Game Thoughts: While Tampa's offense scuffled for a time
in Week 4 they eventually found their stride with Tom Brady passing
for 369 yards and five TDs (six if you count the pick-six). That
set season bests in both categories and was another step in the
right direction for an offense that has struggled with consistency.
While Brady's lack of mobility undercuts his fantasy value, he
has an array of weapons with which to attack Chicago this Thursday.
That makes him a low-end QB1.
Arguably the most encouraging development was the play of Mike
Evans, who led the way in receptions (seven) and receiving yards
(122) against the Chargers while logging his NFL-best fifth touchdown
grab. Evans had just two yards receiving in both Weeks 1 and 3,
and though he mitigated the damage by having all three of his
catches go for TDs it still hadn't been a great start. Running
mate Chris Godwin (hamstring) missed the game and is not expected
to suit up on Thursday night.
With Godwin out, Scotty Miller (5-83-1 last week) is the clear
No.2 option. Miller has put up solid numbers in three of four
games and seems to have the best rapport with Brady. With Evans
a WR1, Miller rates as a WR3. The passing attack took a hit, though,
as O.J. Howard ruptured his Achilles' tendon and is lost for the
year. He'd been the main receiving threat at the position, and
you have to wonder if this will be the tipping point to get Rob
Gronkowski involved as a pass catcher.
Chicago sits ninth in pass defense, allowing 230.3 yards per game
through the air. They've been fortunate to draw teams with lesser
offenses (Giants and Colts) or those missing key personnel (Detroit
without Kenny Golladay and Atlanta without Julio Jones), so it's
debatable how good their secondary is. Brady won't shy away.
CHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.31
CHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.19
CHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.29
CHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.15
Running Game Thoughts: With Leonard Fournette (ankle) inactive,
Ronald Jones set season highs in carries (20) and yards (111)
against the Bolts. While Fournette may well become the lead back
at some point this season, that almost certainly won't happen
Thursday night where Fournette is a game-time decision. The Bears
are 16th in the NFL against the run (115 yards allowed per game)
but held Indianapolis to just 2.7 yards per carry last Sunday.
Consider Jones to be an RB3 this week.
Game Thoughts: Last week I warned that the perception
of Nick Foles didn't necessarily match the reality. In his first
start for the Bears you saw a pretty good representation of the
player he's been for most of his career. There were some good
throws, some bad ones and some ill-advised ones. He stood in the
pocket and delivered the ball, completing 26 of 42 for 249 yards,
a TD and an INT. All of which led to three points for the Bears
until they scored a touchdown with 90 seconds remaining. Foles
simply isn't going to produce viable fantasy numbers most weeks.
One thing that didn't change with the switch to Foles was Allen
Robinson's place atop the pecking order as he caught seven passes
for 101 yards and the lone touchdown. Robinson is a borderline
WR1/WR2 and the only consistent option. After that the safest
play is probably Jimmy Graham (4-33-0), who has enjoyed a mini
renaissance. He's still largely TD dependent but could function
as a low-end starter. Beyond that, Anthony Miller (3-16-0) is
wildly inconsistent, while rookie Darnell Mooney (5-52-0) is worth
watching. Also of possible interest, Ted Ginn Jr. is still in
the NFL. Who knew?!
Tampa Bay is 19th in the league against the pass, yielding 247.8
yards per game. While not terrible, this is almost certainly the
area that the Bears will look to attack as the Bucs have looked
nearly impenetrable as a run defense -- plus, Chicago's own ground
game hasn't been great, even before they lost Tarik Cohen.
TB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.27
TB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.16
TB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.18
TB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.21
Running Game Thoughts: In their first game without Cohen, the
Bears managed just 28 yards on 16 rushes. As expected, David Montgomery
(10-27-0) led the way, though even when you factor in his 30 yards
receiving it was still a disappointing performance. Don't expect
things to get much better against a Buccaneers defense that has
allowed just 64.3 rushing yards per game this season; only the
Steelers (54) have done better. In a tough matchup you shouldn't
count on Montgomery as more than an RB3.
Game Thoughts: If you are an Aaron Rodgers or Matthew
Stafford owner looking for a streaming option at quarterback,
you should give serious consideration to Teddy Bridgewater this
week against a dreadful Falcons defense.
A decimated unit with seven injuries to their secondary and not
enough pass rush up front to hide their deficiencies on the back
end, the Falcons have given up at least a total of four touchdowns
to opposing quarterbacks in all four games this season. All four
teams who have faced Atlanta have a combined fantasy production
of over 30 points at the QB position, highlighted by Dak Prescott’s
46.3 points against Atlanta Week 2.
Teddy will not throw as many times as those quarterbacks, and
reaching four touchdowns may be difficult. But he has a safe floor
of at least two passing touchdowns at 250 yards and could be a
sneaky top-10 play this week.
You have to scroll down a bit to find D.J. Moore on the list
of wide receiving points scored. The third-year breakout candidate
has yet to score a touchdown, and he trails teammate Robby Anderson
in receptions, targets, and touchdowns. Not exactly what Moore
owners were thinking when they used a third or fourth-round pick
on the former Maryland Terrapin.
Look for Moore to bounce back in a big way. Not only do the Falcons
struggle in pass coverage, they are terrible at tackling players
after the catch. Moore should have his best game of the season
in this matchup and help his struggling owners who are having
ATL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.1
ATL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.10
ATL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.10
ATL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.1
Running Game Thoughts: Mike Davis has been one
of the best free agent pickups of the first quarter of the regular
season. He has more fantasy points over the past three games than
Miles Sanders, Jonathan Taylor, and Clyde Edwards-Helaire, and
he should post another great game this week against a Falcons
defense that ranks 14th in points allowed to opposing running
Aaron Rodgers and the Packers produced a blueprint for success
on Monday Night Football by exposing the Falcons’ ineptness
at covering running backs in the passing game. No other team has
given up more passing touchdowns to RBs than Atlanta, and their
257 receiving yards allowed is second only to the Packers.
Only Zeke Elliott and Alvin Kamara have more targets than Davis
in the last three weeks, leading me to believe that Davis will
be active in the passing game again this week at home against
the reeling Falcons.
Game Thoughts: What do Jarvis Landry and Matt
Ryan have in common over the past two weeks of the 2020 NFL Season?
They both have one passing touchdown.
Not exactly the type of stat Ryan owners would like considering
the fact that the Falcon defense is terrible, and Ryan boasts
one of the best receiving corps in the league.
A big reason for Ryan’s struggles has been the loss of
Julio Jones Week 3 against the Bears and then a re-aggravation
of the hamstring injury against the Packers. Jones has not been
himself, and fellow wide receiver Calvin Ridley is also dealing
with an injury that limited his mobility.
Entering the season, the Panthers were thought to have one of
the worst defenses in the league based on the logic that they
are young and playing a bunch of players with little or no experience.
After four games, the Panthers have proven that they are not a
pushover defense to target, and we all should re-evaluate our
strength of schedule models.
Carolina has given up the fifth-fewest points to opposing quarterbacks.
Derek Carr, Tom Brady, and Justin Herbert all were held to just
one passing touchdown, and the team stifled Kyler Murray and the
Cardinals to just 133 passing yards last week.
Julio Jones looks like he will miss this game because of the
hamstring, and we do not know the status of Calvin Ridley. You
can try your luck with Olamide Zaccheaus in DFS, and Russell Gage
will no doubt get more volume should Ridley join Jones on the
Hayden Hurst owners looking for a big game from their tight end
may be disappointed. Darren Waller managed just 6/45, and Hunter
Henry posted 5/50. Not terrible stat lines, but certainly not
great success against the linebacking corps of Jeremy Chinn, Shaq
Thompson, and veteran Tahir Whitehead.
CAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.28
CAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.2
CAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.25
CAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.23
Running Game Thoughts: On paper, Todd Gurley
looks to be living up to his draft day cost with four rushing
touchdowns in four games. A closer examination reveals not quite
a rosy picture. The former fantasy stud is averaging just 3.9
yards per carry, and he is completely absent in the passing game.
Gurley looks slow to the edge and is not breaking many tackles.
Luckily for his fantasy managers, Gurley continues to score touchdowns;
otherwise, he would be a massive bust due to the lack of passing
From a matchup perspective, this game looks juicy for Gurley
and the ground game. The Panthers are tied with the Raiders for
the most touchdowns given up to opposing running backs, with Josh
Jacobs and Leonard Fournette posting multi-touchdown games.
The Panthers did do a better job as of late by not giving up
a ton of rushing yards to the Chargers and Cardinals, including
limiting Kenyan Drake to 35 rushing yards on 13 carries.
