The NFL season absolutely flies by. Just thinking about it, it’s absolutely incredible we’re looking at over a month of football taking place, with NFL flights heading overseas to showcase the league in England. What we ended up seeing was a matchup between an underachieving Falcons squad and a Jets team looking to salvage any hope of not being relegated out of the league. Let’s dive into Week 5 and see what excited us!
The NFL’s Yearly Foray Into The UK Turns Out Well!
The NFL is back overseas, and it brought two 1-3 squads with them. Early in the preseason, the Atlanta Falcons looked like they had a potential breakout on their hands, instead, they had squandered any hopes of that with Matt Ryan looking borderline pedestrian (going into week 5, Ryan had averaged 247.5 yards of passing per week). Thankfully, this week may have been the coming-out party that Ryan needed to show he is truly one of the more underrated passers in the league. With Ryan performing his best yet this season and finishing his day with a 33 for 45 for 342 lines, he also got Kyle Pitts into the mix. Widely regarded as potentially the best offensive talent coming out of the college class, Pitts’ early-season lines were not much to be talked about:
Week 1: 8 targets, 4 receptions, 32 yards
Week 2: 6 targets, 5 receptions, 73 yards
Week 3: 3 targets, 2 receptions, 35 yards
Week 4: 9 targets, 4 receptions, 50 yards
However, all of that was forgotten, as he was in fine form against the Jets in this matchup, propelling himself in one game into the top tier of all tight ends in the league. He was only one target higher than his highest previous target share, however, he made the most of it, unloading with 9 catches on 10 targets. A touchdown pass added to the equation also helped! The Jets kept the game closer than expected heading into the half and put up 17 of their very own points after being down going into the tunnel 20-3. The game started as an absolute joke and ended up turning into a solid watch, and seeing Pitts becoming what everyone anticipated he would be was nice.
Watch his dominance below!
KYLE PITTS BREAKOUT PARTY pic.twitter.com/AY0V6rsMhG
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) October 10, 2021
Without Barkley, Do The G-Men Have A Puncher’s Chance?
The Giants and Coach Judge have a lot to be worried about. Three years removed from Odell Beckham being unceremoniously sent to the Cleveland Browns, they’re now looking at a third major injury surrounding their all-world running back Saquon Barkley, and the team is looking less and less viable in a division with two potentially elite starting quarterbacks (Jalen Hurts and Dak Prescott), and an XFL castoff turned success story in Taylor Heinicke making the absolute best of Ryan Fitzpatrick getting hurt right out of the gate.
There may not be much time here left for Judge to right the ship before his office seat is burning, but one of the few lone bright spots left the game after clocking a safety in the Cowboys matchup on Sunday. Kadarius Toney, the first-round draft pick out of Florida was putting up an absolute showcase while the Cowboys were putting a rout on them Sunday before he ended up leaving the game after a punch landed on a Cowboy’s safety, exiting the game just ten yards shy of a 200-yard receiving plateau.
Toney started the season nursing an injury and already leaving many wondering if the late-first round pick made the most sense, but just watch the route running moves Toney makes. This guy could be an absolute force, as long as the Giants can find some way to bring in the complex nature of his personality and his temper. Just his last two games showcase just how good he could be:
Week 4: 9 targets, 6 receptions, 78 yards
Week 5: 13 targets, 10 receptions, 189 yards
See route run below, and be in awe.
Kadarius Toney has rare instincts with the ball on his hands.
So few players know this move is where the space is going to be.
Get this guy the ball. Lots pic.twitter.com/yxLyBEXW6S
— Sam Monson (@PFF_Sam) October 10, 2021
Can The Injury Bug Stop Biting?
It’s been an immensely disappointing season full of high-end players completely falling out due to injury. We’ve lost Christian McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook, Ryan Fitzpatrick, J.K Dobbins, AND Gus Edwards within days/weeks of each other. We have added a week of the regular season, and even with that in mind, the hits will NOT stop coming. At the time of writing this late Tuesday, the NY Giants may have to go into a matchup against the Rams sans SEVEN offensive starters. And Saquon Barkley was added to the list of elite offensive players who ended up leaving games either limping or not under their own weight, after getting his ankle ballooned by a lineman. For the squeamish at heart, do NOT look below. If you want to see just the pain thresholds these players may bear, this Bud’s for you.
