Week 5 of 2020 fantasy football contained it all: the heartbreaks, the explosions, and your standard events of getting boomed by COVID-19. For the second straight week, COVID-19 caused NFL games to be pushed back and in Week 5, a matchup between the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots was moved multiple times, eventually landing itself a spot in next Sunday’s matinee and in turn, causing a domino effect of reschedules across the league. Additionally, the Tennessee Titans saga did not see a close as their matchup against the Buffalo Bills was pushed to Tuesday night and still in line for Week 5 fantasy stats.
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A week 5 in Chaos
Just a few changes to the schedule… pic.twitter.com/UvMHvvhnlR
— Matthew Berry (@MatthewBerryTMR) October 11, 2020
For fantasy football owners who needed some change from their active rosters, a lot of you saw some light in the tunnel in Week 5. Much-needed explosions from previously disappointing players stole the show in our Sunday slate and more rookie wide receivers say hello to the fantasy world. We’ve got all the highlights in this week’s wrapup of quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receivers, covering all the fantasy football noise in Week 5 until Sunday night.
Quarterbacks who caught eyes
- Early in the week, it was announced by the Washington Football Team that Dwayne Haskins was not only being benched but being demoted to third string. He ended up not showing up to the game due to an illness. Kyle Allen got the start but after a helmet-to-helmet hit by Jalen Ramsey and some arm soreness, the backup quarterback Alex Smith entered an NFL game for the first time since his life-threatening injury suffered in November 2018.
Allen finished the game going 9/13 on passes, throwing for 74 yards, and rushing for a 7-yard touchdown. Smith finished the game going 9/17 on passes for 37 yards and a 1-yard carry. He was also sacked 6 times. It remains to be seen if any Washington quarterback will be fantasy-relevant going forward and if so, it will likely be Allen as the starter for the time being. However, it would just be wrong of me to not give a shoutout to one of the best comeback stories of our generation of sports — hats off to Alex Smith for making it back into an NFL game.
- Dak Prescott, entering the week as the QB3 in fantasy football, was removed from his Week 5 matchup against the New York Giants with a gruesome ankle injury that put him in tears as he was carted off the field at AT&T Stadium. He underwent ankle surgery at a local hospital on Sunday night with prayers around the world in his direction. His status for the remainder of the season is yet to be determined; for now, Andy Dalton will take over at quarterback for the 2-3 Cowboys, who are currently in first place in the NFC East.
- The Miami Dolphins rout of the San Francisco 49ers saw diametrically opposing storylines for the starting quarterbacks. Ryan Fitzpatrick continued his stellar fantasy season and, entering Monday, as the second-highest fantasy quarterback. He threw for 350 yards and 3 touchdowns, both season highs, and did so at a 78.6% completion rate and had his best fantasy production of the season. It is important to keep an eye on both the COVID-19 implications on the Dolphins schedule and the Dolphins’ perspective on if/when they would like to see first-round pick Tua Tagovailoa to keep an eye on when to play Fitzpatrick.
On the other sideline, Jimmy Garoppolo returned to action after a Week 2 ankle injury but from his play, you would think maybe he didn’t get the memo. At halftime, his passer rating was 15. And no, that’s not a typo. Garoppolo finished the game passing for just 77 yards and throwing two interceptions before he was benched for protection in the blowout for C.J. Beathard. Fantasy owners have to assume that that will be Garoppolo’s season-low but nevertheless, it is worth your time to keep a close eye on any potential updates on his health and whether that seemed to be a factor in Week 5.
Running backs who found life
- Miles Sanders, a first-rounder in a majority of redraft leagues, had his best fantasy game of the season against the potent Pittsburgh Steelers defense, scoring a season-high 24 points in PPR scoring.
However, don’t let the final result fool you too much about his production. He finished the day with 11 carries (season-low since he’s been healthy in Week 2), 2 receptions (tied for a season-low), and 99 yards from scrimmage (second-lowest on the season). He found the endzone twice, including a 74-yard touchdown burst, to give his fantasy owners what they had hoped, but don’t interpret today’s effort as a sign that Sanders is back for good.
— NFL (@NFL) October 11, 2020
- Kenyan Drake, another first-round pick for many, put up his first serviceable performance since Week 1. Against the abysmal New York Jets, Drake managed only 62 scrimmage yards on 18 carries and one catch but a touchdown helped him redeem some kind of fantasy relevance. However, yet again, he got outplayed by Chase Edmonds, who scored 20 PPR points on just 3 carries, thanks to a 12 yard per carry efficiency, 5 catches for 56 yards, and a touchdown. Drake continues to be a disappointment for those that invested in his as a redraft RB1 in 2020 and owners of Edmonds continue to be happy with the production out of the late-round flier.
- On Sunday Night Football, the Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks took till the very last snap to determine a winner. The Vikings had control of the game early, leading 13-0 at halftime, heavily due to the continued dominance of Dalvin Cook, who entered the week as the RB3. On Sunday, Cook scored a touchdown and continued his efficient running. But after a groin injury forced him to the locker room in the third quarter, it became Alexander Mattison time for the Vikings. Cook returned to the game for a few snaps but Mattison took the bulk of the carries for the remainder of the game and shared some of the load with Mike Boone.
