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So what happens when your streamers or short-term replacements overachieve? Week 5 had many sprinting to the waiver wire to fill the void left by the teams on bye and the various injuries at the RB position.
In some cases, the replacements worked out great. Jacoby Brissett and Brian Hoyer ended up being two of the best streamers of the week and Aaron Jones lit up the Cowboys for the Packers’ best rushing performance of the season.
There’s nothing better than graduating a one-week replacement into a useful fantasy asset, especially if expectations weren’t high heading into the week. A look at the upcoming schedule shows Brissett with a beatable matchup against the Titans in Week 6, so if you still need a QB, he might be worth keeping.
Even if Ty Montgomery is able to return in Week 6, Jones has given the Packers reason to keep him involved, which should help the long-term health of Montgomery. That could give Jones enough fantasy value to stick on your roster.
The BS Meter breaks down ten situations cover the most pressing issues in fantasy football. The statements will be rated from 1 to 10 with 1 being completely true or 10 being total BS.
Note: All fantasy stats used to calculate finishes are from FantasyPros. All advanced stats are calculated using data from Pro Football Reference. Snap counts are also from Pro Football Reference. All stats are based on a points-per-reception (PPR) format.
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No one should be surprised that the Cardinals have failed to replace David Johnson’s rushing production. Supplanting one of the best running backs in the league was never going to be easy, but when your best options are Kerwynn Williams and Chris Johnson, the results were not surprising.
Johnson re-signed with the team in Week 2 and has 114 yards on 45 carries without a TD. Williams scored in the opener, but has just 32 yards on 19 carries. That leaves the Cardinals as the worst rushing team in the league. Between a lack of talent and a poor offensive line, don’t expect these numbers to improve.
The Cardinals have been combating their rushing woes by featuring Andre Ellington as a receiver out of the backfield. After Week 5, he leads the league with 40 RB targets and is second only to James White in RB receptions (29-28). His 28 receptions are tied for 10th among all players.
Because Arizona has no true rushing attack, using Ellington as a receiver out of the backfield is an extension of the team’s ground game and that tactic is now the majority of the Cardinals’ running back production. With such a busy role and an 10.8 fantasy points per game average, Ellington is definitely worth the RB3/flex spot in your starting lineup. No other Cardinal running back is worth a roster spot.
B.S. Meter on Ellington being the only fantasy-relevant back in Arizona: 1/10
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Whether you picked up Wentz a few weeks ago or plugged him in for Week 5, the production has been strong for most of the season, which has translated to both fantasy value and a 4-1 record for the Eagles.
Wentz entered Week 5 as the No.8 fantasy QB with 18 fantasy points per game, so he already had starting-caliber numbers. His stock rose even further when he threw for 304 yards by connecting on 21 of 30 attempts for four TDs and one INT. It was Wentz’s third game completing at least 65 percent of his passes, which is encouraging for someone who entered the league with concerns about his accuracy. He now has 10 TDs to just three INTs over the first five games.
While Wentz’s passing numbers have been strong enough to make him a reliable fantasy starter, he’s also boosted his value with his rushing production. He has 108 rushing yards on 26 carries, which is a wonderful bonus that makes him a little more attractive than similarly producing veterans like Philip Rivers, Carson Palmer or Matthew Stafford. With 27.3 points in Week 5, Wentz is now averaging about 20 fantasy points per game.
Wentz’s top WR, Alshon Jeffery, has had a brutal start to the season with games against tough CBs like Josh Norman, Marcus Peters, Janoris Jenkins, Casey Heyward and Patrick Peterson. The schedule gets easier with Carolina, Washington (likely without an injured Norman) and San Francisco in the next three weeks. The arrow is pointing up on Wentz and you should be happy if you have him.
B.S. Meter on Wentz being a weekly fantasy starter: 2/10
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Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press
After Ty Montgomery’s status hung in the balance throughout the week, the Packers settled on sitting him due to his rib injury. Did that have more to do with the severity of the injury or the trust they had in Aaron Jones? It could be a mixture of both, but after Week 5, Jones may have played himself into a regular role.
