2017 Fantasy Football Week 5 Preview: Diamond

by Richard Savill
2017 Fantasy Football Week 5 Preview

October. This is the time of the season where the drama of NFL football shares the stage with playoff baseball and the World Series. I really like baseball this time of year, but generally I like the game itself. There is no other sport to my mind that has as compelling a history and colorful folklore than baseball.

I think the permanence of baseball legend has much to do with the fact that the rules change very slowly. It's played almost exactly as it was 100 years ago. Unlike football, we are 99.9% certain that a catch in baseball is a catch without a replay to confirm it. Oh, and if you must know, I have always favored the Reds since I was a kid.

I just wanted to pay a little tribute to this converging month of football, basketball, hockey and especially to baseball - the game of the diamond.

2017 Fantasy Football Week 5 Preview

A lot of teams are restructuring their backfields due to injury. The Seahawks, Vikings, Eagles, Arizona, Giants, Ravens and other teams are already very different backfields from what we saw in late August.

Teams in more recent forced adjustment, such as Green Bay, are among those that fantasy football will examine this weekend.

Games to Watch

Byes: Broncos, Falcons, Redskins, Saints

Feature Game: Packers (3-1) at Cowboys (2-2)

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The Packers once again face a playoff rival from last season. The Packers lineup on offense remains in flux for this game because of the injuries last week. Davante Adams, still in concussion protocol, to me is the key player and not so much the uncertain nature of the Green Bay backfield.

The Cowboys, off a shock defeat at home versus the Rams, did not need to see Aaron Rodgers after that very hard-fought game. Yet, the Cowboys are suffering from systemic injury. Their gameplans seem rather ordinary and have a smack of static orthodoxy apart from small in-game tactics.

Prescott has not fallen below 15 fantasy points this year, which most owners would take, but somehow the satisfactory production to this point remains unvarnished. Similarly, Elliott has one touchdown in four games, but his combined net yardage is just enough to prevent ownership gripes.

There ought to be fireworks in this game, but I dare not hype that in case it adds to a jinx endowment. I look for Jordy Nelson and Dez Bryant as the easiest standard stud starts. At the other end, I'd veer from starting tight ends of either team.

Sleeper: Geronimo Allison, WR, Green Bay Packers

High OU Line Game (45.0): Cardinals (2-2) at Eagles (3-1)

Also at 45.0 is Chargers (0-4) at Giants (0-4). Yeah, no contest in the tie-breaker.

As with all inter-divisional games of this sort, playoff implications heavily favor the winner. Both teams have lost a central running back, but it is the Eagles who are faring the attrition stronger. Without David Johnson, the Cardinals have no running attack and the piecemeal efforts of Chris Johnson yield little fantasy value.

It is actually Andre Ellington who is gaining the best share of the backfield and seems like an RB in name only at this point. He's an instant weekly flex because Arians is doing something with him that is working. The receivers, John Brown and J.J. Nelson, are questionable almost every week and this had led to Jaron Brown with opportunity almost by default. Jaron has taken it up and stepped his game a notch.

The Eagles are a team that are moving forward as gameplan based offense, much like the Belichick system. Zach Ertz is very much in a role similar to that of Greg Olsen of the Panthers. The critical area of receiving is between Torrey Smith and Nelson Agholor where gameplan seems to affect their weekly output. Alshon Jeffery has the best looks locked down, but he too could be locked outside a gameplan on any given week. I'd suspect it won't be this game.

Sleeper: Jaron Brown, WR, Cardinals

Sunday Night Football: Chiefs (4-0) at Texans (2-2)

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It works out as a plum matchup for television. Two top rookies in their positions are playing in it. The Texans are playing lights out defense and Kansas City has a persistent and methodical offense. Should be a good game.

Kareem Hunt highlights the Chiefs offense once again and is fantasy football's current number one player. I expect his best production requires the Texans defense to wear down some before he really gets going; much like we saw versus the Redskins.