Bengals @ Ravens
- (Green) Line: BAL -13.0 Total: 51.5
Game Thoughts: Following two close losses and
a tie, Joe Burrow finally logged his first career win last Sunday,
throwing for 300 yards, a TD and an INT against the Jags. It was
another measured, steady performance from the rookie as he continues
to make smart decisions, complete passes at a high rate and avoid
killer mistakes. His lack of running since Week 1 has been disappointing,
though, as it puts everything on his arm to generate fantasy value.
Facing a tough Ravens defense, Burrow is a QB2.
Probably the most interesting subplot in the Queen City these
days in what's going on at receiver where seven-time Pro Bowl
selection A.J. Green has become an afterthought, catching just
nine passes for 68 yards in the last three games combined -- that
looks even worse when you consider that Burrow has 93 completions
in that time. At this point, Green is barely clinging to flex
Green's statistical decline has coincided with the emergence
of Tee Higgins; over that same three-game stretch, Higgins has
accounted for 12 catches, 152 yards and 2 TDs. Higgins is pushing
for WR3 status but is better off as a flex. Tyler Boyd (7-90-0
last week) is the best option, though, checking in as a steady
WR2. This group should have room to work against a Ravens defense
that has given up 270 passing yards per game, which is 26th in
the NFL. Marcus Peters (thigh) and Jimmy Smith (knee) both missed
practice this week, so that bears watching.
BAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.9
BAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.23
BAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.15
BAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.11
Running Game Thoughts: Last week I wrote not to worry too much
about Joe Mixon's slow start. Hopefully you listened. Mixon ran
25 times for 151 yards and 2 TDs against the Jaguars and added
another touchdown along with 30 receiving yards on six grabs.
His two meetings with Baltimore were wildly different last year
with him running for just 10 yards in October and 114 in November.
This Sunday against the NFL's sixth-ranked run defense, Mixon
is a borderline RB1/RB2 selection.
Game Thoughts: For lack of a better term, Lamar
Jackson has been on cruise control, averaging 224 passing yards,
51 rushing yards and 2.33 total TDs per game during three easy
wins. That's top-10 fantasy stuff, but Jackson hasn't been the
elite option owners were expecting. Will that change this week?
It's hard to say, especially with Jackson missing back-to-back
practices due to a knee injury -- an issue that's doubly concerning
given how much value comes from Jackson's legs. To underscore
that, remember that Jackson ran for 217 yards and 2 TDs against
Cincy last season. If he plays, the reigning MVP is a solid QB1.
Nothing of substance has changed over the season's first month
when it comes to how involved players are in the passing game.
Mark Andrews (3-57-2 last week) remains a top-five tight end,
though he's far more TD dependent than the likes of George Kittle
or Travis Kelce, which makes him a riskier weekly option. Marquise
Brown (4-86-0) is the only name to know on the outside. Even though
the team continues to monitor Brown's work load, he rates as a
decent WR3 most weeks.
Cincinnati enters Week 5 allowing 243 passing yards per game,
which is 16th in the NFL. It's not bad, but the reality is teams
have found so much success on the ground that the pass becomes
secondary. It's an approach the Ravens are eminently qualified
CIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.23
CIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.13
CIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.16
CIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.18
Running Game Thoughts: It's rather remarkable that the NFL's third-ranked
rushing offense doesn't contain a single reliable fantasy producer
at the running back position. Through four games, these are per-game
averages: Mark Ingram (8.5 carries, 37 yards, 0.25 TDs), J.K.
Dobbins (3.75, 23, 0.5) and Gus Edwards (6.75, 42, 0). Ingram
remains the best bet given his history and style, but even that
is fringe value right now. Dobbins has enough upside to be owned
whereas Edwards is more of a mop-up guy with all but 18 of his
rushing yards coming in the second half.
There's no questioning the Bengals' weakness against the run.
Their 158.5 rushing yards allowed per game is 27th in the NFL.
The problem is you can't trust anyone specific to get enough opportunities
on the ground other than Jackson.
Game Thoughts: Gardner Minshew enters Week 5
against the winless Houston Texans as the No.9 ranked quarterback
in fantasy football. His 96 fantasy points are more than Matt
Ryan, Carson Wentz, and Deshaun Watson, and he is just .2 points
behind Lamar Jackson.
Minshew is on pace for 4552 yards and 32 passing touchdowns,
yet he has not run the ball as much as anticipated, and he has
yet to score a rushing touchdown. Rookies James Robinson and Laviska
Shenault have added two more dynamics to the offense that were
lacking last season, and D.J. Chark is back and healthy.
Chark has at least 84 yards or a touchdown in three of his four
games, including 8/85/2 last week against the Bengals. Considering
the fact that both Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson posted 100-yard
games against the Texans last week, it is safe to say that Chark
is a must-start this week in what could be a high-scoring game.
Shenault posted a career-high five catches for 86 yards and a
score last week against the Bengals. Unfortunately, he is the
latest wide receiver to suffer a hamstring injury and may miss
this matchup against the Texans. Look for Keelan Cole to get more
work if Shenault is out.
The Texans fired head coach and general manager Bill O’Brien
on Monday after a 0-4 start to the season. A change at head coach,
with interim Romeo Crennel taking over for the remainder of the
season, may light a fire under the Texans defense. While I’m
not sure I agree with that narrative, it is possible that the
0-4 team we watched in the first month of the season may not be
the team we see for the next three months.
Tight end Tyler Eifert suffered a concussion on a brutal hit
in the Bengals game, calling into question whether or not he will
be available on Sunday. James O'Shaughnessy would become the primary
tight end option for Minshew, but not someone you should consider
starting in fantasy.
HOU FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.29
HOU FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.4
HOU FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.20
HOU FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.17
Running Game Thoughts: It may surprise many to learn that James
Robinson, an undrafted rookie from Illinois State, has more fantasy
points than four running backs taken in the first round, including
Nick Chubb, Joe Mixon, Josh Jacobs, and Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
Robinson is averaging just under five yards per carry and has
a decent amount of work in the passing game with 14 catches for
161 yards in four games. He projects to have a great game this
week against a Texans team that trails only the Raiders in fantasy
points allowed to running backs.
The Texans have given up a 100-yard rusher in three of four games,
including 27/130/2 last week to Dalvin Cook. Robinson is not the
explosive player that Cook is, but he has excellent body control
and is a threat to score in the red zone as their only short-yardage
Game Thoughts: The Bill O’Brien era of
Houston Texans football is over. Say what you want about the man,
but just over a year ago his team had a 20-point lead over the
Chiefs in the NFL playoffs. Now he is looking for a job.
For Deshaun Watson owners, a change is welcome, as Watson is
not a QB1 right now and is on pace to average the fewest fantasy
points of his four-year career. His 58 rushing yards are half
as many as Ryan Fitzpatrick and Carson Wentz, and Ryan Tannehill
has the same number of passing touchdowns despite missing a game
because of COVID-19.
It does not take captain obvious to explain that the team misses
DeAndre Hopkins, and the replacement of Brandin Cooks has not
been successful. Cooks is nearly droppable in all formats after
posting ten catches for 138 yards in four games, including a nice
goose egg last week against the Vikings.
Will Fuller has been the bright spot so far in the WR corps with
18/274/2 in three games. As long as he is healthy and playing,
he should be in your lineup. The worry is he is a threat to strain
a hamstring at any time and carries a ton of risk.
The Jaguars are far worse against the run than the pass, and
the Jacksonville defense has been surprisingly good against opposing
wide receivers. No opposing WR has topped 100 yards, and only
three WRs have reached pay-dirt in four games.
JAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.12
JAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.6
JAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.23
JAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.9
Running Game Thoughts: Only the Giants and Jets have fewer combined
fantasy points at the running back position through the first
month of the season. This is not a huge surprise when you consider
who the Texans played against to start the season. Baltimore and
Pittsburgh boast two of the best defensive units in the league,
while Kansas City has a way of taking teams out of their rushing
game plans with a potent offensive attack.
On the positive side, the Jags just gave up 181 total yards and
three touchdowns to Joe Mixon and the Bengals. I would not expect
that type of production from Johnson, but he should find some
success in both the ground game and the passing attack, with 100
total yards and a score well within reach.
