Studs, Duds, & Sleepers: Week 5

October 7, 2020

It feels like football just started a week ago, but believe it or not, we are now a quarter of the way through the NFL season and many – if not most – are a third of the way through your fantasy football seasons! As bye weeks and injuries begin to pile up, roster snafus can be a little more impactful from here on out.

Lucky for you, I am just beginning to round into mid-season form and am here to drop all my ‘Studs, Duds & Sleepers’ knowledge every week!

Studs:

Quarterbacks:

Dak Prescott, Dal:

The Cowboys may be struggling in the win-loss column, but the offense – especially Dak – are doing just fine. In fact, the Cowboys defensive struggles are actually a blessing for Dak owners as he continues to find himself in the middle of shootouts every week. I’m not sure the Giants can make this game a shootout, but regardless, I don’t think Dak will have problems putting up big numbers again this week.

Josh Allen, Dal:

All the early talk this year about MVP has been about Russell Wilson, and I get it, he is playing out of his mind, but many are sleeping on Allen (in real and fantasy football). Through four games, Allen has accounted for only one less touchdown than Wilson (15 to 16) and Allen has only one interception to Wilson’s two. This week, Allen gets a Titans defense which ranks in the bottom half of the league in pass defense and bottom five in terms of rush defense.

 

Others receiving votes:

Russell Wilson, Sea:

Speaking of Wilson, here he is again. This week, Wilson gets a Vikings defense which ranks in the bottom four in terms of passing defense and is surrendering nearly 300 yards per game through the air. Smells like another good week for Wilson.

Deshaun Watson, Hou:

With an 0-4 start and Bill O’Brien out, this is a must win for the Texans, so I could see the Texans opening up the offense this week against a bad Jaguars defense. If so, that could mean a big day for Watson.

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Running backs:

Ezekiel Elliott, Dal:

The Cowboys pass offense has been clicking, but Elliott has not had the same amount of success. I expect that to change this week. The Cowboys should be able to get up early on a bad Giants team and pound the ball with Elliott.

Dalvin Cook, Min:

Cook is averaging 5.7 yards per carry and leads the NFL in both rushing yards (424) and rushing touchdowns (6). Despite going up against the Seahawks stingy run defense, I expect Cook to have another big game.

 

Others receiving votes:

Clyde Edwards-Helaire, KC:

CEH got his NFL career off with a bang in Week 1, but has been relatively quiet ever since. I expect that to change this week against a Raiders defense which ranks in the bottom ten in terms of rushing yards, surrendering nearly 140 yards per game.

Kareem Hunt, Cle:

With Nick Chubb out for the next few weeks, Hunt owners are about to cash in on their gamble of drafting Hunt. The Colts will be a tough match up for Hunt, but the Cleveland offense has been rolling, so I look for a big game for Hunt.

 

Pass Catchers:

George Kittle, SF:

Kittle is back…and he is a machine! After missing the past two weeks. Kittle returned and pulled in 15 catches for 183 yards and a touchdown – with a 2nd and 3rd string quarterback! Regardless of who starts behind center this week for the 49ers, Kittle should have another big day against a bad Dolphins team.

DK Metcalf, Sea:

There are a lot of surprises this year at the top of the receiver leader boards, but none more surprising to me than Metcalf and his league leading 403 yards and whopping 25.3 yards per catch! He and Wilson should fare well at home against a porous Vikings defense.

 

Others receiving votes:

Amari Cooper, Dal

As I mentioned above, the Cowboys passing attack has been humming – to the tune of 400+ yards per game – and with 51 targets, 37 catches and 401 yards, Cooper has been Dak’s top target. He should have another big game this week against the Giants.

Stefon Diggs, Buf:

I wasn’t buying into Diggs or Allen going into this year…so far, I couldn’t have been more wrong on both! Diggs and Allen have quickly gelled, and through four weeks, Diggs finds himself tied with Metcalf for a league leading 403 yards. Diggs should have another good outing this week against a Titans defense which ranks in the bottom third of the league in terms of passing yards allowed per game.

 

Duds:  

Carson Wentz, Phi:

Injuries to the receiving corps and overall poor play result in Wentz finding a spot on the ‘Duds’ bench…again! Through four games, Wentz leads the world with 7 interceptions and 10 turnovers total. I don’t see those number improving this week against a Steelers which excels at pressuring and confusing quarterbacks.

Nick Foles, Chi:

Foles had a rough day, and if not for some garbage yards and a garbage touchdown on the final drive, his ‘bad’ day would have ended up being a ‘brutal’ day. Going into the final drive, Foles had 159 yards passing, 0 touchdowns and 1 interception. The Bucs defense is not as tough as the Colts, but on a quick four-day turnaround, I don’t expect much more success than we saw in Week 4.

Others receiving votes:

Ryan Tannehill, Ten:

Tannehill is having a solid season, but having sat for a week and playing a tough Bills defense, I just don’t like the matchup. Start him if you must, but if you have another option, I would go that route.

Justin Herbert, LAC:

Herbert has looked great thus far and is reaching the point where owners may start thinking about starting him….I just don’t think starting him this week, in primetime, on the road, in New Orleans, is a good play.

