - (Caron)
Line: SEA -1.5
Total: 49.0

Passing Game Thoughts: Jared Goff is coming off of the biggest passing yardage game of his career as he threw for 517 yards against the Buccaneers, but the hype on him as a fantasy asset continues to dwindle. Sure, the high yardage performance was great from a fantasy standpoint, but Goff threw three interceptions in the contest, fumbled once, and finished with only two touchdown passes, leaving his fantasy owners with barely a 20-point fantasy day. Presuming that he and the Rams aren’t always going to fall behind by multiple scores early in games, Goff’s fantasy output has become surprisingly shaky since he was one of the hottest fantasy QBs through the first half of the 2018 season.

On a positive note for the Rams passing game, Robert Woods finally got things going in Week 4 as he caught a team-high 13 passes for 164 yards on 15 targets. He failed to get into the end zone and still hasn’t found paydirt in the 2019 season but things are certainly looking up for him after a disappointing start to the season.

Brandin Cooks remains relatively consistent, but hasn’t really shown off his high ceiling. Cooks has, however, finished with at least 13 PPR fantasy points in three straight games and he’s been targeted 21 times over the past two weeks, a number which should continue to give his fantasy owners some confidence to start him as a low-end WR2 or at least a Flex play going forward.

The top receiver on the Rams continues to be Cooper Kupp, who appears to be fully recovered from the season-ending injury he suffered in 2018. Kupp has now gone over 100 receiving yards in three straight contests, he’s scored three times in that span and he has been targeted at least nine times in every game. That type of volume, even in an offense that’s been disappointing thus far, has allowed Kupp to be elevated to WR1 territory for fantasy purposes.

This unit does have an interesting matchup as they head on the road to face the Seahawks on a short week in what should be a loud and hostile environment. Seattle surprisingly got lit up in Week 1 by Andy Dalton and the Bengals, but they’ve since been excellent against opposing passing games, holding the Steelers, Saints and Cardinals to just over 200 passing yards on average per game.

The Rams passing game is quite a bit more potent than any of those teams so we should expect better success for this unit, but it’s also important to consider that it’s very unlikely that Goff throws the ball nearly 70 times again this week. He hadn’t thrown the ball more than 40 times in any of his previous three games and rumors are that the Rams are looking to get back to their running game a bit more, which would obviously limit Goff’s pass attempts and thus the targets for the Rams wide receivers.

If you’re debating on which Rams receiver to start, Kupp seems to be in line for the best right now. He’s seeing the most consistent target share and he’s been incredibly productive with the opportunities he’s had. The Seahawks pass defense has also struggled against opposing slot receivers so far this season. Still, Cooks and Woods continue to be worthy starters for fantasy.

Tight ends Gerald Everett and Tyler Higbee continue to vulture one another’s upside and should be avoided in seasonal formats.

SEA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.15
SEA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.18
SEA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.26
SEA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.16

Running Game Thoughts: Five carries. That’s how many times Todd Gurley was given a handoff in Week 4’s loss to the Buccaneers. Of course, he was wildly productive with those carries, scoring twice wand he also adding a season-high seven receptions for 54 yards, but the fact that Gurley split carries with Malcolm Brown is definitely concerning.

To make matters worse, Gurley will be on the road, facing a defense that has held opposing running backs in check this season, at least in the running game. Only one running back, Alvin Kamara, has rushed for more than 40 yards against Seattle so far this season, and Kamara only got to 69 rushing yards. They haven’t been quite as successful at defending backs in the passing game, however. Kamara added 92 receiving yards against Seattle and David Johnson caught eight passes for 99 yards against them this past week. Even Giovani Bernard had 42 receiving yards against the Seahawks in Week 1.

While the Rams have been rumored to want to get the ball into Gurley’s hands more often, this might not be the best week to do that given the Seahawks’ ability to contain opposing runners. Gurley is still a touchdown threat any time he touches the ball, however, and he appears to be back to getting involved in the passing game so he does have a reasonably high floor, even though his upside might be limited.

Value Meter:
QB1: Jared Goff (low-end)
RB2: Todd Gurley
WR1: Cooper Kupp
WR2: Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods

Passing Game Thoughts: The struggles of the Seattle defense led to Russell Wilson throwing the ball a total of 85 times in Weeks 2 and 3 combined, but that number fell back to Earth this past week as the Seahawks didn’t need to rely on passing the ball to stay in the game against the Cardinals. That meant just 28 pass attempts for Wilson, only 240 passing yards and only one touchdown. It also meant that Wilson only ran the ball twice for seven yards after he compiled 73 rushing yards in Weeks 2 and 3 combined. The reality is that Wilson is essentially game script-dependent. He’s certainly capable of producing high touchdown totals even on less-than-league-average pass attempt numbers, but that’s not the recipe for big fantasy days.

Thankfully, the Seahawks do face an opposing team that has shown that it’s capable of putting plenty of points on the board. That should force Wilson and the Seahawks to pass more often than they’d otherwise like to. Thursday night games are often slower-paced, so don’t expect a 50-attempt performance from Wilson.

Still, there should be plenty of opportunities to go around for the Seattle passing game, which should benefit wide receiver Tyler Lockett who had been very productive in Weeks 1 through 3, but was only targeted four times in Week 4. That would seem to be an outlier as Lockett has clearly been the team’s top passing game weapon and is the odds-on favorite to lead the team in targets here in Week 5.

The other receiver who fantasy owners have been interested in with the Seattle offense is rookie D.K. Metcalf, but Metcalf is simply not seeing enough volume to be trusted in seasonal formats at this time. He’s only caught three passes over the past two weeks and that included a 50-attempt game from Wilson in Week 3.

Tight end Will Dissly has become a hot add off of waivers, but his production seems rather fluky at this point. He has just 181 receiving yards this season but he’s already scored four times, including against the Cardinals this past week who have become almost comically bad at defending opposing tight ends. The Rams did allow Vance McDonald to score twice in Week 2, but they’ve otherwise been excellent against opposing tight ends this season, holding all opposing tight ends to just 166 total receiving yards in 2019. Dissly is being utilized enough to be a low-end starter, but don’t expect this type of touchdown rate to continue.

LAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.25
LAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.8
LAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.21
LAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.19

Running Game Thoughts: Chris Carson likely got back in the good graces of his coaches this past week as he toted the rock 22 times for 104 yards, adding a four catches for 41 yards in the passing game as well. While he failed to get into the end zone, it was by far Carson’s most productive day from a yardage standpoint this season.

The question about Carson has to do with his overall volume. With Rashaad Penny now healthy enough to suit up on Thursday and C.J. Prosise seeing touches as well, particularly as a pass catcher, it seems likely that this goes back to being at least some sort of timeshare. That still could mean 15 or more touches per week for Carson, however, as he’s seen at least 15 carries in every game this season and that’s before his receiving numbers.

Carson is a low-end RB1 this week and likely until we see enough of his touches go to other players that we can no longer justify trusting him. For now, though, the volume gives Carson both a high weekly floor and a reasonably high ceiling to go along with it.

Value Meter:
QB1: Russell Wilson
RB1: Chris Carson
WR2: Tyler Lockett (high-end)
TE1: Will Dissly
Bench: Rashaad Penny, C.J. Prosise, D.K. Metcalf, David Moore, Jaron Brown

Prediction: Seahawks 24, Rams 21 ^ Top

Jaguars @ Panthers - (Green)
Line: CAR -3.5
Total: 41.0

Passing Game Thoughts: There's a lot of silliness involved in "Minshew Mania," but the rookie continues to deliver between the lines, passing for 213 yards and two TDs while leading a furious comeback against the Broncos last week. Gardner Minshew (knee) has now thrown seven touchdown passes against only one interception, can run when called upon and demonstrates poise beyond his years. Suffice to say the Jags will have a decision to make whenever Nick Foles (shoulder) is ready to return.

With the better part of four games to analyze, it certainly appears that D.J. Chark (19-321-3) and Dede Westbrook (16-145-1) are Minshew's main targets. Chris Conley actually has better season-to-date numbers than Westbrook but has done little over the past two weeks and has been targeted seven fewer times on the season than Chark and Westbrook. Leonard Fournette, last seen ready to kill Cam Robinson after the team hit a game-winning FG, is also well on his way to establishing a new career high in receptions.

Carolina, meanwhile, is coming off their best game defensively and brings the top-rated pass defense in the NFL (156.8 yards allowed per game) into this matchup. I'd expect the Jags to be judicious through the air and focus their efforts on exploiting a middling run defense this Sunday.

CAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.27
CAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.13
CAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.27
CAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.29

Running Game Thoughts: That run defense, currently ranked 24th at 130.8 YPG, figures to get a healthy dose of Fournette, who torched Denver for 225 yards on 29 carries for a whopping 7.8 yards per carry. He has looked much more like the bell cow Jacksonville envisioned when they selected him in the first round, and the team will surely look to feature him heavily again this weekend.

Don't be shocked to see a bit more of Ryquell Armstead, though, after he accounted for 49 total yards and a score against the Broncos. He represents another possible weapon on a team that doesn't have many stabled ones.

Value Meter:
QB2: Gardner Minshew (low-end; assuming his knee isn't really a problem)
RB1: Leonard Fournette
WR3: D.J. Chark
Bench: Dede Westbrook, Ryquell Armstead, Nick Folk (shoulder)

Passing Game Thoughts: Life against the Texans wasn't nearly as easy for Kyle Allen as it was against Arizona as he threw for just 232 yards and no TDs while turning the ball over three times on fumbles. With Cam Newton (foot) off smoking cigars and making vlogs, however, it's Allen's show once again in Week 5. At their best, Jacksonville could make life difficult for Allen, but they're wildly inconsistent and prone to breakdowns.

