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Miami at Cincinnati – A.J. Green
There was a lot of chatter last season about how Green didn’t deserve to be included among the best of the best at the wide receiver position. After a down 2016 season due to missed games, people discounted Green and looked past him. He responded with another solid and consistent year with eight touchdowns and more than 1,000 yards. This season, Green is upping the ante as he’s already at five touchdowns on the year. With how much inconsistency is taking over the elite wide receivers, Green is suddenly ascending. With players like Odell Beckham still looking for his first touchdown of the year and Keenan Allen sporting one lone score, Green is passing people who were projected to finish ahead of him. Here against Miami, Green can continue to build his case, forcing people to accept the fact that he never lost his Top 5 ability. One hundred yards and a score would have Green sitting pretty atop the wide receiver ranks.
Oakland at L.A. Chargers – Derek Carr
Oakland coach Jon Gruden has apparently lost a little bit of his quarterback encouragement mojo as his young single caller has more interceptions on the year than touchdowns. While that is discouraging, let’s not lose focus on the difference between fantasy value versus actual on the field value. Would we want Carr quarterbacking our personal team of interest into the playoffs? No, we wouldn’t. But you could certainly do a lot worse than Carr for your fantasy squad. The touchdowns are a problem but the yards are pouring in. Carr is on pace for around 5,500 passing yards, which is a threshold that we used to expect from the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Drew Brees. As long as Oakland’s defense continues to let up points on the regular, Carr will be forced to toss the ball downfield for all four quarters. The Chargers are one of the better constructed defenses in the league so scoring isn’t going to come easy. But Philip Rivers is going to hang some serious point totals so Carr is going to be looking at more massive yardage totals. Expect a lot more of this formula for the foreseeable future.
Minnesota at Philadelphia – Adam Thielen
Remember in the preseason where people were pointing to the fact that Thielen had failed to get on the same page as new quarterback Kirk Cousins? You know, all the reports of how they appear off during practices and lacking a connection in the preseason. Well, that’s come to pass as Thielen has come out of the gate smashing through the competition. Over the first quarter of the year, Thielen has averaged an amazing 10 catches and 118 yards a game while scoring in half of the contests. There is no one else as consistent and as dominant as Thielen has been to this point. Obviously, the use is going to come back down to earth a bit with a team that sports Kyle Rudolph, Dalvin Cook and Stefon Diggs, but even with a forecasted recession, Thielen will remain a Top 5 wide receiver play. Week 5 against Philadelphia should feature a ton of highlight plays and multiple touchdowns on both sides. As long as Thielen maintains his grasp as Option 1A in Minnesota’s playbook, he should continue to build his case as someone who belongs mentioned among the likes of DeAndre Hopkins and Mike Evans.
Baltimore at Cleveland – John Brown
We all knew that the Baltimore’s offense was going to be much more effective given all its offseason inking of players. Adding Michael Crabtree and John Brown gave Baltimore two new dimensions that it lacked last year. Crabtree has been pretty solid, chipping in with far more catches than accrued yardage but it has been Brown who has shined. The young speedster has averaged just under 85 yards a game and only has one contest without a score. The combination of Joe Flacco’s cannon mixed with Brown’s over-the-top speed has lead to some premium production. As long as Baltimore keeps the creativity flowing, allowing Brown to get loose for big chunk plays, Brown will continue to grow from a draft dart throw to a weekly WR2 with WR1 potential. Brown’s health looms in the background but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. In the meantime, keep reaping the benefits of a T.Y. Hilton type of talent playing pitch and catch with a Patrick Mahomes’ arm strength type of quarterback.
Jacksonville at Kansas City – Kareem Hunt
FINALLY! Kansas City lets its show-pony out of the barn. Yes it’s been fun watching Patrick Mahomes toy with the rest of the NFL, but it has come at the expense of Hunt’s production. If Kansas City can begin to establish a balance, it will become more unstoppable it has already been up until now. Last week, Hunt had his most dominant game since 2017 as he took his 19 carries for 121 yards, while catching for another 54 yards. The 19 carries was great but it’s time we saw a 20-plus carry game out of Hunt. In the same way we were wanting it for Ezekiel Elliott, he got it in Week 4 and he went for more than 150 rushing yards. Hunt would undoubtedly do the same if given the chance and that chance could very well be this week. Jacksonville is going to be forced to play back and respect the deep ball from Patrick Mahomes while also keeping Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill under wraps. Even though Jacksonville’s front is the one of, if not THE, best in the league at the front seven, the chance for 20 carries remains. What Hunt does this week in a game where Kansas City will need him more than any other game this season will be very telling as how much of a focus Hunt is in 2018 compared to his 2017 use.
RISERS & FALLERS: Week 5
SET TO RISE