Game Previews: All Fantasy Relevant Players For Week 5
Ravens vs. Browns
Joe Flacco has been pretty good, will he keep it up?
Joe Flacco‘s had a solid start to the year so far, with his absolute worst fantasy performance being Week 3’s 277 yards and one touchdown, which still netted you around 15 points. Now, against the Browns, what can we expect from Flacco? The Browns’ pass defense has actually been pretty solid, limiting quarterbacks like Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Brees to mediocre-to-poor fantasy days and totally shutting down Sam Darnold. Sure, last week they gave up 437 yards and four touchdowns to Derek Carr, so it’s possible Flacco could take advantage, but overall, this Browns secondary has been solid. I still think for fantasy purposes, Flacco makes for a decent QB2, but I’m not sure we can count on him dominating.
How will things shake out for the wide receivers?
So far this year, John Brown has been awesome, scoring double-digit fantasy points every week. I expect Brown to be able to have a solid game again, likely matched up against Denzel Ward, which should be a fairly even matchup for him. As for Michael Crabtree and Willie Snead, I could see Snead having a pretty nice game. Snead will likely be matched up against T.J. Carrie, who hasn’t been playing particularly well this year, while Crabtree will be matched up against E.J. Gaines, who has been playing relatively well. As such, I could see Snead getting free a bit more than Crabtree, and as a result, could see some targets. Snead snagged six catches for 56 yards last week, I wouldn’t be shocked if he has a similar or somewhat better game. And for what it’s worth, I still think Crabtree is a worthwhile flex play and I’d still start him over Snead for sure.
Will Alex Collins play?
Yes, it looks like Alex Collins will be good to go this Sunday. Collins missed practice on Thursday with a knee issue but he’s good to go now, so it doesn’t seem it was particularly serious. Collins has been a bit disappointing so far, and it looks like the Ravens are moving more towards a running back by committee between Collins and Javorius Allen, in part because Allen has been playing pretty well. Allen had 10 carries last week while Collins had 11 (though I think part of that was punishment for Collins’ goal line fumble). Will it shake out that way this week? I’m not sure, I’m hoping Collins gets closer to the 18 carries he had in Week 3, and if he does, he could put up some decent RB2 numbers. So far this season, the Browns have given up at least 100 rushing yards each week except for one. Allen I still think is useful as a flex play in PPR leagues, but you can’t rely on him beyond that.
Will we see Hayden Hurst?
It looks possible that first-round pick Hayden Hurst could see his NFL debut on Sunday. He’s not someone you should grab now, but he’s a talented pass catcher who could have an impact on a team that loves throwing to the tight end. But it depends on whether he gets more attention than Maxx Williams or Nick Boyle, which isn’t a guarantee.
The Ravens defense is worth a start
As great as Baker Mayfield may be, I don’t think he’s a match for this Ravens’ secondary, and I could see him making some mistakes that result in fantasy points for the team’s defense.
Hello again, everyone. Here we are at week 5 and what a crazy roller coaster it has been. The Browns move to 1-2-1 after losing to the terrible Raiders having lost a bucket full of possessions to avoidable mistakes and Hue Jackson demonstrating why he should be fired after taking this week’s (probable) loss. Don’t get me wrong, it would be amazing to see the Browns defeat their division rivals, but competent coaching will probably win the day. Seeing Jackson punt in overtime on 4th-and-1 to literally hand the Raiders an easy victory was the last straw for me (again) and I want Jackson out. The Ravens have a dominant defense and are only 3-point favorites, but I think that’s overly optimistic in favor of the Browns. Let’s take a closer look at what’s coming and see if there is any hope.
Baker Mayfield looks really good out there and just needs to iron out a few mental errors- what’s the prognosis against the Ravens?
