As you read this article, you are in the following situations as we get to Week 5.
- You’re 4-0, riding the wave, maybe you eked out a close win, maybe you won handily. Now is not the time to cash in your chips and assume anything.
- You’re 3-1, things are going very well, but keep the foot on the gas.
- You’re 2-2, you can’t afford a loss to slip under .500 and stay with the pack. Maybe you lost a high draft pick, or your high draft pick has been a bust thus far.
- You’re 1-3, really needing a win to get back into the thick of things in your league standings.
- You’re 0-4, but the world hasn’t ended.
But no matter what your record is, don’t give up on your season, because anything can happen. Play the matchups, work the wire, make a trade or two, never stop improving your team. You never know what will happen. On to a couple injuries of note:
- Dalvin Cook, RB, MIN (Torn ACL)
Cook tore his ACL planting his right leg into the US Bank Stadium turf, going down in a heap at the bottom of a pile of defenders reaching for the ball he fumbled as he went down. He went on IR this week, and the Vikings already signed his roster replacement, journeyman RB Stevan Ridley. He should not be fantasy relevant unless something happens to the backs in front of him, Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon.
- Chris Carson, RB, SEA (Broken leg, high ankle sprain)
Tough break for Carson (no pun intended), as he broke his leg while getting tackled in the 4th quarter of their Sunday tilt with Indianapolis. Without Carson, the Seattle backfield turns into a muddy mess, with multiple backs vying for touches, including Thomas Rawls, Eddie Lacy, J.D. McKissic, and C.J. Prosise.
Week 5 START OF THE WEEK (THE BIG CHEESE!)
Jay Ajayi, RB, Miami
If there is a get-right matchup for the Dolphins and notably, Jay Ajayi, it’s this week at home (FINALLY!) versus a Titans team that more than likely will be without Marcus Mariota. This should be a week where the Dolphins can play ball control, limit the throws of one Jay Cutler, and grind out a home win. He’s an RB1 this week.
Week 5 SIT OF THE WEEK (THE LIMBURGER!)
Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Carolina
Kelvin Benjamin’s QB, Cam Newton, had a bounceback game Sunday against New England, in a spot where he needed one big time. Pump the brakes though, as Newton will take his team into Detroit to take on a formidable Lions team that has overachieved so far in 2017. Their defense has been superb, forcing a league-high 11 turnovers and giving up only 17.4 points per game, good for 4th in the NFL. Take into account that Darius Slay will be the opposition for Benjamin, who doesn’t make many mistakes. Detroit still hasn’t given up a touchdown to a #1 wideout in 2017, and there’s little reason to think they will in Week 5. He’s a middle of the road WR3 for me this week.
Note: If a player is not listed in the Confidence Rating, he’s not worth starting in any leagues, injured, or is not fantasy relevant at the moment.
Bills @ Bengals
Joe Mixon should get the lion’s share of carries for Cincy, with Gio Bernard and Jeremy Hill sprinkled in. The touches have been there, but the yardage has not been. He’s a dangerous RB2 who could bottom out this week… Charles Clay is a top 5 TE in fantasy right now and should be for the rest of 2017 barring injury. He’s the #1 receiver in the Bills offense, especially with Jordan Matthews injured… Tyler Kroft‘s 2 TD game against Cleveland looks like a big-time outlier. Hard to trust him even in the deepest leagues.
Jets @ Browns
Bilal Powell gets a 2nd enticing matchup in a row to boost his stock after it almost bottomed out the first 3 weeks of 2017. Strong, strong play this week… Give the Jets D/ST a shot this week, they’re playing inspired football and the Browns offense is in shambles. Duke Johnson is the only real fantasy relevant Brown. Even then, he’s only a flex option, but the balls have to go somewhere.
Panthers @ Lions
Devin Funchess has been the main benefactor in the wake of Greg Olsen‘s foot injury, really asserting himself within this offense and being on the field pretty much all the time (96% snap rate in Week 4)… With Darius Slay on Kelvin Benjamin, look for another quality outing from Funchess. Ameer Abdullah‘s touches have finally paid off, as he totaled over 100 yards from scrimmage and a TD. This in turn squashes the fantasy viability of Theo Riddick, who will need an Abdullah injury to get his stock up.
