Tunnel Vision 2019: Week 5


Tunnel Vision 2019: Week 5

Wow. What a season. The Browns suck. The Lions are somehow good. And the Dolphins? Let’s not mention the Dolphins.

There have been some bright spots for sure. Dalvin Cook and Christian McCaffery, to name a few, and some downsides as well. Stefon Diggs and Antonio Brown, again, to name a few. But all in all, it has been exciting up to this point. So, we can only hope the rest of the season turns out to be just as exciting.

Now that we are almost halfway through the regular season for fantasy, let’s take a look at some teams with surprising situations. Either good or bad.

Cleveland Browns

There was so much optimism for this team coming into 2019. So far, it has been a severe letdown all around.

Baker Mayfield leads the NFL in interceptions with eight. After his dismal showing on Monday in which he went eight for 22 for 100 yards and two interceptions, he is a drop candidate if you can find a better option. At this point, I am sure you can.

Because of the struggles surrounding Mayfield, Odell Beckham is also a significant problem for fantasy players. Unlike Mayfield, you cannot and will not drop Beckham. It only takes one game to get him back on track, and the offense will need to be more pass-heavy going forward.

We all thought the Browns would be better this season. Whether the playoffs or Super Bowl were in line differs. But everyone thought, at least a solid season was in store. Now that this is an apparent illusion, the passing game is going if the Browns want to improve. Cleveland will often be trailing, and the only way to stay in games will be through the air. This limits the value of the only player on the team who has been worth playing so far this season.

Nick Chubb has been great this season. His 165 yards and three touchdowns against the Ravens shows what he can do. But he is not a pass-catching back. And this hurt.

We were concerned about the usage Kareem Hunt would get when he returned from suspension. It now looks more and more likely it will be quite a bit of work. He is far better in the passing game than Chubb and dares I say, better as a rusher as well or at least his equal. This means a significant downgrade in Nick Chubb going forward. If you can trade him now based on how he has played to this point? Get out now and cash in on the name. If you can’t? Just know the weeks of top-five performances are probably a thing of the past after Hunt returns in Week 10.

Now. Since we always like to finish on a happy note. We are going to look at a team that has been surprisingly good this season. To the shock of everyone. Including their fans.

Detroit Lions

Is Matthew Stafford elite? No, but don’t ask Lion’s fans that. But he is a good quarterback; top 12 in the NFL for sure. He has been this for a long time but, with no run game, it was hard to garner the fantasy numbers to accompany it. Defenses knew what to key on, and they did. But now, with a new offensive coordinator and an even better running back, things have changed.

Matt Patricia has said he wanted to run the ball more. That was hard to do with rookie Kerryon Johnson and LeGarrette Blount holding down the backfield. But Johnson is a year older, and the offensive line has also gotten much better. This has led to a revolution in Detroit, a revolution that has seen a run game not seen since the retirement of number 20. No, we are not going to compare the two players. Sanders is a hall of Famer and Johnson is just a young star. But the results for the offense are undeniable.

With Marvin Jones back and complimenting Kenny Golladay in the passing game, this team is finally a well rounded and dare I say, dangerous collection of talent.

The best part of trading for anyone on this team now is the fact they are already past their bye week. If you can trade for Johnson or Stafford, now would be a great time to do it. Stafford should be a great bye as it looks like the Lions could be in the playoff hunt until the end. And the key to fantasy success is now and has always been, good players on good teams. This is precisely what you get from the likes of Johnson, Stafford, Golladay, Jones, and even to a lesser extent, T.J. Hockenson.

The defense in Detroit is better. But they are still not good. This means scoring will, on most weeks, be of the utmost importance. We have seen a team like the Chiefs or Texans need to win games with the offense. We have seen what it can do for the fantasy value of those players in their offense. No. The Lions offense is not a match for these two. But in the same vein, they will have value as the defense struggles to hold opponents down.

Even the biggest fans of Detroit were hoping for a .500 record in 2019. Now there is pure playoff excitement surrounding the fans. The players will feed off this, and this could mean some late-season magic for fantasy rosters. So, I can’t believe I am saying this, but go get some Lions!

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