The Chiefs lost to the Raiders. Who would’ve thought?
Week 5 went down in the books and it was a doozy. Injuries, breakouts and busts littered our lineups this weekend. Here’s a recap for the ages: new format and all!
Game of the week
Miami Dolphins @ San Francisco 49ers (43-17)
There were certainly a lot of candidates for this honor, including Eagles @ Steelers, Seahawks vs. Vikings and the aforementioned Chiefs @ Raiders. But the Dolphins deserve all the spotlight this week after demolishing the former NFC champs. Ryan Fitzpatrick heard some Tua Tagovailoa rumors and quickly put them to rest, throwing for 350 yards and three touchdowns with nearly a perfect quarterback rating (99.1). He remains a streamable option against the Jets next week in what has been a pleasant surprise of a season — we rarely see two solid seasons of play from Fitzpatrick in row.
Meanwhile, DeVante Parker found the end zone and salvaged a disappointing fantasy day with a spectacular grab, but the best receiver on the day was Preston Williams. The second-year wide receiver took four receptions for 106 yards and a touchdown, an impressive day amidst an underwhelming season. He’s a deep WR4/5 against the Jets next week still; five targets aren’t a reassuring figure and Williams caught just three balls in back-to-back plus matchups (JAX, MIN) before this breakout. Mike Gesicki also performed well and can be started next week in an ever-changing tight end landscape.
On a final Dolphins note, Jordan Howard’s season got even worse when he was declared a healthy scratch. The decision allowed Myles Gaskin to finally see a red zone carry which raises his ceiling considerably. Should Howard continue to miss time, Gaskin can be viewed as a RB3 with upside due to his passing volume and sudden red zone ability.
For the 49ers, it was a disturbing display. Jimmy Garoppolo looked nothing like the $137.5 million quarterback he was supposed to be, and the weapons suffered as a result. Neither Deebo Samuel nor George Kittle could salvage the day with the grim level of quarterback play in San Francisco. Garoppolo was so bad he was benched for C.J. Beatherd who looked… alright. This looks like the type of team that desperately needs a bye week to sit down and figure things out. But with an important divisional tilt against the Los Angeles Rams on the horizon that is a luxury the team doesn’t have. At least Raheem Mostert is still ripping off huge runs…
Player of the week
Brandin Cooks (12 targets, eight receptions, 161 yards and a touchdown)
There were better performances out there this week. Steelers rookie Chase Claypool had what could be the best game of his entire career. Eagles receiver Travis Fulgham was the star on the other side of the field. Both were open all game and both will be talked about extensively on the waiver article without a doubt.
So instead Cooks’ dominance will be put in the spotlight. The former Ram had more yards in Week 5 than he had in the previous four weeks, and just one week after a zero-reception game in Week 4. The breakout notably came after the Texans canned head coach Bill O’Brien. The offense looked free-flowing and Deshaun Watson looked unencumbered. To be fair, it was against a vulnerable Jaguars defense. Owners may need to see Cooks perform next week against a more talented Tennessee defense, but this was a much-needed bright light during a pretty dark season.
Bust of the week
Zach Ertz (Six targets, one reception, six yards)
The inconsistent play of Carson Wentz has been on the tip of everyone’s tongue this season concerning the Eagles, but Ertz’s lack of production is completely overlooked. This is a team with absolutely no one to catch the ball save for Ertz, a proven star, but Ertz has failed to shake the coverage against him.
He is currently the TE15 in PPR and has not found the end zone since Week 1. He’s been on the field for 85% or more snaps in every game this season. Defenses definitely hone in on the veteran tight end given the lack of other options but regardless this is a big concern for a player who seemed as safe as they come during draft season. Ertz might need Alshon Jeffrey and DeSean Jackson to return to health so they can take the attention away from Ertz. Until then, Ertz needs to be severely downgraded.
Storyline to watch
How will the Cowboys offense change with Andy Dalton under center?
