Fantasy Football Moves to Make Entering Week 5 of the NFL Season
We're only just a quarter of the way into the 2020 NFL season and it's already been turned upside down. And I'm not even referring to the empty stadiums or anything having to do with Covid-19. Fantasy teams have questions and here's some suggestions.
The surprise of the week was the firing of Bill O'Brien by the Houston Texans. The offensive minded head coach was struggling as the Texans are now 0-4 and their first three games were probably the toughest three games to start out any schedule: @Kansas City, vs. Baltimore, and then @Pittsburgh. A fourth loss to start the season at home against the Vikings led to the firing of O'Brien and fantasy owners may be wondering how this will affect any players they have on the Texans?
It won't. Tim Kelly was calling offensive plays for the Texans for their first three games before the offensive minded O'Brien likely knew he was on the hot seat and took over play calling for their 31-23 loss to the Vikings. A big part of O'Brien's game planning for the first four games was showing that their running back, David Johnson (who came over in arguably the worst trade in NFL history for wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins), was not a bust as a trade given the fact that O'Brien was also the GM. Going forward, it looks like Tim Kelly will once again continue the play calling. And in the first three games, in at least two of those three games, most of their offensive players hit or exceeded their projections for the week. Therefore, if you have a Deshaun Watson, David Johnson, Will Fuller V, etc., don't panic, you're going to be fine.
In terms of players to snatch, let's start at the quarterback position. Bye weeks are starting for some teams and one guy that not many have snatched up as of yet is San Diego Chargers rookie quarterback Justin Herbert. In his three starts, he's looked relatively comfortable. This past week, he went toe-to-toe with Tampa Bay's Tom Brady playing on the opposing side and despite taking a loss in a close game, Herbert put up 290 yards passing and three touchdowns. In his two other starts, has put up over 300 yards. If Justin Herbert is available and you need a quarterback, snag him.
At the running back position, we'll stick with the Chargers. Austin Eckler is now out with an injury and may miss some significant time. As the week has pressed on, it's looking like Justin Jackson will be his replacement. He has a similar skill set to what Eckler possesses and it looks like he'll get the bulk of the carries for the Chargers.
The Cleveland Browns can either put up lots of points, or the Dallas Cowboys' defense is brutally terrible. Either way, the resurgence of Kareem Hunt is happening in Cleveland. Running back Nick Chubb left last week's game with an injury and Hunt took over the game from the backfield. He's the guy now and if last week was any indication, if you have Hunt on your bench or if he's somehow a free agent, get him NOW!
At the wide receiver spot, lots of injuries throughout the league have players further down the depth chart stepping in and some may be players you didn't hear about during your initial draft. One is definitely Scotty Miller on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With a solid performance this past week, he is certainly a guy to look to for Tom Brady. Keep in mind that Chris Godwin is out, Mike Evans is a little banged up, tight end O.J. Howard is out for the year, Rob Gronkowski is still not the Gronk of old. Miller, as the slot receiver for Tampa, could step into the role of a Wes Welker or Julian Edelman that Brady has had to work with in the past. If he's available, get him on the waiver wire immediately.
Another wide receiver who has also come from the slot position on the offense is the Vegas Raiders' Hunter Renfrow. These Raiders are not the same they've been the past few seasons and have proven to be a tougher team than we've seen in recent years. Derek Carr is looking more like the quarterback we saw in 2015 and 2016 and making plays to get the ball to Renfrow, who has had 17 targets in the past two games. Renfrow has especially been a key target with the absence of Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards due to injury.
Some receivers to watch throughout the rest of the week are both on the same team, the Philadelphia Eagles. Yes, the NFC East leading Eagles with a record of 1-2-1. The reason for this is that Alshon Jeffery and Desean Jackson are both practicing this week and both have a chance to play this week, according to head coach Doud Peder son. They are both likely a game-time decision.
In case you happen to have Washington's Dwayne Haskins on your team as your quarterback, first off, I apologize for how your season's gone so far, but secondly, he has been benched. The Football Team is going with Kyle Allen as their starter this week, while Alex Smith will be the backup. This is a matchup against the LA Rams, which is unfortunate for Allen that he's having to face Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey in his first start, but if you're in need of a quarterback. He is starting.
As for games regarding Covid-19. We won't know until later in the week what will happen will certain games, such as the Tennessee Titans hosting the Buffalo Bills. The Titans, who already have more than a few players recovering from Covid-19, had two more players test positive on Wednesday (October 7th). As for Cam Newton for the New England Patriots, it's not likely that he'll be back this week and former defensive player of the year, Stephen Gilmore has tested positive for Covid-19 as of today.
It's likely to be a wait and see type of year for many weeks and we still have 12 games to go and 13 weeks left.