Photo: Kirby Lee, USA Today Sports
TB @ CHI
- Ronald Jones II isn’t going away when Leonard Fournette is healthy. He’s getting yards after contact and making something out of nothing. He also hasn’t been ostracized from the passing game after his spate of drops in Week 4.
- David Montgomery was never going to find a lot of room to run against the Bucs run defense (who lost key piece Vita Vea for the season), but his strong receiving skills and an actual goal line score made him a solid play and he’s a trustworthy RB2 in PPR with Tarik Cohen sidelined.
- Ke’Shawn Vaughn isn’t ready for prime time and is no threat to this backfield’s stability after all.
- Nick Foles is going to force the ball to Allen Robinson and keep his PPR floor high.
- Jimmy Graham can still make special plays on the ball and Nick Foles will keep giving him chances to, which makes him a low TE1 in the usual rough terrain at the position.
- Darnell Mooney has the speed to separate deep, the Bears just need to give Foles time to throw deep. He shouldn’t be on any dynasty waiver wires, and Anthony Miller isn’t going to become a thing because of it.
- Mike Evans’ ankle isn’t fully healthy, but hopefully the extra rest before the showdown with the Packers changes that. We haven’t seen his best yet this year.
- No Tampa tight end is going to be consistently fantasy relevant this year. Even with the wide receivers depleted, three tight ends were involved and none stood out.
- The Bears are still a top half of the league defense and no easy draw for Tom Brady with his top four wideouts either out or less than 100%.
- Tyler Johnson fits in on an NFL field and should become that ubiquitous slot receiver for Brady in time, which affects Chris Godwin’s long-term outlook.
JAX @ HOU
- Deshaun Watson got more play action chances and took more shots downfield with Bill O’Brien banished. Brandin Cooks was the obvious beneficiary, but Randall Cobb also tied his highest target total of the year. It might have just been the Jaguars defense being generous with their top two defensive players out, but for now be optimistic about this offense going forward.
- Will Fuller V wasn’t the clear #1 in a functional offense and might well be worth less than Brandin Cooks this year.
- DJ Chark left with an ankle injury, and while it’s not serious, the Jags passing game changes without him. There’s no obvious waiver wire pickup if he ends up missing time.
- The Jaguars abandoned James Robinson and the run game for unknown reasons, but they should fix that against another bad run defense - Detroit - in Week 6.
- David Johnson was more effective in a better offense, but there is talk from Romeo Crennel that Duke Johnson Jr could be more involved in the future. There’s probably a low overall ceiling to this backfield in any event.
- Gardner Minshew is spreading the ball around by design, but Laviska Shenault Jr is getting more volume and more downfield targets to elevate him to everyweek WR3/Flex status.
- Darren Fells had an easy long score in a preview of what kind of opportunities Jordan Akins could get in a better Texans offense.
- Tyler Eifert has a neck issue that forced him from the game. There’s hope he won’t miss any time, but this could come up again and if it does James O’Shaughnessy will climb on our desperation tight end list with a shot to become consistently relevant.
CIN @ BAL
- Lamar Jackson was off as a passer in this one and he hasn’t come close to his 2019 level of play yet. That could mean he is a buy low, but it could also mean that 2019 required an amount of precision that was unusual and impossible to duplicate.
- Jackson’s best passes are mostly to Mark Andrews and he remains a strong TE1 that is worth riding out the highs and lows with week in, week out.
- The Bengals appear more open to making Joe Mixon a true workhorse after his Week 4 breakout. He’s still a low ceiling play against good defenses, but this should be reassuring at lineup setting time.
- Joe Burrow looks overwhelmed behind this line against a good defense and we should avoid everyone except Mixon in matchups like this one.
- AJ Green is indeed dust. If you were waiting for permission to drop him, you have it. Tee Higgins should be a strong WR3/Flex outside of mismatch games like this one.
- The Ravens are committed to a three-way split in the backfield and expecting it to sort out by youth/juice or hot hand is foolish until we see evidence otherwise. Mark Ingram II looked better than he has any point so far this year to further entrench this approach.
