Fantasy Football Week 5 BS Meter
If you've been holding out judgment until a four-week sample size became available, we've finally reached that point.
Concerns for Chris Hogan appear to be real, although it's not like the New England Patriots have gotten strong production from any member of the receiving corps, including Rob Gronkowski. Still, you can certainly adjust expectations for Hogan going forward based on his quiet start to the season.
On the positive side, Jared Cook has been the one consistent part of the Oakland Raiders' passing attack. Considering how thin the position is for fantasy, Cook likely feels like a big asset on fantasy rosters as opposed to just a streamer.
What about the big performances from Week 4? Mitchell Trubisky was off to a slow start before exploding against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Sony Michel looked like a potential league-winner after disappointing in Week 3. Aaron Jones made the most of his opportunities in his second game back, but are the Green Bay Packers ready to let him lead the way.
The B.S. Meter breaks down 10 the most pressing issues in fantasy football heading into Week 5. The statements will be rated from 1 to 10, with 1 being completely true and 10 being total B.S.
Note: All fantasy stats used to calculate finishes are from FantasyPros. All advanced stats are calculated using data from Pro Football Reference. All stats are based on a points-per-reception (PPR) format.
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The Rams Have Five Fantasy Starters
Don't take the Los Angeles Rams for granted. We might be watching the most fantasy-friendly team ever.
Todd Gurley is a locked in RB1 at an elite level in both fantasy and reality. In Week 4, the Rams took it to the Minnesota Vikings and showed just how dangerous and well-defined their offense can be with huge performances from Gurley, Jared Goff, Cooper Kupp, Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods.
Goff torched the Vikings for 465 yards and five touchdowns on 26-of-33 passing in the victory. That gives him a top-three finish with 39.3 fantasy points for Week 4 and makes him a top-five fantasy quarterback for the season. If you drafted Goff to be a low-end starter or a top backup, he looks far better than that and should be used every week regardless of the opponent.
With Goff playing at such a high level, his wide receivers are producing strong fantasy numbers. Brandin Cooks, Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods and Gurley each have at least 20 targets. The rest of the team has a combined 15 targets.
Cooks leads the team in receptions (26) and yards (452) on 33 targets. Kupp leads the team with four receiving touchdowns in addition to 24 receptions for 348 yards on 32 targets. Woods has 24 receptions for 323 yards and three touchdowns on a team-high 34 targets. Gurley has the most overall touchdowns (six), and after his 79 carries for 338 yards, the next-closest Rams running back is Malcolm Brown at 18 carries for 93 yards.
Through four weeks, the Rams have the No. 2 running back in Gurley, the No. 3 quarterback in Goff, and three wide receivers inside the top 25 in Kupp, Cooks and Woods. Not only do these five players belong in your lineup, but they could be carrying you to a fantasy championship.
B.S. Meter on if the Rams have five fantasy starters: 1/10
Jared Cook Will Remain One of the Top Fantasy Tight Ends
The same conversation seems to happen every year when it comes to fantasy tight ends, but just one month into this season, it might be the thinnest the position has ever been for fantasy.
Hunter Henry, Delanie Walker, Jake Butt, Tyler Eifert and Will Dissly are all out for the season. Greg Olsen has been sidelined by a foot injury that crushed his 2017 season. Evan Engram and O.J. Howard are both dealing with knee injuries that will cost them multiple weeks. Oh, and Rob Gronkowski has an ankle issue heading into a Thursday night game in Week 5.
Jared Cook may have been a tease during his time with the St. Louis Rams, Tennessee Titans and Green Bay Packers, but after a month in his second season with the Oakland Raiders, he looks like a player who will give you an advantage at the tight end position over your opponent in most weeks.
Cook opened the season with nine receptions for 180 yards on 12 targets against the Los Angeles Rams. He dipped down to four receptions for 49 yards on four targets in Week 2 and wasn't much better with five catches for 31 yards on six targets in Week 3. His production hit new heights in Week 4, when he caught eight of 13 targets for 110 yards and a pair of touchdowns in a win over the Cleveland Browns. That made him the top tight end for Week 4 and the No. 2 fantasy tight end after four weeks.
The Raiders are getting good production out of Amari Cooper and Jordy Nelson, but Cook has been the best part of their passing attack. He leads the team in every receiving category. Cook has a 35-30 target advantage, 26-21 reception and 370-270 yardage advantage over Cooper. Only Marshawn Lynch (three) has more touchdowns than his two.
