What I Saw: Thoughts On Week 5
Welcome back sports friends. As our inaugural season gets going, we’re trying a few format changes for some of our articles, including this one. Going forward, we’re hoping to strip out the extraneous fluff and leave the tasty morsels from each week. The following are the things that most stood out to me from week five in the NFL.
The Giants Are Cursed
Eli Manning has been having a feud with his neighbor – an old gypsy woman – for several weeks. It all started when Manning let his Chihuahua ‘princess’ relieve herself on the woman’s lawn. The next day, there were little wicker dolls hanging from his maple tree. Manning responded by dumping his grass clippings over the fence separating their yards. A week later, his oldest daughter grew a tail. Manning went all out, executing the old flaming poop in a bag This weekend, every single New York Giant Receiver was seriously injured. Thanks for that, Eli.
Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall, and Dwayne Harris are all now on IR with season-ending ailments. Sterling Shepard survived—he’s only expected to be out for several weeks. This makes him a prime pickup since he’s a decently talented player who will command weekly volume, which is what we like to see in fantasy receivers. If owners can afford to stash Shepard through his week 8 bye, they should be handsomely rewarded. By the same token, rookie tight end Evan Engram should see an increase in targets, which would make him a solid TE1 option. However, it is more than a little concerning that Engram did not see a single target in a game where his only competition for targets was Orleans Darkwa and Wayne Gallman. Still, he played 83% of the snaps. Don’t get cute, pick him up and give him two weeks to sink or swim.
DeMarco Can’t Suck Forever
DeMarco Murray out-touched his nemesis Derrick Henry 18-4, and played 83% of the teams’ snaps. That’s good for his prospects, or at least it should be. Owners are still waiting patiently for production from Murray, who should be a fantasy stud on paper. If this carry split continues in week six, expect Murray to increase his fantasy value once quarterback Marcus Mariota returns.
Positive Touchdown Regression Likely For Kupp
Cooper Kupp is like a human sword of Damocles, it’s only a matter of time before he starts slaying. Cooper has a red-zone target in every game this year and has three targets within the 10-yard line. He missed the game-winning touchdown catch this week, but the usage bodes really well for his prospects going forward.
Need a Cheap Lottery Ticket? Look to Cleveland.
It appears the great Deshone Kizer experiment is over (for the moment, at least). With Kevin Hogan getting the start in week seven against Houston, there is a chance for value in Cleveland. Savvy owners should be looking long and hard at Ricardo Louis, whose usage over the past few weeks is attractive.
Indianapolis: Enter Player Two
Marlon Mack exploded this week in a unique fashion this week, literally prancing his way to two touchdowns. Frank Gore the minotaur is slowing down noticeably, and Mack’s arrow is pointing straight up.
Miller Looking Attractive in Chicago
Mitchell Trubisky had a pretty rocky start in Chicago. Still, Zach Miller saw a dramatic increase in target share, which registers on the fantasy Richter scale. In a fantasy world where healthy tight ends are at a premium, Miller is a great target going forward.
2016 Owners Warn of Steep Decline For Diggs.
Stefon Diggs was very much like a house cat this week. He’s standing by the door, ok, better let him out. Huh, now he wants back in again, but I just let him—wait, out again? OK, STOP SCRATCHING AT THE DOOR.
Diggs’ groin injury should be extremely concerning for his owners going forward, as his splits when on the injury report (4 catches for 37 yards and .14 TD per game) and off the report (9.3 catches, 107 yards and .33 TDs per game) are quite severe. If you’re a Diggs owner, you may want to consider trading him while his value is extremely high.
Lots of ‘Fun’ in Carolina
Over the past four weeks, Devin Funchess is averaging 26% of the Panther’s target share. This is a very good thing. Even better, he’s out-targeting Kelvin Benjamin 17/10 over the past two games. I still have my doubts about the Panthers’ (and particularly Cam Newton’s) ability to maintain the high level they’ve shown for the past two weeks, but regardless, Funchess is looking like the clear #1 WR in Carolina.
Desean Watson, Floats Like a Butterfly, Stings Like A…
After emerging from a chrysalis in week three, Deshaun Watson has turned into quite the little butterfly. Well, I mean, like a manly butterfly. You know, like, uh, one with lots of red in its wings and black and— wait – scratch that… Watson is like a tarantula hawk, the Texan wasp which paralyzes large spiders then lays its egg inside the living arachnid. Over the next several weeks, the larva emerges and devours its host alive. Its sting is considered to be among the most painful known to man. Watson’s like that. This week, he scored a gawdy 5 touchdowns on a mere 16 completions. The kid is for real and is a very good bet to finish within the top-three overall at his position by year’s end.
Fantasy Shocker: Packers Backfield a Minefield
In his one-and-a-half games played this season, Green Bay Packer Aaron Jones now has more rushing yards than Ty Montgomery. I imagine there were more than a few Montgomery owners who were watching the game Sunday in open-mouthed horror, as it’s clear Jones has earned at least an even timeshare going forward. Still, there is (some) room for optimism, as Jones has yet to play against a decent run defense (per Pro Football Focus, Jones gained 3.8 yards before first contact this week, whereas Montgomery averaged 1.1). Going forward, I like Jones better, since he’s the one who’s not injured. Still, figuring out what Packers’ coach Mike McCarthy is going to do is like playing with a Russian magic eight ball. Who will get the most carries going forward?
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Los Angeles: The Wait Is Nearly Over
Something exciting is happening in Los Angeles, where Hunter Henry had a season-high snap rate (75.6%), and targets (8). He also scored. I’ve been cautious up to this point regarding Henry, but all signs point to a changing of the guard, as Antonio Gates is looking less and less effective.
You Get What You Pay For…
In the first five games of the season, Amari Cooper has 11 catches on 31(!) targets for a mere 104 yards and 0 scores. The entire fantasy community is wringing its collective hands, trying to figure out what has happened to him.Here’s my theory: Cooper died in week two of the preseason, and the Raiders have reanimated his corpse with the help of a local necromancer whose contact info the found on a bus stop advertisement. Unfortunately, this was a budget necromancer, and you get what you pay for when dabbling in the dark arts. In any case, Cooper’s value couldn’t possibly be any lower at this point. There is still major upside to be had here, should Cooper get right at some point this season.
Here’s my theory: Cooper died in week two of the preseason, and the Raiders have reanimated his corpse with the help of a local necromancer whose contact info the found on a bus stop advertisement. Unfortunately, this was a budget necromancer, and you get what you pay for when dabbling in the dark arts. In any case, Cooper’s value couldn’t possibly be any lower at this point. There is still major upside to be had here, should Cooper get right at some point this season.
The Minnesota Vikings did a little duck-duck-goose celebration after their first touchdown this week. They don’t call it ‘Duck-Duck Goose’ in Minnesota though, apparently, it’s ‘Gray Duck.’ This is the most Minnesotish thing I’ve ever seen.