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RED LIGHT, GREEN LIGHT: Week 5

Welcome back for the Week 5 edition of “Red Light, Green Light”, your matchup guide for all of this weekend’s (and Monday’s) NFL contests. While this piece is not intended to be solely a start/bench list, it can be used for some of those decisions as well.

In each NFL Week 5 game profile below, the players mentioned in the green light sections have a great matchup, and can be counted on as rock solid options for the week. Players mentioned in the yellow light sections have just an okay matchup and/or usage concerns, meaning they are passable fantasy options but don’t expect them to set the world on fire. Players in the red light sections have serious concerns, and need to have expectations lowered for the week, and/or should be avoided if possible. Remember, seeing your stud listed in the yellow or red light section isn’t necessarily grounds to bench them, but more of an indication they may not be the guy(s) carrying your team to victory this week.

Note: Fantasy points allowed statistics are based off of the Fantasy Sharks default PPR scoring system.

Bye Week Teams: Chicago, Tampa Bay

Tennessee Titans at Buffalo Bills

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Most 2018 Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
Position Titans Bills
Quarterback 18th 13th
Running Back 28th 6th
Wide Receiver 8th 18th
Tight End 25th 10th
Defense/Special Teams 11th 1st
Vegas Line: Titans -5
Vegas Over/Under: 39.5
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  • Titans D/ST – This contest features the lowest over/under of the week, while the Bills is offense is ranked second-worst in scoring (12.5 points per game) and given up the most QB sacks (21).
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  • Derrick Henry/Dion Lewis – Tennessee has not been able to run the ball the way they’d like to so far in 2018, as their top two backs are averaging just 3.2 yards-per carry combined. If there was ever a matchup for the Titans to get their run game issues sorted out, it’s this one, as the Bills have allowed at least 27 PPR fantasy points to opposing backfields in every contest outside of their Week 3 victory over Minnesota.
  • Marcus Mariota – Reports of his demise appeared greatly exaggerated, as a seemingly healthy Mariota hung 390 combined passing/rushing yards and three touchdowns on the Eagles last Sunday. The Bills have allowed at least 256 passing yards in every contest this season.
  • Corey Davis – Finally experienced a true breakout with a 9-161-1 line on 15 targets. Rishard Matthews‘ absence should keep Davis’ high target share intact, though he’ll likely draw Bills’ CB Tre’Davious White on coverage, who has been one of the Bills’ lone bright spots on defense.
  • Taywan Taylor – Didn’t disappoint after being elevated to the no. 2 wideout role for Tennessee, finishing last Sunday with a 7-77-0 line on 9 targets as his snap share jumped up to 63 percent (as compared to just 52 percent in Week 3) . Taylor should benefit from additional defensive resources being devoted to slowing down teammate Davis.
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  • Bills Pass Catchers – Not much has changed from a week ago. Leading receiver Zay Jones‘ 16 game pace is now 40-576-0, while supposed no. 1 wideout Kelvin Benjamin has yet to clear three receptions or 34 receiving yards in any game this season. Tight end Charles Clay has not fared much better, averaging just 21.8 receiving yards per contest with no scores. The Titans have been susceptible through the air in 2018, though it’s highly unlikely this ragtag group will be able to take advantage.
  • LeSean McCoy – Still dealing with a rib issue, McCoy has yet to play more than 62 percent of the Bills’ offensive snaps in any game this season, and he’s been held to just 13 touches in all of them. The Titans have actually allowed the 10th-most rushing yards per game to opposing backfields this season, though are the only team yet to allow a running back score.

