From The Godfather: Week 5

Sat Oct 5 11:20pm ET
By CHARLIE WIEGERT
Contributing Writer

Well, there’s no Miami to pick on this week because the Dolphins have a bye along with Detroit.  The Rams played the Seahawks on Thursday night, taking away some other players, so the options for Sunday get a little more limited.  The Raiders play the Bears in London, so after the long journey across the ocean, don’t expect much offense from either team in this game.

With a fourth of the season gone, you can draw a few conclusions about the teams that are good and the teams that are bad this year.  The bad are easier to spot. Just look at the points they’ve scored and the points they’ve given up.  Miami jumps to the top of the bad list with 137 points allowed. That’s losing by an average of over 34 points per game!  The schedule has been tough on them as three of their four games have been against the better teams, so it will get a little better for them as they play some of the weaker teams. I’m not sure they’ll win a game, but they won’t lose by as much.   

The other “bad” teams are Cincinnati (-53), Washington (-52), Arizona (-41), New York Jets (-37), Atlanta (-29) and Denver (-23).  Pittsburgh’s (-12) only win was against Cincinnati. Atlanta’s only win was against Miami.  Two teams trying to stay respectable are Indianapolis (-8) and the New York Giants (-10).  When your players are playing against these bad teams, make sure you have them in your lineup.

On the other side, the best team appears to be the defending champion Patriots, who are the class of the NFL.  And they don’t seem to be playing their best football yet, scoring 122 points and being +95.  They continue to be a hard team for fantasy players to figure out with no real fantasy superstar and different players stepping up each week with the most fantasy points.  Even Tom Brady is mediocre, playing good enough for them to win, but when they are not challenged, the passing game goes away.  

The other good teams are Dallas (+51), San Francisco (+42), Kansas City (+41) and Baltimore (+35).  Keeping themselves on the plus side are Seattle (+14), Los Angeles Rams (+13), Tampa Bay (+6) and Philadelphia (+5).  I’m still trying to figure out how Tampa Bay put up 55 points and held the Rams to 40 last Sunday in the same game. But they did and changed the thought process on both teams in doing so.  The players  on the good teams, all of which have scored over 100 points (San Francisco has only played three and has 96 points) are the players you want on your fantasy teams.  Just some food for thought.

Using the above analysis, the three matchups of good against bad this Sunday are Baltimore at Pittsburgh, New England at Washington, and New York Jets at Philadelphia.  The first game is a divisional battle, and I expect a hard fought game on both sides.  Baltimore doesn’t have as much advantage as they should and they’ll be in Pittsburgh’s home. I expect it to be more of a defensive battle than offensive.  Yes, play Lamar Jackson, but I don’t see any big fantasy numbers coming from anyone else.  New England at Washington will be another yawner with the Patriots defense dominating, and their offense moving the ball at will on the ground.  Philadelphia might be the most lopsided game. The Eagles offense will get a chance to let loose.  I see big games from Carson Wentz, Jordan Howard, Zach Ertz and Alshon Jeffery.

Quarterbacks: The guys I like best this week other than the obvious (see above) are Jacoby Brissett, Jimmy Garappolo and Andy Dalton.  Brissett should be in a shoot out with the Chiefs. And if TY Hilton is back, he could have a 300-plus yard passing day.  Jimmy Garappolo and the 49ers get a home game against the Browns, who have really struggled to shut down the passing game.  I trust Mike Shanahan to come up with an effective passing game plan to dominate this game.  Cincinnati and Andy Dalton get one of the worst passing defenses in the league (the other being his team), and he should get over 300 passing yards in this projected high scoring affair.

Running Backs: Minnesota likes to run the ball and the Giants can’t stop the run, which lines up Dalvin Cook for a huge game.  James White should be the feature player in the lopsided game in Washington. Jaylen Samuels is shaping up to be a sleeper at running back.  It looks like James Conner will miss this game against the Ravens, and Samuels has lots of ways to be productive.  His wildcat plays last week showed how dangerous he can be, and the Ravens defense hasn’t play well yet.  And Nyheim Hines could be in the right place at the right time as the Colts play catch up. He fits the game plan.

