We’re back again! Four editors and their opinions on all of the week five games. We were denied one game, with the Patriots/Broncos tilt being postponed, but there is still plenty of action to talk about.
Are you ready? Let’s roll…
CIN 3 – 27 BAL – Jack
This was a one sided contest; you can’t hide from the scoreline. But what becomes more evident week after week is that these are not the 2019 Ravens.
In terms of fantasy, the only real winner here were those who started the Ravens defense – who came away with seven sacks, three forced fumbles, a pick and a TD. Good for 30+ points in most leagues. Here’s a more interesting tidbit – is it time to try and buy low on Lamar? The former MVP currently ranks JUST inside the top ten for QB’s and his legendary rushing ability being stymied is not helping fantasy owners. Throw an offer in and see if you can grab the dynamic signal caller from a frustrated manager.
- Hollywood Brown could be a nightmare. The second year pocket rocket looks like a genuine threat once he has the ball in his hands with room to work the sideline. He snagged 6/10 receptions for 77 yards and a TD, but you get the feeling he should be doing more. He’s faster than most players on field and isn’t afraid to secure the tough catches when necessary. While the passing attack as a whole is somewhat struggling, Brown looks like a bright spot.
- Speaking of which, Lamar Jackson attempted 37 passes in week five. If we look at that in a wider context, that’s 27 on average per game for 2020. This is great when bolstered by a dominant rushing attack and carries from Lamar himself, but this wasn’t the case. Lamar had 50 carries for 308 yards through five games last year, 2020 has been tougher going, 42 for 238 yards. That’s a big chunk of yardage in a ground based offense. Against the surprisingly stingy Cincinnati defense, Jackson’s rushing threat was neutralised.
- In the battle of defenses, the Bengals defense looked solid, with no stand out performers but some significant game time for their 2020 rookies Logan Wilson and Akeem Davis-Gaither. Both had solid outings and the game time will certainly help bolster the LB corps. But here’s the real story of game courtesy of PFF:
On his [Burrow’s] 18 dropbacks that came under pressure, Burrow was sacked seven times, recorded three turnover-worthy plays and completed three of just nine pass attempts for 15 yards. And of those 18 dropbacks under pressure, 12 came from blitzes.As per PFF
The Bengals have to find a way to help out their promising rookie and it needs to happen soon. Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd form a dangerous 1-2 combo and Joe Mixon is an all pro talent, but if Burrow can’t find time to run his reads, the Bengals are in trouble.
- While you’re still reading, let’s quickly check the lack of effort and then odd choice by A.J. Green after this Burrow INT:
Was he trying to run directly to Indianapolis? Whatever it was, the curious case of A.J. continues.
IND 23- 32 CLE – Jack
This feels wrong but so right. As a Steelers fan, there’s no way I want to see another team rise to prominence in an already tough AFC North, but watching the Browns offense is…fun. Watching the Colts attempt to run an offense is not.
- The litany of weapons at Kevin Stefanski’s disposal are finally being utlized correctly, despite losing all pro RB Nick Chubb and it’s glorious. The play action heavy, mix and match offense that Stefanski has installed has allowed Baker Mayfield to get back to his rookie form. OBJ is back making insane catches, Jarvis Landry is reminding all fantasy managers why he is THE PPR guy and the team has three legitimate starting TE’s. Not to mention that Kareem Hunt is not letting us forget that he was in fact the leading rushing in the NFL just a few seasons ago. The Browns are getting hot at the right time for real life and fantasy alike. Congrats if you managed to buy low on OBJ a few weeks ago or kept your faith in Landry – this feels like the start of a points explosion.
