What We Saw: Week 5

The QB List staff catches you up on everything you missed during Week 5 of the 2020 NFL season.

Eagles @ Steelers

 

The Steelers came into this game as 7.5 point favorites, and early in the game it looked like they were going to run away with this one. The Steelers failed to score on just three drives, two ending in a punt and one ending with an Eric Ebron fumble, as rookie Chase Claypool broke out in a big way with four touchdowns. The Eagles have a strong pass rush, but the Steelers were able to take advantage of a weak linebacking group by constantly using motion and misdirection to confuse defenders. Claypool and Ray-Ray McCloud were able to break off big plays, and the Steelers were able to avoid letting the struggles of their offensive line really hold them back. The Eagles also had offensive line struggles, and they too turned to a young receiver to carry their offense. Travis Fulgham, who was on the practice squad just two weeks ago, emerged in a big way with 152 yards. He had a stretch where he caught four straight passes, and without him the Eagles offense would have had essentially nothing aside from a long Miles Sanders touchdown. Ultimately, the difference proved to be a bad interception from Carson Wentz that set up the Steelers with a short field and a curious decision by Doug Pederson to attempt a long field goal late in the game instead of going for a 4th-and-5 to extend the drive. The Steelers ultimately forced another Wentz interception on 4th-and-20 to ice the game, winning 38-29.

 

Philadelphia Eagles

 

Quarterback

 

Carson Wentz: 20/35, 258 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs, 4 sacks | 4 carries, 11 yards

Jalen Hurts: 1/1, 18 yards

 

Carson Wentz looked a little better today, especially given the defense he was facing. He still held the ball too long at times while trying to find someone open downfield, and his first interception was a terrible throw straight to a defensive back that, for Wentz’s sake, I hope was a result of a miscommunication with his receiver (his second interception was essentially an arm-punt late in the game on 4th and 20). Aside from that, Wentz was solid and did well to work with what he had on offense. His accuracy looked improved over the past few weeks and he was more willing to trust his receivers, which is good because most of his receivers were struggling to create much separation. He showed good touch on a touchdown throw to Greg Ward, and the connection Wentz displayed with Travis Fulgham was impressive for both players. If Fulgham, or anyone else really, can emerge as a reliable weapon in the passing game that would go a long way towards making Wentz a viable fantasy starter. As it is, he’s a decent streaming option in good matchups but not someone to start with confidence.

 

 

Running Backs

 

Miles Sanders: 11 carries, 80 yards, 2 TDs | 4 targets, 2 receptions, 19 yards

Boston Scott: 1 carry, 3 yards 

 

Miles Sanders has an impressive stat line, until you see that he had a 74-yard touchdown run.

 

 

Aside from making one defender miss and then outrunning the rest of the defense all the way to the endzone, Sanders was kept in check, though he did add a 1-yard touchdown later in the game. It’s tough to blame Sanders, or really evaluate how he looked, because his offensive line looked completely outmatched and the Eagles quickly gave up on running the ball. Most of his carries saw him getting hit in the backfield and he wasn’t able to get involved in the passing game aside from catching a screen pass for a decent gain. The positive here is that Sanders had a good fantasy score despite being unable to find room to run on the majority of his carries, and he did well to not try to dance in the backfield to make things worse for himself. He also appears to have the backfield entirely to himself, as Boston Scott barely saw the field. The negative is that his offensive line looked really bad, and may have just lost Lane Johnson to injury.  I wouldn’t necessarily be looking to trade Sanders, but if you think you can sell high on him after a two-touchdown game I do think there is at least some reason to be concerned going forward.

 

 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

 

Greg Ward: 5 targets, 4 receptions, 26 yards, 1 TD

Travis Fulgham: 13 targets, 10 receptions, 152 yards, 1 TD

Zach Ertz: 6 targets, 1 reception, 6 yards

J.J. Arcega-Whiteside: 1 target, 1 reception, 37 yards

John Hightower: 6 targets, 2 receptions, 18 yards

 

With DeSean JacksonAlshon Jeffery, and Jalen Reagor all still out with injury, the Eagles continued to start a collection of young receivers. Fortunately, Travis Fulgham, a week after catching the game-winning touchdown in his debut as an Eagle, looked like he’d been playing with Wentz for years. Fulgham was able to find the soft spots in zones, showed good route running against man, and then was able to make some contested catches once the Steelers started paying more attention to him. It was a very complete game, capped off by a short touchdown where he found some open space between two Steelers defenders.

