Fantasy Football Market Report: Week 5

The most important risers and fallers in fantasy football.

One of the aspects of fantasy football that never fails to amaze me is when fantasy owners don’t take into account bye weeks. Week 5 will be the last time in a long time that every player on most rosters will be available.

Injuries do their part to gut fantasy rosters, so players who had no draft-day intention of being in the starting lineup are there more weeks than not. Bye weeks are a meaningless gutting – those guys are healthy, just not playing.

There will be eight weeks in which at least two and as many as six teams will be on bye. If you’re a seasoned fantasy player, you probably paid attention to the bye weeks as you were assembling a draft/auction roster, but a lot has happened since then.

A week from now it will dawn on some casual players that the bye weeks have started. You can be ahead of that curve and prepare for it now. If you see a week that will be rough, make a trade to diversify your roster. There will be someone in your league who effectively forfeits a week because too many key players are on their bye. Don’t let that be you.

Here is the Week 5 Fantasy Football Market Report:

Fantasy football PPR live draft review

A second PPR draft in mid-May showed a few different patterns emerge.

Much like with our May edition of the Mock Draft Series, out of respect for the hosts of this draft, no reference will be made to its identity so the content remains fresh on their end, nor will the entire draft results be published here.

The blurbs about my team below were provided to the draft host and will appear in a magazine as part of a larger evaluation of the draft. Before getting into my individual picks (we didn’t write up our final four), here are a few observations from an 18-round, 12-team, PPR draft.

  • This group was hyper-aggressive with selecting wide receivers early in the first round, especially atop the draft. Four of the first seven selections were wideouts, including Cooper Kupp going No. 3 overall. Detroit running back D’Andre Swift going 12th was the only thing close to a surprise in the opening round. Three tight ends and six receivers went in the second round. The rest were running backs.
  • The first QB came off the board was Josh Allen was taken with the fifth selection of Round 3, which is the earliest any quarterback has gone in the first three drafts of this series. Justin Herbert went with the final pick in Round 6, followed two spots later by Patrick Mahomes. Only Lamar Jackson (Pick 8:09) would go over the next 24 choices.
  • In the first 100 picks, 5 QBs, 42 RBs, 44 WRs and 9 TEs were taken. During the PPR draft a week prior, we watched 6 QBs, 39 RBs, 45 WRs and 10 tight ends.

Here’s a snapshot of the first 10 rounds broken down by number of positional picks:

1st: 8 RBs, 4 WRs
2nd: 3 RBs, 6 WRs, 3 TEs
3rd: 1 QB, 5 RBs, 4 WRs, 2 TEs
4th: 6 RBs, 6 WRs
5th: 3 RBs, 8 WRs, 1 TE
6th: 1 QB, 4 RBs, 6 WRs, 1 TE
7th: 1 QB, 5 RBs, 6 WRs
8th: 1 QB, 6 RBs, 4 WRs, 1 TE
9th: 5 QBs, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, 3 TEs
10th: 1 QB, 4 RBs, 6 WRs, 1 TE

My team

We were asked to write 35 words per pick to give a little insight as to our draft thoughts:

1:02) RB Austin Ekeler, Las Angeles Chargers: It came down to Derrick Henry being dominant one more time, Cooper Kupp as the safest pick here, or Ekeler remaining healthy. I was most concerned about not having a strong enough RB1 if I chose the wideout.

2:11) WR Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Knowing the drafter at the turn had an elite RB and presuming WR-WR was in play, I went with Evans before another back. It played out as expected. Evans and Keenan Allen were the best remaining WR1s.

3:02) RB Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns: I hoped Chubb would survive the turn, and my Round 2 decision paid off. Injuries and time-sharing concerns are real, but Chubb is a TD machine and gives me a legit RB1 as my second back.

4:11) WR Terry McLaurin, Washington Commanders: The debate was McLaurin and Courtland Sutton, who went with the very next pick. McLaurin has proven to be mostly QB-proof and makes for a quality WR2, even with Carson Wentz under center.

5:02) RB Damien Harris, New England Patriots: Three drafts, three Harris selections … it’s not that I’m necessarily a huge fan, but he’s a tremendous RB3. Thanks to Harris’ scoring prowess, none of the remaining backs were definitively better options at this stage.

6:11) WR DeAndre Hopkins, Arizona Cardinals: A strong draft start afforded this gamble. Hopkins will miss six games, sure, but he’s a borderline WR1 lock in PPR upon his return. It’s not too often you can plug that kind of talent into your WR3 slot.

