In a perfect world: there would be no need for handcuff and injury reports, starting backs never lose their job, nor get injured. If there ever was a week that emulated this world, we lived it in week 5. Instead of implosions and injuries, week 5 was filled with fantasy explosions. The first couple of weeks have turned into preseason-esque football: poor performances and athletes getting in “game shape” are the new norm to start the NFL season. October is here and the football that was expected has arrived.
The week 5 fantasy gods were kind to us, avoiding any major injuries to starting running backs. Just because there were no injuries or any major handcuff to report on, it does not mean we get to take our foot off the gas. Now is the time for owners to secure their handcuff and prepare for the end of the fantasy season, as owners give up on under performing handcuffs that were over-drafted. Look for players like Rashaad Penny, Ito Smith, Tony Pollard, Malcolm Brown, Alexander Mattison, Latavius Murray, and Jaylen Samuels to be dropped this week. If you own any of their respective starting backs, you want to make sure you secure your insurance policy before it’s too late and before the price increases.
If you own David Johnson- Chase Edmonds should be on your bench. Mark Ingram owners grab Gus Edwards. If anything were to happen to Christian McCaffrey, you might as well pack it up for 2019. But to hold on to any hope, Reggie Bonnafon will be the guy in Carolina to try his best ‘Wayne Gallman’. Ryquell Armstead is the guy to own for Leondard Fournette owners. DeAndrea Washington is the traditional handcuff to Josh Jacobs.
Week 5 Offenders
No serious offenders this week that warrant high FAAB $, or worth wasting top waiver priority.
New York Giants
After providing handcuff owners a treat in week 4 (27.8 PPR points), Wayne Gallman was knocked out early in week 5 with a concussion and did not return to the game. With Gallman out of the game, it was Jonathan Hilliman that dominated snaps. Hilliman was on the field for 64% of the offensive snaps. The next back on the depth chart, Elijah Penny only found the field for 36% of the teams offensive snaps. Don’t blow your FAAB budget or waste top waiver priority on Hilliman this week. Gallman has a shot of clearing concussion protocol AND there are rumors that Saquon Barkley has a real chance of returning. Keep an eye on the practice reports, the Giants are on a short week with a prime-time matchup scheduled for Thursday night. If Gallman can’t get out of the NFL concussion protocol and Barkley needs an extra week to recover from his high angle sprain, Hilliman will find himself as the de facto starting back in this offense. But temper expectations, the G-men visit Tom Brady in Foxborough on a short week. The NE defensive unit have given up the 6th least fantasy points to the running back position. Hilliman would be a pure desperation play, or spot start for the deepest of formats.
Green Bay Packers
Nothing brought more joy to my eyes this weekend than Aaron Jones running all over the Dallas Cowboys defense for a record day. During this game, backup Tre Carson found himself starting drives that Aaron Jones took off and coming in for Jones when he needed to take a play off. Carson recorded 10 total touches and was on the field for 32.4% of the offensive snaps. Similar to Hilliman, Carson is not a top wavier add this week with Jamaal Williams only out with a concussion. If Williams’ concussion puts him out longer than one week or Jones were to get injured, Carson will get a boost in playing time. Matt LeFleur has made it clear that he likes to utilize a 2nd back, but with Jones on fire after scoring 4 tuddies and accumulating almost 200 total yards from scrimmage (182 tot yds) it would be foolish for Matt to keep the ball out of Jones’ hand. Aaron Jones owners need to keep an eye on this situation.
Marlon Mack seemed to not be bothered by his bevy of injuries (ankle/calf) that kept him limited in practice and on the injury report over the past two weeks. It’s clear that Jordan Wilkins is the early down back and traditional handcuff for Marlon Mack owners. Mack has a history of getting nicked up and might be a permanent resident on the injury/practice reports this season. Mack owners need to insure their RB asset by grabbing Wilkins. Wilkins was used in a couple of goal line situations against Kansas City, and even had a goal line TD called back. Nyheim Hines proved again, for a second week in a row, that he is the go to pass catching and hurry-up back. Hines led all backs in targets, receptions, and receiving yards. Hines should be considered in 14-team, or deeper PPR leagues.
Thompson was the lead back in Washington against the New England Patriots. Thompson dominated snaps, 32 to Adrian Petersons 16 snaps. Finding themselves trying to keep pace with the Patriots, Chris was the only running back to receive any action in the passing game (5 receptions on 7 targets). Washingtons offense is a hot mess with the merry-go-round at the quarterback position. Expect Washingtons passing tendencies to continue as they find themselves as weekly underdogs. Thompson is only worth rostering in PPR formats. Adrian Peterson is a drop candidate, unless desperate. AP will struggle to produce consistent results out of this backfield, removing any confidence in having him on your redraft rosters.
With Damien Williams returning from his knee injury and LeSean McCoy past his ankle injury, Darrel and Darwin did not record a single snap against IND. Both should be released to waivers, unless either Shady or Damien suffer a set back or KCs usage changes in week 6. If you own McCoy, do not panic. Shadys stock has plummeted with the return of Damien, but the Chiefs had to abandon the run game early Sunday night. Mahomes was playing from behind from the 1st quarter of the game. Shady is bumped down to a low end flex play with Damien returning to the lineup. Despite a poor performance on Sunday Night, Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid still lead this team. Expect plenty of games where KC has a commanding lead and McCoys stat lines/usage are worthy of flex consideration.
Spotted in a walking boot towards the end of the week, Jackson was inactive against the Denver Broncos. Melvin Gordon returned from his hold out and Ekeler continued to dominate passing work. Justin Jackson is an after thought and should be released form your rosters.
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