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Thursday Night Football Matchups Analysis - Week 5


It seems that injuries are an ongoing trend this season so we need to adjust accordingly. Although Week 4 was not as devastating as the previous week, more big-name fantasy players have gone down, most notably Nick Chubb and Austin Ekeler. However, we need to find ways to adapt to the new fantasy landscape.

Week 5 showcases the best Thursday night matchup since Browns-Bengals, which is a bit discouraging. This Thursday we have a Super Bowl 52 quarterback rematch. Coming off a five-touchdown performance, Tom Brady looks to take on Nick Foles whose team was just stifled by the Colts. The last matchup between these two we saw the birth of the infamous “Philly-Special."

I believe that this matchup is closer than it appears. Shockingly, even with Tom Brady on one side of the ball, the defences may steal the show. It is early in the week, and there are many injury updates that will be needed to sift through before Thursday. However, whether you manage Mike Evans or Darnell Mooney, I have the preview for you. Here is your Week 5 RotoBaller Thursday Night Preview.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Exclusive access to our Premium articles, rankings, projections, 15 lineup tools and daily Premium DFS research/tools including our Lineup Optimizer, Research Station and so much more! Sign Up Now!

Quarterbacks

Tom Brady

As alluded to previously, the quarterback matchup is the most exciting storyline for this week. Brady’s five-TD performance against a tough Chargers Defense was definitely a statement. In the previous three weeks, the Chargers had only allowed three passing touchdowns total and that includes a showdown with Patrick Mahomes.

Once again, the GOAT is faced against another tough defence this week. The Bears have allowed the ninth least passing yards per game through four weeks. On top of this, it is well known that the way to beat Brady is with unrelenting defensive line pressure, and the Bears currently possess one of the best pass rushers in the league. Khalil Mack is having a very solid year so far, collecting 1.5 sacks, seven tackles, seven assisted tackles, and three quarterback hits. 

Tom Brady’s success will rely heavily on his weapons available. With Mike Evans banged up and Chris Godwin and O.J. Howard out, this may be a tough week to go against a stout Bears Defense. Those three players have accounted for eight of Brady’s 11 touchdowns. Contrary to many offseason predictions, I believe the most important piece here is Evans.

Evans alone has 45% of Brady’s touchdowns, and if he is unable to go, I’m not sure this matchup will allow Brady to rely on passing yards for fantasy. It will be hard to bench Brady after last week, however, I have him ranked as a fringe top-12 QB for this week. He should have a fine fantasy day, even though I don’t see huge upside for him this week. 

Nick Foles

The 2018 Super Bowl MVP is back facing Brady. After barely salvaging his fantasy week in the fourth quarter last week, Nick Foles will look to rebound against a very tough Tampa Bay defence. Thankfully, on the other side of the ball is a very capable offence which may force Foles to throw for most of the game. The Buccaneers are currently in the top half of the league passing yards allowed (18th) and allow the second least rushing yards. This creates the narrative that not only will the Buccaneers most likely get ahead, but they will also stop the ground game, ultimately putting this entire offence on Foles’ shoulders.

For fantasy purposes, despite this narrative, I do not have a lot of faith in starting Foles. Currently, he has the second-lowest completion percentage in the league (only ahead of Jeff Driskel), along with negative rushing yards in each of his games so far. This does not create the fantasy floor I want in a QB in a tough matchup. I would look elsewhere at the position for Week 5. 

 

Wide Receivers

Buccaneers

Chris Godwin has been ruled out and Mike Evans is questionable for this game. Based on the news from the team so far, it sounds like Evans will be a game-time decision. However, since Evans was able to return the last game, I also would not be surprised if he plays. Even if Evans is not 100% healthy, he should be locked into your lineups, as he showed last week that he doesn’t need to be healthy to have a good fantasy day. Evans is currently the WR-nine on the season and first in receiving touchdowns at the position. Monitor the news leading up to the game, and if Evans is playing the start him with confidence. 

UPDATE: Mike Evans is confirmed active for the game.

Scotty Miller is currently leading the team in receiving yards this season and second in targets. He is clearly the next man up if either Godwin or Evans miss time. Coming off of back-to-back 83 yards performances, Miller has proven himself to be a surprisingly relevant fantasy player. Even in the games where both Evans and Godwin were healthy, Miller managed 73 and 83 yards. He should be in flex consideration in most leagues.

