NFL Fantasy Mailbag: Todd Gurley, Chiefs’ D and other Week 5 questions

You send us NFL fantasy questions… We give you NFL fantasy answers! Here is the best of Week 5’s Mailbag entries.


Regulations, research, and recommendations filled our mailbag this week. Here are my responses to some of the best entries.

1. Why did KC’s D/ST get 8 points for that awful touchdown Monday?

From bitter loser, NYC

For those who missed it, Washington tried a desperation lateral-laced kickoff return after Kansas City took a three-point lead with four seconds to go on Monday Night. The ball got loose and KC’s Justin Houston picked up it up and ran it in for a defensive touchdown. Kansas City only got six points for the score, but the special teams also got two points for the turnover – an eight-point bonus for anyone who had the Chiefs’ DS/T.

2. My roster has one stud wide receiver and three mid-range, safe ones. How do I decide who to play each week?

From Becky, Waterville, Me

The fastest and simplest way to decide is to look at the general rating of their opposing defenses. If two receivers are facing Denver and Minnesota and the third has Cleveland on tap, Cleveland wins. If the call is still too close, a simple internet search for “NFL fantasy points against” will find sites telling you how many fantasy points defenses give up to wide receivers each week. Then you can look at matchups. If your man is the second receiver on his team and is going against a defense with one shut-down corner, your player’s value goes up because he may be the first player open.

Check the quarterback versus defense stats. If the defense has lots of sacks and pressures, your man might have trouble receiving targets. Injury reports can predict offensive line woes or role changes among skill players. You also should consider the predicted amount of real points. If your team is expected to win by a lot, they may become conservative and run the clock out, limiting your targets. If none of that makes the decision clear for you, trust your gut.

3. A running back fumbled. My WR recovered it. I argued he should get two points for the fumble recovery; the league commissioner said no. Later, the defense recovered a fumble and got two points. Why didn’t my receiver?

From Jesse, Flint, MI

The D/ST did not get points for the fumble recovery – they got two points for forcing the turnover. Had the offense recovered, there would have been no points awarded.

4. Duke Johnson or Aaron Jones?

From Jon, Liverpool, UK

The answer depends on your need. If you are covering a bye week or a short-term injury, Aaron Jones is the best choice. There are few things in life as valuable as a Green Bay featured running back. Jones’ value is based on Ty Montgomery and Jamal Williams missing Sunday’s game.

If you are looking for a long-term contributor, Duke Johnson is a lock for 8-10 points per week. His touches and value will only go up as Isaiah Crowell becomes irrelevant. Any time Johnson scores a touchdown, he is a standard top-ten rusher. With 5-10 targets per game, he is even better in PPR leagues.

5. Is it a good idea to trade Todd Gurley before his schedule gets tougher?

From Beth, Chicago, IL

That is only a good idea if you receive Ezekiel Elliott, Le’Veon Bell, or maybe Devonta Freeman in return. He might not have any more 30-point fantasy games this season, but Todd Gurley has the volume of touches that make him playable regardless of competition. He also comes at defenses in a variety of ways. It’s not like teams can stack the line to stop him. He runs well in any direction, catches the ball all over the field, and can beat any one-on-one situation, making a shadow defender less effective. All he needs is one or two big plays to be top-five each week. Even good defenses will have trouble containing him. I know many people want to trade high right now. I am not one of them. It’s a bad idea to trade Gurley.

6. How does Dalvin Cook’s injury affect Viking wide receivers? I am thinking of dumping Adam Thielen for Tyler Lockett.

From TQM, Little Ferry, NJ

I think it will have minimal impact on the wide receivers. Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen are not among the NFL’s leaders because defenders were chasing Cook. They can go and get the ball. The Vikings will run as much with Latavius Murray as they did with Cook while Jerick McKinnon provides a respected threat on passing downs. Minnesota may not look as exciting, but their offense will be fine.

The only reason I would trade Thielen for Lockett is if Sam Bradford is done for the year and Russell Wilson continues to throw like he did last week. Lockett appears ready to pass Paul Richardson as the second target in Seattle, making your switch worth considering. But I have them virtually even in NFL fantasy value this week.

We would love to answer your question in our NFL Fantasy Mailbag. Send it to us at [email protected] and look for the answer each Wednesday!

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Pat Opperman

Pat recently retired from real life to watch sports and write. Look for references to games and events from ancient times as memories of an earlier Age of Sport tend to pop into his head.

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