We’re onto Week 5 in the NFL already. It feels like the season just started yesterday. This hasn’t been the easiest year to predict what will happen from one minute to the next, but I’m certainly enjoying watching how things shake out. We’re gonna get right to it.
Let’s take a look at my five biggest Fantasy Football storylines heading into Week 5:
1. The Silent Type (Cincinnati Bengals)
The Patriots, Falcons and Broncos are all getting the attention, but roaming along and getting things done silently are the Cincinnati Bengals at 4-0. A huge reason for this is the play of their QB, Andy Dalton. On the season, Dalton is 78/116 for 1,187 yards and he has thrown nine touchdowns, while only throwing one interception. This is the type of play that he was lacking over the past couple of years and was one of the main reasons for their early departures in the playoffs. There’s nothing flashy about Dalton. He’s just protecting the football. Their defense is making big plays when needed and they’re getting solid contributions in the run game from Giovanni Bernard when Jeremy Hill isn’t producing much. They have a difficult matchup this week against the Seahawks, so this is the first true test for them this season.
2. Desperation Time (Saints vs. Eagles)
It’s never good to find yourself in a must-win game in October, but that’s the situation that the Eagles and Saints find themselves in right now. The Saints are coming off their first win of the season, which was an overtime thriller against Dallas. Sean Payton-led teams have always been a thorn in Philadelphia’s side and I think this week will be no different. The Eagles are playing undisciplined football right now and are suffering injury after injury, especially to their offensive line. Plus, when they have the chance to make a big play, they don’t. Each time they do make a big play on defense, the offense does nothing to make the other team pay. It’s infuriating.
Keep an eye on C.J. Spiller in this one because I think he’s going to cause all types of issues for the Eagles’ defense. I’m predicting a 23-14 win for the Saints. I hope I’m wrong.
3. Amari Rising?
Oakland Raider’s rookie, Amari Cooper is starting to figure things out in the NFL. For the season, he has 24 receptions for 339 yards and 2 touchdowns. At 6’1”, 210 lbs, the former Alabama star, is being targeted by QB, Derek Carr a lot. Cooper has seen at least 9 targets in each of his first four games, which shows that Derek Carr really trusts him. As long as the targets are there for him, he’ll make the most of it. Cooper has undeniable talent and will be a star for years to come. The Raiders have a tough matchup this week against Denver’s defense, but Cooper will remain an integral part of the Raiders offense.
4. A Giant Problem for the NFC East
Don’t look now folks, but the New York Giants look like they want to make a run at the NFC East crown. The Giants have now won back-to-back games to even up their record at 2-2. They’re coming off of an impressive road win in Buffalo and Eli Manning is starting to find his groove. All of this is being done without their star defensive player, Jason Pierre-Paul and without a huge contribution from stud WR, Odell Beckham, Jr. The NFC East is up for grabs right now and while all other teams in the division are struggling, Big Blue is on the rise. This week, they host a weak San Francisco 49ers team that is struggling like no other, and I’d be surprised if the Giants didn’t wind up 3-2 after the weekend is over. If the Eagles get a W this weekend, next Monday night’s division showdown will become even more important.
5. Back to Work (New England Patriots)
They’re baaaaaack! Fresh off of a bye week, the Patriots return to the field when they travel to Dallas. They’re a team on a mission as they’ve looked unbeatable. They’re just getting better as the season goes on. You already know that Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are killing it on the field, but it’s the play from little guys like Julian Edelman, Dion Lewis and LeGarrette Blount that make this team so scary. The Patriots can beat you any way and that does not bode well for a Cowboys team that is in decline. You can’t expect the Cowboys to be good when their top stars, Dez Bryant and Tony Romo are on the shelf. Spoiler: The Patriots are going to crush Dallas in this one.
Here are the teams that have a bye week: Carolina Panthers, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New York Jets
Each week I will present what I think are the juiciest fantasy matchups at each position. I don’t want to keep you guys waiting, so let’s take a look at the juiciest matchups for Week 5:
Philip Rivers (SD vs. PIT) – Philip Rivers generally plays well at home and I have a feeling that this week’s matchup will be a rather high scoring affair. I expect Rivers to have 3-4 touchdowns against the Steelers.
Eli Manning (NYG vs. SF) – Eli Manning and the Giants draw the 49ers this week. On the year, Manning is 90/143 for 976 yards, 7 touchdowns, 1 interception and has 3 fumbles. Manning started out a bit rocky, but the Giants have now won 2 in a row and Manning is starting to put things together. Look for 2-3 touchdowns this week for Manning against a soft Niners team.
Alex Smith (KC vs. CHI) – Alex Smith is getting sacked at an insane rate this year, but the Chiefs return home this week to play the Bears. Smith is building a great on the field relationship with WR, Jeremy Maclin. The Chiefs need a big win here and I expect them to get it, led by a sharp Alex Smith.
Keenan Allen (SD vs. PIT) – Allen is having a nice season so far with 33 receptions, for 387 yards and 3 touchdowns. He’s having some big games like he did a couple years ago. Look for him to continue to get a lot of targets from Philip Rivers this week against the Steelers. I wasn’t on board with him prior to the season, but I can recognize when I’m wrong. Allen will continue to be a big part of this offense.
Jeremy Maclin (KC vs. CHI) – The Mac is back! Andy Reid is finally showing Jeremy Maclin some love as he’s had back to back big games. The Chiefs draw the sad Chicago Bears and I expect Alex Smith to continue targeting Maclin. Look for 1 touchdown and 100+ yards for Maclin.