Bears

Allen Robinson is the WR-12 on the season, fourth in targets, and ninth in receiving yards at the position. Robinson has maintained his WR-one production from last season and has produced with both Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles. Robinson’s WR-one production should not waiver heading into week five’s matchup. As a result of the Buccaneers’ defense, the game script should force Foles to throw a lot as well as shut down the run game. Robinson has proven to be one of Foles’ favorite targets and I think the Pie Shop* is open for him this week. Expect a nice fantasy-week from Robinson.

Anthony Miller and Darnell Mooney Jr. are the only other fantasy-relevant WR pieces on this team. Miller has cracked double-digit fantasy points twice this season, however, he also has two weeks with zero and 3.1 points. I would not look to be trusting Miller in any league for this week. As for dynasty, Darnell Mooney is a very interesting prospect. Currently, Mooney is second in receiving yards, third in receptions on the team, and is coming off of nine targets last week.  Although he should not be in any starting line-ups, I would be looking to acquire him cheap this week. I think there is a very real chance he can overtake Miller as the WR2 on this team, as last week’s target share may have been the first sign of Foles finding new chemistry. Keep your eye out for the 22-year-old this week.

I would rank the receivers in this matchup: Evans, Robinson, Godwin, S. Miller, Mooney, and A. Miller. 

*Pie Shop: An Australian term (usually used in Rugby League) to describe who will score a Try (or in this case touchdown) this week. (Last week’s pick: Melvin Gordon )

 

Running Backs

Buccaneers

What a mess. As of this writing, Leonard Fournette has not been cleared for Thursday, however, he is doubtful to play. The Bears are allowing the 18th most rushing yards per game and this week’s game script should be positive for both Tampa backs. Fournette should not be in any lineups this week - he is not fully healthy heading into week five, and he only has one week over 3.5 fantasy points. He can not be trusted for fantasy purposes in Week 5, even if he suits up. 

UPDATE: Leonard Fournette is officially active for this game.

Last week without Fournette, Ronald Jones II took advantage of the opportunity putting together 20 carries for 111 yards with six receptions for 17 yards. Shockingly, this was Jones’ first 20+ carry week. Although that clearly outlines the Buccaneers’ commitment to multiple backs, the most interesting part of last week was Jones’ nine targets. On the season Ronald Jones II has 18 targets, tying him with Jerick McKinnon for seventh-most in the league at the position. For a back whose receiving abilities are usually viewed as the worst part of his game, the targets are very interesting.

Unfortunately, while having more than double the rushing attempts of Leonard Fournette, Jones only has one rushing touchdown. Fournette has taken almost all of Tampa Bay’s rushing attempts inside the five, making it very clear that Jones is not their red-zone back when Fournette is healthy. Two weeks ago, I broke down Myles Gaskin, praising his involvement in the offense despite the lack of touchdown opportunities. I view Jones in a very similar situation, only better for fantasy due to talent and team offensive production. Jones should be a solid flex option in Week 5. 

Bears

Unfortunately, David Montgomery did not take full advantage of his first opportunity without Tarik Cohen. Montgomery played 86% of the snaps and collected 10 carries for 27 yards and hauled in three receptions for 30 yards. This week he faces the Bucs, who are currently the second-best run defense in the league allowing a meager 64.3 rushing yards per game.

On top of this, so far only Alvin Kamara and Christian McCaffrey have been able to score on the ground against the Bucs. Montgomery managers may be looking for a bounce-back this week, however, the matchup does not make this likely. Thankfully, even without Cohen, no other back has received a rushing attempt for the Bears all season. Montgomery should be a lock to receive a lead back workload, however, in this matchup, I wouldn’t view him as more than a volume flex play. 

 

Tight Ends

Buccaneers

Somehow Bruce Arians has found a way to incorporate three different tight ends this season. Before last week, it seemed to be a two-man show with Rob Gronkowski and O.J. Howard dominating the targets and yardage totals. However, last week Howard ruptured his Achilles and will miss the rest of the season. Without Howard, Cameron Brate was able to have his first catch of the season for a three-yard touchdown. Even without Howard, you can not look to play Brate until we see him more involved. 

