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Week 5 Fantasy Football Game By Game Breakdown

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Week 5 of the fantasy football is already upon us, and injuries continue to take a toll.

 

We are also one week before the start of the byes, which means fantasy players are going to have to start looking toward their bench in the coming weeks. Let’s not look too far ahead, however, as we have a massive Week 5 slate that, for the second consecutive week, features a London game.

Let’s break it all down.

Indianapolis Colts @ Denver Broncos

Total: 44, DEN -3
Pace: DEN: 28.63 sec/snap (24th), IND: 27.98 sec/snap (17th)

What to watch for: RB injuries. Jonathan Taylor and Javonte Williams will both miss this game, with Williams out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL.

Broncos

Quarterback

Russell Wilson is coming off his best game of the young season, throwing for 237 yards and a pair of touchdowns against the Raiders and adding 29 yards and an additional score on the ground. We saw an uptick in downfield passing from Wilson in Week 4, as he attempted four passes 20 yards or more down the field, which is notable considering he attempted just eight such passes in the first three weeks. Wilson has also added 10 rushing attempts over the last two games. He now faces a Colts defense that has been a pass funnel for a while now, as 70% of the touchdowns scored against Indianapolis this season have been through the air, and 69.8% of the yardage against this defense has come via the pass—both are the 10th-highest rates in the league. The Colts are also allowing the league’s eighth-highest passing touchdown rate at 5.6% and have been below average at defending the play-action pass. We just saw Ryan Tannehill complete 7-of-9 passes for 80 yards and a touchdown off play-action against the Colts, and Trevor Lawrence went 7-for-8 for 90 yards and a touchdown off the play type in Week 2. I’m still fine with starting Wilson as a back-end QB1 Thursday.

Running Back

The Broncos suffered a massive loss in Week 3, as emerging star running back Javonte Williams tore his ACL, ending his season. Williams was on his way to becoming a star and was potentially finally taking over this Denver backfield. He played over 90% of the first half snaps against the Raiders Sunday before the injury. In his absence, Melvin Gordon did not see the work many might have expected. He was limited in practice with a neck injury, lost a fumble in the first half and was seen in the medical tent at one point. After Williams left the game, Mike Boone actually saw 65% of the snaps, playing all but one of the passing-down situations. Of course, Denver was chasing points, so that may have played a factor. Gordon did see the short-yardage snaps, but it is entirely possible that Gordon gets the early-down and goal-line work while Boone sees some carries and plays most of the passing downs. Gordon hasn’t been as good as last year, already losing four fumbles, but he likely starts at running back for the Broncos for the foreseeable future. That pushes him into the low-end RB2 range in a matchup against the Colts, who will once again be without Shaquille Leonard after a concussion last week. Boone is worth an add off waivers in most leagues, especially since we know Nathaniel Hackett wants to use multiple running backs.

Wide Receiver

Courtland Sutton Week 5 Fantasy Football Game-By-Game Breakdown

It was a good day for both Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy last Sunday. Sutton caught 5-of-7 targets for 52 yards and a touchdown against the Raiders, his first of the season. He has led Denver in targets in each of the last three games, handling over 33% of the team’s targets from inside the 10-yard line so far this season. Sutton has had at least 50 yards and seven targets in every game this season, and it is awesome to see him continue to produce with Jeudy in the lineup, as his splits with Jeudy active last year were not great at all — he averaged just 3.8 targets and 19.1 receiving yards in 10 games alongside Jeudy last season. Sutton gets a great Week 5 matchup against Brandon Facyson and the Colts, who are allowing opposing offenses to score touchdowns on 80% of red zone trips so far this season, the second-worst rate in all of football. That bodes well for Sutton, who ranks 11th in the league and seventh among all wide receivers in red zone targets.

Jeudy was fully healthy last week, in his second game since his rib injury, playing 89% of the snaps and running a route on 97% of dropbacks in Week 4. He caught four passes for 53 yards and a touchdown and should continue to see 6-8 targets each week. 

Tight End

Albert Okwuegbunam played one offensive snap Sunday, with Eric Tomlinson and Eric Saubert playing 24 and 41 snaps, respectively. With rookie tight end Greg Dulcich expected to return to action very shortly, Okwuegbunam can absolutely be dropped in fantasy leagues and should not be started in most formats.

Colts

Quarterback

Matt Ryan did not look great Sunday, but the final stat line was solid, as he threw for 356 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. The volume could be solid if the Colts struggle/abandon running the football with Jonathan Taylor out, but the matchup is so, so brutal. Denver’s defense has been outstanding this season, coughing up the fourth-fewest points (1.41), sixth-fewest plays (5.5) and fourth-fewest yards (26.0) per drive so far this season. Opposing offenses are scoring points 31.8% of the time against the Broncos, the eighth-lowest rate in football. The Broncos have been aggressive on defense, blitzing 30.6% of the time, the fourth-highest rate in the league. Ryan has been underwhelming against the blitz this year, averaging 6.9 yards per attempt with one touchdown and one interception. I am not starting Ryan this week.

Running Back

Jonathan Taylor has been ruled out with an ankle injury, paving the way for Nyheim Hines to see a relatively large role in the Colts offense. Hines has not been an every-down running back during his NFL career, but once Taylor left Sunday’s game with his ankle injury, Hines played every single snap for the Colts, though the team was chasing points. Still, Hines is a player the Colts would likely be comfortable giving 12-15 carries and a ton of passing work to.

