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Zach Allen was a virtual no-show over the first three games. Over the last two weeks, however, he is 8-6-2 with 3 batted passes and looks a lot more like the guy we thought he might be. It’s hard to put a finger on what made the light come on, but that is not important as long as he keeps producing. While we can’t count on him for 18+ points every week, Allen should be a solid play on most weeks, especially in leagues that list him as a tackle.
Philadelphia was supposed to be the matchup that got Zaven Collins on track. He played every snap in the game, but it was Isaiah Simmons that took advantage of the matchup with eight tackles and five assists on a 92% play share, while Collins ended up at 3-2. The questions now are, will Collins continue to disappoint despite the golden opportunity, and will Simmons keep the 90% playing time when Nick Vigil is healthy? Vigil landed on IR, so at least Simmons has a couple more games to make a case for keeping the job.
Mykal Walker was well on the way to his best game of the season before leaving with a groin injury. Looking at his mark of 7-4, you would never know he played 57% of the snaps. As of Tuesday evening, there has been no update on the severity of the injury, and all we know is that Walker is questionable for Week 6. If he misses time, the door will be open for Troy Anderson. Anderson saw action on 30 snaps and was 4-2 against the Buccaneers.
Rashaan Evans had a quiet game at 4-2, but nothing has changed with his role. Evans was an every-snap participant against Tampa Bay.
We no longer have to worry about Deion Jones coming off of IR and throwing a wrench into the Falcons’ linebacker situation. Jones was shipped to Cleveland early in the week.
Jaylinn Hawkins had a big day with eight tackles and three assists, but there is probably nothing to see here. Hawkins was 6-5 in the tackle columns over the three previous games combined, and nothing has changed with his role.
Marcus Williams could miss extensive time after suffering a dislocated wrist against the Bengals. With this news, a lot of managers will assume it to be Kyle Hamilton's turn. That could ultimately be the case, but don’t count on it, at least not initially. Williams played less than half of the game before leaving, but Hamilton’s role did not change. Instead, the Ravens brought Geno Stone off the bench to replace Williams.
Jordan Poyer missed Week 5 with sore ribs, and Tremaine Edmunds sat out while nursing a hamstring. Buffalo did not miss a beat with Jaquan Jones covering at safety and Tyrel Dodson at middle linebacker. Jones put up decent numbers at 2-6 while Dodson was all over the field, finishing at 7-4-1. Neither Poyer nor Edmunds practiced at all last week. It would be nice to get these guys back in time for a strong matchup with the Chiefs. Keep an eye on the participation reports this week.
When glancing at the box scores on Sunday evening, I saw that Terrel Bernard had six combined stops and mistakenly assumed that took over for Edmunds. Upon further review, Terrel did his damage mostly in garbage time when he came on for Matt Milano.
Tackles Ed Oliver and Jordan Phillips returned to action in Week 5, but they did not start and were in reduced roles. Both came through healthy and should reclaim their starting spots versus the Chiefs.
The Chiefs are a poor matchup for Greg Rousseau and anyone else that rushes the passer. Maxx Crosby managed to overcome the matchup, but he is the only edge defender to reach double-digit fantasy points against the Chiefs this year.
There is a lot to digest with the Panthers this week. Let’s start with the first coaching change of the season that saw both Matt Rhule and defensive coordinator Phil Snow get canned. Al Holcomb takes over the DC job. We can expect changes, but it’s hard to say what they will be. We know that Holcomb and Snow had philosophical differences, but the Panthers are not going to install a new scheme six weeks into the season. We could see different situational calls, we could see different personnel, and we could see different positional responsibilities to some extent. Unless you are starting Brian Burns, it might be a good idea to sit all your Panthers defenders until we get a look this week.
The coaching situation is big, but it’s not the only thing clouding the situation. Frankie Luvu and Xavier Woods missed Week 5 with shoulder and hamstring injuries, respectively. Shaq Thompson (3-3) and Cory Littleton (4-3) both played every snap, but it was Damian Wilson with the big game at 7-2-1 and a forced fumble despite a limited role (67% snap share). Then there was Justin Burris going 6-2 with a pass breakup while standing in for Woods, while Myles Hartsfield went 3-1 at Jeremy Chinn’s position.
Brian Burns will be rushing the passer no matter what happens with everyone else. One other guy that might be worth the risk is Donte Jackson. With Jaycee Horn battling a hip injury, Jackson could follow Cooper Kupp all day. No receiver has been targeted more than Kupp this year.
Chicago’s corners were busy in Week 5, with Jaylon Jones at 9-4 with a forced fumble and Kyler Gordon putting up eight tackles and two assists. That happens when they play opponents that complete a lot of passes. Minnesota completed 32 last week. Carson Wents was not far behind with 25 completions and is more likely to throw one to Jones or Gordon. I like both of these guys to be solid starters in corner-required leagues.
Jacob Phillips made a great first impression as a starter. He played every snap and finished 7-3-1. So we finally have a linebacker in Cleveland that we can start every week, right? Well, maybe, but the Browns are not going to let it be that simple for us. The trade for Deion Jones puts us right back in the muddy water because we can’t be sure what the plan is. Jones is a proven starter when healthy. He was on the Falcons’ IR but that probably didn’t happen due to the severity of the injury. It is safe to say the Browns did not make this trade without expecting Jones to play this year. Could we eventually see Phillips in the middle and Jones on the weak side? Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah has not exactly impressed. Hopefully, the team will give us more to go on between now and the time Jones is ready to play.
Denzel Ward is currently in concussion protocol.
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