Ross Jacobs has been an FFM correspondent on NFL games and NFL Draft matters for the past few years. He is going to be writing up some of his notes on various games he’s watching/studying this year. He will be switching up the format a little starting in Week 4. Instead of a full report on every game he will be focusing on one or two things from each game that might be flying under the radar.
2020 Week 5 Review: Searching for Hidden Gems
Buccaneers @ Bears:
-Bucs rookie WR Tyler Johnson popped up with 4 catches for 61 yards this week with Godwin and Miller out. RC thought he might be one of the best receivers from this draft class, and I have to say he looked pretty darn good in his first game. He isn't the most athletic guy ever, but he just finds ways to get open and make tough catches. His second catch he ran a post route, caught the ball, and immediately turned up field and trucked the incoming defender then broke a second tackle before finally being brought down. He's such a gritty, tough, polished worker you'd think he's been in the league for years. Johnson probably isn't useful in redraft unless Godwin is out for an extended period of time, but he's a great dynasty stash and could absolutely entice the Buccaneers to move on from Godwin after this year. He's also the type of receiver I could also see being ignored and underrated for 2-3 years before being traded to the Patriots for a 6th round pick.
-Darnell Mooney is so close to breaking out. He's easily the second best receiver behind Robinson. Foles only connected with him for 2 catches for 15 yards here, but he badly overthrew Mooney on a wide open walk-in TD. Mooney probably isn't going to go thermonuclear like Claypool, but he will have a huge game eventually. I'm not saying he's worth a stash as this point, but he will be fantasy useful sooner rather than later.
Panthers @ Falcons:
-Falcons LB Foye Oluokun came out of nowhere this week with 14 tackles and only 2 of them assisted. After rewatching I have a couple of thoughts. First, whoever credited him with those tackles was fairly generous. Second, he's a decent coverage linebacker. He looks like a fairly smooth athlete, recognizes the play quickly and drops into coverage. Third, he's more of a passive, clean-up tackler than an aggressive play-maker. He just sits back a lot and comes in on runs up the middle and short throws. I don't think he's all that great a player, but this could work well for fantasy especially against teams with a small-ball offense.
Bengals @ Ravens:
-Rookie Patrick Queen had a big week. He got a sack, a TD, and 9 credited tackles. He's quietly averaging a little over 8 tackles a game with 2 sacks on the year. RC thought he had NFL athleticism but was a very passive player, drifting around on the field without doing much of anything, and after watching him here I'd say that assessment is spot on. He plays like a safety, sitting back in coverage, and then shooting forward to clean up on someone else's tackles. On the scoop and score TD he literally did nothing except run in late and pick up the ball. His sack was only possible because he flew past Burrow who then rolled left to try and make a play only to be caught from behind by Queen. I would not want him on my real NFL team, but this is going to work for fantasy because he can wait for the real players on his team to actually disrupt the play and he can clean up for nice-looking numbers.
Jaguars @ Texans:
-Another unknown LB that popped up with big numbers this week was Houston's Tyrell Adams. Unlike some of the other linebackers I've covered this week, I don't think Adams is remotely useful. He's purely a clean-up artist as evidenced by half of his tackles being assisted. When he wasn't falling backwards into easy tackles he was busy getting blocked out of the play or taking poor steps and angles in the passing game. There's a reason this guy has been nothing but a practice squad player his entire career. He needs to go back there before he makes the Texans defense even worse.
Raiders @ Chiefs:
-So a few years ago the Broncos drafted a RB named Devontae Booker that was supposed to be the next big star at the position. He was just an average back however and quickly disappeared. He reared his head here for the Raiders with 7 carries for 62 yards for a healthy 8.9 ypc. That brings his average on the year to 7.1 ypc. So what's going on? Is he a threat to Jacobs? No. He's not. He broke off one long run for 43 yards here on a very well blocked play where he made one easy move and sprung into the open. His other 6 carries went for a total of 19 yards. The Raiders however are convinced his ridiculous ypc is not a fluke and are planning on giving him more carries. I'm not saying this is a mistake, but he's not going to replace Jacobs or anything. He'll likely fall into 7-10 carries a game or so, and before long they will realize he's not going to randomly keep breaking off long runs because the defense isn't focused on him. Long story short there's nothing to see here.
Cardinals @ Jets:
-Last week I covered Jeff Smith and dismissed him outright after a 7 catch game. He only caught 3 passes here, but now I'm convinced he's actually a decent receiver. He drew top coverage from Patrick Peterson and was working fairly well, but Flacco could barely get the ball in range to be caught. Smith isn't the problem, the QB's are. Smith has averaged 10 targets a game in his first two, and while I don't think that number will hold up I still think he's a stab in the dark if you are WR desperate.