Very quietly, Taylor ranks second among all running backs in routes run (110), and he’s been playing more on third down this season. During a preseason game where the starters played but Taylor sat, Hines played every single snap with the first team. Taylor missed one game in 2020 on the Reserve/COVID-19 List, and Hines had 10 carries and 10 targets in that game, which the Colts lost by 19. The Colts also have Deon Jackson, and the team could call up Phillip Lindsay from the practice squad and give him some work, but Hines should see enough touches to warrant RB2 consideration in PPR leagues, making him at worst a high-end flex play.

Wide Receiver

Look, I am not sitting Michael Pittman unless I am so unbelievably loaded at wide receiver — but I’m definitely nervous.

Not everyone puts much stock into cornerback matchups, but when the player is as good as Pat Surtain, yeah, I take notice. Through four weeks, Surtain is allowing just a 57.7% catch rate and a 67.1 passer rating in coverage, and he’s coming off a game where he followed arguably the league’s best wide receiver in Davante Adams. In that game, Surtain followed Adams on 71% of his route last week, limiting the All-Pro to just four receptions for 46 yards on eight targets. And according to NFL Next Gen Stats, five of those eight targets were in tight windows. Surtain is already one of the game’s best and through four weeks, is allowing just a 58% catch rate. Pittman’s volume is going to remain strong — his quiet Week 4 outing could have been much better, but he couldn’t get both feet into the end zone on back-to-back plays. I had been ranking Pittman as a back-end WR1 all season, but this week, he’ll be closer to WR20.

Tight End

The Colts really want me to start writing up how you should start their tight ends in fantasy, but I’m not falling for it. After Jelani Woods scored two touchdowns in Week 3, Mo Alie-Cox took his turn Sunday, hauling in all six of his targets for 86 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Despite the recent production from the Colts tight ends, I still can’t get on board. The Colts have used three tight ends all season long and Alie-Cox still ranks just 21st among all tight ends in routes run. 

New York Giants vs. Green Bay Packers (London)

Total: 41.5, GB -8
Pace: GB: 31.64 sec/snap (32nd), NYG: 27.69 sec/snap (14th)

What to watch for: Daniel Jones (ankle) and Tyrod Taylor (concussion) left Sunday’s game. We also have to see who is playing WR for the Giants this week. Could Kadarius Toney and Wan’Dale Robinson return?

Packers

Quarterback

Aaron Rodgers is coming off a middling fantasy performance in Week 4, but it should have been a much better day. He threw an absolute dime to Romeo Doubs in the end zone, but the rookie couldn’t complete the catch. Rodgers ultimately finished the day with 251 yards, two touchdowns and an interception against the Patriots. Green Bay continues to let Rodgers make a ton of decisions out of RPO, as his 129 passing yards off the play type are the fifth-most in the league. As a result, Rodgers is averaging 2.32 seconds to throw, the third-fastest mark in all of football so far this season. With Green Bay’s pass-catchers starting to get into a rhythm and make plays, Rodgers could sneak back into the QB1 range for fantasy, though his upside is still a bit limited due to the Packers league-worst pace and 11th-highest neutral-script rush rate (46.7%). He’ll gave a solid Giants defense that unsurprisingly blitzes at a high rate with Don Martindale as the defensive coordinator. The Giants are blitzing 32.8% of the time so far this season, the third-highest rate in the league. Rodgers, meanwhile, is completing 77.4% of his passes (fifth), while averaging 8.7 yards per attempt (sixth) against the blitz this year,

Running Back

Green Bay continues to heavily utilize both Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon. Sunday, Dillon played three more snaps and outcarried Jones 17-16. However, six of those carries came on the team’s final drive of overtime, as Green Bay was getting into field goal range for Mason Crosby to win the game. Jones remains the more efficient back, as he ranks second in the league in rushes of 10 or more yards (12). Against the Patriots Sunday, Jones actually ran 17 routes to Dillon’s 20, but I’d still view him as the 1A in this backfield. Jones is a top-12 running back against a Giants defense that is allowing the fourth-most rushing yards per game to opposing backfields (119.0), while coughing up 5.1 yards per rush attempt, tied for the third-highest mark in football.

Dillon has not found the end zone since Week 1, but the opportunities remain there. Through four weeks, Dillon is averaging a healthy 16.5 touches and 16.2 routes run per game. Dillon has been Green Bay’s goal-line running back, as he’s seen 100% of the team’s carries from inside the 5-yard line so far this season. With Green Bay as favorites once again, Dillon should be able to see 15 carries and some receptions. The Giants are a favorable matchup, especially when you consider we saw them play a Cowboys team that uses multiple running backs in Week 3. In that game, Tony Pollard rushed for 100 yards, while Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 72 and a touchdown. 

Aaron Jones
Week Snap Share Touches Targets
1 61% 8 5
2 59% 18 3
3 63% 15 4
4 62% 19 4
AJ Dillon
Week Snap Share Touches Targets
1 51% 15 6
2 57% 19 3
3 53% 14 3
4 58% 18 2

Wide Receiver

For the second consecutive week, Romeo Doubs made plenty of plays for Green Bay. Even with Christian Watson back in the lineup, Doubs still logged 95% of the snaps, while running a route on over 94% of dropbacks. He was targeted eight times, hauling in five passes for 47 yards and a touchdown. It could have been a huge day for Doubs if he maintained possession of a touchdown catch of 40-plus yards, but the fact remains that Doubs is sporting a 24% target share over the last two weeks, which puts him on the WR3 radar, especially when those targets are coming from Aaron Rodgers. Green Bay has been manufacturing touches for the rookie wideout, as his eight targets and seven receptions off screens so far this season rank second and third in all of football. 

