Five weeks into the NFL season. Hard to believe, but we’re chugging right along. Now that five weeks have passed, the landscape of the NFL is finally starting to take shape. There are a few juggernauts, a handful of decent teams, a large portion of mediocre teams, and some teams that are just bad. Which teams do you trust on a weekly basis? As it stands from a fantasy perspective, I’m going with the Bills, the Eagles, and the Chiefs. I expect these teams to provide fantasy production each and every week. If you have players from these offenses on your roster, you should be playing them weekly. Without question. Do the Eagles have a tough matchup against the Cowboys defense this week? Yes. But, is it enough for me to bench some players such as Miles Sanders, AJ Brown, Dallas Goeddert, or Devonta Smith? Absolutely not. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are a handful of other teams whose offenses I like, but their production is inconsistent. All in all, after five weeks, the Bills, Chiefs, and Eagles offenses have been nothing short of elite, and should be all year long. Anyways, let’s look back at week 5, with some fantasy tidbits along the way. As always, we will take a deep dive look at all the games and discuss who had big performances, and who did not. As always, Let’s Overthink This. Week 5 Recap:
Colts 12, Broncos 9
Colts top performer(s): Just an ugly game all around. Alec Pierce had the best fantasy performance from the Colts in this one. JT did not play due to his ankle injury, but he should be back for week 6, and if he is in, you’re playing him. The rest of the Colts? I just can’t trust any other Colts players at this point. Pittman is a flex level player, mainly due to Matt Ryan’s shaky level of QB play. Other than JT, I’m not locking any other Colts into my lineup. Until they show me more, that is. Broncos top performer(s): Courtland Sutton. Continues to operate as WR1 even though the Denver offense is struggling mightily. Now, if you read last week’s “Talkin’ Crazy” column, you saw that I blasted Russell Wilson. However, I was unaware he is playing through a partially torn lat muscle. Now, for those of you that may not know, the “lats,” also known as latissimus dorsi, is a very large muscle that starts around the lower back & hips, and inserts onto the humerus, also known as your upper arm bone, near the shoulder joint. These injuries occur mainly in throwing athletes, such as baseball players, but a QB can suffer this as well. What does this mean? Well, Russ is apparently getting an injection, which should help reduce pain and inflammation in that throwing shoulder. However, this is going to linger all season long. The best thing would be for them to shut Russ down for a few weeks, but I doubt that happens. If you’re planning on big production from your Broncos players, I apologize to deliver the bad news. That being said, Sutton’s volume keeps him as a weekly starter. Jeudy is more of a bench player/bye week fill in at this point, and Melvin Gordon is a mid to low tier RB2.
Giants 27, Packers 22
Giants top performer(s): Saquon Barkley continues to look great this season. Not much else to say really, that has not already been said. He is going to continue to push for the rushing title all year long. Bonafide RB1. The rest of the Giants offense is pretty average, but I like Darius Slayton as a bye week fill in these upcoming weeks. Packers top performer(s): Frustrating performance from the Packers in this one. The offense looked great in the first half, and it appeared as though they were going to cruise to a victory. Then the second half happened, and they couldn’t do much of anything right. The players of the game are Randall Cobb and Allen Lazard. It’s eye opening to see Cobb still getting the volume of targets he is getting. This tells me Rodgers still does not trust the younger WRs. Aaron Jones remains a weekly start, as is Rodgers & Lazard. The AJ Dillon hype has not come to fruition yet, and I am benching him until he shows otherwise. Don’t overthink this one.
Bills 38, Steelers 3
Bills top performer(s): Josh Allen continues his torrid start to the season. Delivering ALL the goods you were expecting when you took him with an early draft pick. Gabe Davis finally had the breakout game that all Davis truthers were looking for. Two long TDs, and that second TD was just a ridiculous catch. I’m starting Davis again this week against the KC defense. As I stated in the intro, do NOT overthink this one. Fire up all the Bills weekly. Steelers top performer(s): Just a bad performance from the Steelers all around. I really can’t give out a kudos to any individual, because frankly the offense did not do much at all. George Pickens led the team in receiving and continues to show a strong rapport with Kenny Pickett. If you drafted Najee Harris with a first round pick, now is the time to be panicking. I do not think the Steelers offense produces many points in the near future, especially the rest of this month with some tough matchups ahead.
Chargers 30, Browns 28
Chargers top performer(s): Austin Ekeler, you have officially arrived this season. After a slow start, Ekeler has produced in a BIG way these last two weeks. Like, pushing for being THE RB1, kind of numbers. Mike Williams continues to put up big numbers with Keenan Allen remaining sidelined with a hamstring injury. Even when Allen returns, Williams is a weekly start. Do not overthink that one. Browns top performer(s): Nick Chubb has been an outright beast this season. Another day with over 100 yards rushing, 2 scores, and averaged close to 8 YPC. Amari Cooper had a big game as well, as did David Njoku, who is now in the TE1 tier. Chubb, Cooper, and Njoku are weekly starts. I would even say Hunt is a weekly flex, but his production will continue to be up and down.
