Another wild week of football in both the real world and fantasy. This week saw big names like Julio Jones, Dalvin Cook and Derek Carr going down with injuries. Then it ended with the Kansas City Chiefs ridiculous last second defensive touchdown. This had some serious impact on the fantasy football world.
With all these events, and bye weeks starting, many people’s teams are in disarray. They’ll scramble to pick up last week’s trendy performer on waivers, who probably didn’t do much before this week. Most of the players won’t end up being worth the valuable waiver claim. They might even end up being dropped shortly after.
But those who follow this article know just what player to get. Their watch list has been meticulously assembled to reflect weeks of research on player consistency and role. They also know that assembling and updating a watch list is essential for making it through all the unexpectedness of a fantasy season. Here is this week’s NFL Fantasy Football watch list.
Week Five NFL Fantasy Football Watch List
Most Likely to Succeed
This week’s wide receiver to watch is Devin Funchess of the Carolina Panthers. He’s an interesting case where he has not been very consistent, but is likely to succeed due to circumstances around him. Still, on a small scale, there have been signs pointing to sustained production.
First off, the Panther’s star tight end, Greg Olsen, went down with a broken foot, and is now on injured reserve. Last year Olsen was the second most targeted tight in the league. While some of his share will likely go to Olsen’s replacement, Ed Dickson, he doesn’t look to have a very big role in the offense. Funchess will siphon off most of those targets.
Funchess was drafted by the Panthers to be the number two receiver, but he never established himself last year. Instead, he was rarely targeted, and Ted Ginn Jr. was more the second wide receiver Cam Newton looked for after top dog Kelvin Benjamin.
This year, however, Ginn, who saw 95 targets last year, is gone. Without many other options, Funchess is already absorbing most of these targets. This is evident in Funchess’ 19 targets over the past two weeks. He might not sustain that amount over 16 games, but it is realistic to think it will be somewhere close. He’s already attained about one-third of the total 59 targets that he saw last year.
He also put those targets into production last week, catching seven balls for 70 yards and two touchdowns. He could be added by a lot of people this week, but with his current 27% ownership in Yahoo Fantasy Leagues, he should still be around in a week or so.
If Funchess continues with his current volume of targets next week. He could be a top priority add for week six.
Most Unknown Before This Week
Baltimore Ravens running back Alex Collins was basically an unknown before this week. He started the off-season on the Seattle Seahawks. After being waived by the Seahawks, he signed to the Baltimore Ravens practice squad. Just over two weeks ago, he was promoted to the active roster. He still didn’t look to have much of a role with Terrance West, and Javorius Allen ahead of him on the depth chart.
Collins’s production, along with West and Allen’s lack thereof, forced the coaches to allow him more playing time. In the last two games, Collins had duplicate stats: nine carries for 82 yards. He certainly looks the part, blasting off chunk yardage and looking much more explosive than the other two backs on the roster.
What holds him back is ball security. Collins has only played limited roles in his three game appearances this season, but already fumbled twice. His two fumbles on 25 carries are unacceptable in the NFL. He also lost a fumble in the pre-season as well. If he doesn’t correct this issue, his talent means nothing, because he will not be on the field.
Luckily, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh has faith in Collins, saying, “We’re working on the way he carries the ball a little bit technique-wise. He’s got one or two things that are an issue that we’re trying to fix. I do think in his case, it can be corrected.”
It doesn’t look his fumbling issues have put him in the doghouse…yet.
When watching Collins this week, monitor how many carries he gets, and if he fumbles again. If his role increases despite his history, it gives him some security, and shows the coaches trust he will fix his problem. If he fumbles again though, he’s as good as done for a while.
Most Likely to Get a Team Through a Few Weeks
Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, and Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota were casualties of week four’s injury bug. Factor in the fact that byes begin this week, and depending on your league, there could be a rush to grab a quarterback coming up.
E.J. Manuel might be worth a look. His name leaves a bad taste in one’s mouth, as does most of the 2013 quarterback draft class. Manuel was taken in the first round that year, Geno Smith lasted until the second, and the $14 Million Dollar Man, Mike Glennon will soon officially receive his award for highest paid backup.
While Manuel doesn’t inspire confidence in many due to his failures while playing for the Buffalo Bills, he’s actually in a pretty good position coming off the bench for Carr. Even though the Raiders are going through a funk right now, they still employ one of the best offensive lines, and one of the better receiving corps in the league. They also have a guy named Marshawn Lynch, who may be older, but defenses will still have to respect him.
In relief for Carr, Manuel came in and threw for 106 yards, completing 11 of his 17 passes. He did throw an interception, but it could have easily been the game winning touchdown had Amari Cooper come down with the pass. Keep in mind that he was going up against the Denver Broncos vaunted “No Fly Zone,” and without their leading receiver Michael Crabtree.
Carr will be out anywhere from two to six weeks. During that time the Raiders play teams like the Los Angeles Chargers, Miami Dolphins, and New England Patriots. Watch how he performs this week against the Baltimore Ravens, and see if he might be a good streaming option during the coming weeks.
Last Week’s Watch of the Week was Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson. He was tagged as a quarterback with huge breakout potential, and he did not disappoint. Watson had a ridiculous stat line, going 25 of 34 and passing for four touchdowns. He didn’t stop there, adding four rushes for 24 yards and another touchdown.
His five total touchdowns tied the rookie quarterback record, giving him a historic performance that no one would have predicted. His breakout game came much sooner than expected, but does that mean teams should go out and grab him now?
Not so fast. Next week he goes up against the Kansas City Chiefs, led by pick specialist Marcus Peters at cornerback. After that they get the Cleveland Browns, who might be a nice streaming option, but then they go on bye, and return immediately to face the Seattle Seahawks and their Legion of Boom.
However, if Watson can follow up on last week’s performance with another similar one, he might show the world that last week wasn’t a one-hit wonder, and he might be worth adding to some squads.