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10 Interesting Fantasy Football Stats and Takeaways from Week Five

10 Interesting Fantasy Football Stats

Fantasy StatsOne of the craziest stats I came across this week is Kansas City Chiefs QB Alex Smith is the highest scoring player in fantasy. That’s right, ALEX. SMITH. It goes to show how fast things can change in fantasy football. You have to be able to change on the fly and balance the weekly aspect of fantasy with the long-term goal of winning the title. We’ll try to do the best we can to lead you in the right direction about the trends we’re seeing develop and react the best way possible.

1. JuJu Smith-Schuster could be the #2 WR in Pittsburgh

I’m not going to spend a ton of time on this because this is the third straight week this has happened and I’ve mentioned it every time.

Even though Big Ben had one of the worst games of his career this past Sunday, the #2 WR in the Steelers offense will have value…if it’s not a time share. Right now, neither JuJu or Martavis can truly break out because they’re just canceling each other. There’s also the chance Eli Rogers could be back in action this week to muddy the waters even further. Seeing as how the Steelers have yet to unlock their full offensive potential, maybe they should pick a guy and give him the run. On a side note, it sure looks like Mike Galuszka of is going to be picking my Twitter avatar since I bet him Martavis would be a top 12 WR. That’s called a swing and miss, guys and gals. I own it and will try to learn from it and be a better analyst going forward.

2. Carlos Hyde might be in a RBBC

Carlos HydeOne of the most dreaded terms in fantasy football may have come to San Francisco. Running Back Carlos Hyde played sparingly compared to his normal workload and many assumed that his hip injury had flared up. That was apparently not the case. Coach Kyle Shanahan was reportedly not happy about a dropped pass and possibly a missed blitz pickup. The sum of the moving parts is this:

This is just the worst possible news for Hyde owners short of injury. There’s reason to burn a roster spot on Breida, even though you can’t start him. You now can’t start Hyde with confidence because if he doesn’t start off well, he’ll find the bench. It’s a no-win situation for owners. If I could move him for a solid RB2, I’d probably be willing to move Hyde. It’ll most likely have to be part of a package deal since savvy owners won’t be willing to take on Hyde and the issues he has.

3. Duke Johnson has been invaluable in PPR leagues

Most fantasy players are fully aware of just how badly Cleveland Browns RB Isaiah Crowell has performed this season. The Crow was a popular breakout pick in the off-season due to just missing out on rushing for 1,000 yards in 2016 and the upgrades the Browns made to the offensive line. It hasn’t worked out in large part because Cleveland is never in a good game script. Crowell currently sits as the RB37 in standard and RB40 in PPR…just behind Charcandrick West. The beneficiary of poor game script and struggles from Crowell has been Duke Johnson.

Zeke was a consensus top five pick while Johnson went well past the 7th-8th round range. So far, Johnson has provided just massive value to your team. These backs sit next to each other as the RB6 and RB7 so far this season. I wouldn’t expect Johnson to keep up this pace, but he seems firmly entrenched as an RB2. Johnson is a pretty attractive trade target as we start to gear up for the fantasy playoffs.

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4. It might be Matt Moore time in Miami

The Miami Dolphins offense has been awful to this point in the season. Coach Adam Gase and his reputation of a sharp offensive mind are taking a hit at the moment. Even I didn’t realize just how bad things had gotten until I saw this stat.

Last year, the Los Angeles Rams averaged 14 points a game and were a total laughingstock of the league. At least they had a poor head coach and a badly outmatched offense from a talent perspective. Miami actually has some good players in RB Jay Ajayi, WRs Jarvis Landry and DeVante Parker and a fine offensive line. So why are they having so many issues? A lot of the blame falls at the feet of QB Jay Cutler. He ranks 32nd in yards, tied for 29th in TDs, 32nd in net yards per passing play, and 30th in QB rating. If the Dolphins want to try to save their season, they need to admit the mistake of signing Cutler in the first place and turn to backup QB Matt More. He can at least be average to slightly below average, something Cutler seemingly cannot do.

5. Christian McCaffrey is seeing fewer touches

McCaffrey is actually still a mid range RB2 on the season, but he certainly hasn’t felt like it so far. There haven’t been many explosive or highlight reel plays, meaning McCaffrey has had to rely on volume to get his stats. Normally, that’s a great thing for fantasy. Volume is king, especially among running backs. That volume is slowly coming down.

