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TRAPS & TRENDS: Week 5

Most of the fantasy stars that disappointed in Week 4 returned to form in Week 5 with a handful of exceptions – Lamar Jackson, Matt Ryan, Jerick McKinnon, D.J. Chark and Zach Ertz. Some fantasy managers woke up to the news about the postponement of the Denver Broncos/New England Patriots game to Week 6 and had to make some tough last-minute lineup changes. There are still some unsettled wideout situations, too. FantasySharks.com senior writer is here to help us navigate the fantasy football madness of Week 5 in his newest edition of “Traps & Trends.”

Discussions about NFL schedule changes and bye weeks are usually outside the scope of this column, but this is an unusual season because of the COVID-19 pandemic. If you usually use an NFL schedule that you printed out in July or August or rely on one that was published in a magazine, you’re getting some outdated information about bye weeks that can impact your lineups. If the schedule changes have you grumbling about your fantasy teams…not to preach here…but keep in mind that we’re very lucky to have an NFL season. Just do your best and don’t forget to have fun.

The NFL’s decision to postpone the Denver Broncos/New England Patriots game to Week 6 (Sunday, October 18, 1 p.m. kickoff) has affected seven games. Seriously! Here is the information, courtesy of the NFL, and I’ll keep it as short as I can:

  • The Kansas City Chiefs at Buffalo Bills Week 6 game has moved from Thursday, October 15, to Monday, October 19 with a 5:00 p.m. ET kickoff.
  • The Miami Dolphins at Denver Broncos game moves from Week 6 to Week 11 (Sunday, November 22) with a 4:05 p.m. ET kickoff.
  • New York Jets at Miami Dolphins has moved from Week 10 to Week 6 with a 4:05 p.m. ET kickoff.
  • The New York Jets at Los Angeles Chargers game has moved from Week 6 to Week 11 (Sunday, November 22) with a 4:05 p.m. ET kickoff.
  • The Jacksonville Jaguars at Los Angeles Chargers game has moved from Week 8 to Week 7 (Sunday, October 25) with a 4:25 p.m. ET kickoff.
  • The Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos game has moved from Week 11 to Week 8 (Sunday, November 1) with a 4:05 p.m. ET kickoff.
  • The Chargers at Dolphins game moves from Week 7 to Week 10 (Sunday, November 15) with a 4:05 p.m. ET kickoff.

As a result, six teams have/had a new bye week:

  • The Denver Broncos’ bye week moved from Week 8 to Week 5.
  • The Jacksonville Jaguars’ bye week moves from Week 7 to Week 8.
  • The Los Angeles Chargers’ bye week moves from Week 10 to Week 6.
  • The Miami Dolphins’ bye week moves from Week 11 to Week 7.
  • The New England Patriots’ bye week moved from Week 6 to Week 5.
  • The New York Jets’ bye week moves from Week 11 to Week 10.

Week 5 Injuries

QB Dak Prescott (compound ankle fracture)

QB Kyle Allen (arm)

QB Baker Mayfield (ribs)

RB Dalvin Cook (groin)

WR D.J. Chark (ankle)

WR Diontae Johnson (back)

WR A.J. Green (hamstring)

WR Sammy Watkins (hamstring)

WR Chris Hogan (knee)

TE Tyler Eifert (back)

 

We’re just five weeks into the 2020 NFL fantasy football season, but…

1. Is there still a “Chase” to become the Pittsburgh Steelers’ No. 1 wideout?

The Dudes: Diontae Johnson & Chase Claypool

The Damage: During the early minutes of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ hard-fought Week 5 win over the Philadelphia Eagles, No. 1 wideout Johnson exited with a back injury after catching just one pass for minus-two yards. It was the second straight game in which Johnson compiled less than two points before leaving because of an injury issue (he exited Pittsburgh’s Week 3 game with a concussion after running a reverse). The Steelers then plugged No. 4 wideout Chase Claypool into Johnson’s spot, and the rookie manufactured an insane breakout performance by scoring a team rookie record four touchdowns on 7-110-3 receiving (11 targets) and 3-6-1 rushing. That’s four touchdowns and 116 total yards on 10 touches. Prior to his eruption performance, Claypool, a size-speed specimen listed at 6-foot-4, 238 pounds with 4.42 wheels, hadn’t been targeted more than four times in a contest. Moving forward, should we expect to see more balanced usage of what’s clearly a deep Pittsburgh receiver corps?

The Diagnosis: TOSS-UP

I’m not going to anoint Claypool as the Steelers’ new No. 1 wideout just yet, and we haven’t seen the last of Johnson either. I suspect he’ll return next week as the No. 1 guy on the depth chart. Claypool definitely has played himself into a larger role going forward – you can’t put the toothpaste back into the tube, so to speak – and will vulture targets from Johnson, JuJu Smith-Schuster and the other wideouts. During the Eagles game, Claypool led all Pittsburgh receivers with seven targets, while the other seven pass catchers were targeted between one and five times each, respectively. I think Ben Roethlisberger will spread his targets around a lot more than he has done in the past. Treat Johnson, Smith-Schuster and Claypool as fantasy WR3s, but Claypool clearly has the highest ceiling.

 

2. Is there a new No. 1 wideout in the City of Brotherly Love who doesn’t go by the name DeSean Jackson or Alshon Jeffery?

The Dude: Travis Fulgham

The Damage: Travis who? He was promoted from the Philadelphia Eagles’ practice squad to bolster the team’s injury-depleted receiver corps back in Week 4. Fulgham made some fantasy noise during a start against the San Francisco 49ers with two catches for 57 yards and one touchdown on three targets. The scoring grab was a 42-yard game winning toss from Carson Wentz. Most fantasy managers didn’t expect to hear his name mentioned again anytime soon, but Fulgham had other ideas while operating in a starting role again versus the Pittsburgh Steelers this past Sunday with DeSean Jackson (hamstring), and Alshon Jeffery (foot surgery) both parked on the injury shelf. Fulgham caught 10 passes for 152 yards and one touchdown on 13 targets (36 percent target share). No other Eagles receiver drew more than six targets. Has Fulgham played himself into a steady starting role?

The Diagnosis: TREND

Don’t fade Fulgham. You can make the argument that’s Fulgham has been playing miles over his head because he was a 2019 sixth-round selection by the Detroit Lions. However, Fulgham has produced two weeks in a row – you can’t write off the numbers – and I think he’ll remain a key part of the Philadelphia passing attack going forward. Don’t expect 10 catches from him every week. Wentz likes to throw to Fulgham, which is obviously a big deal. Jackson and Jeffery are due back soon, but Jackson is a one-trick pony deep threat with durability issues, and Jeffery, who hasn’t played since Week 14 of last season, will have to shake off the rust. Second-year guy J.J. Arcega-Whiteside has been all but invisible, and rookie Jalen Reagor (thumb) is parked on injury reserve until at least Week 10. In addition, Zach Ertz has been struggling. The Philadelphia offense needs him.

About Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson has played NFL fantasy football since 1994 and has been a featured columnist at FantasySharks.com since 2008. His 18 combined years of professional writing experience includes a five-year stint as a contributing writer/editor at KFFL.com. He has been a featured contributor to The Fantasy Football Guide since 2008 and has been published regularly in the award-winning USA Today Sports Fantasy Football preview. Matt is a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and holds a degree in journalism from Northern Illinois.