Injuries are always a part of football, and Fantasy players always have to deal with them, but 2020 has taken that to whole new levels. Every week seems to have some new significant injury to deal with — Nick Chubb and Austin Ekeler were Week 4 victims — and Week 5 was no different.
The biggest injury was obviously to Dak Prescott, a heart breaker for a guy who was off to a historic season coming off an offseason where the Cowboys played hardball on a contract extension offer. Prescott has a long road back from his season-ending ankle injury, and I wish him nothing but the best — including a fat long-term contract wherever he wants to sign. Get right and go get yours, Dak.
Of course, there are Fantasy ramifications to every injury, but this one at least has relatively few ones. There’s no way the Cowboys can replicate what Prescott gives them, but Andy Dalton is a capable backup who can sustain multiple Fantasy options, as we saw in Cincinnati, so the hope is this offense won’t lose too much. If anything, maybe they rein Dalton in a bit and have him lean on the stars around him more, something we wouldn’t mind seeing in an increasingly crowded Dallas offense.
That wasn’t the only injury we saw in Week 5, though it was mostly quiet otherwise. The most notable one we’ll be watching heading into Week 6 is Dalvin Cook, who left Sunday night’s game with a groin injury. He’s set for an MRI on the injury, but it seems like he avoided a serious injury and may not miss much time. Either way, if Alexander Mattison is available in your league, make sure you get him.
Catch up on everything else you need to know from around the NFL with my round up of the injuries and winners and losers for each game, along with some details you may have missed while watching Red Zone or following along on the game tracker.
The FFT crew breaks down the Dak Prescott fallout and all the key Week 5 issues on the Fantasy Football Today podcast. Follow all of our podcasts and subscribe here.
Bears 20, Buccaneers 19
You’d figure the guy with six rings could count to four.
- Winner: David Montgomery. Ugly wins are still wins, and ugly Fantasy points still go up on the scoreboard. Montgomery didn’t run the ball particularly well, and he wasn’t exactly great as a receiver, and he still finished with 18.9 PPR points. Montgomery may not be great, but he’s got a super valuable role in this offense, and it’s going to be hard to justify sitting him as a result.
- Loser: Leonard Fournette. No, it’s not because Fournette barely played; he was active Thursday, but was available as just an emergency option in this one. No, the issue is that, after nearly one-third of the season, Ronald Jones hasn’t really given the Buccaneers reason to push him aside yet. Sure, he hasn’t been great in the passing game, but that’s hardly Fournette’s biggest strength either, and Jones has run the ball pretty well, racking up 359 yards on 74 carries through five games, including consecutive 100-yard games. Fournette will have a role, but he’s not going to be the go-to-guy any time soon.
- What you might have missed: Mike Evans is having a fine season, and he had another fine Fantasy performance in Week 5, but the warning signs here are hard to ignore. He had nine targets Thursday, which sounds pretty good, except that he averaged 11 targets when the Bucs threw 40-plus times last year, and there was no Chris Godwin this time. But the bigger concern is that, after looking his way deep twice early in the game, Tom Brady didn’t take another downfield shot to Evans all game. Evans ended the game with an average depth of target of 6.0 yards and he’s down to 8.97 for the season; last season, that was 15.06 yards. That’s a dramatic shift, and a bad one for Evans.
Cardinals 30, Jets 10
Sam Darnold wasn’t the problem for the Jets, and Joe Flacco definitely isn’t the answer. Adam Gase is the problem, in case you were wondering. Wanted to make sure I was being clear.
- Winner: Jamison Crowder. Backup QB, same Crowder. The slot receiver in Adam Gase’s offense is the No. 1 guy, and the lack of other options in the receiving game is funneling even more work Crowder’s way. He has at least 10 targets, seven catches, and 104 yards in all three games he has played, and Crowder also scored his second touchdown Sunday. There isn’t much to like in this offense, but Crowder deserves to be in all lineups in Week 6 against the Dolphins and beyond.
- Loser: Le’Veon Bell. It’s just the first game back from injury, so I don’t want to overreact. But Bell played 70% of the snaps in this one and had just one target. If they were trying to ease him in, that would be one thing. But with the Jets’ woes at receiver, Bell is unquestionably one of their best options, and they just didn’t use him. That doesn’t mean they won’t use him more as a receiver moving forward, but you can’t exactly have faith that Gase will use him right.