With Montgomery out, Jones ripped off 125 yards and a TD on 19 carries and added a reception for nine yards on his only target in the victory over the Cowboys. Despite being ahead of Jones on the depth chart heading into Week 4, Jamaal Williams registered just one carry for one yard. Jones outsnapped Williams 88.3 percent to 3.3 percent.
The Packers need to look into cutting back on Montgomery’s snaps when he’s healthy enough to play. Over the first three games, Montgomery’s snap percentages were 90.2, 85.5 and 94.3. The only other RBs who’ve played at least 90 percent of the snaps in multiple games are Le’Veon Bell and Ezekiel Elliott.
Montgomery has averaged just 3.3 yards per carry on the season on 46 carries. While he’s done a fine job overall as the lead back in Green Bay, he might be more efficient with fewer carries and the same, busy role in the passing game (23 targets). That would open the door for Jones to get up to 12 carries and stay involved as a potential RB3 for fantasy. Cutting back on Montgomery’s workload could drop him into the high RB2 category, but preserve him for the long season.
B.S. Meter on Jones disappearing when Montgomery returns: 3/10
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There’s obviously not much going right for the winless Browns, so you if you’re completely steering clear of them for fantasy purposes, it’s understandable. They pulled their rookie QB in Week 5 and have already targeted 14 different players in just five games. Obviously, the Browns never had high expectations for the season, so taking a look at any possible contributors for the future makes sense.
The only consistent source of production has been Duke Johnson. The third-year RB has been the team’s busiest receiver with 31 targets, 23 receptions, 270 yards and a TD. He’s also turned 16 carries into 77 yards and a pair of TDs. Other than DeShone Kizer (two rushing TDs) and David Njoku (three receiving TDs), he’s the only player to score multiple TDs for the Browns this season.
Meanwhile, Isaiah Crowell has been a victim of game flow with just 62 carries for 194 yards (3.1 yards per carry) and no TDs in five games. Even when Crowell is getting carries, he’s not doing anything with those touches, so he’s been useless for fantasy. Johnson has played at least 51.9 percent of the snaps in each game, while Crowell has dipped below 50 percent in three of five games, including Week 5, which was only a three-point loss to the Jets.
While there’s no reason to prop Johnson up as a fantasy savior, it’s fair to say he’s a trustworthy RB3/flex with RB2 upside on a team you’d otherwise avoid on a weekly basis.
B.S. Meter on Johnson being the only fantasy asset in Cleveland: 4/10
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Just two weeks ago, Cam Newton played his worst game of the season and looked like he didn’t belong near a fantasy lineup. Since then, he took advantage of a beatable matchup in New England and then played an even better game at Detroit. As a result, the Panthers offense looks formidable even without Greg Olsen.
Devin Funchess has been part of the solution. Despite Newton’s struggles, Funchess has posted at least 53 yards in the last four games. He hit that number just twice in 2016. Last season, Funchess didn’t have a game with more than three receptions. He has at least four receptions in each of his last four games including seven receptions in both of his last two. Funchess scored four TDs all of last season and has three in the last two games.
Both Funchess and Kelvin Benjamin have been reliable options for Newton. Funchess has arguably been the team’s most consistent receiver with 35 targets, 24 receptions, 269 yards and three TDs. He’s second in targets and receptions to Christian McCaffrey, second in yards to Benjamin and leads the team in TDs.
Instead of being a lineup decision, Funchess has morphed into a reliable WR3, which should be his floor with plus matchups against the Eagles, Bears and Buccaneers coming up in the next three weeks.
B.S. Meter on Funchess being a reliable fantasy starter: 4/10
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In the QB mess of Week 5, settling for Jacoby Brissett as a streamer was a decision many had to make with the hope he’d be decent enough to post a top-15 fantasy performance. Brissett ended being better than expected in the overtime win over the 49ers.
He completed 22 of 34 attempts for 314 yards and an INT, but he added 14 yards and a rushing TD on eight attempts. That was a better fantasy performance than Carson Palmer, Matthew Stafford, Eli Manning, Tom Brady, Russell Wilson and Ben Roethlisberger. So if you streamed Brissett, you were happy.
