Week 5 fantasy football preview: Re-drafting the first round, a Calvin Ridley rebound and more

Welcome to Week 5 in fantasy football, my friends! The calendar has turned to October (by far the best month of the year), a chill is in the air, football is in full swing and the baseball playoffs are heating up. What a time to enjoy… unless you are a Joe Burrow manager. Sorry, low blow, I know.

OK, before we get started this week, I have to admit I think I got a little ahead of myself in last week’s article, declaring league winners and losers based off of what I saw after three weeks of play. Some of those proclamations I still believe, some I jumped the gun, but the reason I bring this up is because what I should have been saying  — and what I believe fantasy football is nowadays — is that it’s simply a week-to-week game.

We are so quick in this industry to declare a player done after one or two bad games, or vice versa. We need to sit back and just play the game on a weekly basis instead of pretending a certain player’s production, or lack thereof, is what we can expect every single week. I said on our show this week that, other than Christian McCaffrey and Justin Jefferson, you just can’t count on anyone in fantasy at the skill positions to deliver weekly smash production.

I’m really looking forward to some of these games in Week 5 and see potential for some really nice high-scoring games, starting early Sunday morning (which you know I love) with the Jaguars taking on the Bills in London. First off, let’s all be grateful that we aren’t being punished by having to wake up early and watch an offense like Atlanta’s again this week. Other than Bijan Robinson, is there any other reason to watch a Falcons game? At least we are rewarded with a fun game this week, and I think this game sets up perfectly for a huge Calvin Ridley performance that’s been missing since we were teased in Week 1 with what could be — 8 catches, 101 yards and a TD.

The Bills secondary will need time to adjust to life without star corner Tre’Davious White and, without him, I look for Trevor Lawrence to take advantage of it by  targeting Ridley all day long. Stefon Diggs, coming off a monster dream fantasy game last week vs. the Dolphins, will have his hands full with Tyson Campbell, and I think we can see an uptick in production this week from Gabe Davis and Dalton Kincaid. Kincaid is slowly getting more snaps and routes run, and it won’t be long until we see a breakout game. I would still be trying to trade for him and I think he’s lined up for a big second half of the year. The Jags are acclimated to London after being there for the extra week. Mix in the Bills coming off an emotional division win and having to travel all the way across the pond. This sets up as one of those early-season letdown spots for the Bills. Lawrence and the Jags offense will get going in this one and take it to the Bills. Final score: Jags 31, Bills 23

There’s a couple of exciting games in the late window on Sunday (oh, hey, thanks NFL for scheduling more than three games this week at 4 p.m. ET!). The undefeated Eagles travel to LA to take on one of the biggest early-season surprises in the Rams and their potentially high-powered offense moving forward. If I would of said this a month ago, you would have asked me how many I had in me. It looks as if Cooper Kupp will be returning on Sunday and I can’t wait to see what Sean McVay does with the weapons he has at his disposal. All the Puka Nacua managers are panicking this week with the expected return of Kupp, but I don’t think it’s time to hit the panic button — although I think Kupp steps right back into his target funneling slot role, I still think Nacua will play a nice solid 1B role to Kupp’s 1A. Nacua has earned that with his first month breakout. He will play mostly outside and, sure, the days of 15-20 targets and elite WR1 days may be over, but I think he can serve as a solid weekly WR2 for your fantasy team. I think Philadelphia may be in trouble in this one as their secondary is banged up and struggling right now. I’m calling for another upset with the home dog getting the win. Final score: Rams 31, Philly 28

The Vikings welcome the Chiefs and the traveling Taylor Swift circus to town and I’m sure CBS will have Jim Nantz and Tony Romo on the call and are praying for the ratings boost of Swift announcing she’s going to the game. On the actual field, this should be a track meet and sets up nicely for Patrick Mahomes to have a bounce-back game vs. the defense-optional Vikings. We’re still waiting on a Chiefs receiver to emerge as a go-to guy, but I doubt that’s coming any time soon. I wouldn’t be shocked if we see the Chiefs pull off another deadline trade for a legit No. 1 receiver to keep Mahomes happy and try to make a run at another Super Bowl. As for the Vikings, Alexander Mattison played well again and, even with the Cam Akers trade, it looks as if Mattison is still locked in as the lead bell-cow back. T.J. Hockenson had an off game last week but he will bounce back this week in a battle of elite tight ends, which in today’s game is like spotting Bigfoot. Chiefs get it done in a fun one — Final score: Chiefs 34 Vikings 31

I was thinking about this week’s list and I’ve heard a lot of talk about what the first round would look like if we had to do it again after four weeks of fantasy football: This should be fun…

My first round if I’m drafting today for the rest of the year:

