Week 5 treated us to another round of COVID-19 situations, which caused the New England Patriots to shut down their facility and wait for next week to play against the Denver Broncos. In addition to this, a quarterback sustained a significant injury that ended his season and could potentially threaten his career and there are now more questionable tags due to injuries for other players as well. Let’s take a look at these situations below. NOTE: Pricing hasn’t been released for week 6 at this point in time but we should get slates posted on Tuesday afternoon.
Dak Prescott – OUT for the season with a compound fracture and dislocation of his right ankle
– Andy Dalton
Analysis: Prescott suffered a gruesome season ending injury this past Sunday. This will give Andy Dalton the opportunity to be the starting quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys. This will easily be the most talented offense that Dalton has ever quarterbacked, with Cooper-Lamb-Gallup lining up as receivers and Ezekiel Elliott being the running back. The Cowboys’ defense remains a big issue, as they just allowed 34 points to the New York Giants. The Giants had scored 47 points over their last 4 combined games. You read that correctly. Andy Dalton isn’t as talented as Dak Prescott, but he’ll be trailing in plenty of games this season, including in week 6 against Arizona where they’ve opened up as 2.5 point underdogs. The Cowboys have an implied total in the mid 20s for that one and Dalton will likely draw cheap price tags in his first start of the season. As long as that’s the case, he’ll still be a viable DFS play and one that should support at least one weapon alongside him as far as stacking is concerned.
Dalvin Cook – Questionable with a groin injury
– Alexander Mattison
Analysis: Cook sustained a groin injury against the Seattle Seahawks in week 5 and didn’t return to his regular role. In fact, Cook didn’t see another carry again. It was the Alexander Mattison show, who generated a 20-112-0 rushing line. Mattison saw 3 targets as well and he turned those into a 3-24-0 line. In other words, Mattison saw the Cook bellcow role once the latter departed due to injury and that’s exactly what we’d expect from him IF Cook misses any time. Speaking of missing time, there’s a realistic chance of that happening given the injury that Cook sustained. It was a groin injury that wasn’t severe by any means, but it’s the type of injury that tends to linger if not dealt with immediately. The good news is that with the Vikings having a bye in week 7, Cook gets multiple weeks to rest. One thing we know for certain is that Mattison’s value would be immense this week if Cook is out.
Diontae Johnson – Questionable with a back injury
– Chase Claypool
– James Washington
Analysis: Johnson was cleared from concussion protocol for week 5 and he ended up sustaining a back injury early against the Philadelphia Eagles. The injury didn’t look substantial but it ended his day. Enter Chase Claypool, who dominated this game to the tune of a 7-110-3 line and added a rushing touchdown as well. Claypool played nearly 70% of the snaps and generated a team high 11 targets. In the offseason, I thought there was a legitimate possibility that the Pittsburgh Steelers would let Juju Smith-Schuster walk in free agency, which would give Claypool a straightforward opportunity at becoming the number one receiver in this offense. There’s a chance that I was wrong – Claypool could very well be ready to be atop the Steelers’ wide receiver depth chart. The only thing that would hold him back is lack of experience/familiarity at this level. From a physical standpoint, there’s nothing that holds him back from being a huge red zone threat. Claypool’s DFS stock will likely be on the rise regardless, but a more realistic path for significant volume would be Diontae Johnson being ruled out. Even James Washington could have some sneaky appeal as a deep threat though keep in mind that Ben Roethlisberger has looked quite bad this year when throwing deep. If Johnson is out, there’s a chance that Claypool ends up being one of the highest owned players as long as his price is reasonable.
Sammy Watkins – Likely OUT for multiple weeks with a hamstring injury
– Mecole Hardman
– Demarcus Robinson
Analysis: Watkins being ruled out for likely multiple weeks should result in a near full time role for Mecole Hardman. Hardman has scored 8 touchdowns and is averaging 12.6 yards per target through 21 career games. This is a very significant development for us as Hardman’s explosiveness in a Patrick Mahomes led offense only needed more volume to be a reliable DFS target. Demarcus Robinson should play enough snaps to warrant MME consideration as well.
D.J. Chark – Questionable with an ankle injury
– Laviska Shenault
Analysis: Chark’s injury looked minor but it ended his afternoon against the Houston Texans. If Chark misses any time, Chris Conley and Collin Johnson will benefit but neither guy will generate enough volume to be a primary DFS play. However, Laviska Shenault would emerge as the potential WR1 in the Jaguars’ offense. Shenault played nearly 70% of snaps this past Sunday and saw a career high 8 targets. Keelan Cole is the other receiver worth mentioning in this offense and he’ll end up being a better play than Conley and Johnson.