CAR @ ATL
- Todd Gurley looked more like prime Gurley than he has since 2018. The Falcons should commit more fully to him, but it is probably best to try to sell high.
- Matt Ryan was helpless without Julio Jones. Calvin Ridley came on, but only after Donte Jackson went out. Hayden Hurst and any number of slot type receivers were weak plays despite the Falcons being at home against what was supposed to be a subpar defense. Even after Jones returns, this passing game looks shaky.
- The Panthers aren’t missing Christian McCaffrey because of Mike Davis. A footnote waiver claim has become very important in the following year. If McCaffrey fantasy teams added Davis, they aren’t missing their #1 overall pick either.
- Teddy Bridgewater is getting comfortable in this offense and he authored a key two minute drill to help the Panthers move into the division lead. He’s at least a matchup QB1 and if he looks good against Chicago, he could become an every week QB1.
- Robby Anderson isn’t ceding his #1 target perch to DJ Moore. Moore’s long score was a short catch that highlighted his after catch speed, but that won’t be there against better defenses.
LV @ KC
- Sammy Watkins tore his hamstring and will miss multiple weeks. The door is open for Mecole Hardman, but Demarcus Robinson will also get a larger opportunity. Don’t forget about Byron Pringle in deep dynasty leagues.
- Clyde Edwards-Helaire looked overwhelmed (again) in collisions and he’s not making the red zone plays or explosive passing game plays that Damien Williams added to this offense. DeAndre Washington was a healthy scratch after being called up from the practice squad, but he lurks to complicate this backfield picture.
- Al Davis is smiling somewhere as the AFL vertical passing attack is back. Derek Carr is a viable QB1 and Henry Ruggs III may end up being the most valuable 2020 rookie receiver after all.
- Patrick Mahomes II had some hiccups against a defense that dropped 7-8 into coverage for the second straight week. We’ll see if this becomes the blueprint.
- Josh Jacobs wasn’t finding much room to run but he had the stamina to finish the game and the souped up pass offense help create more scoring opportunities to get him out of his fantasy slump.
ARI @ NYJ
- Kenyan Drake eked out a score, but was running into the tough Jets front all day and was only a fantasy factor because of the touchdown. Chase Edmonds outplayed him again, scored on a long run (the Jets run defense bugaboo) and continued to dominate the passing game work out of the backfield. With every passing week it seems more likely that Edmonds will turn this into a committee or take over the lead back role.
Le’Veon Bell looked strong as a runner but was using sparingly in the passing game and took to social media to express himself about it, earning him his release. He'll likely have more value on his next team. There's no obvious pickup in his place in this offense because it is so bad.
- Christian Kirk showed up in the downfield passing game, although it could have just been a product of the Jets poor pass defense. Kyler Murray had a big passing day, although it could just been a product of the Jets poor pass defense. Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Dolphins get the Jets next.
- Jamison Crowder’s streak of seven catch, 100-yard games was extended to three even though Joe Flacco was the quarterback. He’s a must start now.
- DeAndre Hopkins had some big plays in garbage time to make his fantasy teams happy and show that he’s over his ankle injury.
PHI @ PIT
- Chase Claypool was unstoppable and his breakout day was already in motion before Diontae Johnson left with a back injury that will at least limit him in practice this week. Claypool was great after the catch and his best play of the day was wiped off of the board by a bogus offensive pass interference call. They can’t put him back in the bottle and he’ll have high ceiling WR3/Flex value going forward.
- Zach Ertz was a non factor yet again and it sounds like the connection between him and his quarterback is stressed. Ertz isn’t creating separation and getting disrupted in his routes, and he looks unable to create anything on the short catches he is hauling it. Look for Ertz to be emphasized in the gameplan against the Ravens to get this right.
- Travis Fulgham has tremendous chemistry with his quarterback and if the only obstacle to him having lasting value is the health of Desean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery, then he should definitely be a priority on the waiver wire. Time after time he came through to keep the Eagles in the game.