While Andy Dalton is a serviceable quarterback, things are certain to change in Dallas. Prescott averaged over 50 attempts per game heading into Week 5, a trend that allowed for plenty of fantasy production in Dallas. Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb and Dalton Schultz all benefited from the volume, with Michael Gallup as the odd man out. Now, with attempts likely to slip a bit, production will be unpredictable heading into Week 6. It’s worth noting that Cooper and Gallup saw the most looks in the limited attempts Dalton had against the Giants. Of course, that’s a limited sample size. Meanwhile, Ezekiel Elliot should see all the work he can handle in both the short receiving game and on the ground.
- Dak Prescott
Week 5 was overshadowed by a devastating ankle injury to Prescott. It was not a pretty sight and it is expected to sideline the Cowboys quarterback for the rest of the season. The hope remains that he can return for the start of next season. Prescott had surgery on Sunday night that reportedly went well. Ahead of his 2021 free agency, Prescott should still command a solid payday on the market. Dalton will lead the Cowboys under center for the remainder of the season. Don’t panic trade your Cowboys; Dalton can do just fine.
- Baker Mayfield
Mayfield suffered a rib injury after a sack during the game. The injury did not sideline the Browns signal caller, but it did lead to X-rays after the game. The results came back negative. This will likely just be a pain management situation as rib injuries tend to be. Expect him to miss some practices or be limited, but his Week 6 status should not be in doubt.
- Dalvin Cook
Cook suddenly exited Sunday night football with a groin injury, leaving the backfield to Alexander Mattison and Mike Boone. Cook was at the top of his game prior to the injury, partly due to the Vikings commitment to the run game. Both Cook and Mattison saw 22 touches against Seattle in an attempt to control the clock, and it should’ve worked. The Vikings held the ball for over 20 minutes in the first half alone, thanks to Cook and the scheme. Head coach Mike Zimmer said that Cook’s MRI “went pretty well” but The Athletic’s Chad Graff reports that he is dealing with an adductor strain that is expected to keep him out against Atlanta. Barring an unexpected return to health, Mattison is a solid RB1 until the Cook returns.
- Diontae Johnson
A back injury sidelined Johnson for most of the game, which definitely made fantasy owners a bit upset as the Steelers wide receiver left with a single reception for -2 yards. His disappearance led Claypool to take full advantage, scoring four touchdowns along with 110 yards. The rookie’s breakout performance should not be ignored — Claypool isn’t going away. But on the bright side Johnson’s injury is not serious according to head coach Mike Tomlin. The expectation remains that Johnson can return for their Week 6 matchup against Cleveland in a perfect get-right game.
- Sammy Watkins
The Chiefs wideout was on his way to a solid day before a hamstring injury put him out of commission in the second half. These things tend to linger, so keep an eye out on upcoming reports. Watkins is expected to “possibly miss a couple weeks,” making Mecole Hardman a solid FLEX option.
- A.J. Green
The veteran receiver has found the end of his career and a hamstring injury on Sunday. He left in the third quarter with nothing but a target to his name. Given Green’s vast injury history and age (31) this is something to monitor closely. Regardless of his health Green has not made a fantasy impact this season. He is droppable should he miss time.
- D.J. Chark
Coming off his best week of the season Chark left with an ankle injury after a dismal performance against Houston, catching just three balls for a mere 16 yards. Meanwhile rookie Laviska Shenault continues to perform as the No. 1, which should be worrisome for Chark’s output. The alarms shouldn’t be completely blaring but the ankle injury needs monitoring — Chark has quite the ankle injury history.
A final trio of quick hits:
- Arizona’s Christian Kirk had a solid outing in his first game 100% healthy. Perhaps he isn’t dead to fantasy quite yet.
- The Falcons fired head coach Dan Quinn after a dismal loss to the Carolina Panthers. The offense should not change too much but if Sunday was any indication, this offense needs Julio Jones back badly. Russell Gage and Olamide Zaccheaus are nice depth pieces but that’s all they are — depth.
- Jason Sanders, Rodrigo Blankenship, Randy Bullock, Daniel Carlson and Graham Gano. Those are your top five kickers in ESPN formats through five weeks, with not a single one of them drafted inside even the top 20 kickers. Do what you will with that information, but kickers are too unpredictable even for fantasy football.