Ja’Marr Chase, Joe Burrow (finally) deliver vintage performance

Ja'Marr Chase #1 of the Cincinnati Bengals

The Ja’Marr Chase we’ve been waiting for arrived in Week 5. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images) (Cooper Neill via Getty Images)

Ja’Marr Chase finally had the monster game we’ve been waiting for, blowing up for 45 fantasy points (0.5 PPR). He benefitted from no Tee Higgins as expected, seeing a whopping 19 targets. Chase entered with the most targets and catches without a TD in the league, but finally scored his first touchdown of the season in the first quarter. He later finally connected on a long scoring strike. His third TD of the day broke Cincinnati’s franchise record for catches in a game (he’d finish with 15).

Chase was right — he’s always open. Treat him as a top-five fantasy WR from here on out.

Joe Burrow entered with the worst YPA (4.8) ever for a quarterback with 150+ passes. He finished with his best game of the season, throwing more touchdowns Sunday than he had all season. Burrow was coming off his best week of practice and finally looked healthy for the first time all year.

Joe Mixon didn’t do a ton with 29 opportunities, as it was Chase’s show Sunday. Still, the volume has been great, and Burrow’s improved health is big news for Mixon’s fantasy value moving forward.

Joshua Dobbs finally had a stinker (-14.9 CPOE in the sixth percentile), committing three turnovers. He also missed Marquise Brown for a big play in the first quarter (Brown returned the favor with a fourth-quarter drop) and didn’t run as much as usual. Dobbs threw two touchdowns still, and his pick-six was his first interception of the season.

James Conner left after suffering an injury during a 35-yard run in the second quarter. Rondale Moore led Arizona in rushing Sunday, but Emari Demercado looked pretty good as the team’s new lead back. He’ll be well worth adding in all fantasy leagues.

Michael Wilson was one of the most popular waiver pickups last week, but he didn’t see his first target until late in the fourth quarter.

  • Travis Etienne erupted for 184 yards from scrimmage and scored the most fantasy points among running backs this week. His longest run of the season went to the house during Jacksonville’s upset in London:

  • Etienne’s heavy usage finally translated into the big fantasy game his managers have been waiting for. Tank Bigsby was stuffed during a third-and-one, while Etienne encouragingly ran in a six-yard score in the fourth quarter (and earlier punched in a two-point try). Etienne already has more than half as many catches as he finished with last season and looks like a top-five fantasy back moving forward.

  • Trevor Lawrence had another modest fantasy day and has thrown multiple touchdowns just once over his last eight regular-season games. He also lost two fumbles but got 8.5 YPA and became the first QB to reach 300 passing yards against Buffalo this season. But he appeared to suffer a minor calf injury that may need monitoring.

  • Calvin Ridley had a quiet first half but helped ease any fantasy concerns with a strong line (8-7-122-0) despite Zay Jones’ return. Ridley had another catch just out of bounds in the end zone late in the second quarter — he leads the league in that category by a mile. Ridley was evaluated for a concussion after taking a big hit that drew a personal foul penalty but quickly returned.

  • On the Bills’ side, Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs delivered yet again, finishing among the leaders in fantasy scoring at their positions in Week 5. Allen got 9.0 YPA and posted a CPOE in the 93rd percentile, while also leading his team in rushing. Gabe Davis had a bad drop and lost a TD to OPI, but scored for the fourth straight game (later that same drive) and is putting together the type of season we wanted last year.

  • James Cook finished with negative rushing yards over five attempts. He’s discouragingly seen decreased usage in three straight weeks. Von Miller returned but didn’t play in the second half, as Buffalo lost multiple defenders to injury (including Matt Milano). Dalton Kincaid also left with a possible concussion but returned during a brutal trip to London for Buffalo.

  • Atlanta shook off losing fumbles on back-to-back second-half drives to win on a late field goal.

  • Desmond Ridder played the best game of his career, committing no turnovers while taking zero sacks. He got 8.9 YPA and finished in the 78th percentile in CPOE while adding a rushing score for fantasy managers.

  • Drake London and Kyle Pitts saw 20 combined targets. Pitts’ 11 were a career-high, although Jonnu Smith remained busy too (Smith had a bad drop and lost a fumble). London made a great play in the third quarter. Ridder’s performance is encouraging for Atlanta’s pass catchers.

