Perhaps the best Fantasy Football strategy advice I can offer in 2020 is to expect the unexpected. COVID-19 has created a world in which we wake up to unexpected breaking news seemingly every day. From a Fantasy standpoint, it’s more important now than ever to stay up to date on the headlines and player availability.
From a football fan standpoint, I have to admit it’s pretty awesome. Assuming no more positive tests out of New England and Tennessee over the weekend, Week 5 will not only feature another Monday Night Football doubleheader, but also a Tuesday night game. The occurrence is so rare that, outside of a 2010 game that was moved due to a blizzard, you would have to go back to 1946 to find the last time there was NFL football on a Tuesday. The New York Giants beat the Boston Yanks 17-0 at Braves Field in Boston in that contest. But I digress.
With the first quarter of the season complete and Week 5 knocking on the door, Hank’s Bank is locked and loaded to help you shore up your Fantasy Football strategy. From this week’s cash play and QB streamer to an unlikely buy-low trade target, we’ve got it all as per usual. BANK THAT!
Hank’s Bank Vocabulary Key
Asset: Trade Target
Transfer: Trade Away
Invest: Free Agent Acquisition
Loan: Weekly Streamer
Week 5 Banking
Cash: Eric Ebron | TE | Pittsburgh Steelers
No one hyped his own Fantasy Football value up more before the season began than Eric Ebron. The tight end went on the record as saying his own Fantasy Football strategy for 2020 included drafting himself over several other highly ranked tight ends. Ebron may have been onto something. He has seen an increase in targets in each consecutive game the steelers played before last week’s impromptu bye week. In Week 3’s win over the Houston Texans, Ebron hauled in 5 of 7 targets, good for 52 yards and a touchdown.
Week 5 pits Ebron and Pittsburgh up against a Philadelphia Eagles defense that impressed in the team’s first win of the season. But George Kittle feasted on Philadelphia last week, consistent with the Eagles giving up 21.1 Fantasy points per game (FPPG) to tight ends, the third-most in the NFL. Diontae Johnson could be slowed if he draws shadow coverage from corner Darius Slay, opening the door for Ebron to be the second option to JuJu Smith-Schuster in The Battle of Pennsylvania.
Deposit: Myles Gaskin | RB | Miami Dolphins
After drawing positive matchups in each of the last two weeks, Myles Gaskin and the Miami Dolphins have a much tougher assignment in Week 5 as they take on the San Francisco 49ers. Sure, the Niners have suffered a few key injuries on the defensive side of the ball, but they still rank 6th in adjusted defensive efficiency according to Football Outsiders through the first quarter of the season.
The 49ers have been particularly stingy against opposing running backs in Fantasy Football. San Francisco has surrendered just 14.03 FPPG to the position. With Miami boasting an offensive line that features several young players, I would have to say there could be a major mismatch in the trenches against the likes of Arik Armstead, Javon Kinlaw, and the rest of the talented San Francisco defensive front. While there’s a real chance that Gaskin owners can’t afford to bench him because of volume alone, recognize that he could be running into a brick wall this week.
Asset: Julio Jones | WR | Atlanta Falcons
I can guarantee that whoever owns Julio Jones in your Fantasy league hasn’t had the kind of success early on that he/she envisioned. After being in the shadow of Calvin Ridley and even Russell Gage to some degree in the first two weeks, Jones missed Week 3 and exited last week’s game early due to a hamstring injury. Expected to be inactive for the Falcons’ Week 5 tilt against the Carolina Panthers as well, Julio Jones fits the buy-low Fantasy Football strategy perfectly.
Jones started the year off with a bang, with a 9-catch, 157-yard performance in Week 1. Since then, however, Jones’ production and, more importantly, his opportunities have tailed off. With just 4 targets in the two games he has played since, Jones has fallen well short of what we’ve grown accustomed to. How much of the drop-off is due to the 31-year old’s injury isn’t fully clear. There’s a real chance you could land him at a discount given the uncertainty.
Transfer: Joe Mixon | RB | Cincinnati Bengals
Joe Mixon began the season as a thorn in the side of Fantasy managers who spent significant draft capital on him. After modest yardage totals and failing to score a single touchdown in the first three weeks, Mixon went off in Week 4. His 25 carries, 6 receptions, 181 total yards, and 3 total touchdowns made him the top Fantasy Football performer of the week with 42.1 points. Now comes the tricky part for Mixon owners. Will the rest of the season more closely resemble the disappointing first three weeks or last week’s breakout?
While the most likely answer to this question is “somewhere in between”, I’m not exactly bullish on Mixon even after his matchup-winning performance. It’s no secret at this point that the Bengals’ offensive line is not good. There are also more weapons in the Cincinnati offense this year. Joe Burrow has any number of wide receivers at his disposal, which could continue to eat into Mixon’s weekly volume. The real concern for me lies in the Bengals’ upcoming schedule. Five of Cincy’s next six games come against defenses that rank in the top-12 in fewest Fantasy points allowed to the running back position. That’s a gauntlet if there ever was one. Sell Mixon high now!
Invest: D’Ernest Johnson | RB | Cleveland Browns
Through four weeks, the Browns lead the NFL in the percentage of offensive plays that are runs at 53.26%. That’s simply too high of a number for one running back to handle by himself. So when Nick Chubb suffered an MCL injury last week that will have him sidelined for roughly six weeks, D’Ernest Johnson earned a major boost in terms of Fantasy value. While Kareem Hunt will now be the lead dog in the Cleveland backfield, Johnson will be involved, and Week 4 was a clear indication of this. After Chubb went down, Johnson earned 13 carries, which he turned into 95 yards, a 7.3 yards per carry clip.
Somehow, even though Hunt is the RB7 in Fantasy on the year despite being the second back behind Chubb, Johnson hasn’t been at the forefront of the Week 5 Fantasy Football strategy for many managers. Despite proving plenty capable with last week’s performance, Johnson has only been rostered in 25.9% of ESPN leagues. That number is only going to increase when next week’s waivers process, so you may as well add him before he has another strong showing in Week 5.
Loan: Teddy Bridgewater | QB | Carolina Panthers
You’ve got to give Matt Rhule credit. He has this Panthers team coming to play each and every week. Despite talent disadvantages in both games, Carolina has beaten the Los Angeles Chargers and Arizona Cardinals in the last two weeks. They’ve done so without star running back Christian McCaffrey at that, as he remains sidelined with an ankle injury. While he likely isn’t owned outside of deeper and/or 2-quarterback leagues, Teddy Bridgewater has been serviceable on the Fantasy Football front. His 68.88 points rank him as the QB18 on the season through four weeks. That overall ranking should only rise this week, as Bridgewater takes on a Falcons defense that is surrendering 32.48 FPPG to the quarterback position, by far the most in the NFL. With both Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford on bye this week, Bridgewater is the perfect streamer.