Vikings 29, Bears 22
Vikings top performer(s): Dalvin Cook is starting to “cook.” Followed up last weeks solid London performance with another game of close to 100 yards as well as 2 rushing TDs. Justin Jefferson had over 150 yards receiving as well. Two fantasy superstars should continue putting up big numbers for the foreseeable future. Bears top performer(s): David Montgomery had the best day for the Bears. Had a rushing TD as well as a few receptions for over 50 yards as well. He’s the only Bears player worth even considering putting in lineups as of now.
Patriots 29, Lions 0
Patriots top performer(s): I REALLY hope you read this column from last week. If you did, then you know I said fire up and play BOTH of the Patriots running backs against a porous Lions defense. How did they respond? Well, Damien Harris got hurt, which was unfortunate, as he is expected to miss a few weeks with a hamstring injury. This meant more of Rhamondre Stevenson, who had over 160(!) yards rushing. Jakobi Meyers had a nice day as well. He is worthy of a waiver pickup. Stevenson should be locked into lineups as long as Harris is out, regardless of who is playing QB. Lions top performer(s): Hard to have a player of the game when you score 0 points, but I’ll give it to Josh Reynolds, who had 6 catches and close to 100 yards. Tough day for the Detroit offense, but one bad game was bound to happen eventually. This does NOT mean you bench your Lions regulars, however.
Saints 39, Seahawks 32
Saints top performer(s): Players of the game for the Saints are Taysom Hill and Alvin Kamara. Kamara had close to 100 yards rushing & receiving, and is obviously a weekly start. Hill had 3 rushing TDs and a passing one as well. Just an absurd day. With how thin the tight end position is, I’m okay with putting Hill in your lineup each week and hoping for the best. After the top tier tight ends, the rest of your options are pretty much boom or bust anyway. Might as well roll the dice and hope to hit it big. Seahawks top performer(s): It took a few weeks for me to become a believer, but I’m all in on Geno Smith. I like him to put up solid numbers the rest of the year, and this only elevates Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf’s ceilings, who both played really well. I would start each of these guys on a weekly basis, and if Kenneth Walker is somehow available in your league, GO GET HIM. Right now. Don’t wait. He’s RB1 now that Penny is out for the season after fracturing his ankle. Walker should be a weekly play and put up RB2 numbers here on out.
Jets 40, Dolphins 17
Jets top performer(s): Breece Hall has officially arrived. 100 yards receiving, close to 100 yards rushing and a rushing TD as well. Michael Carter also had a nice day with a couple of scores himself. It seems as though the Jets will continue to split the work between them. I like Hall the rest of the season more than Carter, but I think both can be inserted into lineups. The WRs continue to be up and down in terms of production, so I would keep them on benches for now. Dolphins top performer(s): Raheem Mostert is without a doubt the new RB1 in Miami. Had a solid day with over 100 yards and a score. He is a RB2/flex player from now on. Continue playing Hill and Waddle, brighter games ahead. Don’t overthink that one.
Buccaneers 21, Falcons 15
Bucs top performer(s): Tom Brady with a nice fantasy day. Passed for over 350 yards, threw a TD, and avoided any turnovers. He got some help with the refs, but I won’t go off about that at this time. Atrocious call. Leonard Fournette had 10 catches with a TD and looked decent running the rock. Still waiting for Tampa and their offense to put it all together, but you’re still playing Brady, Godwin, Evans, & Fournette each week. Especially against the Steelers this week. The Steelers defense has had significant trouble defending the pass this season. FIRE UP ALL BUCS players. And, as always, try not to overthink it. Falcons top performer(s): Tough day for the Atlanta offense in this one. Drake London was held to only 35 yards, and Marcus Mariota had the best fantasy performance from the Falcons. I like Tyler Allgeir, but I’m not putting him in my lineup just yet. Until I see anything from Kyle Pitts, he is on the bench too. Drake London gets the nod, and that’s about it from this Falcons offense so far.
Titans 21, Commanders 17
Titans top performer(s): Are our early season concerns from King Henry gone yet? As Maximus said in Gladiator, “Are you not entertained?!” Well, that’s probably what Henry is saying after another 100 yard and 2 TD performance. King Henry is back, and will continue to post strong numbers the rest of the way. Hold onto him for dear life unless a trade offer comes in that is too good to pass up. Commanders top performer(s): Dyami Brown had 2 catches for 105 yards and 2 TDs. Was doing his best Randy Moss and Gabe Davis impersonation. As a team the Commanders continue to struggle running the ball due to poor offensive line play. WR production will continue to be up and down, but Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel, even Jahan Dotson when he returns, offer safe floors from a fantasy perspective. Just don’t expect slam dunk production each week.
