Week 5 of the NFL Season begins tonight, and we again have schedule and injury challenges. What else is new… The Titans still haven’t opened their team facilities thanks to positive tests, and there’s a chance their game against the Bills could be moved. Keep an eye out. Plus official bye weeks begin this week as the packers and Lions are off.
Before I get to tonight, it’s time to tackle the biggest other story of the week—Dwayne Haskins has been benched in Washington. Haskins hasn’t been great as a starter, and the team limped to a 1-3 start. Coach Ron Rivera said with the division title still up for grabs it was time to see if veteran Kyle Allen, who was with Rivera in Carolina, can get the job done. This has caused something of a stir.
I have a few thoughts, the first being that Haskins didn’t seem like a great fit in Washington with two coaches that didn’t really want him. But he did seem to make some improvement against a solid Baltimore defense in Week 4, so it seems a little surprising that he was removed. Second, why Allen and not veteran Alex Smith? We’ll see if the change makes a big difference. Most analysts didn’t see Washington being a playoff contender in 2020, but apparently Rivera sees it differently.
But tonight, we get a battle of 3-1 teams on Thursday Night Football as the games move to FOX. While it’s an interesting matchup, it’s not without challenges. The Buccaneers have been the walking wounded all season, and tonight is no different. Chris Godwin is out with a hamstring injury, and reserve receiver Justin Watson is also out. Tight End O.J. Howard is now out for the season, too. Running back Leonard Fournette is doubtful and veteran LeSean McCoy is out. Mike Evans, the best other receiver for the Buccaneers, is questionable and is a game-time decision, so you’ll have to keep an eye out.
But there are interesting plays for the Buccaneers, who have won three straight games after losing in Week 1 to the Saints. It starts with Ronald Jones, who thrived as the lead back against the Chargers. He’s a solid play tonight despite a decent Bears’ defense. Rookie running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn also figures to get into the action. He came in for McCoy after he left with injury in Week 4 and recorded his first touchdown. He has some deep PPR league flex appeal.
Among the receivers, Scotty Miller has developed a great connection with Tom Brady, and is a definite play tonight. If Evans doesn’t go, Miller could be the best receiver option. If Evans does play, I like them both. One to watch is rookie Tyler Johnson, who could get his first meaningful snaps with Godwin and Watson out. At tight end, Cameron Brate figures to get more work, but it’s Rob Gronkowski I prefer. I still think he’s going to get going thanks to his connection with Tom Brady, and what better time when the team is missing all its receivers.
As for Brady, he tossed five TDs last week. I figure it will be less against a good Bears team on a short week. Plus, I think they can get some good work from Jones. He’s consensus QB16 for us this week, and QB14 for me. His opposite number is Nick Foles, who took over as starter from Mitch Trubisky in Week 3. He led the Bears to a come back win in that one, but looked flat against the Colts in Week 4. He may not be the answer, and the Buccaneers have a stout defense. He’s QB25 for us this week, making him a QB3. You have better options.
Among the Bears, Allen Robinson seems the best play. After a slow start with Foles he exploded in the fourth quarter and kept his value. He’s a start. David Montgomery is getting most of the work in the backfield, but he hasn’t been a big producer. Still, with potential volume even in a tough matchup, he’s an RB2. The only other Bears’ player I feel good starting is tight end Jimmy Graham, who has caught three TDs in four games. He seems like a decent option at a tough position.
Prediction: This should be a good game againt winning teams, but I think the Buccaneers will come out on top.
Drive In Podcast Network Picks
Now it’s time to look at the leaderboard through four weeks. Matt Breuning went to the top after Week 3 and stayed there with a strong Week 4. Can he hold on to the lead? We’ll find out next Thursday.
Last Week: 12-3
Last Week: 12-3
Last Week: 12-3
Last Week: 11-4
Last Week: 10-6
Last Week: 8-7
Last Week: 11-4
Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. He is a member of the FSWA. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.