What We Saw: Week 5
Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire
Each week throughout the NFL season, our staff at QB List will be watching and reviewing all the games from every week and offering up our takes on the fantasy-relevant things that happened. Here’s what we saw in Week 5.
Patriots vs. Colts
Two weeks ago, we were all scratching our heads here in New England, disheveled next to our large cups of Dunkin’, hoping the Patriots could figure out a way to right their ship, coming home to Foxboro 1-2 against the 3-0 Dolphins. And after Thursday night’s game against the Colts, the Patriots pull off another feat of the usual and go into Week 6 at 3-2. Let’s dive into what we saw on Thursday night, and how it impacts our fantasy rituals.
Brady continues rolling, albeit with new toys at his disposal
Just a couple years ago, an Andrew Luck versus Tom Brady matchup would be must-see TV. While I personally was intrigued, it would be a stretch to say this battle for most standard NFL fans was a bit less interesting of a watch, Luck coming back from a 2-year past shoulder injury, and Brady continuing to juke Father Time on a weekly basis. Brady succeeded in finding his way in this matchup, and that was much appreciated for many, as Brady came still with a top seven-round draft pick for most of us in fantasy. Brady finished his night 34/44, just over 340 yards, with 3 touchdowns to 2 picks. He made use of James White, per usual, he greeted Julian Edelman back to the fold, and made a new friend in the end zone, pairing up with Josh Gordon on a beautiful touchdown pass between two defenders. Brady is back, and after week 6, continue to roll him out as he will be a top 5 QB for further notice and for the remainder of the season.
Backfield takes shape, split backfield a comforting look
Sony Michel, before the season, was initially seen as a potential top 70 draft pick murmur, before drafts were even starting up. After seeing him come into the preseason as a murky play, then having a drained knee, and sitting out through week 2, many of us were a bit worried about what he could be. At the tail end of week 5, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel like a potential championship trophy could come to those of us who were able to get Michel from the ninth round on. Patience behind his line, reading his blocks, burst when need be, Michel has started to show it all. While not the fastest back, he seems elusive and has clearly gained the trust of Bill Belichick. Running 18 for 98, and just short of a century mark day, if you watched this game, you’d also know that Michel was also a combined three-yard rush from two additional touchdowns, as he was stopped short on one run in the first quarter, and also looked to have potentially reached over the line on a second potential touchdown, only to have it not challenged, and the ball was then run in by Tom Brady. Michel salvaged fantasy fans and those with him on their team by breaking off a beautiful 34-yard touchdown run. The only other back to touch the ball was swiss army player, James White, going two for zero yards. Michel is looking like potential top ten talent at a position that’s in some form of turmoil this year. If you have him on your teams, feel damn good about it, he can roll out as a second back for ya.
We got the White stuff, baby
James White has grown into Tom Brady’s favorite weapon on the field. No words minced, this fellow is one of the sneakiest value players in fantasy, especially if you play in point per reception leagues. Running back by name alone, James White spearheaded the receiving game on Thursday night, showcasing this again, garnering ten receptions off fourteen targets for 77 yards. The ball was spread around often, and Brady also managed to find his old flame Julian Edelman, seven times for 57 yards. Josh Gordon made a beautiful touchdown pass after a quick hand wave notifying Brady he was open running across the field, as he went up for a pass and essentially held back two defenders for a touchdown (ending his day 2 receptions for 50 yards). The final 8 targets were spread between Rob Gronkowski, Phillip Dorsett, and Chris Hogan. Besides White, Edelman, and some deep calls to Gordon, the final names of Gronkowski, Dorsett, and Hogan will be matchup dependent or toss-ups at best, as White and Edelman will soak in all the targets, and Gordon will attempt to take the top off the defense.
A disappointing showing in New England was saved by a handful of plays in garbage time. Andrew Luck’s numbers are unpredictable and this offense is limping in and out of every game. Eric Ebron was the beneficiary of limited talent around him on Thursday night, something that is becoming uncomfortable common for Indianapolis. The 1-4 start is about as bad as things could have gone through five weeks, but underwhelming starts elsewhere in the division means this team is still in win-now mode.
Eric Ebron and Andrew Luck are a connection made for each other.
Luck has always found a favorite target in the red zone. Whether it was Coby Fleener, Dwayne Allen, Donte Moncrief, or Jack Doyle, the face of the franchise knows who to target. Ebron is that man this season. He is third in the league in red zone targets this season. While his catch percentage is underwhelming, his touchdown percentage on receptions is phenomenal. Five catches inside the twenty have translated to four scores. He delivered his best performance of the season against New England, hauling in season highs in receptions (9), yards (105), targets (15), and touchdowns (2). Luck threw an additional twenty passes to leading receivers Chester Rogers and Ryan Grant who filled in for the ailing T.Y. Hilton.
This offense has been forced to play from behind much too often this year, and the defense is likely to regress from its production over the first quarter (shown against the Patriots). Luck remains a high ceiling option with a dangerously low floor. Ebron is the hot hand and teams without a top tight end will want to ride his production until it slows. For all other offensive weapons, watch the waiver wire.
Obligated to talk about the forgettable backfield.
ROBERT TURBIN IS BACK. He played eleven snaps with zero relevance. Nyheim Hines ran a career high 15 times for 45 yards (he also tallied 45 yards on seven receptions). The scat back struggled on the ground while fellow rookie Jordan Wilkins proves he is as inconsistent as they come back. At times, his natural running ability makes him look like a steal of the draft. At other times it’s understandable why he fell so far. He rushed six times for 39 yards with a lost fumble while playing just 22% of snaps. Hines is the back to own while Marlon Mack recovers from his hamstring and finds his role in this frustrating offense.
Adam Vinatieri is a blessing.
The living legend missed his second kick of the season, but he also converted from 54 yards. Indianapolis continues to press the luck of their aging kicker from deep, and the misses are going to show up. However, the power is still there despite a groin injury that was listed on the injury report going into the game. Perfect on extra points this year, he’s a high upside kicker to have with this team.