Editor’s Note: As of this writing, there is concern about another cancellation due to the COVID-19 outbreak in Tennessee. The team has had zero positive tests over two days, which is an encouraging sign, but more positive tests later in the week could cause issues. If things change in either direction during the week, we’ll update this article.
Kickoff: Sunday, October 11th at 1:00 PM ET
Location: LP Field, Nashville, TN
Betting Odds: BUF -8.5, ??? total via Oddsshark
Josh Allen (Start, QB1)
Through four games, it appears as if Josh Allen has turned the corner as a dual-threat QB. Allen is in the midst of an incredible jump from his first two seasons as he is completing more than 70% of his passes (he was under 60% the last two years) and is on pace for more than 5,000 yards and 40 TDs. Despite the uptick in passing, Allen hasn’t run much less either as he averaged just more than seven carries per game in 2018 and 2019 and is at six times per game this season. Allen also still has a nose for the end zone with three rushing TDs as well. Tennessee is in the bottom 10 of the NFL in yards allowed per game in both passing and rushing which sets up nicely for Allen as he trails only Dak Prescott in passing yards this season. Fantasy managers can comfortably start Allen as their QB1 for Week 5.
Devin Singletary (Start, RB2), Zack Moss (Sit)
Devin Singletary saw a nice bump in snaps the last two weeks in the absence of Zack Moss, but Moss is expected to return this week, dampening some of Singletary’s upside. Buffalo sits near the bottom of the NFL in rushing, averaging just 98 yards per game and that work is among both RBs and Allen. As a result, it’s hard to trust Singletary as anything more than a low-end RB2 if Moss indeed returns. If Moss is declared out for a third straight game, Singletary sees a bump to high-end RB2. Either way, fantasy managers should feel secure in starting Singletary this week.
Moss is the second half of the committee Buffalo utilizes in its backfield as Singletary gets around 60% of the snaps as Moss handles 40%. Due to the limited usage and reliance on scoring a TD, Moss is hard to trust in anything but the largest of leagues. Fantasy managers should leave Moss on their benches this week.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Stefon Diggs (Start WR2), John Brown (Sit), Cole Beasley (Sit), Dawson Knox (Sit)
Maybe all it took was the addition of Stefon Diggs to transform Allen into a reliable QB1. Diggs has been an integral part of the gameplan each week, leading the team in targets (35) and receiving yards (403) and tied for the team lead in TD receptions (2). Diggs rarely comes off the field as he’s been involved in 91.1% of Buffalo’s offensive snaps this season. Despite all that, Diggs is still more of a downfield threat so his receptions can be a bit hit or miss. As a result, Diggs is a fine WR2 with upside for fantasy managers heading into Week 5.
John Brown sees the field almost as often as Diggs as he has been in on 80.4% of snaps. Brown is even more of a downfield threat than Diggs as Brown’s average depth of target (ADOT) is 12.7 yards in comparison to 11.0 for Diggs. Similarly, Brown does not get gaudy receptions on a per-game basis making him too big-play dependent to be reliable for fantasy managers. Brown is off the radar for me this week but might provide extremely deep Flex value for managers in the largest of leagues.
If Diggs and Brown are the downfield threats, that means Cole Beasley is the possession receiver who does the dirty work in the middle of the field. Beasley is second on the team in all statistical receiving categories but his ADOT of just 8.3 yards means big games are few and far between. Beasley is not a good option for fantasy managers in most leagues but, like Brown, can be a desperation Flex in very large leagues.
Dawson Knox has the athletic profile to be a very dangerous TE but he sees so few opportunities each game he’s simply depth for most fantasy managers. If Know were to see a bump in targets, up from the three per game he’s getting now, he may work into low-end TE2 territory but for now, he’s best left on benches for Week 5.
Ryan Tannehill (Start, QB2)
After an unexpected BYE in Week 4 due to a COVID-19 outbreak, Ryan Tannehill and the Titans will return to the field in Week 5 to face a Buffalo defense that resides in the bottom-five in pass defense. Tannehill has played well this season despite being without one of his top targets in A.J. Brown. It will be curious to see how the extended time off affects the team and how players affected by the outbreak will respond, assuming they’re allowed to play at all. Tannehill will likely be asked to shoulder the majority of the offensive output given Buffalo’s stout run defense and an explosive offense, but Tennessee is still a run-first team and that limits the upside of Tannehill. Fantasy managers should view Tannehill as no more than a low-end QB2 this week.
Derrick Henry (Start, RB1), Darrynton Evans (Sit)
Fantasy managers who drafted Derrick Henry in the first round before the start of the season finally saw 2019’s rushing leader respond with an RB1 game against Minnesota with 119 rushing yards and two TDs. Henry even caught a couple of passes in the victory. Week 5 presents a different challenge for Henry, however, as Buffalo sports a top-ten defense against the run allowing just 101 yards per game. If Tannehill can keep the defense honest and Henry sees his typical 25+ carries, he should still return RB1 numbers on volume alone. Fantasy managers can trust Henry as an RB1 in Week 5.
Darrynton Evans finally got on the field in Week 3, even if it was just eight snaps. Evans was drafted to spell Henry and provide a more reliable option in the passing game, but his opportunities will be few barring an injury to Henry. Evans is a nice handcuff for fantasy managers who roster Henry, but he is not a startable option for Week 5.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
A.J. Brown (Start, WR2), Corey Davis (OUT), Adam Humphries (OUT?), Khalif Raymond (Sit), Jonnu Smith (Start, TE1)
There were rumors before the cancellation of Tennessee’s Week 4 game against Pittsburgh that A.J. Brown was trending towards playing. The team has been unable to utilize its facilities since the outbreak, so there have been no further reports on the progress Brown is making in recovering from his knee injury. I suspect Brown plays and fantasy managers should be able to reinsert him into their lineups as a result. Temper expectations, however, as there is no way of knowing if the team will limit his snaps or if he will take some time to get back to full speed. Fantasy managers can trust Brown as a solid WR2 with upside for Week 5.
Corey Davis has been placed on the COVID-IR list. It also looks like Adam Humphries will miss the team’s Week 5 game due to COVID-19 as well.
Kalif Raymond seems likely to start in place of Humphries if he is indeed unable to play, but Raymond doesn’t move the needle much for fantasy managers. Raymond is a speed WR and is prone to big plays, as evidenced by his 61-yard and 44-yard catches against Minnesota in Week 3, but he is a low-volume guy on a low-volume passing offense. Raymond is a dart throw at best for fantasy managers and is a recommended sit in Week 5.
The player who has been Tennessee’s top target this season is Jonnu Smith. Smith is tied with Humphries for the team led in targets with 20 and is second in both receptions (13) and yards (131) and is the only Titan with multiple TD grabs (3). Smith has an incredible athletic profile and is a valuable weapon for Tannehill as the team nears the red zone. Smith is a solid option for fantasy managers as their TE1 in Week 5.
Snap counts courtesy of Fantasy Data.
-Bryan Sweet (@FantasyFreakTN on Twitter)