Austin’s Fantasy Train: Week 5


Austin West, Contributing Writer

Usually, when it comes to starting off this column I have had plenty to talk about. However, there’s not much to really talk about in this week’s column intro besides working my way up to four correct predictions and one borderline correct one. If you had taken some of my advice you would have seen TJ Hockenson score almost 40 points and held off on Curtis Samuel’s single-digit fantasy performance against the Cowboys. We did have some close calls come in but that is bound to happen once in a while. The borderline correct pick is Logan Thomas, who came in just under his projection by about 1.5 points so while it is underperforming I’ll allow the readers to judge that as they will. I’m not sure what changed last week that the predictions went so well but maybe I need to be worried about jinxing players more often. It was scary with Tom Brady there for a short period on Sunday Night Football, but we made it through.  


We are at Week 5 of the NFL season, just under a third of the way through the year. We’ve got power offenses and weak defenses, over-performing teams and underperforming teams. We’ll try to continue on my hot-streak of predictions with a new batch of players as the Eagles have continued their hot-streak to remain undefeated. With that, the fantasy train is leaving the station, let’s see who made it and who’s getting left behind. 


Tickets To Ride 


Quarterback, Derek Carr: Now you might be thinking, “Derek Carr of the 1-3 Raiders is going to over-perform his projections?” Carr may not be commanding a winning team but he is putting up some great numbers. He’s thrown for 250+ yards and two touchdowns in three of four games, and has over 50 rushing yards through the last two weeks. While a matchup against the Chiefs may seem scary, the Chiefs are top five in the league in fantasy points given up to the quarterback position. With weapons like Davante Adams, Darren Waller, and Hunter Renfrow, and the Chiefs giving up an average of 285 passing yards and two touchdowns per game, Derek Carr will look to throw the ball around often.  


Running Back, James Robinson: A little late and long overdue, welcome back James Robinson! Returning this season after an ACL injury and projected to be the backup to Travis Etienne for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Robinson has been a force to be reckoned with in three out of his four games. A tough matchup in bad weather against the stout Eagles defense, picking up only 29 yards, he now faces a Texans defense giving up the most points to fantasy running backs and over 500 rushing yards and five touchdowns through four weeks. Robinson will look to get back on his streak of 60+ rushing yards and a touchdown per game.  


Wide Receiver, Courtland Sutton: Coming into the 2022 season, many people thought that Jerry Juedy would be the number one target in this Denver Broncos offense. Instead, Cortland Sutton has become the main staple leading the team in targets through four weeks with 35, while Juedy only has 21. Sutton also was able to pick up his first touchdown of the year last week against the Raiders, a sign that the offense might be starting to get into a rhythm. Without running back Javonte Williams for the rest of the year, and Melvin Gordon struggling, the offense might turn to the passing game over the running game, especially if the return of Michael Pittman for the Colts forces the Broncos to battle back from deficit all game long.  


Tight End, Dallas Goedert: Eagles continue on their hot streak as the only undefeated team in the league and Dallas Goedert has been a big part of that. The Eagles have been passing for 270 yards per game and are second in the league in yards per game. Goedert has notched 60+ yards in three out of four games and faces an Arizona Cardinals defense that has given up over 340 yards and three touchdowns to the position. The Cardinals have allowed an average of 20 points per game to tight ends, second most in the league. Goedert is third on his team in targets behind AJ Brown and Devonta Smith but with two high powered offenses this could turn into a ‘who can throw for more yards’ competition.  


Missed The Train 


Quarterback, Matthew Stafford: Nothing hurts more than writing someone in one of your fantasy lineups in the underperforming section of your column. Matthew Stafford has had tough games against the top two defenses in the league of the Buffalo Bills and the San Francisco 49ers, and now faces the third in the Dallas Cowboys. Giving up an average of 15 points to the position and only 1 touchdown in the past two weeks, it could be a long day for Stafford. Against the Bills and 49ers, Stafford has taken a combined 14 sacks, two fumbles, thrown for a single touchdown, and four interceptions. Not a great stat line for someone facing a team getting QB pressures on 32% of snaps, 15 sacks, and only allowing 171 passing yards per game. They say everything is bigger in Texas, but with the game being played in LA, Stafford could have one of his smallest fantasy days of the season. 


Running Back, Najee Harris: While Najee’s production has been overshadowed by the news that Kenny Pickett will stand in as the quarterback for the Steelers, Harris rushed for a season high yards but was completely absent from the Steelers’ passing game. The Steelers face off against a Bills defense that has only allowed 83 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown per game but with the potential for Pickett to vulture more short yardage touchdowns (Pickett rushed for two against the Jets within two yards of the endzone) Harris’ volume may not be able to the fantasy production. 


Wide Receiver, Drake London: This prediction is in no way based off of Drake London’s performance last week, but the projected outcome for next week. In Week 4, he was held to 17 yards on two receptions, but he was targeted seven times of Marcus Mariota’s 19 attempts. This week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the rushing game won’t be able to sustain the entire offense, especially as the role falls to backup Tyler Allgeier after Cordarelle Patterson goes out with injury and is placed on IR. The Bucs will be the second toughest opponent that London has faced, allowing just under 215 passing yards per game. With London the dominant WR target by a large margin, we could see the defense shifted towards him to try and eliminate damage by him throughout the game. With London looking to be the main defensive focus, maybe we could see a Kyle Pitts blowup.  


Tight End, Pat Friermuth: Pat Friermuth has been having himself a great start to the season averaging 11 fantasy points per week for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He’s also been averaging just under eight targets a game, but with rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett set to start this week, the target share could begin to change. Even worse, the Steelers face off against the Buffalo Bills this week, giving a rough start to Pickett and not a great outlook for Friermuth. The Bills defense has given up the least amount of passing yards per game and the least amount of fantasy points to tight ends this season. Even if his target share and volume continues as it has, it may not be enough to allow him to match projections.  


All projections and rankings are provided by FantasyPros experts in PPR scoring format 


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