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Wed Oct 9th 2019

Week Five Review

Fantasy Explosion!

Week five is in the books so we're more than a third of the way through the fantasy regular season.  There are enough data points to make better decisions and to decide if you're a contender or not.  Here are some of my overall impressions after watching all of the games along with comments on the dynasty and NFL transactions that were made this week.

Top Five Observations

Fantasy explosion!

  • Last week was nuts.  Will Fuller scored more fantasy points than any wide receiver in the last 15 years.  Aaron Jones scores four touchdowns against Dallas.  Christian McCaffrey did what he does every week, but even better.  Chris Godwin remains the top-scoring wide receiver in the league.  Adam Theilen was the squeaky wheel last week so he sure got the grease.  Amari Cooper, Michael Thomas, and DJ Chark all scored more than 30 points. Matt Ryan and Deshaun Watson had their own crazy shootout.  Depending on which end of these breakouts you were last week, you came away thrilled or infuriated.  My poor wife lost last week even though she was the second-highest scoring team for the week.  She lost 141 to 206 to a team with Watson, McCaffrey, and Jones.  Lots of teams scored more than 200 points last week.  In one of my longest running leagues, a team scored the second highest points in league history - 223.5 points.  It was a fun week.  I hope you had some of the stars on your team.

We welcome a few new receivers in the top 12.

  • I finally did it.  I moved Chris Godwin into the top 12 and ahead of Mike Evans in my dynasty rankings.  His role in the slots is simply too valuable.  He's going to have a way higher catch rate playing on the inside (77% compared to 47%) and he's been targeted 5 more times.  I did the same with Cooper Kupp, moving him into the top 12 and head of Cooks and Woods.  He has become Goff's clear number one target and gets the same treatment as Godwin in the slot position.  He has 20 more targets than Godwin but a smaller catch rate of 65%.  He's just behind Godwin in fantasy points scored this year.  Godwin is #1 and Kupp is #2.  D.J. Chark is #5.  While I was not willing to move him into the top 12, I did move him up way past Dede Westbrook whom I also have ranked a lot higher than other analysts.

Kansas City can be slowed down but San Francisco's running backs cannot.

  • Patrick Mahomes has looked human the last two games.  He's only thrown  one touchdown in that span compared to the 10 that he threw the first 3 weeks of the season.  All of the weapons associated with the Kansas City offense have felt the effects of this temporary downturn.  Damien Williams is getting healthy again and Tyreek Hill is likely coming back this week.  This should be a bump in the road for Kansas City, but there is some concern that teams have figured out a defensive scheme to slow them down.  I'm not concerned.
  • Shanahan is a running game wizard like his dad used to be.  The 49ers are averaging more than 200 yards a game on the ground, and it does not matter who they're giving the ball.  Breida, Coleman, Mostert, and Wilson have all had great games this season even though their workload is split up quite a bit.  Breida has not received goalline carries, but it doesn't seem to matter when he can break off 83 yard runs like he did Monday night.  Wilson was the goalline back when Coleman was injured but Coleman seems to have taken that role back.  Breida and Coleman are every-week starters.

Russell Wilson is fun to watch but Matt Ryan is not.

  • No one thought that Russell Wilson could continue his incredible efficiency in throwing touchdowns and racking up fantasy points. He has proven that he can, and he's throwing a few more passes per game than last year.  He's completing 73% of his passes and has 11 touchdowns and 0 interceptions.  He's in total command of the offense and is so fun to watch.
  • Matt Ryan is helping our fantasy teams but it sure looks ugly.  He's thrown for 300 yards every game and is completing 70% of his throws but they are full of check-downs and underneath stuff.  Like Wilson, he has thrown 11 touchdowns.  Unlike Wilson, he has thrown 7 interceptions.  It's hard to watch, but he's an every-week starter no matter what it looks like.

Several surprising quarterbacks are unstartable.

  • Several quarterbacks that we're used to plugging into our starting line-ups every week are no longer performing well enough to do so.  Aaron Rodgers is no longer startable.  He's only had one good fantasy game this season, and this looks to be a permanent trend with the new offensive system.  Phillip Rivers has had two good games, but three awful games.  The offensive line injuries and his lack of mobility make him a streamable quarterback at best.  Jared Goff has had decent fantasy games the last two weeks, but it was largely garbage time points at the end of the game.  Teams have taken New England's Super Bowl defensive strategy and used it against them.  Gurley not being the same Gurley as the last two years is radically affecting this offense, as is the bad offensive line play.  These every-week starters are not anymore.

