Scott Engel of RotoExperts.com is in his seventh season of Fantasy Football analysis on seahawks.com. Scott is an inaugural member of the Fantasy Sports Writer’s Association’s Hall of Fame and a former FSWA Fantasy Football Writer of the Year Award Winner. He can be heard on FNTSY Radio every morning and seen on FNTSY Sports Network daily on CenturyLink’s sports package and Dish Network.
It is becoming seemingly a more daunting challenge to field an optimal Fantasy lineup as we move into Week 5. Of course, the bye weeks now fully begin, but significant injuries to key players have appeared to give the Fantasy player even more reasons for anxiety. But if you are an experienced player, you know that the hurdles of bye weeks and injuries are annual issues. If you’re newer to the game, keep in mind that your opponents and leaguemates are dealing with similar issues. The playing field of “roadblocks” to overcome is quite level, and the lineup tips issued here can give you advantages when you feel like you really need them.
Carson Palmer vs. Philadelphia: The Cardinals have learned that they must rely much more on their passing game without David Johnson. Palmer has thrown for 300-plus yards in three consecutive games while overcoming some blocking concerns. The Eagles have allowed an NFC-high 1,204 passing yards so far and Cardinals-Eagles could be a higher-scoring affair.
Deshaun Watson vs. Kansas City: The Chiefs have a well-earned reputation as an opportunistic defense that should be handled warily. But Watson is coming off a 33.72 point breakout Fantasy performance on NFL.com and will at least deliver respectable overall totals. The Chiefs have allowed only four TD passes, but they have surrendered the seventh-most passing yards in the league. Watson will be able to move the ball and will not hurt your Fantasy team and should adequately complement your higher scorers. You just cannot reserve him because of his recent play and dual threat potential.
Thomas Rawls vs. Los Angeles Rams: Seahawks fans have seen Rawls step forward before, and it’s time for him to do it again with Chris Carson out. Now owned in 42.2 percent of NFL.com leagues, you should add Rawls if he is still available. A tenacious and determined runner when healthy, he is set for a significant role against a Rams defense that has allowed 28.35 Fantasy Points Per Game to opposing running backs, the highest total on NFL.com.
Alex Collins vs. Oakland: The former Seahawk has earned a notable role in a time share with Buck Allen in Baltimore. He has rushed for 82 yards in each of the past two weeks and tore off a 50-yard run last week against the Steelers. The Raiders have allowed 420 rushing yards, sixth-highest in the AFC, and Collins adds a needed spark to the Ravens offense when he is in the mix. He’s a quality flex play for Week 5. Allen is also a viable option, as Oakland has allowed the fifth-most receiving yards to opposing RBs.
Duke Johnson vs. New York Jets: He has caught 15 passes in each of the past two games and scored in each contest. The Jets allow 22.05 Fantasy Points Per Game on NFL.com to opposing RBs, the fourth-highest total in the league. Game script could have Cleveland playing catch-up again, and Johnson is even a factor if the Browns keep it close, as he is one of the team’s primary pass-catchers right now. He is a strong start in PPR formats.
Frank Gore vs. San Francisco: As Seahawks fans saw last week, the Colts offense is not completely lost without Andrew Luck, and they get a better matchup this week. The Niners allow 21.0 FFPG to opposing RBs, and Gore will likely get a nifty kick out of scoring against the team that he played for from 2005 to 2014.
DaVante Parker vs. Tennessee: As ‘Hawk fans witnessed in Week 3, the Titans have a formidable front seven, but their secondary is often targeted by opponents. The Titans allow an NFC-high 29.75 FFPG to opposing wide receivers. Parker is Miami’s top playmaker in the passing game and he has proven he can produce so far this year no matter what the game flow is. He has caught 14 passes in the past two games and his true breakout game may be coming as soon as this week.
Sterling Shepard vs. Los Angeles Chargers: Shepard will continue to produce as Odell Beckham Jr. draws a lot of defensive attention. He had a 133-yard outing in Week 3 and caught five passes for 54 yards last week, an adequate outing in PPR formats. The Chargers have allowed six TD passes to WRs, second-most in the NFL, and Shepard will land in the end zone for the second time in three games.
Jaron Brown vs. Philadelphia: He was the fifth-most added WR in NFL.com leagues this week and is worthy of a pickup if he is still available. Brown has two double figure target games in his past three and had 105 yards vs. the 49ers last week. The Eagles have allowed an NFC-high 837 yards to wide receivers this season.
Pierre Garcon vs. Indianapolis: The former Colt is clearly the top target in the San Francisco passing game, and he should really start to hit a consistent stride soon. It could start this week against the Colts, who have allowed the second-most passing yards in the AFC to opposing WRs (739).
Tight Ends, Defense/Special Teams & Kickers
Hunter Henry is a prime start against the Giants, who have allowed the most FFPG to tight ends (14.73). … Austin Seferian-Jenkins is a nifty TE play against the Browns, who have allowed 12.55 FFPG to the position, most in the AFC. … The Jets defense is also a viable stream against Cleveland. ... The Bengals are also likely to hold down the score against Buffalo. … Ka’imi Fairbairn should see a quality amount of field goal chances against the Chiefs. … Stephen Hauschka could be in for a three to four FG game against the Bengals.
Seahawks Fantasy Focus
Rawls isn’t the only Seahawks RB worth a look this week. Eddie Lacy ripped off a 19-yard run vs. Indianapolis and deserves consideration as a flex play in this matchup with the Rams. J.D. McKissic is a stash in larger leagues in case he is eventually pressed into more action. Doug Baldwin is a must-start as always, and Paul Richarson seems to have a floor of about eight to 10 points weekly in PPR leagues. The Rams allow only 6.70 FFPG to TEs, but Jimmy Graham has re-emerged as a must-start over the past two weeks. Justin Coleman has fortified the nickel package and Jared Goff will find this to be his toughest matchup yet. Todd Gurley is proving to be a versatile force at RB, but disciplined play by the Seahawks back seven can prevent a big game. Bobby Wagner will be a big key to ensuring that the Seahawks defense is still a prime Fantasy start this week.
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Take a look back through history at the Seahawks' matchups against the Rams as the two teams ready to face off during Week 5 at the L.A. Colesium.