- It’s not often I quote myself, but:
I get it, I really do. Rivers has an ugly throwing motion that has been effective for 1000 years and I have no ground to criticize the potential HOFer. But this kind of throw was ugly, ill advised and costly:
- The Colts defense is playing surprisingly well and ranks top in several metrics through the first five weeks, including topping the table in defensive DVOA. This is essential to Indy having any kind of continued success. By the way, they are clear and away the best fantasy defense as well, so grab them from the wire if you can. The defensive line looks like a brick wall and due to the loss of talented safety Malik Hooker, the rookie Julian Blackmon seems to be flourishing in his increased playing time. As we saw last week in the Jags game, bad angles create easy TD’s for the offense. This is what it looks like when done correctly:
PHI 29 – 38 PIT – Jack
I was all set to complain about having to watch ANOTHER heart rate increasing finish from the Steelers against an inferior opponent. Then I realised, at least I don’t have to watch Mason Rudolph and Duck Hodges combining for four completions on 100 attempts to practice squad receivers.
- Let’s start with Fulgham and Wentz. The former sixth round pick of the Lions tore apart a suspect Pittsburgh secondary, particularly picking on Mike Hilton and Joe Haden. He ended up with 10 catches for 152 yards and a TD. It almost defies belief that the defense could not figure out a way to stop the connection throughout the fourth quarter. If you started Travis Fulgham in any of your leagues, then please fill out the application section of our website. 30+ points is nothing to sniff at.
- While we’re talking about HUGE fantasy days, let’s wax lyrical about rookie Chase Claypool. The former Fighting Irish put up 40+ fantasy points in nearly all formats and was denied a fifth TD by a questionable offensive PI call. Ben Roethlisberger and Claypool exploited positive match ups with linebackers all day and the rookie was able to feast.
- He looks like the real deal and yet another hit at the position from the Steelers front office. One particular positive from his first five weeks? His speed. Yes, he put in an amazing combine performance, but Claypool looks to have slimmed down (currently listed at 228lbs; he was 233lbs and above in college) and it’s created an extra step with the ball in his hands.
- The Steelers now have 20 sacks on the season and if they continue, are pace for about 80 sacks. Having already spent their “bye”. That’s impressive production and doesn’t look like slowing down any time soon. T.J. Watt looked like he picked up a knock late in the game, which would be a worrying development for the secondary, who rely on the pass rush to get home. Regardless, the Browns vs the Steelers looks to be an offensive explosion for the first time in years if the Steelers late game woes are set to continue.
ARI 30 – 10 NYJ – Pride
I was expecting a closer game… and I don’t know why. The Arizona Cardinals had tough losses in their previous two contests, but you know what they say, “ain’t no game like a game against the Jets” at least when it comes to getting back in the win column.
- DeAndre Hopkins continues to prove that he is a top receiver in the league with his third 100+ yard game of the season. He has so far been the game-changing steal that everyone believed he would be for Arizona when he was traded. Five other Arizona pass-catchers having 30+ yard games also show that the Cardinals passing game is growing into a well-rounded machine that could soon be on par with the best in the league.
- Kenyan Drake though does not seem to be the same player that Arizona got partway through last season. His yards per carry has dipped down to 3.7, the same amount it was last season over his six games on the Dolphins roster. The worst part though is that his yards per reception are also 3.7. He may have had a touchdown and he may be more explosive over the second half of the season. However, he has some stiff competition that is looking to take his job before they can get halfway. Chase Edmonds only had three carries in their game against the Jets but turned one of them into a 29-yard TD trot. He has shown to be a much bigger playmaker for the team. Though on only 19 carries, Edmonds has averaged five yards per carry and has been much more instrumental in the Cardinals passing game.
- Looking at the Jets now… it’s a mess. This was their fourth consecutive game where they’ve given up at least 30 points. They are tied for second in points allowed this year, which inspires little hope of winning a game this year. Coupled with the fact they also have the lowest-scoring offense in the NFL and it’s not going to get any better. Le’Veon Bell was healthy and on the field, but only put up 60 yards on the ground. That must have been enough for Adam Gase and GM Joe Douglas as they tried shopping him around for not even a full day until just straight up releasing him from the team. This leads me to believe that the Jets are truly embracing the tank and trying to become the third 0-16 team. Nope, if they really wanted to tank they would trade away Jamison Crowder, he’s really been their only source of offense… maybe Crowder should pack his things just in case.