-My absolute favorite thing that happened this week was seeing my boy Dennis Gardeck FINALLY get some snaps for the Cardinals and respond with 2 sacks! The first one was truly impressive as he surged off the line and slapped the tackle's hands off of him before surging forward to take down Flacco. Gardeck is by far the best linebacker of the several I've covered this week. He should have been starting last year but instead he wastes away on this trash defense. The media might soon learn his name however because Chandler Jones just had his season ended for surgery. Gardeck was mostly working as a pass-rusher in this game so I expect he could be the replacement for Jones. And guess who the Cardinals have on deck this week? The Cowboys and their beaten-up offensive line. I would not be shocked if Gardeck got 3 sacks this week.
Eagles @ Steelers:
-A big story of the week was Philly's Travis Fulgham coming up big with 10 catches for 152 yards and a TD. Last week he caught 2 passes for 57 and a TD. So is Fulgham a breakout star? Hard to say. I lean towards no, but I don't think he's completely going to disappear either. He's shown he can play. Now he's not going to get 13 targets or catch 10 passes every week, but the Eagles are beyond desperate for a WR to step up and, most importantly, stay healthy. Just based on pure attrition I think Fulgham can be a useful fantasy player moving forward, but I wouldn't sell out for him either.
Rams @ Washington:
-LA linebacker Troy Reeder joins the long list of LB's that put up big numbers out of nowhere this week. Reeder registered 3 sacks and 11 total tackles. 3 sacks is a big number. Surely there's something here? No. No there's not. Reeder is easily the worst of the linebackers I've studied in week 5. This guy is thick and well-built but terribly slow and stiff. One of his sacks was a simple scramble where the QB ran out of bounds, one was a delayed blitz that Alex Smith stepped right into, and the third was a stunt blitz and again Smith rolled right into it. There was absolutely nothing that Reeder did on his own to rack these numbers. Don't waste your time on him in IDP leagues.
Dolphins @ 49'ers:
-I don't have any individual player notes on either of these teams. It was such a beatdown nobody unknown really got much of a look here. I would lay the points on the Dolphins against the Jets this week. They got controlled by the Patriots week 1, tried to come back against the Bills, destroyed the Jaguars, played even or better than the Seahawks, and wrecked the 49'ers. They are secretly a pretty decent team. The Jets are not. The Jets are by far one of the worst teams I've ever seen play. It would take an act of God for them to win this game. Not saying it's impossible. But it would take an act of God.
Giants @ Cowboys:
-Alas, I have no individual notes for this game either other than noting what a great receiver Darius Slayton is. He's not under the radar though. My note for here is going to be something I've already mentioned. I think Dennis Gardeck of the Cardinals might make life hell for Andy Dalton next week.
Colts @ Browns:
-Colts WR Marcus Johnson only caught 1 pass for 27 yards, but there wasn't much to look at here. I didn't know who Johnson was so I decided to take a peak and see if there was some talent hidden away. There's not. He got lost in coverage for his lone catch. Move along.
Vikings @ Seahawks:
-Yet another linebacker. This time it's Cody Barton of the Seahawks. He's another one I would totally ignore. Looked a lot like Reeder from the Rams. Thick and stiff is the way to describe him. He racked up 14 tackles here, but I'm honestly not sure how. I only saw him make one decent tackle this whole game.
Chargers @ Saints:
-For this game I had to review Justin Jackson and Joshua Kelley again after Jackson turned 15 carries into 71 yards and Kelley only managed 29 yards on 11 carries. Was I wrong last week? Is there something wrong with Kelley? No. Jackson took a draw play early in the game for 36 yards. It was nothing he did. There just weren't any defenders anywhere near him. His other 14 carries went for a grand total of 35 yards. There was just nowhere to run for either guy outside that one goofy play.
Bills @ Titans:
-I took a look at rookie WR Gabriel Davis after he recorded 5 catches for 58 yards on 9 targets, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised here. First of all he should have had 6 catches for 88 yards and a TD, but his touchdown catch was reversed because of a stupid shifting penalty. He somehow slipped under the radar during draft season, but looks right at home as an NFL WR. He's big, strong, has good hands, decent speed, and seems to get good separation. Reminds me a bit of former Bill Chris Hogan. Probably not a star player, but he's a good #2 or 3 receiver and will have his moments. If Brown is out a few more weeks Davis could be looking at some decent opportunities coming up. The Bills will have to air it out against the Chiefs this next week, followed by the weak secondary of the Jets, a Patriots team that is going to triple cover Diggs and dare Allen to find another receiver, and the very weak secondary and high octane offense of the Seahawks. Davis could very well be a shock performer over the next 3-4 weeks.