Many managers will want to think this is finally the opportunity for Gronkokowski to be the Gronk we know and love, but unfortunately, I am not sure this will be the case. Gronk has yet to score a touchdown and was unable to take advantage of Godwin missing the last game, recording one reception for 29 yards. Even with Howard gone, Gronk should not be started (or even benched) in any league. 

Bears

Over the last two previews, I have had the pleasure of breaking down the ageless wonders of Ryan Fitzpatrick and Frank Gore. This week’s matchup does not only showcase 43-year-old Tom Brady and 31-year-old Rob Gronkowski but also 33-year-old Jimmy Graham. On the season, Graham is the TE10 as well as having the ninth-most targets (23) and second-most touchdowns at the position (three).

Believe it or not, Graham is very fantasy relevant once again. If you are struggling at the position or looking to overcome the injury of Jared Cook, Graham is a very serviceable play this week. 

 

I feel I owe you all an apology for my picks so far this season. However, the season is still young and I’m looking for a huge bounce back in these next weeks. It is tough predicting this game without clarification on if Mike Evans is playing. I will make my predictions assuming he will not be in the line-up or anywhere close to 100% if he does play.

Both defences in this game are the best part of each team (especially without Evans). I'm not sure this game will be much better than the last few weeks, however, there are a lot more fantasy names in play. Here are my picks for this week:

Buccaneers -3.5 (1-3), Under 45.0 (1-3)



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Dissecting Contact Quality In Search Of Fantasy Bargains

Of the 1,015 hitters sampled(1) between 2015 and 2019, there were only 14 instances of hitters making more productive contact against pitches outside of the strike zone than against pitches inside of the strike zone based on xwOBAcon. Based on the same sample, the average hitter was a whopping .116 points better against pitches inside... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 23rd, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 23rd, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Lineup Order Risers and Fallers: AL West 2020 Review

It’s the offseason and there are about to be a bunch of moving parts. This allows for speculation in terms of players gaining or losing playing time, moving up or down a batting order and much more. The idea here is to highlight some lineup situations for each team and some potential winners or losers... Read More


2021 1st & 2nd Year Players with James Anderson - Benched with Bubba (Episode 317)

Bubba (@bdentrek) is joined by James Anderson (@RealJRAnderson) on episode 317. The guys will go over 30+ first and second-year players. They will discuss their current ADP's in the 2 Early Mocks, what to expect of the players in 2021, and much more. They also go over some listener questions, compare Juan Soto to Mike... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 21st, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 21st, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 20th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 20th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Bubba and Bat Flip 54: 2 Early Mocks APD Player Debates - Benched with Bubba (Episode 316)

Bubba (@bdentrek) is joined by Bat Flip Crazy (@BatFlipCrazy) to take a deeper look at the 2 Early Mocks ADP. They go over some of the positions and look at players with similar ADPs and debate. Going around the diamond discussing some players people are high on and some they are down on with a... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 18th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 18th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 17th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 17th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


2021 Early Mock ADP Values & Reaches: WPC+ Videocast

Pierre Camus and Nicklaus Gaut prepare for the 2021 fantasy baseball season with a look at early mock draft results from the RotoBaller Expert mock. Like and subscribe to the RotoBaller channel on Youtube to get all our latest podcasts and catch us on iTunes and BlogTalkRadio as well! Be sure to also tune into RotoBaller... Read More


Statcast Season Review: 2020 Barrel Leaders (Hitters)

The 2020 MLB season will always be one for the record books, even if everything that took place will have multiple asterisks attached to it. Evaluating Statcast numbers is a nice way to find hot and cold hitters, as well as underachievers and overachievers. Now that the regular season is over, let's reflect on the... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 16th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 16th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 15th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 15th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 14th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 14th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Bubba and Bat Flip 53: 2 Early Mocks APD Trends & More - Benched with Bubba (Episode 315)

Bubba (@bdentrek) is joined by Bat Flip Crazy (@BatFlipCrazy) to take a deeper look at the 2 Early Mocks ADP. They dig into trends, some interesting risers/fallers, and much more. They also go over some listener questions at the end to keep the Fantasy Baseball information coming even in the offseason. Be sure to subscribe... Read More