7:02) QB Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs: Securing my third-ranked passer in Round 7 ahead of the long end of my wait, Mahomes was tough to let pass. While the WR talent regressed, he makes players around him better and will be fine.

8:11) WR Allen Lazard, Green Bay Packers: Lazard may emerge as the top fantasy receiver in Green Bay after the Davante Adams trade. It’s worth a late-round wager to find out. At a minimum, he’s adequate depth for me while Hopkins is out.

9:02) TE Austin Hooper, Tennessee Titans: I’m much higher on Hooper’s rebound than most, and since I tend to wait on TEs, this one was a no-brainer. Tennessee’s WR situation is shaky, at best, and Hooper is an ideal fit for the system.

10:11) WR Kenny Golladay, New York Giants: Can the talented Golladay stay on the field? His quarterback situation could hold him back, but I’m willing to bank on Brian Daboll getting the most out of Daniel Jones. The rest is up to Golladay.

11:02) RB Marlon Mack, Houston Texans: I should’ve taken Tyler Allgeier over Golladay. The rookie went at the turn, forcing a pivot to Mack. A whole lotta “meh,” but he has a chance, which is all one can ask for this late.

12:11) TE Cole Kmet, Chicago Bears: Kmet is one of my favorites for a breakout season, and the third-year tight end covers my backside if the Hooper gamble doesn’t pan out. There’s legit TE1 potential in Chicago’s new offense.

13:02) RB Jamaal Williams, Detroit Lions: Since the Mack pick could go either way, a safe, reliable veteran was the target, and Williams fits the bill. Plus, D’Andre Swift has proven to be less than a model of health thus far.

14:11) WR Jamison Crowder, Buffalo Bills: In three years with Buffalo, Cole Beasley was a PPR powerhouse out of the slot, and Crowder should have little trouble assuming the role in this pass-heavy system. He provides excellent value-to-upside ratio.

Rounding out the draft: Arizona Cardinals RB Keaontay Ingram (Round 15), PK Daniel Carlson (Round 16), QB Jameis Winston (Round 17) and Miami Dolphins defense/special teams (Round 18).

Fantasy football team previews: AFC East

Take a fantasy football spin around the AFC East.

The 2022 fantasy football draft season is starting to heat up now that we’ve gone through the height of free agency and all of the chosen rookies have been assigned to their professional home cities.

The landscape has changed a great deal for many franchises after a whirlwind offseason, and our divisional preview series will help you stay on top of all of the changes to date.

AFC divisional previews

East | North | South | West

NFC divisional previews

East | North | South | West

Fantasy Football Market Report: Week 8

Fantasy football risers and fallers entering Week 8.

There was a time that if a quarterback threw 400 passes, there was something wrong with the offense – either it had no run game or the defense was awful and required the offense to throw to try to stay in games they were losing.

Those days are over. Now 500 is the new benchmark and is the reason why fantasy football quarterbacks tend to be devalued – because so many can put up big numbers. This is a growing phenomenon. In 2018, 15 quarterbacks threw 500 or more passes, including four throwing more than 600. In 2019, 15 threw 500 times or more with four topping 600. Last season, 15 threw 500 or more passes with three throwing more than 600 times and both of the Super Bowl quarterbacks (Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes) were in the top five for pass attempts.

Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow has thrown 212 passes, which, based on the historical 16-game schedule, would have him on pace to throw 485 times – and he ranks 24th in pass attempts. Brady leads the league with 303 pass attempts, which, if the pace continues, would see him finish the season (based on 16 games, not 17) throwing 693 passes.

While the 17-game schedule will change team and league records with the additional game to pile up stats, we’re at a strange time in the league where numbers created by quarterbacks and receivers continue to grow, and there’s no reason to think they will ever come back down.

You still have to be able to run effectively to win in the postseason, but it doesn’t seem to matter nearly as much in the regular season.

Here is the Week 8 Fantasy Football Market Report:

Fantasy Football Risers

TE C.J. Uzomah, Cincinnati Bengals

At a time when tight end owners are feeling the pinch with George Kittle on IR, Darren Waller missing time, and just about everyone not named Travis Kelce struggling to put up consistent numbers, Uzomah had been s pleasant surprise. Over his last four games, he has posted more than 90 yards twice and scored five touchdowns. The majority of fantasy tight ends are played in hopes of picking up 40 or 50 yards and scoring a touchdown. Uzomah is making it harder to keep him out of lineups, and his price for daily players is going up as he becomes a bigger part of the Bengals offense.