Atlanta Falcons at Pittsburgh Steelers

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Most 2018 Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
Position Falcons Steelers
Quarterback 4th 2nd
Running Back 4th 30th
Wide Receiver 5th 3rd
Tight End 18th 1st
Defense/Special Teams 30th 19th
Vegas Line: Steelers -3
Vegas Over/Under: 
58
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  • Ben Roethlisberger – Cooled off against the Ravens stout pass defense last Sunday night, but should rebound in a big way here against a Falcons defense whose starters continue to drop like flies due to injury, and have allowed an average of 356 passing yards per game since Week 2.
  • Antonio Brown/JuJu Smith Schuster – The targets are there for Brown (at least 23 percent of the team total in every game this season), but the production is not, as his catch rate is just 54.7 percent (his career mark is 65.7). Positive regression should be in store soon. Smith Schuster finally had his four-game streak of 100-yard receiving, and trails teammate Brown in targets by just four (53-49) games broken last Sunday (dating back to Week 17 of the 2017 season). Expect huge performances from both Pittsburgh wideouts this week at home as the Falcons can’t cover anyone on defense right now.
  • Matt Ryan – The Falcons defensive woes continue to put the burden on the offense to win games, and their pass-heavy antics have propelled Ryan to the overall QB2 in terms of fantasy points scored so far this season. The defense formerly known as the Steel Curtain has provided little resistance to opposing quarterbacks this season.
  • Julio Jones – Surprisingly or unsurprisingly (depending on your viewpoint), Jones leads the NFL in both receiving yards and air yards, but is stuck on zero touchdown receptions. There’s no guarantee that will change this weekend, but Jones is still primed for a huge afternoon against a Steelers defense allowing the second-most receiving yards per contest to opposing wideouts.
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  • Calvin Ridley – Just like everyone predicted, Calvin Ridley leads all NFL wideouts in fantasy points through four weeks, primarily due to his having scored six times over the past three. His current rate of scoring a touchdown every 2.5 catches can’t last, and he’s still seeing fewer snaps than teammate Mohamed Sanu.
  • Austin Hooper – Posted a season-worst 1-19-0 line on two targets last Sunday in a game the Falcons scored 36 points. No NFL team has allowed more receptions to the tight end than Pittsburgh, so Hooper could prove to be a useful bye-week replacement. Just know the ceiling isn’t terribly high.
  • Mohamed Sanu – Produced a season-best 6-111-0 on 9 targets last Sunday against the Bengals, and is quietly leading all Falcons wideouts in snap share (81 percent average through four weeks).
  • Vance McDonald – Has seen an increase in snap rate each week since returning from a preseason foot injury in Week 2, and appears to be rounding into form as the offensive weapon the Steelers envisioned when they acquired him in September 2017.
  • James Conner – His struggles on the ground continued against Baltimore, as Conner managed just 19 yards on 9 carries. The second-year running back remains a competent receiver, so even if he’s bottled up on the ground for a fourth week in a row, Conner should at least produce useful stats through the air against Falcons defense allowing 10.5 receptions per game to opposing backfields.
  • Devonta Freeman/Tevin Coleman – Freeman’s return from a knee injury pushes Coleman, who wasn’t overly impressive during a three game stint as the Falcons’ starter, down to second on the running back depth chart. The Steelers have allowed just the seventh-fewest rushing yards and only 12 receptions to opposing backfields this season.
  • Steelers and Falcons D/STs – Not that you were planning on using these two units anyway, the shootout potential of this matchup should be enough to deter anyone looking for a bye week replacement.

Denver Broncos at New York Jets

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Most 2018 Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
Position Broncos Jets
Quarterback 12th 23rd
Running Back 13th 15th
Wide Receiver 22nd 13th
Tight End 3rd 31st
Defense/Special Teams 18th 3rd
Vegas Line: N/A
Vegas Over/Under: 
42.5
  •  None of note.
  • Royce Freeman – Rumbled for 67 yards and a score last Monday night, showcasing his trademark tackle-breaking ability. Now on a three game scoring streak, Freeman will look to make it four against a Jets defense that has allowed five touchdowns to opposing running backs the last three weeks.
  • Phillip Lindsay – The lighting to teammate Freeman’s thunder, Lindsay totaled 79 yards and a score on 14 touches last Monday night against the Chiefs while appearing to be shot out of a cannon every time he was handed the ball. Lindsay should again be the favorite to lead the Denver backfield in offensive opportunities, though you’d like to see him wrestle passing down snaps away from Devontae Booker.
  • Demaryius Thomas/Emmanuel Sanders – Thomas has been borderline horrendous since Week 2, though is still the Broncos’ target leader. Meanwhile Sanders is averaging just 41.5 receiving yards per game over the past two weeks, and has zero red zone targets this season. Despite the recent poor performances from each, the Broncos’ propensity for funneling passes through these two guys, and their matchup against a Jets defense allowing the 5th-most receiving yards to opposing wideouts should propel the duo to solid afternoons.
  • Isaiah Crowell/Bilal Powell – The Broncos have allowed five scores to running backs over their three games. With quarterback Sam Darnold struggling lately, it’s likely the Jets make it a point to try and move the ball on the ground. Crowell possesses the touchdown upside while Powell will be the one involved in the short pass game as a checkdown option.
  • Quincy Enunwa – The most consistent Jets receiver with at least 57 yards in every 2018 contest. Should be involved in the short passing game along with Powell.
  • Denver D/ST  – The Jets are tied for second in the NFL with 8 giveaways, and this contest sports one of the lower over/unders of the week.
  • Jets D/ST – Faces a West Coast team in a 1pm kickoff. The Broncos offense has more turnovers than touchdown passes, and the team sports a -3 giveaway/takeaway ratio.
  • Case Keenum – Tanked in a plum matchup against the Chiefs last Monday night, missing open receivers while failing to record a touchdown pass for the third consecutive contest. Now Keenum has to take his show to New York for an East Coast 1pm matchup with a Jets defense that has played better pass defense at home than on the road this season.
  • Jeff Heuerman – Went 4-57-0 on seven targets last Monday night, and appears to be slotted in as the Broncos’ no. 1 tight end following the season-ending knee injury to Jake Butt. Despite leading all Broncos pass catchers in Week 4 receiving yards, the Jets are one of the stingiest teams against opposing tight ends.
  • Robby Anderson – He may have dodged a suspension, but there’s no dodging 27.0 receiving yards per contest. Anderson has just 16 total targets on the season,

