Game Previews: All Fantasy Relevant Players For Week 5
Broncos vs. Jets
The latest victim of the Patrick Mahomes led Kansas City Chiefs, the west coast horsies are coming off of a thrilling 4th quarter loss at home which saw the team run with authority and pass, well, without authority. Case Keenum looked sloppy, yet competent at times, and both Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman looked like studs. So how then will the Broncos’ fantasy contributors fare against a defense in the Jets with considerably more talent? Let’s dig in and find out…
A Veritable Head Case
Man, what happened to you Case? You went from one of the most efficient QBs in the league last year to one of the most DEficient! Through four games, Keenum ranks 25th in true completion percentage, 3rd in number of interceptable passes, and 30th in true passer rating. While watching Case Keenum play will tell you that these stats are not without merit, Keenum has also suffered from the 2nd most dropped passes this year. Until we see a visible uptick in the level of Keenum’s play, and that of his trio of seemingly talented receivers, we certainly won’t be starting Keenum anytime soon.
Speaking of “Seemingly” Talented Receivers…
Just as the Broncos’ QB has been inefficient overall, so too have the team’s receivers. Despite a moderate target share, former stud Demaryius Thomas cannot produce for fantasy owners, while aside from the seemingly once-per-game big play, new team #1 Emmanuel Sanders has been relatively quiet in the season’s first quarter. The team ranks 21st in the league in both receptions and receiving yardage thus far, and without a marked step up from the team’s mainstay duo, or its offseason savior Case Keenum, that’s not likely to change. A silver lining remains among this dismal outlook, however, as rookie Courtland Sutton managed to equal each of his more heralded teammates’ target share in last week’s loss to the Chiefs, even drawing the lion’s share of red zone looks among the three. With Demaryius looking older and slower by the day, it appears Sutton’s breakout could be any game. I’d be stashing if I can.
The Lone Tight End
Yes, there are other TEs on this roster, but the only one of note is Jake Heuerman. Unfortunately, no, he himself is not of all that much note anyway. His spike in production last week seemingly came about more out of necessity than of preference. With a dominant run game, and a solid vet and emerging rookie on the outside, don’t expect Heuerman to be the solution to your TE woes.
The Mile High D
Believe it or not, Denver has been about as middle of the road of a defense as it comes thus far, posting the 16th least total yards allowed. MAYBE with a matchup against a weak offensive line and a poor run game Denver could feast on D, but this is not that ideal scenario despite Darnold still being green under center (pun very much NOT intended). Sit and wait my friends.
Well, it’s not as fun as the exclamatory title would imply for you Pony Fans. I see Denver being forced to abandon their powerful run game by midway through the 3rd quarter as the Jets’ dominant run game of their own, along with a mismatched Quincy Enunwa in the slot, cripple the Denver O. Late in the game, Bilal Powell and Isaiah Crowell throttle forward and snuff out any Denver comeback attempt as the Broncos fall. On the bright side, I truly think this Sunday will be the formal coming out party for Courtland Sutton.
Case Keenum: 22/36, 260 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Emmanuel Sanders: 5 rec, 60 yds
Demaryius Thomas: 4 rec, 30 yds
Courtland Sutton: 7 rec, 85 yds, 1 TD
Jake Heuerman: 3 rec, 25 yds
Royce Freeman: 9 car, 38 yds, 1 rush TD, 1 rec 15 yds
Phillip Lindsay: 6 car, 27 yds, 4 rec, 45 yds
FINAL: 23 -17 Jets
The start of the season has not been all that favorable for the New York Jets entering Week 5, though this game could see a chance for a Gang Green upset. With the game being home, on a short week for Denver, the Broncos should be coming to town angry after suffering an avoidable divisional loss against the Chiefs last week. However, QB Case Keenum has not looked all that great, WR Demaryius Thomas seems to have lost a step, and the once-elite defense finds themselves in the middle of the pack so far. Can Todd Bowles and company gameplan better this week in an effort to exploit these Denver woes?
Defend the ground and air
The Jets defense ranks 17th against the run, having given up 433 yards on 113 attempts and four scores. They have not faced a duo like Royce Freeman and Phillip Lindsay to this point, a tandem that ranks 1st and 3rd for rookie backs. The two are averaging 5 yards per carry, and the Jets could be in for some trouble as they lack speed in their LB core and defensive line. ILB Avery Williamson does have 30 tackles on the year, so you should look for him to gun after Freeman and Lindsay any attempt they take.
With DT struggling, fellow WR Emmanuel Sanders could see a ton of targets against a Jets secondary that will be without CB Trumaine Johnson after suffering an in-practice quad injury on Thursday. He enters with 24 catches on 30 targets and only one score.
Fantasy outlook: If you roster Freeman or Lindsay, fire them up with confidence as your RB2/flex. Sanders, he’s a fair WR3/flex play this week. The Jets D/ST? Risky start but as I mentioned earlier, the cross-country, shortweek factors could be in the Jets favor to surprise some people.
And for the Jets?
It’s pretty much the same narrative as I’ve been sharing for the last three weeks now, which is a bit surprising given the fact that change has not been made by offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates. From a fantasy standpoint, the only two Jets you can look to start are WR Quincy Enunwa and RB Bilal Powell. Enunwa has his own thing going on with his hip, but he claims he’s fine. The rest of the WR core, which came into the season with decent promise, have been ghosts on the field. Robby Anderson, Jermaine Kearse, and Terrelle Pryor – who is outspokenly unhappy with his role and has declared himself a “big play waiting to happen” – have not been involved in much capacity, and when they have been, the results are negative. Powell is the pass-catching back you’d rather have in a PPR league over Isaiah Crowell, who has a few touchdowns under his belt, and even an endorsement deal after his antics in Cleveland which had him in hot-water with his coaches this week.
If you have the Denver D/ST, they could be a good start as the likes of LB Von Miller and rookie LB Bradley Chubb look to rattle QB Sam Darnold into more pressure situations as he has been facing thanks to a weak offensive line in front of him.