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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
Jaguars @ Panthers
- (Green) Line: CAR -3.5 Total: 41.0
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
Buccaneers @ Saints
- (Green) Line: NO -3.0 Total: 47.0
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
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.
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
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.
Vikings at Giants
- (Katz) Line: MIN -5.0 Total: 44.5
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
Jets at Eagles
- (Katz) Line: PHI -14.0 Total: 44.0
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
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
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.
Ravens @ Steelers
- (Swanson) Line: BAL -3.5 Total: 44.0
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
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.
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.
Bills @ Titans
- (Green) Line: TEN -3.0 Total: 38.5
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
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
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
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.
Patriots at Redskins
- (Katz) Line: NE -15.5 Total: 43.0
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
Packers at Cowboys
- (Katz) Line: DAL -3.5 Total: 46.5
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Browns @ 49ers
- (Caron) Line: SF -3.5 Total: 46.5
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
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.