by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
The NFL season always seems to fly by, doesn’t it? It feels like the season just started, but we’ve already reached the quarter mark and we have enough data to alter our preseason assumptions. Who has emerged as a must play option? Which defense should we be exploiting and which should we shy away from? Who is simply too good to sit, regardless of the matchup? Those things, as well as injuries, all play a role as we set our rankings for Week 5:
- Matt Ryan – Atlanta Falcons – at Pittsburgh
- Tom Brady – New England Patriots – vs. Indianapolis
- Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay Packers – at Detroit
- Drew Brees – New Orleans Saints – vs. Washington
- Carson Wentz – Philadelphia Eagles – vs. Minnesota
- Cam Newton – Carolina Panthers – vs. New York Giants
- Patrick Mahomes – Kansas City Chiefs – vs. Jacksonville
- Deshaun Watson – Houston Texans – vs. Dallas
- Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh Steelers – vs. Atlanta
- Philip Rivers – San Diego Chargers – vs. Oakland
- Alex Smith – Washington Redskins – at New Orleans
- Jared Goff – Los Angeles Rams – at Seattle
- Matthew Stafford – Detroit Lions – vs. Green Bay
- Russell Wilson – Seattle Seahawks – vs. Los Angeles Rams
- Blake Bortles – Jacksonville Jaguars – at Kansas City
- Marcus Mariota – Tennessee Titans – at Buffalo
- Kirk Cousins – Minnesota Vikings – at Philadelphia
- Derek Carr – Oakland Raiders – at Los Angeles Chargers
- Andrew Luck – Indianapolis Colts – at New England
- Ryan Tannehill – Miami Dolphins – at Cincinnati
- Eli Manning – New York Giants – at Carolina
- Dak Prescott – Dallas Cowboys – at Houston
- Andy Dalton – Cincinnati Bengals – vs. Miami
- Joe Flacco – Baltimore Ravens – at Cleveland
- Josh Rosen – Arizona Cardinals – at San Francisco
Bye Week – Chicago Bears, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- For the third straight week Matt Ryan was a monster, throwing for 419 yards, 3 TD and 0 INT (he’s totaled 10 TD vs. 1 INT over this stream, including two games of 374 yards or more). Taking on a Pittsburgh defense that has struggled to stop opposing quarterbacks (1,297 yards, 12 TD, 4 INT) it’s hard not to consider him the best option this week. Obviously there are going to be questions if rookie Calvin Ridley can keep performing at this type of pace (5 TD over the past two games), but Ryan has more than enough weapons at his disposal that it shouldn’t be a concern.
- While his Week 3 performance was solid, but unspectacular, Carson Wentz showed that he was healthy in Week 4 as he completed 33-50 attempts for 348 yards, 2 TD and 0 INT. Drawing a Minnesota defense that has surprisingly struggled this season, and with the supporting cast also getting healthy (Alshon Jeffrey, Jay Ajayi), it’s impossible not to consider him among the better options in the league.
- Both Patrick Mahomes and Drew Brees draw seemingly difficult matchups, knocking them down the rankings just slightly. That said, especially with Brees returning home, would you consider benching either of them? With they way they’ve produced they both still belong in lineups, just go in with your eyes open and know there’s a little bit of risk.
- The New York Giants defense against opposing quarterbacks hasn’t been too bad, though they have allowed 150 rushing yards over the first few weeks. That plays right into the hands of Cam Newton, who has rushed for 136 yards and 3 TD over his first four games of 2018. There’s significant upside and don’t be surprised if he posts big numbers.
- Derek Carr needs to cut down on the interceptions (7 INT on the season, including 2 INT in each of the past two games), and that’s going to keep him more as a QB2. That’s despite throwing for at least 288 yards in each of his four games, including 437 with 4 TD against the Browns in Week 4. There’s enough upside that he can’t be ignored, but there’s enough risk to also temper expectations.
- Deshaun Watson has thrown for over 375 yards in back-to-back games, and after a poor start has 6 TD vs. 3 INT over the subsequent three games. Throw in 36+ rushing yards in each game and it would appear that the upside is back, making him a strong QB1.
- It was a surprisingly big Week 4 performance from Marcus Mariota, throwing for 344 yards, 2 TD and 1 INT against the Eagles. Throw in 46 rushing yards and 1 TD, and also an upcoming favorable matchup against the Buffalo Bills, and there’s a lot to like moving forward.
Make sure to check out all of our Week 5 rankings: