Projections sourced from Razzball’s own Rudy Gamble. Make sure to subscribe to Razzball suite of tools to help you dominate your leagues. Best Value on the inter-web. As in-season trades start to heat up, make sure to utilize Razzball’s FREE custom trade analyzer.
Atlanta Falcons (1-3) @ Houston Texans (2-2)
O/U 49 , HOU -4.5 (favorites)
Implied Score: HOU 27 – ATL 22.5
QB10 in fantasy scoring and QB2 in NFL passing yards through 4 weeks, Matt Ryan visits the Lone Star State in matchup carrying the tied-for-2nd highest point total in week 5. The 13th toughest fantasy defense against quarterbacks, the Houston D/ST unit look a lot tougher on paper than what I believe will be on display this Sunday. Two of Houston’s best defensive outings were against quarterbacks that entered the season as backups on their respective depth chart. Including 6th round rookie QB Gardner Minshew (JAC) in his first NFL start and 2nd year backup Kyle Allen (CAR) getting the 2nd start of his career. In Houston’s two matchups against top 10 NFL quarterbacks Drew Brees and Philip Rivers, the defense surrendered an average of 327.5 passing yards per game, QB12 (Brees) and QB13 (Rivers) fantasy finishes, and 4 total passing touchdowns. After nearly topping 400 yards passing (397) last week, Matt Ryan failed to pass for a TD against TEN. This is a prime bounce back spot for Matt Ryan to find the endzone through the air in a game where ATL are -4.5 underdogs and an implied score that includes 3 TDs for the Falcons. Rudy projects Ryan as the QB8 this weekend.
In a potential shootout, with explosive play-makers on both sides, all of the usual suspects for this Falcons offense are in play. PPR WR4 on the season, Julio Jones is a set-it and forget-it player in season long leagues. Houston surrendered 417 combined receiving yards to #1 wideouts Deandre Hopkins, Michael Thomas, and Keenan Allen. Jones is Rudy’s WR6 in PPR leagues. Exposing their slot coverage, Allen and Thomas who run a majority of their routes from the slot (62% out of slot K Allen / 64% out of slot M. Thomas), Houston’s coverage leaked 306 receiving yards and 2-touchdowns. This presents an intriguing opportunity for Atlanta’s slot-man Mohamed Sanu, who runs 52% offensive snaps from the slot and surprisingly leads this receiving core in total offensive snaps (234), 2nd in team WR targets (31), and owns a 30.6% WR target share. Check you waivers to see if Sanu is still sitting out there. He is a viable bye week fill in and low ceiling but high floor flex play in PPR formats. 63 snaps outside and 140 snaps in the slot, Calvin Ridley is presented with his own bounce back opportunity with Houston’s struggling slot coverage and the focus on the future Hall of Famer, Julio Jones . I view both Sanu and Ridley as flex plays with WR2 upside, in a game where we are expecting ATL to play from behind and carrying the 2nd highest point total. Both are interesting cheaper DFS plays, Ridley will have lower ownership after putting up a dude last week when Ryan through for 397 passing yards. PPR Fantasy TE2 through 4 weeks, 2nd on the Falcons in total passing targets (33), and 2nd in ATL receiving yards (307), Austin Hooper is a must start at a position that is a wasteland in fantasy football. Even though the Texans DST have only allowed an average of 24.3 yards per game to the TE position, and 0 touchdowns. Hoopers usage is enough to start him in season long leagues, but the matchup makes him fade in DFS.
Devonta Freeman salvaged a horrid performance on the ground by pulling in 8 receptions, on 9 targets, for 72 receiving yards. Otherwise his 12 carries for 28 rushing yards, 2.3 yards per carry, and Ito Smith vulturing a rezone TD instills little confidence in his rushing outlook for his fantasy owners. The Houston defensive unit is averaging 104.5 rushing yards allowed per game and giving up an inviting 4.75 ypc. The question will be if Matty Ice and the Falcons abandon the run if they find themselves down early. Lucky for Freeman, his receiving usage will save him from a basement-level floor. Freeman is a low-end RB2 play this weekend. Only receiving 22% of the Atlanta running back caries (13), Ito Smith is only worth a bench spot for Freeman owners. Unless Freeman suffers a major injury, Ito is waiver material in 12 team leagues.
Deshaun Watson is Rudy Gamble’s projected QB2 this week. See-saw-ing fantasy production, QB3 wk 1 > QB22 wk 2 > QB4 wk 3 > QB21 wk4, Deshaun Watson is primed for a bounce back from a frustrating outing against the Carolina Defense. Over the past 3 weeks, the Falcons DST surrendered QB11>QB11>QB5 fantasy outings and 6 passing touchdowns. Not to mention, the Falcons are without their top Saftey Keanu Neal (achilles).
Off to a slow start, Deandre Hopkins (WR23) has yet to get on track after finishing 2018 as the WR1. Tied for WR 9 in targets and 9th in air yards, Deandre Hopkins is bound to see better days. This presents fantasy owners a nice buy-low trade target, before the 2018 Nuk shows up and this weekend might be the one. Kenny Stills arrival in Houston has put a cap on Will Fullers fantasy production. Luckily for Fuller owners, Stills has been dealing with a hamstring injury that put an end to his day early last weekend against TEN. Stills was limited in practice on Wednesday and Thursday, but has a real shot of suiting up this weekend. Keep a close eye on Fridays practice report. Hamstring injuries like to linger and making sure Still avoids a longer term injury will be in Bill O’Briens best interest for the teams long term playoff interests. This paves the way for Will Fuller, who is 12th in NFL Air yards, and on the field for 95.6% of Houstons offensive snaps. I love Fuller as low-owned WR in DFS slates this weekend. Lost in the addition of Stills, Keke Coutee is not worth a roster spot in most 12-team formats, finding the field for only 32.8% of Houstons offensive snaps. Tight End, Darren Fells, is on the field more than Keke. Both Fells and TE Jordan Akins are desperation streams at the position, neither exceeding 3.5 targets a game nor 2.25 receptions per game.
