Fantasy Football Week 5 Sleepers
We're officially one quarter of the way through the NFL season!
The most dedicated and passionate managers find zeal in researching the concepts and events that occur under the radar. While there are times when your roster allows sleeping on sleepers, it is always beneficial to keep an eye on emerging trends and players. This weekly column is for those who understand how content it is to dig deep.
All of the players listed are represented in less than 60 percent of the Yahoo leagues (at the time of writing) and / or a major figure in our daily game. They're not the obvious tips, and they're not without risks ... but that's what makes them so fascinating. Last week Brian Hill and Randall Cobb were underutilized, but the rest of the list hit. Ryan Fitzpatrick posted top 10 fantasy stats, Mo Alie-Cox found the end zone for the second straight week, and Robert Tonyan went to HAM (6-98-3) on Monday night.
Let's see what fantasy damage we can do in week 5!
Kirk Cousins, QB, Minnesota Vikings (29% on roster - $ 27)
Cousins launch in 2020 felt more like "my own prison" than "higher". In week 4, however, the Creed enthusiast was able to "overcome" and record two personal firsts as a Viking in his third campaign. Cousins not only passed his highest mileage (260), but also managed his first INT-free competition of the year. It should come as no surprise that the cousins' increased production and clean play coincided with the appearance of Justin Jefferson, who built on his breakout in Week 3 with an additional 103 yards (88 air yards).
While Minnesota remains a run-dominated operation (100 passes, QB27), Cousins plans to air it more in week 5 when he travels to Seattle. The Seahawks have put the second most popular fantasy points in the position, dropping an average of over 400 yards per week. In the past four weeks, not a single opposing QB has fallen outside the fantasy top 10 (Matt Ryan QB6, Cam Newton QB2, Dak Prescott QB4, Ryan Fitzpatrick QB10). The matchup, coupled with Jefferson's outburst, should put up with Cousin's fantasy managers. And Vegas agrees and sets the grand total for Sunday's Northwest slope to 57.5.
Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Carolina Panthers (32% on roster - $ 25)
Teddy Bridgewater is the NFL's most welcome October surprise. Last Sunday he completed 26 of 37 passes for 276 yards and 2 TDs while also running in a third score. The effort was good enough to give him a top 5 fantasy finish for the week. While the Louisville product didn't air it (it only has a 40 meter completion) it was efficient, maintaining an actual percentage of completion of 78.6 (QB4) and a catchable success rate of over 85 percent (QB1).
[Week 5 Fantasy Ranking: QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | FLEX | Daylight saving time | Kickers]
As much as Carolina wants to be on the run (and as impressive as Mike Davis was in the CMC absence), the Panthers remain a roster with a defense that ranks Football Outsiders in the top five for DVOA. As a result, Bridgewater throws the ball an average of more than 35 times per competition. In week 5 he will face another NFC South team with a fighting defense. The Falcons give the most fantasy points to opposing QBs and have allowed a total of 16 touchdowns (13 passes, 3 rushing) on the position. With two teams goodbye and Cam Newton unavailable, Bridgewater is a streaming option for fantasy managers in need. He is the Yahoo consensus QB12.
Justin Jackson, RB, Los Angeles Chargers (25% on roster)
Austin Ekeler is expected to be out next month after being forced out of the game with a Class 2 thigh strain last Sunday. After dealing with his own hamstring injury followed by a quad problem prior to Week 2, Jackson left the door open for Joshua Kelley. The UCLA product flashed and outperformed Jackson 35:27 in Week 4. So the expectation is that this will be a 60-40 timeshare that leans in favor of the beginner.
However, when he's healthy, Jackson is #good. The northwest alum only touched the ball 38 times in 2019, but was incredibly efficient in doing so, averaging 5.8 meters per touch. He also managed four breakaway runs over a seven-game period. Jackson has not recorded a single fumble since joining Chargers in 2018, recording just one drop on a total of 32 targets. The same can't be said for Kelley, who fumbled in back-to-back competitions. That won't fly with any HC, but above all not with someone who played the position. Regardless, this offense has demonstrated the ability to support two fantasy-related RBs. Given a Saint Defense Defense that earned both Adrian Peterson and D’Andre Swift points a week ago, Jackson offers a flexible Monday evening roll call.
BONUS: Devonta Freeman is featured in 68 percent of the Yahoo leagues (though he started in just 20 percent of them) but remains a wild DFS value ($ 10) in Week 5. His snaps and touches more than doubled by week 3 through 4, and he has an exploitable matchup against a Dallas-led defense that allows 4.9 YPC to take on Rushers.
Curtis Samuel, WR, Carolina Panthers (21% on roster - $ 15)
This is not a take lock. This is just an acknowledgment of Samuel's versatility that increases his theoretical advantage. Samuel is an explosive receptionist who excels after being caught. He is also used as an off-field rusher (when he was in college). That usage could increase this Sunday as Backup RB Reggie Bonnafon was put on IR with an ankle sprain. Though the Totes Samuel was gifted for haven't done much production so far, they could face a Hawk defense this weekend that not only got five rushing scores in the season but also four runs over 20 yards.
However, the Atlanta Pass Defense is more generous than the Run Defense. As the unit that has given up the second most receiving yards (1,415), the Falcons have also allowed the most passing games over 20 yards (22). Part of Samuel's appeal is his big-play ability - which he demonstrated this season with catches over 20 yards in back-to-back games - and there's no defense less equipped to obliterate ceiling moments than that Falcons. Samuel is a high risk and reward flex in the WR40 range this weekend.
Eric Ebron, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers (35% on roster - $ 14)
Ebron's role has increased every week since the season began. In week 3, he led the Steelers receiving corps in targets, converting five out of seven looks for 52 yards and a score. He also saw a jump in Snapshots (60) and, more importantly, routes running (31). With a percentage of 78 (TE14) for route participation and a look into the red zone, Ebron has carved out a legitimate receiving role, especially in the red area of the field. This could prove beneficial to fantasy managers this weekend when faced with an Eagles defense that is giving the third most Fantasy points to the position and has allowed it to score against tight ends in three of their last four matchups.
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