  • Bijan Robinson had fewer carries than Tyler Allgerier, who Arthur Smith “wanted to get going.”

  • Robinson suffered from bad Atlanta run-blocking — and lost a fumble — but pulled down a sick one-handed TD catch (he’d add another one-handed grab for fun later). Robinson’s two targets were easily a season-low.

  • Dameon Pierce didn’t have a big game against a Falcons defense that entered allowing the third-fewest fantasy points to running backs. But he got 100% of Houston’s RB carries (20) and remains a screaming buy in fantasy.

  • Dalton Schultz led the Texans with 10 targets and caught a touchdown, while Tank Dell was on his way to a nice game before leaving with a concussion late in the first half.

  • De’Von Achane had a 24-yard run on Miami’s first play on offense and looks like he might score a touchdown every time he touches the ball (Miami’s whole offense looks that way more so than any team since the Randy Moss Patriots). His next touch didn’t come until the second quarter, when he lost a fumble (New York’s first takeaway of the season!). It didn’t matter though, as Achane became just the second player in NFL history to score seven touchdowns over his first four games (he nearly scored another TD in the second quarter).

  • Achane was a top fantasy RB once again this week despite seeing just 12 touches. This type of efficiency is obviously unsustainable, but I’d still view Achane as a borderline top-five fantasy back moving forward. He looks that good and is in a prime situation (that could easily get even better with Raheem Mostert’s age and injury history).

  • Speaking of Mostert, he fumbled for the third time over the last two games, but finished as a top-10 fantasy RB this week despite also getting just 12 touches. Mostert’s TD run to end the third quarter came clearly after zero seconds were left on the game clock. Miami’s running backs continue to steal touchdowns from Tua Tagovailoa.

  • Jaylen Waddle finally scored, but it was the Tyreek Hill show yet again Sunday. Hill missed the final series of the first half (heat?) but returned with a bang in the third quarter. Hill was a top-three fantasy WR this week and was also tackled at the two-yard line.

  • The Giants’ pick-six late in the second quarter was the team’s first first-half touchdown of the season. Miami still covered a huge spread despite the 14-point swing on one play.

  • Daniel Jones struggled again while taking six sacks before exiting with a neck injury, while Wan’Dale Robinson left with a possible concussion but eventually returned.

  • Eric Gray replaced Matt Breida as New York’s lead back with Saquon Barkley sitting again. Gray’s ugly YPC would’ve looked much better if not for a long run being called back by penalty.

New Orleans Saints @ New England Patriots

  • Mac Jones threw yet another pick-six, which was New Orleans’ first touchdown in six quarters. Apparently offensive coordinator wasn’t the Patriots’ only issue. Jones was eventually replaced by Bailey Zappe (who was even worse) again, as the Patriots suffered their worst shutout loss at home in franchise history.

  • Rhamondre Stevenson and Ezekiel Elliott both struggled during their eight carries, as no Patriots skill position player reached 50 yards Sunday.

  • The Saints’ offense wasn’t needed much, although Alvin Kamara set the franchise record for most touchdowns. Kendre Miller emerged and needs to be stashed on fantasy benches.

  • Chris Olave managed just 12 yards but nearly had a second touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Baltimore Ravens @ Pittsburgh Steelers

  • The Ravens had more drops in the first half (six) than they had all season prior (five). Then Nelson Agholor dropped a long pass in the third quarter. Lamar Jackson’s worst throw of the day was a crushing interception in the end zone late, but he deserved far better Sunday.

  • Rashod Bateman dropped a sure touchdown in the second quarter and then failed to haul in a deep throw in the third. It was another forgettable day for Bateman (and Odell Beckham Jr.).

  • Gus Edwards led Baltimore in carries, but Justice Hill got the TD run. Hill also lost a fumble, as we all patiently await Keaton Mitchell SZN.

  • George Pickens saw 10 targets and tied for Pittsburgh’s longest run of the day. His touchdown catch late in the fourth quarter proved to be the game-winner.

New York Jets @ Denver Broncos

  • Zach Wilson was (arguably) the best quarterback on the field for the second straight game, leading the Jets to victory in Nathaniel Hackett’s revenge game. Wilson didn’t produce a touchdown and disappointed DFS players who used him in the favorable matchup, but it was another step in the right direction (although more targets to Garrett Wilson would be nice).

