We are somehow already through five weeks of the 2019 NFL season. There are multiple breakout players that are here to stay, and known commodities that seem to have faded to fantasy irrelevance. This is The Good, the Bad, and the Oh So Ugly from Week 5.
1) Chris Godwin, through five weeks of the 2019 NFL season, is the overall WR1 in fantasy. His hype throughout the offseason was insanely high, but it turns out that it was warranted. Jameis Winston’s go-to man this season has been Godwin, not Mike Evans. Winston has an NFL Passer Rating of 156.9 when targeting Godwin, and he’s caught 78.6% of targets thrown his way, compared to Evans 50% catch rate. Although Godwin’s current fantasy production is not sustainable — he is on pace for 19 touchdowns on the season — I don’t see his targets slowing down any time soon. He already has three games over 100 receiving yards in just five weeks. If you trusted the hype around Godwin and selected him in the fourth or fifth round in your draft, you may have stolen the league winner for the 2019 fantasy season.
Chris Godwin leads all WRs in receiving TDs and PPR fantasy points on the season.
2) Will Fuller finally came out of his shell and looked like himself again after tearing his ACL late in 2018. Before Week 5, Fuller had a total of 14 receptions for 183 receiving yards and 0 TDs. Against Atlanta, Fuller put up 217 receiving yards on 14 receptions and added three TDs to his day. We all had a feeling that a big day was coming from Fuller after a slow start, but no one could predict it would have come in this fashion. If you had him in your lineup, you probably won. As long as Kenny Stills continues to sit out with an ankle and hamstring injury, Fuller will be a strong flex play with massive boom potential whenever you plug him in.
3) D.J. Chark is for real, and Gardner Minshew only has eyes for him. Chark is the WR5 on the season in full PPR formats, and the WR3 in standard-scoring formats. He has consistently helped fantasy owners win their weeks, and there are no signs of him slowing down any time soon. Chark is on a 16 game pace for 118 targets, 86 receptions, 1,552 receiving yards, and 16 TDs. It is easy to think that this type of production has to slow down, but he is the primary red-zone target in his offense. Chark is 2nd in the league in red-zone targets (13) and 3rd in the league in end zone targets (5). Chark isn’t going anywhere and should be in your lineup every week. He is turning into a weekly must-start.
1) After finally seeing the Ronald Jones the NFL has been waiting for against the Rams defense, fantasy owners were once again disappointed if they banked on his production from Week 4. The offensive snaps have largely been shared between Jones and Peyton Barber, who entered the season with the starting role but hasn’t been a viable asset in fantasy. Jones may have a shot down the line if he can manage to wrangle in a consistent workload, but there is a clear emphasis on the pass catchers in Tampa Bay, and Jones has only seen six targets all season. You will have to depend on Jones getting a rushing TD each week to produce consistent fantasy points, and that is not something you usually want to rely on; Jones has only had one rushing attempt inside the 5-yard line all season. RBs are hard to find off waivers, so he is a must hold for now but should remain on your bench if you have any other viable options.
2) Fantasy owners continue to be on the Matt Nagy roller coaster, and rookie RB David Montgomery is no exception. Running back counterpart Mike Davis took just four offensive snaps and logged no carries, but it just wasn’t in the game plan to get Montgomery going this week. He saw a season-high 21 carries in Week 4 but hasn’t been able to do much with them, averaging just 3.36 yards per carry; he only had 11 rushing attempts in Week 5 vs. the Oakland Raiders. Montgomery has yet to eclipse his 27 receiving yards from Week 1 and has not had greater than three targets in any week. It seems that an inconsistent workload is what we should expect from Montgomery, and he looks to be more of a bye-week fill-in rather than an every-week starter. It’s unfortunate considering his draft price and the flashes he’s shown early on. He should be in consideration for a dynasty “buy low” for anyone disappointed with his current production. The Bears get a bye in Week 6 and then face the Saints, Chargers, and Eagles, so it would be a surprise to see improvement any time soon. If you can trade him in redraft to a believer, I would do that now. His fantasy outlook does not look to be any brighter in the upcoming weeks.
3) The Kansas City backfield is just as ugly and just as confusing as we could have expected, given the three-headed monster at hand. The Chiefs were never fully able to establish the run on Sunday as the offense sputtered after the first quarter. Plenty of fantasy football owners were burned by Damien Williams, who has been inactive since the Chief’s Week 2 matchup against the Raiders with a knee injury. LeSean McCoy and Darrel Williams did not receive a carry in Week 5 but did steal offensive snaps as both saw 22% of snaps vs. the Indianapolis Colts. Damien Williams, who received nine carries on Sunday, only gained 23 yards, averaging only 2.6 yards per carry. Damien Williams has struggled greatly on the ground this season when given the opportunity, ranking 84th amongst all RBs in yards per carry. While other backs saw the field in Week 5, Williams was the clear cut No. 1 back in his offense. This will not last if he does not start producing, but at least for now, fantasy owners can be relieved that he got his job back after a lengthy injury.
The Oh So Ugly
1) Mike Evans didn’t just have a down week; he completely disappeared. Usually, a bad week for an elite receiver like Evans is a few receptions for 40 or so yards. Evans had zero receptions vs. the Saints. Evans has seen just four fewer targets than Godwin on the season, even if it doesn’t feel like it for fantasy owners. The big difference is that Godwin is catching the balls coming his way. It’s not totally surprising to see a dip in Evans’ catch percentage, given that he’s seeing a career-high in average depth of target (15.9 yards), but it doesn’t feel good to have him in your lineup when he gooses. Evans will continue to have big weeks but will also put up big stinkers in between. If you want the boom, you are going to have to take the bust weeks. My suggestion would be to trade him after his next big game.
2) Stefon Diggs spent all of last week being a grumpy-pants. It doesn’t look like he is going to be any happier after getting targeted only four times for 44 yards on Sunday vs. the New York Giants. Diggs is averaging 4.6 targets a game in 2019; he averaged 9.9 targets per game in 2018. That is a big, big difference, and Diggs is not hiding his frustration. The Minnesota Vikings are a run-first team, and Adam Thielen is Kirk Cousins’ favorite target. Unless he gets traded, it is not going to be easy to trust Diggs as a starting asset in fantasy. Diggs has not had a WR1 fantasy week since Week 12 in 2018. Take the name off the jersey, and is anyone still willing to keep giving him chances on their fantasy team? The Eagles come to town on Sunday, which on paper is a very nice matchup for Diggs and the Vikings passing game. If he can’t produce in this game, it is time to sit him permanently on your bench and wish really hard every night that he gets traded to a pass-heavy team.
Stefon Diggs has not put up consistent fantasy production since Week 12 of 2018.
3) Geronimo Allison and Marquez Valdes-Scantling were very disappointing in Week 5 when they had their opportunity to shine with Davante Adams out with an injury. Allison and Valdes-Scantling combined for 46 yards on three receptions. With Adams out of the game, the Green Bay Packers turned to Aaron Jones to carry the workload, where he saw a career-high eight targets on the day. Allison and Valdes-Scantling have done little to earn our trust and can be dropped onto waivers in most leagues. The Packers actually have a good defense this season, and Aaron Rodgers no longer has to throw 40 times to win a game.