Raiders at Chiefs
- (Caron) Line: KC -12.5 Total: 55.5
Game Thoughts: The Raiders passing game isn’t
likely to ever be a high-volume attack and that continues to limit
almost everyone within it. Quarterback Derek Carr has been respectable
this season as a middle-of-the-pack QB2, but the upside just hasn’t
been great and it probably never will be. Unfortunately, things
don’t look much brighter on the surface heading into Week
5 as the Raiders head to Kansas City to face the undefeated Super
The Chiefs offense forces teams to keep up with them on the scoreboard,
but they’ve actually given up the eighth-fewest fantasy
points per game to opposing quarterbacks so far this season. They’ve
only given up a total of four passing touchdowns - exactly one
in each game - while forcing a total of five interceptions. With
the Raiders’ offensive line struggling a bit more than they
have in recent seasons, Carr could also be under pressure more
in this game than he has been in recent seasons when he’s
matched up against the Chiefs, and he’s actually struggled
in those games, throwing for just 430 yards and two touchdowns
with four interceptions in the two games he played against the
Chiefs in 2019. Carr will still be a borderline QB2 this week
just given the reality that he’s probably going to have
to pass more than usual if he hopes to keep his team in the game,
but there’s not a great chance that he gets into the QB1
From a pass-catching standpoint, there are really only two players
who fantasy owners should be concerning themselves with at the
moment - those being wide receiver Hunter Renfrow and tight end
Darren Waller. Renfrow has been targeted 17 times over the past
two weeks, catching 11 of those passes for 141 yards and a score.
He’s become the defacto WR1 in the offense with rookies
Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards being sidelined. It’s
still unknown whether Ruggs or Edwards will suit up here this
week, but neither of those players have been utilized enough to
be useful for fantasy purposes anyway. What their absences would
do, however, is continue to funnel targets toward Renfrow who
has shown that he is a capable PPR fill-in when he’s been
given the opportunity in the past.
Darren Waller remains one of the better fantasy tight ends in
the league despite having turned in a dud in Week 3. Waller got
back on the right track in Week 4 as he was targeted 12 times,
catching nine of those passes for 88 yards. Few tight ends have
a higher target ceiling than Waller, especially right now with
the Las Vegas pass catching weapons being as banged up as they
are. The Chiefs were able to hold Mark Andrews in check in Week
3, but they did get beaten up for six catches and 83 yards by
Hunter Henry back in Week 2, so don’t be afraid to drop
Waller in your lineup as usual.
LV FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.25
LV FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.1
LV FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.21
LV FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.30
Running Game Thoughts: A monstrous Week 1 performance had some
fantasy owners risking it all to acquire second-year back Josh
Jacobs in trades, but things have pretty much been downhill since
that point. While Jacobs continues to turn in low-double-digit
fantasy days, he hasn’t gone over 100 rushing yards in any
game this season and he hasn’t been in the end zone since
his three-score performance back in Week 1.
While Jacobs’ production as of late hasn’t been great,
the nice thing is that we’re pretty much seeing the floor
from him from a fantasy standpoint. As long as the Raiders continue
to target him a handful of times per week while giving him between
15 to 25 carries, he’s going to continue to produce as -
at minimum - a mid-level RB2. On the flip side, this type of workload
gives him the potential to be the top-scoring back in any given
This matchup against the Chiefs is one that doesn’t sound
great on paper given the potential game script, but the reality
is that opposing teams have been able to find ways to get the
ball into their running backs’ hands in just about every
game they’ve played against Kansas City. This past week
it was Damien Harris - who was getting his first work of the 2020
season after doing essentially nothing as a rookie - who carried
the ball 17 times for 100 yards for the Patriots in a loss to
the Chiefs. Rex Burkhead also carried the ball 11 times in that
game and James White added in seven receptions. Despite practically
no threat of a passing game, the Patriots were able to utilize
their running backs in a variety of ways to stay in the game until
the very end while nearly squeaking out a victory.
With the Raiders dealing with some banged up weapons in the passing
game, it seems like a near certainty that they will lean heavily
on Jacobs in this contest. That perceived workload should make
Jacobs a solid RB1 this week.
Game Thoughts: A 236-yard, two touchdown, zero
interception game with 28 rushing yards would be a pretty solid
performance for most quarterbacks, but Patrick Mahomes’
Week 4 output was definitely a disappointment from a fantasy standpoint.
The Patriots are always a difficult defense to play against, but
we’ve just become accustomed to Mahomes tossing the ball
all over the yard for huge numbers each and every week so it’s
tough to swallow the reality that - sometimes - even Patrick Mahomes
is going to have a down week.
Don’t let that less-exciting-than-usual fantasy day lead
you in the wrong direction for Week 5, however, because there’s
a great chance that Mahomes gets right back into the top five
QB point totals this week against the Raiders. While Las Vegas
has actually been fairly good against most opposing passing games
this season, it’s worth considering that they’ve played
some offenses that were pretty banged up or just not that great
to begin with. This past week they did allow Josh Allen to throw
for 288 yards and a pair of touchdowns, so don’t get it
twisted - this is still a very beatable secondary. Throughout
his career, Mahomes has averaged 298.5 passing yards and 2.75
passing touchdowns per game against the Raiders and he’s
only ever thrown one interception against them. He’s a locked
in top five option in any matchup, but this is one that could
see him finish as the QB1 for the week.
Wide receiver Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce continue to crush and
are must-starts in any format, with Hill having scored a touchdown
in every game so far this season and Kelce currently ranking as
the top-scoring tight end in the league through the first quarter
of the season. Meanwhile, it’s Sammy Watkins who continues
to dominate the snap counts opposite Hill as the WR2 in this offense.
Mecole Hardman has scored in back-to-back games but he continues
to battle Demarcus Robinson for playing time as the WR3 in the
offense. Hardman isn’t going to be reliable until he starts
seeing more snaps, but he’s the kind of player who can score
a long touchdown in any game.
KC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.24
KC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.18
KC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.32
KC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.20
Running Game Thoughts: Like Josh Jacobs, Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s
huge Week 1 has left fantasy owners feeling discouraged after
a few middle-of-the-road performances in a row since that point.
Edwards-Helaire continues to get plenty of work on the ground
and he’s now caught 14 passes over the past three weeks,
however, so there’s still plenty to be excited about from
a fantasy standpoint.
This week Edwards-Helaire gets to face a Raiders defense that
has been absolutely pummeled by opposing running backs so far
this season. Las Vegas has already given up eight total touchdowns
to opposing backs so far in 2020 and their 30.3 standard fantasy
points per game given up to the position is dead last in the league.
They did have to face Christian McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara in
Weeks 1 and 2, so it’s easy to see why they’d be ranked
pretty low after four games, but the Raiders have also given up
a 100-yard day on the ground to Sony Michel and a three-touchdown
day to Rex Burkhead.
The upside in this matchup is huge for Edwards-Helaire and his
floor is quite high as well. Don’t be surprised to see Edwards-Helaire
break his own career high of six receptions in this game, and
it seems likely that he’ll have a few opportunities to finally
get back into the end zone.
Cardinals at Jets
- (Katz) Line: ARI -7.0 Total: 47.0
Game Thoughts: As one of Kyler Murray’s
most ardent supporters, it’s been disappointing to see the
complete lack of progression as a passer. Murray had 26 money
throws in 2019. He has just two through a quarter of the season.
His completions are almost entirely underneath and in front of
the defense. Fortunately, he’s been an elite fantasy quarterback
because he’s improved greatly as a runner. Murray leads
all quarterbacks in rushing yards and touchdowns.
A road date with the Jets is just what the Cardinals need to
get off this two game skid. The Jets are allowing a league worst
71.43% catch rate to opposing wide receivers. De’Andre Hopkins
currently possesses an 84.8% catch rate. Hopkins has been inefficient
(through no fault of his own), but the recipient of massive volume.
Against the Jets, efficiency could merge with volume and Hopkins
could be in line for a massive outing. Christian Kirk remains
the Cardinals’ second receiver, but with Hopkins as a target
hog and Murray running more than he did last year, there just
isn’t anything left for Kirk. With injuries piling up, teams
missing entire games due to coronavirus, and bye weeks beginning,
Kirk in this matchup isn’t the worst option, but he’s
not someone you want to start. Larry Fitzgerald is done and Andy
Isabella’s 29% snap share is not going to get the job done.
TE Dan Arnold is not on the fantasy radar.
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.20
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.7
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.22
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.14
Running Game Thoughts: I’m ready to close the book on Kenyan
Drake. The matchup couldn’t be much better, but the Cardinals
have faced soft run defenses two consecutive weeks and Drake has
done nothing. Like any starting running back, Drake has a chance
to fall into the end zone, but ideally you don’t want to
need a touchdown from your second round pick for him to be productive.
