Fantasy Football Upgrades and Downgrades: Week 5

Week 5 Upgrades & Downgrades

Well, as the season progresses, so does our understanding of which teams are contenders and which were merely pretenders.  There are a few surprises that absolutely nobody saw coming and a few situations that are downright dreadful right now that were fairly predictable.  Around mid-season, I am planning on writing an article that will recap the first 8 games for each team and how that compares to what was expected for them pre-season as well as what to expect for their final 8. Maybe I’ll even throw in a way-too-early playoff prediction.

As I’ve said before, with the new setup, keep in mind that for players I have listed as “downgrades”, I simply mean you should expect less than their statistical average given the current matchup.  They may still start for you and of course, they still may have a good week, but you shouldn’t expect as much from them.  For “upgrades”, you can expect them to score more than they typically do but they may not be a starter in your league or for your team.  Let’s get started!

 

Position: Quarterback

Upgrades –

  • Jameis Winston, Patriots currently have the worst pass defense in the league right now and he’s got a great group to work with
  • Dak Prescott, Has finished top 12 at the position every week so far this season and the run game has been stalling
  • Eli Manning, Passing game looks to have finally gotten their stuff together and this could turn into a shootout
  • Alex Smith, Houston has been letting opposing QBs move the ball against them so far this season and he’s been hot
  • Carson Palmer, Throwing the ball seemingly 50 times a game because of the absence of a rushing attack, keep using him

Downgrades –

  • Cam Newton, Great game last week against the Pats at Gillette but hangover likely plus the Lions D has been very good so far in this young season
  • Philip Rivers, Has been iffy at best so far and now has to travel across the country to face the daunting Giant’s pass D
  • Deshaun Watson, Absolutely been on fire as of late but KC has one of the best defenses in the league and he has to slow down at some point
  • Ben Roethlisberger, Even though he’s at home Jacksonville has a very good pass D and the Steelers are content on running Bell 40 times to win the game
  • Andy Dalton, Also been on fire recently but the Bills have had one of the best defenses in the league so far this season AND he’s actually been better on the road

 

Position: Running Back

Upgrades –

  • Le’Veon Bell, Give Bell the rock 40 times, that should be their game plan this week against the Jags
  • Todd Gurley, He’s been an absolute monster to start the season but I especially love that Seattle hasn’t been good at stopping the run and they always give Seattle a hard time, plus it’s in LA
  • Carlos Hyde, Colts have actually been stingy against the run so far but that won’t be the case come season’s end so keep using him
  • Melvin Gordon, Giants have a great pass D and traveling across the country is not easy, giving the ball to Gordon is the safest bet for the Chargers here
  • Marshawn Lynch, No Carr? Time for Beat Mode to get the rock ladies and gentleman
  • Christian McCaffrey, Panthers likely to fall behind early in this one which means we’re going to see much more McCaffrey and must less Stewart
  • James White, Brady is going to come out with a vengeance after losing his 2nd game at home this season and White will be his best check-down option when there isn’t anything down field
  • Jerick McKinnon, Bears have been stingy against the run so far this season and likely to rally behind Trubisky finally getting the nod, McKinnon catches passes best in case that wasn’t clear

Downgrades –

  • Leonard Fournette, Steelers have done well against the run except for that 1 fluky Bears game, Fournette will need to catch some passes to do some damage this week
  • Jay Ajayi, Last 2 weeks have been utterly terrible for him and Tennessee is only giving up 3.5 YPC so far this season
  • DeMarco Murray, Besides his 75 yard TD run he has been utterly terrible, if Mariota doesn’t play that’s even worse for him against this decent Miami front 7
  • Bilal Powell, Like him as a pass catching back against Cleveland but they are good at stopping the run and no Forte means he’s getting the carries
  • Joe Mixon, Buffalo better at stopping the run than the pass and they can stop the pass as well, just not a good week for him even though he seems to be taking over the bell cow role
  • Lamar Miller, Great week last week but has otherwise struggled so far this season, and KC has been stingy against the run
  • Jonathan Stewart, I like McCaffrey which means I don’t like J Stew, I just think game plan gets away from him this week
  • Latavius Murray, Same thing, I like McKinnon which means I am down on Murray, also we have no idea what this backfield is going to look like moving forward