Allen Lazard has also been very productive since returning to the lineup in Week 2. He’s found the end zone twice during that span, while coming off a 100-yard game against the Patriots. Lazard is playing just about every snap for Green Bay and while a matchup against Adoree’ Jackson is not an easy one, the touchdown upside is extremely high for Lazard. Like Doubs, he pencils in as a viable WR3.

Tight End

While he still isn’t a full-time player, Robert Tonyan found the end zone in Week 4, though he was only targeted twice. His 44% snap share was his second-highest mark of the season, but it feels like it is unlikely he becomes a full-time player this season, especially given how much Green Bay values veteran tight end Marcedes Lewis when it comes to run-blocking. In a matchup against a Giants team that is allowing the eighth-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends (6.35), you can probably find better options at tight end this week.

Giants

Quarterback

We will have to keep an eye on the starting quarterback situation for the Giants this week. Sunday, Daniel Jones suffered an ankle injury and had to exit the game. Tyrod Taylor came in and then suffered a concussion, ending his day. The Giants had to run some wildcat with Saquon Barkley toward the end of the game. If Jones is active, he’s a viable superflex quarterback, especially for teams that need a replacement for Tua Tagovailoa or (possibly) Dak Prescott. Jones has rushed for 79 and 68 yards over the last two games, scoring two rushing touchdowns last week. 42% of Jones’ rushing attempts have been designed this season, as Brian Daboll and Mike Kafka are implementing quarterback runs into the offense. If Jones and Taylor both are unable to play this week, it will likely be Davis Webb against Aaron Rodgers in London.

Running Back

Saquon Barkley is really good at football and gets the ball a lot. Hashtag analysis.

Barkley is clearly the focal point of this Giants offense, as he’s averaging a gaudy 24.7 touches per game through four weeks, while his 84 rushing attempts lead the NFL. He has handled over 88% of the Giants running back touches, while his 106 routes run rank fourth among all running backs. Barkley will once again be New York’s entire offense in London against a Green Bay defense you can run on. According to Football Outsiders, just 14% of the runs against the Packers this season have been stuffed at or behind the line of scrimmage, the fifth-lowest rate in the league. They are also allowing the second-most second level yards (1.62) so don’t be surprised if Barkley, who leads the NFL in runs of 15-plus yards (8), gets to the second level again this weekend.

Wide Receiver

We’ll see if Kadarius Toney and/or Wan’Dale Robinson can return to action this week, but even if they do, it’ll be difficult to consider starting either receiver. The playing time is very uncertain, especially with Toney, while the quarterback situation in New York is suddenly shaky. Both players absolutely need to be added, especially given the fact that Sterling Shepard is out for the season and Kenny Golladay is dealing with an injury. 

Tight End

Daniel Bellinger is someone to keep an eye on as the season progresses, though I would not rely on him this week. He played 60% of the snaps last weekend, however, he only ran a route on 40% of dropbacks. Through four weeks, Green Bay is coughing up the fourth-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends (4.47).

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Buffalo Bills

Total: 47, BUF -14.5
Pace: BUF: 27.87 sec/snap (15th), PIT: 27.16 sec/snap (12th)

What to watch for: Kenny Pickett will make his first career start this weekend. For Buffalo, Jamison Crowder will miss time with an ankle injury, while Isaiah McKenzie is in the concussion protocol.

Bills

Quarterback

It got off to a rough start Sunday, but at the end of the day, Josh Allen is inevitable. He only threw for 213 yards and one touchdown but added 70 yards and a score on the ground, giving him over 24 fantasy points. Allen has scored at least 24 fantasy points in 13 of his last 19 games, as Buffalo continues to rely on the passing game. The Bills are sporting the league’s highest pass rate in neutral gamescripts this season (68.1%), while Allen is averaging a gaudy 42 pass attempts per game. You are obviously starting Allen every week, especially against a Steelers defense that is reeling right now. Already without T.J. Watt, Pittsburgh is now dealing with multiple injuries on defense, as Cameron Heyward, Minkah Fitzpatrick and Terrell Edmunds all suffered injuries against the Jets Sunday, and starting defensive back Ahkello Witherspoon didn’t play with a hamstring injury. The Steelers have dropped to a 20.8% pressure rate this season, the eighth-lowest rate in the league. Watt’s absence cannot be overstated, as the Steelers defense is allowing 25 points per game over their last six games with Watt sidelined, while averaging just 1.5 sacks per game. With Watt, the Steelers are allowing around 20 points per game, recording nearly four sacks per contest. Allen should once again score 25-30 fantasy points in this contest.

Running Back

If Devin Singletary is emerging as a pass-catching running back, he’ll become an RB2 in fantasy before we know it. After an outlier nine-catch game in Week 3, Singletary still saw five targets Sunday against the Ravens, catching four passes for 47 yards. He touched the ball 15 times and despite losing an early fumble, the Bills went right back to him, as Singletary played a whopping 88% of the snaps. Through four weeks, Singletary actually leads all running backs with 118 routes run, a rather shocking development. Averaging 16.5 touches per game over the last two weeks, Singletary is gaining momentum as an RB2 ahead of a matchup with a Steelers team that is allowing the seventh-most fantasy points per game to opposing backfields this season (22.03).