RB Damien Harris, New England Patriots

It’s been a common refrain among fantasy owners for years that running backs in Bill Belichick’s offense don’t get the ball consistently enough and they’re all role players. Not this season. Harris has 95 carries – almost three times the number of carries for the other Patriots running backs combined (37) – has three 100-yard rushing games, and has scored five touchdowns. In his last two games, he has rushed 32 times for 207 yards and three TDs. He may not seem like a “must play,” but those numbers speak for themselves.

WR A.J. Green, Arizona Cardinals

Green went undrafted in most leagues, and there has been good reason for that – he’s fourth on his team in receptions. However, he has been targeted six or more times in five of seven games and, over his last four games, has 66 or more receiving yards in three of them. He is Kyler Murray’s go-to deep threat, averaging almost 17 yards per reception – three yards more per catch than Christian Kirk and four more than DeAndre Hopkins. He isn’t a guy you want to play every week, but he has a role in a high-powered offense, which brings value with it.

QB Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins

All the talk around Miami is the potential that Deshaun Watson will be coming to town. Apparently Tua has heard those words. After missing three games due to injury, he’s had the most prolific two-week passing stretch of career, throwing for 620 yards and six touchdowns. There’s no telling if there is truth to the Watson rumors of whether Tagovailoa will be part of that trade or not, but he’s playing like a man who fears his job is on the line. While it isn’t translating into wins, it’s making fantasy owners giddy with excitement.

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RB Darrell Henderson, Los Angeles Rams

When Cam Akers went down with an Achilles injury in July and Sony Michel was later acquired, the thought was they would be sharing the workload. That hasn’t been the case. Of the six games he has played, Henderson has never had fewer than 13 carries, is averaging 16 carries, and has scored five touchdowns. In the four games since missing Week 3 game against the Buccaneers, Henderson has 66 rushing attempts, while Michel has just 25. For what he has shown in Akers’ absence, he has earned his opportunity to stake his claim to playing time.

Fantasy Football Fallers

WR Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears

Lack of production for Robinson has been a problem all season. He has played in all seven games and has caught just 23 passes. His high-water mark for receiving yardage in a game is just 63, he has five games with 35 or fewer receiving yards, and has scored just one touchdown. For a guy who came to rosters with the expectation of being an every-week starter, only the desperate are still playing A-Rob on weekly basis – and are getting burned consistently for doing it.

QB Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers

For a guy who, by all accounts, is playing for his football life as a starter. He can’t help but be looking over his shoulder at Trey Lance, and it sure doesn’t look like it he’s doing anything but paving the road for the transition. In the five games he has started, he has three games with 190 or fewer pass yards and, in his last two starts since the open competition with Lance began, he has thrown for just 346 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. Everyone knows the job will eventually go to Lance, but Jimmy G is doing his best to speed up that process.

WR Julio Jones, Tennessee Titans

People are still treating Jones like the first-ballot Hall of Famer he is, but the numbers don’t lie and speak the truth that Jones is at the tail end of his career. He has missed two of the seven games the Titans have played and, of the five he has played in, he has more than three receptions in just one of them. He has only one game with 60 or more receiving yards, and his next touchdown as a Titan will be his first touchdown as a Titan. Playing him in fantasy lineups now is being done much more on reputation and recollection than his current production.

RB Ronald Jones, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Up until Tampa Bay got to the playoffs last season, Jones was the main man in the Bucs backfield and Leonard Fournette was the No. 2 option. Fournette took over in the postseason and hasn’t looked back. Through seven games, Jones has just 41 carries for 181 yards and one touchdown with just one appearance with more than 27 rushing yards, which came in a blowout Sunday as Fournette was being rested. He isn’t used as a receiving back, because he has brought nothing to the table this season (three catches, 33 yards, no TDs). At this point, the only way Jones retains any fantasy value is if Fournette gets hurt. Until then, he’s little more than a handcuff – and not a productive one. Nobody likes to leave the defending Super Bowl champ, but a trade might be the best thing his career.

WR Robby Anderson, Carolina Panthers

In his first season with the Panthers, Anderson was a bargain find in PPR leagues, catching 95 passes for 1,096 yards and three touchdowns. He was touted as having chic fantasy star potential as an upside guy heading into this season. The results so far? 18 catches (on 49 targets!) for just 204 yards and two touchdowns. Things have gotten worse as the season has gone along. In his last three games, despite being targeted 25 times, he has caught just eight passes for 55 yards and one TD. Unless dropped passes becomes a way to score points in fantasy leagues, Anderson does more harm than good to an owner.

