Alex Smith Returns, Dak Prescott's Season Ends
The 2020 NFL season was wild to say the least, and week 5 seemed to embody the pendulum swings that are becoming the norm in football. We saw more high-scoring crimes, incredible comebacks and massive fantasy production, and then went through some extreme lows with upset, coach changes and serious injuries.
Let's talk about the bad first and get that out of the way.
Dak Prescott's season is coming to an end
The Giants Cowboys game in Dallas had the potential to be another high-scoring affair in a battle between two poor defenses. Surprisingly, it was the defenses that were strengthened for both teams in the first half. The Cowboys had a field goal on their first run and the Giants Defense delivered the team's second touchdown in the first quarter with a big pick six.
In the second quarter, it was the Cowboys Defense that kept the Giants stuck to a field goal and also scored a defensive touchdown on a fiddly recovery. RB Ezekiel Elliott rushed with a touchdown, but the most exciting game of the first half was a Philly Special with WR Cedrick Wilson tossing a touchdown pass to Prescott.
Prescott was kept in check for the first half, with un-Dak-like numbers in the third quarter. Just as he was starting to pick up the pace for the cowboys, the unthinkable happened. Prescott fell badly on his right ankle, which was stuck under defense attorney Logan Ryan. It was a cruel injury and very difficult to observe. Full disclosure - had to look away. Worse still were the heartbreaking tears in Prescott's eyes and among his teammates. Jason Garrett, the Giants' OC and former head coach of the Cowboys, joined HC Mike McCarthy at Prescott's side to offer his assistance.
Prescott was carted away from the field and taken straight to the hospital, where he was operated on for a compound fracture and dislocation in his ankle. Prescott played under the Cowboys franchise after a contract renewal agreement stalled. His future in Dallas is now in the air.
Backup veteran QB Andy Dalton took the lead and the Cowboys claimed a win in a very exciting ending. Having Dalton at the helm was a smart choice for the Cowboys. This isn't his first rodeo and the cowboys could watch a season reminiscent of the Eagles with QB Nick Foles.
In other bad news (just a little more up to the good things), the Falcons sacked both head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff after losing their fifth game. This isn't all that surprising given their records, but owner Arthur Blank has been known to be notoriously patient. For Blank and Falcons fans, however, enough was enough and something had to give. A provisional head coach will be announced on Monday.
To top off the bad news, RB Dalvin Cook suffered a groin injury from the Vikings after running 65 yards and a touchdown and adding five receptions for 24 yards. Backup Alexander Mattison filled in the injured cook with 112 yards of rushing, three receptions, and 24 yards. Cook finished with 19.9 points and Mattison with 16.6. Chances are Mattison is already in your fantasy league, but it's possible that fantasy GMs had to drop him to make way for other players. It is a must if it is available.
Now for the good stuff.
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QB Alex Smith returns to action
It was a heartwarming story to alleviate the pain of Prescott's injury. Backup veteran Alex Smith had the chance to play for the first time since his horrific leg injury in 2018. After a compound fracture, Smith underwent 17 surgeries, infections, and extensive rehab to get his way back to the starting line. QB Dwayne Haskins' earlier start was downgraded to third string during the week, and HC Ron Rivera named Kyle Allen the starter and Smith as a backup.
Allen took a brutal helmet-to-helmet hit from Rams' Jalen Ramsey and was taken off the field. Smith grabbed his helmet and made his 2020 debut. Although Washington lost 30-10 to the Rams, the real win was Smith playing in the NFL. Players from all over the league sang his praise and it was something special to see.
Both Allen and Smith should be listed in two QB and Superflex formats.
Steelers' rookie Chase Claypool scores four touchdowns in defeating the Eagles
Claypool leads our Sunday fantasy winners across the board. He set up a clinic against Philadelphia and scored a whopping 42.6 Fantasy points in PPR. He intercepted seven receptions on 11 targets, 110 received yards, three received touchdowns, and three rush attempts for six yards, including a quick touchdown. Every time you tuned in to the game, Claypool scored points.
In the same game, vacant free agent Travis Fulgham exploded onto the stage with 31.2 points. He had clutch games and first downs at 10 receptions for 152 yards and one touchdown.
Houston eventually found their first win and WR Brandin Cooks was a big reason for that. He had eight receptions, 161 yards and a touchdown in what was by far his best game of the year. He only had 138 yards total in week 5.
Running backs in the league also had good results with eight players all scoring 20 points or more. Carolina's Mike Davis led the RBs on Sunday with 29.9 points against the Falcons. On the other side of the ball, Todd Gurley finished with 121 rushing yards, a touchdown, and 25 points.
We had not one but two major problems when the Raiders defeated the Chiefs 40-24 at Arrowhead Stadium and the Dolphins defeated the 49ers with a shocking 43-17 win. Patrick Mahomes still finished Sunday as QB1 despite the defeat, but Derek Carr had an excellent day with 23.98 points, 347 yards, three touchdowns and an interception.