Week Five Injury Impact

Mason Rudolph

  • This injury was tough to watch as Rudolph was knocked out cold with a concussion.  He was able to walk off the field with assistance after a long stoppage in play.  Pittsburg turned to their third-string quarterback, Devlin Hodges from Samford University.  He wasn't as horrible as you'd expect from a third-string QB, and he almost led them to a comeback win.  Unfortunately, this downgrades the fantasy value of everyone in Pittsburg for this year.  Mason may come back next week, which would give everyone a slight bump back up.  James Conner and Juju Smith-Schuster are still guys I would start every week unless, but I no longer see them as guys who can win a week for me.

Wayne Gallman

  • After a great week last week in place of the injured Saquon Barkley, Gallman was also treated for a concussion early in the contest and did nothing for our fantasy teams.  Some people made waiver moves this week for Jon Hilliman and Elijhaa Penny, but I didn't.  Barkley will be back sooner than expected.  In the meantime, I'd value the Giants' passing game a little more.

Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram

  • Speaking of the Giants' passing game, it also took a hit when Shephard was treated for a concussion.  Evan Engram hurt his knee this week too.  They've both  been ruled out for this week.  Golden Tate should be more involved this week and the rookie Darius Slayton became my top waiver add for the week.  See more on him below.

Phillip Dorsett

  • Dorsett hurt his hamstring early in the game and gave fantasy owners (myself included) a big goose egg for the week.  The New England offense should keep in ticking as normal.  This injury does not radically affect anyone's fantasy value too much.  It did, however, make me willing to pick up Jakobi Meyers off the waiver wire this week.  He was a standout in the preseason and was picked up in most of my leagues but dropped in most after the Antonio Brown signing.

James O'Shaughnessy

  • He was just beginning to look like a viable fantasy contributor, but last week he tore his ACL.  I don't think it will affect the value of any of the Jaguars offensive players except those that play tight end.  Geoff Swaim is likely to get most of the snaps and touches initially, but Josh Oliver is the higher upside rookie prospect that is getting close to practicing again after his hamstring injury.  Oliver is the better dynasty value.

Marquise Brown

  • This is what we feared about this amazingly talented but very slight wide receiver.  He had an awesome jump-ball catch for a touchdown, but hurt his ankle on the play and left the game.  This does nothing to his dynasty value unless the fears of his being injured often cause you to sell him for a more sturdy similar prospect.  If he does not play for a week or two perhaps Miles Boykin and Willie Sneed will get more targets.  I'd like to see Boykin get more opportunities.

Darren Sproles

  • Sproles strained his quad in the game and looks to be out for several weeks.  This could be the opportunity that Miles Sanders needs to get more of the passing downs work and eat into Jordan Howard's overall workload.  Howard has the goalline work nailed down, it seems, but Sanders is more involved in the passing game and has way more explosive plays.  I hope his small uptick in snaps results in a changing of the guard at the Philadelphia running back position.

Sammy Watkins

  • The oft-injured Watkins is at it again.  He's a super frustrating player to own.  Tyreek Hill appears to be ready to return this week or next.  Hamstring injuries tend to linger so I suspect Sammy will miss a few weeks.  In his absence, Byron Pringle stepped up.  More on him below in the waiver wire section.

David Johnson

  • He played well last week even while suffering back pain throughout the contest, but Chase Edmonds got more touches and receptions than he has all year and made the most of them.  He had 11 total touches for 86 yards and a touchdown.  Edmonds value takes a jump in the short term.  He was already one of the highest ranked-handcuffs in my dynasty rankings.

Jaylen Samuels

  • Coach Tomlin revealed this week that Samuels underwent a knee scope and would miss about a month of play.  He was starting to eat into Conner's play the last few weeks so this is Conner's opportunity to prove that he is much better than Samuels.  Unfortunately, Pittsburg's quarterback problems might make that hard to do.  As for Benny Snell, he'll finally get some solid playtime, but I don't like what I see in him so far.

Week Five Waiver Moves

As a reminder, I play in dynasty leagues that roster 27-30 players.  This is a list of the players I was most eager to pick up this week.

1. Darius Slayton

  • Slayton was getting more involved in the Giants' offense the last few weeks (about 44% of the snaps).  After the Shephard injury, that bumped up to 65% last week.  He's the speed receiver that the Giants need to open things up for the offense.  Daniel Jones threw a strike to him down the seam for a touchdown last week, which really made me notice him and move him to the top of my watch list.  He was picked up in all of my leagues. I picked him up in a few, paying $18 FAAB in my FFPC league to get him.

