It feels like not a week goes by that we don’t lose a marquee player. Another week and two more starting running backs to the IR in Nick Chubb and Austin Ekeler continuing to make it challenging to piece together a starting lineup. There have also been more positive COVID tests throughout the league, becoming a growing concern. As we turn our attention to week five, we will look for matchups to exploit and players who could provide a strong return. Do keep in mind we have two teams on scheduled byes this week in the Packers and Lions.
Teddy Bridgewater QB Carolina Panthers (at Falcons)
The Falcons have given up a ton of yards through the air surrendering 1,415 through four games. They have also allowed 13 touchdowns on the year, which leads the league. Bridgewater has thrown six touchdown passes on the year and has at least one in all but one game thus far. He has plenty of weapons at his disposal and should provide a solid return if you are looking for a bye-week fill-in this week.
James Robinson RB Jacksonville Jaguars (at Texans)
The Texans are a mess right now, winless to start the year, and they have just fired their coach. They allow an average of 162 rushing yards per game and have given up six scores to the position. Robinson has emerged as an every-week RB2 with an RB1 ceiling. The Jags are going to need to slow down Watson and company, and Robinson will be the beneficiary.
David Johnson RB Houston Texans (vs Jaguars)
I also like Johnson on the other side versus the Jags; both of these teams struggle to stop the run. The Jags are giving up an average of 104 rushing yards per game and have allowed four touchdowns. Johnson is proving that he can still get the job done and still has the wheels to take one to the house if he gets some space. He’s faced some of the most formidable run defenses so far this year; this will be the game where he gets going.
Justin Jefferson WR Minnesota Vikings (at Seahawks)
This kid is a baller. I thought he ended up in a great spot when the Vikings took him in the draft, and I’m glad they are starting to realize he can play. After a lackluster start, he has gone over 100-yards in consecutive games and gets a juicy matchup against the Seahawks this week. The Seahawks secondary is awful, having given up 1,345 yards receiving, which is the worst in the league. Jefferson is in a smash spot this week.
Deebo Samuel WR Sanfrancisco 49ers (vs Dolphins)
Samuel made his return last week and logged just 25 snaps, but did catch all three of his targets for 35 yards. This week he should see an uptick in playing time and greets a matchup with a Dolphins team that just surrendered 360 yards through the air to the Seahawks. Samuel was a big part of the 49ers offense last year, and once fully healthy, I expect him to pick up right where he left off.
Jonnu Smith TE Tennessee Titans (vs Bills)
The third-year tight end is coming into his own this year. With three touchdowns in his first three games, which ties his career-high, he’s becoming a reliable option at the position. Fresh off their COVID bye-week, the Titans welcome in the Bills, who have been generous to the tight end this year. They’ve allowed a league-high 359 yards to the position and two scores. Smith makes for an excellent option to continue rolling this week.