Here’s where real football intersects with fantasy. I wouldn’t be terribly concerned if the Panthers weren’t winning and scoring 25+ points. The problem is the Panthers have come alive after stumbling through the first three weeks of the season. They posted 33 points on the Patriots and 27 on the Lions. WR Devin Funchess has exploded onto the scene, accumulating 27 targets over these past three weeks. It’s great to see QB Cam Newton playing better for fantasy purposes. I’m still not sure of his ability to float Kelvin Benjamin, Funchess and McCaffrey consistently week to week.

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6. Hunter Henry is back

Maybe the Chargers have finally realized how silly it is to trot out ancient Antonio Gates ahead of Henry. At 1-4, the Chargers are likely not going anywhere this season. Gates has the record for touchdowns for a tight end and there is basically zero incentive to continue to give him a ton of looks.

There’s still risk in playing Henry until we see the usage stabilize over the course of a couple weeks. What’s interesting is Henry is under 80% owned in Yahoo and under 55% in ESPN. Tight end has been a train wreck so far this season. You should 100% check your waiver wire to see if he can be picked up in your league. It’s always a good idea to look at players available after waivers run on Wednesday. Bye weeks can make owners drop players they really don’t want to drop and you can take advantage.

7. Is it time to buy Amari Cooper?

If you’re playing in a re-draft league, the price couldn’t be lower on Cooper at this point. He has been an utter disaster this season, arguably the biggest bust of any top 20 pick outside of injury.

Those are just ghastly numbers and even the people who weren’t high on Cooper coming into the season could never have predicted Cooper would hit rock bottom like this. Things could be looking up, however. QB Derek Carr is reportedly going to be back quicker than originally anticipated. Cooper owners have to be in full-blown panic at this point. I wouldn’t really go too hard after Cooper because there’s a chance he’s just going to have a bad season. I also wouldn’t chase Cooper unless you’re 5-0 or 4-1 and can afford to wait on him. If you can, he’s got a sweetheart playoff schedule.

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8. Tarik Cohen is no longer usable

This is something I can’t possibly understand. Cohen showed in the first portion of the season he was electric with the ball in his hands. Even though he lacked typical NFL size, he was almost impossible to tackle early own. For some unknown reason, Coach John Fox has decided that Cohen no longer needs to see the field that much.

The Bears are currently breaking in rookie QB Mitchell Trubisky. Their best receiving threat is…Kendall Wright? RB Jordan Howard is the only proven weapon on this offense and for some reason, Cohen has been demoted to splitting time with Benny Cunningham. It truly makes no sense from where I sit, but Cohen can be dropped at this point. Of course, I said that about Cam Newton and he returned to MVP form directly after that.

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9. Alex Smith is no longer just a streamer

Through five games, Chiefs QB Alex Smith is having the season of his career. He sits 3rd in yards, tied for third in TDs, 1st in completion percentage, hasn’t thrown an interception and has added 108 yards rushing and a TD. He’s pulling this off with a very thin WR corps and Travis Kelce. Smith has been lights out and it’s translated to fantasy.

Coach Andy Reid is in some type of zone calling and designing plays this season. The Chiefs have kept opponents off-balance with the threat of Kelce, WR Tyreek Hill and rookie RB Kareem Hunt. I’m not sure if Kansas City drafting Patrick Mahomes has forced Smith to take more chances and make more plays or if he’s just having a career year. Regardless, Smith has quietly become the highest scoring QB in fantasy football.

10. The Adrian Peterson trade doesn’t matter for Arizona

I understand why the Cardinals would try to revive their running game with Peterson. After all, they throw the most of any team in the NFL in most situations.

Peterson hasn’t been very good or healthy since 2015. The Cardinals offensive line has had issues since day one and they really aren’t going to get better. Guard Mike Iupati was lost for the season. It’s hard to imagine Peterson walking in the door, learning the playbook in a hurry and being able to give the Cardinals any semblance of a running game. Coach Bruce Arians has no issues with airing out the ball, even without a great WR corps. I’m not concerned in the least about the volume RB Andre Ellington will get. He’s been the running game for the Cards the past few weeks and I expect that to continue.

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