Fantasy football fallout of Sony Michel trade to Rams

What to expect in fantasy football after the Michel trade

The New England Patriots have traded running back Sony Michel to the Los Angeles Rams for what essentially will be a fourth-round draft pick.

What a difference a day can make, huh?

It was seemingly inevitable the Pats would part ways with their former first-round rusher, whose inability to stay on the field ultimately spurred this decision. While Michel is currently is healthy, his extended absences have given a glimpse into what Damien Harris can do, and the preseason brilliance of rookie Rhamondre Stevenson also helped fan the flames.

The Rams were facing a backfield led by third-year man Darrell Henderson after losing Cam Akers to injury in the offseason. Just yesterday, Henderson’s thumb issue was considered behind him as he participated in 11-on-11 drills after getting a positive medical report of no structural damage. Prior to the injury, the Rams maintained they were going to roll with him as their featured back, sprinkling in untested backups Xavier Jones and Jake Funk along the way.

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Regardless of whether there always was some intention to bring in a veteran to complement Henderson or the thumb injury set this in motion, the tandem will make a nice one-two punch.

Michel is a more conventional between-the-tackles type who has the ability to bounce on zone-blocking and can just barely wheel his way to the corner. Henderson, though, is a more polished pass-catching back, and offers a slight bit more juice.

Fantasy football advice

Interestingly, though, if the injury concern about Henderson is what motivated LA to acquire another back, why pick one who has missed 10 games in his first three years? Nevertheless, any fantasy gamer investing in either back must be at least aware of the elevated injury concern.

Both backs will be shielded by the strong arm of Matthew Stafford to keep defenders from stacking the trenches. This offense uses play-action passing as much or more than any team, meaning the running game has to be no worse than functional. It’s easy to assume it will be a pass-laden script because of the Stafford trade. Don’t be so easily fooled.

Neither running back is a central figure for dynasty leagues, and their long-term value really doesn’t change to any noticeable degree following the trade. Over the course of time, both profile as fringe starting lineup considerations, where ever they may land.

Darrell Henderson

Owners who have already drafted Henderson should look to add Michel from the waiver wire as soon as their league rules permit a move. After all, Henderson has missed time with high-ankle sprains each of the past two years, including one that required surgery in 2019.

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For now, he should be treated as the primary guy and is likely to see the majority of the touches, if both backs remain healthy, but we’re talking something like 60/40 or 55/45 here. Neither back is likely to dominate the touches with any consistency, though a “hot-hand approach” is likely some weeks.

Henderson’s ADP will tumble from 3:10 as the 19th RB chosen down to somewhere in the Round 6-7 range. He has more appeal in PPR setups than TD-heavy leagues, and there is added early-season value in him already knowing the offense going in. He should net out as a weekly flex play.

Sony Michel

Michel’s stock has only way direction it is going to travel. He wasn’t even being drafted in the top 62 backs, according to FFCalculator.com. He should see his placement rise into roughly Round 8 or so initially, but if the window to learn the offense were longer, Michel would find enough suitors to take him as early as the sixth.

Even though it’s likely Henderson’s job to lose, especially early on, once Michel learns the playbook in an offense that will indeed run the rock, he has a potential to be a touchdown-scoring threat. In a best-case scenario, he’s a weekly flex play with the occasional RB2 showing. Be patient, and linking the two backs together is not a bad idea.

New England Patriots fantasy football outlook

A quick look at this backfield’s loss of Michel means the starting job should be Harris’ to lose. He has faced injury issues of his own so far in his young career, but the third-year bull has Stevenson looking over his shoulder. The leash will be short for Harris.

New England wants to run, run, run, play great defense, and run some more. There will be opportunities for both Harris and Stevenson to offer fantasy utility, while James White remains the third-down back. His role was greatly diminished in 2020 after Tom Brady moved south. The loss of Michel doesn’t move the needle for White’s stock.

The biggest winner here is Stevenson. He has scored four touchdowns through the first two preseason games, looking every bit the part of an NFL-capable back. Harris has been put on notice, but that doesn’t make him ready to be sent to the pasture just yet. The Alabama product will be given a fair shake behind a quality offensive line.

Both backs will lose touchdown opportunities to Cam Newton. A move to Mac Jones at quarterback actually would help both of their fantasy offerings, even if it means more defenders closer to the line of scrimmage with greater frequency.

Harris is a low-upside RB2 for the time being, and he’s really even more of a No. 3 in PPR scoring. Stevenson, the wild card, is depth material for now, and he should be considered a handcuff of sorts for Harris. It’s tough to commit so much draft stock into this backfield, however.