- Juju Smith-Schuster looked like a pedestrian checkdown target in the shadow of Claypool. He hasn’t reproduced anything near his clutch two score game in Week 1 and might be on the fringe of being startable if this keeps up.
- Miles Sanders wasn’t as involved in the passing game as he should have been, but he took a draw play to the house and also scored from close in to give his fantasy teams something to cheer about for the first time this year. He reminded us to leave him in the lineup, regardless of opponent.
- Eric Ebron got enough volume to be viable, but he had a fumble, and a drop that almost turned into an interception. Ben Roethlisberger is trying to foster growth in this relationship, but Ebron has to deliver for it to blossom. He’s just a matchup play at best.
- Carson Wentz fought hard but once Lane Johnson went out, the Eagles offense bogged down and couldn’t keep up with Chase Claypool, err, the Steelers. He’s just a bye/emergency play until this offense gets straightened out, which might not be this year.
LAR @ WAS
- Darrell Henderson wasn’t on the field that much more than Malcolm Brown, but he touched the ball on a much higher percentage of his snaps and converted in the red zone and in the passing game. He’s the best play in this backfield going into Week 6, but this is always subject to change, especially with Cam Akers back on the field.
- Gerald Everett showed the size/athleticism/skill combination that got him drafted in the second round as the first pick in the McVay era, cementing our lack of trust in Tyler Higbee. Higbee still has a high dynasty ceiling, but Everett might actually be the better play for now.
- Jared Goff restored some faith in him as a matchup play by rolling over Washington even though they had Chase Young back. San Francisco’s defense is depleted, so Goff is a streaming option for Week 6.
- Alex Smith’s comeback is a feelgood story but he looked overwhelmed by the Rams defense. Kyle Allen should start as long as he can stay on the field, which should be a relief if you have Antonio Gibson and Terry McLaurin.
- Aaron Donald terrorized the Washington offense and they barely got the engine to turn over before Allen left the game, but things should improve against the Giants this week.
MIA @ SF
- Jimmy Garoppolo was a disaster and pulled from the game “for his own protection”. The 49ers passing game may end up being very inconsistent except when they are facing bad defenses. The Rams are up this week and they are not a bad defense. Only George Kittle should be in lineups from the 49ers passing game in Week 6.
- Raheem Mostert came back from his knee injury and looked as incredible as he did before the injury. The 49ers would be smart to build their offense around him with the problem at quarterback. He could still be a league winner.
- Jordan Howard was a healthy scratch, which opened the door to Myles Gaskin at the goal line and Gaskin ran through it for a short score, giving him RB2 value again heading into a matchup with the stout but big play prone Jets run defense.
- Ryan Fitzpatrick was in top form and he elevated Preston Williams and Mike Gesicki’s fantasy stock. He should be a top DFS play and streamer against the Jets this week, and both Williams and Gesicki should find their way into lineups.
NYG @ DAL
- Dak Prescott was lost to a compound ankle fracture, but Andy Dalton had enough in him to lead the Cowboys to a victory. The values of the Dallas targets and Ezekiel Elliott probably won’t take as much of a hit as it feels like they will in the wake of this devastating injury.
- Michael Gallup came alive with two unlikely catches on the game-winning drive. It looks like Andy Dalton will give Gallup chances to go up and make plays and the quarterback change might actually be good for his value.
- Amari Cooper was smothered by James Bradberry and his snap count went down for the fourth straight week. It’s fair to wonder if his nagging injuries are affecting him and he’s probably the best Cowboys target to sell on the Prescott injury.
- Darius Slayton looks like an alpha now that the Giants aren’t facing a top half defense and he could have had an even bigger day. He should stay in lineups until further notice.
- Devonta Freeman was relevant because of volume, game script, and opponent. Washington at least has a better run defense this week. Wayne Gallman has more juice and deserves more work. Sell Freeman for an asset to a running back poor team if you can.
- Evan Engram at least got a rushing touchdown, but he isn’t getting out of Jason Garrett’s Jason Witten curl jail. He’s a low ceiling TE1 at best.