Wide Receiver: Larry Fitzgerald could torch the Bengals defense.  Arizona is a pass happy team and with Christian Kirk likely out, look for Kyler Murray to lean on his veteran playmaker.  Alshon Jeffery can make Carson Wentz look like the top quarterback of the week against a Jets defense that’s given over 300-passing yards two of the last three weeks.

Tight End: Travis Kelce will remind everyone why he’s the number one fantasy tight end, again.  Mahomes had no passing touchdowns last week. I predict two this week to Kelce.  My sleeper pick is Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert.  He gets an Arizona defense that’s given up more yards and scores to tight ends than any NFL team this year.

Defense: The Patriots are on the top of my list, playing a pathetic Redskins team.  My sleeper pick is the Eagles at home against the New York Jets, who can’t seem to find any offensive.

Have a great week 5!

Charlie Wiegert was the sixth person to be inducted in the Fantasy Sports Hall Of Fame in 2001. He is a founder of CDM Fantasy Sports and Fantasy Sports Trade Association. He has been playing and winning fantasy baseball leagues since 1984. If you have any questions for Charlie, email them to cwiegert@cdmsports.com. Follow him on Twitter @GFFantasySports.

Player Notes
Jamison Crowder Oct 18 10:40pm ET

New York Jets wide receiver Jamison Crowder will face a tough test Monday when the Patriots No. 1 ranked pass defense comes to town. New England allows the fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers and shut down Crowder in Week 3 when they held him to only 25 yards on two catches. Third-string quarterback Luke Falk started that game, so Crowder should have more success with Sam Darnold back under center. In two games with Darnold, Crowder has 20 catches for 197 yards, so he has major fantasy upside moving forward, especially as the Jets' schedule gets softer. In Week 7, however, Crowder is only a borderline WR3 who has more appeal in PPR formats.

From RotoBaller

Le'Veon Bell Oct 18 10:30pm ET

New York Jets Le'Veon Bell will face a tough matchup Monday night when the Patriots elite defense heads to MetLife Stadium. New England allows the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs so it's a tough matchup for Bell, but he should put up RB2 numbers based on volume. Bell has played 92.2 percent of the team's offensive snaps so far and has the second-most targets on the team. Bell should see his usual 20-25 touches and fantasy owners should start him with confidence he can put up a decent day even if he doesn't score a touchdown.

From RotoBaller

Robby Anderson Oct 18 9:50pm ET

New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson will look to change his fortunes against the Patriots in a tough matchup Monday. In seven career games against New England, Anderson hasn't scored a touchdown and his 39.5 percent catch rate is by far his lowest mark against any team he's faced more than once. This season, the Patriots are as daunting a matchup as there is in the NFL allowing the fewest fantasy points against to wide receivers. There is always the chance Anderson grabs a long touchdown, like the 92-yard score he had last week, so he has some appeal as a flex in deeper leagues. However, where possible, owners should look to steer clear of Anderson in this matchup.

From RotoBaller

Sam Darnold Oct 18 9:40pm ET

New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold will face a tough challenge Monday night against the Patriots, the team that has given up the fewest fantasy points this season to opposing quarterbacks. Darnold, who missed three games with mono, had a strong showing in his return to the field Sunday when he put up 338 yards and two touchdowns. Fantasy owners shouldn't expect that type of performance Monday against arguably the best defense in the NFL, especially with two starters on the offensive line unlikely to play. Darnold is best left on the bench this week, however, the Jets schedule gets very soft after the game vs New England so Darnold is a good bench stash for those matchups.

From RotoBaller

Jakeem Grant Oct 18 8:50pm ET

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jakeem Grant (hamstring) and cornerback Xavien Howard (knee) were limited in practice this week and are questionable for Week 7 against the Bills. Even if Grant plays this weekend, he's nowhere close to being fantasy relevant behind Devante Parker, Preston Williams and Albert Wilson on the depth chart. Grant has only nine catches (19 targets) for 52 scoreless yards in four games this year. Howard is the team's best cornerback, but the Dolphins Defense/special teams is also well off the fantasy radar. If Howard sits, it'll be good news for Bills wideout John Brown.

