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Green Bay Packers/Cincinnati Bengals Deliver Fireworks
It’s hard to understate how incredible the ending of this game really was. Both teams missed several crucial field goals in the fourth quarter and overtime before the Packers pulled out the victory. One thing that stood out to me was the efficiency of both offenses. Both Aaron Rodgers and Joe Burrow were able to make huge plays and allowing their kickers to get into position very quickly. The quarterbacks were aided by some transcendent play from their key offensive playmakers.
On the Packers’ side of the ball, Davante Adams continues to build his case as probably the best wide receiver in the league. Adams converted his 16 targets into an 11-206-1 receiving line and leads the NFL in receiving yards (579). On a per-game basis, Adams leads the league in targets/game (12.2), receptions/game (8.4), and receiving yards/game (116). Given the lack of competition from any other Green Bay receivers, Adams should be on pace to repeat as the overall WR1 for fantasy football.
Bengals' first-round rookie WR pick Ja’Maar Chase had the best game of his young NFL career, catching six balls for 159 yards and a touchdown. Chase continues to build on one of the best starts an NFL wide receiver has ever had to begin his career. I’d expect that Chase's efficiency normalizes but suspect that he’s earned a much larger target share for the rest of the season. I’m viewing Chase as a high-end WR2 going forward, whereas WR Tee Higgins is now a mid-range WR3. Unfortunately, WR Tyler Boyd is relegated to boom-bust FLEX status.
Justin Herbert + Brandon Staley = Must Watch Football
Justin Herbert has lit the league on fire since assuming the starting role for the Los Angeles Chargers. Herbert’s penchant to play aggressively and push the ball downfield has made the Chargers must-watch television. Now add on Brandon Staley’s aggressive style, and it’s a match made in heaven for fantasy gamers.
The best example of Staley’s aggression came when the Chargers were trailing 27-13 at their own 23 early in the third quarter. Instead of punting the football on fourth-and-two, Staley opted to go for it and the team drove down the field. Once the drive stalled out in field goal range, Staley went for it yet again (this time on fourth-and-seven) instead of settling for three points. Herbert picked up the first down with a strike to WR Keenan Allen and capped the drive off with a touchdown. The aggressiveness of the Chargers’ offense was refreshing to watch. The team successfully converted several high-leverage fourth-down plays and did their best to try and cut the deficit against the Browns. The Chargers pulled out a hard-fought 47-42 victory.
Successfully converting crucial fourth-down plays into first-downs, regardless of field position was one of the key ingredients to the Chargers' success on Sunday. Hopefully, Staley continues to remain aggressive and we get to be treated to Herbert building his case as one of the top young quarterbacks in the NFL.
Tom Brady Continues To Defy Father Time
Father Time remains undefeated. Just ask any of Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Philip Rivers, Eli Manning, or Ben Roethlisberger. When it comes to Tom Brady, I guess Father Time just sort of gave up. Brady, in his age 44 season, is somehow playing the best football he’s ever played.
It certainly helps that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have ostensibly the best receiving corps in the NFL. Without TE Rob Gronkowski in the mix, it looks like the target share has consolidated around wide receivers Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Antonio Brown. Godwin led the team in targets (7-70 on 11 targets), but Brown (7-124-2 on eight targets) and Evans (6-113-2 on eight targets) had several big plays late in the game. Brady’s pass-heavy tendencies are a boon for all three receivers, who can be safely penciled in as mid-range WR2’s for the foreseeable future.
Urban Meyer’s Tenure Is Drawing To A Close
Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer has had a rough go of it in the NFL. The Jaguars slid to 0-5 on the season following their humiliating loss to the Titans. RB James Robinson was the lone standout, posting an 18-149-1 rushing line. However, he wasn’t the ball carrier on the key play of the game. Trailing 31-19 with 10 minutes left on the clock, the Jaguars faced a fourth-and-goal from inside the one-yard line. Urban Meyer bafflingly decided to have Carlos Hyde (5-13-0) carry the football, which cost the team three yards and a back-breaking turnover on downs.
Outside of this one mistake, Urban Meyer’s game plan was confusing. TE Dan Arnold and WR Jamal Agnew drew more targets than either starting wide receivers Laviska Shenault and Marvin Jones. The beleaguered head coach should do all he can to make Trevor Lawrence’s NFL transition easier, but he appears to be doing the opposite. Given the recent uptick in reports of player dissatisfaction coupled with the recent public relations snafu, and I’m not sure if Meyer makes it until the end of the season.
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Quick Hits – Injuries
There were several injuries that fantasy gamers need to monitor over the course of the week.
The Giants appeared to be getting back on track after their win over the Saints last week. Unfortunately, the team suffered several major injuries to key offensive players in their loss to the Cowboys. QB Daniel Jones left the game after taking a sickening hit to the helmet and his Week 6 status is currently in doubt. RB Saquon Barkley suffered a low ankle sprain, and WR Kenny Golladay missed most of Week 5 with a hyperextended knee. Both Barkley and Golladay are expected to miss the Giants’ Week 6 matchup against the Rams. With Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard nursing hamstring injuries, it’s possible that the offense flows through Kadarius Toney on Sunday.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan announced that QB Trey Lance, the third overall pick in the NFL Draft, is dealing with a knee sprain. Lance had a rough start to his NFL career, completing approximately 52% of his passes. He did show off his dual-threat ability, carrying the ball 16 times for 89 yards. Ultimately, this game showed why the team has been reluctant to commit to Lance as a starter. It’s quite likely the team turns back to QB Jimmy Garoppolo following the Niners’ Week 6 bye.
Chiefs RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire suffered an MCL sprain on Sunday Night Football. Both Darrel Williams and Jerick McKinnon split work following Edwards-Helaire’s injury. Williams led the team with 37 snaps and five carries on Sunday night and looks to be the lead RB going forward. McKinnon should mix in on passing downs. Both running backs should be rostered in 12-team leagues.
Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster suffered a shoulder injury in the Steelers’ Week 5 matchup against the Broncos. Unfortunately, the injury requires surgery to repair his shoulder, and it looks like Smith-Schuster’s season is over. It’s an unfortunate development for a player who’s set to hit free agency in 2022. In Smith-Schuster’s absence, I’d expect that the targets will condense around WR Chase Claypool, WR Diontae Johnson, and RB Najee Harris.