Last week, Carolina's entire offense flowed through Christian McCaffrey, who racked up 37 combined touches, including catching all 10 of his targeted passes. You can bet the Jags will look to limit his opportunities and force some combination of D.J. Moore, Curtis Samuel and Greg Olsen to beat them. Since Allen took over, Samuel has been targeted 14 times, more than Olsen (11) and twice that of Moore (7).

Jacksonville's ability to lock down the outside receivers could hinge on whether or not Jalen Ramsey (back) is in the lineup to pair with A.J. Bouye. Even with all the nonsense that's a top-flight tandem, and if they can single-cover Moore and Samuel it will help the Jags divert more resources to slowing McCaffrey.

JAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.11
JAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.26
JAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.8
JAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.12

Running Game Thoughts: Backups Reggie Bonnafon and Jordan Scarlett have combined for two carries through the season's first month, while McCaffrey's 86 carries lead the NFL; McCaffrey is also 11th in the league in receptions (25). Jacksonville is 14th in yards per carry allowed (4.1) and 13th in yards (99.5). That's respectable, but it's nowhere near enough to make Carolina consider any gameplan other than getting McCaffrey the ball as often as possible.

Value Meter:
RB1: Christian McCaffrey
WR3: D.J. Moore
Flex: Curtis Samuel
TE1: Greg Olsen
Bench: Cam Newton (foot), Kyle Allen

Prediction: Panthers 19, Jaguars 17 ^ Top

Cardinals @ Bengals - (Swanson)
Line: CIN -3.5
Total: 47.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Kyler Murray’s first four games in the National Football League were a mixed bag of impressive performances along with head-scratching rookie mistakes. Multiple times this season, including on the road against a tough Ravens team, Murray showed remarkable arm strength and accuracy that made him a first-round pick in both the NFL and Major League Baseball.

The former OU start also showed his elite speed and athleticism with 69 rushing yards against the Panthers Week 3 and his first career rushing touchdown against Seattle last Sunday.

Murray also continues to force plays with his feet when nothing is there, often resulting in sacks for significant losses that keep the offense well behind the chains. He also is tied for 6th in the league with four interceptions in four games.

Owners who drafted Murray hoping for monster performances should be licking their chops this week with the Cardinals taking on a Bengals team that ranks 16th in fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks. If Mason Rudolph can throw two touchdowns against the Bengals, chances are Kyler Murray can as well.

Tyler Locket, Marquise Goodwin, and Diontae Johnson each have long touchdown receptions on broken coverage against a Bengals secondary that continues to struggle with downfield deep crosses and other plays designed to create confusion. Look for Kliff Kingsbury to design plays to take advantage of this issue plaguing the Bengals.

An ankle injury late to Christian Kirk in the loss to the Seahawks could limit the ability of the Cardinals to stretch the field. With Kirk out of the lineup against Cincinnati, look for KeeSean Johnson to take an increased roll in the offense. Andy Isabella could also see more snaps, but playing on the outside, he is a bit of a long shot for fantasy owners.

David Johnson in the passing game is going to be a big factor in this matchup. Only the Texans have allowed more receptions to running backs than the Bengals, and no team has allowed more receiving yards out of the backfield.

Johnson recorded a season-high eight catches for 99 yards last week against the Seahawks and will once again be a favorite target for Murray.

CIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.16
CIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.2
CIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.25
CIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.23

Running Game Thoughts: A subpar offensive line for the Cardinals has David Johnson once again posting disappointing rushing numbers. Johnson’s 3.7 yard per carry average is right on par with his numbers from last season.

Another area of concern for Johnson is the fact that he has averaged 11 rushes per game this season and is on pace for a pedestrian 188 carries on the year. He is making up for that volume in the passing game, and receptions are far more valuable for fantasy than rushing attempts. But it is still disappointing that negative game scrips continue to limit his carries with the Cardinals chasing points.

Perhaps this will be the breakout rushing game for Johnson, as only the Dolphins allow more fantasy points to running backs than the Bengals in 2019. A whopping seven different running backs in four games have managed to top 10 fantasy points, including both Jaylen Samuels and James Conner topping 14 points on Monday Night Football.

Value Meter:
QB1: Kyler Murray (Low-End)
RB2: David Johnson
WR2: Larry Fitzgerald
WR4: KeeSean Johnson (Low-End)

Passing Game Thoughts: Injuries to three starters and an abrupt retirement by former guard Clint Boling made many fantasy analysts sour on Cincinnati Bengals offensive skill position players in 2018, for fear that Andy Dalton would not have time to throw the ball and Joe Mixon would not have room to run.

Through four games of the season, those fears appear to be well-founded, as Dalton has been sacked an average of 4.8 times per game. Coincidently, only Kyler Murray, his opponent for the week, has been sacked more than the Red Rifle.

When you add in the fact that the Cardinals ranked 10th in the league in forced sacks, Dalton could be in for another long day this week against Arizona.

On a positive note, if Dalton does have enough time to scan the field for a receiver, chances are the receiver is running wide open against a secondary that allows the third-most points to opposing quarterbacks. Only the Dolphins and the Saints have allowed point points to quarterbacks, with Matthew Stafford, Lamar Jackson, and Kyle Allen combined to average 31 points per game vs. the Cardinals.

The high ceiling that Dalton possesses this week based on his opponent, the fact that he is playing at home and not on primetime, and the likelihood of a shootout between two bad defenses, has Dalton ranked as one of the best streaming options this week.

One knock to Dalton’s value is the loss of wide receiver John Ross to a shoulder injury. Ross, the second-leading receiver on the team, was placed on IR for the injury sustained on Monday Night against the Steelers.

The loss of Ross will likely me more targets for Auden Tate, who played on 91% of snaps against Pittsburgh. Speedy wide receiver Damion Willis is likely the biggest beneficiary of the injury to Ross, as Willis’ snap percentage last week was just 35%.

I want to recommend playing a tight end against the Cardinals, as everyone and their second cousin has managed to score a touchdown against the league’s worst pass defense. But Tyler Eifert and C.J Uzomah continue to have the same snap percentage of around 42%, while Drew Sample saw his snap percentage jump to a season-high 30% last week. One of these guys is going to score a touchdown. Choosing which one, and having the intestinal fortitude to start them is another thing.

ARI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.3
ARI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.17
ARI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.22
ARI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.1

Running Game Thoughts: Joe Mixon enters Week 5, ranked as the No.37 running back in fantasy football. After posting an impressive 4.9 yard per carry average and a career-best nine total touchdowns in 2018, Mixon has averaged a pedestrian 3.2 yards per attempt this season behind a dreadful offensive line.

There are no holes to be found, and when Mixon does break a big run, more than not, it seems like the play gets called back for a holding penalty. To make matters worse, Mixon’s 11 catches in four games has him on a slower pace than last season when he caught 43 balls for 296 yards and a score, and his yard per reception average is down nearly two full yards.

Mixon owners know full well that he has been awful for fantasy this season. But they also know that benching their second-round pick at home against the Cardinals is not an option.

Arizona ranks 17th overall in fantasy points allowed to running backs, with Christian McCaffrey and Chris Carson each reaching 100 rushing yards in the previous two games. Although the Cardinals shut down the running back stable of the Ravens, the success of Carolina and Seattle brings some hope that Mixon could have a decent day.

One area that Arizona has snot struggled is defending receiving backs. No opposing running back has scored a touchdown or topped 41 receiving yards. If Mixon is going to score a touchdown this week, it will likely need to come on the ground.

Value Meter:
QB1: Andy Dalton (High-End)
RB1: Joe Mixon (Low-End)
WR2: Tyler Boyd (High-End)
WR3: Auden Tate (Low-End)
TE2: Tyler Eifert (High-End)

Prediction: Cincinnati 34, Arizona 28 ^ Top

Falcons @ Texans - (Green)
Line: HOU -5.0
Total: 48.5

Passing Game Thoughts: After last week's uninspired loss to the Titans, we've officially reached the point of the season when Dan Quinn has to answer questions about his job security. Atlanta's 1-3 start has been ugly, and some of the blame has to be laid at the feet of Matt Ryan. Despite ranking second in the NFL in passing yardage (1,325), Ryan hasn't moved the offense when it matters, and after losing a fumble last Sunday he has now turned the ball over seven times. That's unacceptable.

Talent certainly isn't the issue with Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, Mohamed Sanu and Austin Hooper comprising a foursome almost any team in the league would be envious of. At this point, Hooper (28-307-2) has joined Jones (23-317-4) as weekly starts—it could be a nice bounce back game for Jones, who was quiet in Week 4, as the Texans have been victimized by elite receivers, most recently Keenan Allen, who had 183 yards receiving and two scores back in Week 3.

By far the tougher situation to read on a weekly basis is Ridley and Sanu. After a strong start, Ridley has accounted for just four catches and 38 yards over the past two weeks. In comparison, Sanu has logged 15 receptions for 166 yards in that time. Against the 21st ranked pass defense (259 YPG), which just signed 38-year-old Mike Adams, I think Ridley is still the superior option, but it's getting awfully tight.

HOU FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.21
HOU FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.14
HOU FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.14
HOU FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.32

Running Game Thoughts: Part of the reason Ryan is second in passing is that Atlanta can't run the football with only five teams averaging fewer yards per game on the ground than the Falcons' 70.3. Houston has not been great against the run, allowing 4.8 yards per carry, but I'm skeptical that Devonta Freeman (3.3 YPC) or Ito Smith, who scored the team's lone TD last week, are going to be able to take advantage.