- Dalton Schultz is the one Cowboys target who could see the bottom drop out of his value without Prescott. He’s not a reliable play against the Cardinals this week.
- Golden Tate was just a minor factor in a game that should have been more productive. Sterling Shepard should be back soon, so Tate isn’t an essential hold.
IND @ CLE
- Philip Rivers unforced errors were the difference in this game. He is limiting the Colts passing game and making it so we can’t play any of their passcatchers.
- Austin Hooper had his second straight good fantasy game, all coming in the pass heavy first half. He’s a solid bet to keep it up against the strong Steelers run defense.
- Baker Mayfield came out slinging it in a good sign that Kevin Stefanski will have a flexible game plan when facing good run defenses. Not that it resulted in a big game for him or his targets, and Mayfield got banged up, but it is still encouraging for Browns fans and the balance of this offense.
- Trey Burton is continuing to dominate tight end targets for the Colts, not that it’s producing value for him. Mo Alie-Cox is nursing a knee injury, but the team has said they want to get him more involved. Shrug.
- Jonathan Taylor eked out a touchdown to have an acceptable RB2 day, but no matter the game script, the Colts aren’t feeding him. We’ll see if that changes against the Bengals, but for now it feels like he’ll remain a low ceiling RB2.
MIN @ SEA
- Dalvin Cook went out with a groin injury that will cost him at least one game. Alexander Mattison was strong in relief of Cook but failed to find the hole on a fourth and one that would have clinched the game in a great road effort by the Vikings that fell short.
- Irv Smith was emphasized in the passing game with modest success, but it also reduced the margin of error for Justin Jefferson, who had a small fantasy impact on a rare pass heavy night for Kirk Cousins.
- The Vikings defense is starting to get comfortable and they did not let Russ cook for most of the night. Wilson had his weakest fantasy output of the season and only some clutch throws to DK Metcalf saved the Seahawks bacon in this nailbiter.
- Chris Carson had his second 6 or more catch game and scored his sixth touchdown in five games, giving him a solid RB1 output in PPR leagues despite only carrying the ball eight times as the Vikings played keep away.
LAC @ NO
- Mike Williams returned from a hamstring injury and made multiple game-changing plays. He looks like a high ceiling WR3/Flex at worst with the ability to be one of the biggest fantasy hits of the second half of the year if he stays healthy.
- Justin Herbert announced his arrival on a national stage with outstanding pocket presence and arm talent in the face of the Saints pass rush. It’s exciting to be a Chargers fan or have any piece of this offense in fantasy leagues.
- Justin Jackson was the preferred back in the Chargers backfield and he showed why, with superior burst and agility to Joshua Kelley. Don’t expect this split to change after the Chargers bye.
- Drew Brees found a great connection with Emmanuel Sanders and the combo racked up catches and yards. Michael Thomas will return after the bye, but Sanders has warmed up and established himself as a WR3/Flex.
- Michael Thomas was benched for this game because of conduct and an altercation with a teammate. He’ll be back after the bye, but monitor this situation for deterioration. Tre’Quan Smith was a true dud for the first time since Thomas went out with an ankle injury.
- Keenan Allen went out with back spasms, but the hope is that he’ll be ready to play after the bye.
- Jared Cook returned from a groin injury and posted a long score that tied the game up in a key moment. He may be a TE1 yet but with a smaller margin of error because of a low target share.
BUF @ TEN
- Josh Allen had his first rough outing of the year as Tennessee’s zone coverage and pass rush kept him off balance all night. He’s still an elite QB1 but the return to previous inaccuracy and questionable decisions has us on watch for his value to drop.
- Jonnu Smith caught two scores (maybe only one should have counted) and had a big fantasy game even though he dropped a target that would have probably been his biggest gain of the night. He’s arguably in the top five tight ends going forward.
- AJ Brown was back and looked like his old self. He’s a safe WR2 with WR1 upside against the Texans this week.
- Devin Singletary was contained easily by a run defense that was one of the worst in the league coming into the game. TJ Yeldon was used in short yardage, so the Bills are committed to limiting Singletary’s role even when Zack Moss is out.