Rueben Randle (NYG vs. SF) – Victor Cruz may return to the lineup this week for New York, but it doesn’t matter to me. His injury will probably nag him all year and even if he’s on the field, he’ll just be a decoy most of the time. That’s why I love Reuben Randle this week and going forward. I think he will see plenty of targets this week and I expect him to have at least 1 score.
Justin Forsett (BAL vs. CLE) – Forsett finally got it going last week against the Steelers with 27 carries for 150 yards. The Ravens aren’t very good, so it would be wise to keep feeding him the ball. I think he gets another 15+ carries this and a score this week against the Browns.
Doug Martin (TB vs. JAX) – Martin had a big game last week against the Panthers. He rushed 20 times for 106 yards with 1 touchdown. The Bucs play the Jags this week and I think TB will keep incorporating Martin into the offense. I have a good feeling that he punches it in the end zone again this week.
C.J. Spiller (N.O. vs. PHI) – Spiller found the end zone for the first time this season against the Cowboys last week. He had 5 receptions for 99 yards and the game winning score in overtime. I think he presents a very tricky matchup for the struggling Eagles. I think we’re about to see why the Saints went out and signed Spiller in the offseason.
Travis Kelce (KC vs. CHI) – Kelce had 5 receptions for 49 yards to go along with a fumble last week against the Bengals. I think it was just a minor hiccup, so look for Kelce to get back on track this week against the Bears. KC needs a win and therefore, they need to figure out a way to get the ball in Kelce’s hands.
Charles Clay (BUF vs. TEN) – Clay was solid against the Giants last week in a losing effort and I think this could be the start of an on the field bond between Clay and his QB, Tyrod Taylor. The Bills travel to Tennessee this week, so I expect Clay to see some more targets. I’m not certain that he finds the end zone, but he should see 7+ receptions for 90+ yards.
Justin Tucker (BAL vs. CLE) – Tucker is one of the league’s better kickers and I smell a big time performance coming him for this week against the Browns. With Steve Smith’s status up in the air, the Ravens may have to settle for more field goals and Tucker, who is the poster boy for consistency, should be up to the task.
Josh Brown (NYG vs. SF) – The NFL’s second best kicker to date is Josh Brown of the Giants. The G-men offense is moving better in the last couple weeks, so there’ll be more opportunity for Brown going forward. The Giants should be able to put up a lot of points handle the Niners this week, so expect to see Brown involved in a lot of Fantasy points.
New England (vs. Dallas) – This is the juiciest defensive matchup of the week IMO. The Cowboys are coming off back to back tough losses. The red hot Patriots are coming off of a bye and I just can’t see how the Cowboys don’t get slaughtered here. The Patriots will make another statement in this one and there’s not a damn thing that the Cowboys can do about it.
Buffalo vs. (TEN) – The Bills are coming off of a home loss against the Giants, so I expect them to come for blood in this one. The Titans will be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Look for the Bills D to smother the Titans like gravy this week.
Bust of the Week
Eddie Lacy (GB vs. STL) – As was the case last year, Packers RB Eddie Lacy is getting off to a slow start. He has 50 carries for 230 yards and 1 touchdown this year. The Rams are coming off of a huge win against the Arizona Cardinals and their defense was a huge reason for that victory. This won’t be the week that Lacy rights his early season’s wrongs. Look for the Rams to contain Lacy.
Daily Fantasy Sports
For those of you that don’t mind being scammed by DraftKings and FanDuel, each week I will give you my value picks for both sites. Please remember that the salaries are a bit different at each site, so you may not see the same guys on each list because of that. Also, at the end of the day, the final decisions are yours to make, but I’m here to guide you through some value picks.
Alex Smith (KC– QB – $6,900) vs. CHI – Smith gets the struggling Bears and if Smith gets better protection from his O-line, he’ll eat their defense up.
LeGarrette Blount (NE – RB – $6,200) vs. DAL – This could get ugly early, in which case Blount could get to pound the ball down the Cowboy’s throats, so I’ll take Blount for $6,200.
Reuben Randle (NYG – WR – $5,900) vs. SF – Until Victor Cruz is 100% healthy, Randle will get his targets. Randle is under the radar and I think $5,900 seems like a fantastic price for me.
Charles Clay (BUF – TE – $5,700) vs. TEN – Clay had a strong showing last weekend and I don’t think anyone is really paying much attention to him. He’s a great guy to pick to have your lineup stand out.
Jacksonville Jaguars (DEF – $4,300) vs. TB – This game won’t be pretty, hence why I love the Jags here. I think they’ll force Jameis Winston to make a few turnovers in this one.
Philip Rivers (SD – QB – $6,200) vs. PIT – Rivers is good for 3 touchdowns at home against the Steelers. I love him for $6,200.
Todd Gurley (STL – RB – $4,300) – vs. GB – Gurley looked impressive against a tough Cardinals D. You’d be insane not to snatch him up here for the $4,200 price tag.
Allen Hurns (JAC – TB – $4,500) vs. TB – Hurns will always be a sneaky play because he doesn’t get much love from the masses, which is news to my ears for DFS purposes. Sign me up for Hurns at $4,500!
Antonio Gates (SD – TE – $4,200) vs. PIT – Gates returns this week and has always been one of Philip Rivers’ favorite target. I like Gates to pick up where he left off.
Kansas City (DEF – $2,800) vs. CHI – KC really has to step up here and I think that their defense will lead by example against the Bears. I’m not certain that many are paying attention to the Chiefs D this week, but for $2,800, I sure will.
Good luck this week!
You can stay up to date with everything Fantasy Football related by following me on Twitter (@ViggieSmalls765) and Instagram. I’ll be available on Twitter for upcoming Twitter Chats and to give out advice to help guide you through your fantasy season.