Fantasy Football Week 5 Takeaways: Surprises & Disappointments (2022)
One thing we all learn quickly as fantasy football managers is that things often don’t go according to plan. In a way, the Week 5 slate was a microcosm of it.
It began with a Thursday night game that was supposed to be a matchup of two of the best young running backs in the league. Unfortunately, the Colts’ Jonathan Taylor missed the game with an ankle injury while the Broncos’ Javonte Williams will be missing the rest of the season with a severe knee injury. Instead, we got one of the ugliest games in recent memory, with little productive coming out of it beyond a whole host of memes roasting Russell Wilson.
Week 5 was bookended with a Sunday night contest that was supposed to be an exciting shootout between AFC North rivals Cincinnati and Baltimore. While that game was far less hideous than Indianapolis vs. Denver, it also turned into a defensive slugfest where the place kickers took center stage. Not exactly what we were hoping for or expecting.
Other than Philadelphia-Arizona, which also ended up well below it’s projected point total, the only game with a higher over/under than Cincinnati-Baltimore is the Monday night game. Let’s hope the Raiders and Chiefs meet our expectations and give us the shootout we so richly deserve.
Now on to this week’s top takeaways.
- Fantasy Football Week 6 Waiver Wire FAAB Advice
- Erickson’s Week 5 Rapid Reactions & Top Performers
- Fantasy Football Panic Meter
- Fantasy Football Heat Index
- Fantasy Football Rest of Season Rankings
Top 5 Surprises
Big play Gabe Davis gets loose for 171 and two
Davis found himself in the “disappointments” section of this article last week, so it’s only fair he gets the praise he’s due this time around. He went nuclear against the Steelers this weekend, recalling his biggest games from last season. Davis’ 2022 target totals have been meager, and he was only the intended recipient of six of Josh Allen‘s 31 throws against Pittsburgh. But he looks to be past his lingering ankle injury, and given his talent level and the scoring potential of Buffalo’s offense, he really only needs one big play to pay off for fantasy managers. This week, he had two.
Breece Hall solidifies his RB1 credentials
Last week, I said that even bigger games could be coming for Hall based on the usage he’s been getting recently. Well, 197 scrimmage yards and a touchdown probably qualifies, no? Honestly, this game could have been even bigger if Michael Carter hadn’t vultured two touchdowns after Hall was tackled at the one yard line following big gains. Carter is a decent player who did yeoman’s work for the Jets last year, but there is a reason they spent the number 36 pick to make Hall the first running back taken in this year’s draft. He’s a special talent in an ascending offense, and is already up to RB8 on the season.
Damien Harris departs early, Rhamondre Stevenson runs wild
A date with the Lions set up as an appealing matchup for both New England running backs, but as it turned out, only one of them was able to cash in. I clearly cursed Harris by talking last week about how consistent he has been. He tweaked his hamstring after carrying the ball just four times for 11 yards, and did not return. With the backfield almost all to himself, Stevenson rushed for a career-high 161 yards, while also hauling in multiple catches for the fourth time in five games. If Harris misses next week’s game, Stevenson will be a bonafide top-10 RB against a Browns defense that can’t stop the run.
Taysom Hill continues to revolutionize what it means to be a “tight end”
It would be bonkers enough if a tight end-eligible player caught four touchdowns. But it is even more absurd when one runs for three TDs and throws another. That’s just what Hill did against the Seahawks on Sunday, while surpassing the century mark in rushing for good measure. Taysom played less than 30 percent of the snaps and only touched the football 10 times, but he was incredibly productive on his opportunities. It makes sense that Hill is more involved with Andy Dalton under center than he was with Jameis Winston, and it isn’t shocking that he was able to run (and pass) all over a vulnerable Seattle defense. His fantasy production is going to be highly volatile from week to week, but Hill currently trails only Travis Kelce and Mark Andrews in fantasy points among “tight ends.”
Tom Brady and the Bucs passing game are officially back
Brady was the third-highest-scoring quarterback in fantasy football last year. But with his receiving corps dealing with various injuries — and in Mike Evans‘ case, a suspension — Brady finished outside the top-15 fantasy QBs in each of the first three weeks of the 2022 campaign. It’s been a different story since Evans and Chris Godwin returned, as Brady has back-to-back 300-yard games and top-eight fantasy finishes (and perhaps top-six, depending on how Patrick Mahomes and Derek Carr fare on Monday night). With Leonard Fournette also playing a big receiving role on Sunday, the Bucs’ passing game is now firing on all cylinders, and could get an added boost if and when Julio Jones is healthy. We can safely consider the ageless Brady as an every-week QB1 again moving forward.
Top 5 Disappointments
Amon-Ra St. Brown and Tee Higgins active, but lightly used due to ankle injuries
Sometimes we don’t learn critical information until right before kickoff. That was the case with the Lions this week, as Jay Glazer reported just minutes before game time that Detroit only planned to have St. Brown play 20-30 snaps in his return from an ankle injury. Sure enough, ARSB played just 21 snaps against the Patriots, posting a season-low four catches for 18 yards. St. Brown’s absence also didn’t help matters for Jared Goff. Goff may have struggled in New England anyway, but any chance he had at a decent fantasy day went out the window once it became clear his number one receiver would be so severely limited.
Meanwhile, Higgins’ fantasy managers weren’t even afforded a last minute warning that their star receiver would barely see the field. Higgins played eight of the Bengals’ first 10 offensive snaps on Sunday night, but was hardly heard from thereafter, finishing with a statistical goose egg. As with the St. Brown situation, Higgins’ absence had a cascading effect on his team’s entire offense, forcing Joe Burrow to play dink-and-dunk and doing no favors for Ja’Marr Chase, who was frequently blanketed in double coverage.
