It’s time to take our weekly look around the NFL to see which players have the potential to set your roster on fire and which ones seem to be cooling down. I’ll try to avoid the obvious candidates for the players that are heating up, in addition to focusing in on higher profile players that could leave your team on ice this week. I will also be taking a look at their performance from the previous week, as well as what the matchup holds for them heading into Sunday.
Cam Newton – Carolina Panthers
Matchup – Philadelphia Eagles
Freaking Cam Newton, man. I was all but done with him after the third week of the season when he struggled mightily against a very friendly Saints defense. He threw less than 170 yards and was intercepted three times in that game, and I was sure that he had lost it. However, I’m beginning to regain some trust after his last two performances. Newton threw for 355 yards and three touchdowns against the Lions and put up a similar stat line the week before against the Patriots. Considering Detroit had allowed over 17 points once in four games heading into this week, there’s plenty to be optimistic about here. Newton will face a beatable Eagles secondary heading into week six, so hopefully he can continue his newfound success.
Dak Prescott – Dallas Cowboys
Some of us at No Huddle weren’t very high on Prescott heading into this season. After a great rookie campaign it just felt like he would inevitably take a step back. That’s not been the case so far this season. Prescott has thrown for 11 touchdowns in five games and found the end zone through the air three times in each of the last two contests. He’s also found pay dirt on the ground twice in three weeks. Dallas has without a doubt one of the best offenses in the NFL, and Prescott’s success can be somewhat attributed to a strong run game. Ezekiel Elliott is one of the most explosive players in the game and keeps opposing defenses honest. The Cowboys have are coming up on a bye week, but face the 49ers when they next take the field. There’s no reason to think Prescott won’t keep up his impressive play.
Jameis Winston – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Matchup – Arizona Cardinals
After a sluggish start, Winston has rattled off three straight games with at least 325 passing yards and a touchdown. Tampa Bay has developed into an incredibly fun offense to watch. This offense boasts one of the best wide receivers in the league in Mike Evans, has an underrated tight end, rosters a number of very serviceable wide receivers, and the return of Doug Martin seems like it was worth the wait. Winston will look to extend his hot streak on the road this week against the Cardinals. While a tough matchup on paper, Arizona was just picked apart by Carson Wentz for over 300 yards and four touchdowns. Other than this being a road game, there’s no reason to think Famous Jameis won’t continue putting up strong numbers.
Aaron Jones – Green Bay Packers
Matchup – Minnesota Vikings
I was a big proponent of Aaron Jones as a long term solution for the Packers at running back heading into this season. I’m not sold on Ty Montgomery as a running back in the NFL. He does very little when he gets carries but fits the mold when you consider the Packers want to throw the ball all over the field. However, Jones proved this past week that he has the talent to develop into a very promising prospect after he gashed the Cowboys for 125 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. Unfortunately, I think Montgomery will still be heavily utilized when he gets back on the field. Jones is still worth picking up, however, because he should be the guy that Green Bay uses to actually run the balk moving forward. Time will only tell how this situation shakes out, but both running backs will find yards difficult to come by against the Vikings this week.
Javorius Allen – Baltimore Ravens
Matchup – Chicago Bears
The Ravens backfield has been absolutely maddening to predict this season. Terrence West, Buck Allen, and Alex Collins have all seen enough carries to become fantasy relevant in one game or another, and there is zero consistency with any of them. Due to West leaving the game last week against the Raiders with an injury, Buck Allen saw 21 carries and gained 73 yards with a touchdown. Collins saw 12 carries himself, but it looks like Allen will be the featured running back on the field if West misses time due to his role as the primary pass catching option out of the backfield. Allen will likely be hit or miss in most games this season, but he does have an interesting matchup against the Bears this week. It’s hard to endorse any Ravens running back, but Allen figures to be the main back if West misses any time with his calf injury.
Doug Martin – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Matchup – Arizona Cardinals
I was honestly a little concerned that Doug Martin wouldn’t get much work in his season debut. I’m glad I was wrong because the Muscle Hamster saw basically every carry out of the backfield last week against the Patriots. His teammates logged four total carries while Martin rumbled ahead for 74 yards and a touchdown while touching the ball 13 times. His 5.7 yards per carry is extremely encouraging considering he hasn’t been on the field since last year. It’s unfortunate that Martin plays a tough Arizona run defense after his first game, but I still think he’s a solid option when you take his usage into account.
Davante Adams – Green Bay Packers
Matchup – Minnesota Vikings
It’s a miracle that Davante Adams was even on the field last week. He somehow only sustained a concussion after taking a huge hit to the back of the head against the Bears in week four, so just being able to make it back in seven days was something to be happy about. Adams was one of Aaron Rodgers’ favorite targets this past week against the Cowboys as he caught seven passes for 66 yards and two touchdowns, and his second touchdown reception was a game winner in the final seconds of the game. Adams has been off and on so far this season, but he has now caught three touchdowns in the last two games. With so many weapons it’s hard to predict which Green Bay receiver will lead the pack each week. I expect the Vikings will want to slow down Jordy Nelson when the Packers travel to Minnesota, which could open things up for Adams to have another big game.
Chris Hogan – New England Patriots
Matchup – New York Jets
From a consistency standpoint, Chris Hogan is the wide receiver to own in New England. Over the last four games he has at least 60 receiving yards in each contest and has scored five touchdowns. While Brandin Cooks is generally considered the WR1 for the Patriots, Hogan has easily been Tom Brady’s most dependable target. New England will face the Jets this weekend, and there isn’t much of a chance that New York’s offense will be able to keep up with Brady’s arm. Hogan should once again get plenty of attention from his quarterback.
Mike Wallace – Baltimore Ravens
Matchup – Chicago Bears
After an extremely slow start to the season, last week we finally got to see the Mike Wallace we all know. Historically one of the better deep threats in the league, Wallace brought in three catches for 133 yards against the Raiders. That’s 44 yards per catch. This big performance comes one week after he hauled in six passes for 55 yards and a touchdown as well. This has been a welcome change considering Wallace only had three catches for 21 total yards in the first three games combined. While encouraging, I don’t think Wallace can keep up this level of production for very long. However, he’ll have an opportunity to face a Bears defense this week that has a tendency to surrender a lot of points, so there’s a decent chance he could keep this up at least one more week.
Ed Dickson – Carolina Panthers
Matchup – Philadelphia Eagles
I was curious to see if and when Ed Dickson would get more involved in the passing game with Greg Olsen on injured reserve. As it turns out, there was more than plenty of love to go around for the Panthers offense against the Lions. Dickson had five receptions for 175 yards and was a big contributor to Cam Newton’s big game. Considering Dickson had over 60 yards receiving the week prior to his explosion, I think he’s definitely worth picking up at this point if you need help at tight end. He should be able to produce serviceable numbers once again against the Eagles this week.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins – New York Jets
Matchup – New England Patriots
Seferian-Jenkins put up decent numbers against the Browns last week and found the end zone for the first time this season. While he only had 29 yards, he had six catches on eight targets. It’s clear that Josh McCown trusts his big tight end. The biggest hurdle ASJ will have to overcome is finding more room to work further downfield. Targets and touchdowns are great, but 4.8 yards per catch is less than desirable. I think he’s worth a roster spot considering his involvement, and he has a favorable matchup against a New England defense that allowed Cameron Brate to put up pretty solid numbers last Thursday night.
David Njoku – Cleveland Browns
Matchup – Houston Texans
Njoku has been intriguing through the first handful games of young career. While he hasn’t topped three catches or 50 yards in a game so far, the rookie has caught three touchdowns in the last four games. Njoku’s usage rate is going to make it hard to endorse him on a weekly basis, but he does seem to be the player that the Browns look for around the red zone. While there is some hope this week against the Texans (Travis Kelce had eight catches and 98 yards in the first half), I think Njoku is best left on the bench unless you’re desperate.
Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh Steelers
Matchup – Kansas City Chiefs
I would have thought you were high if you had told me that Big Ben would throw five interceptions and lose by 21 points to the Jaguars at home last week. Unfortunately for Roethlisberger owners, that’s exactly what happened. Last Sunday was a continuation of ineffective performances from the veteran quarterback this season, and its difficult to put much faith in him at this point considering he’s thrown more interceptions now than touchdowns. Not only does Roethlisberger face a tough Chiefs defense this week, but he does so on the road. That does not bode well for his fantasy stock. I’d look elsewhere for help at quarterback.
Tyrod Taylor – Buffalo Bills
I liked Tyrod Taylor as an under the radar, late round pick in drafts this season. He’s not the type of player that’s going to dazzle anyone with his arm but is a mobile quarterback that’s fairly consistent. That is until this year. Taylor lost both Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods in the offseason, so that could partially be the reason we’ve seen such lackluster performances. Excuses aside, the veteran quarterback has only thrown for over 200 yards twice this season and has accounted for just five touchdowns. That’s obviously less than ideal production for a starting NFL quarterback. The Bills will face a Buccaneers defense after the bye week that has been vulnerable through the air so far this season. Hopefully a week off and a friendly matchup can help turn things around.
Blake Bortles – Jacksonville Jaguars
Matchup – Los Angeles Rams
This is the first game I can ever recall where Bortles’ lack of production in a game was a result of his defense and running game dominating the opposing team. Bortles only attempted 14 passes and completed eight of them for 95 yards and a interception in a blowout win over the Steelers. The Jaguars offense ran strictly through Leonard Fournette as the rookie running back rushed for 181 yards and two touchdowns. Jacksonville’s defense accounted for two touchdowns as well. This game is exactly what the Jaguars coaching staff wants to do this season, which is control the ball on the ground and give Bortles as little opportunity as possible to make mistakes. He has one game so far this season where he scored a respectable amount of fantasy points, and I don’t think he has his second one this week against the Rams.
LeSean McCoy – Buffalo Bills
You may think adding LeSean McCoy on this list is a little premature, because it’s not like he’s been particularly bad. The issue with Shady is that he is far and away the most talented player the Bills have on offense, which means that opposing defenses game plan to shut him down. Outside of the first game of the season, that strategy has worked for the most part. Although he’s an active contributor in the passing game, Mccoy simply hasn’t lived up to expectations considering he was likely likely selected in the first round of your draft. To be fair, the Bills have faced some tough defenses thus far. However, Shady has yet to find the end zone and has struggled to overcome all the attention he’s getting from defenses. He’ll look to turn things around against Tampa Bay after the bye week.
DeMarco Murray – Tennessee Titans
Matchup – Indianapolis Colts
I’m not sure when it happens, but I can see the Titans starting to lean on Derrick Henry more as the season progresses. DeMarco Murray has struggled over the first five games, and I don’t see things changing as long as Marcus Mariota is out. If you remove the 75 yard touchdown run he had back in week three against the Seahawks, then Murray has only one game with over 50 rushing yards and zero scores. It’s hard to tell if age is finally catching up to the veteran or if defenses are keying on him more, but his numbers are severely concerning. He should be able to run rampant against the Colts this week, so if Murray continues to struggle I’d be looking elsewhere for better production from my running back.
Jonathan Stewart – Carolina Panthers
Matchup – Philadelphia Eagles
The general consensus heading into this season was that Jonathan Stewart would eventually be phased out by Christian MacCaffrey. Through five games this season that doesn’t necessarily seem to be the case. The veteran running back is consistently seeing 12-18 carries a game, but he’s just not doing enough with his opportunities to be a reliable option for fantasy purposes. To this point Stewart has only found the end zone one time, and that was through the air surprisingly enough. It also doesn’t help that Cam Newton is always a threat to run the ball around the goal line. Stewart should still be able to put up decent numbers from time to time, but he’s far from the every week starter we’ve seen in the past. Philadelphia’s defense has been vulnerable against running backs at times this season, but I’m not confident we see Stewart break out in this one.
