Typically by Week 5 of the NFL season you should have a decent grasp of the teams, their strengths and weaknesses, and how they should perform against their respective match-ups. Naturally, we all predicted that Trubisky would throw for 6 touchdowns (five of them in the first half), and that Brees would have a pedestrian game against the Giants. Jared Cook is still the TE1. Everything makes sense and it is all going according to plan! One thing is certain, this season is the season of the quarterback. Harsher penalties against defenses is allowing quarterbacks to go unchecked and unchallenged while devastating opposing teams. While I have concerns with the ‘lax’ changes and its impact on the future of the league, it sure does make for some exciting games. Who doesn’t like high scoring affairs?!
Let’s get to it!
Blake Bortles @ Kansas City Chiefs – FD: $7,000 | DK: $5,500
Haters gonna keep hating on Blake Bortles, but he’s winning football games. He’s coming off a great bounce back performance against the Jets where he completed 29-of-38 passes for 388 yards, two touchdowns and an interception (which wasn’t his fault). This week he will go on the road against a Kansas City defense that has been torched by quarterbacks three out of the four weeks this season. I think this game falls into the “will be torched category”. Bortles has always performed better when he’s been forced to throw due to the absence of RB Leonard Fournette, so it will be important to keep tabs on his health as the week progresses. Blake is only 25.1% owned, and comes at a discount in DFS. This is a matchup that’s too good to pass up on for Week 5.
Andy Dalton vs. Miami Dolphins – FD: $7,500 | DK: $5,900
Statistically the Dolphins have a good defense against the pass, but they just showed on Sunday that they’re not infallible. TB12 and the Patriots just put a licking to them to the tune of 274 yards and three touchdowns. I understand that Dalton is not Tom Brady, but the point remains. The Dolphins’ defense can be exploited, and should be this week while on the road against Cincy. Now, Andy Dalton is coming off a fantastic Week 4 outing against the Falcons throwing for 337 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception. On the season he’s averaging 300 yards and 2.75 touchdowns per game. Playing Dalton this week is more having faith in his ability and the Cincy offense, than the ability of the Miami defense. He’s still just 57% owned, so there’s a decent chance he’ll be available in your leagues, and is far less expensive than his QB peers in DFS.
Joe Flacco @ Cleveland Browns – FD: $7,200 | DK: $5,400
The Browns are feisty! But alas, they’re still the Browns. They were ever so close to achieving back-to-back wins in Week 4, but fell short to the Raiders in OT. That didn’t happen before the two teams managed to put together a whopping 87 points, though! Rest assured, the Ravens have no interest in losing to their ‘little brother’ in the division. Flacco has had a great start through the first four weeks of the season, averaging 313 passing yards and two touchdowns. While the Browns’ defense is much improved over seasons’ past, I find no reason to shy on the Ravens’ offense in Week 5. The Browns’ offense seems competent enough to keep this game competitive which further bolsters my faith in Flacco this week.
Derek Carr @ Los Angeles Chargers – FD: $7,000 | DK: $5,200
The Raiders finally won a game, and Carr reminded the people that he can throw the football. This past Sunday Carr threw 58 times for 437 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. Now he goes on the road (granted a short road), against the division rival LA Chargers. The Charges’ offense is not what people had envisioned coming into the season, and has been exploited by every team they’ve faced so far. Even the CJ Beathard-led 49ers. This matchup has the makings of a shootout, and what does that mean? Lots and lots of fantasy points. Roster and start players from this game.
Alex Smith vs. New Orleans Saints – FD: $7,400 | DK: $5,700
I couldn’t tell on Sunday if the Saints’ defense had improved or if the Giants are just a disaster. The jury is still out on that one, but the scale is tipping slightly in favor of the Giants just having a bad offense. Smith will have the advantage of coming off of a Bye Week against one of the worst defenses in the league. His issue so far this season has clearly been his wide receivers. They’ve been god awful so far, and need to step up big time against the worst defense against the WR position. Fortunately for Smith, his safety valves in Thompson and Reed have helped him maintain fantasy relevance through the first four weeks. The matchup looks good on paper. I’m always a fan of quarterbacks coming out of the Bye, especially when they’re going up against a weak defense. Should be a good week for Smith.
HAIL MARY QUARTERBACK OF THE WEEK
Marcus Mariota @ Buffalo Bills – FD: $6,800 | DK: $6,100
The Titans are sneakily one of the better teams in the NFL through 4 weeks of the season. Yes, the season is still early, but they just beat the Jaguars and the reigning Super Bowl Champion Eagles in back to back weeks. I find that impressive. The issue with this game is it could very well be a total snore-fest like Week 3’s 9-6 win over the Jags. It could just as easily be a bloodbath against what is clearly a very weak Bills’ defense. Mariota just threw for 344 yards, two touchdowns and an interception against the Eagles’ defense. I have no doubt that Mariota should torch the Bills’ defense. However, the game script could call for heavy run usage, and to the Bills’ credit, it looks like they’re improving things slightly on the defensive side of the ball. This coin flip is why I have Mariota listed as a Hail Mary-type play. There’s a 50-50 chance he might not need to throw the ball much this week.
Vance McDonald vs. Atlanta Falcons – FD: $4,600 | DK: $3,700
It’s clear now that Vance is Big Ben’s go-to tight end on the Steelers. He’s had five targets in each of the last three games, and has 9 catches for 174 yards and a score over the past two games. He’s a more versatile receiving tight end than Jesse James, and will have a favorable matchup against the Falcons in Week 5. The Falcons gave up a touchdown to Tyler Eifert early in the game before Eifert went down with injury. Vance seems to be a lock for at least 5 targets, and should be the recipient of a few more as I anticipate this matchup to be a high scoring affair. Both teams are coming off of frustrating losses, and are looking for a big win to get some momentum brewing in their favor.
Ricky Seals-Jones @ San Francisco 49ers – FD: $5,100 | DK: $2,900
San Francisco has given up one touchdown to the tight end position in all four games so far this season. Even ‘Big Baby’ Antonio Gates found the end zone. That’s what I’m banking on here with Ricky Seals-Jones. RSJ’s targets have taken a bit of a hit since Josh Rosen took over under center. Even still, Ricky has been relatively successful with the limited looks he’s been getting. Last week he hauled in two of his four targets for 52 yards. He’s not a dump off type of tight end. This limits his floor, but gives him a high ceiling, as he has the athleticism to do some damage when given some space. I actually expect this game to be a bit of a shootout. The Cards are looking for their first win of the season, and will be fighting tooth and nail to get it against their division rivals who are also looking for a much needed win.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins @ Kansas City Chiefs – FD: $4,600 | DK: $2,900
I’m not proud to list him here, yet again. What do you expect from me?! He has a favorable matchup against the Chiefs’ defense which has been consistently weak against the tight end position. This also has the makings of a high scoring affair. The Jags defense, while still outstanding, is not the lock down D it was last season, and will still surrender points to the Chiefs’ powerhouse offense. It smells like a shootout in Kansas City, which is the last kernel of hope I have for ASJ achieving his potential to put up significant fantasy points.
Antonio Gates vs. Oakland Raiders – FD: $4,800 | DK: $2,800
Watching Gates move on the football field gives me the feeling of pure joy. The man is a legend. He’s in full blown retirement body-mode, and he’s still scoring touchdowns. That’s what this play is here. A touchdown play. In case you missed it, the Raiders got smoked last week against the tight end position giving up 101 yards and a touchdown between Njoku & Fells. The Gates-Rivers connection is just warming up, and I think Rivers will find his favorite red zone option yet again this week. For context River and Gates have connected for 88 touchdowns over their careers. A touchdown is sometimes all the difference it takes for a tight end to go from a pedestrian day to a TE1 performance.
HAIL MARY TIGHT END OF THE WEEK
Austin Hooper @ Pittsburgh Steelers – FD: $5,000 | DK: $3,000
I’m not the biggest Hooper fan. For being on a team that’s scored so much, he has scored so little. That’s frankly unacceptable. There’s just no denying how tasty his matchup is in Week 5, though. The Steelers have a lackluster defense against the tight end position, and the Falcons would be wise to exploit that weakness. Hooper had a huge game in Week 1 last season that made him someone to consider, but has since been essentially useless. He’s a gamble, but he’s essentially free in DFS with tremendous tournament play upside.
WEEK 5 QB/TE COMBO
Let’s run it back for old time’s sake this week by stacking Bortles and ASJ. I had a premature stack of these two star crossed lovers in Week 1. I read the tea leaves incorrectly at the time. It’s Week 5 in which the connection between Bortles and ASJ will come to fruition. In all honesty, this game should be high scoring, and Bortles will be forced to throw early and often pending the health of Fournette. Given the Chiefs’ predisposition against defending the tight end position, it just makes sense that ASJ should have a good game.