Welcome to Week 5 of the 2020 Footballguys' Roundtable. Our intrepid and oddball panel of fantasy pundits discuss and debate players who could crash the starter tier of fantasy rankings in the coming weeks, advice on injury-ridden depth charts, the sustainability of certain breakout performers from Week 4, and the continued debate on Clyde Edwards-Helaire's fantasy value.
- Potential Fantasy Party Crashers
- Fantasy Triage
- Breakout? Or, Lucky Break?
- Is Clyde Edwards-Helaire Worth His Pre-Draft Buzz?
Potential Fantasy Party Crashers
Matt Waldman: These questions are for 12-team, PPR formats that start 1 QB, 2RBs, 3WRs, 1 TE, and 1 non-QB flex.
- Name a quarterback outside the top 15 who will finish as a fantasy QB1.
- Name a running back outside the top 36 who will finish as at least an RB2.
- Name a wide receiver outside the top 48 who will finish as at least a WR3.
- Name a tight end outside the top 15 who will finish at least as a top TE1.
Jeff Pasquino: The Rams' offense is designed to be pass-first, and Jared Goff has been playing at a high level so far this season. Goff is surrounded by strong receivers (Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp), tight ends (Tyler Higbee, Gerald Everett) and tailbacks that can catch (Malcolm Brown, Darrell Henderson), so there is plenty of support for Goff. The Rams have faced several teams so far that are weak against the run (Cowboys, Giants) or have run away from the opposition (Eagles). With six NFC West games yet to play and several favorable matchups to go to boost passing numbers (AFC West, Atlanta, New Orleans, Miami) there is plenty of room for Goff to climb up the fantasy stats ladder into the Top 12 at quarterback the rest of the way..
Right now, I see three reasonable candidates for a RB presently outside of the Top 36 that can crack the Top 24 for the season: Chase Edmonds (RB37), Leonard Fournette (RB40) and J.K. Dobbins (RB41). Of those three, I will take Edmonds, as he seems to be gaining on Kenyan Drake for both production and touches in Arizona. Drake has had 20 touches just once all season, with just 13 in Week 4, while Edmonds had 10 and a score against Carolina. With a very favorable matchup against the Jets on the horizon, Edmonds looks like the back to get if you can.
I think it would be cheating to mention Kenny Golladay or Chris Godwin given they only have two games each, but if you can get them in a trade, do it. My choice is Marquise Brown for the Ravens, as he has had at least six targets every game so far, but has not found the end zone yet. He was just short of scoring last week against Washington (down at the one-yard line), so those numbers will come up, especially once teams start doubling the very effective Mark Andrews.
This one has to go to Zach Ertz, right? He's just outside the Top 15 now and his yards per catch is under eight - way below his career average in the 10-11 range. Combine that with just one touchdown and Philadelphia's lack of quality wide receivers (plus the injury to Dallas Goedert) and Ertz seems destined to move back into the Top 12 by the end of the season.
Jason Wood: There are three leading choices: Cam Newton, Ryan Tannehill, and Justin Herbert. All three are top-15 quarterbacks on a per-game basis currently. Since my colleague mapped out the case for Newton (which I agree with and see below), I'll focus on Herbert, instead. Admittedly, after watching Hard Knocks, I fell for the notion Tyrod Taylor would be the Chargers key leader and Herbert would need most of the season to watch from the sidelines. Taylor's chest injury forced the Chargers' hand, and it may have been the best thing possible. Herbert has been terrific, in spite of dealing with a less-than-full cast of receivers and running backs. Herbert is QB9 on a per-game basis, which is remarkable considering he's only played three games.
J.K. Dobbins it the choice. The Ravens are playing well, but the offense hasn't been the fantasy bonanza most expected on draft day. That will normalize, and the key players will start paying big dividends. Dobbins isn't going to get a workhorse role without injuries to Mark Ingram II and Gus Edwards, but he could earn the lead role (switching places with Ingram) simply because of underlying talent and because the team wants to hand over the baton knowing Ingram's future with the team is limited, while Dobbins will be the No. 1 in 2021 and beyond.
Jamison Crowder (WR42) doesn't qualify, but I needed to shout him out because he's WR3 on a per-game basis -- behind only Davante Adams and DeAndre Hopkins. I'll throw Brandon Aiyuk into the mix. The 49ers have been a plug-and-play offense so far, with Kittle, Mostert, Garoppolo, and Aiyuk missing games. But Aiyuk's snap count and role are increasing, and there's no one on the receiver depth chart who poses a threat to the No. 1 role eventually.
I'm with Jeff on the Ertz pick. As I scan the YTD tight end stats, there aren't many other tight ends currently outside the Top 15 who have a credible path to regular fantasy value, absent injury. Ertz would've shown positive regression back into the Top 10 regardless of the Eagles situation, but their injury deluge makes it a foregone conclusion. Ertz should be as targeted as any tight end not named George Kittle over the last three months.