49ers @ Colts
If you’re quarterback needy, I can think of a worse streamer than Jacoby Brissett. He should bounce back from a brutal matchup with Seattle to a solid stat line, certainly helped by the lack of any opposition by the 49ers defense… Along with T.Y. Hilton, they should link up numerous times on Sunday… Pierre Garcon links up with his old team and should have a great day himself. There might be a shootout here on the fast turf of Lucas Oil Stadium.
Titans @ Dolphins
Tennessee’s pass defense has been pretty abhorrent, which could get both Jarvis Landry and DeVante Parker some fantasy goodness early on, but if Matt Cassel starts and is ineffective in replacing Marcus Mariota, the game script could take a big turn towards Jay Ajayi. Ajayi should benefit from that after his stinker against New Orleans… Revenge game for Rishard Matthews? Fire him If Cassel starts, Delanie Walker is a borderline TE1, as he’s pretty much entirely dependent on Mariota.
Chargers @ Giants
Eli Manning, after the football version of being left stranded on a highway with no money, car, or phone, has come back with 2 solid outings in a row. It hasn’t exactly helped the Giants in the standings but there’s life in the offense finally, namely in Brandon Marshall (WR3) and Evan Engram (borderline TE1) to pair up with Odell Beckham… Keenan Allen should be kept busy with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, but Allen will get his. Consider him a WR2 with upside… Giants D/ST is a heavy streaming favorite this week, especially with bye weeks starting.
Cardinals @ Eagles
Downgrade Alshon Jeffrey due to the “Patrick Peterson Effect”. Torrey Smith could see a bump, but he is entirely too spotty and inconsistent to trust. As if he needed a bump, Zach Ertz could be the beneficiary of the coverage on Jeffrey… Larry Fitzgerald and the Browns (Jaron and John) should get bumped up due to the Eagles’ god-awful secondary issues… I’d still fire up the Eagles D/ST despite the secondary issues, the Cardinals offensive line has been truly abysmal, and their pass rush could lead to several turnovers. I’m starting them where I can get them.
Jaguars @ Steelers
Steelers at home, Jaguars with a ridiculous run D/pass D split (dead last in NFL/1st in defensive value over average, “DVOA”), this is Le’Veon Bell’s game to run wild… Leonard Fournette is the only truly startable Jaguars this week, with a touchdown in each game so far. Don’t get cute, you’re still going to play Antonio Brown, but he should see plenty of A.J. Bouye and Jalen Ramsey. Always a WR1. Martavis Bryant on the other hand… low end flex if THAT. Very hesistant to put him in my lineup this week.
Ravens @ Raiders
This could be a nice game for Benjamin Watson whose position group has gashed the Raiders thus far in 2017… If I had to pick a running back to start for Baltimore, I’d pick Buck Allen, but I’m not entirely confident. This is murky… The Raiders theoretically should lean on their offensive line to play better than they’ve shown and let Marshawn Lynch tote the rock, giving less opportunity for E.J. Manuel less time to screw things up. Not a fan of Amari Cooper this week with Manuel throwing him the ball. Leans more to a Jared Cook game.
Seahawks @ Rams
You couldn’t pay me enough to sort out the Seahawks backfield in fantasy. Wait and see this week… Todd Gurley has been sensational and don’t let the name Seattle fool you into think it’s a tough matchup, their run defense has been porous (30th in run defense DVOA).. Hard to trust any of the Rams receivers this week, but Sammy Watkins is an okay WR3/high end flex play for me.
Chiefs @ Texans
This week is the toughest test for Kareem Hunt, but you’re NOT going to not start him… Deshaun Watson since taking over the QB job in Houston has been a top 3 fantasy quarterback, and that success should continue this week. Look for him to continue to build his rapport with DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller… Houston has been tough on tight ends, but other tight ends are not Travis Kelce.
Vikings @ Bears
Hard to trust anybody in Chicago that isn’t named Jordan Howard this week… Tarik Cohen‘s value has gone down now that Benny Cunningham has vultured some touches from Cohen. He’s a low-end flex for me, but you’d have to be desperate… This week bodes extremely well for Stefon Diggs, who should feast this week. Even though his QB is Case Keenum, he should be getting the ball to his playmakers on the outside and inside (Adam Thielen) since he does not have Dalvin Cook at his disposal for the reason of the season. Vikings D/ST is my top D/ST play for the week, as they face Mitchell Trubisky, making his NFL debut.
Stay tuned tomorrow, when the Packers/Cowboys preview comes your way!