2. Reggie Bonnafon

  • I think we finally know who the handcuff to Christian McCaffrey is in Carolina.  Welcome, Reggie Bonnafon from Louisville.  When McCaffrey stepped out near the end of the game due to cramps, Bonnafon filled in for him just fine.  He looked like McCaffrey, scoring on a 59-yard run.  He was picked up in all of my leagues this week too.  I picked him up in three leagues and paid $31and $17 FAAB to get him.

3. Byron Pringle

  • With Sammy Watkins and Tyreek Hill sidelined with injuries, Pringle was the next man to step up in Kansas City.  He caught 6 of 8 passes for 103 yards and a touchdown Sunday night, making him a possible waiver addition.  I don't see much dynasty value in Pringle given that Watkins and Hill are the better players in Kansas City, but Watkins is often hurt and Demarcus Robinson has only looked great in one game so far.  I picked him up in a few leagues but did not spend any FAAB on him. 

4. Jakobi Meyers

  • With Phillip Dorsett out, Meyers played 46% of the snaps last week.  If Dorsett's injury lingers, Meyers will become more a part of the gameplan in New England.  I generally try to avoid New England receivers given that their play, other than Edelman, is so inconsistent, but since he is a rookie and showed promise in the preseason, I picked him up in one league.

5. Duke Williams

  • Duke scored the game-winning touchdown for Buffalo last week, and everyone then asked, "Who is Duke Williams?"  I asked that too.  I learned that he was the leading wide receiver in the CFL last year.  Monday we learned that Buffalo likes him enough that they traded away Zay Jones to the Raiders.  Those to facts were enough to cause me to pick him up a few leagues while I wait to see what he can become.  He was only rostered in one of my leagues by one savvy owner who didn't have to ask the "who is Duke Williams" question last Sunday.

Week Five Trades

There were no trades made in my 10 leagues this week.  That's really rare.  So this week I will write about the trades that I offered and rejected this week.

Miles Sanders and a 2020 1st <======> Alvin Kamara

  • One owner put several star players on the trading block with a message that he's planning to go into rebuild mode.  I was not sure how he would plan to rebuild, but if I was in rebuild mode I would like to trade a great player for a rookie that I believe in and a 1st round pick.  I offered him Sanders and my 2020 1st round pick for Kamara.  He and I both love Sanders, so that's why I thought it might interest him.  He texted to say he was considering it, so it must not have been an outlandish offer.  This week he decided to reject the trade.

Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert and a 2020 2nd <=====> Travis Kelce

  • This trade was to the same owner.  I tried to offer something similar.  I thought he might not see Ertz as too much of a downgrade from Kelce.  Plus I was offering him Ertz's handcuff in Goedert who could very well replace him in a year or two.  I was not willing to give up a 1st round pick for this slight uptick in value at tight end, so I offered a 2020 2nd round pick instead.  He ultimately rejected this trade too.

Nelson Agholor <======> Darrel Williams

  • This was admittedly not a fair offer.  I have Damien Williams in this league and would love to have Darrel Williams in case Damien gets hurt again.  I also knew that he had offered Darrel in a trade to another owner who has LeSean McCoy.  This owner lacks depth at wide receiver, which is where I have depth in this league.  Agholor was the breakpoint among my receivers.  I did not want to offer anyone better than him for a mediocre handcuff.

Nelson Agholor and a 2020 3rd <======> Damien Harris

  • I love Damien Harris.  This was a bit of fishing for value.  I wanted to see if this owner was tired of waiting on Harris to even be active in a Patriots game.  It turns out that he is still hopeful, as I am, that Harris can win this role by the end of the year or certainly in the years to come.  I considered a counter with a 2020 2nd round pick instead of a 3rd, but decided against it.  I have two 2020 1st round picks and two 2020 2nd round picks in this league.  I want to keep those.

Gardner Minshew <======> James White

  • This was the only trade offered to me this week.  I almost accepted it but decided to reject it.  I have Minshew in this one-quarterback league paired with Jameis Winston and Phillip Rivers.  I decided that I want to let this "Minshew Mania" thing play out a bit longer.  I think his value can only go up from here because the Jacksonville fanbase has rallied around him.  I don't think Foles will get his job back.  I love James White, especially in PPR leagues.  This is a half PPR league, which likely made the difference in me rejecting this offer.

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