Rashad Penny suffers serious leg injury
Just one week ago, Penny rushed 17 times for 151 yards and two touchdowns. He was off to another nice start on Sunday in New Orleans, but it appears that his season has come to a devastating end. Penny reportedly suffered a fractured tibia, and while it has not yet been confirmed that he is done for the year, season-ending surgery seems inevitable. You have to feel for a player like Penny, who has had to deal with more than his fair share of injuries over his five-year NFL career.
Still, the fantasy show must go on. Kenneth Walker III, the 41st player selected in this year’s draft, played 88 percent of the snaps after Penny departed. Walker rushed eight times for 88 yards and a score, and he will likely be the top waiver wire add of the week in leagues in which he is available.
Chase Edmonds gets completely phased out of Dolphins’ offense
While Raheem Mostert truly began to take hold of Miami’s backfield in Week 4, this week the disparity between Mostert and Edmonds became too big to ignore. Edmonds has seen his snap rate gradually decrease every single week, all the way down to a season-low 15% in Week 5. Against the Jets, he even played behind Myles Gaskin, who had been a healthy scratch over the opening month. After handling 16 touches in Week 1, Edmonds has a grand total of 21 touches over the last four games combined, and it is no longer clear that he is even the preferred handcuff in the event of a Mostert injury.
Khalil Herbert goes back to the bench
Herbert amassed 270 yards from scrimmage over the two games where he served as the Bears’ lead back, but it evidently wasn’t enough to persuade Matt Eberflus to expand Herbert’s role once David Montgomery was back to full health. Montgomery returned to play 72 percent of the snaps against Minnesota, handling the ball 16 times to Herbert’s four. While Herbert still has value as one of the better handcuffs in fantasy football, he may not see enough action to provide standalone value while Montgomery is healthy. In that sense, Herbert is not unlike the backup running back on the other side of Sunday’s contest, Alexander Mattison.
Allen Robinson continues to look like fantasy football’s biggest bust
The Rams are having all kinds of problems pass-protecting this year, and while that has allowed for a ton of short and intermediate targets to Cooper Kupp and Tyler Higbee, it has left Robinson as a complete afterthought in the offense. The Rams’ $46.5 million offseason signing has yet to exceed six targets or four catches in a game, and he’s only topped 25 receiving yards once. In fact, through five games, Robinson has fewer targets, catches and receiving yards than Ben Skowronek. If you’ve been stubbornly holding onto Robinson these last couple weeks, perhaps this jaw-dropping stat is enough to convince you to finally give up the ghost.
CeeDee Lamb is the only player with a 30+% target share in four games this year. Lamb is the dictionary definition of a target monster. He’s currently the WR16, but imagine what he might do once Dak Prescott returns and the Cowboys’ passing volume grows.
Tyler Lockett has at least a 25% target share in four straight games. We talked about DK Metcalf last week, but let’s not forget about Lockett. There is plenty of room for two viable fantasy receivers in Seattle’s shockingly high-octane passing attack, and Lockett has now posted 100-yard games at San Francisco and New Orleans, two tough places to play.
Dyami Brown only ran the sixth-most pass routes for Washington this week. The final numbers (105 yards, two TDs) sure look nice, but picking up Brown would be a prime example of chasing last week’s stats. He’s not without talent, but profiles as a situational deep threat who will be even further buried on the depth chart once Jahan Dotson returns.
The Week 5 infirmary report features some big names
While Rashaad Penny‘s injury appears to be the most significant one of the week, it’s far from the only one that could have sizable fantasy ramifications.
Beyond the Damien Harris injury mentioned earlier, Tyreek Hill (foot), Chris Olave (concussion), James Conner (ribs), Pat Freiermuth (concussion), and Dalton Schultz (knee) are among the other key players who departed with injuries that will need to be monitored. Hill was in a walking boot after the game, but his injury is reportedly “nothing serious.” We shall see. Olave and Freiermuth may not be rushed back given the enhanced focus on brain injuries across the league, while the Cowboys could proceed cautiously with Schultz’s injury, which appears to be a re-aggravation of the lingering knee woes he’s dealt with over the last month.
In terms of priority pickups, running back is usually the first place to look. Conner’s rib injury doesn’t sound too serious, but should it cause him to miss time, Eno Benjamin would be best positioned to benefit since Darrel Williams (knee) less than 30 percent.
Brian Robinson completes miraculous recovery
Robinson’s nine carries for 22 yards in his first career NFL game were nothing special, but the fact he was back on the field so quickly certainly was. He is a mere six weeks removed from being shot twice in an armed robbery. Robinson has earned rave reviews both prior to the incident and during his recovery from it, and it is telling that he immediately became Washington’s primary ball carrier and short-yardage back. Look for Robinson’s role to continue to grow in the coming weeks at the expense of Antonio Gibson. J.D. McKissic remains the Commanders’ primary passing down back, meaning Gibson could be left without any meaningful role before long.
Alright, that’s it for this week. If you like what you see here, you can get more of my thoughts on waiver wire pickups, buy-low/sell-high candidates, rest-of-season player values, and more by subscribing to less than 30 percent and going to ROSrankings.com. I’m also always happy to talk about anything fantasy-related on Twitter @andrew_seifter.
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Andrew Seifter is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Andrew, check out his archive and follow him @andrew_seifter.