And it’s not like Drake is some goal line specialist. He
only has two goal line carries this season. The Jets do allow
a 24% target share to opposing running backs, but the Cardinals
do not throw the ball to Drake. Through four games, Drake has
seen just five targets, while Chase Edmonds has seen 17 targets
despite just a 32.1% snap share. It’s a frustrating situation
in Arizona where Drake is getting the snaps, but not the production
and Edmonds isn’t playing enough to trust. You likely can’t
afford to bench Drake, but don’t expect a sudden spike in
Game Thoughts: Despite battling through a shoulder
injury last week and finishing the game, Sam Darnold is not going
to start this week as the Jets exercise caution with their (presumed)
franchise quarterback. That means Vanilla Joe Flacco is back in
our lives for at least one week! Flacco was benched last season
for Drew Lock after three consecutive games without a touchdown
pass. And he had far superior weapons in Denver than he has with
the Jets. Jamison Crowder’s return and completion of last
week’s game healthy certainly helps, but Crowder doesn’t
help a quarterback as much as being the only game in town helps
Crowder. Pure volume alone puts Crowder firmly on the fantasy
radar. He has only played two games but he’s caught seven
balls in each of them and has 23 targets. With the alternative
options being Jeff Smith and Chris Hogan, we have every reason
to believe Crowder will once again see double digit targets.
Chris Herndon continues to be a popular streaming candidate at
tight end because he’s playing 75% of the snaps and ran
31 routes last week, but the production hasn’t matched the
playing time. Cardinals’ opponents have targeted the tight
end position on 25.56% of their passes and Joe Flacco has a history
of targeting his tight ends, doing so around 22% of the time in
Baltimore. If there ever were a week for Herndon, it’s this
ARI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.19
ARI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.9
ARI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.31
ARI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.16
Running Game Thoughts: The Jets’ running back situation
has been a complete mess since Le’Veon Bell went down. Frank
Gore continues to command volume that would lead to fantasy relevant
production if he wasn’t 89 years old on a terrible team.
There is good news, though, as Bell is set to return from IR this
week. However, he will be a risky start for multiple reasons.
First, with the new Covid rules allowing gameday activations,
similar to what we saw with the Patriots and Damien Harris on
Monday, the Jets may not tell us that Bell is playing until a
few hours before kickoff. Second, it seems unlikely the Jets will
give Bell a full workload in his first game back. Third, Bell
wasn’t exactly thriving behind this offensive line. He had
just 14 yards on six carries in Week 1. If Bell does play, he’d
be nothing more than a volume based flex option. If he doesn’t
play, it’s back to the status quo from the last three weeks
of ignoring everyone in this backfield.
Game Thoughts: Injuries have been a major story
this season, and Philadelphia is one of the teams that have been
hit hardest, particularly at receiver and along the offensive
line. That has forced Carson Wentz to make do with patchwork groups,
and the results have been predictable. His seven INTs lead the
NFL, and he's averaging just 233 passing yards per game. While
Wentz led his team to an upset win last Sunday night, he threw
for a paltry 193 yards. Keep him glued to your bench.
With Alshon Jeffery (foot) yet to debut and DeSean Jackson (hamstring)
battling through a second hamstring injury, the Eagles receiving
corps has been led by Greg Ward, who paces the team with 146 yards
on 18 receptions. At this point it's unclear if D-Jax will be
back in Week 5, but Jeffery looks to be another week away. If
Jackson is active both he and Ward offer flex value. Zach Ertz
(19-139-1 this season) is the most dangerous weapon for Wentz,
but the loss of Dallas Goedert has allowed defenses to focus their
attention on him. Despite underwhelming production, Ertz remains
Pittsburgh is 12th versus the pass through three games, having
not played last week due a COVID outbreak with the Titans. Their
hallmark, of course, is getting after the passer, and it's here
that Wentz could pay a price; especially since Pittsburgh is so
tough against the run, which forces teams to try to move the ball
through the air.
PIT FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.17
PIT FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.30
PIT FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.7
PIT FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.22
Running Game Thoughts: Miles Sanders has averaged 105 total yards
per game since missing Week 1 with a hamstring injury. He'll be
a focus of Pittsburgh's top-ranked run defense as they try to
bottle up Philly's premier offensive player and turn them into
a one-dimensional team. With Sanders in the lineup, Boston Scott
and Corey Clement have been relegated to minor roles offensively.
Despite a tough matchup, Sanders holds borderline RB1/RB2 appeal.
Game Thoughts: While the Steelers have done
some chirping about the fairness of their unplanned week off,
the team ought to be well rested compared to a Philly squad that
played a physical game on the other side of the country last Sunday
night. That should apply to 38-year-old Ben Roethlisberger, who
is averaging 259 passing yards and 2.3 TDs per game on the young
season. The veteran hasn't been dynamic but should be a midrange
QB1 for Week 5.
JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee) and Diontae Johnson (toe) both benefitted
from the week off as well, particularly Johnson, who was concussed
during the Week 3 game. Smith-Schuster (17-160-3 this season)
and Johnson (14-149-1) form one of the better receiving tandems
in the NFL, and rookie Chase Claypool (6-151-1) has made some
splash plays in the early going. This has been a more balanced
Steelers attack than in the recent past, however, so Smith-Schuster
is best deployed as a WR2 with Johnson at WR3 level. As for Claypool,
he's someone to carry on your reserve roster.
The Eagles are currently 17th against the pass, allowing 243.5
yards per game to go with 1.75 TD passes. While the offseason
acquisition of Darius Slay has helped stabilize the secondary,
both Rodney McLeod (hamstring) and Avonte Maddox (ankle) are banged
up. Big Ben is the best QB the Eagles have seen this year, though,
and the second-best, LA's Jared Goff, hit them for 267 yards and
3 TDs. Don't shy away from Pittsburgh's skill players this week.
PHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.22
PHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.22
PHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.14
PHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.3
Running Game Thoughts: Felled by an injury early in Week 1, James
Conner resolved not to miss time and bounced back with consecutive
100-plus-yard showings. It isn't via attrition, either, as Conner
is averaging 5.6 yards per carry thus far -- that's well above
the 4.4 YPC he had entering the season. The Eagles are 12th in
rushing yards allowed (108.8) and seventh in yards per carry (3.9)
so this should be a good test for Conner, who is an RB2. Benny
Snell, who went off in relief of Conner in Week 1, has just 16
yards on 10 carries in two games since.
Rams at Football
Team - (Katz) Line: LAR -7.0 Total: 46.0
Game Thoughts: The good news is Jared Goff has
played pretty well this season. He’s third in clean pocket
completion percentage, second in play action completion percentage,
and ninth in true completion percentage. His receivers lead the
league in yards after catch per target. All in all, this is a
pretty good passing attack. It’s also one you want no part
of for fantasy football. Why? Sean McVay is just your standard
run-of-the-mill pound the football head coach. The Rams are dead
last in the NFL in passing plays and Goff is dead last in pass
attempts per game, on pace for just 488 attempts. We’ve
seen Goff toss it up 50+ times before when he has to. Against
the Football Team as favorites, it is extremely unlikely that
game script gets away from the Rams. We are looking at yet another
run heavy script, which severely caps the upside of one of the
best wide receiver duos in the NFL, Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp.
Woods is on pace for over 30 fewer targets than he saw last season,
despite possessing a career high 73% catch rate, Woods is a low
floor play in what should be a favorable matchup. Kupp is on a
similar pace as Woods, having seen just two more targets than
Woods. Kupp also possesses a career high 82% catch rate. Washington
has allowed just one receiving touchdown this season and just
208 passing yards per game, but they’ve also faced two struggling
quarterbacks and the league’s two best rushing quarterbacks.
This is not necessarily a strong pass defense. They’ve conceded
five touchdowns to tight ends and 26% of the receiving yards it
has given up has gone to the tight end position. Tyler Higbee
has yet to see more than five targets in a game and even though
McVay should utilize Higbee against a team that’s struggled
against the tight end, that conflicts with his overall philosophy
of not calling pass plays. Temper expectations for all Rams here
as they look to win a low scoring, boring slogfest.
WAS FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.7
WAS FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.26
WAS FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.30
WAS FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.6
Running Game Thoughts: If there’s one thing Sean McVay
hates more than calling pass plays, it’s Darrell Henderson.
You could feel the pain emanating from his body in Weeks 2 and
3 when injuries to Cam Akers and Malcolm Brown (who must not have
been 100% for Week 3) forced him to actually play Henderson. Every
time Henderson touches the ball, he produces, because he’s
good at football. Brown played 61% of the snaps last week and
out-touched Henderson 14-9. Back in Week 1, with all three backs
healthy, Henderson played 7% of the snaps. With Akers set to return
from his rib injury, expect Henderson to see a snap share south
of 20% and perhaps significantly less if Akers doesn’t need
to be eased back in.