- What you might have missed: Kenyan Drake played 49 snaps, while Chase Edmonds played 33. Edmonds was more effective yet again, but there doesn’t seem to be the changing of the guard happening that the Fantasy community wants to see. Edmonds has a solid role (three carries, 36 yards, five catches for 56 yards and a touchdown on six targets) and should continue to have one, but it doesn’t look like Drake is going anywhere. He had 18 carries and one target in this one, but Edmonds is a real limit to his Fantasy value.
Ravens 27, Bengals 3
Joe Burrow finally stumbled. Hey, it happens, especially against defenses like this one.
- Injuries: A.J. Green (hamstring) — Did not return, finished with no catches. We’ll see how serious this is, but this might be what officially cements Tee Higgins’ as the No. 2 receiver here. It’s a valuable role if he can keep it.
- Winner: Marquise Brown. Because the Ravens don’t throw often, it can be kind of hard to tell just how big a part of this offense Brown is, but with 10 targets on 37 passes Sunday, we get a helpful reminder. He has 36 targets through five games, which isn’t a huge number, but he is clearly the No. 1 in this offense — 26% of their targets have gone to Brown this season, an elite mark. He’s still more of a boom-or-bust option, but when the Ravens do air it out, there’s big upside.
- Loser: Joe Burrow. Playing quarterback in the NFL isn’t supposed to be as easy as it looked for Burrow in his first four games, so this was a bit of a wakeup call. Burrow was sacked seven times and had a career-low in passing yards, and the Colts could make life difficult for him in Week 6, too.
- What you might have missed: Lamar Jackson barely practiced this week due to a knee injury and then an illness, and you could tell. The Ravens won handily, but he was a non-factor on the ground, rushing for just 3 yards, which helps explain why he threw the ball 37 times. Unless this knee injury lingers — and, by all accounts, it is not expected to — this is likely just a bump in the road.
Steelers 38, Eagles 29
Hey look, the Steelers have another dynamic wide receiver with huge Fantasy potential. But the Eagles might have a new WR1, too.
- Injuries: Diontae Johnson (back) — Left at the end of the first quarter and did not return. He has struggled to stay healthy this season.
- Winner: Chase Claypool. Claypool is going to be the top waiver-wire target for Week 6, and it’s not out of the realm of possibility that he could be Pittsburgh’s No. 1 WR moving forward. He’s a huge target with tremendous athleticism, and might be the most talented receiver in this offense. Johnson’s injury could be a big factor.
- Loser: JuJu Smith-Schuster. Johnson looked like the No. 1 option after three games, and Claypool just put together his massive performance, and meanwhile, we’re still waiting for Smith-Schuster to look like a star. Three touchdowns in the first three games papered over the fact that Smith-Schuster hasn’t really been a priority in this offense yet, and Week 5’s four-catch, 28-yard performance was a new low. Through one-quarter of the season, Smith-Schuster is on pace for just 96 targets, 84 catches and 752 yards. Where are the big plays?
- What you might have missed: Zach Ertz was taken down at the 1-yard line on his lone catch, which might have been able to paper over yet another disappointing performance. Instead, it’s impossible to miss that he has just one game with more than 42 yards through five games and is on pace for 64 catches, 464 yards, and three touchdowns. He looks a step slow, though in watching his targets, there haven’t been many opportunities for him to do much more than he has. It’s a bad situation.
Texans 30, Jaguars 14
The Texans responded to Bill O’Brien’s firing with their best game of the season, though the schedule probably has more to do with that than anything else.
- Injuries: DJ Chark (ankle) — Left in the fourth quarter and did not return.
- Winner: Brandin Cooks. Admittedly, I didn’t even give a second thought to the idea of starting Cooks this week. It never crossed my mind. So, of course he went off for eight catches, 161 yards and a touchdown, his first of the season. The Texans used him like a legitimate No. 1 WR and he looked shockingly up to it. Will Fuller is still the best receiver in this offense, but Cooks has more left in the tank than we might have given him credit for.
- Loser: James Robinson. There’s no obvious loser in this game, but it’s worth acknowledging that Robinson has come back to earth since his two-touchdown game in Week 3. Since then, he’s rushed 30 times for 123 yards with nine catches for just 54 yards. He hasn’t been bad, and the volume is great, but it’s just a reminder that he’s probably still more like a No. 2 running back with a high floor but maybe not the highest ceiling.
- What you might have missed: The Jaguars got a bit too cute near the goal line. Using Laviska Shenault as a running back wasn’t a bad idea, but he was stopped on a catch in the flat. The uglier play was when James Robinson was used in a Wildcat formation on 4th and 1, looked like he was going to throw, then tried to tuck the ball, fumbled and gave the Texans their first takeaway of the season. Perhaps with Chark out, the Jags felt like they had to try to manufacture some offense — they struggled near the goal line when Chark missed Week 3. On the other hand, Gardner Minshew already has nine red-zone TD passes this season, so it might just be overthinking things.
