Week 5 NFL Matchup Preview Part One
Be sure to check out Part Two of our Week 5 NFL Matchup Previews. (out Friday)
THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL – October 6, 2016
8:25 PM EST
Arizona Cardinals @ San Francisco 49ers
QB Drew Stanton: Palmer suffered a concussion late into a disappointing performance vs the Rams Week 4. On a short week, the Cardinals look to Drew Stanton to start Thursday night vs the 49ers. Stanton is not a fantasy consideration even in a favorable matchup.
RB David Johnson: He should see a ton of work this Thursday given the QB situation for the Cardinals. Consider DJ a top RB1 for this week.
WR Larry Fitzgerald & company: Stanton negatively affects the fantasy value of the Cardinals’ wideouts. Larry Fitzgerald may be the only fantasy WR play for the Cardinals. Stanton will likely lean on the veteran Thursday and with targets comes opportunities. The problem is the quality of the passes that will be heading in Larry’s direction making him a WR3/flex play this week. The rest of the receivers should stay out of your fantasy lineups.
QB Blaine Gabbert: Blaine Gabbert is not a fantasy QB and has only thrown for over 200 yards once this season. Don’t expect him to do so against this Arizona defense.
RB Carlos Hyde: Not a favorable matchup for Hyde Week 5 vs the Cardinals defense. He is still tough to sit as he does take advantage of his opportunities near the goal line. Hyde will be a decent low-end RB2 option.
WR Jeremy Kerley: Has been the most productive receiver thus far for the 49ers, but that isn’t saying much with 202 receiving yards and 1 touchdown through 4 weeks. I wouldn’t recommend starting him or any of the 49ers receivers.
SUNDAY – October 9, 2016
1:00 PM EST
Washington Redskins @ Baltimore Ravens
QB Kirk Cousins: Cousins has looked solid this season throwing for 1176 yards and 6 touchdowns. He hasn’t protected the ball, however, almost matching his TD total with 4 INTS. Regardless, he should be a decent QB2 option in Baltimore in what could very well turn into an offensive game.
RB Matt Jones: One week after coach Jay Gruden said he wanted to commit more to their run game, Matt Jones took advantage of his carries and had his first 100+ game of the year with a TD on a season-high 22 carries. Expect the Redskins to continue this balanced attack. I do not believe last week was a fluke for Jones, leaving him as a solid RB2 this week vs the Ravens.
WR DeSean Jackson: He had 1 reception for 5 yards last week. Very uncharacteristic for this big, play-making wideout. Jackson doesn’t have the best matchup Week 5 but I expect him to bounce back from last week’s performance and be more involved in the passing game.
TE Jordan Reed: My number one ranked tight end before the season began finally had the game everyone was waiting for last week. Reed is a TE1 play every week as he looks to be the number one target on this pass heavy offense.
QB Joe Flacco: He has been throwing the ball a ton this season and this week will be no different. He has the perfect combination of reliable veterans and young talented receivers to help boost his stats when they extend plays after the catch. The Redskins defense has not given up a lot of passing touchdowns this season but I do not see that continuing. Flacco is a decent QB2 option this week.
RB Terrance West & Kenneth Dixon: Terrance West stepped up last week and showed that he could be the RB the Ravens have been looking for to balance out their offensive attack. Look for Baltimore to give West the workload again against the Redskins who have given up the 2nd most fantasy points to RBs this season. West is an RB2 right now. Kenneth Dixon is expected to make his debut this Sunday. After the release of Justin Forsett, expect Dixon to get his opportunities. For now, he is a decent stash option if he ends up outshining Terrance West going forward.
WR Steve Smith Sr. & Mike Wallace: Both of these WRs continue to get the bulk of the targets from Flacco. Smith has done more with his targets thus far but either of these WRs could have the better game any given week. Smith is beginning to separate himself as the go-to option for Flacco. Steve Smith Sr. is the WR to have out of the two right now. Consider him a low-end WR2 heading into Week 5. Wallace isn’t a terrible WR3/flex consideration.
TE Dennis Pitta: Rough week last week, but Dennis Pitta is a solid TE2 option with TE1 upside every week. Flacco trusts him and with that comes targets and red zone opportunities. Pitta is not a bad TE2 play this week, home, against the Redskins.
New England Patriots @ Cleveland Browns
QB Tom Brady: Finally, Tom Brady is back and with a very favorable matchup vs the Browns. He is a must-start QB1 option this week. Welcome back, TB!
RB LeGarrette Blount: Will still see a fair amount of work, even with Brady back at the helm. It’s highly possible the Patriots end up with a decent lead leaving plenty of time for the run game to make up for anything it might have missed early on. Blount is a solid RB2 in Cleveland Week 5.