Whether you drafted Cook or picked him off the waiver wire, just know he's easily outplaying his preseason fantasy value, and even if he doesn't light it up every week, he'll be one of the best fantasy assets at the position as long as he stays on the field. Availability is the best reliability right now at tight end.
B.S. Meter on Cook remaining one of the top fantasy tight ends: 2/10
Both James White and Sony Michel Can Be Started with Confidence
Navigating the New England Patriots' backfield is never easy. However, a pair of early-season injuries may have cleared up questions about how touches will be distributed. As we saw in Week 4, a two-headed monster of James White and Sony Michel can be strong fantasy options at the same time, especially when they aren't battling others for touches.
When Michel was working his way back from the knee injury that cost him the entire preseason, the Patriots opened up the season with White, Rex Burkhead and Jeremy Hill as the top options in the backfield. During Week 1, Hill was lost for the season to a torn ACL. In Week 3, Burkhead suffered a neck injury that was bad enough to land him on the injured reserve.
Since debuting in Week 2, Michel's carries have risen each week. In Week 2, he carries 10 times for 34 yards. Week 3 resulted in 14 carries for 50 yards for Michel, but it was the second straight week he led the team in carries. With Burkhead out of the mix, Michel had his breakout game in Week 4 with 112 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries to give him 17.2 fantasy points. Besides White seeing a season-high eight carries, the next-closest in the backfield was Kenjon Barner with three carries for 11 yards.
White has been the model of consistency over the first four weeks. He leads the New England receiving corps with 30 targets, 22 receptions and three touchdowns, and his 193 yards put him second to Rob Gronkowski (233). White also has 21 carries for 110 yards and a touchdown, so he's been able to handle roles as both a runner and a receiver with strong production. He's already a top-15 fantasy back for the season after scoring 23.2 fantasy points in Week 4.
At the very least, both Michel and White have the potential to finish inside the top 20 for the season, so without any other competition for touches, both players should be good fantasy options for the rest of the year.
B.S. Meter on being able to start both White and Michel with confidence: 3/10
Aaron Jones Is Already the Top Fantasy Back in Green Bay
With Aaron Jones serving a two-game suspension to open the season, Jamaal Williams had a window to establish himself as the unquestioned, lead back for the Green Bay Packers. He failed to do that, and now Jones may have usurped him in just two games.
In the first pair, Williams carried 31 times for 106 yards and added three receptions for 12 yards on six targets, all without scoring. He played 61.7 percent of the snaps in Week 1 and 61.0 percent in Week 2. His 14.8 fantasy points during that span made him the No. 36 fantasy running back, so he was barely an RB3. In the two games with Jones, Williams has 16 carries for 56 yards and two receptions for 16 yards on three targets. His snap percentage dropped to 43.5 in Week 3 and fell again in Week 4 to 36.8.
Week 3 saw Jones return to action in limited fashion with a 24.6 percent snap share and six carries for 42 yards plus a reception for five yards on his only target. That snap percent rose to 38.2 percent in Week 4 when he had 11 carries for 65 yards with a TD plus a reception for 17 yards on his only target to finish with 15.2 fantasy points. Williams matched Jones in carries, but had just 27 yards and played fewer snaps. In two games, Jones was clearly the better back in fantasy and reality.
According to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, when head coach Mike McCarthy was asked about the running back rotation in Week 4, he said the focus was to simply run the ball, and that he liked "where the numbers are." The biggest hurdle for Jones is getting McCarthy and the coaching staff out of such an even rotation. Jones has the talent to be the lead back and is already the top fantasy back for Green Bay, but his ceiling will be capped if Williams stays in the mix.
B.S. Meter on Jones already being the top fantasy back in Green Bay: 4/10
Mike Davis Is the Running Back to Own in Seattle
The lone inactive surprise of Week 4 was Chris Carson sitting out against the Arizona Cardinals due to a hip injury. That left an excellent matchup up for grabs in the Seattle Seahawks backfield, but it was Mike Davis, not first-round rookie Rashaad Penny, who got the featured role.
Davis turned 21 carries into 101 yards and a pair of scores in addition to four receptions for 23 yards on four targets while playing 71.2 percent of the snaps. Davis came into the game with just three carries and 17 snaps on the season, so his role as the lead back in relief of Carson wasn't expected.