Raiders 40, Chiefs 32
Patrick Mahomes had another elite Fantasy game, but he looked surprisingly shaky in this one.
- Injuries: Sammy Watkins (hamstring) —Did not return to the game. This could be the opportunity Mecole Hardman needs to be a waiver-wire star.
- Winner: Josh Jacobs. This wasn’t even a great game for Jacobs, but I bet you’re feeling a lot better about him today than you were this time last week, when there was quite a bit of grumbling about Jacobs. When you run the ball 20 times every week and you don’t really have any competition for touches, you’re going to find the end zone. There’s absolutely no reason to worry about Jacobs.
- Loser: Hunter Renfrow. In the two games Henry Ruggs missed, Renfrow had 17 targets, 11 catches, 141 yards, and a touchdown. In the other three games, he has six targets, six catches and 100 yards. He’s a non-factor in this offense when Ruggs is healthy.
- What you might have missed: Tyreek Hill had just six targets in this one, his fourth game in five with exactly six targets. But there was a seventh that didn’t show up on the scoreboard. He caught a 60-yard touchdown early in the game, but it was called back by a penalty. Hill is on pace for his lowest target total since 2017, but he’s still so absurdly efficient that it doesn’t really matter.
Rams 30, Washington 10
It was incredible to see Alex Smith complete his comeback, but he did not look NFL ready in this one. And with Dwayne Haskins demoted and Kyle Allen injured, this offense could be in trouble if he can’t get up to speed quickly.
- Injuries: Kyle Allen (head) — Took a hard shot on a rush attempt and did not return.
- Winner: Darrell Henderson. Henderson dominated work early for the Rams, and while things evened out eventually, he still ended up with 18 of 36 Rams RB touches. And that was with Cam Akers back. It’s been impossible to predict how the Rams will use their backs on any given week — and I’m sure that’s how Sean McVay prefers it — but you have to give Henderson the edge. For now. The two touchdowns were great — they definitely trust him in the red zone and near the goal line — but 68 total yards on 18 touches isn’t exactly great. And, in a crowded backfield like this, you probably need great to keep the competition off your back.
- Loser: Tyler Higbee. Well, it was a fun five games to close out the 2019 season, but it looks like it was just that. Higbee was targeted just twice in Week 5, while watching teammate Gerald Everett lead the Rams with 90 yards on four catches. Higbee has three or fewer targets in four of five games, and seems completely cut-able.
- What you might have missed: The return of Alex Smith was not good news for Antonio Gibson, for one. Of course, it wasn’t exactly good for anyone on the offense — Washington had just two first downs on their first drive of the second half and then none the rest of the game — but Gibson had just one touch after Smith came into the game. He ran just six routes in the second half on 17 pass plays, and that can’t be his role moving forward. It looked like Gibson was on the verge of breaking out, but this was a step back.
Panthers 23, Falcons 16
The Falcons wasted a vintage Todd Gurley game, while the Panthers offense did exactly what it was supposed to do against this defense. Dan Quinn lost his job for the effort.
- Winner: Todd Gurley. We won’t see many games where Gurley rushes for 8.6 yards per carry, but we have to praise Gurley’s performance in this one. His touchdown saw him actually outrunning multiple defenders, something we haven’t seen from him in a while, and he even contributed a bit in the passing game. Gurley is never going to consistently reach the heights of his L.A. glory days, but he’s still getting 69% of the Falcons running back carries, including goal-line work, and he’s still running more routes than any other back here. There’s still room for games like this.
- Loser: Matt Ryan. Does he really need Julio Jones back that much? Ryan had six touchdowns and 8.0 yards per attempt in the first two games of the season, but just one touchdown and 6.6 yards per attempt since. And it’s not like the schedule has been tough — and it doesn’t get any tougher with the Vikings, Lions and then Panthers again in the next three games. But can you really trust him against them at this point? If Jones is back, you can.
- What you might have missed: D.J. Moore scored on a vintage Moore play — a shallow route where he beat his man and then simply outran the defense for a 57-yard touchdown late in the first half. The problem is, he had just one target before that, and ended up with just five overall, the same number as Curtis Samuel, good for third on the team. Moore had just 15 targets over his last three games, while Robby Anderson has clearly usurped him as the No. 1 target on this offense. Anderson, by the way, caught eight of 13 targets for 112 yards, his third 100-yard game in five tries; he had 99 in another.