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick was on fire again, becoming QB2 in Miami's disgruntled win. He threw for 350 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions. QB Jimmy Garoppolo struggled in the first half and was pulled at break. Backup C.J. Beathard took the wheel, but couldn't get much going. HC Kyle Shanahan pulled Garoppolo more for his own safety than poor QB play. Keep an eye on the QB status.
QB Deshaun Watson made his way into the top 5 and looked a lot more alike than he has done all year. He also threw three touchdowns and added 25 rushing yards to finish on 24.86 points. Perhaps the removal of Bill O'Brien has breathed new life into the Texans who won their first victory.
With injuries decimating the NFL, trades are more important than ever. Remember to swap a player when their value is highest and target a player when their value is lowest.
I know Drake GMs are frustrated. He found the end zone for the first time since Week 1 and finished with 13.2 points, but it was again Chase Edmonds who left him behind with over 20 points. Every week the Drake trade becomes riskier, but he still has a chance to offend the Cardinals. This may be the best time to add it to your roster before it explodes. It's following an eerily similar pattern to last year after being traded to Arizona mid-season. Drake scored a touchdown on his first appearance for the Cardinals against San Francisco. He then went four weeks without a score, only to abandon a four-touchdown game. He took the stone and didn't look back afterwards.
Unlike Drake with a chance on his offensive, Mike Davis' future will quickly end if it's not already closed. Christian McCaffrey could consider a return in Week 6 and Davis' stock will fall significantly. He led all the running backs on Sunday with almost 30 points, so swap him now before it's too late. If you are having trouble with your negotiation, explain the value of productive backup if it will help seal the deal.
Another trade-away option is Ronald Jones of the Buccaneers. Although he has taken the lead in five weeks, RBs Leonard Fournette and rookie Ke’Shawn Vaughn are impatiently waiting in the starting blocks. Fournette's chance to take the lead was literally out due to injury, but he's not out for the season. We have seen that HC gives Bruce Arians only so many chances of regression and Jones' job is not 100% secure. Once Fournette is healthy and in the field, its population could drop significantly.
If you are looking for some part of the cowboys misdemeanor, WR Michael Gallup might be your best bet. Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb were the shiny names of the cowboys, but Dalton targeted Gallup for two big games at the end of Sunday's game. He finished with 11.3 points on four receptions for 73 yards. Gallup could have his chance for a bigger production with Dalton as the new quarterback.
I usually have at least one player on my trade-away list who is causing a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth, and Claypool is that player this week. Claypool is incredibly talented and is quickly becoming my favorite player in the NFL. However, he is unlikely to be able to repeat a four touchdown performance. Will he be imaginative in the future? Absolutely. Do you have to swap it away? No, you don't have to trade with Claypool. However, if you are injured in other positions and have WR depth, Claypool is the perfect candidate to get the best value in return. For example, if you need to replace Prescott as a QB and you have Claypool, you have a much larger weapon in your trading arsenal than any other WR3.
The Marquise Brown of the Ravens is another reception option that you can move around. So far it has been volatile in 2020, but it finally had a decent fantasy day with six receptions for 77 yards and a touchdown that ended in nearly 20 points. If you want a more reliable piece on your roster, consider offering Brown in a bundle trade emerging from one of its best games of 2020.
I've been told to act the broad recipients of the Browns, and the narrow end position is no different. This is especially true now that David Njoku is healthy and back on the field. If you have Austin Hooper in your lineup, consider trading him off. He has had a nice day of fantasy with 10.7 points. There are too many mouths to feed among the pass catchers in a run-first attack, and its production can see more busts than booms as the season progresses.
After a great second week of three touchdowns, Rams TE Tyler Higbee was calm. Now is the best time to target him in a trade when you need a close end. Its production is not guaranteed as TE Gerald Everett also sees the field, but it is a better option than most in a TE landscape that is practically a wasteland. Higbee saw 72% or more of the offensive snapshots while Everett saw 58% or less.
COVID-19 schedule changes
The matchup of the 6th week of the Chiefs-Bills was held from Thursday, October 15th. Until Monday, October 19 Postponed at 5:00 p.m. EST.
The Broncos-Patriots Week 5 matchup has been postponed. Your next game will take place in week 6 on Sunday, October 18th. Held at 1:00 p.m. EST. Both teams have declared week 5 a farewell.
Jets Miami was moved from Week 10 to Week 6 on Sunday at 4:05 p.m. EST.
Bills-Titans remains as scheduled for Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. EST despite another positive test on Sunday. Keep track of other positive tests and other schedule changes.
Steelers' WR Diontae Johnson left the game early with a back injury. ... Bengals' WR A.J. Green left the game early with a hamstring injury. … Saints' WR Michael Thomas was excluded from Monday night's matchup. ... Jaguars' WR D.J. Chark left the game early with an ankle injury. ... Viking Dalvin Cook injured his groin and did not return. He will have an MRI done on Monday to determine his status. ... Cowboys QB Dak Prescott suffered a dislocated ankle and compound fracture. He was operated on successfully on Sunday evening.
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