The moment you think you have this fantasy thing figured out, it turns around and bites you on the hand. Big-time injuries, more breakout players, and another crazy week in the NFL. In case there was ever any doubt, DeShaun Watson was your highest scoring player on Sunday with 35.8 points. The Texans lost, but 3 TDs to DeAndre Hopkins makes him a legitimate QB1 going forward. Here’s your Week 5 recap:
- When you’re hot, you’re hot. Most teams would have settled for overtime, but Aaron Rodgers ain’t like the rest of us. After overthrowing Davante Adams in the end zone on a fade route, he went right back to the same damn play on the very next snap. Of course, this time the throw was picture perfect, and the Packers once again pulled the rug from beneath the Cowboys. Rodgers finished with 24 fantasy points, 3 TDs and a Twitter explosion. We’re not dealing with an ordinary man here.
- There was never any doubt about how strong Joe Flacco’s arm was, it was more a question of his accuracy and ability to win close games. I wish I could sit here and say Flacco was a fantasy monster, but the blue chip has to go to Mike Wallace after his 133-yard day. He found himself open twice down the field, reeling in a 54-yard reception at one point against a slow Raiders D/ST. If Flacco can somehow work out how to convert those big plays into touchdowns himself, maybe the Ravens will figure this thing out. In the meantime, Javorious Allen’s 18.5 points were huge for owners, and just as a reminder, he’s still available in 40% of leagues.
- It took nearly five quarters, but Jacoby Brissett came through in the end. After turning what should have been a game-winning overtime pass to Darrell Daniels into an interception on the goal line, Brissett bounced back nicely on the very next drive, marching the Colts right down the field. It eventually led to a game-winning 51-yard field goal for Adam Vinatieri, who netted a tidy 18 points for owners. He’s also kicked the second most field goals in NFL history, not that that’s a big deal or anything…
- There wasn’t much to celebrate for the Cardinals in their blowout against the Eagles. Larry Fitzgerald has now caught at least one ball in 200 consecutive games, though, so that can’t go without mention. Also worth noting is how great the Eagles D/ST was. Philadelphia had allowed the second most passing yards entering Sunday, and even though they still gave up 291 yards, limiting Chris Johnson and Andre Ellington to 19 yards apiece was the real knockout punch.
- Just when you think you’ve got a defense figured out, here comes A.J. Green to screw everything up. I dare say Green’s 29.9 points just about won you your matchup, not that you had to wait long. He completely burned Tre’Davious White 10 minutes into the game, and sat just under 100 yards with a TD next to his name in the first quarter. Not that there was every any doubt, but Green really is a man playing amongst boys.
- The last time Melvin Gordon came even close to 26 touches in a game was way back in Week 10 last season. Against the Giants on Sunday, though, he finally unleashed a big can of whoop ass on New York’s top five rush defense. After a week of injury doubt, Gordon put up 163 combined yards and two receiving touchdowns in the Chargers’ win. Better yet, he had a nasty stiff arm on Janoris Jenkins that should go down in folklore.
- Officially renaming Alex Smith “The Hulk,” except I actually like him when he’s angry. The Texans’ defense took a physical and emotional blow with the loss of Whitney Mercilus and J.J. Watt, but none of that stopped Smith from putting up 228 yards and 2 TDs in the first half alone. He’s scored the second most points of any quarterback behind Tom Brady this season, so if you have your doubts at QB on your roster, here’s your problem solver.
- And the next TE to emerge from obscurity is *drumroll* George Kittle! Okay, it’s not a monster day, but 83 yards and a touchdown from any 49ers receiver is worth noting at this point. Seriously, though, given Charles Clay’s injury, Kittle could be on the radar as a potential replacement.
- Okay, so people (Cowboys fans) bashing Dak Prescott for not diving at the one-yard line to chew up some clock really need to calm down. You play to win the game! Sound familiar? Anyway, Prescott was awesome against a Packers defense that has been dump trucked by injuries as of late. His interception should have an asterisk next to it because it’s entirely on Terrance Williams’ hands (literally). What was nice to see, though, was the unexpected hook up with Cole Beasley for a pair of touchdowns. If you somehow managed to start the two, you would have been happy with 48 combined fantasy points.
- So this Devin Funchess thing looks good. Oh, so does Cam Newton. The Panthers marched into Detroit and held on to a 27-24 win, but more importantly, Cam threw for 355 yards and 3 TDs. That makes two straight weeks of 300+ yards, the second time Cam has done that in his entire career.
- Here lies the Giants’ hopes and dreams. Things looked pretty sharp again for Eli Manning against the Chargers, if you’re only concerned about the pretend fantasy football world, that is. Midway through the fourth quarter, Manning was sitting pretty with 24 points, but then the sack-fumble happened, followed by the game-ending interception. The Giants’ offense completely went to mud in a matter of two drives, as Manning finished with an unlucky 13 points overall. You can blame much of this on the injuries, I guess, but this is the part of the article where I encourage you to mass drop him as soon as you can.
- Six words you never want to hear from a player: “Maybe I just don’t have it anymore.” Over the last 30 years, Ben Roethlisberger is the only Steelers QB to throw five INTs in a game. That happened on Sunday against the Jaguars D/ST, but you want to know what else? His 2.58 fantasy points were the fewest of any QB who attempted at least 55 passes. It’s certainly discouraging for Steelers fans, but also a little worrying for owners who drafted Big Ben purely for the Antonio Brown factor. Things don’t get any easier with a trip to Kansas City next week, so this ship could sink fast.