Dolphins 43, 49ers 17
It sure looked like Jimmy Garoppolo returned too early from his ankle injury, because this might have been the worst game of his career.
- Winner: Preston Williams. Some players are able to come back from ACL tears so easily that we often just assume everyone can do so, but that just isn’t how it works. Williams clearly needed time to get back up to speed, even after being fully cleared in training camp. He was starting to lose playing time in Weeks 3 and 4 (only 58.8% of offense snaps), but he was back to being the No. 2 receiver Sunday, and played 73% of the snaps in the first three quarters before the game was truly out of hand. It helps, of course, that Williams was excellent, catching four of five targets for 106 yards and a touchdown, with a team-high 110 air yards. Williams is a big play weapon who flashed as a rookie, and he’s worth looking for in waivers moving for Week 6 against the Jets and beyond.
- Losers: Jerick McKinnon. After proving he could hold up to a No. 1 role, I expected McKinnon to still have a significant role for the 49ers with Raheem Mostert back. Instead, he played just 16 snaps Sunday, compared to 15 for Jeff Wilson. Partially, that was because the game got out of hand early — McKinnon played just four second-half snaps, but that still means he only played 12 of 31 in the first half. Four targets and one carry is not what anyone expected from McKinnon, and I’m not sure how you can trust him as a starting Fantasy option in Week 6 against the Rams.
- What you might have missed: Garoppolo was benched for C.J. Beathard at halftime, and Kyle Shanahan said it was “to protect” Garoppolo. Shanahan expounded on that after the game, saying he thought Garoppolo was still struggling with the effects of his high-ankle sprain, which makes a lot of sense, given how poorly he played. If the game had been closer, maybe Garoppolo would’ve stayed in, but either way, it doesn’t look like Garoppolo was actually “benched.” He should be back out there in Week 6 against the Rams.
Cowboys 37, Giants 34
The Cowboys won, but lost Dak Prescott for the season with a scary looking ankle injury.
- Winner: Darius Slayton. It doesn’t matter how tough things are on your side, when you face a matchup like Dallas, you’re supposed to produce if you want Fantasy players to believe in you, and that’s just what Slayton did. It’s going to be hard to know when you will be able to trust Slayton — his two best games of the season have come against the tissue-soft Cowboys and nü steel curtain in Pittsburgh — but this is what the weekly upside looks like. He’s a boom-or-bust WR3 with a high ceiling against everyone.
- Loser: Daniel Jones. It doesn’t matter how tough things are on your side, when you face a matchup like Dallas, you’re supposed to produce if you want Fantasy players to believe in you, and Jones didn’t even come close. He has now gone four games in a row without a passing touchdown, with at least one turnover in each game — and Sunday was his first game of the season with only one turnover. The highs last season were incredibly high for Jones, but the lows were a lot more frequent, and that’s all we’ve seen so far.
- What you might have missed: The Cowboys are still spreading the ball around a ton, and while Michael Gallup ended up with a decent line — four catches for 73 yards — all four of his targets came after Andy Dalton replaced Prescott at QB. On the one hand, maybe that bodes well for Gallup with Dalton set to start moving forward, but on the other hand, it’s still a bad sign that CeeDee Lamb was the only player with more than 11 targets. The Cowboys have so much talent in the receiving game, but I can’t help but feel like every target that doesn’t go to one of Lamb, Gallup or Amari Cooper is a win for the defense. Maybe with Dalton in now and the margin for error smaller, they’ll consolidate the targets between those three more often. I still view all three as starting options, and still rank them Cooper->Lamb->Gallup, but it’s certainly less obvious with Prescott gone.
Browns 32, Colts 23
The Colts had to rely on Philip Rivers to lead them back, and it did not go well. That might just be life for this team.
- Winner: Jonathan Taylor. My working assumption had been that when the Colts were ahead, it would be the Taylor show, but if they had to pass, Taylor would mix in with Nyheim Hines more. In Week 5, despite throwing the ball 15 more times than they ran it, Taylor had 14 touches to just five for Hines. Taylor has a safe floor in this offense, and we haven’t really seen the ceiling. It probably looks something like Week 2’s rushing role (26 carries) and Week 1’s passing role (six catches). The best is still to come for Taylor, I think.