WR Julian Edelman: Fantasy owners have been waiting for this week. You can go ahead and lock Edelman as a WR1, especially with reports stating that Gronk is not at 100% heading into this week’s game.
TE Rob Gronkowski & Martellus Bennett: This should be Gronk’s first “real” game since his return. He may be held to limited snaps but I expect Brady to effectively take advantage of those snaps. Do not sit Gronk this week. He has too much upside with Tom Brady back in the mix. Bennett isn’t a bad TE2 option this week. Brady did target him often in the preseason and I’m sure he is anxious to see what Bennett can do in a meaningful game.
QB Cody Kessler: He hasn’t been terrible but he hasn’t done anything to become worthy of a spot on your fantasy roster. Leave him on the wire.
RB Isaiah Crowell: He has been a bright spot in this offense. Won’t be more than an RB3/flex option against the Patriots this Sunday. The Browns will likely fall behind in a hurry leaving little carries for Crowell. His only chance at relevant fantasy value this weekend is if he happens to find the end zone. Don’t hold your breath.
WR Terrelle Pryor Sr.: The Browns’ number one target will get plenty more in this Week 5 matchup. Expect Kessler to throw Pryor’s way every chance he gets as they will be playing catch-up all afternoon.
TE Gary Barnidge: I expect Barnidge to have his season high in targets and should be a TE2 given the quantity of balls thrown his way this weekend.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Detroit Lions
QB Carson Wentz: He could very well be a top 5 option at QB this weekend against a Detroit defense that has given up the 2nd most fantasy points to QBs this season. Wentz has been great for the Eagles and has protected the football. He has thrown 5 TDs and ZERO INTs this year.
RB Ryan Mathews & Company: Mathews is practicing in full this week and will play on Sunday vs the Lions. Mathews may not have what it takes to be a workhorse back in the NFL. Expect Wendell Smallwood and Darren Sproles to heavily eat into Mathews carries this weekend leaving him nothing more than an RB3/flex option.
WR Jordan Matthews: The last time he was on the field, he had a lackluster day with only 19 yards but salvaged his fantasy day with a score. Matthews is in line for a big game against a much easier secondary this week. Matthews is a high-end WR2 with WR1 potential Week 5.
TE Zach Ertz: He returns after missing the past few weeks with a displaced rib. Ertz suffered the injury in Week 1 in which he finished with 6 receptions for 58 yards. He’s certainly projected as a TE1 this week given the favorable matchup vs Detroit. Use some caution as he may be eased in with limited snaps Week 5.
QB Matthew Stafford: Stafford has been solid this season with the exception of last week’s game in which should have been an easy defense to expose. That is how divisional games can go. I expect Stafford to bounce back this week, at home, even if it is against a tougher defense. Stick with Stafford, he will give you more than he takes week to week.
RB Theo Riddick: He could end up being on the field more than usual with Washington expected to miss Week 5. Even with Zach Zenner getting some playing time, Riddick should be utilized most in the backfield as he will be involved in the passing game vs the Eagles. Riddick is more an RB3/flex option but has a chance to be a decent RB2 in PPR leagues.
WR Marvin Jones Jr.: Not only has Marvin Jones stepped up and taken over as the Lions’ number one receiver but Golden Tate has made it easy for him as he has done very little to earn it back. Jones, at this point, has earned much of Stafford’s trust and will continue to get the majority of targets. Stafford will throw a bunch against the Eagles and Marvin Jones Jr will be the beneficiary. Play him as you normally would.
TE Eric Ebron: Ebron is doubtful to play this week. If he does end up starting: Hasn’t scored a TD since Week 1 but I expect him to have the red zone chances this week. Ebron is in as a TE2 vs the Eagles that will give up their first passing touchdown this season and Ebron could be the recipient.
Chicago Bears @ Indianapolis Colts
QB Brian Hoyer: Hoyer has stepped in for the injured Jay Cutler and has done a much better job in the process. Cutler is in danger of losing his job to Hoyer who happens to have a tasty matchup vs the Colts this weekend. As long as Hoyer continues to play like he has, He will remain the starting QB for the Bears. He is a low-end QB1 Week 5.
RB Jordan Howard: Will get another big workload vs the Colts. He looks to be the workhorse back that the Bears needed to be successful on offense. Insert him as your RB2 with RB1 upside Week 5.
WR Alshon Jeffery & Eddie Royal: Kevin White out, you can expect both of these receivers to have a decent game against the Colts with Hoyer throwing to them. I still like Jeffery over Royal even after last week. Consider Jeffery a WR2 and Royal a WR3/flex consideration.
