Fresh off Sunday’s slate of games, Fantrax looks back at all the good, the bad, and the interesting from the first Sunday of NFL games in the Week 5 fantasy football recap.
Hopefully, we can use what we learned in the first five weeks of fantasy football to help make better lineup decisions moving forward. This weekly column will highlight the week’s slate from a fantasy perspective, while also analyzing what trends to pay attention to in the weeks ahead.
For Week 5, we will look at a massive day from the NFL’s true swiss army knife, ponder what would happen if the Steelers had been competitive with the Bills, and dig into a rookie running back who found himself among the elite backs in the NFL today.
Week 5 Fantasy Football Recap
Week 5 Studs
If we play the “if only game” with Josh Allen, we can see a potential record-setting performance except for the fact that the Steelers were completely non-competitive in this 38-3 rout at the hands of the Bills. Allen had almost 300 yards passing and three touchdowns at the half, and would add one more plus 424 total passing yards before Buffalo let off the gas. After a mildly disappointing Week 4, Allen reminded us all who the king of the mountain is for fantasy quarterbacks. Allen now has at least four total scores in three of five games this year.
Hurts reminded us that even when he doesn’t completely get there with his passing, he still has enough fantasy value with his rushing that it can easily make up for a lack of passing touchdowns. Only throwing for 239 yards and no scores, Hurts’ 61 rushing yards and two rushing scores accounted for 18 fantasy points just on their own. He has the Eagles at 5-0 and should push Allen and Lamar Jackson for the top spot in fantasy quarterbacks all year.
That’s now three straight weeks with at least 20 fantasy points for Geno Smith, and at some point, we have to start considering him a regular fantasy starter. He threw for 268 yards and three scores in a wonderfully high-scoring game against New Orleans. Seattle was 14th in the NFL in pass play percentage this year, and they might find their way into the top 10 or 12 after today’s performance. With Rashaad Penny set to miss a significant amount of time, Geno’s number may be called more than usual.
That’s now five scores over the past two weeks for today’s top scorer at the running back position. Ekeler totaled 199 total yards and two scores in the game of the day against Cleveland. He was featured early and often and had more snaps, routes run, carries, and targets than all other Chargers’ running backs combined. Joshua Kelley and Sony Michel will always be there to steal some short-yardage work and give Ekeler a breather, but he is slowly moving back into bell-cow territory.
He stunk rushing the ball, but who cares? Fournette drew 11 targets, converting 10 of them for 83 yards and a score against the Falcons. Add in a short rushing touchdown and it all equals over 30 fantasy points and one of the best running back scores of the day. Rachaad White continues to get a little more run, but these were the second-most targets Fournette has ever received in a game. And the Buccaneers led the entire way.
That sound you hear is Michael Carter desperately pleading to the Jets’ coaching staff to let him score another one-yard touchdown so he can remain relevant. Even though Carter vultured two scores today, Hall still finished third among all running back in fantasy points. He hit 97 rushing yards on 18 attempts and added 100 receiving yards including a dynamic 75-yard reception. Hall did get a rushing touchdown of his own, but this is a clear changing of the guard here with Carter losing snaps by the week.
Another 134 yards and two touchdowns for Nick Chubb this week, and what more can really be said about the number one running back? He has at least 100 rushing yards in four of five games (he had over 100 total yards in the other), and now has seven rushing scores. He may not catch passes at the same rate as an Ekeler or McCaffrey, but this guy is getting it done every week.
When the first scoring play of the entire fantasy day was a 98-yard touchdown strike to Gabriel Davis, you knew it was going to be a big day for last year’s playoff hero. He finished the day with 171 receiving yards and two scores, all on three catches. Skeptics could look at that and (rightly) scream Regression!, but Davis is going to be their big-play guy and he looks fully healed from his ankle injury.
Has Geno Smith discovered the key that unlocks the secret to getting both Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf involved in a major way on offense? Lockett finished the day with 104 receiving yards and two scores while Metcalf has 88 yards and a touchdown of his own. Eight targets for Metcalf and six for Lockett. Why couldn’t Russell Wilson figure this out again? Lockett gets the fantasy hardware today because of his second, degree-of-difficulty touchdown over a plethora of Saints’ defenders.
Johan Dotson who? Dyami Brown filled in and caught both of his passes for 105 yards and two touchdowns, including an incredible one-armed second score. Clearly games like this will be few and far between, especially when Dotson returns from injury. But Brown is a player to target on waivers if any of the regular Washington downfield threats are ever out.
Meyers gets a special shoutout here as there are likely very few people in fantasy football who had the stones to start Meyers with Bailey Zappe as his quarterback. But Meyers was targeted eight times and accounted for 111 of Zappe’s 188 passing yards. Meyers also found the end zone, which is something the Lions’ opponents are doing with a lot of regularity these days.
Your fantasy MVP of the day was tight end Taysom Hill who had a passing touchdown plus 112 rushing yards and three scores on the ground. With Jameis Winston out and now Chris Olave in concussion protocol, Taysom Hill could be a fantasy cheat code considering the various ways they can get him involved. Alvin Kamara also had a fantastic day, but Hill was involved all over the field and likely remains in that role as long as Andy Dalton is the quarterback.
New Orleans had two of the top four fantasy tight ends on Sunday, so it was certainly a down day at the position. Dallas Goedert stood out for his nine targets and eight catches and 95 receiving yards. The Cardinals continue to be a sieve for fantasy points to tight ends, so play them early and often against Arizona when you can. Goedert’s targets have increased in three straight weeks as he begins to carve out his role in this new Eagles’ offense.