Texans 13, Jaguars 6
Texans top performer(s): Dameon Pierce was the star in this one for the Texans. I feel like I am going to repeat this sentence many times the rest of the season. He is approaching RB1 territory, and is the only viable weekly play from the Texans. Jags top performer(s): Tough loss here for the Jags as Trevor Lawrence struggled again for the second week in a row. However, Marvin Jones Jr and Evan Engram had pretty solid days from a fantasy football perspective. If you’re looking for a change at TE, I like Engram due to the volume he has been receiving lately. I would not put Jones Jr into lineups just yet. The biggest storyline from the Jags over the last 2 weeks has been the increased work for Travis Etienne. If you were patient with him, which I recommended a couple weeks ago, the rewards are starting to come about. Won’t be much longer until the scale is tipped in his favor.
49ers 37, Panthers 15
49ers top performer(s): Jeff Wilson Jr with another solid game for the 49ers. Rushed for over 100 yards with a TD as well. What is very apparent when you watch these 49ers games, Wilson has some BURST and good speed. Now, if you Wilson Jr owners want to sell high, I’m not opposed to that idea. Just make sure you are receiving a quality RB2 or WR2. If you want to hold onto him and keep riding the train, I like that idea as well. I’m not totally sold Elijah Mitchell automatically gets the starting gig back when he comes back from his MCL sprain in a few weeks. Panthers top performer(s): Earlier on Sunday, on my personal Twitter (@DLorenzDPT) I pondered if this was the week that Matt Rhule would get fired. Nailed that one. The Panthers quit on their coach long ago and this was pretty clear. Add in the poor performances from Baker each week, and Rhule’s time was coming. CMC had a good fantasy performance, but was nowhere near his dominant stat line of years past. Maybe this offense will be better with PJ Walker under center. I mean, they really can’t be worse, right? Plus, I like PJ Walker’s game. I followed him closely at Temple (Go Owls!) and followed his stint in the XFL. He is going to surprise some folks with his abilities. I’m still not considering plugging any Panthers into my lineups this week though, other than CMC. Need to see how they look with a new QB and new system first.
Cowboys 22, Rams 10
Cowboys top performer(s): The Cowboys defense. I know, I know. Kind of a cop out to pick the defense as the player/s of the week, but they really were. Dominant showing from them. Curious to see how they stack up against the Eagles offense this week. But, if we’re talking position players I’ll go with Tony Pollard. The Cowboys really need to be playing him more. I guess they’re overthinking some things in regard to their RB room as well. Rams top performer(s): What is up with the Rams offense? Is it because of Stafford’s lingering elbow issue? The fact that they have a hard time running the ball on teams? Cooper Kupp being the only real threat on the outside and in the slot? Well, maybe it’s all of the above. Until I see them turn things around, you really can’t start anyone other than Kupp and Tyler Higbee.
Eagles 20, Cardinals 17
Eagles top performer(s): Jalen Hurts, Dallas Goeddert, and Devonta Smith all had really nice games. Hurts continues to be effective as a passer and offers unreal fantasy production due to his rushing capabilities. Another 2 rushing TDs from him this past weekend. Going to be tough this week against the Cowboys defense, but you really can’t bench any of the Philly guys at this point. Just temper expectations, but again, do NOT sit them. Don’t overthink it. Cardinals top performer(s): Hollywood Brown continues to have a fantastic start to the season. He seems to be jelling quite well with Kyler Murray in Kliff Kingsbury’s system. Will he keep it up when Deandre Hopkins returns next week? Possibly, but I’m not benching Brown even when D-Hop comes back. James Conner got banged up with a rib injury, which is something we are monitoring. If Eno Benjamin is available and you have a need at RB, go get him.
Ravens 19, Bengals 17
Ravens top performer(s): Mark Andrews continues to be a beast and offers WR1 numbers while playing TE, much like Travis Kelce. Other than that, the players of the game were the Ravens offensive line. The Ravens rushed for over 150 yards against the Bengals defense. Not too shabby. Bengals top performer(s): Just when you thought the Bengals offense would get going against a shaky defense, they disappoint. Tee Higgins was pretty banged up in this one and ended up not playing for the second half. Joe Mixon averaged 5.6 YPC, which is good and all, but he only managed a paltry 78 yards and no scores. Jamar Chase continues his slow start, but better days are ahead, especially with a healthy Tee Higgins lined up on the opposite side of the field. In a world where TE production is very limited, Hayden Hurst offers weekly upside.
Chiefs 30, Raiders 29
Chiefs top performer(s): Travis Kelce. By this time, unless you live under a rock, you probably heard how great he performed Monday night. 4 receiving TDs. Unheard of, especially from a TE. One thing to monitor with this offense moving forward is the emergence of Jerick McKinnon. Does he continue to steal carries from CEH? Until that actually happens, do not give up on CEH. Raiders top performer(s): Josh Jacobs and Davante Adams. Been writing that almost weekly in this column. Really like what I am seeing from Jacobs this year. Burst looks great, as does his power. He has also been involved quite a bit in the short passing game, which is awesome for fantasy points. Darren Waller left this one with an injury, which is something to closely watch as well. If you need a TE replacement, consider some of the guys I mentioned in this article (Hill, Hurst, Engram).