  1. Christian McCaffery — He’s the 2023 cheat code, friends.
  2. Justin Jefferson — I want to make him 1B because he doesn’t deserve to be knocked down from his No. 1 draft season spot — the true alpha.
  3. Tyreek Hill — In the perfect offense for his talents with the perfect mastermind coach.
  4. Stefon Diggs — The offseason drama looks well behind him; big-time QB attached to him.
  5. Bijan Robinson — I don’t know if this raised your eyebrows, but I loved him all summer and was taking him as my RB2 off the board — I still have him in same spot going forward. In my opinion, his roll grows from here on out.
  6. Keenan Allen — Yep… he has the big-time QB with an offensive coordinator who wants to sling it, mixed in with the loss to Mike Williams — Allen is looking like the best third-round pick you could have made this year.
  7. A.J. Brown — I was worried maybe we would see a little changing of the guard this season with Devonta Smith, but it’s not happening — Brown is still the alpha in the Philly passing attack.
  8. Ja’Marr Chase — Yeah, he was the No. 2 pick in most drafts this season, and this has nothing to do with him — it’s the QB issues, obviously. I still think he gets his this year, but I have to give him a slight bump down.
  9. Davante Adams — How did we let him fall to the second round this year? What a mistake. He’s a target monster every week.
  10. Amon-Ra St. Brown — I love watching him play and was all-in on him this draft season — he’s my most rostered receiver, as I took him as early as No. 5 overall in some of my leagues. He hasn’t disappointed me at all.
  11. Austin Ekeler — I can’t forget about this stud, who is reportedly getting ready to come back after the bye. Get ready for the PPR dream running back to pick up where he left off in Week 1.
  12. CeeDee Lamb/Tony Pollard (tie) — I had to keep my Dallas readers happy (LOL… kidding). These two have had a weird September with games getting out of hand quickly and the team not needing them for a full four quarters. I still think they both have big seasons ahead.

The perfect Week 5 lineup

Again, keep in mind, I’m not coming in here listing CMC, Jefferson and Kelce, taking the easy way out…

QB1: Tua Tagovailoa  — Huge bounce-back game coming — 320 yards and 4 TDs. The G-Men are falling apart.

RB1: Josh Jacobs — Volume is still king, people — 8-for-81 receiving is a dream. The Packers can’t stop the run.

RB2: James Conner — He’s been a nice surprise given where he was taken in drafts. It’s a nice matchup for him at home vs. a struggling Cincy defense that Derrick Henry just ran all over.

WR1: Calvin Ridley — Don’t make me look bad, Calvin — 7 catches, 115 yards and a TD. No Tre’Davious White for the Bills.

WR2: Michael Pittman Jr. — Like Ridley, coming off a down week. Picking on the Titans secondary didn’t work last week, but I’m going back at them this week.

WR3: CeeDee Lamb — I’m feeling a 9/120/TD type of game in this big matchup at San Francisco. You have to attack SF through the air.

Honorable mention: Zay Flowers, Chris Olave, and Jaylen Waddle

TE1: Dallas Goedert —This is the week, finally! (I hope.) He should see enough passing volume in this game. There’s already coach-speak this week about getting him more involved.

Week 5 Survivor picks

  1. Miami
  2. Detroit

10 thoughts as we enter Week 5 in fantasy football

  1. OK, so I admit Zach Wilson looked a lot better last week. Maybe there’s hope for these Garrett Wilson shares after all. Take advantage of this Broncos defense, Zach!
  2. Anthony Richardson and C.J. Stroud must have the Panthers front office losing sleep every single night and hiding from the owner in the building.
  3. AJ Dillon and Dalvin Cook are officially toast. Send them to the waiver wire. It’s like watching paint dry when they get the ball.
  4. Please, Atlanta, we’re begging you to sit Desmond Ridder and bring in Taylor Heinicke. Sincerely yours, Kyle Pitts and Drake London managers.
  5. I spent last Sunday home watching Red Zone Channel. Is there any better way to spend the day?
  6. Relax, Mark Andrews managers, kings stay kings.
  7. The Steelers offense is in complete shambles. They desperately need to get to their bye week, get Diontae Johnson back healthy and change a lot in the process. Another unwatchable team.
  8. Alvin Kamara returned last week and caught 72 balls for 75 yards, I think. I might have to recheck my stats, but I’m close. A new record, I believe. I mean, c’mon, 13 catches for 33 yards? Do better, Derek Carr, or give me Jameis Winston.
  9. Can we fire the Falcons, Giants, Panthers, Bengals, Patriots, Steelers, and Titans offenses to the sun?
  10. David Montgomery was an eigth-round fantasy pick. Jahmyr Gibbs was a third-round fantasy pick. Let that sink in.

Good luck in Week 5! Drop your comments or questions below and don’t forget to tune in weekly to FANTASY EMPIRE!

(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

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