Fantasy Football Week 5: What you missed Thursday, including a disappointing showing by the Buccaneers, and progress for Sam Bradford

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What's this? Every Tuesday through Friday, Chris Towers will catch you up on the previous day's biggest news first thing in the morning. Here's what you missed Thursday:

The Buccaneers receivers didn't give Jameis Winston much help

Winston wasn't particularly sharp in Week 5 – according to ProFootballFocus.com, he was accurate on just 72.1 percent of his passes – but the Buccaneers didn't help him out at all with five drops. That matched the second-highest total for any QB this season, and Winston had just two dropped passes against him entering this game. The Bucs left at least 54 yards on the field, per PFF, and that obviously could have been more with potential for yards after the catch.

Winston hasn't made quite the leap we hoped for through the season's quarter mark, largely due to inconsistency. When he's on, Winston looks incredible, but he has still made a few too many mistakes. The good news is, those mistakes haven't turned into picks yet, as he has the lowest interception rate of his career. Still, with all the weapons he has, we were hoping for more from Winston, especially in what looked like a great matchup against the Patriots this week. This was a disappointment all around for the Bucs offense. With one exception…

Doug Martin looked rested, not rusty

There was some concern about what Martin's role would look like in his first game back from suspension, and he only ended up playing 26 of the team's 72 snaps Thursday night. However, that probably had as much to do with game script as anything, as Charles  Sims got most of the work late in the game as the Buccaneers were relying on the passing game to get back into it.

However, any concerns that Martin might not play well were put to bed pretty early. He played twice as many snaps as Jacquizz Rodgers – who can be pretty safely dropped – and looked good running the ball, picking up 72 yards on 13 carries. He added a touchdown, and also picked up 42 of his 72 yards after contact. Martin looked impressive, and could be a Fantasy No. 1 RB the rest of the season – especially with no bye week left.

Other notes

  • The Buccaneers need (another) new kicker… In a game they lost by five points, Nick Folk missed three field goals. That's the kind of performance that typically has you looking for work, especially as Folk is now just 2 for 7 over the last two weeks.
  • Chris Hogan remains the No. 1 option… We had obviously hoped Brandin Cooks would be the star of the passing attack, but Hogan leads the team in targets, picking up 11 more in Week 5. He and Cooks are both No. 2 Fantasy WR.
  • There was no replacement for Rob Gronkowski… Dwayne Allen played 50 of the team's 74 snaps, but you wouldn't know it from looking at the box score. He wasn't targeted once, and struggled with his blocking as well. He has no Fantasy value, even if Gronkowski's injury lingers.
  • Mike Gillislee hasn't scored since Week 2… The Patriots' backfield is as confusing as we thought it might be, but Gillislee's role is pretty clear; he has 12 carries in three straight games. He's a touchdown-or-bust Fantasy RB2.

What else you need to know from around the NFL Thursday

Sam Bradford was able to practice

Bradford was back on the practice field Thursday, on a limited basis, in the team's first practice for Week 5. Bradford hasn't played since Week 2 as a result of a knee injury, but this is his first practice in two weeks. Hopefully this time goes better than last, when he left the team to seek a second opinion on his knee following further discomfort.

We've known Bradford is not dealing with any specific structural damage, and coach Mike Zimmer told reporters the issue is more about pain management at this point. Case Keenum has been running the first-team offense, but Bradford clearly has a better chance to play this week than he has in a while. Bradford is an option for the team's Monday night game, and he would make for a sneaky waiver-wire add Saturday night if he's cleared to play. With Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen taking their play to another level, Bradford would be a viable Fantasy starter if healthy.

Jay Ajayi (knee) was held out of practice

Last week, Ajayi didn't practice Wednesday, but was a full participant Thursday. This week, he was a full participant Wednesday, and then sat out Thursday's session. My guess is, he's in roughly the same spot he was last week, and the team is just trying to find the best way to manage his workload as he continues to deal with a sore knee.

We'll keep an eye on Ajayi Friday, but the expectation at this point remains that he will play in Week 5 against the Titans. My concern at this point is more about Ajayi making it through the season, as he has been dealing with a sore knee since before the team's first game, and doesn't get a bye week to fully rest that knee. I'm worried he might break down at some point, though that concern doesn't apply for Week 5 – Jamey Eisenberg has him as his Start of the Week.

Paul Perkins (ribs) missed practice

Perkins took a step backward Thursday, going from a limited participant to an observer on the sidelines. We'll see what happens Friday, but this certainly doesn't bode well for Perkins' chances of playing. Rookie Wayne Gallman, who flashed in Week 4, would be in line for more work if Perkins misses time, and Orleans Darkwa would also likely see a boost in opportunities.

Wendell Smallwood (knee) missed practice

Smallwood has now sat out each of the first two days of practice this week, and that's a bad sign for his chances of playing this week. We'll see what Friday brings, but if you were planning on relying on Smallwood, you need to come up with a contingency plan. Corey Clement would be a good one, given that we know LeGarrette Blount is typically only going to get his rushing downs work. Clement could pick up the slack in Smallwood's role, and Smallwood played 35 of 79 snaps and had 14 touches in Week 4.

Michael Crabtree (chest) was upgraded to full practice

Barring a setback, Crabtree's absence looks like it's going to last just one week. That's good news for the Raiders, who are going to need all hands on deck to remain competitive with E.J. Manuel set to replace and injured Derek Carr for at least one week. Amari Cooper was also upgraded to full practice with his knee injury, so the receiving corps at least should be at full strength. It's going to be tough for Crabtree or Cooper to live up to expectations with Manuel throwing them the ball, and both should be considered more like No. 3 Fantasy WR.

Other notes

  • Ty Montgomery (ribs) is still limited… This one really looks like it's going to come down to a game-time call. Mongtomery doesn't have much risk of re-injury if he wears extra protection, so it's a question of pain tolerance and effectiveness. With Jamaal Williams' knee looking like a non-issue, the only thing we need to know in Green Bay is Montgomery's status.
  • Ezekiel Elliott is dealing with bruised ribs… He was able to practice in full, so it doesn't seem like an issue to be too concerned about. That lingering court case, on the other hand…
  • Marcus Mariota (hamstring) did a little more Thursday… Mariota remained limited Thursday, but coach Mike Mularkey told reporters Mariota was a little more involved. He hasn't been able to run yet, and would likely be limited with his feet even if he does play.
  • Doug Baldwin (groin) was able to practice… This has been a lingering injury, but one Baldwin was able to play through last week. Expect the same for Week 5.
  • Marqise Lee (ribs) was held out of practice… Lee hasn't sounded too concerned about his rib injury, but this is certainly not a good sign for his chances in Week 5. Allen Hurns would get more responsibility if the Jaguars' receiving corps is further thinned out.
  • The Chargers signed Nick Novak… Younghoe Koo got nine PAT and six field-goal attempts in four games, so this isn't a bad spot for Novak. He's a viable Fantasy kicker.
  • Kenny Golladay (hamstring) remained sidelined… Golladay hasn't done much since his huge Week 1, and at this point it's not crazy to drop him. He'll fight for playing time whenever he is healthy enough to do so.
Fantasy Writer

Though he can be found covering three different sports depending on the time of year, there is one unifying theme in how Chris Towers approaches sports; "Where's the evidence?" It doesn't matter how outlandish... Full Bio

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