- Here’s another milestone: Amari Cooper had never been held to single-digit fantasy points prior to Sunday. It was always a worry with Derek Carr out, but this!? Cooper was targeted twice against the Ravens, and caught just one pass for eight yards. It really looks like Michael Crabtree is the preferred number one receiver in Oakland now, especially after seeing three more deep balls than Cooper through the first five weeks. This is a tough sell for owners on the trade market, and with Carr out for the near future, Cooper is almost benchable in the majority of leagues.
- Getting a grasp on Carlos Hyde’s hip injury is a dilly of a pickle. He looked poised for a big role in Sunday’s showdown with the Colts, but he received two fewer carries than fellow colleague Matt Brieda. Hyde tallied 11 yards in the loss, good for 2.5 fantasy points. The handcuff situation with Brieda is becoming more and more of a problem, and with just two rushing touchdowns next to his name, owners have every right to feel ripped off.
- I guess the writing was always on the wall for DeShone Kizer, what with his receivers dropping like flies and all. I was reminded how many good QBs the Browns have passed on when I saw the kinda day Dak Prescott put up, but where was I… oh yeah, Kizer was benched in favor of Kevin Hogan. Neither passer really looked better than the other, and it’s hard to blame anyone other than the quarterbacks here. The offensive line allowed one sack and six hits all game, and even Isaiah Crowell managed 60 yards. Really, this is the Browns just out Browns-ing themselves once again.
- There was a small percentage of people that seemed to think Bilal Powell had turned the corner after last week. I was not one of them. The Browns have allowed the eighth fewest rushing yards this season, but Powell’s five yards on two carries just gives you nothing more than a migraine. Last week’s triple digit total was really just a fluke, and with more and more calf issues, Elijah McGuire is quickly becoming the running back you probably want to own in New York.
- I feel so violated every time I read bad things about Matthew Stafford. He’s had a good season, but his start against the Panthers on Sunday was pretty cringe-worthy. I guess we’re all still waiting for the explosion to come, except Stafford still hasn’t even come close to lighting the fuse. Golden Tate put up 48 yards, which is quiet by his standards, and for a team that so many people have touted as a potential Super Bowl pick, well, they need to find some receivers fast. Stafford, on the other hand, put up 15.2 fantasy points, and to put that into perspective, that’s less than Brissett or Hogan managed on Sunday.
- Round two for the Giants. Evan Engram was meant to go gangbusters this week, but instead Ben McAdoo decided to leave us hanging. It’s baffling really, considering OBJ, Sterling Shepard and Brandon Marshall all suffered injuries. Engram caught zero passes and was targeted only four times. You tell me why.
On The Shelf
- It certainly comes in threes. Sterling Shepard and Brandon Marshall both left Sunday’s game against the Chargers with ankle injuries, but the biggest news of the day was certainly Odell Beckham Jr. He fell awkwardly in the air on a slant route as his ankle got trapped beneath a defender. The initial diagnosis is a broken ankle, with surgery an option.
- This won’t effect many, but for those in IDP leagues, J.J. Watt is out for the season with a left fractured leg. It was a freak injury as he tripped over his own feet whilst rushing Alex Smith.
- In the same game, Travis Kelce also suffered a concussion. He’ll be evaluated later in the week.
- Jordy Nelson was noticeably absent from the Packers’ final game winning drive against the Cowboys. There’s no word on the cause, so it doesn’t sound too serious.
- The Bills offense took a major blow, as Charles Clay left with a knee injury following Sunday’s loss. The severity is unknown, but it’s likely we can rule an ACL out.
- Andy Dalton (ankle) and Matthew Stafford (leg) both pulled up lame. Both also decided not to comment on their injuries.
Not for the first and not for the last time, Leonard Fournette earns his place here. He found pay dirt for the fifth consecutive game against the Steelers on Sunday, a rush defense that has allowed the third most touchdowns (6) this season. Fournette’s workload has been unbelieveably productive, not that we ever expected anything less. He’s carried the ball 76 more times than Christian McAffrey through five weeks. What could be better yet, is the fact that Fournette has also accumulated the third most fantasy points among RBs (107). Only Kareem Hunt (123) and Todd Gurley (124) have been better, and if Fournette finishes ahead of Le’Veon Bell or Melvin Gordon this season, well, that’s another story.
It’s not hard to see why owners scrambled to add Aaron Jones this week. Somewhere Ty Montgomery is looking over his shoulder, because Jones looked magical against the Cowboys. On paper, the touchdown and the 125 yards were nice, but it was the physical clinic that Jones put on that really blew people away. The Packers are the only team to start two different offensive tackle tandems in every game this season, but somehow, Jones still managed to find hole after hole in a completely depleted offensive line. Owned in just 65% of leagues, this is a must own running back. More importantly, though, this gives the Packers some flexibility once Montgomery returns, and after averaging 6.6 yards per carry, Jones gives Green Bay the running threat they’ve been missing for years.
Tough to get a read on Sammy Watkins this year, isn’t it? He spent all of Sunday’s game against the Seahawks in the shadow of Richard Sherman, resulting in zero catches and just four targets. Plenty of good receivers have struggled against Seattle’s defense, but this was certainly a head-scratcher. On one hand, the value in Watkins as a flex play still remains – he’s a solid deep threat with a great pair of hands and two small children for thighs. On the other, he’s at the mercy of Jared Goff, who simply looked too scared to throw his way on Sunday. Goff has a 158.7 passer rating when targeting Watkins, but you wouldn’t know it after the pair has combined for just 17 yards over the last two weeks. Chalk this up to bad playcalling, but this isn’t what owners signed up for.