Mattison reminded us that he, too, has talent. He carried the ball 20 times and did so efficiently, finishing the game with 112 rushing yards and 3 catches for 24 yards. With 50% of the Vikings snaps at running back, Mattison put up a solid fantasy performance without finding the endzone as he posted season-highs across the board. As Cook awaits an MRI to diagnose his groin injury, if he were to miss time, Mattison would be a waiver wire favorite on Wednesday morning.
Wide receivers that wowed
- Another week, another shoutout for a rookie wide receiver. In the Pennsylvania matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles, we saw two electric performances from players yet to establish themselves in the NFL.
In Week 4, Travis Fulgham of the Eagles caught his first two passes in the NFL, one of which resulted in a touchdown. In Week 5 against the Steelers, he caught a whopping 10 passes on 13 targets and exploded for 152 yards including another touchdown, to burst for one of the best performances from a wide receiver in the 2020 fantasy football season. With the talk around Carson Wentz not having a plethora of pass-catching targets, Fulgham has emerged as the unlikely candidate to step up and be fantasy-relevant. It’s inevitable that in most leagues, there will be some claims on Fulgham, who averages 17.4 yards per catch in his two games this season.
Meanwhile, Fulgham wasn’t even the biggest breakout wide receiver amongst players participating in the battle of Pennsylvania. It was the 2020 second round draftee from Notre Dame, Chase Claypool, who led the Steelers to a win via four total touchdowns — one via the rush and three via air. He finished the game with 116 yards from scrimmage and caught 7 of his 11 targets. Claypool exposed the Eagles secondary with elite athleticism that should come as no shocker, given his workout metrics. With his 89th percentile 40-yard dash, 99th percentile speed score, and 92nd percentile burst score, Claypool is now averaging 20.1 yards per catch. There’s simply no mincing words; he is electric — and somewhat of a connoisseur of trolling on social media, which I’m all for.
— Chase Claypool (@ChaseClaypool) October 11, 2020
The Steelers have had a habit of generating top-tier talent at wide receiver and it is clear Claypool has a chance to be the next great pass-catcher of the organization. Do I even need to mention that if Claypool is available in your league, you should pounce on him if you can? Entering Monday, Claypool and Fulgham finished as the WR1 and WR2, respectively, of Week 5.
- There’s another pair of wide receivers I’m grouping together but not because they played against each other this week. On the conversation of panicking about wide receivers you’ve invested a lot in, in Week 4, Calvin Ridley and Brandin Cooks combined for 0 receptions and 0 scrimmage yards on 8 total targets.
On Sunday, in yet another lackluster performance for the Atlanta Falcons that triggered the firing of head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff, Calvin Ridley redeemed himself for his fantasy owners. In the absence of Julio Jones, Ridley caught 8 of his 10 targets and put up a season-high 136 yards to give his fantasy owners some redemption from his Week 4 goose egg, without needing to find the endzone.
Meanwhile, against the struggling Jacksonville Jaguars, despite the Houston Texans scoring 0 points in the first quarter, they ended the game with 30 thanks to the best game of 2020 for Brandin Cooks. On Sunday, Cooks erupted for 8 catches on 12 targets and 161 yards and a touchdown to make him the WR3 on the week, entering Monday. It is noteworthy that Cooks stealing the limelight did not dissolve the rest of the pass-catching corps of Houston. Deshaun Watson made sure that both Will Fuller V and Darren Fells didn’t slide into irrelevance. Fuller, himself, caught 4 of his 8 targets for 58 yards and salvaged a touchdown to give his fantasy owners some comfort. Fells caught both of his targets for a big 57 yards, one of which resulted in a touchdown and gave Fells his best fantasy game of the season thus far. Watson, in turn, put up his best fantasy performance of the 2020 fantasy football season as he hit season highs in completion rate, passing yards, and touchdowns. Despite the two interceptions, Watson goes into Monday as the QB3 of the week.
- Jamison Crowder also earns himself a mention in this week’s recap for good reason — he doesn’t care who his quarterback is, he will produce for you. Even with the return of Le’Veon Bell to the New York Jets offense, Bell did not see the endzone in the 30-10 rampage by the Arizona Cardinals. It was Crowder that did. In Joe Flacco’s first start of the year, Crowder had no issues getting himself the ball. In fact, he put up 8 catches for 116 yards, both of which were season highs for him. Crowder has now put up over 100 yards in each of his three healthy games (Weeks 1, 4, and 5) and has scored a touchdown in two of them.
Who has the next breakout game in this year’s roller-coaster season? Which rookie impresses next? Who are you thinking to buying low on or selling high on? It’s time to think about who’s helping lead your charge for the playoffs in this pandemic-inflicted season.
Make sure you check back later in the week for all of our Week 6 Fantasy Football lineup!
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