Wide Receiver

Stefon Diggs has had consecutive floor games, but he is set to go off in Week 4 against this inept Pittsburgh secondary. The Steelers pass defense has been brutal this season, as wide receivers have done whatever they want against them. Through four weeks, the Steelers have allowed at least 95 receiving yards or a touchdown to six different wide receivers, while three different wideouts have eclipsed the 100-yard mark against them. And even if Witherspoon is back for the Steelers, it does not matter, as he’s struggled this season. In three games, he has allowed 14 catches on 19 targets for 185 yards and a pair of touchdowns in coverage, as well as a 117.2 passer rating. If Witherspoon is out, Diggs will draw coverage from Cameron Sutton, who is more of a slot defensive back, and has also allowed two touchdowns in coverage so far this season. With the Steelers allowing the eighth-most fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers, I’m expecting 100 yards and a touchdown from Diggs in Week 4. 

It has been a frustrating last two weeks for Gabe Davis, who has caught just 4-of-9 targets for 50 yards during that span. He had a touchdown drop in Week 3 and then was hardly involved in Week 4. Davis has run a route on an insane 97% of Allen’s dropbacks so far this season but is only being targeted on 9% of his routes, an extremely low number. This was the concern for anyone who faded Davis this offseason, but I still have hope. When you are playing almost every snap and running every route in a Buffalo offense led by Josh Allen, you are going to walk into production. Davis has a great chance of breaking out of his slump this week against a Steelers defense that is coughing up 1.3 touchdowns per game to opposing wide receivers, the eighth most in football. Davis remains a high-upside WR3.

Finally, we need to keep an eye on the status of Isaiah McKenzie. He’s found the end zone in two straight games and three of four to open the year, but he is currently dealing with a concussion. With Jamison Crowder (ankle) out for the foreseeable future, McKenzie will have the slot role all to himself going forward, as long as he can play. If he’s unable to get cleared in time, rookie Khalil Shakir, who played 25% of the snaps Sunday and converted two targets for 23 yards, would be in line for a huge bump in playing time. And in a favorable matchup, Shakir would become an elite DFS value play, as well as someone you could consider in deeper leagues. If McKenzie is out, Buffalo can use Shakir in similar ways, whether it be out of the slot, in the backfield, off jet sweeps, touch passes, etc.

WRs vs. the Steelers in 2022
Player Catches Yards TDs Fantasy Finish
Ja’Marr Chase 10 129 1 WR4
Tyler Boyd 4 33 1 WR29
Nelson Agholor 6 110 1 WR11
Jakobi Meyers 9 95 0 WR18
Amari Cooper 9 101 1 WR7
Corey Davis 5 74 1 WR15

Tight End

Dawson Knox has yet to find the end zone, as he continues to pass block a lot. He did run 29 pass routes on Sunday, running a route on nearly 70% of Buffalo’s dropbacks, which is progress. Knox still remains very touchdown dependent and through four weeks, he has seen just one target from inside the 10-yard line. The Steelers are a middle-of-the-road matchup for opposing tight ends and given his underwhelming usage, Knox will remain in the TE15 range for me until he starts producing. But perhaps more targets will head his way if McKenzie is ruled out.

Steelers

Quarterback

The Kenny Pickett era began last week, and while the production wasn’t great, there are reasons to be excited. For starters, Pickett threw the ball down the field, sporting an aDOT of 13.2 yards with four of his 13 passing attempts going 20 or more yards downfield. He also scored two rushing touchdowns, both of which came off designed plays. While there is definitely some excitement and he provides this offense with more upside than Mitch Trubisky, I would not recommend starting him against the Bills, regardless of how banged up this defense is. Buffalo just held Lamar Jackson to 144 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions last week, and Jackson only threw for 36 yards and two interceptions in the second half. 

Running Back

Najee Harris rushed for 74 scoreless yards on 18 carries last week, failing to see a target. It was the first game of his career where he wasn’t targeted in the passing game, which is really hurting his upside in fantasy. Harris’ target share is under 9% to start the season, down from his 14.3% target share from a season ago, which was among the league’s best among running backs. It is still difficult to get away from Harris, but once again, I am tempering expectations against a Buffalo run defense that is stuffing 27% of runs against them at or behind the line of scrimmage this year, the second-highest rate in football. The Bills are also allowing just 1.49 points and 24.1 yards per drive so far this season, the seventh- and second-best marks in the league.

Wide Receiver

Diontae Johnson is coming off a down game, but he probably should have had a 20-yard touchdown. It was initially called incomplete, the Steelers challenged it, but the call stood despite it looking like Johnson got both feet in. Anyway, Johnson saw just four targets, his fewest in a game since Week 5 of the 2021 season. It’ll be interesting to see how much the target distribution changes with Pickett under center. 33% of Trubisky’s pass attempts have been to the intermediate left part of the field, a top-five rate in the league. In a limited sample, 75% of Pickett’s passes went to that area of the field, which is notable considering Johnson lines up on the left side of the formation nearly 60% of the time. Johnson still projects as the WR1 in Pittsburgh but a change in quarterback and a tough matchup has him in the low-end WR2 range for me in Week 4. 

