Week 5 of the NFL season was an incredibly high scoring week, with 44 year old Tom Brady throwing for 411 yards and 5 touchdowns (connected twice with Antonio Brown and Mike Evans; both generated over 100 receiving yards as well), The Big Dog rushing for 130 yards and 3 touchdowns and chalky Davante Adams (11-206-1 receiving line on 16 targets) and Alexander Mattison (25-113-0 rushing line; 7-40-1 receiving line) contributing with ceiling performances. Week 5 was also a bloodbath in terms of injuries, and there’s no shortage of big names that are either sidelined or will be sidelined for the foreseeable future. Let’s get to these injuries right away.
New York Giants (Saquon Barkley doubtful, Daniel Jones questionable and Sterling Shepard/Kenny Golladay/Darius Slayton all questionable)
It doesn’t take a doctor to know that Barkley didn’t just “sprain” his ankle and while he hasn’t been ruled out for this week just yet, he very likely will in the next couple of days. Best case scenario for Barkley and the Giants seems to be that he doesn’t go on short term IR. In any event, I’m not expecting Barkley to suit up this week, and Devontae Booker is the next man up in the running back room. With Barkley going down early in Week 5, we saw an early glimpse on running back touches – Booker generated a 16-42-1 rushing line and turned 4 targets into a 3-16-1 receiving line. The only other running back to receive any touches was Eli Penny and he only saw 1 carry.
Unfortunately for the Giants, Daniel Jones suffered a concussion in Week 5, and it looked awful. Mike Glennon is the backup quarterback for this team and the Los Angeles Rams are coming to town in Week 6. Meanwhile, Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton have been sidelined for multiple weeks with hamstring injuries and they’ll be questionable at best while Kenny Golladay seemed to have hyperextended his knee in Week 5. Rookie Kadarius Toney has benefited from the injuries, generating back-to-back productive performances (6-78-0 on 9 targets and 10-189-0 on 13 targets). Toney and Booker have received significant price bumps (especially on DK) ahead of Week 6 but it’s clear they have plenty of opportunity ahead of them.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire – OUT (MCL sprain)
Edwards-Helaire picked up an ugly knee injury in Week 5. However, he escaped a major injury, picking up a MCL sprain instead. As a result, Edwards-Helaire should be back in a few weeks. In the meantime, Darrel Williams and Jerick McKinnon will have to step up in a pass happy Chiefs offense. I can confidently say that Darrel Williams will play more than McKinnon, especially when you consider that Williams is a bigger back that can handle blocking duties. However, McKinnon was in late in Week 5 in a 2 minute offense role and my guess is he could see some third down work as well. Both backs are priced cheap ahead of Week 6 and while they’re not going to receive lots of carries/neither will be a RB1, they’re going to see targets from Patrick Mahomes.
Damien Harris – Questionable (rib injury)
Harris left Week 5 with a chest injury but was able to return. Unfortunately, Harris also picked up a rib injury that makes his leaves his status up in the air for Week 6. J.J. Taylor is presumably in the dog house (was inactive for Week 5) for a fumble he lost in Week 4 and James White is out for the season. Enter Rhamondre Stevenson, who picked up 11 carries in Week 5 while Harris was battling injuries. IF Stevenson picks up Damien Harris’ role (only possible at this point if Harris is ruled out), there’s value to be had here at punt price tags despite the lack of a receiving role (though a couple of targets, which is what Harris has been picking up, is likely enough at these price tags). Brandon Bolden will continue to see third down work but he’s unlikely to do much more than that.
Juju Smith-Schuster – OUT (Shoulder injury)
The Pittsburgh Steelers won’t be in this week’s main slate, but it needed to be mentioned regardless – Smith-Schuster will be out for the rest of the season. Pittsburgh’s offense finally looked much better in a Week 5 win against the Denver Broncos, and they were able to have some balance with Najee Harris turning 23 carries into 122 rushing yards and a touchdown. Unfortunately, this is a blip on the radar for a Pittsburgh offense with an aging Ben Roethlisberger at the helm and an atrocious offensive line. They’ll likely be forced into pass heavy game scripts this season and without Smith-Schuster around, I’d expect Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool to dominate the targets, while Najee Harris likely continues to pick up plenty of receiving work as well. Additionally, it looks like Ray-Ray McCloud will be the WR3 in this offense as he played 52.3% of snaps in Week 5 with Smith-Schuster going down early.
Here is a list of other fantasy relevant players that carry a questionable or doubtful designation to play on Sunday’s main slate this week (keep in mind this article is written on Monday, so this list will certainly change as practice reports start to come in):
–Christian McCaffrey (CAR) (Coach Matt Rhule is hopeful that McCaffrey will be able to return this week)
–Dalvin Cook (MIN) (sidelined in Week 5 due to the same nagging ankle sprain; Alexander Mattison will be a RB1 once again IF Cook is ruled out this week)
–Travis Kelce (KC) (suffered a stinger in Week 5 but it sounds like he’ll be able to play this week)
–Sammy Watkins (BAL) (status TBD; suffered a hamstring injury on Monday Night Football and didn’t return to the game. Mark Andrews (13) and Marquise Brown (10) saw double digit targets in a game in which Baltimore was trailing from the very beginning but part of their high target share had to do with Watkins not returning as well)
–Maxx Williams (ARI) (feared to have suffered a season ending knee injury; Demetrius Harris and Ross Travis will pick up the TE work but they’re blocking tight ends, which will likely result in a slight boost in market share of targets for the WRs/RBs)