Penny played well, but he had just nine carries for 49 yards and didn't receive a target. He saw 24.2 percent of the snaps, his second-lowest share of the season. Considering this was a beatable matchup, it's discouraging to see Penny play a secondary role to Davis.
As we established in the Week 3 Workload Watch, head coach Pete Carroll's words mean nothing when it comes to predicting the roles in this backfield. Using logic, Davis should be worth grabbing off the waiver wire if Carson can't go again this week, but this is an unpredictable situation and an average team at best. Proceed with caution and don't put too much faith in Davis if you are planning to play him this week.
B.S. Meter on Davis being the running back to own in Seattle: 5/10
Chris Hogan Will Rebound from a Slow Start
One of the keys to winning in fantasy football is not clinging to preseason opinions on players if their production doesn't match those evaluations. Chris Hogan was set up for a great opportunity in New England at the top of a weak receiving corps, but through four weeks, he's been a massive disappointment.
I expected Hogan to be a strong WR2 in a great situation, but he's been outside the top-50 fantasy wide receivers. While the addition of Josh Gordon certainly threw a wrench into the situation, he can't be blamed for Hogan's lack of production. Through four games, Hogan has just 15 targets with eight receptions for 109 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He hasn't had more than three receptions or 42 yards in any game, and both of his scores came in a Week 2 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
But he's not the only Patriot leaving fantasy owners looking for answers after the first month. Rob Gronkowski has just 17 receptions for 233 yards and a TD on 24 targets and is dealing with an ankle injury that forced him from Week 4. Josh Gordon's debut featured just two receptions for 32 yards on 22.2 percent of the snaps. Other than James White, no one is living up to preseason expectations.
The Patriots get Julian Edelman back from a four-game suspension this week, so that coupled with the trade for Gordon will make it tough for Hogan to bounce back after such a bad start. It's not out of the realm of possibility that he salvages some fantasy value this year, although that won't be close to the WR2 tier he was in coming into the season. He provides depth in bigger leagues but can be dropped in smaller leagues.
B.S. Meter on Hogan rebounding after a slow start: 6/10
The Colts Have a Better Back Than Nyheim Hines
When the Indianapolis Colts moved on from Frank Gore during the offseason, Marlon Mack appeared to be in the driver's seat to take over the starting job. The Colts added Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines through the draft, but as an incumbent, Mack was the favorite to lead the way in 2018.
Multiple injuries have kept Mack on the sidelines for three of four games including the last two weeks, so his absence left the door open for someone else to snatch the lead role. Wilkins hasn't been able to do so, with 38 carries for 136 yards (3.6 yards per carry) and no touchdowns in addition to seven receptions for 25 yards on eight targets.
Hines has been even worse on the ground. He has just 54 yards on 18 carries with a Week 2 toughdown. The lone bright spot of this backfield has been Hines' production as a receiver. After posting nine receptions for 63 yards and two touchdowns on 11 targets in Week 4, Hines now has 22 receptions for 119 yards and two scores on 26 targets. He leads the Colts in receptions and has at least five targets and five receptions in three of four games this season.
The Colts are a bottom-five rushing offense through the first month of the season, with just 72 yards per game, so the numbers Hines has a receiver are just about the only production coming out of this backfield. Robert Turbin should get immediate opportunities coming back from a four-game suspension this week. However, until someone else steps up, Hines is the best back of a bad group in Indianapolis.
B.S. Meter on the Colts having a better back than Hines: 7/10
Mitchell Trubisky Can Sustain His Week 4 Fantasy Production
With a progressive, offensive head coach in Matt Nagy taking over the Chicago Bears in Mitchell Trubisky's second season, expectations were on the rise, although not out of control. The idea was that maybe by the back half of the year, Trubisky could provide some fantasy value in the right matchups. But early on, not much was expected from him. Through three weeks, he didn't look like anything more than a young quarterback learning a new offense.
Week 4 was a completely different story. Facing both the worst overall defense and worst pass defense in the league, Trubisky went for 354 yards and six touchdowns in a blowout victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. However, he did that by completing just 19 of 26 passes. That means he had a touchdown pass on 23.1 percent of his attempts and averaged 13.62 yards per attempt. Trubisky was the No. 1 fantasy quarterback for Week 4 at 43.46 fantasy points.