Only two teams allow a lower percentage of receiving yards to
running backs so don’t expect much production from Brown
or Akers in the passing game. While Washington is allowing 119
rushing yards per game, 120 of the yards they’ve allowed
were to Lamar Jackson and Kyler Murray. This is a better than
expected defense that will make playing any Rams back a frustrating
Game Thoughts: In one of the most inevitable
benchings in NFL history, Ron Rivera finally pulled the plug on
the Dwayne Haskins following what was actually his best performance
of the year (a low bar, but still). There is a 100% chance that
Alex Smith ends up starting eventually, but before we get there,
Rivera is going to give Kyle Allen a whirl under center. Allen
was last seen in Carolina as the guy repeatedly throwing the ball
nowhere near a wide open Curtis Samuel. However, he was capable
of peppering D.J. Moore with underneath targets. Allen definitely
caps Terry McLaurin’s splash play ability, but he could
be a boon for McLaurin’s overall PPR value.
The Rams have only allowed one receiving touchdown thus far and
Aaron Donald is going to be up in Allen’s business all afternoon,
but McLaurin is pretty much the only game in town. You’re
never benching him even though he’s likely to draw Jalen
Ramsey most of the time. The switch to Allen could also be sneaky
good for Logan Thomas, who is playing 90% of the snaps and running
about 35 routes a game. Last week he saw his highest snap count
and routes run, but only caught one ball. Don’t bail on
Thomas yet. With Steven Sims still out, Dontrelle Inman has assumed
WR2 duties. He is not fantasy relevant.
LAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.16
LAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.15
LAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.27
LAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.12
Running Game Thoughts: Whatever the opposite of a smash spot
is, that’s what Antonio Gibson faced last week against the
Ravens and he shocked the world by smashing. Gibson was effective
both on the ground and through the air to the tune of 128 yards
on 17 touches. 20.42% of the receiving yards the Rams have allowed
have gone to running backs. Gibson is still being out-snapped
by J.D. McKissic, but his usage is superior. After last week’s
performance and a quarterback change, we can reasonably hope for
increased usage for Gibson. The Rams are giving up 5.0 yards per
carry and have allowed four rushing scores this season. Gibson
has earned a spot in your lineup.
Dolphins at 49ers
- (Caron) Line: SF -9.0 Total: 52.0
Game Thoughts: Four passing touchdowns with
five interceptions through the first quarter of the 2020 season
and there are now calls for the Dolphins to bench veteran Ryan
Fitzpatrick and turn to rookie Tua Tagovaiola. Fitzpatrick saved
what was otherwise a pretty miserable fantasy day in Week 4 against
a mediocre Seattle defense by rushing for 47 yards and a touchdown,
but there have to be concerns that the Dolphins’ offense
just cannot seem to get into the end zone consistently. While
Fitzpatrick himself ranks inside the QB1 range on the season,
he’s still among the highest-risk players in the league
to be benched at any time and that’s why he can’t
be trusted as a weekly QB1 for fantasy.
His pass-catchers haven’t been helping matters as wide receiver
DeVante Parker just finally got his first 100-yard game of the
season during the Week 4 loss to the Seahawks. He’s really
been the only consistent pass catcher on the team this season,
with tight end Mike Gesicki having caught just two passes over
his past two games and Preston Williams having just six total
catches on the season. In fact, Isaiah Ford is actually second
on the team with 26 targets, including a nine-target game in Week
2 and a 10-target game in Week 4. Ford hasn’t been hugely
productive with the opportunities he’d had, though, so it’s
more that Ford is standing in the way of the other pass catchers
than that he himself is much of a fantasy option.
In Week 5, the Dolphins have to head across the country to face
the 49ers who have given up the second-fewest passing yards so
far this season, only behind the Colts. Of course, the 49ers have
played against some passing games that are truly struggling thus
far, but they’ve still been able to hold pretty much everyone
they’ve played in check, other than allowing Kyler Murray
to rush for 91 yards and a score against them back in Week 1.
Parker is fine to put in your lineup as a WR2 and Ryan Fitzpatrick
is a QB2 if you’re in that type of league. You could even
consider giving Gesicki another shot given his talent profile,
but this Dolphins offense should probably be avoided for the most
part this week.
MIA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.4
MIA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.11
MIA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.6
MIA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.25
Running Game Thoughts: The running back situation in Miami continues
to be a dumpster fire, but it appears as though Myles Gaskin has
taken his spot atop the depth chart as the top back on the team.
He’s still yet to exceed 15 PPR fantasy points in any game,
but Gaskin is touching the ball plenty both as a runner and as
a pass catcher, so he’s someone who could be in lineups
this week as a Flex or low-end RB2 for teams in a pinch.
The 49ers have given up the league’s fewest points per game
to opposing running backs so far this season, however, and they’ve
been good at shutting down the position for a few years now, so
don’t expect the Myles Gaskin blowup game here in Week 5.
This is a tough spot in what could be a game where the Dolphins
find themselves down multiple scores.
Game Thoughts: We still don’t know if
Jimmy Garoppolo is going to be ready to play in Week 5, but the
49ers offense desperately needs him after the ugly performances
we saw from Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard against the Eagles
in Week 4. It’s hard to say which one of those QBs would
even get the start in this week’s game against the Dolphins
if Garoppolo is unable to go, but they both would probably be
players to avoid in most leagues.
Tight end George Kittle doesn’t seem to care who’s
throwing him the ball as the super-stud tight end returned this
past week after missing two games. He caught all 15(!) of the
targets that came his way for a ridiculous 183 yards and a score.
Needless to say, Kittle is back and needs to be in your lineup
in any matchup.
The wide receiver situation is getting better for the 49ers, too,
now that Deebo Samuel is back on the field. Samuel will likely
need a few weeks to get acclimated back so keep him on your bench
for now, but he’s someone who could break out at any time
and become an every-week fantasy starter as he was toward the
end of his 2019 rookie season.
Current rookie Brandin Aiyuk is currently operating as the team’s
top receiver and he’s now scored in back-to-back weeks on
rushing plays. The Week 4 “rush” was actually a screen
pass that technically started behind the line of scrimmage so
it was deemed a run, but the point is that Aiyuk possesses excellent
open field playmaking ability - a trait that is absolutely critical
in the Kyle Shanahan offense. It’s tough to trust a rookie
who has only caught more than two passes in a game one time, but
Aiyuk has real upside, especially if Jimmy G is back on the field.
SF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.26
SF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.32
SF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.24
SF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.31
Running Game Thoughts: With Raheem Mostert still dealing with
a knee injury, it seems likely that the 49ers will again turn
to veteran Jerick McKinnon to lead their backfield here in Week
5. There was some concern that Jeff Wilson would continue to see
a high touch share after his two touchdown game in Week 3, but
McKinnon dominated the touches in Week 4 while playing on 92 percent
of the 49ers’ offensive snaps. He took 14 carries for 54
yards and a touchdown while adding seven receptions for 43 yards,
further establishing himself as one of the few bell cow backs
- at least for now - in the league.
McKinnon now gets an opportunity to play against a bottom-10 NFL
run defense in the Dolphins, who have conceded five total touchdowns
to opposing running backs over just the past two weeks. They’ve
also given up 17 receptions to opposing running backs over that
same stretch, so there’s plenty to like here for high-end
upside when it comes to McKinnon. Assuming that Mostert is still
out, feel confident putting McKinnon in your lineup as a solid
Colts @ Browns
- (Green) Line: IND -2.0 Total: 46.5
Game Thoughts: If this season was your first
exposure to Philip Rivers you'd have a hard time believing he
has passed for over 60,000 yards in his career and may someday
be enshrined in Canton. The current version of Rivers looks more
like a game manager than a gunslinger as ever since a disastrous
Week 1 loss where the team threw the ball 46 times the 38-year-old
has averaged just 25 attempts per game. While Rivers may still
be capable of having some big weeks it's clearly not the direction
the Colts want to go. Leave Rivers on your bench.
Just two seasons removed from a 76-1,270-6 campaign, T.Y. Hilton
barely resembles that player. He has just 13 catches for 162 yards
and 0 TDs for the year, and even as the top option in an injury-riddled
receiving corps Hilton only offers flex appeal. As to those injuries,
Parris Campbell (knee) and Michael Pittman (calf) remain on IR,
which leaves Zach Pascal as the No. 2 receiver, though he's of
no interest to fantasy owners. Mo Alie-Cox has put himself on
the radar with some solid showings early on, but he hasn't demonstrated
he can be trusted with a starting slot.