- Loser: Philip Rivers. When the Colts can get out to an early lead and sit on it, they’re in their comfort zone. The two times they haven’t been able to do that, Rivers has fallen short in comeback attempts by failing to protect the ball. That was an issue last season, and while the Colts are better equipped to live with it than the Chargers were, it does make it awfully hard to have much interest in this passing game — though at least T.Y. Hilton showed some life with his six-catch, 69-yard showing on 10 targets. But Rivers had a pick-six, an intentional grounding in the end zone for a safety and another game-ending interception.
- What you might have missed: There was some hype around D’Ernest Johnson following his breakout performance in Week 4, but he was mostly a non-factor in this one. He didn’t get his first carry until 10:00 remained in the second quarter and finished the game with 32 yards on eight carries, with one catch on one target for 4 yards. Kareem Hunt had 23 touches and, while Johnson will have a role, it probably won’t be enough to justify much more than a desperation play. Speaking of … on the other side, Jordan Wilkins had just one carry and no targets, after having at least nine carries in three straight games. When the Colts can sit on the ball, he’ll have a role — so probably in Week 6 against the Bengals.
Seahawks 27, Vikings 26
Even in a game where he wasn’t at his sharpest, Russell Wilson still tossed three touchdown passes, including a late winner to DK Metcalf, his second of the game.
- Injury: Dalvin Cook (groin) — At one point it looked like he might return, but he never did. He’ll have an MRI on the injury Monday, so we could have another significant running back injury on our hands.
- Winner: Alexander Mattison. We’ve been impressed with Mattison in flashes, but we never got to see him take on a true No.1 RB workload as a rookie because Cook’s injury overlapped with one of Mattison’s own last December. However, Mattison lived up to expectations and more in his first 20-carry game Sunday, rushing for 112 yards and adding three catches for 24 yards. If Cook has to sit out Week 5 against the Falcons, Mattison is going to be a top-12 RB. He might even be top five.
- Loser: Justin Jefferson. Jefferson’s Fantasy appeal is based on the premise that the Vikings will have a highly concentrated passing game, but we saw what happens if they have to spread it around Sunday. Even though they threw a season-high 39 passes, Jefferson had just five, one of three Vikings to have at least that many. Adam Thielen, of course, had 13 targets, his second game in a row with double digits to affirm his status as the No. 1 guy here. With Jefferson in second, he’ll either have to hit on at least one big play every week or see a higher target share. I like Jefferson as a boom-or-bust WR3, but you saw what the bust looks like in Week 5.
- What you might have missed: There’s a lot to like about Chris Carson’s role for the Seahawks, and this might actually have been the most promising game we’ve seen from him. The Seahawks ran just 52 plays, and 36 of them were passes or sacks — and at least a few more were Russell Wilson scrambles. Carson ran the ball just eight times, but still managed to finish 19.9 PPR points. Sure, a rushing touchdown helped, but take it out, and you have a 13.9-point game in far less than an ideal game script. Carson simply looks like game-flow independent RB1.
Saints 30, Chargers 27
Justin Herbert continues to look like the real deal, and he and Mike Williams nearly single-handedly won this game before the kicker doinked one.
- Injuries: Keenan Allen (back) — Left in the first half and did not return. We’ll have to watch this one moving forward, but luckily he’s got the bye in Week 6 to heal up.
- Winner: Mike Williams. It’s been up and down for Williams so far this season, but when he’s right, he’s a tremendous player. Five catches for 109 yards and a pair of scores in his return from a hamstring injury was great to see, and he made a few big plays that nearly carried the Chargers to the win. It’s a reminder of just how big the upside is. It could be frustrating on a week-to-week basis, but if Allen has to miss any time, Williams will be a must-start option.
- Loser: Joshua Kelley. I thought Justin Jackson might end up the lead back in Austin Ekeler’s absence, and that’s what happened in the first game. He ran better than Kelley (15 carries for 71 yards vs. 29 yards on 11 carries for Kelley) and he dominated the passing game work, too, catching five passes on six targets while Kelley was targeted just once. Kelley looked great in the first two games of the season, but he fumbled in consecutive games and then got surpassed by Jackson Monday. It’ll be hard to trust him moving forward despite the fact that he should continue to have a decent role, and if there’s one back to start here in Week 7 against the Jaguars, it’s Jackson.
- What you may have missed: Emmanuel Sanders’ big game (12 catches, 122 yards) could have been even bigger, as he actually scored just before half-time, only to have the call be reversed as he was down at the 1. Drew Brees snuck in for the score two plays later, so Sanders lost out. Still, he’s looked great the last two weeks, and is back on Fantasy radars even with Michael Thomas back in Week 7.