BY DUSTIN BREWER
As injuries and illness continue to cloud the regular NFL season, Dustin is back to try and help you keep your fantasy team afloat.
With the Titans still dealing with the impact of multiple Covid-19 outbreaks in their organization and the Patriots now faced with losing QB Cam Newton & CB Stephon Gilmore to the virus, it’s certainly getting a bit dire. No one knows if these games will be held as schedule, postponed or something else as the NFL tries to find a solution.
Obviously fantasy football is second to player safety & health and we want to see the NFL do whatever ends up being the safest option for all their players & staff. With that in mind, let’s try and focus on the bright side and see if we can help you navigate the first batch of BYE week player substitutions.
TEAMS ON BYE: Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers
– Teddy Bridgewater – Coming off of a fantastic game where the Panthers upset the Cardinals, Teddy Two Gloves now gets to go up against a Falcons team that is winless, devastated by injuries on their defense and specifically, their secondary, and possibly on the verge of quitting on coach Dan Quinn. No one on the Falcons defense can keep up with Robby Anderson and with Teddy able to extend plays with his legs, it’s very likely he’s going to continue his stellar season.
– Deshaun Watson – This is based on the fact that the Texans have finally fired coach/GM Bill O’Brien and will now go up against a Jaguars team that is absolutely ready to roll over on defense. The Texans don’t exactly have the weapons for Watson that they used to, but being free of Billy O’B is bound to count for something for the Texans offense as they begin to try to salvage their season the best they can.
– Jared Goff – Goff has been much more consistent this season as opposed to last year’s regression and will now find himself up against a Washington Football Team defense that still likely won’t have Chase Young. The Rams defense has been forcing turnovers and generally creating havoc on opposing offenses so there’s a good chance Goff & Co. will be playing with short fields all day.
– Gardner Minshew II – This is just going off the thought that firing Bill O’Brien will help the Texans revert back to a decent football team & the Jaguars just so happen to be the first team they play. We’ll see if the Texans can bounce back and get their first win at the Jags’ expense, I just feel like it’s too risky to start Minshew with all the possibilities of an inspired Texans performance.
–Baker Mayfield – The Colts have the best defense in football (arguable depending on your Steelers feelings) and couple that with the fact that Baker had just 15.2 points in a game where the Browns scored 49 total points. Trick plays and a strong run game have helped revitalize the offense, taking responsibility off Baker’s plate and allowing him to focus on making the right reads & not turning the ball over. This approach is great for real games, bad for fantasy football.
– Josh Jacobs– It’s been a few weeks since Jacobs has enjoyed a big game but going up against a vulnerable Chiefs front seven will likely create more opportunity for Jacobs. The Raiders should also try to hold onto the ball as long as possible to limit the Chiefs’ offense so that may be another key to a big Jacobs day.
– Justin Jackson/Joshua Kelley– Austin Ekeler is going to miss some time with a hamstring injury and with Justin Herbert still under center, that means plenty of opportunities will be going to Ekeler’s backups. There’s been no indication of who the starter will be but both should see ample opportunity the first week. Maybe a slight edge to Jackson based on experience.
– Kareem Hunt – Nick Chubb is going to miss at least six weeks with an MCL injury and with the Browns newfound commitment to the run game, Hunt is going to see plenty of opportunity both on the ground & through short passing game.
– David Montgomery – Montgomery will likely continue to see the bulk of the carries but this Tompa Bay defense has been no joke to start the season.
– Miles Sanders – The Eagles are one of the worst teams in the league despite somehow beating the injury-riddled 49ers last week to get their first win of the year. This week they get to go up against the Steelers, who have arguably the best defense in the league. Their front line & pass rush are going to likely disrupt the Eagles offense all game long.
– Justin Jefferson – This dude has come on very strong in the last few weeks and has brought signs of life to a previously anemic Vikings offense. His dynamic playmaking may be their only hope of opening up their run game against a very beatable Seahawks defense. Throw in that Kirk Cousins will probably have to try to match the Seahawks point for point and it’s easy to see a path where Jefferson gets more than a fair share of targets. He may be a PPR gold mine this week.
– CeeDee Lamb – CeeDee seems to have overtaken Michael Gallup as Dak Prescott’s #2 target in a highly explosive offense and will get to continue to build that chemistry with a game against a potent but hapless Giants defense.
– Hunter Renfrow– The Chiefs defense has been much more consistent than expected but in Renforw, Raiders QB Derek Carr has found a safety blanket that he loves to check it down to and that he trusts in crucial plays down the field.
– Terry McLaurin– Terry has been the crux of the Washington Football Team’s passing offense so far this season and this week is hampered in practice by a thigh injury. Throw in now that starting QB Dwayne Haskins Jr. has been benched in favor of Kyle Allen AND the fact that Jalen Ramsey, Aaron Donald and the Rams are coming into town and it could be a long day for Washington.
– Emmanuel Sanders– Sanders has continued to struggle with building chemistry with Drew Brees, top receiver Michael Thomas may be back this week, and the Chargers still have a sneaky pass defense even without Derwin James.
– Mo Alie-Cox/Jack Doyle – Phil Rivers loves TEs as safety blankets and last week, Doyle & Alie-Cox both enjoyed a fair share of the offensive targets. The Browns defense has been strong & will likely limit the Colts’ deep shots, opening up plenty of opportunity for both their TEs.
– Dalton Schultz – TE is still a total wasteland. The Cowboys offense has been having to play catchup in almost every game, leading to Dak Prescott airing it out nonstop. Dallas still has a lot of weapons in the offense but Schultz has caught two touchdowns so far and continues to see at least six targets a game.
-Logan Thomas – Kyle Allen is in at QB, replacing Dwayne Haskins Jr. and with the Rams up next, there’s a good chance that the Football Team QB is going to need to check it down early & often. Especially since Terry McLaurin is listed as questionable again this week with a lingering thigh injury & even if McLaurin does play, he’ll likely have Jalen Ramsey covering him all game.
– Jonnu Smith, Dawson Knox & Tyler Kroft – As of now, the Titans are experiencing another wave of Covid-19 outbreaks so there’s a very good chance that their matchup with the Bills is postponed as well, following their Week 4 postponement vs. the Steelers. There’s no telling what’s going to happen but it’s best to try and find a TE elsewhere to keep your bases covered.
– Zach Ertz – The Eagles finally got their first win last week vs. the injury-riddled 49ers but Ertz was virtually a no-show. 4 catches for 9 yards doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.
– Cardinals – Not only are the Jets the worst team & offense in football, but now Sam Darnold is out with a shoulder injury and stepping in for the injured Syndrome lookalike is Joe Waka Flacco Flame. This may be the perfect storm of remedies to help the Cardinals get back on track after two straight disappointing weeks.
– Rams – Similar to the Cardinals, the Rams will be going up against a team switching their QBs in response to poor play & generally anemic offense. The Rams just have a more talented defense overall compared to Arizona.
– Vikings – The Vikings defense couldn’t stop a nosebleed and now they have to face Russell Wilson and an unstoppable Seahawks offense.
– Saints – Chargers rookie QB Justin Herbert has been way better than expected since taking over for Tyrod Taylor after a team doctor accidentally stabbed him. Herbet has helped the Chargers offense be much more explosive and if he continues to minimize his mistakes, an injured Saints defense may be another stop on the Air Bear Ascension Tour.
Good luck in Week 5, it’s been fun having fantasy football back but it’s probably best to enjoy each week as if it’s the last, cause who knows in 2020. If you have any sleepers or BYE Week subs, drop ’em in the comments or let us know on Twitter.