The blood and carnage continued yesterday on the gridiron. Every week seems to have some new significant injury to deal with — Nick Chubb and Austin Ekeler were the Week 4 victims. In Week 5, it was Dak Presott Prescott and Dalvin Cook, the biggest names that went down with injuries. If you own either Prescott, or Cook, you may have a big fantasy problem.
Let’s talk about Cook first. I wasn’t watching last night’s game, but my son texted me when Cook left the game with this message: “And that’s why I have Mattison.” Of course, he was referring to Alexander Mattison, who stepped in for Cook and rushed for 112 yards on 20 carries. If Cook is lost for multiple weeks, the Vikings won’t miss a beat. And neither will Nathan’s team.
If you’re a Cook owner and you don’t own Mattison, you’re a fool. I’m not going to sugarcoat this message for you because your blood is on your own hands. You’ve been warned in this column to own the backups for your RB1. Look at what Mike Davis has done since Christian McCaffrey went down in Week 2. He’s had three straight games with more than 20 fantasy points.
With that said, Mattison is still available in more than half of the Yahoo and ESPN leagues heading into Week 6. That changed quickly when the feeding frenzy began on Tuesday. Mattison, like Davis, will see his stock value plummet when the guy above him on the depth chart returns to action. But if he’s out there and can be plugged into your starting lineup this week, grab him.
Prescott’s injury reminds me that football is more than just a game to entertain fantasy players. Here is a man who on all counts is a fine human being. He was off to a historic start in 2020, coming off an offseason where he reportedly turned down a 5-year, $175 million contract offer. He’s playing this season on the franchise tag, which pays him a salary of $31.4 million.
Of course, there are fantasy ramifications to the Prescott injury, but your chances of replacing him on the waiver wire are better than replacing an elite running back. I’m repeating myself, but I have told you in this column that quarterback is a deep position. If you’re a Prescott owner, you can stream the quarterback position for the rest of the season and still put up numbers.
If I were a Prescott owner, I would pick up Andy Dalton off the waiver wire. I can almost guarantee you he’s available because he is owned in less than 3 percent of Yahoo leagues and less than 1 percent of ESPN leagues. In his 10th season, Dalton has passed for more than 30,000 yards, and he has the best trio of receivers in the NFL – Amari Cooper, DeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup.
Here are some other things you might have missed from Week 5:
KENYAN DRAKE, RB, ARIZONA
Drake played 49 snaps, while Chase Edmonds played 33, which is puzzling because Edmonds was more effective yet again. He had the first two carries on the opening drive but only mustered three yards up the middle. Enter Edmonds, who took the next carrying up the middle for a 29-yard touchdown. Kliff Kingsbury’s mother didn’t raise a fool. Edmonds is in line for a promotion.
LAMAR JACKSON, QB, BALTIMORE
Baltimore is doing just fine with a 4-1 record, but Jackson owners have to be gripping at this point after probably spending a second-round pick to acquire the 2019 fantasy sensation. Jackson has had only two 20-point games this season. He put up only 13.5 points on Sunday. The Ravens won handily, but he was a non-factor on the ground, rushing for just 3 yards.
ZACH ERTZ, TE, PHILADELPHIA
What in the world is wrong with Ertz? That’s a question his owners are asking after he caught just one of six targets for six yards on Sunday. When Dallas Goedert was injured three weeks ago, I thought Ertz would start putting up big numbers. After all, who was Carson Wentz going to throw to with DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery sidelined? Not Ertz. Go figure.
D.J. MOORE, WR CAROLINA
Moore got into the end zone for the first time all season and had 19.3 fantasy points on Sunday. The problem is, he had just one target before that, and ended up with just five. Robby Anderson has clearly usurped him as the No. 1 target on this offense. Anderson, by the way, caught eight of 13 targets for 112 yards – his third 100-yard game in five tries. He had 99 in another.
MICHAEL GALLUP, WR, DALLAS
Gallup had only his second double-digit points game on Sunday and has been far from a fantasy asset so far in 2020. But that might be about to change with Andy Dalton taking over as the signal-caller in Dallas. The Cowboys still have a lot of mouths to feed, but Gallup got all four of his targets after Dalton replaced Prescott. Gallup, not CeeDee Lamb, was the go-to guy in clutch time.