  • No longer on a snap count, Breece Hall was finally unleashed, resulting in 194 yards from scrimmage and a long touchdown run during his payback game (he tore his ACL in Denver last season). He saw 25 touches to Dalvin Cook’s six. If Wilson can remain semi-competent at quarterback, Hall can easily be a top-five fantasy RB from here on out.

  • Jaleel McLaughlin led Denver in carries with Javonte Williams out, also catching a circus touchdown. Samaje Perine led the Broncos in receiving yards (yuck) but lost a fumble.

  • It was a tough matchup for Denver’s receivers, and it’s been another tough season for Jerry Jeudy’s fantasy managers.

  • The Broncos lost as home favorites and are 1-4 on the season. They now get a quick turnaround in Kansas City on Thursday night, as Sean Payton’s first season in Denver has gone nothing like planned.

Kansas City Chiefs @ Minnesota Vikings

  • Travis Kelce and Justin Jefferson both left injured. Kelce returned (after a non-contact injury) and caught a third-quarter touchdown, but Jefferson left for good early in the fourth. Jefferson was the biggest fantasy bust of the day before departing with a hamstring injury.

  • Patrick Mahomes found Rashee Rice for a TD strike but mostly spread it around to his wide receivers yet again. Justyn Ross committed a couple of egregious drops not like a boss, while Skyy Moore looks droppable in fantasy leagues.

  • Alexander Mattison lost touches to Cam Akers and suffered from a poor game script (and a long KC third-quarter drive). Minnesota lost its eighth fumble of the season during its first play of the game (and committed its first DPI of the season in the third quarter).

  • T.J. Hockenson committed three drops and failed to take advantage of Jefferson missing the fourth quarter, but he might’ve gained fantasy value Sunday.

  • Jordan Addison’s fantasy value would also take a big jump should Jefferson miss time with his injury.

Dallas Cowboys @ San Francisco 49ers

  • Brock Purdy got 10.5 YPA and threw four touchdowns for the first time in his career during the 49ers’ blowout win Sunday night. Purdy went 7-for-10 for 166 yards and three TDs on passes 10+ yards in yet another terrific performance (in which he sat for most of the fourth quarter). BCB was already having an underrated season, as he came in with the highest completion percentage through the first 18 games in NFL history. Purdy might just be for real.

  • Christian McCaffrey finished with a season-low in yardage and lost a goal-line fumble but tied the NFL record scoring for the 14th straight game. CMC took a couple of big hits (including a helmet-to-helmet), so fantasy managers should be happy he came away (seemingly) unscathed.

  • Deebo Samuel was stopped at the one-yard line, while Brandon Aiyuk had a 40-yard catch erased by a penalty. Instead, it was George Kittle’s night. The People’s Tight End scored a career-high three touchdowns (on three catches), with one involving some trickery. Kittle quickly made up for a quiet season with a spike week that had him easily finishing as fantasy’s No. 1 tight end.

  • Jordan Mason is SF’s RB2 with Elijah Mitchell out, and he’s worth stashing in deeper fantasy leagues. Mitchell could return soon but is one of the biggest injury risks in the league, and Mason has juice.

  • Tony Pollard was bottled up and lost a fumble, while Dak Prescott was picked off three times before his night ended early. Prescott struggled badly aside from one long TD to KaVontae Turpin, who later left injured (along with numerous other Cowboys).

  • The 49ers have produced 200+ yards in the first half of every game this season and became just the fifth team ever to score 30 points in nine straight regular season games.

  • The Cowboys entered allowing the fewest EPA/play in the NFL but gave up more points Sunday night than they had over the season. San Francisco’s defense held Dallas to its fewest yards (93) of any half this year over the first two quarters, when the Cowboys had six of seven drives go without a first down. It was a massively disappointing performance in primetime for a Dallas team that finally entered with its offensive line fully intact.

  • Fred Warner had a huge game, recording a sack, an interception and a forced fumble. The linebacker covered Brandin Cooks 40+ yards downfield on one play in a dominant performance.

  • “We want Trey!” chants broke out in the fourth quarter at Levi’s Stadium.

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