Burning Questions: Week 5

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Week 4 had some absolute monster performances including two that we will try to capture and put into words. We tackle another week of “Burning Questions” following up recent news, fantasy performances, and implications for owners moving forward. Follow our contributors for this week’s Burning Questions:  Travis Strickland (@DFF_Travis), Nate Hamilton (@DomiNateFF), and Kyle Borgognoni (@kyle_borg)

1. Try to put into words Julio Jones’ 300 rec yards and Matt Ryan’s 503 passing yards against the Panthers.

What Matt Ryan and Julio did this Sunday was a culmination of a few things. The addition of Alex Mack at center to fortify a very good offensive line that kept pressure off of Ryan, Julio being Julio, and the lack of talent at the cornerback position for the Panthers. Matt Ryan could easily finish top 5 on the season.” -Travis Strickland

The stars aligned for Julio and Matty Ice on Sunday. They have put up monster numbers together before but this was a different level. What made it so impressive was the fact that they accomplished this against the Carolina defense. Matt Ryan is the best fantasy football QB right now and Julio Jones is exactly who we all know he is. This is a week to week league, so just remember that as the Falcons face the Broncos and the Seahawks the next two weeks. I’m not saying to bench them, but you should expect them both to come back down to earth, at least for the next two weeks.” -Nate Hamilton

As a Falcons fan, I’m inwardly screaming JULIOOOOOOO the entire time and reveling in the light of 3-hundo yards against a hated rival. But as a clearly unbiased fantasy football writer, this was greatness on display and one fantasy owners and DFS-ers everywhere are jumping for joy. 300 yards is B-nanas no matter what format you play in! And 503 yards against the Panthers is not something I would’ve ever thought possible as a Falcons fan.” -Kyle Borgognoni

2. How bad is Carolina’s defense? How high will Matt Ryan finish?

“Against Trevor Semien in his first start, Sam Bradford in his second as a Viking and Blaine Gabbert they looked decent. However, Carolina’s defense got exposed against the Falcons. If they’re unable to get pressure on the QB and are playing against an elite receiver they’re going to struggle. Thankfully that defensive front is still talented enough to make trouble for most offenses.” -Travis Strickland

They are not terrible despite giving up 27 points to San Francisco and this past game in Atlanta. They have too much talent on the defensive side of the ball to continue in this direction. For fantasy purposes, you may want to play the matchup game with them until they start playing like the defense they truly are. Don’t drop them but stream defenses on weeks they have an unfavorable matchup. They are not an elite defense at the moment. Matt Ryan is playing on a different level right now and he is making it look easy, regardless of the opponent. He could very well finish in the top 3 conversation. Even in his difficult matchups going forward, I do not see him being a “dud” in any of those weeks.” -Nate Hamilton

Carolina’s secondary was routinely beat despite knowing what was coming in Atlanta. After this debacle, their averages are going to be skewed for awhile. However, this was their first true test against the pass as their first 3 opponents (Broncos, Vikings, and 49ers) are in the bottom of the league. And yet, they’ve been more than adequate against the run ranking 10th best in the league and still registered a healthy 9 sacks and 7 turnovers.  Bench them against pass heavy offenses but know they are susceptible without a shutdown corner like Josh Norman. And for Matt Ryan, he’ll surely end up as a QB1 for his end of the year totals with this hot start. Just know a regression is coming against some imposing upcoming defenses.” -Kyle Borgognoni

3. Who should owners finally cut bait with after fantasy letdown in Week 4?

What does Dwayne Allen need to be a good fantasy option? Fleener to leave town? A healthy Andrew Luck? An injury to a key bigger bodied redzone WR threat? A great matchup? What? Someone tell please tell me. I’m done with him. I would rather roster Jack Doyle.” -Travis Strickland

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“It’s time to stop waiting on Tennessee Titans wide receiver, Tajae Sharpe. Through 4 weeks as the “number one guy”, he has 16 receptions on 32 targets for 172 yards and ZERO touchdowns. They are far better options on the waiver wire than to continue hoping “this will be the week” for Tajae Sharpe. Drop him in all formats.” -Nate Hamilton

I hate to say this but Golden Tate has been irrelevant thus far and not startable in any format. He was absent from the field for a huge chunk of the fourth quarter before catching his two-point conversion. Anquan Boldin seems to have leap frogged him in terms of being a more reliable target for Matthew Stafford. If you are trying to find space on your bench for a high upside option off the waiver wire, I have no qualms with dropping Tate especially in standard leagues.” -Kyle Borgognoni

4. Which player’s under the radar stat line should fantasy owners take notice of?

I was disappointed last year when Brice Butler didn’t perform in the absence of Dez Bryant. His 4 rec for 41 yards and a TD got buried a little with Terrance Williams also getting a score. He’s a decent option if you’re a Dez owner and the waiver wire is scarce going in to the bye weeks.” -Travis Strickland

I don’t think this was truly “under the radar” but Jordan Howard had himself a debut with the Bears on Sunday with 23 carries for 111 yards and 3 catches for 21 yards. John Fox has already said that they will ride with him going forward. Bad news for Langford owners but great news for anyone that picked up Howard. He looked fantastic as a workhorse back and should be a great RB2 with RB1 upside moving forward on an offense that will look to a balanced attack for the rest of the season.” -Nate Hamilton

We need to take Frank Gore seriously. His stat line shows 68 yards rushing but he also added in 5 catches to go along with his rushing TD. He looked much better on film than that final line. In fact, the Colts most certainly should’ve given him the rock on their 4th and 1 at the end of their failed 4th quarter drive. He was the alpha dog in the Colts’ backfield as rookie Josh Ferguson looked rough with a couple of drops and Robert Turbin playing relatively ineffective after vulturing a couple short yardage TDs recently. Gore is locked in as an RB2 with little competition.” -Kyle Borgognoni

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