 

 

Wentz was looking to Fulgham more and more as the game went on, converting several long third downs together. Wentz also went to Fulgham on a pivotal third down late in the game but the defensive back was able to get a hand in to break up the play. The trust Wentz was showing in Fulgham coupled with his ability to make some pretty difficult catches make it seem like this should be more than a one-week wonder. It also helps that no one else was able to do much today, and even when everyone gets healthy this isn’t an inspiring group of receivers. Greg Ward caught a touchdown, but otherwise, this was entirely the Travis Fulgham show. Zach Ertz was the target on Wentz’s first interception, and depending on your perspective it looked like he may have run a bad route.

 

 

Ertz looks like he’s clearly lost a step, and there are rumors around Philadelphia that he may be on the trading block. If you have Ertz you probably took him high enough that you need to start him, but aside from putting in a waiver claim for Fulgham, this is a passing offense to avoid.  

 

Pittsburgh Steelers

 

Quarterback

 

Ben Roethlisberger: 27/34, 239 yards, 3 TDs, 1 sack | 2 carries, -2 yards

 

Ben Roethlisberger didn’t have to do much today but he looked comfortable. The Steelers used a lot of misdirection and quick throws today, probably because their offensive line was struggling with the Eagles pass rush, and Roethlisberger mostly just executed that gameplan.

 

 

His elbow looks fine, and while he wasn’t really called on to throw a deep ball today his few shots down the field looked fine. Roethlisberger offers nothing as a rusher but this is a good passing offense and it has no shortage of playmakers. He’s fine as a back-end QB1, but his weekly ceiling might leave something to be desired. 

 

Running Backs

 

James Conner: 15 carries, 44 yards, 1 TD| 3 targets, 3 receptions, 19 yards

Benny Snell: 7 carries, 19 yards

Anthony McFarland: 3 carries, 6 yards

 

The Steelers got more rushing production out of their receivers so it was a quiet day for the running backs. James Conner saw most of the work and was the only one of the three backs to look good with his carries. He mostly just took what was available, and there wasn’t much available today. Benny Snell came in for some red-zone work, but he wasn’t able to do anything with it. Anthony McFarland was sprinkled in for some short-yardage work, but he also was ineffective. Snell still appears to have the inside track to being Conner’s handcuff, which makes him worth rostering for now.

 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

 

Diontae Johnson: 1 target, 1 reception, -2 yards

Juju Smith-Schuster: 5 targets, 4 receptions, 28 yards

James Washington: 4 targets, 3 receptions, 25 yards

Chase Claypool:11 targets, 7 receptions, 110 yards, 3 TDs | 3 carries, 6 yards, 1 TD

Eric Ebron: 6 targets, 5 receptions, 43 yards, 1 fumble

Ray-Ray McCloud: 3 targets, 3 receptions, 12 yards | 2 carries, 63 yards

 

Diontae Johnson caught his first target, went backwards to try and pick up some extra yards, took a hard hit, and left the game with an injury. He was initially ruled questionable to return and returned to the sideline with his helmet on, but never did return and was later officially ruled out. The Steelers didn’t miss him though, as Chase Claypool picked today to announce his arrival to the NFL. Claypool scored on an end-around, a screen pass, a crossing route where he simply outran the defense, and a go route where the Eagles opted to put a linebacker in single coverage on him.

 

 

He could have had a fifth touchdown, but the play was called back on offensive pass interference after he appeared to shove the defensive back down. The Steelers were making a point to use end around and short passes, so I’m not sure that Claypool’s role in the offense is going to be consistent week to week and especially if Johnson is healthy going forward, but he was great with the ball in his hands and Roethlisberger wasn’t afraid to target him even when the Eagles had their top corner on him. He also made a really nice catch down the sideline, but it was called out because he somehow got his right foot down in bounds twice without ever putting his left foot down. He looks like another in the long line of successful draft picks at wide receiver for the Steelers. Juju Smith-Schuster and James Washington were mostly spectators to the Claypool show, although Washington did draw two key defensive pass interference calls to set up two of the Steelers touchdowns. 

 

— Dan Adams (@dadams0323 on Twitter)

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