Did Trubisky turn a major corner in his career? Probably not, but he and the Bears deserve credit for taking advantage of such a weak defense. In their first three games, the Buccaneers allowed 439 yards and three touchdowns to Drew Brees, 334 yards and one touchdown to Nick Foles, and 353 yards and three touchdowns to Ben Roethlisberger. Trubisky had the most efficient performance of that quarterback group, but it would have been a bigger story if he'd struggled in such a prime matchup.
Before Week 4, Trubisky didn't have more than 220 yards in a game and had just a pair of touchdown throws on the season, both of which came in Week 2. On Sunday, he simply executed when opportunities were there, thanks to a terrible Buccaneers secondary. The way Trubisky was finding wide-open receivers is a skill that any NFL quarterback should have, so while he gets credit for doing his job, it wasn't a superhuman effort.
Trubisky's performance should certainly build his confidence heading into the bye, but to expect him to perform at a fantasy starter-level going forward is shooting a bit too high. Until he strings together multiple games at a consistent, high level of play, he's just a streamer when the matchup is clearly in his favor.
B.S. Meter on Trubisky sustaining his Week 4 fantasy production: 8/10
Corey Davis' Week 4 Performance Was a Fluke
The Tennessee Titans entered Week 4 with a 2-1 record after consecutive victories over the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars. Even with that record, it was hard to feel great about the state of the offense and the fantasy players connected to it. Corey Davis changed those feelings after the Titans defeated the Philadelphia Eagles in overtime.
Through three weeks, Davis led the Titans with 24 targets, 13 receptions and 151 yards. After Davis, no one had more than Dion Lewis' 13 targets and nine receptions or Taywan Taylor's 62 yards. Davis was the best of a weak group, although his production wasn't even good enough to rank among the top 50 fantasy wide receivers. He wasn't getting any help from a bad QB situation that saw Blaine Gabbert have to step in because of Marcus Mariota's elbow injury. Mariota had to replace Gabbert in Week 3 after Gabbert suffered a concussion.
The Titans were comfortable enough to name Mariota the starter early in the week before facing the Eagles, so there was a sense of confidence in the passing game that hadn't been there in previous weeks. Mariota and Davis took advantage of the shaky Eagles secondary by connecting on nine of 15 targets for 161 yards and a touchdown. Davis finished Week 4 as the No. 4 fantasy wide receiver with 31.1 fantasy points. He had a total of 28.1 fantasy points in the first three games.
While Davis won't have such beatable matchups every week, there should be a lot more confidence in using him going forward, especially since Mariota played well and appears to be over his injury. There's no doubt Davis is the top option in this passing game, so the targets will always be there. He's no worse than a strong WR3 with WR2 upside for the rest of the season.
B.S. Meter on Davis' Week 4 performance being a fluke: 9/10
Leonard Fournette's Hamstring Injury Is a Minor Problem
There's no way to assume anything when it comes to injuries. As much as we pore over injury reports, coaches' comments and every little detail about pregame warmups for injured players, you can't know how effective players will be until they are in game situations. Some might need a few snaps to get loose and comfortable and improve as the game progresses. Others have setbacks and make situations worse by pushing the envelope at less than 100 percent.
In 2018, Leonard Fournette is in the latter group. He was limited to just 21 snaps in Week 1 before exiting with a hamstring injury. He wound up missing the next two games, although with more practice leading into Week 4, he was on track to return. He started against the New York Jets and saw 11 carries but was forced to leave the game when the hamstring issue returned. He came back in the game and was then ruled out at halftime. He finished with 11 carries for 30 yards and a reception for five yards.
According to Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com, when head coach Doug Marrone was asked about Fournette's timetable, he said: "I really don't know. Believe me, if I knew exactly what the deal was and I could tell you—three, six, 10 [games], IR, whatever—I would. I just don't know. Those injuries are tough."
Marrone added: "It's different when you're playing a game. The game's different."
Now that Fournette's return to action is totally up in the air, you can't assume anything when it comes to his return or fantasy value. T.J. Yeldon is the back to roll with in Jacksonville, and in deeper leagues, Corey Grant might be worth a look. If you drafted Fournette to be your RB1, those plans are dead. This injury is a problem that won't go away.
B.S. Meter on Fournette's hamstring injury being a minor problem: 10/10