Player value is always a hot topic in fantasy circles. There are some players with whom fantasy owners can ignore the bad week knowing that better days are ahead. And there are others that should have owners worried. Do you have patience and stay the course, or panic and move on?
Le’Veon Bell (RB – NYJ)
Week 5 line: 15 carries, 43 yards | 9 targets, 7 receptions, 49 yards
Le’veon Bell looks to be the same dynamic, explosive back that we have always known him to be, it’s injuries to the quarterback position and an underperforming offense that have slowed him down. Still, he’s managed to squeak out 10+ fantasy point weeks and tough run defenses in New England and Philadelphia. This week he gets Sam Darnold back and faces the Dallas defense that was gashed in the run game last week. Bell is the #10 RB in PPR formats through five weeks and he faces a top third rush defense just once in the next seven weeks and faces negative matchups in just three remaining games. Bell should bounce back in a big way this weekend and carry that momentum forward to a Top 5 running back finish the rest of the way.
Mike Evans (WR – TBB)
Week 5 Line: 3 targets, 0 receptions, 0 yards
One thing is clear, Mike Evans isn’t the only sheriff in town anymore. Chris Godwin is enjoying a breakout campaign and lighting up the scoreboards but what may surprise owners is that Evans is nearly the same as he ever was with one difference. Evans has always been a boom or bust player, since entering the league in 2014 he has performed as a WR1 just 36% of games. Compare that to Antonio Brown (59%) or Julio Jones (50%) during that same stretch and it’s easy to see why he has never reached those players’ level of fantasy dominance. The key difference this year, however, is that Evans historically has slightly fewer bad games, yet this season he has disappeared in two of five games. While I don’t expect him to gain consistency, I am fine with owning Evans knowing that his huge games will come but they will be hard to predict. If you can buy low on him, he can be a monster second or third receiver on your fantasy team.
Curtis Samuel (WR – CAR)
Week 5 Line: 6 targets, 3 receptions, 19 yards | 2 carries, 25 yards
So far this season Curtis Samuel has been somewhat of a fantasy disappointment. Many experts were predicting a breakout season but five weeks into the season and Samuel is sitting as the #47 wideout in PPR. However, dig a bit deeper and see that Samuel may be right on the verge of a big bounceback. Samuel is receiving a good amount of targets, on pace for 118, a 21% target share and historically receivers finishing with that amount will finish as a WR2. Samuel’s issue has been connecting on intermediate to deep targets. Samuel ranks 25th in expected points but just 54th in actual points per game. If just a handful of these targets begin connecting, owners will see the player they drafted. Stick with him as your flex because his production will correct itself.
Kansas City Chiefs RBs (RB – KCC)
Week 5 line: 10 carries, 25 yards | 7 targets, 5 receptions, 38 yards
Fantasy owners have become accustomed to an Andy Reid lead back that dominates fantasy landscapes. For more than a decade Reid coached backs have consistently been among the league leaders in fantasy points scored. However this season, the Chiefs are five weeks in and have not identified a lead back in this offense. That complication has lead to uncertainty with what to do with this backfield. LeSean McCoy leads the team in carries with 40 but that is a pace of just 128 on the season. He is tied with Darrel Williams for team lead in rushing touchdowns with two. Damiem Williams, who was drafted highly by plenty of owners, has struggled mightily averaging just 1.8 yards per carry. This is a backfield that you would do well to avoid as the individual volume nor performance are enough to warrant the risk you take by starting one of these players. Ultimately it will likely shake out into a LeSean McCoy / Damien Williams committee but owners are losing valuable weeks waiting.
Dion Lewis (RB – TEN)
Week 5 line: 2 carries, 11 yards | 4 targets, 2 receptions, 19 yards
If you are still holding Dion Lewis on your fantasy roster, now would be the time to drop him. For owners who employed the zero RB draft strategy, Lewis was a name that we grew to trust but those days are long past. In his last thirteen games, Lewis has managed to score 10+ fantasy points just twice, with the last coming in Week 14 of 2018. Lewis has all but disappeared from the Titans gameplan, even in games in which they trail. Look elsewhere for a bargain PPR running back.
(Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire)