- Everything you need to craft a winning fantasy football lineup in Week 5.
Every Sunday, the combined SI.com and 4for4 Football team will answer a question about the day that is to unfold before our eyes. The question will change every week. Some weeks, it will be quite specific, and others it will be broader in nature. No matter what the question is, though, we’ll strive to give you a last few pieces of wisdom before you officially set your lineups for the week, kick up your feet, and enjoy the football. Let’s get to it.
Offense is exploding across the league in ways we've never seen before, but not everyone has been invited to the party. The bottom-eight teams in the league in Football Outsiders' offensive DVOA are the Colts, Titans, Seahawks, 49ers, Browns, Jets, Cardinals and Bills. If you had to bet on one of those teams turning it around and jumping into, say, the top 20, which would it be and why?
Michael Beller (@MBeller): I’m tempted to say the Cardinals because I think that Josh Rosen will, at the very least, bring a level of competence to the offense that allow it to make great use of David Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Christian Kirk and Ricky Seals-Jones. I also think the Browns are a great candidate, with Baker Mayfield opening up the entire attack. If I can only back one, though, it has to be the Titans. Marcus Mariota looked healthy last week after suffering dealing with hand and elbow discomfort since Week 1, and it was plain to see what that meant for the offense. Mariota threw for 344 yards, 8.0 yards per attempt and two touchdowns in the win over the Eagles, carrying some of his key skill-position teammates to big games. Corey Davis caught nine passes for 161 yards and a score. Taywan Taylor, in his first game with a major role, hauled in seven of his nine targets for 77 yards. Dion Lewis didn’t do much on the ground, but had nine receptions for 66 yards. And to top it all off, Mariota ran for 46 yards and a touchdown on 10 rushes. If Mariota is healthy, Tennessee’s offense clearly has the highest ceiling among these eight units. I’ll back the Titans, and go one measure further and say now would be a great time to acquire Davis or Lewis, if possible.
Stephen Andress (@SportsByStephen): Life comes at you fast. It's the Browns. Cleveland has scored 60 points in its last six quarters of football. Baker Mayfield has thrown for almost 500 yards in basically that amount of time. With a very good offensive line (the reason I chose the Brows over the Colts) and quality weapons to work with, the arrow is pointing up for this offense. It's not just Mayfield either. The rushing game has been solid with Duke Johnson almost an afterthought at this point with how well Carlos Hyde and Nick Chubb have played. Looking at 4for4's adjust fantasy points allowed metric, Mayfield faces seven consecutive opponents in the bottom eight of aFPA versus fantasy QBs. Many points will be scored.
John Paulsen (@4for4_John): I think that the team that has the best chance to turn things around is the Seahawks. They have one of the best quarterbacks in the league, just got Doug Baldwin back from injury, and should have an easier schedule after a pretty tough stretch of games from Week 1 through Week 4. After Seattle, I think Indianapolis, Cleveland and Tennessee are the teams that are best positioned to turn things around, thanks to their quarterbacks. I’ll take Andrew Luck, Baker Mayfield and Marcus Mariota over C.J. Beathard, Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen and Josh Allen.
Chris Allen (@ChrisAllenFFWX): The Titans are an honorable mention. The story of their season is quite remarkable through the first four weeks. A horrific loss to Miami to open the season followed by three straight wins, two against divisional rivals, including the Jaguars, and one against the defending Super Bowl Champions. But for me, the team I trust most to turn it around is the Browns. Hue Jackson will certainly put the brakes on this team, but let’s focus on the players. Or, the player. Baker Mayfield changes everything for this group. The offense began to pass the eye test the moment Mayfield took over for Tyrod Taylor. During that game against the Jets, the Browns were gaining 16.9 yards per drive. After Mayfield took, over their production jumped nearly 2.25 times. The Raiders game was an even greater testament to what the rookie brings to Cleveland. Albeit a one-game sample, you’d have to roll back to Week 15 of 2009 to find the last time the Browns put up more than 40 points in a game. The last time the Browns produced 475 yards of offense? Week 5 of 2015. Yards per drive have increased under Mayfield, and the Browns have maintained their number of first downs and third down conversation rate. Baltimore will be a tough test this week, but they have the Chargers, Buccaneers, and Steelers on deck. The Browns are only a few plays and a bad call from being atop the AFC North. If Hue can stay out of the way, Cleveland can turn it around.
T.J. Hernandez (@TJHernandez): One of the common themes of these offenses is their inability to protect the quarterback. The combination of being behind and facing a ton of quarterback pressures usually equals disaster. Of this group, the two offensive lines that rank in the top half of the league in Football Outsiders’ adjusted sack rate allowed are the Colts and the Titans. Tennessee is the team that is trending upward.
Marcus Mariota looks to be fully healthy, coming off his first 300-yard game of the season, and Tennessee has seemingly found its go-to pass catcher in Corey Davis. Taywan Taylor has also come along nicely in Delanie Walker’s absence. While it doesn’t seem like the Titans’ ground game will be gaining traction anytime soon, Week 4 may have been a turning point for the team in terms of proper utilization its talent, offering Dion Lewis nine targets. These are the trends that fantasy footballers were hoping for with Matt LaFleur taking over as the offensive coordinator, and it’s seemingly coming together after the first quarter of the season.