Updated: Thursday, October 5, 2017, 3:38 PM
The first quarter of the fantasy season is in the books and I’m with the group of owners who are pretty salty.
David Johnson is out until at least December, Dalvin Cook is out for the year, I play Stefon Diggs when I should have played DeAndre Hopkins, Drew Brees is on a bye. I think the dog just threw up and the wife wants to go to Pier 1 Imports this weekend.
But fantasy teams are a lot like baby pictures. Unless the child is yours, no one cares. I get that. So here are some thoughts on a few issues heading into Week 5.
Is Carson Wentz a fantasy starter?
This week, yes. Even though the Cardinals have been pretty good against opposing quarterbacks since Matthew Stafford scorched them with four TD passes in Week 1, we have Wentz as the ninth-best QB option. He’d be a bit lower, but Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, and Kirk Cousins are on bye weeks. Wentz is a spot starter. Probably wouldn’t play him at Carolina next Thursday night or against Denver in Week 9, but would consider him against Washington and San Francisco in Weeks 7 and 8.
Dalvin Cook’s injury
I jumped on Latavius Murray because someone has to lead the Vikings running game. Minnesota’s offense has been inconsistent since Sam Bradford went down, so it is a dice roll. Over the next four weeks, Murray will have decent matchups against the Bears, Packers, Ravens, and Browns. That will be enough to see if he can be an RB2. Murray had 12 rushing touchdowns last year and six in 2015.
The Packers’ running game
Green Bay is eighth in points scored (25.5 per) despite being 28th in rushing yards. This isn’t a new trend, but it’s still just as frustrating. Ty Montgomery is a spot starter this week against a Dallas defense that has allowed 30 receptions to opposing running backs, third most in the league. Aaron Jones has emerged ahead of Jamaal Williams as the handcuff for Montgomery, who seems to get hurt every game.
The Raiders’ wide receivers
Man, what’s happened to Amari Cooper? He’s been dealing with what’s been called a minor knee injury, and he has seven catches total for 48 yards over the last three games. He’s got the Ravens this week and Baltimore coach John Harbaugh called Cooper a “game wrecker.” Harbaugh was trying to be complimentary, but fantasy owners were thinking the exact same thing. The Ravens did good jobs containing A.J. Green in Week 1 and Antonio Brown last week, so put Cooper on the bench. And with E.J. Manuel replacing Derek Carr at quarterback, consider Michael Crabtree a WR3. He had 6-80 in Weeks 1 and 2, scoring three times in Week 2 before he got hurt late in Week 3.
Stat of the Week
Catch percentage for players who have been targeted a minimum of 36 times through the first four weeks. Check out who’s first and who’s last.
Player Targets Receptions Percentage 1. Zach Ertz, Eagles 36 26 72.2 2. Michael Thomas, Saints 37 25 67.6 3. Antonio Brown, Steelers 45 30 66.7 4. A.J. Green, Bengals 38 25 65.8 5. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals 41 26 63.4 6. DeAndre Hopkins, Texans 49 31 63.3 7. Keenan Allen, Chargers 40 24 60.0 8. Dez Bryant, Cowboys 40 16 14.0 Position watch
Quarterbacks: Interesting game this week for Jared Goff with the Rams hosting the Seahawks. We have Goff at No. 8 among quarterbacks even though Seattle demolished Indy last week. Most other analysts have him between 17 and 24. Hope I don’t break an ankle jumping off the Ram-wagon … Dak Prescott had 302 yards passing and three TDs in last year’s playoff game against the Packers. He’s had only two other 300-yard games in his 21 career starts.
Running backs: Looking for a monster game out of Le’Veon Bell this week against a Jaguars defense that is giving up an average of 5.71 yards per carry. Even before the Jets put 256 yards on them last week, opposing RBs were still gaining 4.7 yards per carry. … Through four games, Carolina’s Christian McCaffrey has 53 touches for Carolina (31 carries, 22 receptions) and Jonathan Stewart has 62 (59 carries, 3 catches). The only touchdown they scored was by Stewart on a pass in Week 1. Expected more out of that backfield.
Wide receivers: In his last 15 games, Odell Beckham has been held under 100 receiving yards 13 times. He hasn’t had a 100-yard game with a touchdown since Week 6 last season … Over the last three weeks, Patrick Peterson and the Cardinals defense has held down T.Y. Hilton (4-49), Dez Bryant (2-12), and Pierre Garcon (4-36). Your turn, Alshon Jeffery.