LAR 30 – 10 WAS – Pride
What? Another NFC West team winning 30-10 against a team from the east that’s starting their backup QB? Okay. The Los Angeles Rams kept pace with their division rivals in week five and won convincingly against a football team that… is… doing… well I don’t know what they’re doing. Washington is now 1-4 on the season which is no position that a team wants to be in, but the good news is that they are only a game back of their division leader.
- More good news for Washington is that Alex Smith returned to the field and, as many pointed out, he took on the full weight of Aaron Donald.
However, most of the good stopped there. He only had nine completions on 17 pass attempts and six sacks. Smith definitely deserves the Comeback Player of the Year award because of how incredible it is that he recovered from his injury, but it’s too soon to say if he’ll ever be the same player he was before the injury. Kyle Allen didn’t ‘wow’ anyone before sitting the rest of the game with a concussion, but he was better at running the offense than Smith. I would say that Washington would probably do better with Haskins back under center, but if he is still out with an illness then Allen is the clear choice right now.
- Los Angeles looks to be picking up their groove on offense though. They may not be on par with the offense they had in 2018. However, the addition of Cam Akers back into the run game really helped the overall production . This could lead to defenses never being fully-prepared to cover everything that the Rams backfield is able to dish out between their trio of runners.
- Defensively though the Rams looked as dominant as Washington’s defense was in week one. As they racked up eight sacks in the game, half coming from Donald. They also only allowed Washington to get in the red zone once and only cross into Rams twice out of the Football Team’s 13 possessions. The only thing more impressive than that is the fact that four of Washington’s possessions ended in their own red zone, with two ending inside their own five-yard line. The only wonder now is if the Rams can continue this dominance against offenses that can average at least 300 yards a game.
MIA 43 – 17 SF – Pride
If you told me four months ago that the San Francisco 49ers and Miami Dolphins game in week five was gonna be a blowout I would have probably said something like, “yeah, obviously.” If you told me that it would be in the Dolphins favor, I would have thanked you for the joke. Well, this beatdown was no joke, but it was still kind of funny from a neutral perspective anyway.
- Deebo Samuel and Jimmy Garoppolo got some sour greetings in their returns. Samuel only caught two of his eight targets and only 22 total yards, which is not optimal. Garoppolo had it much worse though, a fumble that Miami almost recovered and two interceptions that led to Dolphin field goals gave Miami a 30-7 lead going into the half. Garoppolo found himself sitting on the bench for the second half and everyone was left wonder:
C.J. Beathard took over in the second half and did not impress, but was able to lead the offense to some more points and didn’t give the ball away. It’s not an ideal situation in the San Fran QB room, so we may be seeing a lot more of Beathard.
- The run game didn’t lose stride though as Raheem Mostert seemed to pick up where he left off. With this past week, Mostert is now averaging a little over 125 total yards per game. Fantasy owners will be really happy with his performance and should expect him to continue being the lead back as long as he’s healthy. Unfortunately for Jerick McKinnon owners though, He may be stretched to find touches again.
- For the Dolphins though, they got to see Ryan Fitzpatrick revert back to his ‘Fitzmagic’ form after a bad case of ‘Fitztragic’ last week. It really is amazing how boom or bust Fitzpatrick has been this season as he has either thrown for at least two touchdowns and no turnovers or at least two interceptions and no touchdowns in a game. With no in-between, the Dolphins seem to be playing Russian roulette every week. So far it’s worked out more times than not.
LAC 27 – 30 NO – Pride
Week five’s Monday night lived up to expectations, at least for some. The Saints won despite suspending Michael Thomas. I mean it helps having two stars rekindle their former glory and having an opponent in the Chargers, that once again proved to be cursed.
