Welcome into 5 to Thrive, 5 to Dive. In this weekly write-up, I’ll try to predict which players will outperform their weekly FantasyPros rank (Thrives) and those who will underperform (Dives). This isn’t a start-sit piece. It’s simply telling you who has a chance to do what this week. Week 4 had some pretty big misses (Chubb and Godwin as Dives, whoops), but overall was a decent showing as I went 5-4-1 in my calls and that’s counting an L for Terry McLaurin after he was declared inactive. Let’s get to Week 5.
Andy Dalton, QB Cincinnati Bengals
(FantasyPros Week 5 Rank: 15)
I know what you’re thinking, and yes I did watch Monday Night Football. Dalton was hit and sacked so much against the Steelers that I’m petitioning to change his nickname from the Red Rifle to the Red Rectum, because I’m pretty sure he’s bleeding out of his ass after taking all that abuse. If there’s a cure for an abused rectum in fantasy football, it’s the Arizona Cardinals. Man rocket Kliff Kingsbury will bring his team from the desert to Cincy on Sunday in a matchup of winless teams. To say the Cards have struggled on defense this season, would be an understatement. Through 4 weeks, their defense ranks 2nd in most fantasy points given up to QBs, 2nd most passing touchdowns against and have surrendered the 9th most yards through the air. Meanwhile, Dalton has ranked 3rd in dropbacks and 4th in passing attempts. The Bengals will be down John Ross this week, but this matchup is a glorious one. I think Dalton finds his way into being a QB1 this week. Let’s just hope that bleeding gets fixed.
LeSean McCoy, RB Kansas City Chiefs
(FantasyPros Week 5 Rank: 15)
It’s important for us to look at this version of Shady McCoy as not the guy he was in Philly and Buffalo. He just doesn’t have the same ridiculous quicks that he did when he was younger. There’s still plenty of ability there though, and there’s definitely enough when you remember he plays with Patrick Mahomes. Give me that action all day boss. On Sunday night, the high flying Chiefs will welcome the Colts to Arrowhead. On the season, Indy’s defense has given up the 8th most rushing yards and 9th most fantasy points to RBs. McCoy isn’t playing every snap (46% last week), but at this point in his career, that’s probably for the best long-term. In a game that promises to have points galore, he offers very high-upside RB2/low-end RB1 status in Week 5.
David Montgomery, RB Chicago Bears
(FantasyPros Week 5 Rank: 20)
Are we doing this again? Yes. Yes, we are. Do I love this man? Maybe. This is now David Montgomery’s 3rd appearance on the Thrives list early in the season. What can I say? I’m a sucker for DMont even though Matt Nagy hasn’t totally bought in yet. The bald, visor-wearing 2nd year coach is starting to show signs that he’s shaking off his stupidity. In the last 3 weeks, the rookie from Iowa State’s snap percentages have only gone up.
Alshon Jeffery, WR Philadelphia Eagles
(FantasyPros Week 5 Rank: 23)
In the words of the great Aldous Snow, “Who could be scared of a Jeffery?” The big bodied WR for the Eagles finds his way on the Thrives this year for several different reasons. The first and probably the most important is that Philly’s offense is a dynamic one as it continues to get healthy. Beyond that, the former Gamecock (what a name) has a great individual matchup against the Jets’ Darryl Roberts who has struggled mightily this season to say the least. After defeating Green Bay last Thursday, Jeffery has had a little extra rest time for his injury so he should be back to 100%. In our case, we’re going to hope that leads to more red zone looks from Carson Wentz for the WR. Fire up Alshon with confidence on Sunday.
Calvin Ridley, WR Atlanta Falcons
(FantasyPros Week 5 Rank: 25)
Some calls are just a hunch. This is one. Ridley and the Falcons will take on the Texans on Sunday, and they’ve struggled a little bit against opposing passing attacks to start the season surrendering 260 yards/game and have given up the 9th most fantasy points to WRs. The 2nd year wideout from Alabama does have a great one-on-one matchup this coming week against 93 year old Jonathan Joseph. How is this guy still playing? I feel like he’s been in the league since 1991. Regardless of his age, he’s not setup for the most success against a supremely talented WR. The Falcons need to get this young man going, though. After lighting it up in the first 2 weeks, Ridley has gone for 4 catches for 38 yards the last two weeks. That’s not gonna get it done. It starts to change this week.
Aaron Rodgers, QB Green Bay Packers
(FantasyPros Week 5 Rank: 7)
Does the dude ever stop bitching? He’s a great quarterback and is fun to watch play. It’s what happens in between plays that just irks me about him. He has a resting crybaby face and I just don’t get it. He’s so good. Why does he have to constantly look like he’s about to bitch about something? His bitching might continue this Sunday in a matchup against the Cowboys. Dallas’ defense has been impressive as they’ve allowed the 4th fewest fantasy points to QBs. That’s important and all but the bigger issue for ARod is going to be the potential lack of Davante Adams after he left the game against the Eagles in the 4th with a toe injury. It’s unlikely he plays, which leaves Rodgers’ top weapons as Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Geronimo Allison and Jimmy Graham. Not ideal. I don’t see him finishing in the Top 10.
Nick Chubb, RB Cleveland Browns
(FantasyPros Week 5 Rank: 5)
Are you really going to do this again, Hank? Did you not learn your lesson last week? After being on the Dives list, Chubb went full rager (boner jokes again, yes!) on Sunday against the Ravens and buried my call. I’m going back to the well this week, however. The Browns will travel to San Francisco to take on the undefeated 49ers (that sounds weird) on Monday night. San Fran’s front 7 is legit, led by DeForest Buckner, Nick Bosa and a cast of other talented guys. While the Browns had great success on the ground against Baltimore, I don’t see it being the case against the Niners, who’ve given up the fewest fantasy points on average to RBs. If Chubb roasts me again, I might need to stop making boner jokes about him.
Josh Jacobs, RB Oakland Raiders
(FantasyPros Week 5 Rank: 24)
They’re playing the Bears. Just don’t do it. That’s it. That’s all you need to know. Seriously. Moving on.
Amari Cooper, WR Dallas Cowboys
(FantasyPros Week 5 Rank: 5)
We got a lot of repeaters on the Thrives and Dives this week. After nailing down Cooper as a Dive last week, I’m calling it again. The Cowboys just don’t have enough weapons through the air with Michael Gallup down to take the pressure off of their number 1 option. Add on top of that, the Packers defense has given up the 3rd fewest fantasy points to WRs on the season. I’m a card carrying member of the Cooper Troopers fan club, but even I don’t want to mess with him up this high against Green Bay’s new defense. The biggest reason I’m not a fan of this matchup is shutdown corner Jaire Alexander, who is likely to shadow Cooper. According to Pro Football Focus, Alexander has the 2nd highest coverage grade out of all eligible corners on the season. That’s no bueno for Amari.
JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR Pittsburgh Steelers
(FantasyPros Week 5 Rank: 12)
This one hurts. It hurts a lot. There were very few people who were as big on JuJu heading into the season as me, but even I as a Steelers fan have to be a realist. This offense just isn’t going to get it done consistently enough to sustain a high-end WR1. We all watched Monday Night where the Steelers wouldn’t let Mason Rudolph throw the ball down field often and Smith-Schuster finished with 3 catches for 15 yards. If that’s the gameplan moving forward, that crushes JuJu. Even in a great matchup against a Ravens defense that’s actually struggled against the pass, I’m not loving JuJu this week. I’m sorry, JuJu. I love you.
Hank Mardukus is the Blitzed Fantasy columnist. You can yell at him on Twitter here.