 

Position: Wide Receiver

Upgrades –

  • Mike Evans/DeSean Jackson, Literally could not be a more appealing matchup
  • Chris Hogan, Almost equally as good of a matchup, the only better one he sees is on a daily basis at practice. Oh, and he’s been the best PPR WR the last 3 weeks
  • Stefon Diggs/Adam Thielen, If you can’t run on the Bears what do you? That’s right kids, throw the ball all over the freaking yard, also helps if Bradford returns this week
  • Pierre Garcon, “Insert revenge narrative here”, also Indy has been rough against the pass so far so not a bad play on that front either
  • DeVante Parker, Tennessee is strong against the run but not the pass, evidence by them getting torched by a rookie QB last week
  • Larry Fitzgerald/Jaron Brown, Fitz didn’t have a great week last week but it’s another great matchup for the both of them and Brown got 12 targets last week in this pass-friendly offense
  • Dez Bryant, Only reeled in 5 of 12 targets last week so he is being looked at, he just needs to come down with it. Also likely to turn into a shootout
  • TY Hilton, Quiet last week after his week 3 extravaganza but Frisco is pathetic against the pass and he seems to have some connection with Brissett so far

Downgrades –

  • Amari Cooper/Michael Crabtree, No Carr, no way. No clue what kind of effort E.J Manuel will give us, Crabtree is banged up, and Cooper has been downright dreadful to start the year
  • Doug Baldwin, Great week last week and even though Wilson and this passing attack is rolling the Rams have had recent success against Seattle, and Seattle is on the road
  • Antonio Brown/Martavis Bryant, Steelers won’t need to pass a ton this week to win and are content with handing off to Bell to win games
  • Sammy Watkins, Only 2 targets last week and even though the Legion of Boom looks like a shell of its former self I doubt the Rams risk turning the ball over through the air unless need be
  • Keenan Allen/Tyrell Williams, Giant’s secondary is very good and Rivers has been very shaky to start the season. Allen likely to still get his fantasy floor but not much else, little hope for Williams
  • Davante Adams, He’s apparently going to suit up this weekend but after that devastating hit that lead to him begin carted off on a stretcher he’s probably not getting many targets this week
  • Alshon Jeffery, Going to be shadowed by Patrick Peterson, need I say more?
  • Will Fuller V, Caught 2 TDs last week on 4 catches. Obviously extreme production based on opportunities and I think Houston’s offense starts to slow this week

 

Position: Tight End

Upgrades –

  • Rob Gronkowski, I mean he’s the #1 TE in fantasy right now and he’s looking great so he really doesn’t need to be here but the matchup could not be better
  • Jimmy Graham, Last 2 weeks he’s looked alive after 2 duds the start the season. Seattle is going to need to move the ball somehow and if they can’t run check downs are a big part of that
  • Hunter Henry, If he’s going to give you fantasy value once this season it’s likely going to be here. They need to run the ball but if they can’t TE passes are your safest bet
  • Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Was a big talent coming out of college but couldn’t really get it together, maybe he’s finally done that? Also helps he’s playing the Browns
  • Evan Engram, Has been targeted a lot and Charger’s corners are some of the best duos in the league, an opening down the middle of the field sounds very possible throughout this game

Downgrades –

  • Zach Ertz, He’s getting his fair share of targets every week but not loving the matchup against Arizona
  • Charles Clay, Good week last week but not a great opportunity against the Bengals here
  • Delanie Walker, If Mariota plays I like him since they will try to protect him by keeping him in the pocket and getting rid of the ball early, if he doesn’t, I don’t like Walker either
  • Martellus Bennett, Good amount of targets coming his way in one of the most pass-happy offenses in the league but the Cowboys have shut down TEs well this year
  • Jason Witten, Packers are one of the most stingy defenses in the league when it comes to TE production, not a terrible option but there are better ones out there