There is a fantasy football trend becoming more popular all the time – complementing every-week stars in your lineups with players going against teams fielding high-powered offenses and shaky defenses that look worse when they’re in “prevent” mode to close out a win.
Opposing quarterbacks facing the Kansas City Chiefs have thrown for more yards than Patrick Mahomes. Opposing quarterbacks of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have thrown for more yards and thrown more touchdowns than Tom Brady. Opposing quarterbacks facing the Dallas Cowboys have thrown for almost 300 more yards than Dak Prescott. Opposing quarterbacks facing the Baltimore Ravens are averaging 293 yards a game. Opposing quarterbacks facing the Green Bay Packers have thrown more touchdown passes (10) than Aaron Rodgers has (8). The Rams are allowing more yards a game (397) than they’re producing (391).
The only exception to this has been the Buffalo Bills. After losing in Week 1 at home to Pittsburgh, they’ve outscored their opponents 118-21. They still beat up people the old-fashioned way, but for a lot of the teams getting the tout as being Super Bowl contenders thanks to their offenses, their own prowess is coming back to roost on their defenses.
The longstanding tradition of stacking your lineup against the dregs of the league will likely never go away. But with the aggressive offenses that are reaching the top, more people should be looking at when are the Chiefs, Bucs or Cowboys coming to town.
Here is the Week 5 Fantasy Market Report.
Fantasy Football Risers
RB/WR Cordarrelle Patterson, Atlanta Falcons
Patterson has never lived up to being a regular in fantasy lineups (at least those who aspire to win), because he’s never deserved to be. He’s bounced around the league and may have finally found his spot. Known more as the most dangerous kick returner in the game, he’s become the main scoring threat in Atlanta. He’s second on the team in receptions (18). But, Matt Ryan has thrown eight touchdown passes and four have been to Patterson. He also is second on the team in rushing (27-119) and has their only rushing touchdown. And he can still return kicks 109 yards to get you needle-in-the-haystack points. When one offense has nine touchdowns and one guy has five of them, you should want that guy.
TE Dawson Knox, Buffalo Bills
Is Knox the Robert Tonyan of 2021? When evaluating the talent of the Buffalo pass game, Knox doesn’t come to mind, because he has just 15 catches for 144 yards. But, in his last three games, he has scored four touchdowns. When Josh Allen gets to the red zone, Knox is clearly his first choice, because he has scored one more touchdown than Stefon Diggs, Cole Beasley and Emmanuel Sanders combined.
WR D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers
He doesn’t get mentioned a lot among the discussion of the league’s elite wide receivers, but few have been the sole focus of their QB. Sam Darnold is cocked and locked on Moore. He has double the targets of any other Panthers receiver, has caught 30 passes, including eight each in the last three games. His low-water mark for receptions and yards is six and 79, respectively. He’s been a fantasy scoring machine and still seems to be slightly flying under the radar for what he has accomplished.
TE Dalton Schultz, Dallas Cowboys
The thing about tight ends in TE-mandatory leagues is that you have your handful of guys who are deemed to be elite, and then you have guys that get taken because they’re viewed as “red zone guys.” The Tonyan experience. Every few years, a pedestrian tight end catches lightning in a bottle with his quarterback and breaks out. Andrew Luck was really good at finding those guys. Schultz emerged last season when the ordained heir to the Jason Witten throne (Blake Jarwin) went down with injury. Jarwin is back but still an afterthought. He has been targeted just 12 times, catching nine of them. Schultz has been targeted 23 times and has caught 20 of them for 201 yards and three touchdowns. He’s gaining steam as the season goes on. In his last two games, he has caught 12 passes for 138 yards and three TDs – numbers that would surpass many of the big-name tight ends. He has Dak Prescott’s confidence. That’s worth something in fantasy football.
WR Diontae Johnson, Pittsburgh Steelers
I think everyone is in agreement that it may be time for Ben Roethlisberger to throw in the Terrible Towel and limp off into the sunset. But, aside from being a difficult “Wheel of Fortune” answer because of having every vowel in his first name, Johnson is tearing it up. He’s played only three games but has nine receptions of two them — 92- and 105-yard outings — and a touchdown in the other one. He has consistently brought fantasy owners to the pay window while JuJu Smith-Schuster and Chase Claypool lag well behind. It’s time to be jump off the Steelers bandwagon, but Johnson may be the exception to the rule.
Fantasy Football Fallers
TE George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers
Kittle has never been known as a huge touchdown scorer. His fantasy value has always been tied to receptions and yardage. He has neither this season. He hasn’t scored a touchdown – not a huge surprise given his career penchant for droughts – but he has four receptions in three of his four games and 40 yards or less in two of those. Those who have Kittle on their roster came into with the knowledge he won’t score 10 TDs, but there was a legitimate expectation for 100 receptions. You don’t get there when you’re collecting them four at a time.
QB Jameis Winston, New Orleans Saints
In Week 1, Winston seemed to pound a stake into the heart of Drew Brees with a five-touchdown beatdown of the Packers. Since then? Not much. Through four games, he has thrown for 613 yards and provided little in the run game. It’s time to jump off any hope the Winston train will roll again.
RB Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles
Sanders was brought onto rosters to be an every-week starter. He has yet to score a touchdown, and his rushing numbers gave gone down quickly and steadily (74-55-27-13). He has fewer rushing yards than his quarterback and fewer receptions than his backup. These are hard times for Sanders, and it doesn’t look to be getting any better, barring a significant change of course offensively.
WR Courtland Sutton, Denver Broncos
The fantasy football world has been waiting to see what Denver could have in the receiver tandem of Sutton and Jerry Jeudy. Last year, they were denied because Sutton was injured. This year, they’ve been denied because Jeudy is hurt. Sutton has yet to score a touchdown and, with the exception of roasting Jacksonville (who doesn’t?) in his other three games, he has nine catches for 98 yards and no touchdowns. That gets old in a hurry.
TE Robert Tonyan, Green Bay Packers
He was the golden boy last year and has just eight catches for 74 yards and a touchdown through four games – a standard daily stat line for guys like Kelce. He is one-trick pony. Last year, it was a great trick. This year? Not so much. If you aren’t supplying the bread, there’s no need for butter.