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Sunday Scaries: Week 5

Week 4 Update:

Brandon Aiyuk vs. Allen Robinson +1.5. Aiyuk may have finished with 5.7 points, but Robinson finished with 1.7. Underwhelming W. Robinson is droppable in all formats.

David Njoku + 0.5 Vs. Pat Freiermuth. Pat Freiermuth's consistency landed him in the top-7 of TEs, going 7-85. Njoku went 5-73. Tough loss.

Antonio Gibson vs. Ezekiel Elliott. Again close call, but took the Loss. Same rush yards for Gibson/Zeke, but Zeke had 18 more receiving yards.

Running Season Record: 8-4

Week 5 Matchups:

Justin Herbert + 6 vs. Josh Allen

The juice on this matchup intrigues me. On one hand, Josh Allen is putting up 27.8 fantasy points per game, and ranks as the QB2 on the season. On the other, Justin Herbert, despite dealing with a rib injury, still ranks 7th among QBs with 20.1 fantasy points per game. Both Allen and Herbert will be without their starting slot receivers Jamison Crowder and Keenan Allen, respectively, entering their Week 5 matchups. But the defenses they face couldn't be more different.

Justin Herbert faces a reeling Cleveland Browns defense that will be without starting defensive back Greedy Williams. Myles Garrett is returning after a full week of practice, but this is his first game after suffering a shoulder and bicep injury following a car crash. And through the first four weeks, the Browns defense hasn't been tested in the way that Justin Herbert will. The Browns have faced Baker Mayfield, Joe Flacco, Mitchell Trubisky, and Marcus Mariota-- not quite a murderer's row of quarterbacks-- and are still giving up the 17th most fantasy points to the QB position. In Herbert's healthy games, he's averaged: 22.6 fantasy points per game, 317 pass yards, 2.7 pass TDs, while completing 71% of his passes. Herbert leads all quarterbacks with 1250 pass yards entering week 5.

Josh Allen, however, has never played a game during the 2022 season where he finished with fewer than 23.5 fantasy points. Whether passing or rushing, Allen finds a way to score fantasy points. Allen is 4th among QBs in rushing yards and has 2 rushing scores on the season so far, while also throwing for the 4th most passing TDs and the second-most passing yards only behind Herbert entering Week 5. My concern with this matchup against the Steelers is that there are two ways Herbert can fail: The Steelers defense can generate pressure which limits Allen's ceiling or the game gets out of reach fast with Kenny Pickett behind center for Pittsburgh while game script doesn't demand much of Allen in the second half. Vegas has this game Buffalo -14, the largest spread of the weekend. It could get ugly quick if the Steelers defense doesn't step up.

Final Pick: Justin Herbert + 6. The juice is too much to resist with Herbert facing a boom-potential game.

Joe Burrow vs. Kyler Murray +1.5

For matchups like this, I view it closer to Burrow vs. Murray straight up. The juice doesn't move the needle for me one way or the other. On the season, Burrow is QB8 in fantasy points per game at 19.5, whereas Murray is QB6 at 20.7. However, the juice is in Murray's favor because of the perceived matchups each quarterback is facing in Week 5.

Burrow has been the more consistent quarterback on the season, finishing with between 16.5 and 23 fantasy points thru four weeks. He hasn't thrown an interception since Week 1 against Pittsburgh and has thrown for 275 yards or more in three of four contests. Burrow is 6th among QBs with 8 passing TDs. And the matchup against Baltimore is perhaps the best in the NFL. Baltimore has given up the 2nd most fantasy points, most passing yards, and 5th most passing TDs to QBs on the season. Their secondary is struggling and hurt; it'll be hard to find reasons to fade Burrow this week.

While Kyler Murray's ceiling and average are higher than Burrow's, his floor can be exposed against the toughest defenses. In Week 3 against the LA Rams, Murray went 37/58 for 314 passing yards, but no pass TDs or rush TDs. Murray only rushed twice for 8 yards against the Rams. And now, Murray faces the Eagles defense, which has given up less than 10 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks so far this season. In the other twelve games Carson Wentz, Trevor Lawrence, Kirk Cousins, and Jared Goff have averaged 21.3 fantasy points per game. The Eagles have given up the 7th fewest pass yards to QBs on the season, and with Kyler Murray only averaging 6 rush attempts per game on 3.8 yards per carry on the season, the matchup indicates a limited ceiling. Vegas may have the Cards-Eagles game pegged as the highest Sunday slate O/U, there are reasons for pessimism that Murray can boom.

Final Pick: Joe Burrow. Burrow averaged 32 fantasy points last season against Baltimore. Chase-Higgins-Burrow is inevitable in this matchup.

Aaron Rodgers + 2 Vs. Tom Brady

This feels like one of my favorite matchups to dissect each week. Rodgers vs. Brady. Greatest talent vs. most accomplished quarterback. But will this be the week we see both quarterbacks boom after slow starts to the season? Brady is QB16 thru 4 games, averaging 15 fantasy points per game. Rodgers, however, hasn't quite seen a boom week yet, ranking as the QB25 with 13.1 fantasy points per game.

For Week 4, we finally saw Tom Brady get Chris Godwin back in the mix, and Brady finished as the QB4 overall with 25.4 fantasy points on 385 passing yards and 3 TDs. Game script helped Brady in this matchup, with the Chiefs up most of the contest, forcing the Bucs into a pass-heavy game-script. While the matchup may not be as fantasy plentiful against the Atlanta Falcons, Brady averaged 29.1 fantasy points last season against the Atlanta Falcons, throwing for 9 TDs, 639 yards, and finishing as the QB2 and QB3 in those weeks. As for 2022, the Falcons are giving up 263 yards, nearly 2 pass TDs, and the 4th most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. The Bucs may not be playing from behind, but the Falcons are generous with allowing fantasy points.

As for Aaron Rodgers, he and the rest of the Packers travel to London Sunday. It'll be 9:30 AM Eastern when the game kicks off, On the season, Rodgers hasn't eclipsed 16.5 fantasy points, but has hovered between 16.1 and 16.4 in each of the last three contests. Rodgers' volume and depth have limited his upside so far this season. He's 18th among quarterbacks in pass attempts, 18th in team pass plays per game, and 28th among quarterbacks in air yards per attempt. As I thought going into this season, Rodgers is heavily relying on AJ Dillon and Aaron Jones close to the line of scrimmage. Jones is 11th among RBs with a 12.7% target share, where Dillon is 17th among RBs with an 11.1% share. Additionally, the matchup doesn't do the Packers any favors. The Giants have only given up 191 pass yards (8th fewest) and 13.5 fppg (9th fewest) to quarterbacks so far this season. Not a reason for optimism for a fantasy boom across the pond.

Final Pick: Tom Brady. I'd need more juice for Aaron Rodgers-- traveling to London might be one of those get-in, get-out games for the Packers. Brady's got Godwin and Evans at full strength against a weak defense.

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