 

Running backs:

Kenyan Drake, AZ:

Drake was a sleeper pick by many this year, but through Week 4, he has yet to surpass 90 yards rushing in any game, has just one touchdown and ranks 40th with a pedestrian 3.8 yards per carry.

Miles Sanders, Phi:

Like Drake, Sanders was a hot pick this year, and like Drake, he has been very disappointing, with just one touchdown and less than 250 yards rushing through the first four weeks.

 

Others receiving votes:

Joe Mixon, Cin:

It may seem odd for Mixon to end up on the ‘Duds’ list just a week after putting up more than 180 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns, but going into that game, Mixon had zero touchdowns and had yet to surpass 70 yards rushing. I am not saying to sit him, but I wouldn’t expect big numbers this week against a tough Ravens defense.

Melvin Gordon III, Den:

Like Mixon, Gordon is coming off a huge week, but like Mixon, I don’t like the matchup. With Lock out, Belichick will focus on limiting Gordon and force whichever backup the Broncos decide to start, to try and beat them through the air.

 

Pass Catchers:

Denver Broncos pass catchers:

The Broncos will be starting either Jeff Driskel or Brett Rypien against Bill Belichick. To make matters worse, whomever starts, will be doing so sans Courtland Sutton. Advantage, Belichick.

A.J. Green, Cin:

As a Bengals fan, it pains me to write this, but we may have seen the end of A.J. Green as a WR1. After missing all of 2019 and half of 2018, Green just looks slow and unable to get open. Last week, against a bad Jaguars defense, in a week Joe Burrow put up 300 yards (again), Green managed just 1 catch for 3 yards. Through four games, he has zero touchdowns, and is averaging less than 30 yards per game. Until further notice, Green should be on your bench.

 

Others receiving votes:

Zach Ertz, Phi:

The Steelers have arguably the best defense in the NFL, and that alone would make starting any Eagles players this week a tough play. Throw in an offensive line and receiving corps both decimated with injuries, along with a quarterback who leads the league in turnovers, and this is a bad week to have to play Ertz.

Odell Beckham, Jr., Cle:

Yes, he had a huge game against the Cowboys, but, the Cowboys defense is B.R.U.T.A.L. this year and OBJ is still a disappointment in Cleveland. That is now 14 straight weeks without reaching 90 yards receiving. In fact, in two seasons – and 20 games – in Cleveland, he has just two games where he has surpassed 90 yards receiving. Two. To put that in perspective, in his last season in New York, he played in 14 games… and had five games of 100+ yards receiving.

 

Sleepers:

Kirk Cousins, Min:

Cousins was a sneaky fantasy starter last few seasons, but after losing Diggs, he and the Vikings got off to a slow start. However, take away his terrible Week 2 performance, and Cousins has 6 touchdowns to 3 interceptions and is averaging more than 250 yards per game. Those aren’t huge numbers, but you could do worse.

Daniel Jones, NYG:

Like 2020 as a whole, Jones and the Giants are off to a horrid start, and with Saquon Barkley out for the year, things aren’t looking much better. However,…he does get a Cowboys defense this week which is surrendering more than 430 yards of offense per game and a league low 36.5 points per game. In other words, if your quarterback is hurt or has a bye, Jones may just be a worthy fill in this week.

Phillip Rivers, Ind:

I thought Rivers was done – and maybe he still is – but thus far, he has been respectable, and therefore could have value this week if your starter is out. The Browns have the ability to turn this one into a shootout, and if that happens, Rivers could put up decent numbers.

 

Running backs:

David Johnson, Hou:

With Bill O’Brien being the first coach out in 2020, we have no idea what the Texans offense may look like this week, but one thing I know for sure, is the Jaguars rush defense is not very good and just gave up 205 yards rushing to a Bengals team who, up until last week, couldn’t block anyone, let alone run against anyone.

Todd Gurley, Atl:

Gurley hasn’t put up big numbers in Atlanta, but he has put up touchdowns. Fresh off a two touchdown showing on Monday night, he now has 4 touchdowns in his first four games in Atlanta…not bad. The Panthers are allowing more than 125 yards per game on the ground, and only the Raiders (8) have given up more rushing touchdowns than the Panthers (7).

Mike Davis, Car:

I am on record saying not to start any of the Panthers running backs while Christian McCaffrey was out…after watching Davis and Reggie Bonnafon put up 137 yards on 27 carries, my tune has changed. On Sunday, Davis put up 111 all-purpose yards, 5 receptions and a touchdown.

 

Pass Catchers:

Justin Jefferson, Min:

Over the last two weeks, Jefferson has 11 receptions on 14 targets, for 278 yards and a touchdown. This week, he gets a Seahawks defense ranked dead last in terms of passing yards allowed – 401 yards per game!

Robby Anderson, Car:

Anderson ranks sixth in the NFL in both yards (377) and receptions (34) and seemingly has built some good chemistry with Teddy Bridgewater. Anderson has seen 8+ targets and 99 or more yards in three of his first four games with the Panthers. Anderson could have a big week against a Falcons defense which is giving up 350+ passing yards per game and has surrendered a league high 13 passing touchdowns.

DeVante Parker, Mia:

Another sneaky fantasy starter at the end of 2019, Parker is coming off a big week (10 receptions and 110 yards on 12 targets) and gets a 49ers defense that is decimated with injuries.

  • Categories: NFL

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