One caveat to that, Freeman could do work as a receiver. He caught eight passes for 72 yards last week while the Texans were allowing Christian McCaffrey to log 10 catches for 86 yards in a home loss to Carolina. That gives Freeman some upside.

Value Meter:
QB1: Matt Ryan
RB2/RB3: Devonta Freeman
WR1: Julio Jones
WR3: Calvin Ridley (low-end)
Flex: Mohamed Sanu (low-end)
TE1: Austin Hooper
Bench: Ito Smith

Passing Game Thoughts: Houston continued its Jekyll and Hyde routine last Sunday, scoring just 10 points against Carolina. Deshaun Watson absorbed six more sacks, bringing his season total to 18, and threw for a paltry 160 yards and no scores. It was Watson's second dismal showing in the last three weeks, but he has a chance to get healthy against a Falcons secondary that managed to make Marcus Mariota look like a star. That's not an easy thing to do.

Statistically, Atlanta's pass defense ranks sixth in the NFL, but don't be fooled. They're still "benefitting" from Minnesota running roughshod and only throwing 10 times back in Week 1. And last week was the first game sans Keanu Neal after he tore his Achilles'. If the Falcons can make A.J. Brown and Corey Davis look like stars, imagine what a legit stud like DeAndre Hopkins can do, especially coming off some quiet games.

On the other side, this could be a big week for Will Fuller, who figures to step into a bigger role if Kenny Stills isn't ready to go after suffering a hamstring injury against the Panthers. Fuller appeared to be losing ground to Stills in the pecking order, but if Stills is inactive there's a drop down to oft-injured Keke Coutee or whoever else they'd roll out there. Also of note, TE Jordan Akins' recent involvement bears watching.

ATL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.14
ATL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.19
ATL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.13
ATL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.26

Running Game Thoughts: Both Carlos Hyde (16 touches for 64 yards) and Duke Johnson (8 for 78) were effective against Carolina, though it feels like Bill O'Brien is still searching for the right mix with that tandem. Atlanta makes teams earn it on the ground, allowing 3.7 yards per carry on the year—that was the identical mark for Derrick Henry last week when it took 27 rushes to reach 100 yards. This sure feels like a game where the going will be easier for Watson and the passing attack.

Value Meter:
QB1: Deshaun Watson
RB3: Carlos Hyde
WR1: DeAndre Hopkins
WR3: Will Fuller (low-end)
Flex: Duke Johnson
Bench: Kenny Stills (hamstring), Keke Coutee, Jordan Akins

Prediction: Texans 31, Falcons 27 ^ Top

Buccaneers @ Saints - (Green)
Line: NO -3.0
Total: 47.0

Passing Game Thoughts: Tampa Bay hung a 50 burger on the defending NFC Champion Rams last week, winning a 55-40 shootout. As you'd suspect, Jameis Winston had a big day, passing for 385 yards and four touchdowns (well, five if you count the pick-six he threw to Marcus Peters). Outside of the Peters pick that was Winston and Bruce Arians at their best with big shots to Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Consistency has eluded Winston throughout his career, however, so my radar is up for a letdown.

Whether or not the Saints are capable of holding Evans and Godwin in check remains to be seen. New Orleans was excellent defensively against Dallas and Seattle (outside of some major garbage time yardage), but Evans toasted Marshon Lattimore to the tune of 233 yards and a score in two meetings last season. P.J. Williams figures to draw Godwin on most downs, which should be advantage: Godwin.

It's clear that the Saints have a different formula for success without Drew Brees, and part of that is controlling the clock and attacking defensively, so don't expect a repeat of Tampa Bay's last visit to the Superdome when they upset the Saints, 48-40. Still, I do like the Bucs passing game in this matchup.

NO FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.2
NO FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.27
NO FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.5
NO FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.15

Running Game Thoughts: After four games it's tough to figure out exactly where Peyton Barber (53 carries for 182 yards) and Ronald Jones (50 for 234) stand. Barber has tended to get the early work while Jones has seen more of the second-half touches. It's possible that the current division of labor continues, though it's pretty clear that Jones has more talent and, as a result, more upside. As such, fantasy owners looking ahead should value Jones ahead of Barber.

New Orleans ranks 20th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed (112 per game), but don't tell Ezekiel Elliott that after they held him to 35 yards on 18 carries; they also held Chris Carson to 52 yards on 15 carries the week before. This looks like a tough test for the Bucs running game.

Value Meter:
QB1: Jameis Winston (low-end)
Flex: Peyton Barber
Flex: Ronald Jones
WR1: Mike Evans
WR1/WR2: Chris Godwin
Bench: O.J. Howard

Passing Game Thoughts: Play defense, shorten the game and don't turn the ball over. Minus Brees, that's the formula the Saints have used to go 2-0 under the guidance of Teddy Bridgewater. It hasn't been a particularly exciting brand of football with the Saints averaging 185 yards passing in Bridgewater's two starts. About the only chance this changes in Week 5 is if Tampa Bay gets out to a big lead and forces Sean Payton to abandon his conservative approach.

New Orleans could get Tre'Quan Smith (ankle) back after a two-game absence, though with Bridgewater as the triggerman the passing game runs through Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara. Others, such as Josh Hill, Ted Ginn Jr. and Jared Cook are good for a catch or two, and it seems likely that Smith would end up being grouped in with that bunch than being a clear-cut third option.

In terms of matchups, the Bucs are as tasty as they get. Only the Eagles have allowed more passing yards per game this season than the Buccaneers (318.3) despite matchups with first-time starter Daniel Jones and a one-legged Cam Newton. If there were ever a week for Bridgewater to put up Brees-esque numbers this could be the one.

TB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.7
TB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.30
TB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.9
TB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.2

Running Game Thoughts: In two seasons partnering with Kamara, Mark Ingram averaged nearly 16 touches per game to Kamara's 15.4. Through four weeks, the Kamara to Latavius Murray split is 19.8 touches per game for Kamara and 5.3 for Murray. That's not a great return on investment for the four-year, $14.4 million contract they handed the former Viking in free agency.

I thought the switch to Bridgewater would mean more running and more Murray. To date, it's been a continuation of the Alvin Kamara Show. Against a Bucs defense that ranks first in the NFL against the run—though at least in part because they're so bad against the pass—I don't expect that to change.

Value Meter:
QB2: Teddy Bridgewater (low-end)
RB1: Alvin Kamara
WR1: Michael Thomas
Bench: Drew Brees (thumb), Latavius Murray, Ted Ginn Jr, Jared Cook, Tre'Quan Smith (ankle)

Prediction: Saints 30, Buccaneers 20 ^ Top

Vikings at Giants - (Katz)
Line: MIN -5.0
Total: 44.5

Passing Game Thoughts: The Vikings’ passing game is in complete disarray right now with Adam Thielen calling out the passing attack or lack thereof. Mike Zimmer is taking one of the most talented rosters in the league and reducing it to ash. Cousins has attempted 99 passes through four games, which extrapolates to fewer than 400 on the season. For a team that possess the best wide receiver duo in the NFL, that’s criminal.

This is a game the Vikings are certainly capable of losing because they refuse to exploit the Giants’ disastrous secondary. Their fantasy points against stats are skewed by the embarrassment that was the combination of Case Keenum and Dwayne Haskins last week. Over their first three games, the Giants allowed at least four touchdowns to opponents. If Zimmer wants to win this game, he will let Cousins air it out to Diggs and Thielen. The two have seen just 19 and 22 targets on the season respectively. We know the talent is there. The question is whether Cousins is allowed to throw this week. The matchup couldn’t be much better.

NYG FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.5
NYG FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.15
NYG FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.4
NYG FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.14

Running Game Thoughts: In a season where there are seldom few elite RB1s, Dalvin Cook finds himself amongst the best of the best. He looks as healthy and explosive as ever. Cook has scored in every game this season and only the Bears’ elite defense has shut him down. The Giants have only allowed the 17th most fantasy points to opposing running backs, but that number is skewed by having not faced a team with a particularly good running back. The Giants are not going to contain Cook. He should smash once again, especially given his involvement in the passing game with 4.5 targets a game.

Value Meter:
QB2: Kirk Cousins (high end – if not this week, then when?)
RB1: Dalvin Cook (high end)
WR2: Adam Thielen
WR2: Stefon Diggs
Bench: Kyle Rudolph, Alexander Mattison

Passing Game Thoughts: After exploding onto the scene, Daniel Jones took a step back in a very easy matchup against the Redskins. He dinked and dunked all game, yet still managed to throw two ill-advised interceptions. Jones is up to five interceptable passes on the season, which is concerning given that he’s played in just two games. The matchup is not ideal against a staunch Vikings’ defense that has allowed the 11th fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks and 15th fewest to opposing wide receivers.

With Golden Tate set to return, that could push Sterling Shepard to the outside, where he will see a bunch of Xavier Rhodes. It remains to be seen how Tate’s return impacts the target distribution. Evan Engram has been averaging 9.2 targets a game and has commanded a 23.7% target share. He should remain the primary option even with Tate back. There’s a justifiable fear that Shepard sees his target share drop, but Tate should just monopolize the targets going to ancillary options. Rhett Ellison, Darius Slayton, and Bennie Fowler combined for eight targets last week. If those type of targets are consolidated by Tate, Shepard and Engram can both retain their value. This is a tough matchup for the Giants, making it best to take a wait and see approach if you can afford to do so.

MIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.23
MIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.24
MIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.16
MIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.22

Running Game Thoughts: In the first game of the post Saquon Barkley era, Wayne Gallman played 60% of the snaps, which seems a bit discouraging with Jon Hilliman handling 10 carries, but many of those were late in the game. Gallman was used similar to Barkley, albeit without the explosiveness. He saw seven targets, which provides him with an excellent PPR floor. The Vikings allow just 3.7 yards per carry and have only allowed one rushing touchdown on the season. The matchup limits Gallman’s ceiling, but the floor should be there with Jones checking it down a lot.

