Four Burning Questions for Week 5 (Fantasy Football)
Week 5 looks to be a wild one as we gear up for this week’s matchups. We have a head coaching change, surprising 0-4 teams like the Atlanta Falcons, and more COVID concerns.
Let’s take a look at four burning questions as we head into Week 5.
1. Will Michael Thomas Return to Action on MNF?
For fantasy GMs, hanging on to the promise of Michael Thomas has been frustrating. We had some good news last week, hearing that he had returned to practice and was moving well, but yet the Saints sat him against Detroit. The Saints wanted to give him another week to rest, and WR Tre’Quan Smith did an excellent job of trouncing the Lions, scoring two touchdowns.
You would think this could be the week where Thomas returns, but if Smith is doing such a good job with WR Emmanuel Sanders filling in for the sidelined receiver, why rush? They very well could hold Thomas this week, which would give him two more weeks of rest when including the Saints’ Week 6 bye. The Packers did this very same thing with WR Davante Adams.
Aside from going nearly a quarter of the season without your elite fantasy WR, this week is even more problematic since the Saints play the Chargers on Monday night. Do you take the risk and leave in Thomas just in case he plays? Or, do you pivot, and then watch in despair if he does play? It’s an impossible question to answer just yet, but keep an eye on his status leading up to Sunday morning.
Also, Louisiana may end up evacuating due to Hurricane Delta, adding more confusion to the scenario.
2. Can the Houston Texans Rally After Firing HC Bill O’Brien?
If you’re a Texans fan, then learning of HC Bill O’Brien’s firing brought celebration. However, what should you expect if you are a fantasy GM with any of Houston’s pieces on your roster?
The good news is that the Texans aren’t one of those teams eligible for the “tanking” theory. They want to win since the Dolphins have their first-round pick. Going 0-4 is bad enough, but listening to post-game interviews with QB Deshaun Watson and DE J.J. Watt was heartbreaking.
The interim head coach is assistant coach Romeo Crennel, who is no stranger to being in this position during his time in the NFL. How much Crennel will impact the players remains to be seen. However, the players themselves will galvanize each other moving forward. They face Jacksonville this week, which is a winnable game. The Jaguars are 20th against QBs, 27th against RBs (weak against both rushing and pass-catching), 10th against WRs, and 24th against the TE.
This could be a get-right game for Watson, who needs to rely on his legs as well as targeting RB David Johnson and his TEs. Jordan Akins is in concussion protocol, so if he doesn’t play, Darren Fells will assume a larger role at tight end. Fells has already had a touchdown against the vaunted Baltimore defense, and he totaled seven TDs in 2019. Of those seven, he scored two of them against the Falcons and another two against the Raiders. He is a sneaky sleeper in Week 5 if you are in need of a TE or playing daily fantasy.
3. Can the Falcons Finally Get Their First Win?
Speaking of firing head coaches, Falcons head coach Dan Quinn is in the hot seat, as the Falcons have gone 0-4 heading into Week 5 against the Panthers. Carolina is on a roll after winning its last two matchups, and QB Teddy Bridgewater is clicking with his new team even without elite RB Christian McCaffrey. Their defense is also getting better, but the Panthers have allowed 34, 31, 16, and 21 points consecutively since Week 1.
You may have to fire up your Falcons (except their D/ST) because of so many injuries and COVID-19 concerns, but you don’t have to like it.
If the Falcons lose this week and go 0-5, Quinn will face some very difficult questions. Because of this, I wonder if this will finally be the game where Atlanta fires on all cylinders and pulls out a win to defend its head coach.
4. What’s Next With All of the COVID-19 Cases?
Being on the hot seat this year is not confined to coaches. The Tennessee Titans are seeing their share of shade with their team’s COVID-19 outbreak. It has already forced the Steelers and the Ravens to reschedule their games and bye weeks.
Tennessee continues to see even more positive cases emerge. This puts its Week 5 matchup — currently scheduled for Tuesday night — against the Bills in serious jeopardy.
Slowly but surely we are learning of broken protocols by the Titans, including allegedly getting together to train outside of their team facility. Teams around the NFL, like the Steelers, aren’t pleased, and the Titans could face disciplinary actions in addition to beefed-up safety protocols.
While this is annoying, it’s disastrous for fantasy if Tuesday’s game against Buffalo gets rescheduled. QB Josh Allen has been on fire since Week 1, winning GMs weeks practically by himself. WRs Stefon Diggs and John Brown will have to sit, and managers would have to go another week without the Titans’ monster fantasy producers, RB Derrick Henry and TE Jonnu Smith.
The Titans aren’t the only team with positive cases. Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore has also tested positive following their matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs. QB Patrick Mahomes and Gilmore were seen embracing after the game, which is bad news. There have been no positive cases reported from the Chiefs’ camp. Yet. If those start popping up on the radar, we have another matchup of fantasy stars who may be sidelined.
Be ready to pivot away from Tennessee, Buffalo, Kansas City, and Las Vegas if necessary. I should also note that a Raiders player has also tested positive for COVID-19, but no other cases have been reported yet.
No matter what happens, Week 5 and on is going to be a wild ride. Buckle up and be ready to scour the waiver wire or propose a trade to fill in empty spots on your roster.
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