TE Zach Miller: Hoyer has thrown 3 TDs to Miller in the past two weeks. As long as the Bears find themselves in the red zone, Miller can expect to be targeted with multiple chances to score vs the Colts. Zach Miller is a low-end TE1 with Hoyer at QB.
QB Andrew Luck: He will have to play a lot better than he has the past 3 weeks to get his team back on track. I expect him to do just that at home vs the Bears. Luck seemed to have returned to form last week but it happened too late into the game. He will continue his late momentum into this week’s matchup. He is a QB2 play.
RB Frank Gore: Continues his upward trend in production as the Colts’ feature back. Anticipate Gore as a solid RB2 in a game where he can expect 18-25 carries.
WR T.Y. Hilton & Phillip Dorsett: Hilton has dominated in targets not just on the Colts but among the top in the league through the first 4 weeks. Week 5 will bring more targets for Hilton and with those targets will come production. T.Y. Hilton is a WR1 vs the Bears on Sunday. Dorsett has been a boom or bust option thus far and I would keep him on the bench for now until he shows some chemistry with Andrew Luck.
TE Jack Doyle: Clearly, Jack Doyle is the number one TE on this team through 4 weeks. Still hasn’t done enough to warrant him more than a desperate streamer play this week.
Tennessee Titans @ Miami Dolphins
QB Marcus Mariota: Has been disappointing through the first 4 weeks of the season and I do not see it getting much better this week. You can expect the Titans to rely on the run game of DeMarco Murray as much as possible until Mariota can show improvement in the passing game.
RB DeMarco Murray: Murray has been a consistent fantasy option at the RB position every game so far this season. He is the workhorse back that also does enough damage through the air. I expect a big game out of Murray vs Miami. He is an RB1 this week.
WR Tajae Sharpe: Has not shown he can be that “go-to” number one receiver in 4 games. Sharpe is either on the bench or dropped at this point until he can show some signs of improvement.
TE Delanie Walker: Is a preferred target for Mariota but has not done anything to warrant a start over many other productive options. Keep him stashed on the bench for now.
QB Ryan Tannehill: Had a rough game last week vs Houston but will look to bounce back in Tennessee this week. With no production from the run game, Tannehill will be forced to throw more against the Titans. Ryan Tannehill is a decent stream option if you need to fill the QB position this weekend.
RB RBBC: No RB worth a mention from the Dolphins this week until Foster gets back. It’s a mess right now. Stay away.
WR Jarvis Landry, Kenny Stills & DeVante Parker: Jarvis Landry is tied for second with Antonio Brown with 45 targets on the season. He is an every-week WR1 must start simply based off his targets. He is productive as well. Kenny Stills is hot and cold. His stat line looked decent last week with 74 yards and a TD but it all came on one play. Consider both Stills and Parker WR3/flex considerations, Parker with the higher upside.
Houston Texans @ Minnesota Vikings
QB Brock Osweiler: Has a very tough matchup in Minnesota this weekend. The positives are that he has essentially two number one options at wide receiver every week to throw to. The negatives are that he has yet to come close to a 300-yard game and he faces a defense who has arguably been the best in the league this season.
RB Lamar Miller: Has been consistent in all 4 games of the season thus far but has yet to score a touchdown. Lamar Miller will have a hard time breaking his scoreless streak against a what may be the toughest defense he has seen this season. The good news for Miller is that the Vikings run defense has been middle of the road and he is the talent that could exploit that. Play Miller as you normally would even in a tough matchup.
WR DeAndre Hopkins & Will Fuller: Will Fuller has surprisingly out-played DeAndre Hopkins this season. They both have been targeted the same but Fuller has done more with his opportunities. With that said, you have to play either WR if you have them on your roster. Fuller has been consistent but Hopkins can break a big game any week. Both options are WR2s with WR1 potential any given week.
QB Sam Bradford: Bradford has been a great QB for the Vikings but has not been spectacular as a fantasy QB. He will continue that trend this week against the Texans defense. Seek other streaming options this week.
RB Jerick McKinnon & Matt Asiata: McKinnon is in line for a decent RB2 fantasy day against a low-ranked run defense. Asiata is not a fantasy option but is worth a mention as he could effect the value of McKinnon the rest of the way as he continues to vulture the goal line carries.
WR Stefon Diggs: After 2 very productive weeks to start the season, Stefon Diggs has been relatively quiet the past two weeks. Don’t expect him to bounce back this week against a defense that is among the top in defending the pass.
TE Kyle Rudolph: Rudolph is back to fantasy relevance. He has scored in each of the last 3 weeks and could do it again as a top red-zone target for Bradford. Rudolph is the top option in critical plays for the Vikings. He is a low-end TE1 option this week.