Value Meter:
RB2: Wayne Gallman (low end)
WR3: Sterling Shepard
TE1: Evan Engram (high end)
Flex: Golden Tate
Bench: Saquon Barkley (ankle), Daniel Jones

Prediction: Vikings 23, Giants 18 ^ Top

Bears @ Raiders (London) - (Caron)
Line: CHI -5.5
Total: 40.5

Passing Game Thoughts: WIth Mitchell Trubisky trending toward being out in Sunday’s game, the Bears will turn to backup quarterback Chase Daniel. Daniel took over for Trubisky early in the team’s Week 4 victory over the Vikings, completing 22 of his 30 pass attempts for 195 yards and a touchdown. While Daniel threw the ball to quite a few different receivers, the leader in targets was the same as it was under Trubisky - Allen Robinson. Robinson caught all seven on his targets from Daniel for 77 yards and while he failed to get into the end zone, fantasy owners should feel confident that he’s going to continue to be the leading fantasy option in this passing game. Robinson should remain a viable WR2 in all formats and he has a great matchup this week against a mediocre Oakland secondary.

Taylor Gabriel (concussion) has been ruled out again this week after missing Week 4’s contest. He’ll look to get back into the lineup in Week 7 as the Bears will be off with a bye in Week 6.

With the other receivers in this passing game not having done much this season and the relatively low passing volume, don’t look for other options to fill your lineup slots in this offense. Even tight end Trey Burton, who plays a position that’s practically completely devoid of talent, is at best a mid-tier TE2 right now as he has not finished with more than 20 yards in any game, hasn’t scored a touchdown and hasn’t been targeted more than four times in any game.

OAK FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.9
OAK FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.20
OAK FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.6
OAK FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.3

Running Game Thoughts: The David Montgomery backfield takeover appears to be taking place in Chicago as the rookie back has now significantly out-touched Mike Davis and Tarik Cohen - combined - in three straight contests. Montgomery’s 24 total touches in Week 4 were tied for sixth-most at the position and that should give fantasy owners plenty of confidence heading into Week 5’s contest against the Raiders.

Oakland has actually been fairly good at containing opposing running backs this season as only only Minnesota’s duo of Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison have scored touchdowns against them and only those two, along with Denver’s Phillip Lindsay, have gone over 50 rushing yards against the Raiders. Still, Oakland hasn’t faced particularly efficient backfields, aside from Minnesota’s who ran all over them, so don’t be too worried by the matchup. The Bears will almost certainly lean heavily on Montgomery this week with their quarterback situation looking shaky.

Fellow running back Tarik Cohen is the only other player in this backfield who should be given any fantasy consideration at the moment, but even his usage isquestionable. He’s not even being lined up in the backfield on most snaps and he’s only caught two passes in each of his past three contests. While he did catch Daniel’s only touchdown pass this past week, he’s seeing less than 10 total touches per week on average and that’s just not enough to be usable in anything other than the deepest of PPR leagues.

Value Meter:
RB2: David Montgomery
WR2: Allen Robinson
Bench: Chase Daniel, Tarik Cohen, Mike Davis, Taylor Gabriel, Javon Wims, Anthony Miller, Trey Burton

Passing Game Thoughts: We didn’t go into the 2019 season with high expectations for Raiders quarterback Derek Carr and things certainly didn’t look better when Antonio Brown was ousted from the team, so we shouldn’t be surprised that Carr is currently ranked outside the top 20 at his position in fantasy scoring so far this season. That he’s, at best, a borderline QB2 in good matchups and a contest against a defense like Chicago’s is certainly not a good matchup. Avoid him.

We care about two players in the Oakland passing game - wide receiver Tyrell Williams and tight end Darren Waller. What’s interesting is that these players are almost polar opposites when it comes to how they’re producing their fantasy points. While Waller has been unlucky in some ways given that he hasn’t yet scored a touchdown despite having at least six catches and 53 yards in all four games, Williams is somehow the only receiver in the league who has scored a touchdown in all four games despite having been held to under 50 yards in three straight games.

At this point, Waller is a borderline elite TE1. We know that the position is terrible beyond the top few players, but Waller’s usage has elevated him into the “non-terrible” category and that’s absolutely worth something for fantasy purposes. Not needing to play the tight end roulette wheel on a weekly basis is extremely valuable and Waller should continue to produce TE1 numbers this week even against a tough Chicago defense given that he is being targeted as often as he is.

Williams, on the other hand, is a player who we can begin to question starting at least in leagues where we’re strong at the wide receiver position. He hasn’t seen more than seven targets in any game and while he’s scored in all four games, that rate of scoring is simply not sustainable. Bet on him being held out of the end zone for the first time this season which would make him only a borderline WR3/Flex play in most leagues.

CHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.26
CHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.28
CHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.23
CHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.21

Running Game Thoughts: The Raiders continue to use rookie running back Josh Jacobs in a very similar fashion to how they used Marshawn Lynch in recent seasons - heavy rushing attempts but practically nothing through the passing game. Jacobs has only been targeted a total of five times in four games, which is among the lowest rates among starting running backs throughout the league. He did have a decent pass catching profile coming out of college so this should tell us that the decision to not use Jacobs in the passing game is not necessarily based on his skills, but rather based on the offensive system and thus us it’s not likely to change anytime soon.

Still, Jacobs has carried the ball an average of 15.5 times per game and that volume alone makes him a decent enough RB2 in most weeks, especially in standard scoring leagues. However, this week is not a normal week as the Raiders host perhaps the league’s best defense, the Chicago Bears. The Bears have dominated opposing running games this season, including holding Aaron Jones to just 39 rushing yards, Phillip Lindsay to just 36 yards and this past week they shut down the NFL’s leading rusher, Dalvin Cook, holding him to just 35 rushing yards. In fact, where the Bears have been vulnerable to opposing running backs is actually in the passing game, which we’ve established does not exactly benefit Jacobs. Given the tough matchup, Jacobs moves down to being a high-end Flex option in standard leagues and a mid-to-low-level Flex option in PPR leagues.

Value Meter:
TE1: Darren Waller
Flex: Josh Jacobs, Tyrell Williams
Bench: Derek Carr, DeAndre Washington, Jalen Richard, Hunter Renfrow, Foster Moreau

Prediction: Chicago 23, Oakland 17 ^ Top

Jets at Eagles - (Katz)
Line: PHI -14.0
Total: 44.0

Passing Game Thoughts: I waited as long as possible to write this as we await final word on Sam Darnold’s status. The latest Thursday update was not very encouraging. If Darnold needs to wear protective padding to make sure his spleen doesn’t rupture, he probably shouldn’t be playing. I’m pretty confident we’re getting one more week of Luke Falk, which means holster your Robby Andersons and Jamison Crowders. The Eagles have struggled against the pass, allowing 323.8 passing yards per game and nine passing touchdowns. None of that matters against Falk, who should not be starting NFL games. If you have to start a Jets’ receiver, Crowder is the preferred option as Falk constantly looks to check it down, but your best path is to avoid this offense.

PHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.4
PHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.29
PHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.1
PHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.9

Running Game Thoughts: Le’Veon Bell posted RB1 numbers in Weeks 1 and 2, but struggled to get anything going as heavy underdogs against the Patriots in Week 3. It’s that Week 3 game that parallels this matchup better than the first two. The Jets are 15 point underdogs in Philly and will likely be operating with their third string quarterback. The volume is guaranteed for Bell, but even 25 touches may not help with the team incapable of sustaining drives. Bell has virtually no touchdown upside and the Eagles allow just 3.2 yards per carry. With the Jets sporting a bad offensive line and no offensive firepower outside of Bell himself, this is more of a floor week as he will still matriculate catches. Bell is bust proof, but the ceiling is lacking in this one.

Value Meter:
RB1: Le’Veon Bell (low end)
Bench: Sam Darnold, Jamison Crowder, Robby Anderson

Passing Game Thoughts: Through four games, Carson Wentz has been a mediocre fantasy quarterback. As two touchdown home favorites against the Jets, there should be plenty of points to be scored. The question is how much Wentz will actually have to throw? He attempted just 27 passes against the Packers last week and threw for just 160 yards. The Eagles will be without DeSean Jackson, leaving Alshon Jeffery and Zach Ertz to soak up all the targets. Nelson Agholor saw just one target last week. He would need both Jackson and Jeffery to miss to be relevant. Jeffery will see a lot of Trumaine Johnson, who just isn’t very good anymore. Johnson allows 1.55 fantasy points per target.

The Jets have only allowed four passing touchdowns on the season, but they have already had their bye. The Jets have actually been staunch against the tight end, but Ertz is not your typical tight end. He will do his usual compiling underneath. The only concern for the Eagles’ passing attack is if they get a huge lead early and just sit on it with the run game.

NYJ FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.10
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.12
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.3
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.31

Running Game Thoughts: Let’s not overreact too much to Jordan Howard’s RB3 performance against the Packers. Howard did touch the ball a season high 18 games, but he still has played just 30.2% of the offensive snaps. The encouraging part is his six red zone carries. Darren Sproles was relegated to distant third stringer, which bolsters the fantasy values of Howard and Miles Sanders. It’s been roughly an even split between Sanders and Howard. With the Eagles likely to be nursing a big lead, both backs should have their fair share of opportunities. The Jets only allow 3.6 yards per carry, but they’ve surrendered four rushing scores in just three games. The Eagles are a good bet to punch at least one in on the ground, making both Howard and Sanders viable options.