If he was dropped in your leagues, go add George Pickens. Stop reading this article, go to your league and pick him up. Pickens has obviously shown flashes so far this season, but he is coming off a career game against the Jets, catching 6-of-8 targets for 102 yards. Five of his eight targets came with Pickett under center, and he was targeted on over 30% of his routes once Pickett entered the game. Pickens currently ranks second in the league with 11 targets of 20 yards or more, four of which came last week alongside Pickett. However, we did see him run a larger variety of routes last week, rather than simply running vertical routes, which could lead to a higher floor, especially if he simply just passes Chase Claypool in this offense. The matchup this week isn’t easy, but if your wide receivers are uninspiring, Pickens could be worth a look, especially since he appears to be on the rise.

Source: NFL Next Gen Stats

Tight End

Pat Freiermuth continues to see a healthy number of targets. He is coming off a strong game, catching seven passes for 85 yards, while seeing nine targets. His 24% target share ranks top five among all tight ends so far this season, making it difficult to bench him regardless of the matchup or who is under center for the Steelers. Buffalo has been great against tight ends since last year and just held Mark Andrews to two catches for 15 yards, but tight end is too shallow to consider sitting Freiermuth. He’s a back-end TE1 once again.

Houston Texans @ Jacksonville Jaguars

Total: 44.5, JAC -7
Pace: JAC: 28.17 sec/snap (18th), HOU: 26.49 sec/snap (5th)

What to watch for: Zay Jones (ankle) missed Sunday’s game. We’ll see if he returns to the lineup this week.

Jaguars

Quarterback

Trevor Lawrence is coming off a tough game in Week 4, as the combination of the weather and a tough Eagles defense gave him trouble. He threw for 174 yards and two scores but added an interception and four lost fumbles. He struggled with the snap multiple times in the rain but now gets to return home to sunny Jacksonville, where the Jaguars host a Houston defense that is allowing opposing offenses to score points on 40.4% of drives so far this season, the ninth-highest rate in the NFL. I’m still a fan of what Doug Pederson is doing with this offense and in a strong matchup, Lawrence can be viewed as a low-end QB1/high-end QB2 this weekend.

Running Back

James Robinson was held to just 29 rushing yards on eight carries against the Eagles, logging a season-low 47% of the snaps, as the Jaguars were playing from behind in the second half of the game. It was a tough spot, but now Robinson gets a dream matchup against the Texans run defense that has been laughably bad so far this season, coughing up 27.3 fantasy points per game to opposing backfields, the second most in football. Houston is also still leading the league in missed tackles (36) and allowing 172 rushing yards per game. They just allowed three touchdowns to Austin Ekeler last week and are coughing up more yards before first contact than any team in the NFL through four weeks. That bodes well for Robinson, who ranks 13th in yards before contact per attempt (2.8). In a game where the Jaguars are touchdown favorites at home, Robinson sets up to finish as a top-12 running back once again this week.

Meanwhile, Travis Etienne tied his season-high 51% snap share last week, as Jacksonville was chasing points for the first time in a few weeks. Still, he only touched the ball eight times for 32 yards, and he still projects better in games where the Jaguars are playing from behind. That seems unlikely this week, but if Etienne sees 10-12 touches, that could be all it takes to warrant flex consideration in this stellar matchup. 

Wide Receiver

Zay Jones being sidelined last week had a direct impact on Christian Kirk. The former Arizona wideout has played out of the slot 72% of the time so far this season, but with Jones inactive Sunday, Jamal Agnew moved into the slot, lining up there over 62% of the time, while Kirk only played out of the slot 48.1% of the time. We want Kirk playing in the slot more, getting those advantageous matchups where he sees coverage from linebackers or safeties, while seeing plenty of free releases. So I actually would feel more confident in Kirk if Jones returns to the lineup this week. He was still targeted nine times last week, giving him a healthy 28% target share through four weeks. Kirk remains a viable WR2 in a matchup against the Texans.

If Jones does play, I also think he’s a viable flex play. He has seen 24 targets through three games and because the Jaguars are running 11 personnel as much as any team in the league, Jones is on the field a ton. And unlike Marvin Jones, Zay actually moves inside a little bit, playing out of the slot just over 40% of the time.

Tight End

Evan Engram is coming off a quiet game, catching just one pass for 16 yards. He’s still at best the third or fourth option in this offense right now, but at least he’s dominating the playing time at tight end for the Jaguars, playing 74% of the snaps and running a route on 74% of dropbacks. If you are looking to stream the tight end position, you could do a lot worse than Engram, especially against a Houston team that just coughed up 61 yards and a touchdown to Gerald Everett.

Texans

Quarterback

Davis Mills has now thrown four interceptions over the last two weeks but did throw a pair of touchdowns last week. Per usual, I don’t have much interest in starting him in fantasy, especially against a quietly tough Jacksonville defense that currently ranks fourth in the NFL in pressure rate (29.3%). They also just held Jalen Hurts to a season-low 16.9 fantasy points a week ago. 

Running Back

Dameon Pierce has now recorded consecutive games with 100 scrimmage yards and a touchdown, coming off a career day against the Chargers. Pierce rushed for 131 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries, as his 75-yard touchdown run set up his huge day. He still handled every single running back carry for the Texans, while even adding six receptions on six targets. Pierce once again played the majority of the early downs, while Rex Burkhead played all but one third down in the game. The Texans continue to stay in games to allow Pierce to get plenty of carries and while the Jaguars have been tough against the run for most of the season, they were just torched by the Eagles ground attack last week, as Miles Sanders rushed for 134 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The matchup is enhanced if Jaguars’ defensive tackle Folorunso Fatukasi (quadriceps) can’t play, as the Eagles really got it going once he left the game last week. Pierce is an RB2 once again. 