- Emmanuel Sanders welcome into 2020. He had a slow start to the season and seemed like he had lost a step or two. But over the past two weeks, he has really stepped up and been a key contributor for the Saints offense. This was to the pleasure of Drew Brees who must have been hearing all the criticisms from people about his age. He decided to show that he still had a few missiles left in the cannon with some tight throws to Sanders and a 41-yard bomb for a touchdown. They both combine to have 29 years of NFL experience and they can both still definitely get it done.
For the Chargers though… well, it was business as usual. They got a big lead, but let their foot off the gas pedal and had their defense toasted in the second half. In the first half, the Chargers only allowed about 18 yards per possession for the Saints. But, in the second half, they allowed over 45 yards per possession. The defense buckled once again after obtaining an early lead.
Over their four losses so far, the defense has given up about 22 more yards per possession in the second half of games than they have in the first half of games. Surprisingly this has only led to them giving up only 10 more points in the second half than in the first over those same four losses. Though it still stands that if the Chargers seemingly take a commanding lead in the first half, that the opponents will have total control over the situation.
The only good thing about the Chargers offense it seems is Justin Herbert who appears to be developing nicely into a strong NFL starting QB. Though his defensive reads could still use improvement, he has been the only consistent facet of the Chargers offense through week five. This only makes it even more regrettable that the game has been in his hands pretty much every week now and whether it be his fault or someone else’s, the Chargers never pull through when they need to. Just looking at game-ending plays, if you flipped the outcomes of the final play in regulation for each of the games in their losing streak they would be 3-1 over the span instead of 0-4.
DAL 37- NYG 34 – Scott
This week five game was a rollercoaster from start to finish, and the definition of a pyrrhic victory for the Dallas Cowboys. Four lead changes, defensive scores on both sides, trick plays, clutch catches…and a major, league-changing injury. Fans of both the Cowboys and New York Giants felt the whole range of human emotion over four quarters of action.
- First things first…thoughts and prayers go to Dak Prescott after he sustained a gruesome ankle injury in the third quarter. Prescott suffered a compound fracture (which means the bone broke through the skin) and dislocation of the ankle, requiring immediate evacuation to a local hospital and extensive surgery that same night. From all accounts, the surgery was a success, and doctors place Prescott’s recovery at 4-6 months. As bad as the injury was, there’s real hope he can return to his normal self by the start of next season.
- For fantasy managers who need a replacement, look no further than Prescott’s replacement, Andy Dalton. After coming in with extremely short notice, Dalton put up over 100 yards in just over a quarter and a half of game time. Offensive coordinator Kellen Moore has said the Cowboys offense will remain aggressive in Prescott’s absence. Finally, the last time Dalton had the stable of weapons the Cowboys have, he put up a campaign which had him in MVP considerations. Managers can’t expect that level of performance again, but 15-20 points weekly is well within the range of possibilities.
- Remember when I said start everyone against this Cowboys defense last week? That advice paid dividends. Darius Slayton had a big day, even with a couple big plays taken away from him by (as even a Cowboys fan such as myself can admit) a few controversial penalty calls. While Evan Engram was held mostly in check, he managed to find the endzone on an end-around play. Ironically, the player who had the most struggles on offense was quarterback Daniel Jones. While the Giants put up 34 points, Jones had just 222 yards passing and accounted for zero touchdowns on the day. While its not time for the Giants to jump ship on their young quarterback yet, he needs to show some serious improvement by years’ end . Otherwise he’s in line to be replaced by what is almost guaranteed to be a top-five draft pick for the Giants this offseason.
LVR 40-KC 32 – Scott
The Las Vegas Raiders knew they’d have to match the powerhouse Chiefs offense blow for blow. The only question was, could they do it? With the help of some huge plays on both sides of the ball, they were able to hand the Chiefs their first loss of the season, and hand Patrick Mahomes his first NFL loss of more than seven points.