A week ago Dak Prescott passed for more than 500 yards against
the Browns, though much of it came with the Cowboys trailing big
in the fourth quarter. That performance is at least part of the
reason that Cleveland is 30th in the NFL against the pass, but
don't expect that type of game this Sunday.
CLE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.3
CLE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.21
CLE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.2
CLE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.4
Running Game Thoughts: Second-round pick Jonathan Taylor (17-68-0
last week) has stepped in as the primary back, a role he filled
at the University of Wisconsin so there shouldn't be any concerns
about his ability to carry the load. He'll face plenty of resistance
in Week 5 as the Browns feature one of the league's better run
defenses, sitting fifth at 91.8 yards allowed per game on the
ground. Nyheim Hines has also been logging 10-plus touches most
weeks and is the best receiver out of the backfield. Both are
playable this Sunday, Taylor as an RB2 and Hines as a flex.
Game Thoughts: In a game where the Browns hung
49 points on the Cowboys, this was Baker Mayfield's final line:
19 of 30, 165 yards, 2 TDs. It marked the third time in four games
this season that the former No. 1 overall pick passed for fewer
than 200 yards as head coach Kevin Stefanski emphasizes the running
game. It's been successful, and even the injury to Nick Chubb
is unlikely to generate a change in that approach. As such, Mayfield
should remain on your bench.
Rumblings about Odell Beckham's discontent have certainly quieted
in recent weeks as the mercurial receiver has become the clear
go-to guy in Cleveland's scaled-back passing game. Last week,
Beckham tormented a familiar foe, accounting for 154 total yards
and three touchdowns against the Cowboys. One of those TDs came
on a pass from Jarvis Landry, who matched Beckham's five receptions
but gained just 48 yards. Austin Hooper made his first meaningful
impact last Sunday, posting a 5-34-1 line. It's still not on par
with his production in Atlanta, but it's a step in the right direction.
Indianapolis has allowed a league-low 159.3 passing yards per
game this season and has been pretty much airtight since struggling
with Gardner Minshew in Week 1. Also, since giving up 27 points
to the Jags, the Colts have yielded just 29 points total in their
three subsequent games. This looks like tough work for the Browns
passing game where Beckham carries WR2 value but Landry (flex)
and Hooper (low-end TE1) are shaky choices.
IND FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.32
IND FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.31
IND FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.26
IND FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.32
Running Game Thoughts: While losing Nick Chubb to an MCL injury
hurts, the presence of Kareem Hunt means they shouldn't miss a
beat. Don't forget that, prior to his off-the-field issues, Hunt
was a top-five fantasy back with the Chiefs and has proven he
can be a bell cow. Previously unknown D'Ernest Johnson also looked
good last week, running 13 times for 95 yards. The Colts feature
a much better run defense than Dallas to be sure as they're fourth
in the NFL with just 77 yards allowed per game. Despite that,
Hunt can slide into an RB1 spot while Johnson could be a risk/reward
play for the bold.
Giants at Cowboys
- (Katz) Line: DAL -9.5 Total: 54.0
Game Thoughts: Daniel Jones has been atrocious
through the first four weeks of the season. Some of it can be
blamed on a brutal schedule, but the fact remains Jones has yet
to finish higher than QB18, which he did Week 1. Since then, his
best finish has been QB28. This is gut check time for Jones because
if he can’t torch one of the worst defenses in NFL history,
then all hope is lost, at least for the 2020 season.
To put into perspective how bad the Cowboys are defensively,
opponents are averaging 42 points per game over their last three
games. FORTY TWO! They’ve given up a league high nine touchdowns
to wide receivers and opposing teams target the tight end the
third most frequent against them. Basically, this should be a
smash spot for Darius Slayton and Evan Engram, and possibly Golden
Tate as well. Going over the performance of Giants’ receivers
for the first four games isn’t helpful because the matchups
were difficult. This is as good as it gets, but it is still worth
noting that Engram leads all tight ends in route participation
and is fourth in target share. The volume is there. The efficiency
should follow in this plum matchup.
DAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.8
DAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.17
DAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.3
DAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.7
Running Game Thoughts: It’s pretty clear the Giants want
Devonta Freeman to be their primary running back. There were moments
where he looked like he had some juice, but overall, he mostly
looks like dust. Wayne Gallman showed much more last week, but
played just 10% of the snaps. It’s possible his role increases,
but between Freeman, Gallman, and Dion Lewis, this three-headed
monster largely devoid of talent.
With the Cowboys so vulnerable over the top, teams have no need
to dump it off to running backs. Just 6.76% of receiving yards
allowed by the Cowboys have gone to running backs, which is the
fewest in the league. The Cowboys have actually been getting gashed
on the ground worse than the air. They’re allowing 172 rushing
yards per game. Their first four opponents have all been able
to create positive game script, though. It remains to be seen
if the Giants are able to do that and exploit the Cowboys’
weaknesses. However, if there’s anyone who knows how to
beat the Cowboys, it’s former offensive coordinator, Jason
Garrett. This one should be interesting.
Game Thoughts: Dak Prescott is on pace to shatter
Peyton Manning’s single season passing yards record. Prescott’s
trend of throwing for more yards in each subsequent game will
undoubtedly come to an end this week as his 502 passing yards
from last week will almost certainly go down as his career high.
Prescott and the Cowboys have benefited from extremely negative
game script in three straight games, forcing Prescott to attempt
47, 57, and 58 passes over that span. The volume has resulted
in Amari Cooper leading all receivers in receptions and CeeDee
Lamb breaking out much sooner than most anticipated. Somehow,
Michael Gallup seems to have been lost in the shuffle. He’s
been targeted just five times in three of his four games.
The Giants defense has been better than expected. They’re
allowing just 221 passing yards per game and have yet to allow
a touchdown pass to a tight end. With the Cowboys heavy home favorites,
Kellen Moore and Mike McCarthy might be interested in giving Prescott
a break. It remains to be seen if the defense can stop anyone,
even Daniel Jones, but it’s fair to say Prescott shouldn’t
have to lead a frenzied comeback in this one. The Giants aren’t
as favorable a matchup as they once were, but this Cowboys offense
NYG FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.30
NYG FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.14
NYG FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.13
NYG FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.24
Running Game Thoughts: Ezekiel Elliott has really struggled to
get going on the ground, due in no small part to the team falling
so far behind so early. What Elliott has failed to do on the ground,
he’s made up for in the passing game. Zeke has caught at
least six balls in his last three games and remains one of the
best fantasy running backs in the game.
The Giants have been stout defending the run, allowing just 3.6
yards per carry, but 22.44% of the receiving yards they’ve
allowed have gone to running backs. Zeke is more of a checkdown
option than a deliberate part of the passing game plan, but he
should get heavy usage this week and is a strong bet to find the
end zone. Tony Pollard always looks good in limited action, but
he’s not a threat to Zeke’s workload. Pollard’s
season high in snaps was last week at 27%, which had more to do
with the 79 total plays run than any intent to give him more work.
Fire up Zeke as usual.
Vikings at Seahawks
- (Caron) Line: SEA -7.0 Total: 57.0
Game Thoughts: It looks like Kirk Cousins’
disastrous Week 2 performance as the Vikings QB has checked in
with back-to-back decent fantasy outings since, but the high-end
upside that we once saw out of him does seem to be a thing of
the past. Cousins is still yet to exceed 260 passing yards in
a game and he hasn’t even attempted 30 passes in a game
yet. This is even despite the Vikings being blown out by the Packers
and Colts in Weeks 1 and 2, so game script hasn’t been an
excuse that we can fall back on.
Realistically Cousins has to throw the ball more often to be considered
a viable fantasy option in anything other than deep two-QB/Superflex
formats, but he is at least consolidating enough of his pass attempts
to two players - Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson - that there
are actually two solid fantasy contributors in this passing game
right now. Thielen has seen 31 targets on the season thus far
and he already has two 100-yard games along with four total touchdown
receptions. He’s a borderline top five overall WR right
now and this week he gets to face a Seahawks defense that has
already given up 500 more receiving yards to opposing wide receivers
than any other team in the league. He’s an elite option
this week and the rookie, Jefferson, is even a solid WR2. Jefferson
has gone over 100 yards in back-to-back weeks and looks like a
serious candidate to be the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.
He’s a threat to hit the century mark for the third consecutive
week against a truly awful Seattle secondary.