Wide Receiver

Brandin Cooks Week 5 Fantasy Football Game-By-Game Breakdown

Brandin Cooks scored his first touchdown of the year last week, hauling in seven passes for 57 yards in the process. Still flirting with a 26% target share for the year, Cooks’ floor remains relatively high each week. Jacksonville ranks 16th against wide receivers so far this season, so while this isn’t an outstanding matchup, it certainly isn’t a poor one either. Cooks can continue to be trusted as a low-end WR2/high-end WR3.

Tight End

The Texans were missing Brevin Jordan and Pharaoh Brown Sunday (and Brown is now on the, ahem, Browns), but the team still used three tight ends. I’ll continue to look elsewhere at tight end for fantasy purposes. 

Chicago Bears @ Minnesota Vikings

Total: 44, MIN -7
Pace: MIN: 25.37 sec/snap (4th), CHI: 28.17 sec/snap (17th)

What to watch for: David Montgomery missed Sunday’s game. If he is back for Week 5, Khalil Herbert would no longer be a must-start running back.

Vikings

Quarterback

Kirk Cousins didn’t play poorly in London last week, but the Vikings struggled to score points in the red zone. Cousins finished the game with 273 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He’s thrown for at least 260 yards in three of four games to start the season, but Minnesota’s red zone struggles have limited him to just two multiple-touchdown games so far. The Vikings are scoring touchdowns on just 46.7% of their red zone trips this season, the eighth-lowest rate in the NFL. Cousins will remain on the QB1/QB2 borderline in a home matchup against the Bears, who are only allowing 15.8 fantasy points per game to opposing signal callers this season (21st). However, they are also facing the fewest pass attempts per game (25.3), so it isn’t due to the Bears necessarily being a great pass defense. They are also allowing 11.0 yards per completion, good for the 10th-worst rate in football.

Running Back

Despite dealing with a shoulder injury, Dalvin Cook practiced in full to end the week and was active Sunday. His usage wasn’t limited, as Cook touched the football 22 times, while logging around 63% of the snaps. He did, however, cede third down work to Alexander Mattison, who played 13-of-14 third-down snaps in the game. Cook has underwhelmed a bit to start the season and for whatever reason, Minnesota isn’t giving him the ball very much in the red zone. In fact, Cook has only seen one carry from inside the 5-yard line so far this season, and despite the Vikings ranking ninth in red zone plays (15), Cook ranks just 30th in all of football with five red zone carries. The 18 touches per game are still solid and a matchup with the Bears is incredible. Chicago has allowed two 100-yard games to running backs this season, as well as the ninth-most fantasy points per game to opposing backfields (21.73). 52.1% of the yardage and 62.5% of the touchdowns scored against the Bears this year have come via the run, the highest and second-highest rates in football. 

Wide Receiver

After consecutive poor outings, Justin Jefferson bounced back in a huge way last week. He caught 10 passes for 140 yards, adding a three-yard rushing touchdown. Jefferson was targeted 13 times in the game and is now sporting a 29% target share and 41.2% air yards share on the young season. He is an obvious must-start wideout and if Bears top defensive back Jaylon Johnson (quad) is unable to return to the lineup, I have no clue how the Bears will stop Jefferson. If Johnson is out, Jefferson will see coverage from Jaylon Jones, a 2022 UDFA, as well as Kindle Vildor, who is allowing 0.24 fantasy points per coverage route and a 64% catch rate. 

Adam Thielen has now seen 17 targets over the last two weeks, converting them into 14 catches for 133 yards and a touchdown during that stretch. He’s still a solid WR3 this week but to continue seeing 7-10 targets, Thielen will likely need the Bears to keep this game close and force the Vikings to score points.

Tight End

Irv Smith hasn’t been doing a ton so far, but he once again played more snaps and ran more routes than Johnny Mundt. He played 64% of the snaps last week, a season-high mark, which is where he needs to be to warrant consideration in fantasy leagues. His target total is likely to be middling but he’s a viable streaming option going forward.

Bears

Quarterback

Justin Fields attempted a season-high 22 passes Sunday. 22 passes. Season-high. In the year 2022. 

This Bears offense just doesn’t provide enough passing volume to have any confidence in the passing game. Fields is averaging 8.5 completions per game through four weeks, while Chicago’s gaudy 18.4% adjusted sack rate is pretty easily the highest rate in the league. It is nice to see Fields at least averaging 8.5 rushing attempts per game this season, which provides him with somewhat of a floor but when you are only averaging 16.7 pass attempts per game, the ceiling remains limited, even against a vulnerable Minnesota defense.

Running Back

With David Montgomery sidelined Sunday, Khalil Herbert got the start at running back. He played 77% of the snaps, recording 20 touches for 101 total yards. Herbert didn’t find the end zone, but the usage was great, as he’s averaging right around 21 touches per game over his last six games Montgomery has not played. If Montgomery remains sidelined for Week 5, Herbert will remain a must-start running back, especially against a Vikings defense that is allowing the fifth-most fantasy points (23.1) and third-most rushing touchdowns (1.0) per game to opposing backfields. Herbert’s floor might be 17-20 touches when you consider that the Bears are running the football 60.3% of the time in neutral gamescripts, easily the highest rate in the league. And while the Bears’ pass-blocking unit has struggled, they have quietly created plenty of running lanes, as Herbert is averaging 3.7 yards before contact per rush this season, tied for the second-best mark in the league.

