October 21, 2020

Fantasy Football: Week 5 – Survivor Pool and Thursday Night Injury Preview

In week four, I saw all 117 entries in one pool I’m in make it through to week five. So, I assume that if you were still alive in week four, then you’re still alive now.  Not that week four was without drama as my number three and four picks barely squeaked by with late game heroics. And my team to avoid won in a laugher.

Let’s take an early look at Week 5 options. At first glance, this looks like a tough week with a few land mines among the big favorites.

On bye this week: Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, Oakland Raiders, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Survivor Pool – Week 5 selections

Here is what we have for a top 10 from Office Football Pool and ESPN as of late morning on Thursday:

Office Football Pool

ESPN Eliminator Challenge

Team

Picks

Team

Picks

1 New York Giants 37.90% 1 New York Giants

36.90%

2 San Francisco 49ers 28.50% 2 Green Bay Packers

19.30%

3 Green Bay Packers 9.60% 3 San Francisco 49ers

9.60%

4 Minnesota Vikings 6.90% 4 Chicago Bears

6.30%

5 Houston Texans 3.90% 5 Arizona Cardinals

5.90%

6 Cincinnati Bengals 3.20% 6 Cincinnati Bengals

5.10%

7 Chicago Bears 3.10% 7 Baltimore Ravens

3.40%

8 Baltimore Ravens 2.10% 8 Minnesota Vikings

3.10%

9 New England Patriots 1.60% 9 Houston Texans

2.90%

10 Carolina Panthers 0.70% 10 Atlanta Falcons

1.40%

The Giants are the clear favorite of the masses at this point. My early top 3 picks for the week  are listed below(final column up Sunday):

  1. San Francisco 49ers – The 49ers struggled on the road at Minnesota, but they move back home to face a Buffalo Bills team that was embarrassed last week against the New England Patriots. The 49ers have the defense to stop the Bills and the Bills showed last week they cannot stop the run. I give the 49ers a 83% chance to win
  2. Minnesota Vikings – I may be going off the board a bit here, but I like this matchup for the Vikings. Chris Johnson looked good last week, but a lot of those yards were in the second half when the game was out of hand. And the Vikings can stop the run with the best of them. The Vikings got Jerome Simpson back and look like a complete offense. Their defense does struggle against the pass a bit, but it shouldn’t be a problem for them to win. I give the Vikings a 74% chance to win.
  3. Pittsburgh Steelers – Hopefully, we’ve learned from last week’s Falcons game that teams with a 10 day break do have an advantage. The Steelers are coming off a bye so they have an even longer break than the Panthers did and look to get the services of Rashard Mendenhall back in their backfield. The Steelers defense is also looking to get back James Harrison and Troy Polamalu. The Eagles are 3-1, but have not looked like a 3-1 team for long stretches of games. I believe the bye week helps the Steelers immensely Finally, Mike Tomlin is 4-1 in his short coaching career coming off a bye and has won four straight. I give the Steelers a 73% chance of winning the game.

Other teams I like early in the week: Houston Texans

As for the avoid list, I’d lean away from the New York Giants until I know what Hakeem Nicks’ injury status is. The Browns looked like a passable NFL team last week against the Ravens and they have a 10 day break coming into this matchup. And if Greg Little had marginal hands, they might have beaten the Ravens. The Giants are getting healthier on defense, but their offense is a bit nicked up.

If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d look at the San Diego Chargers on the road in New Orleans. The Saints looked much better last week against the Packers, but still lost. The Saints are looking more and more like the “Aints” of old. I assume there will be a run on paper bags soon.

Just a reminder, if you ever wanted to see what Vegas thinks each team’s “chances of winning” are, use this handy little converter to transform money lines into win percentages. You can also create a spreadsheet if you’d like (or use this one – scroll to the bottom) to do it for fun at home. This percentage chance to win is another quick way to gauge win expectations for each team each week. You can get a variety of money lines here or here.

Thursday night game injury update – Arizona Cardinals vs. St. Louis Rams

Both teams have been fantasy kryptonite to QBs this season so it may come down to the running game and defense/special teams. I give the Rams a bit of an edge at RB and the Cardinals an edge on defense and the Rams an edge on special teams (Zuerlein!)

Arizona Cardinals

It could be another tough matchup for Larry Fitzgerald as I assume Cortland Finnegan will shadow Fitz all over the field. The Rams have been very tough against WR1s according to Football Outsiders’ ratings.

Kevin Kolb is only a desperate play this week in deep leagues.

Ryan Williams’ matchup is much more favorable this week and I look for him to gain 80 yards and has a good chance to score a TD.

The Cardinals have a few minor injuries on defense so monitor the inactives to see if there are any impact players listed as out.

Beanie Wells is out for the next two months and is safe to drop in all leagues.

St. Louis Rams

Sam Bradford, like Kolb, is also only a deep league play.

Steven Jackson is nicked up and may be that way all year long. He’s looked slow at times, but the Rams do have a viable backup in Daryl Richardson. The Cardinals are quite good against the run so I see Jackson as an RB3/flex play in most leagues.

Danny Amendola should continue to be a monster in PPR leagues. Brandon Gibson is also a possible deep league play.

Greg Zuerlein has another great matchup and he’s back in the dome.

Chris Garosi is a contributor for District Sports Page. One of his favorite sports memories is witnessing Wilson Alvarez’s no-hitter at Memorial Stadium in 1991. Chris has played fantasy sports since the pre-Internet days and participates in any league for any sport to which he’s invited. He even won an XFL fantasy league. Really. You can follow him on Twitter at @chrisgarosi.

About Chris Garosi

Chris Garosi is a Contributor to District Sports Page. He has played fantasy sports since paper, pencil and fax machines were key components in every league. He’s written about fantasy sports since 2012 for District Sports Page, TheFantasyFix.com, Scout Fantasy and RotoCurve. He’s even available to you via DraftValet. He has his MBA from The Smith School at the University of Maryland. One of his favorite sports memories is witnessing Wilson Alvarez’s no-hitter at Memorial Stadium in 1991. You can follow him on Twitter at @chrisgarosi

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