Jacksonville Jaguars at Kansas City Chiefs

Tale of the Tape – Ranks for Most 2018 Fantasy Points Allowed Per Game
Position Jaguars Chiefs
Quarterback 32nd 6th
Running Back 26th 1st
Wide Receiver 31st 15th
Tight End 29th 6th
Defense/Special Teams 23rd 32nd
Vegas Line: Kansas City -3
Vegas Over/Under: 
49
  • T.J. Yeldon – Takes over as the Jags’ lead running back with Leonard Fournette (hamstring) looking at a likely mult-week absence. The Chiefs have given up the most receiving yardage to opposing running backs this season, in addition to a healthy dose of rushing yards.
  • Blake Bortles – The last time he was given the green light (Week 3), Bortles tanked with just 155 passing yards. Nevertheless, Kansas City has allowed the second-most passing yards this season, and Bortles won’t have the luxury of handing the ball of to his stud running back Fournette.
  • Patrick Mahomes – Finally slowed down by the Broncos last Monday night, though still managed to finish as the overall QB11 for Week 4. Mahomes faces another stiff test in the Jaguars, who have allowed just the fewest passing yards per game and just three touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks this season.
  • Tyreek Hill – Has been relatively contained the past two weeks with just a 11-105-0 line over that span. The Jaguars are one of the best in the business in defending opposing wideouts, though all it takes is one play for Hill to go the distance, and he could see a few extra targets if teammate Sammy Watkins (hamstring) is out or limited.
  • Travis Kelce – The Jaguars are allowing just 33.8 receiving yards per game to opposing tight ends, but Kelce is such an integral part of the Chiefs’ offense, the targets will be there no matter what.
  • Kareem Hunt – His 175 total yards and a score last Monday evening helped remind fantasy owners why he was a late first-round pick in Summer fantasy drafts. Coincidentally, Hunt’s 289 rushing yards are the exact number Jacksonville has allowed to opposing running backs through four games, which is good for 9th-fewest in the NFL.
  • Dede Westbrook – The pendulum as shifted towards Westbrook as the Jags’ most consistent wideout, as he now leads the team in targets. Unfortunately, Westbrook does draw the poorest individual matchup in Chiefs’ slot CB Kendall Fuller.
  • Austin Seferian-Jenkins – Hasn’t cleared 25 receiving yards in any game this season, but has a chance to make some noise against a Chiefs defense that has allowed the third-most receiving yards per game to opposing tight ends.
  • Keelan Cole/Donte Moncrief – Cole has accumulated just 65 receiving yards the past two weeks, while Moncrief put up just 64 over Weeks 1 thru 3 before his 109-yard explosion last Sunday. These two have become quite unpredictable, and may have difficulty putting up useful numbers a Chiefs defense that has buckled down against opposing wideouts over the past two weeks.
  • Sammy Watkins (hamstring) – Even if he wasn’t dealing with an injury, Watkins has a poor matchup against one of the NFL’s best CB tandems in A.J. Bouye and Jalen Ramsey. For what it’s worth, Watkins was able to practice this week, making it likely he’ll suit up.
  • Jaguars D/ST – This matchup is a classic example of an unstoppable force colliding with an immovable object. The Chiefs have the league’s top scoring offense (36.3 points per game), have turned the ball over the least (once), and are tied with the Rams for having allowed the fewest sacks (5).

About Will Weiler

An NFL Red Zone addict and all-around data nerd, I've been obsessed with the NFL and stats ever since I started playing the virtual pigskin game in 2005.