The bad news is that the Ravens defense is legit. They do very well at holding down opposing QB’s, including holding Ben Roethlisberger to just 274 yards and one touchdown (with an INT) in Pittsburgh where B-Roeth normally plays very well. They now take on the Browns and QB Baker Mayfield in Cleveland, and the only silver lining I can see is that maybe they will be a little less prepared for CLE because they were so very well prepared for PIT. If they slacked off a little after that tough matchup, maybe the Browns can catch a break, but that is unlikely in week 5. I suppose that technically it is also a plus for Mayfield that the Ravens have been really stingy against running backs, but they are hardly a funnel defense. I have expectations for Mayfield of fewer than 250 passing yards and one touchdown. He will probably buoy himself with rushing yards this week, but then again CJ Mosely may just keep that buttoned up. Unfortunately, I see a low floor and a low ceiling this week.
Are you sitting all Browns receivers?
I would still play WR Jarvis Landry. He is a target monster, and if you have him on your squad, he’s probably one of the better players. He is also legitimately good so there is a chance he has some decent plays, but I don’t think he gets more than FLEX scoring this week. Unfortunately, WR Antonio Callaway has struggled so hard that even Hue has been forced to acknowledge it. If you believe in Callaway’s potentials, you should bench him this week, see how he does on the bench next week, and then play it by ear thereafter if you even have space to wait and see that whole time. WR Rashard Higgins, on the other hand, has quietly been a very steady receiver for Mayfield, and I hope that his targets increase. He could have a lot of value helping the Browns move the ball. I probably wouldn’t play him, as Landry is the only playable asset this week at receiver, but hopefully, he will help the team as a whole have more TD potential.
A lot of people think Nick Chubb deserves more playing time, do you expect any changes in the Cleveland backfield?
Not really, to be honest. Todd Haley has said in the past that he knows RB Carlos Hyde needs plenty of touches to get into a rhythm and really start to work. He also has the tendency as an OC to use just one running back predominantly. Given, he was previously working with Le’Veon Bell, but that’s neither here nor there. RB Nick Chubb has played minimal snaps, and his first play last week where he scored the touchdown he simply burst through a huge hole the O-line opened up for him. He did look amazing on his second touchdown, making plenty of cuts before hitting the jets to outrun everyone, but Hue and Co. have only said that he will get more play time and that is a huge margin given that he was in for just 3 snaps. I mean, it seems to be working to keep Chubb fresh for huge gains against a tired defense, so there would be little pressure to change what’s working from within in the organization.
In any case, I’m not sure it would matter against this stout run defense. Neither play is exceptionally appealing, though if you have Hyde I would still roll with him this week- he is the goal line back and has a nose for the end zone. RB Duke Johnson, Jr, may actually be primed for the biggest role this week. Not that the Ravens are really weak anywhere, but the place to make big plays is where Mayfield is scrambling out of the pocket and looking for anywhere to throw the ball and The Duke is an excellent clutch receiver. Again, I’m not saying to throw him in your lineup this week, but he’s the wild card this week.
And Njoku is getting more involved, what can we expect?
Given the TE landscape, I would be hard pressed to recommend anyone over TE David Njoku, especially because if you’re playing smart, you don’t have a second TE or space to get a temporary streamer in Njoku’s place as he will likely be snapped by someone else if you drop him. If you completely believe Njoku’s a streamer candidate, there are plenty of other options to try for this week. I personally will be rolling him out because Any Given Sunday, but I’m not expecting more than maybe 40-50 yards on probably 4-5 catches. This Ravens Defense is just that good.
And what is going on with the Cleveland Defense?
That is the question of the week. The over/under for the game is currently set at just 47 points, which is relatively low. If you want to roll with the Cleveland defense instead of dropping them for a different streamer, know that they have at least a decent floor. That being said, it all depends on which defense shows up. Cleveland held NO down to a pretty low score overall, in New Orleans, which is no easy feat, but then they gave up tons of yards and touchdowns to the Raiders. With Flacco performing so well so far this season, I really don’t see the Ravens having too much trouble moving the ball. I will personally be rolling with CLE for one more week in at least two leagues, but won’t touch them in daily fantasy. Take that for what it’s worth.