MACK’S SUNDAY SAUCE: NFL FANTASY FOOTBALL (WEEK 5)
This is Mack’s Sunday Sauce comin’ at ya! Always fresh, never stirred, where I’m here to give you your weekly dose of anything goes, no filter FANTASY FOOTBALL advice.
We are now through the first quarter of NFL season and just about through the first third or so of the regular season in fantasy football. What does this tell us off the bat? Well firstly, and may very well be most importantly, the bye weeks are upon us! Now is the time when a team’s depth matters. It also tells us how a fantasy team is looking, and whether you really need to try and make a trade or wait for that ‘big pick up’ and be all over the waiver wire. Hopefully you’re at the top and can keep sitting pretty. Regardless, let’s take a look at some key Week 5 games and the fantasy implications each bring to the table. While the sauce is always delicious, sometimes you just gotta’ go with that ‘MOM THE MEATLOAF’ of a gut!
Sunday – 1pm – ARI @ PHI: The 3-1 Birds host the 2-2 Cards this week. Through four weeks, the Eagles have been finding ways to win with fledgling sophomore QB Carson Wentz. Arizona’s defense has not been terrible, but has also not played up to their standards. This is a game that the Eagles offense will need to show up. The rapport Wentz has developed with Zach Ertz has become undisputable, and Ertz has emerged as a top 5 TE in fantasy and a must start each and every week. The Cardinals are giving up the fourth least fantasy points to TE’s through four weeks, but don’t sit Ertz! Alshon Jeffrey is most likely going to be matched up with Patrick Peterson all day, but this ‘G’ed up from the feet up’ sixth year vet is always in it to win it and is a WR2 in fantasy. The Cardinals are also doing a lot better defending the middle of the field then out wide, so look for Jeffrey to capitalize deep early and often. The Cardinals recent struggles on defense along with Carson Wentz’ excellent sophomore start and some of his weapons keeps him a top 10 fantasy QB against a former lockdown defense. Wentz, Ertz and Jeffrey weren’t the big questions though. Is LeGarrette Blount a fantasy starter this week? The Cardinals, although struggling on D are still giving up the seventh least fantasy points to RB’s this season and Wendell Smallwood has arisen as a serviceable pass catcher in place of injured Darren Sproles; but I still think both can be used if necessary this week in fantasy. Smallwood is already banged up, but he may still play, and they also may need him to pass catches as it could turn into a scrappy game. Blount will be around for goal line work and early down mass touches. With the bye weeks starting, both are still flexible in a tough matchup with the Cards, but manage your expectations. After a slow start, Larry Fitzgerald exploded in Week 3 and scored again in Week 4. The Birds are giving up the 3rd most fantasy points to opposing WR’s this season, and Fitzgerald needs to have a big week if the Cardinals have any shot. BOLDSTATLINE PREDICTION: 9 catches, 138 yards, TD. You can also do worse than fellow veteran Carson Palmer this week, as the Eagles secondary is still pretty suspect in 2017. The rest of Arizona is pretty tough to start. The Eagles run D has been a bright spot of their defense, and it’s tough to trust Andre Ellington or Chris Johnson. One sneaky play is Jaron Brown though. He is stepping his game up and has quietly had three solid fantasy weeks in a row. This is the Brown you want to own and stash, and plug in when the matchup is right. The matchup is right this week.
Sunday – 1pm – JAX @ PITT: See, Le’Veon Bell is more than fine. And he gets Jacksonville this week. He’ll be sure to run wild. Big Ben is not the best play though, as this 2017 Jaguar team is tough to figure out at 2-2. Their run D has been terrible but their pass D is on point. While the Steelers should win, the Jags are giving up the very least fantasy points to both QB’s and WR’s through four weeks. This hot young secondary will make life tough for Antonio Brown, but you aren’t sitting Brown. What about Martavis Bryant? Something tells me these receivers may squeeze through the cracks and fall into their respectable places, Antonio as a WR1 and Bryant as a ‘boom or bust’ flex. Big Ben will have worse days; he will also have better days. It will be a typical Sunday in which he will do what he needs to do to win, not worried about his loyal fantasy owners. He is still a Top 15 QB against this tough D, but not a top 10. Jesse James is banged up and has struggled since his enormous Week 1, and one should look elsewhere if possible. At the same time, he is 6’7” and 270 lbs. Leonard Fournette is probably the best play for the Jags this week, as Bell is the best play for Pitt. RB’s are averaging 23 fantasy points per game (0.5 PPR) against the Steelers, and the rookie has quickly become a focal point of Jacksonville’s weak offense. Allen Hurns is keeping himself involved, but like the Jaguars tough Pass D, the Steelers’ are neck and neck with them, giving up the second least fantasy points to receivers through four games. He should serve as the possession receiver, but will need to find the end zone to have a double digit fantasy day. BOLD STATLINE PREDICTION: 5 catches, 47 yards, TD. Blake Bortles remains irrelevant because nobody wants to start him with his inconsistency (even though he sometimes puts up insane fantasy numbers), and it wouldn’t be the week to anyway, as the Steelers are only giving up 12 fantasy points per game to opposing QB’s through four weeks.
Sunday 4:25pm – GB @ DAL: This is the game everyone is going to be watching around America on Sunday at 4:30. ‘America’s Team’ at home vs. the legendary GB Packers in a Sunday afternoon NFC clash! Yeahhhh, I’m excited for this one, and I’m starting Dak Prescott over Philip Rivers when Rivers has the way better matchup against a struggling Giant defense. That’s because Dak needs to play up to Aaron Rodgers to win this game, and I think regardless of the outcome, both QB’s make it rain in fantasy on Sunday! With that, let’s keep this one fun! Fantasy players should be all over the healthy Packers and Cowboys this week! Only on offense though! Neither of these D/ST units should be streamed this week. Jordy Nelson and Dez Bryant are obviously both top 10 WR1’s. Two Packers to monitor are Davante Adams and Ty Montgomery. Both are banged up, and Montgomery may be limited if he plays. Adams needs to clear a concussion protocol regardless if he’s feeling ready, and who will reap the benefits of these two questionable tagged players? Randall Cobb is that guy this week; the guy to take those ‘short dumpoffs’ from Rodgers for Montgomery and to also take the attention off of Jordy at times if there is no Adams. I am starting Cobb this week. Martellus Bennett has been serviceable because of the lack of depth at the position, but an overall disappointment. On the other end, Jason Witten gets a Packers D giving up the second least fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season, but THE WRECKORD is still starting Witten. BOLD STATLINE PREDICTION: 5 CATCHES, 43 YARDS, 1 TD. If you are desperate this week, the final sleeper of this game is Cole Beasley in the slot. You can do worse in the flex than with this short, speedy vet in a big conference game.