From RotoBaller

Josh Oliver Oct 18 8:50pm ET

Jacksonville Jaguars rookie tight end Josh Oliver (hamstring) practiced in full the last two days and isn't on the Week 7 injury report against the Bengals. Oliver has yet to play in his rookie season, but this weekend would be good timing for him to make his debut with Geoff Swaim out and James O'Shaughnessy on Injured Reserve. There's no guarantee that Oliver is heavily involved in the offense in his first game, but he's one to watch for those that are desperate at the position.

From RotoBaller

Jimmy Graham Oct 18 8:40pm ET

Green Bay Packers tight end Jimmy Graham (ankle) was limited in practice on Friday and was removed from the Week 7 injury report against the Raiders. With Davante Adams (toe) out, Geronimo Allison (concussion) doubtful and Marquez Valdes-Scantling (ankle, knee) questionable, Graham could see his biggest workload of the season this weekend. The Packers will continue to lean on the running game with their receivers beat up, but Graham could easily be quarterback Aaron Rodgers' favorite target against Oakland. The Raiders have also allowed the sixth most fantasy points per game (9.7) to tight ends. Graham has clear WR1 upside in Week 7.

From RotoBaller

Geronimo Allison Oct 18 8:40pm ET

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Geronimo Allison (chest, concussion) missed practice all week and is doubtful to play in Week 7 against the Raiders. The Packers are holding out hope that Allison can get cleared from the concussion protocol, but it doesn't look like it's happening. Davante Adams (toe) has already been ruled out and Marquez Valdes-Scantling (ankle, knee) will be a game-time decision. Green Bay could be without their top three wideouts, so Jake Kumerow, Allen Lazard and rookie Darrius Shepherd could be their three receivers on Sunday. Kumerow and Lazard will be in play as DFS sleepers and flex options in deeper leagues, but expect the Packers to lean heavily on their ground game.

From RotoBaller

Michael Badgley Oct 18 8:40pm ET

Los Angeles Chargers kicker Michael Badgley (groin) practiced in full the last two days and is listed as questionable for Week 7 against the Titans. Badgley has been out all season but looks to have a good chance to make his season debut on the road in Tennessee. As usual, the Bolts have had a nightmare on special teams in the kicking game this year and were using their punter, Ty Long, for field-goal duties earlier this year with Badgley sidelined. They've been using rookie Chase McLaughlin in recent weeks, but he's predictably been unreliable in the kicking game. The Chargers will give Badgley a shot to win his job back, but he should be avoided in fantasy for the time being if he's active.

From RotoBaller

Jacksonville Jaguars Oct 18 8:40pm ET

Following two straight close losses, the Jacksonville Jaguars enter their contest against the Cincinnati Bengals needing a victory to remain in AFC playoff conversation. At the crux of securing that win will be their defensive unit, which has been largely hit or miss over the first six weeks of the year. Despite All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey being shipped to the Los Angeles Rams earlier in the week, the team has become accustomed to playing without him. While many owners may overreact to Ramseys departure, Jacksonville is coming off holding New Orleans to 13 points last week, and now squares off with a much-maligned Bengals offense. Andy Dalton and the rest of the offensive unit are averaging just 16.2 points per game and their 56.5 average rushing yards per contest enters the week as the lowest in the league. The Jaguars defense is not the same dominant group that has been in years past, but should be a serviceable fantasy unit in Week 7.

From RotoBaller

Darrell Henderson Oct 18 8:30pm ET

Los Angeles Rams running back Darrell Henderson could have some luster as a flex option against the Atlanta Falcons. Running back Malcolm Brown (ankle) is doubtful this week, but Todd Gurley (thigh) is expected back. Gurley's workload could be spotty, and Henderson could see extended run. He rushed six times for 39 yards in Week 6, but he lost a key fumble to open the second half. He'll have a chance at redemption against the midrange matchup.

From RotoBaller

Brandin Cooks Oct 18 8:30pm ET

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Brandin Cooks has been irrelevant for a couple of weeks for fantasy owners. He left the Oct. 3 game with a concussion, and the entire Rams offense was plugged up last week. He had four catches for 47 yards in the two games combined. He has an awesome matchup against the Atlanta Falcons this week. They are the worst at defending the position in the league. They've allowed just over 15 catches for 219 yards and nearly two touchdowns per game to receivers over the last five games. Cooks is a low-end WR2 option for Week 7.