- Derek Carr had himself his best performance of the year in week five and maybe the best performance of his career. He consistently matched Mahomes blow for blow throughout the game, and showed a willingness to air it out down the field with no hesitation. This might be in part due to the new weapons on offense which all showed out in today’s game. Former Eagles receiver Nelson Agholor came up with a huge touchdown catch in the second quarter. Rookie receiver Henry Ruggs III had just two catches, but both were huge plays that displayed both his speed and his solid hands. The most impressive of the two was a 72 yard touchdown catch, also in the second quarter:
- Despite giving up 32 points, the Raiders defense played well on Sunday. Their defensive line consistently pressured Mahomes and forced him out of the pocket…it’s not their fault Mahomes excels as much in those situations as he does in the pocket. Safety Jeff Heath came up with the biggest play of the game for the defense. He picked off Mahomes with just over five minutes left in the fourth quarter, setting up a Raider’s touchdown that would put the game out of reach for the Chiefs.
- The Chief’s defense, on the other hand, was abysmal all game. Derek Carr consistently had time in the pocket to make any throw he wanted. Their best pass-rusher, Frank Clark, didn’t make an impact at all this game. The Raider’s o-line, and especially tackle Kolton Miller, held him without a sack or even a QB pressure the whole game. The Chief’s title defense aspirations hinge on their defense who will look to bounce back next week against a tough Buffalo Bills team.
SEA 27-MIN 26 – Scott
Another Seahawks game, another down-to-the-wire thriller. What else is new? This week’s opponent was the Minnesota Vikings, fresh off their first win of the season. This game was more exciting than any week five matchup between a 4-0 team and 1-3 team has any right to be.
- Adam Thielen had a fantastic game against the porous Seahawks pass defense. He recorded two touchdowns on the day, the second of which put the Vikings up in the fourth quarter. Justin Jefferson, meanwhile, put up a disappointing performance in a promising matchup. The rookie wideout posted just three catches for 23 yards on the day. His five targets are encouraging, however, and in all likelihood this was just a bump in the road for him. Fantasy managers shouldn’t jump ship on the youngster just yet.
- D.K Metcalf is that dude. That’s all that really needs to be said. He’s the only receiver to have at least 90 receiving yards in each of the first five weeks. The connection between him and Russel Wilson is one of the best in the league. Better yet, Wilson looks to Metcalf when the game is on the line. Metcalf converted on two huge fourth down plays on the Seahawk’s final drive. One 39 yard bomb down the sideline and the other a contested catch in the endzone to win the game. Metcalf should be valued as a top five receiver for the rest of the season.
- Dalvin Cook suffered a minor injury in the contest, and is expected to miss next week’s game. Alexander Mattison filled in without a hitch, just like every other time he’s been called upon to be the main guy. In this game, he had 20 carries for 112 yards, averaging 5.6 YPC. This performance came against a Seahawks’ defense which had been a top ten unit against the run up to this game. Look for Mattison to be a RB1 next week in Cook’s absence, which makes him a perfect Cook replacement or bye-week filler.
CHI 20 – TB 19 – Tones
Penalties, mayhem, & undisciplined actions. Sums up many Thursday Night Football games, does it not? This one had two competitive 3-1 foes going at it, as Tampa Bay traveled to Chicago. Yet – it still ended up as a rather ugly affair. The referees put themselves smack dab in the middle of this evaluation,and a stunning lasting image of the GOAT, Tom Brady, holding up four fingers left many NFL fans puzzled. However, the GOAT sure made it known he can still handle the heat. He used a negative situation and turned it into a congratulations message to a fellow superstar.
- Did Tom Brady really forget which down it was? Even the best in the industry makes mistakes, but this one is puzzling. Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians was quick to defend his QB, but the image speaks for itself. Is Brady losing in game knowledge that once propelled him to the top?
- There is no doubt that the Bears have one of the best defensive units in the NFL. However, their offense continues to hold them back. Two poor QBs and no ground game weapons really stunts the potential Super Bowl growth of this 4-1 Bears team.
