Need some quick tips to assemble your fantasy lineup for Week 5? This is the first round of bye weeks in the NFL, so we’ve combed the far reaches of the Internet and culled only the choicest fantasy tips and advice for your quick consumption. Below you’ll find easily digestible nuggets from multiple fantasy experts, addressing some of the critical situations fantasy owners will face from week to week.
Dig in. And dominate.
Ameer Abdullah, RB, Lions: Abdullah was limited early in the week, but upgraded to a full participant in practice on Thursday. It’s not a terrific matchup against the Panthers, but Abdullah is getting the bulk of carries and is getting some action in the passing game as well.
Davante Adams, WR, Packers: Green Bay teammates were happy to see Adams back at practice this week. However, he was limited in Thursday’s drills. We should learn more Friday afternoon as to whether Adams can suit up when the Packers visit Dallas. If Adams can’t go, then Randall Cobb’s value goes up this weekend (see below). Adams is still in concussion protocol and won’t play if he’s not cleared when the team gets on the plane to travel. Adams was cleared to play Saturday, but owners in need of a WR2 or flex play should still consider Cobb.
Sam Bradford, QB, Vikings: Bradford has practiced two days in a row and reportedly feels better. Things are trending in the right direction as he’s provided an extra day of rest with Minnesota visiting the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football.
Derek Carr, QB, Raiders: Carr owners have known for most of the week they won’t have the Oakland quarterback for at least two weeks. With a bye week for four other teams, few quarterbacks are available. In ESPN leagues, Jared Goff (owned in 22 percent of leagues) and Blake Bortles (8 percent) are likely the best options, but matchups aren’t great: Goff faces the Seahawks and Bortles faces the Steelers. In a bit of good news, a Friday report suggests Carr could return in Week 6.
Dalvin Cook, RB, Vikings: Minnesota lost its star rookie to a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Latavius Murray (see below) and Jerick McKinnon are likely to pick up the slack, but shouldn’t be expected to provide the same results that Cook produced.
Matt Forte, RB, Jets: New York will be without Forte for the second straight week. Forte is someone I avoided in drafts because I was high on Bilal Powell (see Week 4 article). Powell is in line for another big game with the Jets facing the Browns.
Melvin Gordon, RB, Chargers: Gordon played on a banged-up knee in Week 4 and provided very little production for his owners. He’s been practicing in full this week so there should be no concerns.
Marcus Mariota, QB, Titans: The Tennessee quarterback has been limited in practice while nursing a hamstring injury. A less mobile Mariota takes away an element to his fantasy production. Owners may want to consider their options in Week 5. He’s looking like a game-time decision.
Ty Montgomery, RB, Packers: Montgomery has broken ribs, but reportedly was involved in Thursday’s practice though he did not run through any team drills. As a Montgomery owner in a couple of leagues, it would be great to have him in the lineup. And while the Cowboys were gouged by the Rams in Week 4, I’m hesitant to start Montgomery for fear he may be limited and eventually forced out of Sunday’s contest. Owners should monitor his status but it’s not looking good. If Montgomery is unable to go, then the duo of Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones could pick up the slack for Green Bay.
Wendell Smallwood, RB, Eagles: A knee injury leaves Smallwood questionable and likely out after not practicing all week. While the matchup vs. the Cardinals is not a terrific one, LeGarrette Blount owners should still like their chances.
Randall Cobb, WR, Packers: After seeing a steady dip in his numbers the past couple of years, Cobb opened the season with 12 targets, hauling in nine receptions for 85 yards. He followed that up with six receptions (nine targets) for 60 yards a week later against the Falcons, but was forced to leave that game and subsequently missed Week 3 with a shoulder injury. In Week 4, he caught four balls (four targets) for 44 yards and a touchdown. In Sunday’s matchup against the Dallas Cowboys, Cobb could be an intriguing play. His prospects go up considerably if teammate Adams (see above) cannot play. Should Adams be in the lineup, Cobb may still be worth a play. In most rankings this week, he’s sitting somewhere between 25 and 30. The Rams spread the ball around quite a bit in their victory over the Cowboys a week ago. Aaron Rodgers is capable of doing the same thing, and with more than a week of preparation, Cobb’s upside in a pass-heavy offense is tough to ignore during a time when some wideouts are underachieving, injured or on their bye week. The four targets in Week 4 are a bit of a concern, but you could certainly do worse if you’re in need of a WR2 or a flex play.