Tight ends: The anxiety for Rob Gronkowski owners continued early Thursday evening after ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted that Gronk was not expected to play against the Buccaneers … Don’t recommend chasing Cincinnati’s Tyler Kroft, who had two touchdowns last week. It was the first time the Downingtown East product had seen the end zone since his rookie year in 2015. Kroft scored four TDs at Rutgers in 2013, but none in 2014. Still good to see him getting an opportunity in place of Tyler Eifert, who continues to be sidelined with a back injury.
Ed Barkowitz, who is rooting for an Astros-Cubs World Series, has been writing about fantasy football since 2001.
Week 5 Rankings
Tom Brady, NE at TB Aaron Rodgers, GB at Dal. Dak Prescott, Dal. vs. GB Ben Roethlisberger, Pit. vs. Jac. Jameis Winston, TB vs. NE Matthew Stafford, Det. vs. Car. Russell Wilson, Sea. at LAR Jared Goff, LAR vs. Sea. Carson Wentz, Eagles vs. Ari. Cam Newton, Car. at Det. DeShaun Watson, Hou. vs. KC Tyrod Taylor, Buf. at Cin.
Running backs/PPR, Opp.
Le’Veon Bell, Pit. vs. Jac. Kareem Hunt, KC at Hou. Todd Gurley, LAR vs. Sea. Ezekiel Elliott, Dal. vs. GB LeSean McCoy, Buf. at Cin. Melvin Gordon, LAC at NYG Jordan Howard, Chi. vs. Min. Leonard Fournette, Jac. at Pit. Jay Ajayi, Mia. vs. Ten. Lamar Miller, Hou. vs. KC Latavius Murray, Min. at Chi. Carlos Hyde, SF at Ind. DeMarco Murray, Ten. at Mia. Bilal Powell, NYJ at Cle. LeGarrette Blount, Eagles vs. Ari. Duke Johnson, Cle. vs. NYJ Frank Gore, Ind. vs. SF Ameer Abdullah, Det. vs. Car. Christian McCaffrey, Car. at Det. Joe Mixon, Cin. vs. Buf. Mike Gillislee, NE at TB Doug Martin, TB vs. NE Marshawn Lynch, Oak. vs. Bal. Ty Montgomery, GB at Dal. James White, NE at TB
Wide receivers/PPR, Opp.
Antonio Brown, Pit. vs. Jac. Mike Evans, TB vs. NE A.J. Green, Cin. vs. Buf. Jordy Nelson, GB at Dal. Larry Fitzgerald, Ari. at Eagles Odell Beckham, NYG vs. LAC DeAndre Hopkins, Hou. vs. KC Doug Baldwin, Sea. at LAR Stefon Diggs, Min. at Chi. Brandin Cooks, NE at TB Keenan Allen, LAC at NYG DeVante Parker, Mia. vs. Ten. Tyreek Hill, KC at Hou. Alshon Jeffery, Eagles vs. Ari. Dez Bryant, Dal. vs. GB Pierre Garcon, SF at Ind. DeSean Jackson, TB vs. NE Davante Adams, GB at Dal. Michael Crabtree, Oak. vs. Bal. Golden Tate, Det. vs. Car. Jarvis Landry, Mia. vs. Ten. T.Y. Hilton, Ind. vs. SF Amari Cooper, Oak. vs. Bal. Adam Thielen, Min. at Chi. Chris Hogan, NE at TB
Tight ends, Opp.
Travis Kelce, KC at Hou. Zach Ertz, Eagles vs. Ari. Charles Clay, Buf. at Cin. Delanie Walker, Ten. at Mia. Martellus Bennett, GB at Dal. Jimmy Graham, Sea. at LAR Kyle Rudolph, Min. at Chi. Cameron Brate, TB vs. NE Evan Engram, NYG vs. LAC Jason Witten, Dal. vs. GB Jared Cook, Oak. vs. Bal. Jack Doyle, Ind. vs. SF Popular pickups
This week/ESPN leagues
Not including kickers or defenses
Aaron Jones, RB, Packers Latavius Murray, RB, Vikings Alex Collins, RB, Ravens Will Fuller, WR, Texans DeShaun Watson, QB, Texans Popular drops Chris Carson, RB, Seahawks Dalvin Cook, RB, Vikings Terrance West, RB, Ravens Jordan Matthews, WR, Bills Adrian Peterson, RB, Saints
Read full story: Fantasy football: Is Carson Wentz a starting quarterback?