In a nearly even snap count, Duke Johnson (142) is a low end flex play and Carlos Hyde (129) is a borderline RB2/RB3. In a game where Houston is expected to have the lead, it is reasonable to believe that Hyde will be leaned on to milk the clock. Hyde is the preferred early down and goal line back in the offense. Hyde has 52 carries on the season to Dukes 23. Removing a matchup against running-back-by-committee, Philadelphia Eagles, the Flacons have allowed opposing RB1s run for 285 yards (95 rushing yards per game), 3 rushing TDs, and a healthy 4.45 yards per carry. Rudy projects Hyde as his RB27 in PPR leagues, and Duke RB34. If the Falcons end up getting out to a lead early, the game script will flip in Johnsons favor.
New England Patriots (4-0) @ Washington Redskins (0-4)
O/U 42.5 , NE -15.5 (favorites)
Implied Score: NE 29 – WAS 13.5
The Washington Defensive unit is 4th worst in the league in rushing yards allowed per game (147.5 rushy/g), 5th worst in total yards allowed per game (399.3 y/g), and 16th in passing yards allowed per game (251.8 rec yds/g). The middle of the pack receiving yards allowed per game is a byproduct of opposing teams not needing a high volume of pass attempts to beat them. Washington is only averaging 4.3 points per game in the first half of their last three games. If there was a “get right” spot for Sony Michel owners, this is it. If Sony Michel fails to put up decent fantasy outing this weekend against WAS then it’ll be tough to trust him in our lineups moving forward. Michel is 2nd on the team in RB snaps, 118 snaps for Rex Burkhead to Michels 104. Burkhead is dealing with a foot injury for the second week in a row. Burkhead only received 1 carry on the ground in week 4 after being limited in practice last week with the same foot injury designation. -15.5 point favorites, Michel is the favorite to dominate early down work in this game. Burkhead should be on benches until we see his usage return, but is a desperation low-end flex play for those forcing Rex into duty. James White led this backfield in snaps week 4 after returning from the birth of his new born child, but was only a factor in the passing game. Along with Burkhead, White received only 1 attempt on the ground, but was able to rack up 8 receptions on 10 targets for 57 receiving yards. With no Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski, the Patriots are finding ways to utilize White in the passing game. White is a more trustworthy flex option over Burkhead this week in PPR leagues, but still a low flex play as -15.5 dogs. I don’t expect NE needing to rely on the passing game to win this game. Again, if you invested middle round draft capital on Sony Michel, this is the time you need to start him. Michel is tied for 11th in RB rushing attempts, the usage and the opportunity are aligning for Michel down in the nations capital.
Tom Brady, QB14 on the season, remains a back end QB1 this weekend in a game where NE is expected to play with a lead from the opening drive. A 29 point implied score for NE, Vegas projects the Patriots to score 4 touchdowns. Tom Brady is a safe option at the position, but a low ceiling with the 4th lowest projected point total in week 5. Rudy projects Brady as the QB6 this week, throwing for 2.02 pass TDs.
Both fantasy relevant wideouts in NE are outside of the top 35 in WR PPR scoring on the season, but both are presented a nice opportunity to appear in the WR2 range this weekend. Josh Gordon is expected to receive coverage from aging veteran CB Josh Norman, but Norman has yet to instill fear in opposing passing games. The Washington DST have allowed opposing passing attacks 246.5 pass yds per game and 7 total touchdowns (1.75 TD per game). Julian Edelman leads the Pats in snaps, targets, receptions, and receiving yards. Edelman is volume safe WR2 this weekend, with WR1 upside. Rudy has Edelman projected as his WR12 in PPR leagues. Josh Gordon can be viewed as a WR3/Flex play. After leading his team in WR fantasy production in week 3, Phillip Dorsett was a ghost in week 4, finding the field for 61.5% of the teams offensive snaps (Edelman 95.4% / Gordon 89.2%). Dorsett actually led NE in targets in week 4, but was only able to reel in 2 of his 9 targets (22% catch rate). Dorsett is your classic boom-bust WR3 on his roster. Not reliable for DFS usage, but a desperation dart throw for deeper season long leagues. Rudy has Dorsett outside his top 50.
Jay Gruden on the Redskins QB plan for Sunday: “We don’t have one right now.”
— Nora Princiotti (@NoraPrinciotti) October 2, 2019
A man without a plan…
Dwayne Haskins looked horrendous in his NFL debut last week, Case Keenum was benched during the game, and veteran backup Colt McCoy might be the starting QB against the best defense in the league. I’m avoiding all Washington fantasy assets, if possible, this weekend. RB Chris Thompson is the only fantasy asset that is worth a conversation. In a game where WAS will be playing catch-up and forced to pass, Thompson is a low end flex option in PPR leagues. Thompson leads the NFL in RB receiving yards, only behind Austin Ekeler and 33 receiving yards ahead of Christian McCaffrey, and 3rd in the NFL in RB pass targets. Scary Terry McLaurin is a fade this week, going up against a defensive unit that is #1 in lowest total yards allowed per game and 2nd lowest in passing yards allowed per game. Stephon Gillmore is an elite shadow cornerback that will cover McLaurin, IF Terry is able to find the field after nursing a hamstring injury the past 2 weeks. Both tied with McLaurin for the lead in team targets, Paul Richardson and Trey Quinn are PPR bench stashes in deeper leagues only. Avoid this pit of misery in all fantasy formats this weekend.
Leave your feedback and questions below in the comments. As always, you can find me on twitter. Good luck in week 5!