As all fantasy football owners know, each and every week of the NFL season is crazy. It’s impossible to know which players will break out and which should’ve been sitting on your bench. However, at the end of the last game on Monday night, there’s always something to be learned. For example, it can be a statistic that shows you which players can be trusted or a performance that proves to you who really should be starting in your FLEX position each week instead fiddling with that decision each Sunday morning. No matter what it is, Week 5 was no different as it showed fantasy owners a lot of important information to know going forward for the rest of the season. Here are some of the things we learned this past week.
Adam Thielen is a stud WR
On average, Thielen was the 13thwide receiver taken in 2018 fantasy football drafts. Everyone knew he was in for a good year, but it was hard to predict just how much he would produce so soon. With a new quarterback in Kirk Cousins along with a new offensive coordinator in John DeFilippo, fantasy owners thought it would take some time, especially since DeFilippo wanted to feature Stefon Diggs as the team’s number one option in the passing game. However, that has not been the case so far. Thielen has gone over 100 receiving yards in each of the first 5 weeks of the NFL season and has seen double-digit targets in each game as well.
After going undrafted and working his way up the ranks among the Minnesota Vikings wide receivers, Thielen has developed into a reliable fantasy option. He is averaging just under 26 PPR fantasy points a game, good enough to be the top scoring WR at the moment. Going forward, Thielen is a definite WR1 that will carry a lot of fantasy teams to the playoffs.
Zach Ertz is the most valuable fantasy TE
Although the Philadelphia Eagles have had an unexpectedly slow start to the season offensively, failing to score more than 24 points in any game this season, Zach Ertz’ production has not taken a hit at all. Ertz scored his first touchdown of the season in Week 5, but he is still the top scoring TE in PPR fantasy leagues. This is because he sees consistent targets every game. This is what sets him apart from Travis Kelce and Rob Gronkowski. Everyone knew to come into the season that it would be a three dog race at the tight end position.
So far, Ertz leads all tight ends with 41 receptions for 437 yards because of his target share. Ertz has seen 28 percent of his team’s targets, while Kelce sees 26 percent and Gronkowski sees just 17 percent. Ertz is averaging 18.5 PPR fantasy points a game, which is a luxury for fantasy owners since the tight end position is one that does not produce 15+ points that often. Ertz’ scoring ability regardless of whether or not he scores a touchdown pushes him to be the most valuable fantasy TE for the rest of the season.
Isaiah Crowell is unpredictable
Coming into this season, Crowell was drafted, on average, as the 36thRB taken off of the board in PPR fantasy leagues. Sharing a backfield with Bilal Powell on the New York Jets, no one really knew if the carries would work out in his favor. Fantasy owners hoped he could be a player they could stick in their FLEX position on a weekly basis. However, Crowell has been the ultimate boom or bust player from a fantasy perspective. In a career day against the Denver Broncos on Sunday, Crowell carried the ball 15 times for 219 rushing yards and a touchdown to go along with a 12-yard reception as well. This was his third game in which he has scored 19+ PPR fantasy points, but in the other two games, he has scored a combined 7.2 points.
It hasn’t been an easy thing to predict, either. In Week 3, Crowell managed only 34 yards on 16 carries against a Cleveland Browns defense that ranked in the middle of the league against the rush. Nevertheless, you may never know if he’ll be a stud or a dud in your lineup each week going forward. As a fantasy owner, that’s just a risky decision you’ll have to take on whether or not to start him.
LeSean McCoy is not done yet
LeSean McCoy has been a fantasy workhorse running back for years. Taken around the third round of fantasy drafts this year, McCoy has not started off strong. While dealing with injuries, McCoy has produced three lackluster performances as well as missing an entire game back in Week 3. On Sunday, he provided the kind of stat line fantasy owners expected coming into this season. He did not break out, but he did manage to gather over 100 total scrimmage yards for the first time this season and saw 15 carries come his way. Although he only managed 3.5 yards per carry, McCoy saw the high-volume usage that fantasy owners were used to.
The number of carries McCoy saw did have a lot to do with the fact that the Buffalo Bills lead for most of the ballgame, but it showed that the Bills know they can rely on McCoy. It also showed that this type of game plan can help the Bills win games. Look for McCoy to shine even more in games where the Bills can grab a lead, but that will not be that often. However, this game gave fantasy owners a reason to be optimistic going forward.
Kenny Golladay is here to stay
Many fantasy owners were intrigued by Golladay coming into this season, but he was hardly drafted outside if dynasty leagues. Everyone knew that Golden Tate and Marvin Jones were still on the Detroit Lions, meaning they would see their targets. However, Golladay has been the most productive wide receiver for the Lions so far. He has caught at least four passes each game and has surpassed 50 receiving yards in each game as well. Furthermore, he has scored a touchdown in three out of the five games.
Golladay is becoming a threat that opposing teams need to plan for. Because of that, Golladay is averaging 17.8 PPR fantasy points per game and has yet to produce a lackluster performance for fantasy owners. He has been consistent and there is no reason to believe that will stop anytime soon. The young wide receiver has seen targets all over the field, including short routes, intermediate routes, deep routes, and even in the red zone. He has emerged as one of Matthew Stafford’s favorite targets and going forward, Golladay can be slotted in as your WR2 with no hesitation. Look for him to keep up his production level throughout the rest of the season.
Stay away from Packers backfield for now
The Green Bay Packers are currently employing a committee at the running back position. Between Ty Montgomery, Jamaal Williams, and Aaron Jones, it is a question each and every week on who will see the most work on the field. Each running back has his own trait that sets him apart from the rest. Montgomery is the best receiving back, Williams has the best blocking abilities, and Jones has the most overall rushing talent amongst the group.
None of this matters from a fantasy perspective because if the snap counts continue to be as they currently are, none of the Packer running backs are worthy of being in your starting lineup. Last Sunday at the Detroit Lions, Williams was on the field for 31 snaps, Montgomery for 28, and Jones for 22. Even worse, none of these players are averaging more than 8 PPR fantasy points per game. Jones is the only one who has scored a touchdown, back in Week 4.
Going forward, there is not much to be optimistic about when it comes to the Packers backfield situation. Until a clear starter emerges who will see most of the carries, none of these guys should be started. If anything, stash Jones on your bench as he seems to be the front-runner to become a workhorse running back, but that’s a mere possibility at this point.
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