Dolphins offense: This may be a first in trotting out an entire offense, but after getting shut out by a New Orleans team that had been pretty mediocre defensively, this is a do-or-die week for the Miami offense. This is not what Jay Cutler had in mind when he came out of retirement, but if the Dolphins can’t get it done against a Titans defensive unit that just gave up 57 points, then heralded fantasy players such as Jay Ajayi, Jarvis Landry and DeVante Parker fall into the dreaded matchup abyss. This would be a devastating development for Ajayi owners, who are depending on him to produce like an elite back. But there’s optimism with the matchup against Tennessee. Cutler is hardly a recommended play, but owners of Landry and Parker are certainly rooting for him to succeed. Landry has seen a ton of targets and has his cheerleaders this weekend. But Parker has his supporters, too. Despite the disappointment against the Saints, you almost have to roll the dice that the Dolphins are about to break out. The Titans will enter embarrassed following last week’s showing, but even an inspired effort shouldn’t hold Miami down.
Duke Johnson, RB, Browns: Johnson’s average draft position (ADP) saw him selected around the 100th pick. So he was either chosen as a handcuff to Isaiah Crowell, or in the more likely scenario, was taken at that point in the draft where most owners are just hoping to acquire production. Crowell owners have to be disappointed (ADP of 38) following a delightful 2016 season that saw him nearly eclipse the 1,000-yard mark while hauling in 40 receptions for 319 yards. Instead, Johnson has emerged, tallying at least 60 yards from scrimmage the past three weeks. In Weeks 3 and 4, Johnson has only six carries but two touchdowns; his real emergence this season has been as a receiver with 20 receptions for 207 yards. Some pundits are really smitten with Johnson. And with the New York Jets headed to Cleveland this weekend, Johnson owners should be feeling good heading into Sunday’s game. While Browns coaches have said Johnson won’t be promoted to being the featured back, that’s nothing to worry about. Cleveland’s receiving corps is decimated by injuries and that’s where Johnson will make an impact.
Latavius Murray, RB, Vikings: With the season-ending injury to Cook, Murray is in line to pick up the slack. While he was beaten out of the starting job by Cook, Murray is coming off a 2016 campaign that saw him score 12 touchdowns. And having signed a three-year, $15 million deal in the offseason, Minnesota figures to give him the opportunity to earn that money on the field. He’s likely the most targeted free agent in leagues where he’s available (he’s owned in 77 percent of ESPN leagues). He’ll likely have some company in the backfield with McKinnon, but should see goal-line carries. Minnesota faces Chicago on Monday night and the Bears have allowed a running back to score in all four games this season.
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Alex Collins, RB, Ravens: This could be the beginning of something beautiful or it could be a short-lived experience. Collins seems to have displaced Terrance West as the lead runner in Baltimore’s backfield, having scampered for 82 yards on just nine carries in Week 4. The issue is that Collins has fumbled a couple times this season and is reportedly on a short leash despite his playmaking ability. In the past day or so, he’s gone from nearly 15 percent ownership in ESPN leagues to 25 percent. Sunday’s opponent, the Oakland Raiders, have been vulnerable to the ground game. Collins has the ability to pay big dividends in Week 5 and beyond if he doesn’t cough up the ball.
Will Fuller, WR, Texans: Fuller is owned in 52 percent of ESPN leagues and has been a very popular waiver wire pickup this week after scoring two touchdowns in his 2017 debut after suffering a broken collarbone during the preseason. He has a home matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs. As we mentioned last week in this space, K.C.’s Marcus Peters is the team’s best cornerback, but even he was beaten for two touchdowns in Week 4 against the Redskins. Peters is likely to be on DeAndre Hopkins, meaning Fuller could have another nice outing.
This post has been updated.
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