2020 Season: Week 5 Recap

Charles Herrmann (@HermsNFL)
The Lateral Chief Editor

Malcolm McMillan (@McLateralFF)
The Lateral Writer

Not much to say here. Let's jump right into our Week 5 recap.

Week 5 Recap

Standout Performers

I would be remiss not to mention first how amazing it is that Washington QB Alex Smith was able to return to a football field. It was truly both remarkable and terrifying as I believe we all collectively clenched our teeth any time Smith was hit by the Rams defense. Regardless, kudos to the man. 

The other great thing to see was the NFL being cautious and postponing the game between New England and Denver. I know it's frustrating for scheduling purposes, people who needed a particular player in that game, or even people who tried to add the Los Angeles Chargers DST in anticipation of a matchup against the Jets that's no longer happening (certainly not talking about myself), but safety is good.

MM: Look, when you become the best in your country at something, you get to be the standout performer. Chase Claypool had already been turning heads leading into the season, with a strong combine performance and a good camp, but the asterisk was always he cannot get enough targets to be fantasy relevant week to week. Which it turns out, was true through three weeks, where he saw a combined 9 targets and was only fantasy relevant in Week 2 due to a massive TD reception.

Turns out it was also true that if you feed Claypool the ball, he can ball out. With Diontae Johnson leaving the game early, Big Ben had no choice but to get the ball to the Canadian WR, and Claypool turned in a record-setting performance. His 7 catches on 11 targets were impressive enough, as was the 110 receiving yards, but the 4 TDs were enough to set a record for Canadian-born NFL players. Going forward Claypool is dependent on Diontae Johnson's health, but given that Johnson has struggled to stay off the injury report this season (not entirely predictable, but that toe injury is not going away) Claypool should be rostered as a match-up dependent FLEX play.

Bitter Disappointments

CH: I'm certainly hoping that Cowboys QB Dak Prescott is well and recovers quickly from what was an absolutely gruesome ankle injury. Find the video on YouTube or Twitter at your own risk; that was gross and I can't help but feel terrible. Here's to 2021 for Dak. 

Aside from that, I can't think of anything that was obscenely disappointing but here's something to think about: is Chiefs RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire in trouble? His involvement in the passing game has been a touch disappointing and it does seem my concerns about him at the goal-line weren't wholly unwarranted. I'm not about to assign the bust label to the colloquially known CEH, but he wasn't drafted to be an RB2. I see this as a potential buy-low moment in redraft, but damn, it's a lowkey bummer.

MM: It is pretty tough to get past Joe Burrow's QB24 performance against the Baltimore Raven's, but given that from an NFL standpoint the lone bright spot in that game for the Bengals was kicker Randy Bullock preventing the shutout, I am going to go bigger picture here. A quick side note: even in a truly awful performance, WRs Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd were likely not what cost you your game this week, nor was RB Joe Mixon. A good sign for those who have stock in this Bengals offense.

The bigger picture in Week 5 was that there was a lot of bad QB play. Up until Week 5, the top 24 QBs (except Kirk Cousins) through four weeks were all averaging over 17.48 points, which is pretty damn good. To put it in perspective: last year through four weeks, only the Top-15 QBs were averaging that many points, and at the end of the season only the Top-10 QBs were averaging as many points (excluding the injury-shortened seasons of Drew Brees and Matthew Stafford). Week 5 of the 2020 season was a harsh return to reality though, and unless you had one of the Top-12 QBs on the week, you were likely left feeling disappointed by your QB's performance. Given that Week 5's QB1s included Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB2), Jared Goff (QB6), Derek Carr (QB7), Teddy Bridgewater (QB9), Garnder Minshew II (QB10), Carson Wentz (QB11), and Baker Mayfield (QB12), you were likely missing out on a QB1 performance in Week 5. Though if you had been reading our articles, you would have been on top of Minshew Mania and the Bridgewater Bandwagon.

Personal Fantasy Highlight/Lowlight

Not a whole lot of interesting things happened in my leagues on Sunday, but kudos to me for picking up Carolina QB Teddy Bridgewater on a team in which I also have RB Mike Davis. That was cool. That, however, was negated by using the Chiefs DST on another team. All in all, I feel decent and don't have much to say. My biggest potential highlight won't be known until I see how Saints RB Alvin Kamara and the Saints DST perform tonight, so yeah. There's that.