Deshaun Watson. What can I say? He is the by far the best rookie quarterback and arguably far better than Dak Prescott was at this point last season. Better than that, if you own DeAndre Hopkins or Will Fuller, you really hit a winner. Watson's style is much like Russell Wilson; making very sound decisions. It seems he has a college audaciousness, seeking those convincing lop-sided scores he often laid on the weak opponents of Clemson.

Sleeper: Albert Wilson, WR, Kansas City Chiefs

Monday Night Football: Vikings (2-2) at Bears (1-3)

If you want to start off a career, why not start on Monday night? The last QB to make their league debut on Monday night was Jimmy Garoppolo in 2014 - the only one to throw a touchdown pass. In all, there have been five quarterbacks that have played in their first game on Monday night. All of them in the 21st century. Apart from Garappolo, none exist in the league today or are of particular notoriety.

Mitch Trubisky gets the start. These days rookies are thrown in the deep end. It's just what they do. Get out there and start. A.J. McCarron seems like the last of the clipboard type rookies. Today, you're paid to play and win.

Other matters of closer concern to fantasy, not that Trubisky isn't, is the Minnesota backfield. For Dalvin Cook, the dawning of a new era in Minnesota was so apparent. Just as the branches were growing bark and fresh green shoots were sprouting, it was cut down. So now the running game turns to Latavius Murray, capable enough one supposes to maintain the run-first system.

Most of us will want to see who Trubisky likes in the passing game. The money is on Kendall Wright, but Deonte Thompson or Josh Bellamy could be connectors with Zach Miller. On our podcast, Kevin said a guy in one league is starting Trubisky. It's bold to the point of folly, because he has no offensive weapons.

Sleeper: Jarius Wright, WR, Minnesota Vikings

Players to watch

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Almost every player this week to keep in your sights came off the waiver wire this week, but several others on the fantasy cut bubble are deserving our interest. How Oakland fantasy receivers manage without Derek Carr is a prime concern to many.

Wayne Gallman, RB, New York Giants

Why it has taken so long and why it had to take an injury to Paul Perkins to get this guy started is something I still can't figure out. He starts against the Chargers at home and the sense is he'll do well.

Eddie Lacy, RB, Seattle Seahawks

Yes, Eddie is alive... and well... in fantasy football. Yep, Ed's not gone yet and after the loss of Chris Carson, the Seahawks backfield is back to being a scramble.

Amari Cooper, WR, Oakland Raiders

There's little chance this week for Cooper to recover some fantasy relevance with E.J. Manuel starting. If Carr were to be out longer, dropping Cooper would be so easy.

Detroit Lions DST

A must start on Tyler Thompson's Stream-O-Matic chart. The Lions are the sneakiest DST play I can think of. If you look deeper into this matchup, you realize Cam Newton is the central part where Detroit's defense has the best chance of exploiting.

Elijah McGuire, RB, New York Jets

A deeper waiver pickup this week. McGuire has iced Matt Forte from a quick return and may further eat into Bilal Powell's carries. A full takeover of this backfield is unlikely soon, but could come later on.

Aldrick Robinson, WR, San Francisco 49ers

12 targets last week, but only three catches. Brian Hoyer is a streaky and matchup dependent quarterback. The Colts are a good matchup and Aldrick Robinson could again be a Hoyer beneficiary.

In the Booth on Sunday

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Roger Goodell, Troy Aikman, Joe Buck

CBS - Early Games

Jaguars at Steelers: Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon
Chargers at Giants: Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts
Titans at Dolphins: Andrew Catalon, James Lofton
Bills at Bengals: Tom McCarthy, Steve Beuerlein, Steve Tasker

CBS - Late Games

Ravens at Raiders: Greg Gumbel, Trent Green
Seahawks at Rams: Spero Dedes, Adam Archuleta

Fox - Early Games

Panthers at Lions: Kenny Albert, Charles Davis
Cardinals at Eagles: Chris Myers, Daryl Johnston
Jets at Browns: Sam Rosen, Ronde Barber
49ers at Colts: Thom Brennaman, Chris Spielman

Fox - Late Game

Packers at Cowboys: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman

Check out the rest of our 2017 Fantasy Football content from our great team of writers.

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