SEA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.2
SEA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.28
SEA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.1
SEA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.29
Running Game Thoughts: While it’s been a slow start for
everyone in the Vikings passing game other than Thielen and Jefferson,
the Vikings’ running game and running back Dalvin Cook have
been absolutely crushing for fantasy thus far. Cook has already
scored six touchdowns this season and he’s rushed for 311
yards over just the past two weeks alone.
Cook has been everything that his fantasy owners could have hoped
for - and more - through the first quarter of the season, but
now he’ll face a Seattle defense that has been excellent
at shutting down opposing running backs. Of course, Seattle has
had games against New England and Miami - two teams with bad committee
backfields - but they’ve also held Todd Gurley to 56 rushing
yards and Ezekiel Elliott to 34 rushing yards. Some of this is
due to the way that opposing offenses are choosing to attack the
Seahawks, however, as Atlanta, Dallas and Miami have been significantly
more effective through the air this season than they have been
on the ground. Nevertheless, this isn’t exactly an ideal
matchup for Cook to feast in.
The Vikings will almost certainly continue to lean heavily on
their running game unless they fall behind multiple scores - and
even then, it’s still possible that they decide to continue
to run the ball at their own peril. Cook is a top five option
this week and realistically cannot be benched in any matchup at
Game Thoughts: The consensus first-quarter NFL
MVP has been Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson. Wilson’s
ridiculous numbers put him on pace for 5,140 passing yards, 64
passing touchdowns, 380 rushing yards and just eight interceptions.
The terrible performances by the Seattle defense has forced the
Seahawks into extreme pass-heavy game scripts and Wilson has delivered
time and time again, with both wide receivers Tyler Lockett and
DK Metcalf currently ranked firmly inside WR1 territory in scoring
This week Wilson and the Seahawks host the Vikings, who have already
conceded three 300-yard passing games to opposing quarterbacks
so far this season. Wilson looks like a near lock to become the
fifth QB to hit 300 yards against the Vikings as there seems to
be no real reason why the Seahawks wouldn’t continue to
put the ball into their best player’s hands as often as
Consider Wilson one of - if not the top overall player on the
board this week and his top two receivers, Metcalf and Lockett,
are both easy WR1s in this week’s game. Don’t risk
it with any of the other Seattle pass catching weapons, however,
as none of them have been seeing consistent enough work to be
MIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.18
MIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.12
MIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.4
MIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.19
Running Game Thoughts: It’s been “Let Russ Cook”
season in Seattle, which would seemingly be detrimental to running
back Chris Carson’s fantasy value as he’s historically
been only a minor contributor in the passing game. Carson was
seemingly a lock for 250 carries heading into the 2020 season,
but he’s now pacing at just 212 carries. He has, however,
seen an increase in passing game work and he’s now on pace
for 60 receptions this season, which would easily crush his career
high of 37 receptions which he achieved in 2019.
It’s tough to believe that Carson is going to continue to
be as involved in the passing game as he has been and he’s
going to be even tougher for him to carry his fantasy production
with lots of touchdowns despite a less-than-normal workload, but
it does seem possible that Seattle starts to lean a little more
heavily on their running game in the upcoming weeks, starting
here in Week 5 against the Vikings. Minnesota is probably the
least-explosive offense that Seattle has played against, so they
won’t likely need to score as many points as they have through
the first four games. That should allow them to get back their
running game a bit more in this game. In fact, it wouldn’t
be surprising to see Carson exceed 20 touches for the first time
The lack of work being seen by other players in this running game
makes Carson a pretty solid bet to finish as at least an RB2 in
any game, but he has the upside to finish as a mid-level RB1 in
games like this. Feel confident with him in your lineup this week.
Game Thoughts: In my six years writing this
column, this is the most difficult matchup preview I’ve
ever had to do. The game has already been moved to Monday and
the NFL hasn’t ruled out pushing it to Tuesday or postponing
it altogether. There is so much uncertainty surrounding this game
starting with whether it will even be played and continuing through
the status of numerous players.
One of those players is Drew Lock, who returned to a limited
practice this week after missing two games with a sprained AC
joint in his right shoulder. Lock returning to practice gives
him a chance to return if this game happens. If not, Brett Rypien
will make his second career start. I don’t think Lock is
very good, but Rypien was pretty bad against the Jets. In just
4.5 quarters of play, Rypien has already managed to throw five
interceptable passes on top of the two picks he threw last week.
Rypien’s primary target looked to be Noah Fant, but he
went down with an ankle injury and will not play this week. With
Courtland Sutton and K.J. Hamler out, Tim Patrick has become the
new WR1 in Denver. He led the team with seven targets and is a
viable bye week/injury fill in this week against a Patriots defense
that has surrendered seven touchdowns to wide receivers already.
Overall though, this is a bad matchup for the Broncos with the
lack of clarity at quarterback and the depleted pass catching
NE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.15
NE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.27
NE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.9
NE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.27
Running Game Thoughts: One good bit of injury news for the Broncos
is they are going to get Phillip Lindsay back from his toe injury.
Lindsay practiced in full and looks ready to go. Melvin Gordon
played 80% of the snaps last week, a number that should come down
with Lindsay back in the fold. Royce Freeman will be reduced to
just a bit role. Gordon had his best game of the season last week
with the Broncos correctly trying to hide Brett Rypien. The Patriots
are allowing 115 rushing yards per game and have allowed just
one rushing touchdown. Despite the unfavorable matchup, Gordon’s
volume, even with Lindsay returning, should remain relatively
strong. Lindsay slots in as a desperation flex play.
Game Thoughts: The next bout of uncertainty
is the Patriots’ quarterback situation. With Cam Newton
asymptomatic, there’s still a chance he could play this
week if he records two consecutive negative tests. So we have
Covid affecting not only whether this game happens, but also who
plays quarterback for the Patriots if it does. For the purposes
of this preview, I will assume Newton is unable to get cleared
and that Jarrett Stidham starts.
Stidham took over for Brian Hoyer in the third quarter of last
week’s loss against the Chiefs. Stidham is significantly
better than Hoyer, but by no means did Stidham play well; it’s
just that Hoyer was a complete disaster.
Damiere Byrd led the Patriots in targets last week with 10 while
N’Keal Harry and Julian Edelman each had six. A full week
of practice with the first team should give Stidham a chance to
develop more of a rapport with Edelman. The Broncos have been
weak against the pass, allowing 256 passing yards per game and
seven touchdowns thus far. However, Stidham is not about to light
it up against anyone. The Broncos will likely pressure Stidham
and force him into mistakes. Stidham is a downgrade for this entire
DEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.11
DEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.29
DEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.5
DEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.13
Running Game Thoughts: The Patriots’ backfield underwent
a big overhaul last week. Sony Michel and Damien Harris swapped
places and James White returned from a two game absence. The split
was about 50-30-30 between White, Harris, and Burkhead (the Patriots
occasionally put two running backs on the field). White commanded
eight targets and is the best fantasy option going forward, but
it’s worth noting that the Broncos have allowed just 9.34%
of their receiving yards against them to go to running backs.
With the vast majority of White’s production coming as a
receiver, this is a bit of a concern, but in PPR formats, White
should get there on receptions alone.
Harris, despite being third in snaps, led the team with 17 carries
and rattled off 100 yards. He may have only played 23 snaps, but
he was given the ball on 17 of them. That’s the good news.
The bad news is he’s being used exactly like Michel with
zero work in the passing game. Rex Burkhead was the primary goal
line back so while Harris definitely looks like someone worth
rostering in fantasy, his upside is capped due to the lack of
passing down and goal line work. With the Patriots as home favorites,
even if it is Stidham at quarterback, game script should not get
away from them like it did against the Chiefs, which should allow
Harris a chance to splash. He’s a viable option this week.
*Final note on this game: Only Melvin Gordon is a must start.
If you don’t need to start anyone else in this game, err
on the side of caution and start players playing on Sunday in
games you know will happen.
Chargers @ Saints
- (Swanson) Line: NO -7.5 Total: 51.0
Game Thoughts: With Tyrod Taylor sidelined with
a punctured lung, rookie Justin Herbert continues to impress with
big-time throws and a stellar completion percentage. The former
Oregon Duck completed 20 of 25 passes for 290 yards and three
scores against the Bucs last week, including a ridiculous 72-yard
bomb to Jalen Guyton that turned heads on both sidelines.