If you still need help at QB for Week 6 with Dak Prescott and Russell Wilson on byes, Brissett could be worth another shot. Even Jay Cutler had just 92 yards with a TD and INT in Week 5 against the Titans, one of the league’s worst defenses. They came into the game against the Dolphins allowing the second-most fantasy points per game to QBs, so their performance against Cutler was more about the Miami’s offensive struggles than a bounce-back game for Tennessee.
While he hasn’t turned any other Colts WRs into fantasy-relevant players, Brissett did salvage T.Y. Hilton. After posting seven receptions for 177 yards on nine targets in Week 5, Hilton now has 24 receptions for 466 yards and a TD on 37 targets. He’s averaging 19.4 yards per catch and is by far the Colts’ best fantasy option. No other Colt has even 20 receptions, so while Brissett doesn’t boost the entire passing attack, he is getting the ball to Hilton.
According to Kevin Bowen of 1070 The Fan, head coach Chuck Pagano ruled out Andrew Luck for Week 6, so Brissett will get another start in a plus matchup. Brissett might not be anywhere near Luck when it comes to talent, but if he keeps getting Hilton the ball and giving the offense some life, the Colts might be able to hang around in a weak division.
B.S. Meter on Brissett saving the Colts offense: 5/10
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For some reason, Derrick Henry has a hive of fans who are convinced he’ll take away the lead role from DeMarco Murray at some point this season. If that’s based on Murray getting hurt, then of course Henry would take over, but that’s the same situation in any backfield where the lead back goes down. If you’re expecting Henry to take away the job based on skill, there’s not much of an argument right now.
For the season, Henry has 43 carries for 187 yards and a TD along with a solid 4.3 yards per carry. Over the last two games, he has 10 carries for 16 yards. To Henry’s credit, when Murray was plagued by a hamstring injury in Week 2, Henry rushed for 92 yards on 14 carries. A week later, Murray played through his injury and rushed for 115 yards on 14 carries while Henry had 54 yards on 13 carries. Both played well, but the Titans reverted back to Murray because he’s the better player.
In Murray’s first five games, he has 273 yards and a TD on 56 carries, so he’s at 4.9 yards per carry. In the last two games, Murray has just 21 carries for 89 yards (4.2 yards per carry). Game flow was a problem for Murray in the team’s blowout loss to the Texans in Week 4. While he wasn’t busy in Week 5, he still led the way in a loss to the Dolphins.
Henry has played at least 41 percent of the snaps in three of five games this season, but his snap percentage dropped to a season-low 18.6 in Week 5. Murray has played at least 54.4 percent in every game this season and at least 65.8 percent three times, including 83.1 percent in Week 5. That is probably too high, considering Murray is just a few weeks removed from his hamstring injury.
According to Jim Wyatt of Titans Online, head coach Mike Mularkey said the team “needs to do a better job” of getting Henry more involved. Based on the wide gap in snaps during Week 5, he’s right. That doesn’t mean Henry has done anything to prove he should take over for Murray. And Murray hasn’t done anything to lose his job. The biggest threat to Murray’s fantasy value is any further absence of the injured Marcus Mariota.
B.S. Meter on Henry being a serious threat to Murray: 7/10
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Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press
When Marshawn Lynch racked up for 76 yards on 18 carries in Week 1—including a few vintage Beast Mode runs against the Titans—the excitement was justified. In Week 2, he had just 45 yards on 12 carries, but he found the end zone for the first time as a Raider and spent more time dancing on the sidelines than playing in the second half because the Raiders had the game well in hand in an easy victory over the Jets.
In the next two games, however, the Raiders barely showed signs of life on offense. They didn’t put up much of a fight against the Redskins and Broncos, and Lynch was limited to just 30 yards on 15 carries. With no Derek Carr (back) in Week 5, Lynch had a chance to pick up the offense with a favorable matchup against the Ravens, who were without run-stopper Brandon Williams. While Lynch scored, he had just 43 yards on 12 carries.