Doug Baldwin – Seattle Seahawks
Doug Baldwin has been one of the more under appreciated wide receivers in the league over the past couple of seasons. Unfortunately, his numbers have been mostly unimpressive through the first five games of the year. He exploded in week three against the Titans for 105 yards and a touchdown on ten catches, but he’s failed to top 65 yards or score a touchdown in the four games outside of that. It’s going to be hard for Baldwin to get anything going with Seattle’s offensive line. Russell Wilson spends a lot time running for his life and rarely has time to sit in the pocket. I think Baldwin is a bounce back candidate after the bye due to a matchup with a decimated Giants team.
Golden Tate – Detroit Lions
Matchup – New Orleans Saints
Golden Tate is historically a PPR monster. He’s not going to score many touchdowns, but there are weeks where this guy will haul in 12 catches. A great example of this was in the season opener when he caught ten passes for 107 yards. Unfortunately, that’s been the high point for Tate so far this season. Outside of scoring a touchdown in week three, he’s done very little to help the Lions move the chains. Some of Tate’s struggles can be attributed to facing imposing defenses, while another reason is Matt Stafford has struggled at times as well. That being said, I think this could be the week where both players get back on track. Detroit faces a Saints defense that is known for giving up points to wide receivers, so Tate should be a strong play.
Amari Cooper – Oakland Raiders
Matchup – Los Angeles Chargers
I’m at a loss for words at this point regarding Amari Cooper. Every player has their ups and their downs in the NFL. I get that. I’m just wondering when the ups are going to start coming for Cooper. I could blame this week on EJ Manuel starting for an injured Carr. However, that didn’t stop Michael Crabtree from catching six passes for 82 yards and a touchdown against the Ravens. The “star” receiver is now averaging two catches and 14 yards over the last four games, and he hasn’t had more than ten yards in three weeks. From the outside looking in it’s easy to tell you to bench one of the players you selected with your second pick. However, at this point you have to consider it.
Delanie Walker – Tennessee Titans
Matchup – Indianapolis Colts
Delanie Walker has been one of fantasy football’s most reliable tight ends over the last few years. He was Marcus Mariota’s first “go to” guy when the offense was mostly devoid of talent his rookie season, and the two have great chemistry. Unfortunately, Mariota is out with an injury and Walker will certainly struggle until he returns. The veteran tight end has done very little over the last three weeks. I can see subpar performances against the Seahawks and Bears, but he should been able to get more than 25 yards on three catches against the Dolphins even with Matt Cassel at quarterback. If Mariota suits up, then Walker should be able to put up strong stat lines over the next two weeks when Tennessee faces two bad defenses in the Colts and Browns.
Eric Ebron – Detroit Lions
Matchup – New Orleans Saints
At this point I think you can go ahead and drop Eric Ebron. The veteran tight end is a constant sleeper at his position and has never really panned out. He honestly seems like a complete afterthought in the passing game, and to make matters worse Darren Fells of all people just got two touchdowns against the Panthers. Outside of a 42 yard, one touchdown performance in week two Ebron has scored a total of 5.5 fantasy points in the other four games combined. I would normally look at this matchup against the Saints and express some sort of shred of hope, but I just don’t see it happening.
Evan Engram – New York Giants
Matchup – Denver Broncos
It seems a little unfair to throw Engram on this list after one bad game. Unfortunately for him, there weren’t very many off games by tight ends with high projected points. Joking aside, I’m a little surprised Engram didn’t see more attention from Eli Manning. The Giants lost Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard early, so OBJ and Engram were literally the only two starting players left on the field to catch passes. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a team lose all of their starting wide receivers in a single game. Both Beckham and Marshall are done for the season, and Shepard should miss a few games after re-injuring his ankle. I honestly have no idea who is going to catch passes from Manning moving forward. The good news is that Engram should see a huge uptick in targets. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if the Giants used him exclusively as a wide receiver moving forward. It’s bad luck that the Giants face Denver on the road after losing so many playmakers. At this point though, who else do they have besides Engram? I’m in on the rookie despite the matchup.
As always, please feel free to give us a shout on Twitter @No_HuddleFFB if you have any questions or concerns regarding your lineup or just want to chat about fantasy football. Best of luck this week!