Keenan Allen continues to be Herbert’s favorite target,
with 327 yards and a score on 49 targets. Allen is on pace career
highs in targets (196) and receptions (126). He is a must-start
every week regardless of matchup and should shine on Monday Night
Both Tyron Johnson and Jalen Guyton scored on deep passes from
Herbert. They will likely see more snaps this week if Mike Williams
is out again with a hamstring injury, but their low volume compared
to Allen and tight end Hunter Henry.
Injuries to key members of the Saints secondary and pass rush
have greatly limited New Orleans when it comes to stopping opposing
wide receivers. Kenny Golladay and Danny Amendola combined for
119 yards and a score last week against the Saints, and Allen
Lazard torched New Orleans for 6/146/1 back in Week 3.
Starting cornerbacks Marshon Lattimore and Janoris Jenkins missed
last week against the Lions, and their availability this week
is up in the air. Even with Lattimore and Jenkins, Keenan Allen
is a strong start. Without those two players in the lineup, Allen
could be the No.1 WR in fantasy Week 5.
NO FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.5
NO FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.20
NO FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.28
NO FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.2
Running Game Thoughts: Starting running back Austin Ekeler suffered
a grade-two hamstring strain that will force him to miss at least
a month of action. Rookie Joshua Kelley should get more work with
Ekeler out, and veteran Justin Jackson should also get an uptick
Kelley looked like a steal of the draft after posting 12/60/1
in his first NFL game against the Bengals and 113 total yards
against the Chiefs Week 2. But he came crashing back down to earth
with a disappointing 8/43 performance against the Panthers that
included a costly fumble. He then followed up with just seven
yards on nine carries and another fumble against a tough Tampa
Bay run defense.
We anticipate that the Chargers will use a split backfield of
Jackson and Kelley this week against the Saints. How the snaps
are divided is still up in the air, but we can assume that Kelley
will be the primary goal line back.
New Orleans ranks 19th in fantasy points allowed to opposing
running backs in 2020. No opposing back has reached 100 total
yards against the Saints, yet New Orleans has given up three rushing
and two receiving touchdowns to opposing running backs.
Game Thoughts: The loss of Michael Thomas to
the passing offense of the Saints has been glaring. Drew Brees
ranks 20th in fantasy points scored at the position, with just
five more points than his opponent Justin Herbert, despite playing
in one more game.
The first ballot hall of famer has just one game of three or
more passing touchdowns, while not adding a single fantasy point
on the ground with his legs.
On a positive side, Brees and veteran free agent Emmanuel Sanders
appear to be building a solid rapport after a slow start. Sanders
has ten catches for 149 yards and a score in his previous two
games, compared to just four catches for 33 yards and one score
in his first two games.
Another positive sign has been the emergence of Tre’Quan
Smith; the No.18 ranked WR over the past three weeks. Smith has
13 catches for 182 yards and two touchdowns and could continue
to be a viable low-volume option when Thomas returns.
With Jared Cook sidelined, the Saints used a combination of Garret
Griffen, Josh Hill, and rookie Adam Trautman at tight end. The
three players combined for one reception for seven yards.
After limiting Joe Burrow, Patrick Mahomes, and Teddy Bridgewater
to three total passing touchdowns in three games, the Chargers
were lit up by Tom Brady and the Bucs to the tune of 369 passing
yards and five touchdowns.
While we don’t anticipate Brees will put up five touchdown
passes on this defense, Brady and the Bucs did prove that you
can pass on the Chargers as long as you provide enough pass protection
for the QB to find his targets.
LAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.6
LAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.24
LAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.17
LAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.10
Running Game Thoughts: Alvin Kamara leads all running backs in
fantasy points through four games and continues to be the focal
point of the New Orleans offense. Kamara is the second read on
every play for Brees and leads all running backs with 30 receptions
for 321 yards and a score.
Latavius Murray posted his best game of the season last week
in the shootout win over the Lions. Murray rushed the ball 14
times for 64 yards, with two rushing touchdowns.
The Chargers have given up the sixth-fewest points to opposing
running backs this season, and they are the only team who has
yet to give up a rushing touchdown. You can, however, find success
in the passing game against Los Angeles, which bodes well for
the best pass-catching back in the league.
Kamara is an elite play, and a must-start. If you are dealing
with injuries and bye week blues, Murray is also a decent play
with a floor of 13 carries for 60 yards and touchdown upside.
Game Thoughts: Josh Allen entered this season
as a breakout candidate for many fantasy analysts in the industry.
The narrative on Allen was simple. If he could somehow improve
on his efficiency or increase his passing volume while continuing
to be one of the best running quarterbacks for fantasy, he could
become a fantasy star.
Through four weeks of the season, that narrative has proven to
be correct. Allen ranks second in fantasy points, with 12 passing
touchdowns and 1326 passing yards on 148 attempts. He is completing
an astounding 70% of his passes, while throwing just one interception.
Not only has Allen improved his volume (he is on pace for 592
pass attempts), his efficiency is off the charts.
Assuming this game does not get postponed due to a COVID outbreak
on the Titans, Allen should have an excellent performance against
a Tennessee team that ranks 14th in fantasy points allowed to
QBs. Both Gardner Minshew and Kirk Cousins managed at least three
passing touchdowns against Mike Vrabel’s defense.
If you were lucky enough to snag Stefon Diggs in the middle rounds
of your draft, you could possibly have the steal of the draft.
Diggs has been a revelation for the Bills offense and for fantasy
owners. The former Viking leads the NFL in receiving yards by
WRs and is on pace for his second career 100-catch season.
Some injuries to keep an eye on for the Bills passing game are
wide receivers John Brown and Cole Beasley. Brown is questionable
with a calf injury, and Beasley practiced on a limited basis on
TEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.14
TEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.8
TEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.12
TEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.8
Running Game Thoughts: The downside of the Buffalo pass offense
being so dominant is the fact that the Bills run game does not
have much value right now for fantasy. We all knew Josh Allen’s
rushing ability would eat into the red zone touches for Devin
Singletary and Zack Moss.
What we didn’t anticipate was such a drastic decrease in
rushing attempts for the team. The Bills have just 70 rushing
attempts as a team for running backs. By comparison, the Steelers
have seven more rushing attempts on the year and have played in
one less game.
Singletary, Moss, and T.J. Yeldon are averaging a disappointing
3.9 yards per carry. No Bill has a 100-yard rushing game, and
the three players have combined for just two total touchdowns.
Moss has missed two games with a toe injury and may not play against
From a matchup perspective, this is an excellent opportunity
for Singletary to have a strong performance. Tennessee ranks 6th
in fantasy points allowed to running backs, while giving up nearly
six yards a tote.
Game Thoughts: The Titans organization is a
mess with a COVID-19 outbreak that could force the team to miss
a second-straight game. If this game gets played, quarterback
Ryan Tannehill will be without starting wide receiver Corey Davis,
who was added to the COVID-19 list that includes another starting
WR, Adam Humphries.
A.J. Brown has missed two games with a bone bruise on his knee
and is still up in the air as well, leaving Jonnu Smith as the
main receiving option for Tannehill in this matchup. Look for
Kalif Raymond and Cameron Batson to get more snaps in this game
with Davis and Humphries out. Neither is a great option in redraft,
but they could be sneaky plays in daily fantasy has cheap, home
The Bills rank 13th in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks
and wide receivers. Tight ends have been very valuable plays against
the Bills, with Mike Gesicki putting up a monster 8/130/1 line
and the Raiders tight ends posting 12 catches for 120 yards and
a score. If you have Jonnu Smith and want to roll the dice on
this game not being postponed, he is a great option.
If Tannehill had his full complement of wide receivers, he would
be a strong play in what could have been a high scoring game.
With Davis, Humphries, and possibly Brown out, it is hard to see
where he will be a great play this week.
BUF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.13
BUF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.25
BUF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.11
BUF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.5
Running Game Thoughts: Buffalo is far better against the run
than the pass. The Bill give up the 8th-fewest points to running
backs, with only one player (Darrell Henderson) topping nine fantasy
The Bills held josh Jacobs to 48 yards on 15 carries, and Le’Veon
Bell managed just 14 yards on six carries to open the season.
Derrick Henry owners will start their running back regardless
of matchup, and Henry has a history of having strong games regardless
of who is lined up across the ball.
Based on fantasy points per game, Henry ranks 9th overall at
the position. His 82 rushing attempts are second to Josh Jacobs,
despite the Titans playing in one fewer game. He has double-digit
performances in two of three games and has yet to get fewer than
25 carries in any game in 2020.
The Titans will lean on Henry to shorten the game and keep Josh
Allen off the field. The question is, how effective will Henry
be with that volume, and will he be able to reach the end zone.