Wide Receiver

Darnell Mooney is coming off his best game of the season, catching four passes for 94 yards. He and Fields connected on a 56-yard pass play that made Mooney’s day. The good news? Mooney is sporting a healthy 24.7% target share this season. The bad news? The Bears aren’t throwing the ball much at all. We have seen Chicago move Mooney into the slot more so far this season, lining up there 61% of the time, a number that was around 44% a year ago. This is a solid matchup, too, as Minnesota is allowing the fifth-highest aDOT in the league (8.8 yards). Mooney will see coverage from Chandon Sullivan, who is allowing a healthy 0.30 fantasy points per coverage route this year, as well as a whopping 87% catch rate. If you guaranteed me that the Bears would throw the ball 30-35 times this week, I’d confidently start Mooney as a WR3. However, the risk that Fields attempts 16 passes makes Mooney a risky play once again.

Tight End

Cole Kmet has five catches for 56 yards through four weeks. It isn’t going to happen for him, especially in this 1970s offense. 

Detroit Lions @ New England Patriots

Total: 46.5, NE -3
Pace: NE: 29.57 sec/snap (27th), DET: 26.73 sec/snap (6th)

What to watch for: Will D’Andre Swift and Amon-Ra St. Brown return to the Lions lineup? And for the Patriots, Mac Jones is dealing with an ankle injury, while Brian Hoyer is dealing with a concussion.

Patriots

Quarterback

With Mac Jones ruled out last week, veteran signal caller Brian Hoyer got the start at quarterback. However, he left the game with a head injury, thrusting rookie Bailey Zappe into the lineup. Whether Zappe or Hoyer (or a still-recovering Jones) start at quarterback this week, even against the Lions, I don’t envision a scenario where either quarterback needs to be started on any fantasy rosters. And yes, I understand the matchup is as good as it gets, but the Patriots are simply going to run the ball the entire game like they did last week, calling run 57% of the time in neutral gamescripts.

Running Back

Start both New England running backs in Week 4. Rhamondre Stevenson has outsnapped Damien Harris over the last two weeks, logging 62% and 55% of the snaps, while Harris has been at 38% and 45% during that span. However, Harris is getting the football when he’s on the field — he touched the ball 19 times last week, rushing for 86 yards and a touchdown. A matchup with the Lions is elite, as Detroit just allowed over 100 yards and a pair of scores to Rashaad Penny last week, For the season, the Lions are allowing 28.4 fantasy points per game to opposing backfields, the second most in football, and their 2.5 rushing touchdowns allowed per game are easily the most in the league. Harris remains the preferred goal-line running back, which is great in a matchup against a Detroit team that is allowing opposing offenses to score touchdowns on 13-of-15 red zone trips (86.7%) this season, the worst rate in the league. Harris also very quietly has five targets (yes, targets) from inside the 10-yard line this season, tied for sixth in football. He’s handled 62.5% of the Patriots targets from that part of the field, which is the highest rate in all of football. Shocking.

Stevenson also can be started as an RB2 with confidence. Over the last two weeks, he is averaging 17 touches per game, as we have seen him take over the passing downs role in the absence of Ty Montgomery. And during that span, Stevenson is sporting a 20.5% target share, the third-highest rate among all running backs. Against a Lions team that is coughing up 2.78 points (second most) and 38.7 yards per drive (third most), Stevenson and Harris both have a tremendous chance of finishing as top-20 fantasy running backs for Week 5.

Wide Receiver

This is also a good matchup for the Patriots wide receivers, though the quarterback situation is up in the air right now. Jakobi Meyers missed last week’s game, which led to DeVante Parker playing all but two snaps and running a route on 100% of New England’s dropbacks. He found the end zone but was only targeted twice. I guess he’ll be on the radar if Meyers remains sidelined, especially against a Lions defense that plays as much man coverage as anyone. And according to Player Profiler, Parker is averaging 2.01 fantasy points per target against man coverage so far this season, a top-30 rate among all wide receivers.

If Meyers plays, however, I’d pretty easily rank him the highest of the Patriots pass-catchers. However, New England could throw the ball only 20-25 times in this game. The Lions have been vulnerable to slot receivers to start the season, so this matchup is favorable, but we have to see if he is active, while I’d feel a lot more confident in starting him if Mac Jones was under center.

Tight End

Jonnu Smith left Sunday’s game with an ankle injury and did not return. If he is unable to play this week, it makes Hunter Henry a more appealing streaming tight end, especially against a Lions team that just allowed both Noah Fant and Will Dissly to find the end zone against them last week. And for the season, the Lions are allowing the ninth-most fantasy points (13.63) and seventh-most receiving yards (65.0) per game to opposing tight ends so far this season.