After five games, he has 57 carries for 194 yards and two TDs (3.4 yards per carry) and four receptions for 38 yards on eight targets. He’s averaging 7.8 fantasy points per game, which puts him in the low RB3 range even though many drafted him to be a strong RB2. If you’re expecting Lynch to justify such a high draft position, both he and the Raiders need to bounce back in a big way.
Even if the Raiders can get their offense back on track, will Lynch get enough touches to be a reliable fantasy option? He was never slated for the role he played in Seattle as the focal point of the offense because the Raiders have enough talent in their passing game to carry the team.
Plus, the Jalen Richard has remained in the mix with 24 carries for 128 yards (5.3 YPC) and a TD in addition to five receptions for 81 yards on seven targets. Lynch hasn’t played more than 48.2 percent of the snaps in any game. Richard played a season-high 44.6 percent of the snaps in Week 5. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, as the Raiders kept Richard and DeAndre Washington in the mix with Latavius Murray last year.
If you haven’t adjusted expectations for Lynch by now, it’s time to start thinking about where he fits on your fantasy roster.
B.S. Meter on Lynch rebounding to be a strong RB2: 8/10
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If Jay Ajayi has been on your roster since the start of the season, you’ve seen the good (Week 2) and the bad (every other week). At this point, you may be wondering whether the good is ever coming back.
Unfortunately, you may not like the answer.
Ajayi popped up on the Week 3 injury report with a knee injury and then managed just 11 carries for 16 yards in a loss to the Jets. He remained on the injury report heading into Week 4 and had just 12 carries for 46 yards in a loss to the Saints. Last week, he was held out of practice Thursday because of the knee, but the Dolphins took him off the injury report after he practiced Friday.
Finally, the injury report matched up with Ajayi’s workload, as he had 25 carries in the Week 5 win over the Titans. Unfortunately, he rushed for just 77 yards and was held out of the end zone for the fourth time this season. After rushing for 122 yards on 28 carries in his first game, Ajayi has just 139 yards on 48 carries in the last three games and is averaging 6.3 fantasy points per game. He isn’t supplementing his weak rushing numbers with much of a role as a receiver, either, as evidenced by his seven receptions for 23 yards on nine targets.
Will the knee injury pop up again this week and linger throughout the season? That’s certainly a concern, but so is the poor play of Miami’s offensive line and the malaise that seems to be destroying any signs of dependable production in the entire offense.
If you can get a more reliable RB on a better team, it might be time to shop Ajayi coming off his busiest workload since Week 2. Waiting for Ajayi and this Dolphins offense to come around might cost you your season.
B.S. Meter on Ajayi owners remaining patient: 9/10
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Jason Behnken/Associated Press
Doug Martin‘s return to action had to wait an extra week, as the final three games of his four-game suspension didn’t begin until Week 2 due to the hurricane that moved the Buccaneers’ bye week up to Week 1. If you expected a slow start from Martin, it was completely justified, as he hadn’t seen regular-season action since Week 15 of the 2016 campaign.
The Buccaneers didn’t overwork Martin in Week 5 against the Patriots, but he still managed to impress despite playing just 36.1 percent of the snaps. Martin picked up 74 yards and a TD on 13 carries and added one reception for eight yards on three targets. Charles Sims led all Tampa Bay running backs with 44.4 percent of the snaps and acted as the primary pass-catcher out of the backfield with five receptions for 31 yards on seven targets. Jacquizz Rodgers returned to a backup role with three carries for two yards and one reception for 13 yards on 18.1 percent of the snaps.
Martin backed up his impressive preseason by looking every bit as strong and dangerous almost every time he touched the ball against New England. Thanks to injuries and players falling short of high expectations, Martin looks like he can give a nice boost to fantasy owners who stashed him away hoping to get a reliable RB2 moving forward this season. Martin’s role should only increase as he gets more comfortable, so he’s someone to hang onto if you are lucky enough to have him.
B.S. Meter on selling Martin after a positive 2017 debut: 10/10