Home field advantage is a frequently discussed topic in professional and college sports. Attempting to measure the actual advantage provided is impossible, but it is evident that athletes generally enjoy playing and perform at a higher level on their home soil in front of their local fans. Last season’s Super Bowl contenders are no different, as the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons have been nearly unbeatable at home in recent seasons. However, home seemed more bitter than sweet in Week 4 as both teams suffered losses from the visiting underdog. New England has now suffered two home losses already this season after Carolina Panthers’ Graham Gano hit a game-winning field goal as time expired. The Atlanta Falcons defended their perfect record against the visiting Buffalo Bills last weekend. Buffalo held Atlanta’s high-octane offense to only 17 points as they upset the NFC champions in their new stadium.
With a rash of injuries to notable fantasy stars in Week 4 like Derek Carr, Ty Montgomery, Dalvin Cook and Marcus Mariota to name a few, I would highly recommend taking a dive with me into Week 5 to replace these injured stars and fill in for the four teams on bye including the Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos, New Orleans Saints, and Washington Redskins. Lastly, the weather forecast should not be a factor in most games this week.
QB Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Coming off his best game of the season with a win over the New York Giants, Winston looks for an encore performance with a short week as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers welcome the New England Patriots on Thursday night. New England surprisingly is now the worst defense in the league and allows the most total points, yards, and touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks. Winston should be considered a QB1 this week.
Week 5 forecast: 225 passing yards; 25 rushing yards; 2 TD
RB Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers
With both Ty Montgomery’ and Jamaal Williams listed as questionable but more than likely out for Week 5, Aaron Jones should be the lead back. Even if Montgomery and Williams play, it is unlikely they will receive the majority of carries. Jones looked solid in Week 4 in relief and also received a glowing endorsement from quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Keep an eye on the Green Bay running back situation, but grab Jones if you haven’t already. With a matchup against the Dallas Cowboys who have allowed the 7th most fantasy points to opposing running backs, consider Jones a RB3 or Flex with high upside.
Week 5 forecast: 75 total yards; 1 TD
WR Jaron Brown, Arizona Cardinals
Although the Arizona Cardinals’ wideout situation has been difficult to predict, Jaron Brown is now more than just a name on the radar. With 29 targets over the last three games including a 105 receiving yard performance in Week 4, Brown seems to be Carson Palmer’s second option to Larry Fitzgerald. The Arizona Cardinals will be visiting the Philadelphia Eagles who have given up the most receiving yards and 3rd most points to wide receivers, Brown should be teed up for another solid outing as a WR3 or FLEX play.
Week 5 forecast: 75 receiving yards; 1 TD
TE Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
It feels weird “picking on” the New England Patriots’ defense, but it is necessary given their recent track record. Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ tight end Cameron Brate enjoyed a solid 2016 breakout season and has been improving each game this season including scores in back to back games. Brate will welcome the New England Patriots’ defense who has surrendered the 4th most points to opposing tight ends including touchdowns in each of the first three games. Look for a Week 5 shootout between these two teams with solid offenses and struggling defenses!
Week 5 forecast: 50 receiving yards; 1 TD
D/ST Detroit Lions
Any guesses on the top defense this season? Although the top drafted defenses including Kansas City, Seattle, Denver, and Houston have performed well, it is actually the Detroit Lions who currently rank as the league’s top defense in terms of fantasy football scoring. Detroit’s defense has been solid in all categories including points allowed, sacks, interceptions, and fumble recoveries. They also have two touchdowns and are looking to increase that total when they welcome the Carolina Panthers to the Motor City. Although Carolina’s offense looked better last weekend, let’s remember they played the league’s worst ranked defense. Cam Newton and the Panthers will be pressured all game, and may be forced into some mistakes that Detroit’s defense will capitalize on. Carolina’s offense has given up the 10th most points to opposing defenses so consider starting Detroit if you own them, or can still snag them from the waiver wire.
Week 5 forecast: 11 points
Week 4 Results
QB Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
Week 4 projection: 250 passing yards; 25 rushing yards; 2 passing TDs
Week 4 results: 295 passing yards, 2 passing TD, 2 INT; 38 rushing yards, 1 rushing TD (excellent call)
RB Javorius Allen, Baltimore Ravens
Week 4 projection: 80 total yards; 1 TD
Week 4 results: 44 total yards (bad call)
WR Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings
Week 4 projection: 75 receiving yards; 1 TD
Week 4 results: 59 receiving yards (bad call)
TE Coby Fleener, New Orleans Saints
Week 4 projection: 50 receiving yards; 1 TD
Week 4 results: 21 receiving yards (bad call)
D/ST Jacksonville Jaguars
Week 4 projection: 11 points
Week 4 results: 17 points (excellent call)