The 4th Down Decision: Week 5

Written by Zach Lyons, co-host of Football & Other F Words and The Flex, “The 4th Down Decision” will look at various fantasy topics from whether you should “Punt” or “Go For It”. When reading the advice please keep in mind: 12-team league, PPR, 6-pt passing TDs. All ADPs based on FantasyPros.com‘s website.

The NFL season is a quarter of the way finished, and we are starting to see what is real and what is not. COVID-19: real. Detroit Lions offense: not. However, there is still time to salvage your team and switch up some strategies for a mid-season run.

Go For It: Streaming defenses

Predicting exactly what a defense will do any given week is hard. Check the Rams, some weeks they’re dominant against top-tier offensive talent, then versus the Giants the whole team struggles.

That’s why it’s time to just stream. There’s no dominant defensive team outside of the Colts (and they have had a very weak opposing schedule so far). Make sure to stay away from the big name defenses and look at the match ups.

Take the San Francisco 49ers for example. People assume, Oh it’s the Miami Dolphins, this is a good match up. However, the defenses that have faced the Miami Dolphins have average 4.5 fantasy points per game so far this season. Why? Because the Dolphins offense is not that bad, and they have to score a lot to stay in games.

Then you look at the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys were supposed to be a dominant defense on paper this year. However, they currently sit in last place among fantasy defenses. Last. Place. With a season total so far ranging from 2 to -2 points (depending on league format). That is insane.

So, does this mean the Cowboys defense should not be played? Not necessarily; they face the New York Giants this week. The Giants offense has let opposing defenses finished DST6, DST5, DST5, and DST3 this year. In fact, you should grab the Cowboys defense off waivers and start them this week!

The point is: stream defenses. Don’t think you have to keep the Baltimore Ravens defense rostered. Don’t drop the Kansas City defense just because they’re historically bad, because right now the Chiefs are a good defensive team. You can ride the Colts train as long as you want, but be cautious; they will eventually be exposed by better offenses.

Punt: The New York Giants

I am cancelling an entire team. I just don’t think even Darius Slayton is worth the weekly rollercoaster ride. Slayton is currently WR29, which is fine overall, but let’s take a look at how he got there:

  • Week 1: 28.2 pts (WR5)
  • Week 2: 6.3 pts (WR78)
  • Week 3: 6.3 pts (WR68)
  • Week 4: 7.8 pts (WR57)

He has a juicy match up this week against Dallas, but if he goes off on Sunday, trade him. If he doesn’t go off, then you have your answer.

This is an offense that is just too predictable with not enough talent to be viable in today’s NFL. Daniel Jones fumbles too much, Jason Garrett’s playcalling is run-run-pass, they have three mediocre running backs… it’s just a mess.

So, if I were you, I would be packaging my Giants players with other pieces to upgrade positions before they’re persona non grata.

Go For It: Rookie wide receivers

This is a fantastic week for CeeDee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy, Brandon Aiyuk, Laviska Shenault, and Justin Jefferson.

CeeDee Lamb draws the New York Giants, who are a trash team (see above). More importantly, Lamb seems to be Dak Prescott’s first or second read in this offense. He’s getting a lot of targets every week, and that should continue.

We talked a little bit about Jerry Jeudy on this week’s episode of The Flex, but they face a New England Patriots defense that will likely be down Stephon Gilmore (after he tested positive for COVID-19) and is giving up the 9th-most fantasy points to wide receivers. It’s a fantastic match up, and we saw last week that Brett Rypien likes Jeudy.

Justin Jefferson is on a roll, and he faces the Seattle Seahawks, who give up the absolute most points to fantasy wide receivers. This is a no brainer. Start him.

Brandon Aiyuk is a little tricky. Like I said on The Flex, there is some risk to Aiyuk, however, the 49ers should be getting Jimmy Garropolo back, and that’ll help with the lack of receiving touchdowns. On top of that, Deebo Samuel and George Kittle being back should help Aiyuk see less coverage thrown his way, and Shanahan has shown he wants to get the ball in Aiyuk’s hands with designed runs.

Every week, Laviska Shenault gets more involved in the Jaguars’ offense. If you’ve been patient with him on your roster, this could be the week it pans out. The Texans are in flux, and I just don’t think they’re that good of a team. If you are in a bye week/COVID-19 bind and need a flex starter in PPR, I would roll Shenault out there.

Punt: Thursday Night Football

There is a lot to hate about tonight’s game. It’s going to be a slog to get through. This is true for most Thursday Night Football match ups.

I know Tom Brady is supposedly a “prime time player,” but it’s a trap. He hasn’t been as good as last week would indicate. In fact, he looked downright sloppy, and Mike Evans, who is a game-time decision by the way, made some downright spectacular moves to catch some poorly thrown balls.

This Bears defense is opportunistic. They are the top-ranked passing touchdown defense, having allowed only three this year, all to tight ends. That’s right — not a single wide receiver has caught a touchdown against the Bears (and they played the Falcons two weeks ago).

The Buccaneers defense is second-best in rushing yards allowed and sixth-best in rushing touchdowns allowed. They’re only allowing 2.7 yards per carry versus running backs. The Bears have yet to score a rushing touchdown this season, so I definitely would be sitting David Montgomery, even with Tarik Cohen’s injury.

On top of that stellar rush defense, the pass defense is just as good, ranking fifth in interceptions and eighth in passing touchdowns allowed. In other words, we are in for a long, boring night, unless you’re ignoring fantasy football and just really into defense.

I wouldn’t start anyone from this game (but the defenses).

Love my opinions? Hate my opinions? Leave comments belowand let’s discuss!

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