- The refs had a game to forget, just as Brady forgot which down it was on the games last offensive play for the Buccaneers. Many missed penalties on Chicago helped dictate the results in this one. Will the NFL hold these guys accountable?
CAR 23 – ATL 16 – Tones
This one resulted in a few lost jobs in the state of Georgia. Falcons head coach Dan Quinn & GM Thomas Dimitroff were relieved of their duties after their fifth consecutive loss to start 2020. Many thought Atlanta would have been looking for a new leader in 2019, but keeping Dan Quinn around for 2020 may have cost Dimitroff the job himself. Carolina is surprisingly contending as well, stuck in a three way tie atop the NFC South.
- We are quickly learning that head coach Matt Rhule may of had a method to his madness. The way Rhule has restructured the Panthers caused heavy criticism amongst league sources around the NFL. But with superstar RB CMC on the shelf and a 0-2 record to start the season, many thought Carolina should pack it in for 2021. Winning three in a row and propelling themselves to the top of their division may of put those talks on hold. For now. Mike Davis is a broken tackles machine and a man on a mission as he continues to fight for his career.
- Terrible. Trash. Garbage. All words used to perfection to describe this dumpster fire. I actually feel bad for Atlanta fans. The team had a Super Bowl W wrapped up at halftime, blew the lead and the wheels eventually fell off the whole franchise. Inevitably leading to the dismissal of their front office after years of attempted recovery. One thing is for certain, Quinn was always a man of class & high integrity. He lived up to that indeed with his parting statement.
JAC 14 – HOU 30 – Tones
Pop bottles, Houston. The Astros are in the playoffs and the Texans won a game! After letting go of longtime head coach and general manager Bill O’Brien, many people wondered how interim head coach Romeo Crennel would feel taking the field again as a head coach. Jacksonville started the season hot, with a win over Indianapolis and a first half burst of momentum week two against the undefeated Titans. did this game change the fortunes for these two AFC South squads the remaining 12 weeks of the NFL season?
- Minshew Mania is over. Yes – it is gone. It was the “Linsanity” moment of the NFL, perhaps. Gardner Minshew is regressing week to week – who would of guessed? Oh, just about everybody. Minshew has shown signs of potential his first year plus into the big leagues, but it is slowly going away. Compiling garbage time statistics seems to be his new thing, as his stats still end respectable. The most important category however is wins and a measly one does not get the job done as a NFL starter.
- Romeo, oh Romeo. Welcome back, Romeo! This is kind of a fairytale, isn’t it? Long time veteran coordinator and coach Romeo Crennel has been a joy for many fans around the league. Will Romeo give this Houston team one last spirit burst for a playoff push to remain in charge in Houston? Time will tell. Let’s just remember Houston is notorious for starting slow. So do not be surprised if David Johnson and company are in the playoff picture before to long.
BUF 16 – TEN 42 – Tones
Nope – this is not a typo. You read the final score correctly, a blowout in Tennessee in week five. This game was a odd one and it all started being played on a Tuesday. I guess the club can go up on a Tuesday, after all?
- COVID proved to be an obstacle that the Titans can handle. After weeks of absence from their facilities, the Titans were allowed back in the building this past weekend. Right in time for their matchup with the Bills of Buffalo. Ryan Tannehill continues to prove doubters wrong, as he continues to be the shining star in Nashville. Can the Titans and their star power led offense propel themselves to not only the top of the AFC South, but perhaps, a visit to Tampa for the Super Bowl?
- No, the sky is not falling in Buffalo. One poor performance on a weird week of rest won’t kill my hopes of them making a run at the Lombardi trophy. However, this game was a minor cause for concern. Josh Allen looked like the Allen of old, but perhaps John Brown is a bigger piece to the puzzle than people think. Short handed all around, Buffalo will look to continue to make improvements. That can perhaps start with a signing of Le’Veon Bell.
Jack is an NFL nerd with a passion for player stories and watching too much draft coverage. He's a DB coach with the Exeter Demons University team in the UK and a Steelers fan.