Value Meter:
QB1: Carson Wentz (low end)
WR3: Alshon Jeffery
TE1: Zach Ertz (high end)
Flex: Jordan Howard, Miles Sanders
Bench: DeSean Jackson, Darren Sproles

Prediction: Eagles 24, Jets 10 ^ Top

Ravens @ Steelers - (Swanson)
Line: BAL -3.5
Total: 44.0

Passing Game Thoughts: Lamar Jackson enters Sunday’s divisional matchup against the Steelers as the No.1 ranked quarterback in fantasy, with 1,110 passing yards and ten touchdowns, along with a league-leading 238 rushing yards and one touchdown.

The second-year QB is completing 65% of his passes and is on pace to rush for 952 yards and four rushing touchdowns. Owning Jackson so far this season is like owning Matt Ryan and a solid No.2 running back like Phillip Lindsay in one player.

The Ravens enter this road matchup against the Steelers fresh off a surprising home loss to the Browns. Jackson threw for 247 yards and three touchdowns in that game, but he did throw his first two interceptions on the season and a big chunk of his passing yards game in a garbage-time touchdown pass to Willie Snead. It was the first time all season Jackson and the offense struggled to score points.

Although the Steelers did limited Andy Dalton to just nine fantasy points on Monday Night Football, don’t be surprised if Jackson and the Ravens passing offense shreads a Steelers defense that gave up 30 fantasy points to both Tom Brady and Russell Wilson. Dalton struggled because he did not have time to throw the ball behind a terrible offensive line. The Ravens line is far more talented and should give Lamar more than enough time to scan the field and find Hollywood Brown streaking down the field and Mark Andrews in the middle of the defense.

Speaking of Andrews, the No.2 ranked tight end on the season, with 23 catches for 266 wars and three touchdowns, should be considered a strong play this week against a Pittsburgh defense that gave up two touchdowns to Will Dissly in Week 2 and 57 yards to George Kittle the following game. Andrews did miss practice on Wednesday with a lingering foot injury that has bothered him over the past few weeks. His absence can be chalked up to a maintenance day, and he should be good to go on Sunday.

Sunday’s start by Jackson will be the first time the Steelers have faced off against the Ravens’ quarterback, as Jackson took over the starting role last season after the two teams faced off. It will be interesting to see how the outside pass rushers T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree are used to contain the rushing threat of Jackson. Stephon Tuitt, Javon Hargrave, and Cam Heyward will make it difficult to run between the tackles, but Watt and Dupree are going to be key in limiting runs to the outside.

PIT FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.18
PIT FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.7
PIT FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.10
PIT FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.18

Running Game Thoughts: The Ravens rank fifth in the NFL in fantasy points scored by running backs, with Mark Ingram leading the way with 328 yards and five rushing touchdowns on 55 carries. The veteran has yet to top 16 carries in any game, and his receiving totals are negligible. But the carries he does receive have been high-value touches, including ten rushing attempts inside the ten-yard line.

Gus Edwards is second on the team in attempts at the position with 33 carries for 148 yards. His mixed carries inside the 20 are the same number as David Johnson and Alvin Kamara, but he has yet to score a touchdown and continues to be a wait and see player who would become extremely valuable should Ingram go down.

Look for the Ravens to continue to pound the rock and try to take advantage of a Steelers team that allows the 7th-most points to opposing running backs. Both the 49ers and the Seahawks rushed for well over 100 yards against this unit, and even Joe Mixon, behind arguably the league’s worst offensive line, managed 62 yards on the ground.

An injury to watch for the Steelers is Cam Heyward, who missed practice on Wednesday with a quad injury. He is likely going to play, but if he is limited or cannot go on Sunday, the Ravens run game between the tackles would get a bit of a boost.

Value Meter:
QB1: Lamar Jackson (High-End)
RB1: Mark Ingram (Low-End)
WR3: Marquise Brown (High-End)
WR4: Willie Snead (Low-End)
TE1: Mark Andrews (High-End)

Passing Game Thoughts: The Steelers drafted quarterback Mason Rudolph in the third round of the 2018 NFL draft to presumably be the heir apparent to Ben Roethlisberger when Big Ben finally hangs up his cleats. Rudolph threw for 13,618 passing yards and 92 touchdowns for the Oklahoma State Cowboys, including nearly 5000 yards in 13 games as a senior.

Although Rudolph has proven over his college resume that he is well capable of throwing the ball downfield, the Steelers coaching staff clearly do not think he is ready to air it out in the NFL, as evident to their game plan of running the wild cat and other gimmicky plays against the Bengals on Monday Night Football.

Rudolph threw the ball just 28 times but completed 24 of those passes for 29 yards. For the second consecutive week, he did connect with Diontae Johnson on a long touchdown pass, giving hope to Johnson owners that the connection between the two may be growing.

But for the other pass-catching options on the team, the dink and dunk passing offense and wildcat plays with Jaylen Samuels limit the upside for fantasy production.

JuJu Smith-Schuster, a favorite breakout candidate in the fantasy community entering the season, has just 17 catches for 258 yards and a touchdown this season. He has yet to post a single game of 10 or more targets, he has not broken the century mark in yards in any game, and his one touchdown on the season was someone fluky against the 49ers. Without that td catch, Smith-Schuster would be ranked well out of the top 50 at the wide receiver position over the first month of play.

You are going to start Smith-Schuster because of the draft capital used to get him and the fact that he is technically the No.1 receiving option on the team. Just don’t be surprised if the Steelers try to limit Rudolph’s throws again this week and try to take a page out of the Browns’ playbook from last week and run the ball against a Baltimore defense hurting in the trenches.

Tight End Vance McDonald missed practice again on Thursday with a shoulder injury. McDonald is unlikely to play this week, with Nick Vannett listed as the only uninjured tight end on the roster.

BAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.19
BAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.6
BAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.11
BAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.11

Running Game Thoughts: The good news for James Conner owners is their first-round pick came through with 18.5 fantasy points and 125 total yards and a score against the Bengals on Monday Night Football. It was the first time Conner has reached 100 combined yards on the season, and the first time the team made a conscious effort to get him the ball in the passing game.

The bad news is fellow running back Jaylen Samuels carried the ball the same number of times (10) as Conner and posted the same number of catches (8). Samuels’ snap count, somewhat artificially inflated because of his wildcat snaps, jumped from 26% to 46% against the Bengals.
Will the team continue to use both players equally this week against the Ravens, or will Conner go back to a heavier workload consistent with what Mike Tomlin-led Steelers offenses have done in the past.

The good news for both players is the Ravens allow the 6th-most points to opposing running backs on the season. The Chiefs and the Browns exposed the Ravens to the tune of a combined 306 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns in Weeks 3 & 4.

Conner suffered an ankle injury against the Bengals and was been held out of practice on Thursday. He did return from the injury on Monday and appears as though he will go Week 5, but owners should keep a close eye on his status on Sunday Morning.

Brandon Williams, the stud run-stopping defensive lineman in the middle of the Ravens line was out last week against the Browns and is questionable again this week with a knee injury. Should Williams be out again, Conner and Samuels will find it much easier to run between the tackles.

Value Meter:
QB2: Mason Rudolph (Low-End)
RB2: James Conner (Low-End)
RB3: Jaylen Samuels (High-End)
WR2: JuJu Smith-Schuster (Low-End)
TE1: Vance McDonald (Low-End)

Prediction: Baltimore 24, Pittsburgh 10 ^ Top

Bills @ Titans - (Green)
Line: TEN -3.0
Total: 38.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Much of Buffalo's Week 5 outlook depends on the health of Josh Allen, who sustained a concussion during the team's loss to New England and is currently in the league's protocol. Behind Allen is journeyman Matt Barkley, who has made seven starts since entering the NFL in 2013. If it's Barkley under center look for a very conservative approach with lots of runs and short passes with Buffalo turning to its defense to carry the day.

Through the first month of the season, Buffalo's passing game has been a two-man show with John Brown and Cole Beasley amassing 47 of the team's 88 receptions. Brown is easily the more dynamic of the two, averaging almost 14 yards per catch, and his prospects would likely improve with Allen. Beasley, on the other hand, is the prototypical possession receiver, working underneath coverage. He might get a bump with Barkley at the helm.

Like the Bills, Tennessee wins with defense, having allowed just 15.5 points per game this year, good for fourth in the NFL. They'll do a bit of bending, ranking 14th in passing yards allowed (233.3 per game), but the combo of Malcolm Butler and Logan Ryan doesn't break very often, and that tandem has three INTs this year.

TEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.22
TEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.22
TEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.24
TEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.5

Running Game Thoughts: Continuing to defy Father Time, Frank Gore has rushed for 273 yards (4.5 YPC) and a pair of TDs this season. He could have some company in Week 5 as Devin Singletary (hamstring) might be ready to return after missing the last two games with a hamstring injury. Singletary was highly effective in limited work, and the Bills could definitely use his big-play ability to complement Gore's steady power.

Tennessee sits 15th in rushing yardage allowed to date and is tied for 19th in yards per carry (4.6). If the Bills can deploy both Gore and Singletary, this looks like the area to attack with perhaps a sprinkle of T.J. Yeldon as a receiver out of the backfield. Keep an eye on the injury report for Singletary's condition heading into Sunday.

Value Meter:
RB3/Flex: Frank Gore
WR3: John Brown (low-end)
Flex: Devin Singletary (hamstring), Cole Beasley (in PPR)
Bench: Josh Allen (concussion)

Passing Game Thoughts: A week after it appeared he was on the cusp of being benched for Ryan Tannehill, Marcus Mariota passed for three touchdowns in the first half of the team's 24-10 victory over Atlanta. We've been teased by Mariota before, however, and beating a shorthanded Falcons secondary isn't quite the same as facing a Bills unit that includes Tre'Davious White, Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde. A year ago, Mariota passed for just 129 yards in a Week 5 loss to Buffalo.

