Fantasy Football: 5 Bold Predictions for Week 5
You ever drink hot sauce and beer at the same time? Neither have I. But it does seem bold.
Not to be confused with baldness, boldness would be sporting a mohawk at the ripe young age of 75. In an unrealistic football analogy, boldness would be trading the best receiver in football for a washed-up running back with a huge contract. Ehhh, no one would be that stup... oh, nevermind.
For this article, we'll focus the boldness on fantasy football. Think of this piece like Taco Tuesday -- it's better when it's spicy, but the spiciness is not what it's all about; it's there to add flavor. The point here is not to hit on 100% of the predictions. After all, I'm not a vomiting hippo. The goal here is to uncover insights that can help us win some dough in fantasy.
Now, let's go drink a bottle of Tabasco.
(All predictions are for half-PPR and Yahoo scoring for quarterbacks.)
1. Teddy Bridgewater Finishes as a Top-5 Quarterback
Week 4 was just the third time in 38 career starts that Teddy Bridgewater ($7,100) finished as a top-five quarterback in fantasy. I'm predicting that he'll make it four in Week 5.
This week, Bridgewater will get the enviable honor of going up against the Atlanta Falcons and their non-existent defense. So far this season, Atlanta has surrendered 5.2 more fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks than any other team. The Falcons have allowed performances of 31.8, 39.8, and 29.6 fantasy points to Russell Wilson, Dak Prescott, and Aaron Rodgers, respectively, and they also somehow let the Chicago Bears quarterbacks rack up 30.8 fantasy points against them -- now that's quite an accomplishment. The 13 touchdown passes Atlanta's given up is tops in the league, and the 1,415 yards they've surrendered through the air is behind only the Seattle Seahawks.
Wilson, Prescott, and Rodgers all finished as top-three fantasy quarterbacks in this matchup, and Bridgewater should continue that trend. 13 quarterbacks are more expensive than Bridgewater on Sunday's main slate, making him an excellent salary-saving option.
2. Antonio Gibson Finishes as an RB1
This prediction is predicated on the Washington Football Team's coaching staff getting their heads out of their rear ends. I mean, voluntarily choosing to give J.D. McKissic snaps and touches over Antonio Gibson ($5,800) is basically a fireable offense.
Among the 53 backs with at least 18 carries this season, Peyton Barber (-0.06) and J.D. McKissic (-0.02) both rank bottom-14 in Rushing Net Expected Points (NEP) per carry -- whereas Gibson (0.14) finds himself inside the top-12. Despite that, the latter two have received nearly half (48.8%) of Washington's carries.
In addition, to date, McKissic has out-targeted Gibson 17 to 12. Now, that might be justifiable if McKissic was, at the very least, not a terrible receiving back, but...that's not the case. McKissic's Reception NEP per target mark of -0.03 ranks third-worst among all backs with at least 12 targets, while Gibson has a mark of 0.38 in that same category.
Gibson did garner 13 carries and 5 targets in Week 4, which is still not enough, but we can hope that it is the start of a trend that has him as the team's every-down back in the near future. If that near future was Week 5, we could be in for a big performance from the rookie.
The Los Angeles Rams have been one of the run-funneliest (definitely not a word) defenses so far in 2020. While they rank seventh-best in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play, they are currently dead last in the rushing counterpart of that metric. The Rams have already allowed three different backs to total at least 120 yards against them through four games, and Gibson could make it a fourth if his coaching staff doesn't get in his way.
3. Joe Mixon Fails to Finish as a Top-20 Running Back
Am I willing to fall on my face again predicting a Mixon dud? Yes, yes I am.
Through four weeks, the Baltimore Ravens rank second in Adjusted Defensive Rushing NEP per play. Additionally, 57.6% of the fantasy points they've allowed to running backs this season have come via receptions -- if Mixon isn't heavily involved in the passing game, he could struggle against Baltimore once again. In six career games against the Ravens, Mixon has finished higher than RB18 just once -- he's finished as the RB27 or lower four times in those six contests.
While many drafters will be high on Mixon after his explosion last week, this seems like a good week to fade him.
4. Eric Ebron Finishes as a Top-5 Tight End
The Philadelphia Eagles have allowed at least 11.7 half-PPR points to three different tight ends already this season. Most recently, George Kittle caught all 15 of his targets for 183 yards and a score -- that came two weeks after Tyler Higbee scored three times against this defense.
Eric Ebron ($5,100) has garnered 12 targets over his last 2 games, including two looks in the money zone. As a tight end who makes a living in the red zone, this is shaping up to be a perfect match of role meets matchup in Week 5.
A whopping 15 tight ends are more expensive than Ebron on Sunday's main slate -- that thing you're smelling is value.
5. Justin Jefferson Scores and Totals 100+ Yards for the Third Consecutive Game
(Author note: This game is on Sunday night -- not on the main slate.)
Predicting a wide receiver boom performance against the Seattle Seahawks seems like it'll become a weekly tradition. Thus far, 11 receivers have totaled at least 65 yards against Seattle, 8 have recorded 85-plus, 7 have posted 100 or more, and 4 have dropped at least 130. Keep in mind -- this has all occurred in just four games.
Among the 69 (nice) receivers with at least 18 targets this season, Justin Jefferson ($5,700) ranks first in Reception NEP per target and eighth in Target Success Rate (i.e., the percentage of targets leading to increases in NEP). He's been superb -- it's just a matter of getting the targets.
Sunday Night's matchup between the Minnesota Vikings and Seahawks has the highest total (56.5) on the entire Week 5 slate, and given that Seattle is favored by a touchdown, the targets should be flowing for Jefferson.