Week 5 Duds
Someone needs to retroactively tell the Jaguars that they were playing the Houston Texans at home today. Their offense sure didn’t get the memo as they managed only six points, which means Lawrence was without a touchdown and threw two picks. It’s not quite as bad as four fumbles lost last week, but he’s close to losing all the goodwill he developed in the first three weeks of the season.
Someone needs to research if quarterbacks are on a record pace for turnover this year. Because after another interception and two lost fumbles for Matthew Stafford, they have to be on a staggering pace. Stafford did have 308 passing yards and a touchdown, but he was harassed and hassled by the Dallas defense all day.
Well that’s a far cry from the 378 yards and four touchdowns Goff had last week. Goff managed only 229 passing yards with two turnovers despite getting Amon-Ra St. Brown back in the lineup this week. They could never get anything going against the up-front pressure in the passing game or the running game, starting with…
Hard Knocks hero Craig Reynolds got double the amount of fantasy points of Jamaal Williams Sunday, but the problem is no one was actually starting Reynolds in their fantasy lineups in place of D’Andre Swift. After 108 rushing yards and two scores last week, all Williams could muster against the Patriots was 56 empty yards on Sunday.
We are officially in full-blown panic territory with the Pittsburgh offense, as now Kenny Pickett is sinking the value of Najee Harris and Diontae Johnson. Jaylen Warren played more than Harris in this game, but that’s likely a product of game script. Harris only managed 20 rushing yards on 11 carries and 16 receiving yards. He has only one rushing score on the year and does not have a game with more than 11.6 fantasy points this season (half-PPR).
See Lawrence, Trevor. This was supposed to be the smash spot for Robinson. A game at home where they could build a lead and let Robinson just run wild in the second half to close out the contest. That clearly did not happen, and Robinson managed just 39 yards on 12 touches. This is back-to-back abysmal weeks for Robinson, so might we be seeing more Travis Etienne? Etienne did have 71 rushing yards and 43 receiving yards in Week 5.
If you told me Diontae Johnson got 13 targets in a game, I would be rejoicing, knowing he must have smashed for my fantasy team. But smash he did not, catching just five balls for 60 yards. Pickett did throw for 327 yards, but much of that went to George Pickens, Zach Gentry, and Jaylen Warren. There will be some growing pains in this offense with a brand new quarterback which means some bumpy roads ahead for Johnson.
With the Rams constantly shooting themselves in the foot on Sunday afternoon, the Cowboys didn’t need to rely much on their best receiver, calling his number for five catches and 53 yards. That’s his first game since Week 1 with fewer than six catches and 75 receiving yards, so I’m not worried about this game in the slightest. Next week should be an ultra-competitive game against the Eagles.
Amon-Ra St. Brown
On this day, it was the less-heralded St. Brown brother who captures all the fantasy headlines. Amon-Ra St. Brown caught just four balls for 18 yards and clearly looked like he was not 100% healed from his ankle injury. After the upcoming bye week, he should be fully healed and ready to rumble again.
The six targets and five receptions are nice, but a costly fumble causes Kittle to walk away from the day with only 5.2 fantasy points to his name. However, Jimmy Garoppolo is getting him involved and much better games should be ahead.
Yikes. He follows up a 61-yard, one-touchdown, 15 fantasy point day with one catch for two yards against Cleveland. That’s good enough for 0.70 points. Truth be told, when you play with Chargers’ pieces that are not Austin Ekeler and Mike Williams, there are going to be some disappointing days.
Situations to Monitor
Rhamondre Stevenson Bell-Cow Incoming
The Patriots only had Damien Harris on the field for six snaps on Sunday, which is a shame for his fantasy managers who deployed him in an elite matchup against the Lions. After Harris left with an injury, it was the Rhamondre Steveson show, and that could be a harbinger of things to come.
Stevenson had 54 snaps, 16 routes run, and 25 carries by the time the final bell sounded in their game. Those are elite, bell-cow numbers and New England did not have another running back take a snap the entire game. The Patriots are likely to sign someone if need be, that should not be of too much concern. If Harris has to miss any length of time, Stevenson will be an auto-play as New England enters into a stretch of games playing Cleveland, Chicago and the New York Jets.
Which Saints Receivers are Left (And Does it Matter?)
In a game where the Saints were already missing Jarvis Landry and Michael Thomas, they lost rookie star Chris Olave to a concussion after just 31 snaps. Before he left in the third quarter, Olave had six targets for 54 yards and a touchdown. But if Olave has to now miss a week under the new Tua Rule for concussions, who exactly is left for New Orleans?
Marquez Callaway and Tre’Quan Smith ran the most routes for New Orleans, and Adam Trautman was not far behind. But as you might expect from the standouts in today’s game, the offense would really start to flow around two players: Taysom Hill and Alvin Kamara.
Andy Dalton is just an experienced game manager at this point, and would defer to these two early and often. Watch for new about the Saints’ wide receiver room this week, as Callaway and Smith could also be dart-throw waiver pickups.
The Messy Washington Running Back Room
The feel-good story of the day is clearly Brian Robinson, Jr. returning to the field after just six weeks removed from a gunshot would in an armed robbery. Everyone in all aspects of football fandom is rooting for Robinson and it was inspirational to see him back on the field. From a fantasy perspective, however, it did create a bit of a mess. Here is the Washington backfield breakdown for Week 5, courtesy of Pro Football Focus.
Three running backs saw between 18 and 26 snaps. Robinson had the most carries. J.D. McKissic had the most targets, and Antonio Gibson was the only one to have both a target and a rush attempt. Right now, this is a messy situation I am avoiding until there is some more clarity on roles.
Presumably, Robinson will take over the majority of the work at some point, but I’m playing the wait and see game until then.