Familia, we’ve got some work to do. Lots of players whom we expected to play, are taking a seat. You may still be feeling the pain of the Javonte Williams torn ACL. OK, estamos aqui. We’re here for you to get you through Week 5 with a big W.
Going to break down the early games for Sunday. We’ve got an early wakeup call with the Packers-Giants, and luckily there doesn’t appear to be an Alvin Kamara-type situation that might call for last-minute edits to your lineups. There are plenty of injury situations elsewhere, so I tried to include as much info as I have with pivots where necessary. Let’s get to it. Vamonos!
NYG (3-1) @ GB (3-1) / LONDON
GB -8 / 41
Is there anyone other than Saquon Barkley on the Giants who’s worth getting up early to watch? The answer, NO! Barkley was on the field for 61 of 65 snaps last week, and is as much as there is the definition of a workhorse. He’s the RB1 averaging 21.5 FPG and the Packers are #28 in rushing yards allowed to RBs with 118.2 per game. The rest of the team are completely AFUERA. Daniel Jones is nursing a sprained ankle that forced him from the game last week. I wouldn’t even start him in super flex. The WRs are a MASH unit, so many are already ruled out. Hard to even recommend TE Daniel Bellinger, his targets have been so inconsequential.
I recommended Aaron Rodgers to Jerry Hairston Jr., who then told me he wished Rodgers would throw 7 TDs and lose the game. Fans of Da Bears are a diehard lot. Rodgers made noise that he wants to cut it loose some more, though that could just be fodder for the media. Still, this is a good spot for him, as the Giants have gotten burned by Darnell Mooney (94) and CeeDee Lamb (87) with good yardage in the air. Target leaders over the past couple weeks Romeo Doubs (16) and Allen Lazard (14) figure to get most of the attention from Rodgers. Also on the ADENTRO train is the RB tandem of Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon, as both have been getting consistent carries in the double digits. The Giants run defense has allowed 100-yard games to Christian McCaffrey and Tony Pollard, so that gives you more confidence to start the pair of RBs. Robert Tonyan keeps running 3rd in routes behind the two target leaders, and could be worth a dart throw. The Giants haven’t faced any TE of significance this year.
PIT (1-3) @ BUF (3-1)
BUF -14 / 45.5
Let the Kenny Pickett era start. And what a welcome to the NFL moment, starting in Buffalo’s raucous atmosphere and against a defense that has yet to allow more than 240 passing yards. I like the rookie overall, but I don’t like the start to his career with this gauntlet: @Buffalo, Tampa Bay, @MIA and @PHI. That bye in Week 9 will feel like an oasis. A good running game would help, but Najee Harris is going up against a defense that’s allowing just 57.5 rushing YPG. Hard to recommend him with much gusto. And while the 8 targets were hopefully a good sign of things to come from George Pickens, the matchup against a defense that has yet to allow much success in the passing game leads me to downgrade Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool and the rookie.
The injuries are building among the receiver room. Jamison Crowder is already out, while Isaiah McKenzie is trending toward not playing because he’s still in the concussion protocol. Dawson Knox, AFUERA. That has me firing up Stefon Diggs (40 targets) with even more confidence, especially since Gabriel Davis hasn’t shown himself to be all the way back from the ankle injury that knocked him out Week 2. Khalil Shakir, who ran just 10 routes last week, may be in line for slot routes against a Pittsburgh D that is vulnerable. Devin Singletary has 18 and 15 touches in the past two weeks, which well outpaces his teammates in the RB room. He’s a sneaky play in DK ($6,100) against a defense that’s allowing 150 total yards/game to RBs.
LAC (2-2) @ CLE (2-2)
LAC -2.5 / 47
Justin Herbert looked closer to his healthy self last week than I thought he would, and now he gets a Cleveland defense that has yet to be tested by an elite QB, though Joe Flacco did light the Browns up for 307-4-0 in Week 2. The Browns get Myles Garrett back, but there’s no way to know how close he is to 100% after his scary car accident. And will Garrett’s presence spur the D-line to avoid another 202-yard rushing day like the Falcons imposed on the Browns last week? That was on the road, so in the Dawg Pound it should be a different story. Still, expect to see Austin Ekeler to build off his 109-total-yard, 3-TD (60 rushing yards) performance from last week. Amigo Graham Barfield found that since 2020, Mike Williams has scored 16.2 FPG when Keenan Allen is out of the lineup vs. 12.9 when Allen plays. Allen is out for his 4th straight game. Tyler Conklin (40 yards) and Pat Freirmuth (41 yards) were held down by the Browns, so this should be a quiet week for Gerald Everett.
Jacoby Brissett, you’re just not starting him any week. Nick Chubb (RB2 with 459 rushing yards) and Kareem Hunt (RB21 with 273 total yards) must have been salivating after seeing Dameon Pierce rip off a 75-yard TD run against these same Chargers last week. They’re easy starts. Amari Cooper lost some luster with a 9-yard performance, but he did put up consecutive 100-yard games just prior to the clunker. Against the Chargers, who are getting J.C. Jackson back, Cooper is still a good beat to be the target leader for the Browns (31). David Njoku is the only other Brown I’d recommend, and memories of him torching the Chargers for 7-149-1 are still clear. Not sure he’ll match last year, but I can see him getting close to 100 receiving yards.
CHI (2-2) @ MIN (3-1)
MIN -7.5 / 44
How much will Khalil Herbert be able to run? There was some chatter that David Montgomery may be back, but I still believe that Herbert will be the primary ball carrier. He has 39 carries in the past couple games with the backfield to himself. People will get excited about new life for Darnell Mooney after he posted 94 receiving yards last week, but even running 31 routes, he still saw just 5 targets. Not enough volume. Same for Cole Kmet (8 targets total on the season). Even with the Vikings getting lit up for some yardage against the Lions in Week 3, I can’t see Justin Fields dropping back enough to make any Bear players startable.