From RotoBaller

Cooper Kupp Oct 18 8:30pm ET

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp broke a four-game string with 100 receiving yards last week as the entire offense was shut down by the San Francisco 49ers. The good news, though, is the Rams face the leaky Atlanta Falcons Defense, which is the worst at defending receivers the last five weeks. Kupp is sixth in the league in fantasy points over the last five weeks at the position despite having four catches for 17 yards last week. He'll return to the WR1 section this week.

From RotoBaller

Robert Woods Oct 18 8:30pm ET

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Robert Woods has been Jekyll and Hyde in the matter of a couple of weeks. He busted out with 13 catches for 164 yards three weeks ago and didn't catch a last on four targets last week. He'll have a brighter matchup against the Atlanta Falcons, who are the best matchup for opposing receivers the last five weeks. The Rams spread the ball around a lot, though, and Woods is limited to a flex option in point-per-reception formats.

From RotoBaller

Tyler Higbee Oct 18 8:30pm ET

Los Angeles Rams tight end Tyler Higbee has been an afterthought in the offense this season with 16 catches for 154 yards and a touchdown in five games. He has a good matchup against the Atlanta Falcons this week, but he is too spotty to rely on in traditional leagues. He'd be someone to take at a basement price in daily formats, though.

From RotoBaller

Gardner Minshew II Oct 18 8:30pm ET

Jacksonville rookie signal caller Gardner Minshew hit a significant bump in the road last week for the first time as a starter. The cure for that skid? It may just prove to be a matchup against a Bengals Defense yielding greater than 425 yards per game. Minshew failed to toss a touchdown last Sunday against New Orleans, the first time he did not record one in six games. While his 240.3 passing yard per contest average is far from gaudy, he has tossed nine touchdowns to just two interceptions, making him a safe option in traditional fantasy, as well as a high-upside low-priced option in DFS.

From RotoBaller

Darren Sproles Oct 18 8:30pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson (abdomen) and running back Darren Sproles (quadriceps) both missed practice all week and have officially been ruled out for Week 7 against the Cowboys on Sunday night. Jackson is closer to returning than Sproles, but there remains no timetable for either player. D-Jax has been out since getting hurt in Week 2, and the Eagles offense is surely missing their deep threat, as Mack Hollins hasn't come close to replicating Jackson's production as a field-stretcher. Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor and Hollins will continue to operate in three-receiver sets in the big divisional showdown on Sunday evening.

From RotoBaller

Los Angeles Rams Oct 18 8:30pm ET

The Los Angeles Rams Defense shouldn't be played against the Atlanta Falcons this week. They've had their issues on the ground, but they still put up points and air it out. The Rams are amidst a tough portion of their schedule and really haven't played well enough to hang onto in traditional formats.

From RotoBaller

Kyler Murray Oct 18 8:20pm ET

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray has a good matchup against the New York Giants in Week 7. Murray has been hot lately, and he's fifth in fantasy points among quarterbacks over the last three weeks. Murray has tossed for 834 yards, three touchdowns and one interception, but his legs have been the difference. He has rushed 25 times for 152 yards and two touchdowns during that stretch. The Giants allow the eighth-most fantasy points to the position on average over the last five weeks. Murray is a mid-to-low QB1 this week.

From RotoBaller

Chase Edmonds Oct 18 8:20pm ET

Arizona Cardinals running back Chase Edmonds has been a sneaky contributor over the last two games, but it's because he found the end zone each game. He had 12 carries for 102 yards and five catches for 51 yards combined in the games, and he scored on the ground and through the air. Starting running back David Johnson (ankle) is a game-time decision this week, but he practiced more than he did before he played with a back injury last week. The matchup against the New York Giants is a solid one with the Giants averaging the seventh-most points allowed to the position the last five weeks. Edmonds has flashed the big play on limited touches, but he relies on those touchdowns heavily if you use him as a flex.

From RotoBaller