Corey Davis (5-91-1 vs ATL) and A.J. Brown (3-94-2) feasted on the outside last week, leaving underneath stalwarts Delanie Walker (1-4-0) and Adam Humphries (2-15-0) out in the cold. Don't expect a repeat of that this Sunday when yards will be at a premium and turnovers will be magnified. After all, the Bills held Tom Brady to 18 of 39 passing for just 150 yards in Week 4—a completion percentage below 50 is almost unheard of from TB12 and that quick-hitting offense.

I'm expecting a lot more looks for Walker and Humphries this week, and you can bet the team isn't thrilled with the lack of production they've received from the latter after handing him big money in free agency. This seems like a game that could get him going as the team looks to protect Mariota and control the clock.

BUF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.30
BUF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.16
BUF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.30
BUF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.30

Running Game Thoughts: Only Christian McCaffrey (86) has more carries this season than Derrick Henry (78), who ground out a hard-fought 100 yards on 27 totes in Week 4. Dion Lewis remains an afterthought. That wasn't the case in the 2018 meeting when Lewis had a dozen carries to Henry's 11. Henry averaged 5.1 YPC in that game and should be a focal point of the offense and Buffalo's defensive gameplan. He's the only surefire offensive play for the Titans this weekend.

Value Meter:
RB1/RB2: Derrick Henry
TE1: Delanie Walker (low-end)
Bench: Marcus Mariota, Corey Davis, A.J. Brown, Adam Humphries, Dion Lewis

Prediction: Bills 16, Titans 13 ^ Top

Patriots at Redskins - (Katz)
Line: NE -15.5
Total: 43.0

Passing Game Thoughts: Last week served as a harsh reminder that we should pump the brakes on Tom Brady returning to elite QB1 status. After facing glorified CFL defenses the first three weeks, Brady went into Buffalo and was stymied by their top five unit. With that being said, it’s back to the CFL for Brady in Week 5 with a trip to Washington where the Redskins have allowed the fourth most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. They’ve also allowed 10 passing touchdowns through just four weeks.

Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon, and Phillip Dorsett all struggled last week, but they all saw consistent targeting. Dorsett led all receivers with nine targets while Edelman and Gordon saw seven each. They should have much more room to operate this week. Josh Norman is a shell of his former self, getting burned on 3.8% of routes run against him, 65th in the league. He is allowing 2.83 fantasy points per target. One of Dorsett or Gordon is a good bet for a long touchdown this week, if not both. As for Edelman, he should continue to rack up receptions underneath and see little resistance for the Redskins’ porous secondary. I feel obligated to mention that Ben Watson returns from suspension this week, but I can’t fathom he will be particularly useful. If he ends up catching a short touchdown, then so be it.

WAS FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.6
WAS FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.11
WAS FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.2
WAS FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.17

Running Game Thoughts: One week after Rex Burkhead led this backfield in carries, he didn’t see a single one. James White saw 10 targets and remains the best option of the running backs. The Redskins allowed six receptions to Wayne Gallman last week.

Sony Michel continues to look like one of the worst running backs in the league. His breakaway run rate remains at 0% and his 0.43 fantasy points per opportunity ranks 90th amongst running backs. The biggest factor playing in Michel’s favor was supposed to be game script, of which his has ranked first in the NFL. He is always a threat to fall in to the end zone, but he’s already proven that even a touchdown isn’t always enough to salvage his fantasy value.

Value Meter:
QB1: Tom Brady (high end)
RB2: James White (mid-range)
WR2: Julian Edelman (high end)
WR2: Josh Gordon (mid-range)
WR3: Phillip Dorsett
Bench: Sony Michel, Rex Burkhead, Ben Watson

Passing Game Thoughts: At the time of this writing, we do not yet know the starting quarterback for the Redskins. Truthfully, it doesn’t matter. In a smash spot against the laughably bad Giants pass defense, the Redskins could only muster up three points. It is entirely likely they don’t score at all against the league’s best defense. The Patriots allow 181.8 passing yards per game and have yet to allow a passing touchdown while recording 10 interceptions. Whether it is Case Keenum, Dwayne Haskins, or Colt McCoy, the man under center is going to have a bad time. The only pass catcher on this team of any relevance is Terry McLaurin. If he is able to return from his hamstring strain, he will be an uninspiring starting option given his lack of touchdown upside this particular week and his likely showdown with Stephon Gilmore. Paul Richardson and Trey Quinn are off the fantasy radar. Vernon Davis (concussion) is still playing the majority of tight end snaps, but he has no fantasy value. Jordan Reed is nowhere close to returning.

NE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.32
NE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.31
NE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.32
NE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.28

Running Game Thoughts: Death. Taxes. Chris Thompson racking up enough receptions to reach double digit fantasy points. With the Redskins 16 point home underdogs, there will be plenty of negative game script and plenty of dump offs to Thompson, who is now second in the league amongst running backs with 28 targets. Thompson is never going to splash, and certainly not this week, but he’s gotten to double digits in every game so far.

Adrian Peterson still exists, although the Redskins would probably be better off with almost anyone else. Expect Peterson to do his standard 10-12 carries for somewhere between 25 and 40 yards. Even if he falls into the end zone, which is extremely unlikely against a Patriots defense that has allowed just one rushing score this season (which was actually to a quarterback, Josh Allen), he still won’t be better than an RB3. AP is miles away from the fantasy radar.

Value Meter:
Flex: Chris Thompson, Terry McLaurin (if he plays)
Bench: Redskins QB, Paul Richardson, Trey Quinn, Adrian Peterson, Vernon Davis

Prediction: Patriots 38, Redskins 0 ^ Top

Broncos @ Chargers - (Caron)
Line: LAC -6.5
Total: 44.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Joe Flacco’s 300-yard, three touchdown performance against the Jaguars in Week 4 might have some suddenly believing that he’s back, but don’t fall into that trap - this is very much still the same Joe Flacco that we’ve seen in recent season and it’s still very much the low volume Denver offense that has not been conducive to producing fantasy points.

The members of the Denver passing game that we’re interested in begin and end with two players - Emmanuel Sanders and Courtland Sutton. While Sanders has definitely been the more reliable of the two when he’s been healthy over the past two seasons, Sutton finally had his big breakout game of the season this past week when he caught six passes for 62 yards and two touchdowns against the Jaguars. That means he’ll likely be in many fantasy lineups due to recency bias and people trying to chase last week’s points. Don’t be that person. Sutton is a mega-talent who has the potential to be a fantasy WR1 down the road, but he’s not there yet from a skills standpoint, the Broncos don’t throw enough to make him that, and this week he’s likely to be shadowed by one of the league’s best shutdown cornerbacks, Casey Hayward. Sure, put Sutton in your lineups if you’re in a tough situation due to injuries and bye weeks, but try to avoid him if you have other viable options.

Sanders is the much more enticing play this week as he’s now gone over 85 receiving yards in three of the Broncos’ four games, including Week 4’s five catch, 105-yard performance, his best of the season. Playing most of his snaps out of the slot ensures that Sanders will mostly avoid Hayward’s coverage and without many other viable pass catching weapons on the roster, that should lead to him seeing a high percentage of the team’s pass attempts here in Week 5. The Broncos are listed as 6.5 point underdogs heading into this one, so there’s a good chance that they’re down late in the game which should lead to a higher-than-average pass attempt day for Flacco and thus a higher-than-average target number for Sanders. Feel confident placing him in your lineup as a Flex or even a low-end WR2 in PPR leagues if you’re in a tough spot.

LAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.20
LAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.21
LAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.18
LAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.7

Running Game Thoughts: Those who bought into the “Phillip Lindsay - bell cow running back” hype this offseason are kicking themselves as the second-year back has not been that so far this season. His 54 carries in 14 games put him at an average of 13.5 carries per game and he’s also catching a few passes per game, but fellow second-year back Royce Freeman is not far behind him with his 10.5 carries per game and he actually has one more catch than Lindsay does on the season. Of course, Lindsay has been more effective with his touches given that he’s been able to get into the end zone twice, but Freeman has actually been slightly more effective on a per-touch basis. Both players continue to see higher-than-normal usage when considering that they’re basically in a full-blown committee and they both have the potential of being RB1s if the other were to get injured, but for now they’re just not seeing enough volume to generate serious fantasy points on a weekly basis.

This week they’ll be against a Los Angeles defense that got absolutely torched by Marlon Mack back in Week 1 but has since been stout against the run, holding every other back they’ve faced to fewer than 45 rushing yards.

Lindsay is seeing the slightly heavier workload out of the two backs and he’s a low-end RB2 option for those in tough situations but he’d be better off as a high-end Flex play. Freeman is also viable as a Flex if you’re in a pinch but don’t expect much upside out of either of these players and their floor, as we saw in Week 4, can be pretty low when the Broncos fall behind in games and end up relying more heavily on their passing game.

Value Meter:
WR2: Emmanuel Sanders
Flex: Phillip Lindsay, Royce Freeman, Courtland Sutton
Bench: Joe Flacco, DaeSean Hamilton, Noah Fant

Passing Game Thoughts: Averaging over 313 passing yards per game with seven touchdowns and only two interceptions so far this season, Philip Rivers is barely clinging on as a low-end QB1. That’s about the ceiling of what we can expect from him on the season and this week he’ll be against a Denver defense that has conceded the second-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks. Rivers has had some success against the Broncos in the past, but this is simply not an ideal matchup for an already borderline-starter, so it’s probably best to avoid him in seasonal leagues.