Kirk Cousins went for 250 yards and 3 TDs in Week 18 last year in Minnesota. I’m predicting a big game for Justin Jefferson. It’s at home on the turf, and the Bears have yet to be tested by the elite WRs. Last year, JJ went 5-7-107-1 against the Bears. Adam Thielen has seen 24 targets since getting only 4 in the opener, and will be very much involved as the WR2. Not sure I’m trusting K.J. Osborn or Irv Smith much. I LOVE Dalvin Cook this week, and not just because he ran for 18-79 last year. The Bears are #30 in rushing yards allowed to RBs at 127.2.
DET (1-3) @ NE (1-3)
NE -3 / 45.5
I really want to say the Lions keep going on their hot offensive run they’ve been on, but I just can’t. The memories of Super Bowl LIII are too vivid, with Jared Goff just flustered into a clunker by Bill Belichick’s defense. Add to it that D’Andre Swift and D.J. Chark are out, and Amon-Ra St. Brown has been hobbled by an injured ankle, it’s not looking good for the Lions and Goff. Plus, it’s on the road, though weather should not be an issue. Jamaal Williams is one Lion I’m recommending, as he got 19 of the 23 carries for Detroit and the Patriots did just give up 183 rushing yards to the Packers. If you started T.J. Hockenson last week, congrats. He’ll never have another week like that again, though Hock needs to watch the film of Mark Andrews carving up the Patriots for 89 receiving yards on 8 of 12 targets. With so many TEs injured, there’s no way you’re sitting Hock.
It’s looking like the Bailey Zappe era has begun for the Patriots, and going against a defense that’s allowed 1,160 passing yards (#29) is tempting to start in DK at $5,100. If any WR is going to be the main target, I’m calling Devante Parker. He’s a big body, who does his work in the intermediate and contested catches. Not expecting the Patriots to do much deep passing with the Lion pass rush putting some pressure with Aidan Hutchinson, so Nelson Agholor may not be as much of a factor. With Jonnu Smith out, Hunter Henry should get more than 4 targets, as the short-to-intermediate shots will be there for Zappe. The RBs, you’re starting both Rhamondre Stevenson and Damien Harris. Stevenson has out-targeted Harris 10-4 the past couple games, and had the advantage in snaps (32-26) and routes run (13-6) last week. So Stevenson is trending toward becoming the RB1 here.
SEA (2-2) @ NO (1-3)
NO -5.5 / 46
Geno Smith is completing 77.3% of his passes and is the QB10 on the season. I’m actually typing these words. He’s $5,500 in DK, if you want another cheap play. The Saints have been a mixed bag on defense, holding Tom Brady to 190 yards in Week 2, then allowing 273 yards to Kirk Cousins in London last week. Will the Saint defense be recovered from the trip across the pond and having to play a week later? It’ll help they’re home, but this won’t be a shutdown. And after Jefferson and Thielen combined for 219 receiving yards last week, this defense is there for the taking by DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett (41 combined targets last 2 weeks). Remember when the Saints appeared impenetrable against the run? They’ve now given up a pair of 100-yard games this year, and Dalvin Cook put up 86 total yards last week. There could be some room for Rashaad Penny to roam after going 17-151-2 last week. This is a dream offense, as the touches are concentrated among Penny, Lockett and Metcalf.
Jameis Winston is getting another week to heal up, so Andy Dalton will be behind center against a defense that’s #26 in allowing 1,131 passing yards. Can you say another cheap DK play at $5,200 this week? Though I would have liked it better with Winston, I also like the Dalton-Chris Olave stack this week. Olave is averaging 18.7 ADOT, which is good for 4th in the league. Did that go down with the Red Rifle pitching it to him? He was actually up at 19.4 last week, and with no Michael Thomas the targets will be concentrated. I’m hoping that Alvin Kamara is back this week, because the matchup with a Seahawk D that has been run over by Jamaal Williams, Cordarrelle Patterson and Jeff Wilson Jr. these past 3 weeks is very tasty.
MIA (3-1) @ NYJ (2-2)
MIA -3 / 46
I’ll be watching this game to see if there are any issues with switching the offense from a lefty QB to a righty. Teddy Bridgewater is going to start, and will be attacking a defense that’s #21 in FPG allowed to the QB. Bridgewater is a start only in super flex leagues, but it’s a no-brainer to play Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill. The latter is dealing with a quad injury that limited him in practice, so I’m wary about including him in a DFS lineup. Waddle I’m firing up with full confidence. The backfield, I just want to sigh and pass, but with all the RB injuries out there, you’re likely picking among Raheem Mostert and Chase Edmonds for your lineup. Mostert had 15 carries last week to 5 for Edmonds, which could flip this week on the whim of HC Mike McDaniel. I’m staying away in DFS, but starting either RB if need be as RB2 or flex. Mike Gesicki, he of 10 targets last week, I’m starting him only because of the sorry state of the TE position.
Zach Wilson could be a start in super flex leagues, as this game could see some points. The Dolphins’ Xavien Howard was slowed this week with a groin injury, so you’re starting both Garrett Wilson and Elijah Moore. Tyler Conklin is 2nd on the team with 29 targets, and can point toward the 9-104-1 game by Mark Andrews in Week 2 as an example of how to beat this defense. Breece Hall is gradually pulling away in the race for more carries for the Jets, as he had 17 carries for 66 yards while Michael Carter rushed nine times for 15 yards. Hall is going to be a backend RB1 most weeks in the 2nd half of the season, and Carter will remain a flex play, at best.
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