Saquon’s ankle after rolling it…
Hoping for a speedy recovery 🙏 pic.twitter.com/MFOJCrWsPw
— PFF (@PFF) October 10, 2021
The amount of NFL teams forced into adjusting their game plans and personnel each week has been downright incredible. The Chiefs lost Clyde Edwards-Helaire. The Buccaneers have had to change up their gameplans due to Rob Gronkowski having rib injuries and a punctured lung. News post-Sunday’s games reported that the Steelers will be without JuJu Smith-Schuster for the remaining part of the year. I’m not sure whose rubbing voodoo dolls somewhere off-site, but please make it stop.
A Monday Night Miracle Leads To Some Of The Best Football/Won Fantasy Matchups
On Monday night, the once considered AFC championship-contending Baltimore Ravens looked to be backed up against the wall against the Indianapolis Colts. With just minutes left going into the end of the third quarter, the Ravens were down 22-3 against a Colts squad led by Carson Wentz that has seen better days but were making Baltimore look borderline pedestrian. That all changed in a hurry. Lamar Jackson put the NFL on notice, and his name on the current AFC MVP shortlist, in a fourth-quarter that was one for the ages. He found the elite level that everyone has been looking for and put the Ravens on his back. Jackson finished the game with 442 passing yards, reuniting with former flame Mark Andrews to an absurd level, in a fantasy line that likely won the week for many downtrodden fans who went to bed early. Lamar was in a video game mode state of play usually reserved for players the likes of Patrick Mahomes, Christian McCaffrey, and no one else, and I for one am here for it. Lamar’s stat line was absolutely BONKERS
Lamar Jackson’s Week 5: 37/43, 4 Touchdowns, 0 Interceptions | 14 rushes, 62 yards
To top it off, our former high-end Mark Andrews had his belated birthday party as well, firing it up in rare form for the final quarter as well.
Mark Andrew’s Week 5: 13 targets, 11 receptions, 147 yards, 2 Touchdowns
If you were waiting for the Ravens to showcase their fantasy-friendly formatted offense, welcome. Glad to see you here.
HOW ARE WE FEELING MARK ANDREWS MANAGERS pic.twitter.com/THZxrdVaM6
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) October 12, 2021
Early Season MVP Races Are Starting To Take Shape
This season has been as odd and exciting as the last two years of pro sports seem to be for us, as we have injuries, excelling NFL players, and age-defying performances in Tampa Bay leading the charge. We’ve barely just eclipsed week five of the season, and it seems as if many are going to be hoping to find themselves somewhere near Derrick Henry’s rearview at some point for the MVP trophy. As many teams are either in the midst of filling their practice squad with former NFL talent or hoping lightning will strike with such names as LeVeon Bell, the Tennessee Titans have had the greatest luxury in former demolition derby car turned running back. Henry has established himself as a premium talent that is unbreakable on the field. Do you want to take out his ACL? I wouldn’t be surprised if you told me that he sewed it back together using fire he hand created to tie up loose sinews. That’s how silly his stat lines have looked.
The only other numbers that likely would be in contention are some of the most awe-inspiring quarterback play you’ve likely seen in a while, as you’re seeing quarterbacks like Josh Allen and Tom Brady forcing up stat lines that look built to be discussed as MVP fodder. Through five weeks, here are some notable lines for current contending quarterbacks:
Patrick Mahomes: 135/195, 1490 Yards, 16 Touchdowns, 6 interceptions | 23 rushes, 153 yards
Josh Allen: 114/183, 1370 Yards, 12 Touchdowns, 2 interceptions | 35 rushes, 188 yards
Lamar Jackson: 112/167, 1519 Yards, 8 Touchdowns, 3 interceptions | 56 rushes, 341 yards
Tom Brady: 149/225, 1767 Yards, 15 Touchdowns, 2 interceptions |9 rushes, 36 yards
This will be an exciting MVP race down to the wire, and likely the highest scorers will be the ones hucking the passes!
Feature Graphic Designed by James Peterson (Follow @jhp_design714 on Instagram & Twitter)