However, we should have plenty of hope for wide receiver Keenan Allen who continues to crush opposing defenses. He was held to just five catches for 48 yards this past week against the Dolphins but it’s worth noting that his low volume was almost certainly due to the game being out of reach for the Dolphins very early and the Chargers simply choosing to lean on their running game. The Chargers are favored to win this game but it’s a division rivalry and those rarely end in the type of blowout that would keep Allen from seeing a heavy target share. Allen is one of the best plays on the board this week and should be in all fantasy lineups.

Mike Williams continues to be limited in practice with a back injury and unless there’s a dramatic shift in his outlook, it’s time to begin looking at other options for your lineup this week. Even if he does suit up, there’s a good chance that Williams will be limited and that makes him way too risky given that he tends to rely on his physicality to make plays down the field.

DEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.31
DEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.5
DEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.29
DEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.20

Running Game Thoughts: The Melvin Gordon situation in Week 4 is why we have to be very careful when listening to coaches. The Los Angeles coaches were clear that Gordon would suit up, but they were non-committal when asked about what his role would be and that should have been a red flag as the Chargers headed into a game that they were expected to win by multiple scores. Gordon ended up staying on the sidelines all game while Austin Ekeler went out and had himself another RB1 performance.

While the reports out of Los Angeles seem to be that Gordon will get on the field in some capacity this week, it’s still very unclear as to how this backfield will play out here in Week 5. While we do expect that Gordon is eventually going to take over as the lead dog in this backfield, he’s still a very risky to play in this game.

Ekeler, on the other hand, presents both the floor as a PPR specialist as well as the upside of a potential bell cow back here in Week 5. Feel free to deploy him as a reliable RB2 with RB1 upside, whereas Gordon is more of a boom-or-bust Flex play against this terrible Denver run defense that got absolutely destroyed for 225 rushing yards by Leonard Fournette this past week.

Value Meter:
RB2: Austin Ekeler
WR1: Keenan Allen
Flex: Melvin Gordon
Bench: Philip Rivers, Justin Jackson, Mike Williams, Travis Benjamin, Lance Kendricks, Virgil Green

Prediction: Chargers 24, Broncos 17 ^ Top

Packers at Cowboys - (Katz)
Line: DAL -3.5
Total: 46.5

Passing Game Thoughts: It was a compounded loss for the Packers last Thursday against the Eagles. They not only lost the game, but they lost Davante Adams as well. In an obvious smash spot, Adams was on his way to a truly mammoth performance before spraining his big toe which will likely keep him out at least a couple weeks.

Aaron Rodgers finally had a strong performance even though it took him 53 attempts to do it. Now he heads on the road to face a Cowboys defense that has allowed the fourth fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. The Cowboys have allowed the second fewest passing touchdowns at just three and are holding opponents to 221.8 passing yards a game. To be fair, they haven’t exactly faced anyone near Rodgers’ level of skill. With that being said, this is not a great spot for Rodgers, who is no longer a guaranteed every week QB1.

In Adams’ absence, Marquez Valdes-Scantling will operate as the primary option with some combination of Geronimo Allison, Allen Lazard, and possibly Jake Kumerow as the ancillary options. Rodgers may also lean more on the completely washed up Jimmy Graham, making him a viable streaming candidate after seeing nine targets last week, including four in the red zone. This game projects to be a bit lower scoring, though, making the entire Packers’ passing offense less desirable than usual.

DAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.28
DAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.25
DAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.28
DAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.13

Running Game Thoughts: The timeshare between Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams came to a screeching halt on the first play of the game last Thursday when Williams took a vicious shot to the head and left on a stretcher. He is going to miss at least this week’s game due to a concussion, which opens the door for Dexter Williams to be active this week. Given every Packers’ offensive coordinator’s aversion to going all in on Jones, Dexter could certainly carve out a role, but he is not fantasy viable.

Jones should still handle the majority of the touches and has now scored in three straight games. The Cowboys haven’t seen much volume against them on the ground, but when opposing teams do run, they manage 4.6 yards per carry. The good news for Jones is he is displaying a nice passing game floor with 15 targets on the season. This doesn’t project to be a ceiling game for Jones, but he is a reliable starting option.

Value Meter:
QB2: Aaron Rodgers (high end)
RB2: Aaron Jones (mid-range)
WR3: Marquez Valdes-Scantling
Bench: Geronimo Allison, Jamaal Williams (concussion), Davante Adams (toe)

Passing Game Thoughts: The Dak Prescott heat wave came to a sudden halt last week as the Cowboys’ offense reverted to its old inefficient ways. The Cowboys threw less on first down and continued to run despite it not working. Prescott failed to throw a touchdown for the first time this season and now gets a Packers defense that, prior to last week’s gaffe, had been lights out. Even after last week, the Packers are still allowing just 188 passing yards a game and have recorded four interceptions against four touchdown passes allowed.

Amari Cooper will have his hands full with Jaire Alexander, who is currently allowing just 0.84 fantasy points per target, third in the league. Michael Gallup returned to a limited practice this week and all indicators are he is going to return to action after missing just two weeks following a minor knee procedure. That is great news for the Cowboys as Devin Smith was nothing more than a flash in the pan.

Randall Cobb will remain in the slot. Cobb hasn’t finished better than WR52 in the last three weeks. He is not a fantasy option, but Gallup is very intriguing as he will have the easier cornerback matchup than Cooper. I guess you could do worse than Jason Witten as a tight end streamer. He’s seen exactly four targets in every game this season so you’re hoping for a touchdown. I wouldn’t recommend it.

GB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.29
GB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.3
GB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.31
GB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.25

Running Game Thoughts: Ezekiel Elliott is fully back to dominating touches, but he has yet to have a spike game. Elliott isn’t creating yards on his own at just 0.62 yards created per carry, 50th in the league. He’s scored in three of his first four games to bolster his fantasy numbers. Fortunately, if there is one area in which the Packers are vulnerable, it is the ground. The Packers have allowed 5.0 yards per carry and five rushing touchdowns this season. They were destroyed by Jordan Howard last week en route to his overall RB3 finish. A potentially low scoring game is concerning, but this could be the week Zeke finally explodes.

Value Meter:
QB1: Dak Prescott (low end)
RB1: Ezekiel Elliott (high end)
WR2: Amari Cooper (mid-range)
WR3: Michael Gallup
Bench: Randall Cobb, Tony Pollard

Prediction: Cowboys 24, Packers 17 ^ Top

Colts @ Chiefs - (Caron)
Line: KC -10.5
Total: 56.5

Passing Game Thoughts: Few would have predicted that Jacoby Brissett would be a top-10 fantasy quarterback through the first quarter of the season, but that’s exactly where we’re at. Brissett has already thrown 10 touchdown passes with only two interceptions. While he hasn’t been as active in the running game as we’d like to see, the upside is still there for him to contribute a bit in that department as well.

This week Brissett and the Colts will head on the road to face the Chiefs in a game that they will almost certainly need to pass to keep up in. Unfortunately, it’s possible that the team could be without star wide receiver T.Y. Hilton who is currently dealing with a quad injury that knocked him out of his Week 3 game against the Falcons and held him out this past week against the Raiders. With Hilton out, Brissett leaned on other options in the passing game, including throwing a touchdown strike to both tight ends Jack Doyle and Eric Ebron as well as wide receiver Chester Rogers. We will also likely see an increased snap share from rookie wide receiver Parris Campbell is Hilton is held out this week and while he has not yet shown the explosiveness that made him a second-round pick in this year’s NFL Draft. Campbell himself has also missed practice time this week with an abdominal injury, however, so he’s not someone we’re putting in our lineups in seasonal leagues.

If Hilton is unable to play, it’s probably best to avoid this passing game entirely, including Brissett. Yes, he will likely have to pass a ton, but that doesn’t mean that he’s necessarily going to be particularly effective, especially if numerous of his top pass catchers are out. If Hilton is able to suit up, however, he’s likely to see a heavy enough target share to produce WR2 numbers.

KC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.8
KC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.9
KC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.12
KC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.10

Running Game Thoughts: Running back Marlon Mack is dealing with another injury, this time an ankle, and it’s keeping him out of practice just as we saw a couple of weeks ago when he was dealing with a calf injury. Mack didn’t practice for most of the week but ended up still suiting up and produced a solid fantasy day against the Falcons back in Week 3.

We don’t know whether or not Mack will be able to play this week, but he’d have a juicy matchup if he does, playing against a Kansas City Chiefs defense that has given up at least 99 rushing yards to an opposing running back in three straight contests. It’s on the road in a game that the Colts could find themselves behind in, but Mack is being used heavily enough that he should still be able to produce high-end RB2 numbers if he’s able to get on the field.

If Mack is inactive, the team will likely turn to the duo of Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines to split backfield snaps here in Week 5. Wilkins has primarily a between-the-tackles grinder so far in the NFL while Hines is a passing game specialist who could have some value in this game even if Mack is on the field. Wilkins isn’t as talented of a runner as Mack but he’d be in a decent matchup if he ends up being the starter and could be a fantasy contributor this week.

Value Meter:
QB1: Jacoby Brissett (low end, only if T.Y. Hilton plays)
RB2: Marlon Mack (high-end)
WR2: T.Y. Hilton
Flex: Jordan Wilkins (if Marlon Mack is inactive), Nyheim Hines (PPR only)
TE1: Eric Ebron (low-end)
Bench: Chester Rogers, Parris Campbell, Deon Cain, Mo Alie-Cox, Jack Doyle

Passing Game Thoughts: Apparently it’s possible for Patrick Mahomes to not pass for multiple touchdown passes in a single game. Who knew?

