Fantasy Preview: Week 5 Afternoon

  • 49ers (-265) @ Panthers (+6.5): O/U 39.5

    Eagles (-225) @ Cardinals (+5): O/U 48.5

    Cowboys (+5.5) @ Rams (-225): O/U 43


    49ers @ Panthers

    Key storylines/What to Watch

    The lowest projected point total of Week 5 surprisingly comes in a game with a sunny forecast and a visiting team in the surging 49ers, who just hung 24 points on the Super Bowl-winning defense of the Rams behind San Francisco’s top-10 rushing attack in MNF primetime. That low expected score is more of an indictment on the lowly Panthers, who lost an embarrassing game against the mediocre Cardinals in which embattled QB Baker Mayfield threw two picks and had a whopping five passes batted at the line of scrimmage. The 49ers defense is looking like the best in football through the first month of the season and should feast heavily in Carolina as one of the best D/ST options of the week.


    Speaking of Mayfield, he’ll remain the starter for the Panthers despite ranking dead last in the league in total QBR as Sam Darnold appears a ways away from returning from IR with a high ankle sprain. This unfortunately means that the fantasy ceiling for WR D.J. Moore will continue to get capped at pretty much his performance in Week 4 (6-50-0, 9.1 total fantasy pts in half-PPR), which was sadly the first time all season he’d cracked 50 yards receiving. RB Christian McCaffrey remains the only startable Panther in fantasy despite continuing to play through a thigh injury that seems to persist, even against a 49ers run defense allowing the second fewest points to opposing running backs.


    The 49ers left tackle position has been a rotating door lately, first with All-Pro Trent Williams out for at least another month with an ankle injury and then his fill-in Colton McKivitz unfortunately sprained his MCL and is out for two months after a strong Rams game in which he allowed no pass blocking pressures and graded out tops among all of his teammates according to PFF. That now leaves second-year former fifth rounder Jaylon Moore as the next man up. Moore graded out just behind McKivitz in his seven snaps against the Rams, so he seems like he can keep the lights on until Williams returns.


    Top Starts

    WR Deebo Samuel: I nearly typed “RB” behind his name, because this guy continues to defy positional convention and will find any way possible to churn out YAC production (currently leads the position in that category) and fill the fantasy scorecards. Samuel has now rattled off double-digit fantasy points in every single game this season and faces a Panthers defense that is middle-of-the-pack against wide receivers, but Samuel is quickly becoming matchup-proof. We still have a few weeks before Halloween, but Deebo is looking as ghost-like as ever with a league-leading 54% juke rate on his touches. He should have an even easier time with the Panthers placing S Jeremy Chinn on IR this week with a hamstring injury – Chinn had been below average overall among safeties but had the third-best pass rush grade among safeties according to PFF.


    RB Jeff Wilson Jr: Ever since Eli Mitchell went on IR, Wilson has been pegged as a good if imperfect solution to the backfield hole for the 49ers. I’d say he has surpassed expectations so far and has defied any notion of a backfield-by-committee, playing in 63% of total offensive snaps over his past two games. He’s even been decently involved in the passing game, running a route on 45% of Jimmy Garoppolo’s dropbacks while rookie Jordan Mason and veteran Tevin Coleman have played sparingly since Tyrion Davis-Price went down. Wilson has also anchored his fantasy floor a bit with his red zone work, ranking 10th in the league with 11 touches when in scoring position.


    Boom/Bust Dart-Throw

    RB Jordan Mason: In a game where the 49ers are favored by nearly a touchdown, I could see a scenario in which head coach Kyle Shanahan is careful with the tread on Wilson’s tires and gives his preseason phenom Mason some run to milk clock. The rookie from Georgia Tech hasn’t seen any snaps since the few he received in Denver back in Week 3, and I think similar to how fellow rookie RB Isiah Pacheco’s role has started to grow a little in Kansas City, the 49ers will want to see if Mason can do the same because they did love what they saw out of him in training camp. Throw a dart at him in DFS if you need a penny store flex to fill out your roster.


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    Eagles @ Cardinals

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