Welcome to the 5 Yard Rush – Fantasy Focus
All I can say is, let’s move on from last week. My predictions were off and I am hopeful that will be an outlier going forward. Onto week 6 and it’s crazy to think we are almost a third of the way through the regular season and half way through most of your fantasy seasons. At this stage your season has taken shape and if it’s not going in the right direction you are running out of time to turn things around!
Game 1: Minnesota Vikings (1-4) @ Chicago Bears (1-4 (SF – 18:00 BST)
An NFC North battle, but arguably for all the wrong reasons. The heights of last season, for both sides, have quickly been forgotten. The Vikings are a franchise in turmoil, with Jefferson picking up an injury ruling him out for at least 4 weeks, whilst Cousins is being linked with a trade away from Minnesota before the trade deadline. The Bears have kept faith in Fields so far this season, and last week was a great result and performance, but the Bears need to see performances like last week more frequently and the down games become more of the outlier.
Can Vikings cope without JJ?
The Vikings faced the Chiefs last week, and when Justin Jefferson went down with a hamstring injury all hope disappeared. The Vikings have the 2nd best passing yards per game and the 4th worst rushing yards per game, so naturally their offence is fundamentally built around Jefferson, Addison and Hockenson. With Jefferson out for a few weeks, their exciting rookie Jordan Addison and elite tight end TJ Hockenson should share the bulk of the excess targets. I expect the run game to improve in volume in week 6 and the extra targets to be shared between KJ Osborn and Brandon Powell.
Can Fields improve or will he regress again?
Going into week 5, there was a lot of negativity and question marks surrounding the Bears offence and Fields under centre. Fields rediscovered his form from the backend of last season. And DJ Moore was the big winner with a box score of 10 targets, 8 catches, 3 touchdowns for a massive 230 receiving yards! Fields needs to build off last week’s performance and cannot afford to take a step back. With only 15 completed passes from 29 attempts last week, Fields needs to improve his accuracy and he needs his other receivers like Mooney and his running backs to get open and then he needs to find them.
- Vikings win on the road by <7pts
- Addison 100+ receiving yards, Hockenson receiving TD
- Fields 50+ rushing yards, Kmet 50+ receiving yards
Game 2: Seattle Seahawks (3-1) @ Cincinnati Bengals (2-3) (SNF – 18:00 BST)
The Seahawks are coming off their bye week, well rested and in the top 10 of the NFL Power Rankings. They have started the season at 3-1 and have the 6th highest scoring points per game offence. Their rushing defence is strong and their secondary are making plays. The Bengals started the season so “sluggishly”, off the back of the Joe Burrow injury. But last week, even though it was against the Cardinals, Joey Burrow was back to his usual self with 36 of 46 attempts for 300+ yards, 3 touchdown passes and a QB rating of 108.1. This matchup will be a good benchmark for both teams, are the Seahawks for real and can they throw their names in the hat for the NFC Championship, and on the other hand are the Bengals ready to fight back and move in the right direction in the AFC standings.
Seahawks seek a statement victory
The Seahawks are well rested and ready to travel to Cincinnati for a statement game. Their 2022 draft class is a year older and they have settled into the league exceptionally. This year they hit on a number of picks too, and Carroll has coached up a stern defence. These are the games at this stage of the season that define season expectations. A win on the road against the Bengals will be a massive statement in the NFC. They will have to lean on a powerful run game from Kenneth Walker and Zach Charbonnet, whilst targeting their trusty receivers in Metcalf, Lockett and rookie Smith-Njigba. This could be an explosive game.
Is Burrow fully fit?
Burrow suffered an injury during train camp this season which set off alarm bells for the Bengals. The start of the season amplified the concerns as Burrow struggled for the first time in his career. A number of fans were calling for him to be benched/rested until fully healthy as a precaution. But in week 5, the Burrow that we have become accustomed too took to the field and carved upa respectful Cardinals side. Jamarr Chase made himself free which Burrow then targeted an incredible 19 times for 15 catches and 192 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns. This week I imagine won’t be much different with Chase seeing a lot of targets. But expect the Seahawks defence to show up and Boyd/Higgins (if fit)/Irwin will have roles to play.
- Seahawks win on the road by <7 pts
- Kenneth Walker III 100+ scrimmage yards
- Tyler Boyd 75+ receiving yards
Game 3: Detroit Lions (4-1) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-1)- (SNF – 21:25 BST)
The Lions are treading in uncharted water at the moment, flying high at 4-1. Whilst the Bucs were able to put their feet up, but annoyingly see their divisional rivals win and apply a little pressure. The Lions offence has been firing in 2023 as they are the 4th highest points scoring and 6th best in total yards per game. The Bucs will rely on their defence this week as they have the highest takeaways per game in the league. Baker seems to be having a renaissance whilst the Lions rushing offence and Goff are in good form.
Can the Lions prove they for real
The Lions are fortunately in a rather weak division, which is rather surprising as the Packers, Vikings and Bears are all stuttering. Goff is playing at an elite level and currently averaging close to 250 passing yards a game. ARSB should be fit and back in the lineup to complement the breakout of Sam LaPorta. As for the ground game Montgomery showed even without Gibbs he can carry the workload, but some would say this pair of running backs is arguably the best pair in the league.
Bucs need to stay ahead in the NFC South
The Saints and Falcons both moved to 3-2 after wins this last week, but with their bye behind them the Bucs know clearly it is in their own hands to keep the pace in the division. The Bucs defence is in for a busy day, and this is a game they need to stand up to help their team win. Mayfield has out performed his off season critics and has this offence working efficiently with both Evans and Godwin putting up solid roles. Their rushing game has been a concern and although Rachaad White has immense talent his production has not been efficient enough. The Bucs will have to keep the scoring low and hope to capitalise on turnovers.
- Lions stutter to narrow win – win <4 pts
- ARSB back with production – 100+ yards receiving
- Evans 75+ receiving yards and a TD
Nathan – @natethesaintff