Fantasy Football Week 5: Experts answer big questions about James Conner, Aaron Rodgers, and more
Our trio of experts tackle questions about early disappointments, buy-low candidates and more.
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It's been an unbelievable start to the season. I have one stat I think sums up the state of the NFL entering Week 5:
The Fantasy landscape had become dominated once again by running backs in recent years, but big-time passing stats are back. The fun thing about 2018, however, is that running backs are still putting up big numbers six are averaging at least 15.0 Fantasy points per game and 23 are at 10.0 or better in standard scoring formats.
It's been a huge year for offense so far, obviously. But that doesn't mean it's been a huge year for everyone. Today, Jamey Eisenberg, Dave Richard, and Heath Cummings are answering some of the biggest questions about the NFL heading into Week 5, including focusing on early disappointments, buy-lows, and more.
1. Which (not-seriously-injured) players drafted in the first three rounds are you most worried about right now?
Jamey Eisenberg: "Here's my list: Aaron Rodgers, David Johnson, Jordan Howard, Demaryius Thomas and Larry Fitzgerald. I'm still hopeful for Rodgers, Johnson and Howard, but you can cut Thomas and Fitzgerald in 10-team leagues."
Dave Richard: "Dalvin Cook isn't 100 percent healthy and neither is Leonard Fournette. Both were supposed to be heavy-workload rushers with 1,500-yard and 10-touchdown potential. That's hard to do when you're not playing football, and in Cook's case it's really hard to do when your team's offensive identity has shifted to the quarterback."
Heath Cummings: "For me it's still Johnson. He had a good Week 3, but he still only saw four targets and he barely averaged better than 3.0 yards per carry. This Cardinals team is bad, and I don't believe they'll be in too many games where they can give him 22 carries. I'd sell high after Week 3."
2. What should James Conner owners do now?
Jamey: "Hold him or trade him to the Le'Veon Bell owner. You can take advantage of Pittsburgh's great matchup in Week 5 against Atlanta, and hopefully Conner comes through with a big performance. And there is a chance the Steelers still trade Bell before his return. But your sell-high window on Conner is most likely closed."
Dave: "Welcome to Stuckville! Conner's value has officially hit the fan, so trading him won't net you much (the guy who's been sitting on Le'Veon might pay the most, as might someone desperate for anything at running back). You should probably just ride him out and then see what happens with Bell's situation. There's still a chance Bell gets traded, and if the Steelers are feeling salty they could bench him upon his arrival. Both scenarios would theoretically buy Conner some more playing time, but they seem to be low-probability choices at this point."
Heath: "Find a time machine? In all seriousness, I'm holding and starting. He'll be good this week against the Falcons and will probably give you a top-20 running back for the next three weeks. His trade value has been decimated, I'm not going to sell right after that happened.
Jamey: "Kamara should continue to be a standout Fantasy option, especially in PPR, and the hope would be Ingram comes in with fresh legs and produces at a high level like he did last season, Keep in mind, Ingram scored all 12 of his touchdowns in the final 12 games of the season last year. Both guys should be great moving forward."
Dave: "Kamara played very well without Ingram, but I suspect the coaches will welcome Ingram back with open arms and give him a nice workload anyway. It'll give Kamara a chance to stay fresh after averaging 14.0 carries and 8.8 catches per game without Ingram. Figure Ingram to take on about 14 carries per game with Kamara sliding to about 9 or 10 while still maintaining his hefty reception average from here on out."
Heath: "I expect Ingram sees about 50 percent of the carries and most of the short-yardage work. Kamara will still be one of the most targeted running backs but his targets will drop. Kamara is a a top-10 running back for the rest of the season, but not No. 1 overall anymore. Ingram is a top-15 back moving forward."
4. How good can Mitch Trubisky be moving forward?
Jamey: "Let's not overrate Trubisky just yet. He beat up a terrible Tampa Bay defense in Week 4, but he will likely not replicate that again — maybe in his entire career. In three games prior to facing the Buccaneers, he had two passing touchdowns combined. I'm hopeful he can be a streaming option over the rest of the season, but he's not a must-start quarterback in most re-draft leagues."
Dave: "How many more times will he take on Tampa Bay?! I think the matchup played a major role in his Week 4 success, but it's a sign that the Bears are aggressively adapting to their opponents' weaknesses and Trubisky can execute effectively. Their next four games all come against the AFC East, so there's some trepidation in expecting him to flourish. I don't plan on adding him in any of my leagues unless I'm in need of a second quarterback."
Heath: "Not good enough to matter in a one quarterback league. You might stream him against the right matchup but there are just too many elite quarterbacks in the league for him to vault into must-start status."
5. Are your concerns about Andrew Luck gone?
Jamey: "Yes. He doesn't have a great matchup in Week 5 at New England with T.Y. Hilton (hamstring) hurt, but any concerns over his shoulder or having the ability to be a No. 1 Fantasy quarterback are gone."
Dave: "Luck's passes looked good and his accuracy continued to be great. He made his pass-catchers better (the proof is in the stat sheet), which is all you need to know about where his arm is at right now. To be fair, he took advantage of a ridiculously easy matchup at home — these next two weeks will be telling when he plays at New England on a few days rest, then at the Jets. I'm not ready to re-install him as a must-start quarterback."
Heath: "They've just evolved. Now I'm concerned about T.Y. Hilton. His receiving corps right now is the worst in the NFL. You can't start Luck until Hilton comes back."
6. Who is your favorite buy-low candidate?
Jamey: "Rob Gronkowski. By the end of the season, Gronkowski will finish with standout numbers like he always does. If you can get him cheap, now is the time to do so."
Dave: "I'm asking around on Devonta Freeman. Tevin Coleman's three-week audition to be the primary Falcons back hasn't been a smashing success — the last two weeks have been particularly dreadful. If Freeman returns healthy, and he should soon, then he should get close to 15 touches per week with a mostly favorable slate of run defenses ahead of him."
Heath: "I'll go with Gronk. He's been a mortal so far this year and he's battling an ankle injury. There's a pretty good chance the guy who drafted him is not off to a very good start. I'd try to trade that guy your tight end (unless it's Travis Kelce or Zach Ertz) plus another piece he could use (maybe (Calvin Ridley?) for Gronk."
So who should you sit and start? And what shocking QB could win you Week 5? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy football rankings for every single position, and see which shocking QB finishes in the top 10 this week, all from the model that out-performed experts big time last season.
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