Don’t get discouraged about the odd touchdown output in Kansas City this past week. Mahomes still exceeded 300 yards passing against the Lions, his receivers just didn’t get into the end zone. Don’t expect that to happen this week as the Chiefs host the Colts who’ve given up at least one passing touchdown in all four of their games this season.

It should go without saying that Mahomes is a high-end QB1 and Travis Kelce is a high-end TE1 in pretty much any matchup. These are the two best players at their respective positions and their floors, as well as their ceilings, are extraordinarily high.

The real question in Kansas City is at wide receiver as Sammy Watkins has been a disappointment since his explosive Week 1 output. Watkins hasn’t gone over 64 receiving yards and hasn’t found the end zone since. He’s still seeing passes come his way, but Watkins has now seen his targets dwindle each week from 13 in Week 2 to eight in Week 3 and finally just five in Week 4. We should expect that he’s still the top wide receiver in this passing game while Hill is out, but the gap is becoming less apparent each week. In fact, wide receiver Demarcus Robinson out-targeted Watkins nine to five this past week and while he’s been an inconsistent producer, Robinson does have more yards and three touchdowns to Watkins’ zero since Week 1. Watkins is still likely the player to start at wide receiver in this offense, but he’s fallen down from being a WR1 to a mid-to-low-end WR2 for now, until we see him get back on track. Robinson is someone you can place in your lineup as a Flex with upside.

Rookie Mecole Hardman, meanwhile, remains essentially a one-dimensional field stretcher who really needs to connect on a deep ball to produce anything from a fantasy standpoint. His yards per catch average is through the roof but he’s been held to just two catches in each of his past two games and shouldn’t be trusted as anything other than a low-end Flex.

IND FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.13
IND FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.10
IND FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.20
IND FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.4

Running Game Thoughts: The backfield situation in Kansas City is truly ugly right now. With Damien Williams having missed each of the past two games, the Chiefs turned to the duo of LeSean McCoy and Darrel Williams to shoulder the workload. While both had serious value this past week, the reality is that their relatively low usage makes them extremely volatile fantasy options even in the league’s best offense. If they don’t get into the end zone, they’re just not producing enough yardage and receptions to be great fantasy assets. Add in the fact that Damien Williams is expected to be back this week and the backfield becomes even murkier than it was while he was out.

We can somewhat confidently project that McCoy will see the most snaps at running back for the Chiefs here in Week 5, but what percentage that will be is still anyone’s guess. The team could end up utilizing a three-headed backfield which would just be a killer for fantasy purposes, limiting all three players’ upside while practically eliminating their floor. McCoy has been productive enough that he should still be considered an RB2 for now, but understand that this backfield could shift at any time.

Value Meter:
QB1: Patrick Mahomes
RB2: LeSean McCoy
WR2: Sammy Watkins
TE1: Travis Kelce
Flex: Demarcus Robinson, Mecole Hardman, Damien Williams (low-end)
Bench: Darrel Williams

Prediction: Chiefs 34, Colts 24 ^ Top

Browns @ 49ers - (Caron)
Line: SF -3.5
Total: 46.5

Passing Game Thoughts: The 2019 season hasn’t gotten off to the best start for the Browns offense, particularly quarterback Baker Mayfield. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft was the talk of the town in fantasy circles this offseason as a player who could potentially ascend to being a top five quarterback, but we simply haven’t seen that happen. Mayfield has made questionable decisions and been inaccurate at times, which has kept him to just one touchdown pass in each of his four contests and he’s already thrown six interceptions. He did seem to get into a rhythm this past week against a good Baltimore defense, however, so things might be looking up for the second-year QB as he heads into Monday night’s game against the 49ers.

San Francisco will be coming off of a bye this week and that could spell problems for Mayfield and the Browns passing game. The 49ers have been good against opposing quarterbacks this season, though they’ve only played three games against some pretty lackluster competition. It is, however, worth noting that they’ve struggled a bit against opposing teams’ top passing game weapons, particularly at wide receiver. Chris Godwin scored against the 49ers in Week 1, JuJu Smith-Schuster scored against them in Week 3, and both John Ross and Tyler Boyd went over 100 yards, with Ross scoring a touchdown, against the 49ers in Week 2. That all bodes well for superstar wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. who is really the only locked-in starter in this passing game. Beckham has been held in check lately by opposing defenses as he’s only caught eight passes for 76 total yards over his past two games, but he’s still being targeted at a very high rate. Look for he and Mayfield to establish enough of a connection this week that he’s a decent WR1.

Jarvis Landry is the only other weapon in this passing game who should be considered for fantasy purposes and he’s been dealing with a concussion all week which has his status for Sunday’s game in question. He did produce a monster game in Week 4, though, and he’ll be facing a San Francisco defense that has struggled to contain opposing slot receivers, so he’s a Flex-worthy option if he’s active on Monday night. Unfortunately we might not know his status until Monday, so fantasy owners may need to just bite the bullet and hope or bench him in favor of a more stable option, depending on their own individual situation.

Pay attention to the usage of wide receiver Antonio Callaway this week, who is returning after serving a four-game suspension to start the season. Callaway is a physically talented player who could be a fantasy contributor down the road for the Browns but he’ll need to see significant playing time before we start putting him into lineups.

Tight end Ricky Seals-Jones is another player to keep an eye on after his three catch, 82-yard, one touchdown performance in Week 4. The Browns traded the Cardinals for Seals-Jones and intend to use him, so don’t be surprised if he becomes a more active member of the passing game in the coming weeks. We’ll keep an eye on him for now and not put him in lineups until we see more consistent playing time and targets coming his way.

SF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.24
SF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.32
SF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.15
SF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.27

Running Game Thoughts: Nick Chubb had his 2019 coming out party in Week 4 as he punished a perceived-to-be-good Baltimore defense to the tune of 165 rushing yards and three touchdowns while also adding three receptions for 18 yards. Chubb has now caught at least three passes in all four of the Browns’ games which is certainly an uptick from what we expected from him heading into the season. He’s become an every week RB1 whose extremely high volume makes him one of the safest plays in all of fantasy football. He’s touched the ball at least 20 times in every game and there’s no reason to believe that won’t happen again here against the 49ers.

San Francisco currently boasts the league’s best defense against opposing running backs on a per-game basis, but they’ve also had the benefit of facing some pretty ugly backfield situations. It is worth noting that they held James Conner to 43 rushing yards and Joe Mixon to just 17 rushing yards, but Chubb has been far more productive on the ground than either of those players so far this season so don’t be scared away by the defensive matchup.

Value Meter:
RB1: Nick Chubb
WR1: Odell Beckham Jr.
Flex: Jarvis Landry
Bench: Baker Mayfield, Dontrell Hilliard, Antonio Callaway, Rashard Higgins, Ricky Seals-Jones

Passing Game Thoughts: Like Baker Mayfield on the opposite sideline from him, the 2019 season hasn’t started off so great for San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. While he did have a nice performance against the Bengals back in Week 2, Garoppolo struggled in his other two starts, producing just two total touchdown passes with three interceptions in games against the Buccaneers and Steelers.

Garoppolo could have a decent matchup here in Week 5, however, against a Cleveland secondary that is banged up. Cornerbacks Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams both missed Week 4 and seem to be trending toward not playing again on Monday night. That would be great news for wide receivers Deebo Samuel, Dante Pettis and Marquise Goodwin, all of whom have had their moments early this season but have struggled to find much consistency. While Goodwin is playing the most snaps of the bunch, it appears as though Samuel is currently Garoppolo’s favorite to throw to as he leads all 49ers receivers with 14 targets, while Goodwin has just eight and Pettis checks in with just six. None of these receivers is a particularly strong play against the Browns, especially if Ward and Williams end up being on the field for the Browns, but Samuel would be the one who seems to be most likely to produce if any of them do here in Week 5.

The only reliable weapon in the 49ers passing game continues to be tight end George Kittle. While Kittle is yet to find the end zone and he’s disappointed a bit by finishing with somewhere between 54 to 57 yards in each of his three games, the tight end still leads the 49ers by a wide margin with 21 targets in three games. That type of volume is eventually going to lead to some big performances and that could very well happen this week. The Browns gave up two touchdowns to Delanie Walker in Week 1 and gave up an additional touchdown to Mark Andrews this past week, so there’s some hope that the scoreless streak ends for Kittle here in Week 5. Either way, the tight end position is a dumpster fire and Kittle is one of the few who command a high target share on a weekly basis so he’s one of the safest options on the board.

CLE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.12
CLE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.23
CLE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.17
CLE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.8

Running Game Thoughts: We figured the 49ers backfield would be a timeshare coming into the season, but when both Jerick McKinnon and Tevin Coleman went down with injuries, there was certainly hope that Matt Breida would finally get his opportunity to be a workhorse back in the Kyle Shanahan offense. That hasn’t been the case, however, as Breida has split touches with Raheem Mostert and even Jeff Wilson since Coleman went down. With Coleman potentially making his return this week, the 49ers backfield goes from ugly to even uglier and there’s simply no way that we can be confident starting any of them in fantasy. Breida is the only one who could realistically even be considered a Flex option and that’s only if Coleman is out, and we likely won’t know that until Monday night, so it’s probably best to avoid this situation entirely if at all possible.

Value Meter:
TE1: George Kittle
Flex: Matt Breida (if Tevin Coleman is inactive)
Bench: Jimmy Garoppolo, Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson, Deebo Samuel, Marquise Goodwin, Dante Pettis, Richie James, Kendrick Bourne

Prediction: 49ers 21, Browns 20 ^ Top