Lions

Quarterback

No D’Andre Swift and Amon-Ra St. Brown? No problem for Jared Goff, who threw for 378 yards and four touchdowns against the Seahawks in Week 4. Goff is now the QB5 in all of fantasy right now, averaging just under 23 fantasy points per game. The Lions are truly the gift that keeps on giving, as they lead the NFL in points per game on offense (35.0) and allow the most points per game on defense (35.3), forcing Goff to average just under 38 pass attempts per game. Goff has been more aggressive this season, too, averaging 8.8 intended air yards per pass attempt, the seventh-highest mark in the league and way up from his mark of 6.4 from a season ago, a number that was lower than any qualified signal caller. Hopefully the Lions offense can get healthy this week but against a Patriots defense that is allowing the ninth-most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season (21.2), Goff is a high-end QB2 right now.

Running Back

With Swift out of the lineup last week, Jamaal Williams actually only played 50% of the snaps. However, he still touched the ball 20 times, rushing for 108 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He is now the RB6 in all of fantasy football, and with Swift likely out through Detroit’s bye, Williams should once again see 17-20 touches and all of the goal-line work. The veteran running back leads the league in carries from inside the 5-yard line with eight, while handling 100% of Detroit’s carries from that area of the field. You can absolutely run on the Patriots, as they are coughing up 135.8 rushing yards per game this year, the seventh-most in the league. Assuming Swift remains sidelined, Williams should be viewed as a top-15 running back once again this weekend.

Wide Receiver

Amon-Ra St. Brown and D.J. Chark were both out of the lineup last week. As a result, Josh Reynolds operated as Detroit’s No. 1 wide receiver, hauling in 7-of-8 targets for 81 yards and a touchdown. Reynolds ran a route on about 93% of dropbacks. If St. Brown and Chark can’t return to the lineup, he would remain a viable WR3 play against a New England defense that is coughing up a 6.2% passing touchdown rate, the third-highest rate in the NFL. 

Of course, you are starting St. Brown if he is active. He is sporting a 30.3% target share on the year, while seeing double-digit targets and at least a 30% target share in eight of his last nine games. St. Brown is averaging over 25 fantasy points per game during that stretch and is the obvious focal point of Detroit’s offense.

Tight End

If you played against T.J. Hockenson in Week 4, I’m sorry. Hockenson was dominant against the Seahawks, catching 8-of-12 targets for a whopping 179 yards and two touchdowns. It was the sixth-most fantasy points in a game by a tight end in fantasy history … Hockenson was tackled at the 1-yard line late in the game, meaning it could have been the best game of all time from a tight end. He saw multiple end zone targets and even ripped off an 81-yard catch-and-run. Hockenson is a must-start tight end regardless of whether St. Brown and Chark return to the lineup. And while the Patriots were great against opposing tight ends a season ago, they have struggled so far this season, allowing the seventh-most fantasy points (13.98) per game to the position. No team in football has allowed more touchdown receptions to tight ends (5). 

 

Los Angeles Chargers @ Cleveland Browns

Total: 48, LAC -3
Pace: CLE: 28.59 sec/snap (23rd), LAC: 28.35 sec/snap (21st)

What to watch for: Keenan Allen hasn’t played since Week 1 with a hamstring injury. He should once again be considered questionable. 

Browns

Quarterback

After playing really well in Weeks 2 and 3, Jacoby Brissett struggled in Week 4 against the Falcons, completing just 21-of-35 passes for 234 yards, zero touchdowns and one interception. For the most part, Brissett has played well this season, but it hasn’t translated to much upside in fantasy, as he’s yet to even reach 18 fantasy points in a game. As you’d expect, Cleveland is relying on the ground game. I wouldn’t start Brissett in anything outside of superflex formats.

Running Back

Nick Chubb continues to dominate. He added to his impressive start to the season Sunday, rushing for 118 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. Through four weeks, Chubb ranks seventh in yards per attempt (5.7), first in missed tackles forced (32), first in runs of 10-plus yards (15) and second in runs of 15-plus yards (7). 15% of Chubb’s carries are gaining at least 10 yards, an outstanding rate. Cleveland is running the football 51.2% of the time in neutral gamescripts this season, the fifth-highest rate in the league, while Chubb is averaging 20.2 carries per game. This week, he faces a Chargers defense that was supposed to be improved against the run, but we haven’t seen it. They just allowed 131 yards and a touchdown to Dameon Pierce in Week 4, while only the Lions and Texans are coughing up more fantasy points per game to opposing backfields than the Chargers (26.48). Chubb is an obvious top-five running back this week.

Kareem Hunt has put together consecutive underwhelming outings, but the volume is still solid, averaging 14.25 touches per game on the season. He is averaging a respectable 3.25 targets per game and faces a Chargers defense that is allowing the fourth-most receptions (7.0), ninth-most targets (7.5) and fifth-most receiving yards (45.3) per game to opposing running backs. Hunt remains a viable RB2, though I’d be more comfortable with him as a flex option in most leagues.

Wide Receiver

With Cleveland’s passing game struggling last week, Amari Cooper’s numbers took a hit. He caught just one pass for nine yards, as A.J. Terrell — who has had some struggles to start the year — did a tremendous job in coverage against him. Per NFL Next Gen Stats, Terrell shadowed him on 79% of his routes, limiting his production. Cooper’s rates are still very promising — he sports a 26% target share and his 43.7% air yards share is the fifth-highest rate among receivers so far this season. Los Angeles has a tough secondary on paper, but they have struggled a bit this season, allowing the 10th-most fantasy points per game to opposing wideouts. J.C. Jackson has missed two of four games, and opposing No. 1 wide receivers have scored against the Chargers in three of four weeks. Cooper remains a low-end WR2/high-end WR3.