MM: Due to injuries and COVID-19, I had to take some shots in fantasy this week. [NOTE: all the rankings you are about to see are based on FantasyPros PPR points] Some paid off, such as Devonta Freeman (RB13) over Russell Gage (WR70), Tee Higgins (WR40) over Russell Gage (WR70), and Evan Engram (TE10) over my beloved Mo-Alie Cox (TE44). Michael Gallup (WR33) technically paid off as a desperation play, but still, stay away from that situation; I cannot endorse starting Michael Gallup at this point. Others did not pay off, such as Olamide Zaccheaus (WR76) over Laviska Shenault Jr. (WR21), and going heavy on Mo Alie-Cox (TE44) and Joe Burrow (QB24). Still, despite these issues and Dak's season-ending prematurely, 3-1 looks like a serious possibility this week. That would give me a winning record in three redraft leagues and tanking as planned in my dynasty league. Not bad.

What We Are Looking Forward to Next Week

I'm weirdly into the Bengals @ Colts game next Sunday. The idea of seeing two teams that produce mixed fantasy results (feat. a pair of frustrating RBs in Joe Mixon and Jonathan Taylor) piques my interest. I have this game pegged as one I could see getting some kicker value out of, and anyone who's read our work knows how much I don't care for kickers in fantasy. The fact that this has me excited for kickers says something.

MM: I would agree with Charles that it is weird he is into the Bengals playing at the NFL Franchise from Indianapolis. As you can clearly tell, I am borderline embarrassed about how the Bengals did yesterday, and I am a Niners fan. Us Niners fans can tell you all about embarrassing after yesterday's performance in Miami.

I am, however, looking forward to seeing what Andy Dalton can do under center in Dallas, given the potency of that offense despite being coached by Mike McCarthy. Is this partially because I have Dak as my QB in one league and will be rushing to be replacing him with Dalton? Maybe, but it will still be interesting regardless. The last time we saw Dalton as a starter, he was on an awful Bengals team having the worst season of his career, but yesterday's emergency substitution performance was largely positive despite a fumble that ultimately led to a Giants TD. Definitely want to see what he has left in the tank.

What We Are Most Nervous About Going Forward

The reason I didn't mention Steelers WR Chase Claypool at the beginning is that while his performance was fabulous, I would advise against splurging a huge portion of your FAAB on him. I know this blog isn't meant for me to talk about my Steelers fandom, but if you reference the Week 3 recap piece in which I discussed Pittsburgh and raised concern over JuJu Smith-Schuster's value, I'd like to believe my opinion on the fantasy implications for this team is worthwhile.

I am a big supporter of Claypool. I believe he is talented and I am glad he is on the roster of the team I root for. However, it's important to note that WR Diontae Johnson once again left the game with an injury. Take a look at the Steelers snaps leaders amongst pass catchers through the 3 prior games: see who's atop the list despite leaving once early?

I don't have an official record of the snap counts from yesterday's affair readily available as of this moment, but keep in mind that Claypool does not see the field often enough with a healthy Johnson and WR James Washington. Should he be rostered? YES! Go ahead and snag Claypool, but keep expectations in check. Perhaps this performance influences his usage (and frankly I hope it does), but it's a touch premature to assume that we have a mega-contributor on our hands. Long story short, don't hesitate to add Claypool by any means, but if you're looking for immediate reliability, I don't know for certain you're going to find it here. He's best viewed as a guy you can stash with patience to see it again, not as a guy to count on immediately.

MM: How many more games are going to be moved due to COVID-19? Because the answer is pretty clearly going to be more than zero. With the latest round of COVID-19 positive tests, the Denver Broncos at New England Patriots game was moved to Week 6 and the NFL was forced to change the schedules of eight teams. Another week of this and the NFL could have no choice but to significantly alter the schedule in ways we can only hypothesize about. Ultimately, I firmly believe the NFL will have to bubble up or cut the season short and move onto the playoffs, where bubbling up will be easier. While significantly better for player safety, and a solution I would have preferred from the beginning, it will wreak havoc on fantasy football.

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