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As we reach the quarter way mark of the season, some things have become rather clear. A few other things are still unknown.

What is now clear? The Panthers pass defense is not good. Antonio Brown and Julio Jones are far and away the top two fantasy players. David Johnson and Le’Veon Bell are the top two RBs. There are serious concerns about Cam Newton. The RB and TE positions are extremely thin.

What is still unknown? With Tom Brady returning, what will the Pat’s offense look like? Are the Falcons truly an offensive juggernaut? Will Head Coaches Mike McCoy and Gus Bradley make it through the season? Will Todd Gurley turn his season around? Are Jay Cutler and Tony Romo finished? We shall see.

I use a A-F grading scale for each player. I do this because I think many players values are equal. In DFS, if two players have the same grade, go with the cheaper option.

“A” Players are expected to have big games. “B” players are must starts. “C” players are borderline starters. A “C+” means I would lean towards starting them, and a “C-” means I’d lean towards not starting them. “D” players are not recommended starters, and “F” players are not listed.

As it related to DFS; These numbers are based on FanDuel’s player pricing. Grades are based on FanDuels’s 1/2 point PPR scoring system. A= $8,000 plus, B= $6,500-$7,900, C= $5,500-$6,400, D= $4,600-$5,400, and F= $4,500. Keep in mind QBs prices are inflated by around $1,000, and TEs prices are deflated by around $1,000.

Week 5 Game Previews and Fantasy Predictions

New England Patriots at Cleveland Browns

Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edlemen owners can rejoice as Tom Brady returns from his suspension. Those two guys have done nothing for 4 weeks, and I have a feeling they’re about to go on a tear. Some question whether Brady will take a couple weeks to get into rhythm. I think he’ll come out firing. Start all your Pats, as they should put up 40 points on the Browns.

As bad as the Browns may be, they do have 3 quality fantasy starters in Terrelle Pryor, Isiah Crowell, and Gary Barnidge. This is a tough match-up for them though.

Player Grades

Patriots
Rob Gronkowski A
Tom Brady A
Julian Edelman B+
LeGarrette Blount C+
Chris Hogan/Martellus Bennett/James White C

Browns
Terrelle Pryor B-
Gary Barnidge B-
Isiah Crowell C
Duke Johnson C-

Chicago Bears at Indianapolis Colts

It looks like Brian Hoyer took Jay Cutler’s job. That’s not a good thing for the Bears, but it’s the best option. They also lost Kevin White for the season. Alshon Jeffrey is questionable, and he’ll face a tough match-up against CB Vonte Davis. Jordan Howard is the lone shining star in Chicago.

The Colt’s passing game should live up to their hype for at least one game against the Bears at home.

Player Grades

Bears
Jordan Howard A-
Alshon Jeffrey (Q) C+
Brian Hoyer/Eddie Royal/Zach Miller C-

Colts
Andrew Luck A-
T.Y. Hilton B+
Phillip Dorsett/Frank Gore/Dwayne Allen C

Tennessee Titans at Miami Dolphins

A match-up between two 1-3 teams with first year head coaches. Mike Mularky has made DeMarco Murray a star again, but he hasn’t done much else. Marcus Mariota is off to a terrible start.

Adam Gase has done an even worse job in Miami. They looked pathetic on Thursday night in Cincinnati. Jarvis Landry remains a PPR superstar. DeVante Parker and Jay Ajayi have great potential, but Gase and Ryan Tannehill refuse to give them the ball.

Player Grades

Titans
DeMarco Murray A-
Delanie Walker B
Marcus Mariota C
Tajae Sharpe/Rishard Matthews/Derrick Henry C-

Dolphins
Jarvis Landry B+
DeVante Parker C+
Jay Ajayi/Kenny Stills C
Ryan Tannehill C-

Philadelphia Eagles at Detroit Lions

The Lion’s offense is totally unpredictable. They do typically play better at home though. The Eagles have been flying high, but they’re do for a let down. I think this game may turn into a back and forth shootout.

Carson Wentz and Jordan Matthews are must starts this week. Zach Ertz returns from injury this week, and should have a nice game. Ryan Mathews is questionable, making Wendell Smallwood and Darren Sproles are nice sleepers.

Player Grades

Eagles
Carson Wentz B
Jordan Matthews B
Zach Ertz B-
Ryan Mathews (Q)/Wendell Smallwood/Darren Sproles C

Lions
Marvin Jones B
Matthew Stafford B-
Theo Riddick B-
Golden Tate/Anquan Boldin/Eric Ebron C-

Houston Texans at Minnesota Vikings

Is it a coincidence that in Bill O’Brien’s first game calling the plays Deandre Hopkins had the worst game of his career, and Lamar Miller saw his fewest touches of the season? I don’t think it is. I’m very concerned about those two players. I wouldn’t play anybody from the Texans this week against the great Viking’s defense.

Jerick McKinnon has looked pretty good filling in for AP, and Houston has been vulnerable against the run. Stefon Diggs draws a very tough match-up against CB Jonathan Josepsh.

Player Grades

Texans
Lamar Miller C+
Deandre Hopkins C
Will Fuller C-

Vikings
Jerick McKinnon B-
Kyle Rudolph B-
Stefon Diggs C+
Sam Bradford C-

Washington Redskins at Baltimore Ravens

A very evenly matched game with two teams struggling on defense. The Redskins found their running game last week with Matt Jones, hopefully they keep giving him carries. The Raven’s cut Justin Forsett to make room for rookie Kenneth Dixon. Dixon and Terrance West should split carries versus a bad Redskin’s run defense.

There should be a lot of points in this one. Neither team’s defense can handle all the offensive play makers in this game.

Player Grades

Redskins
Jordan Reed A+
Kirk Cousins B
Matt Jones B-
DeSean Jackson B-
Jamison Crowder/Pierre Garcon C

Ravens
Joe Flacco B
Steve Smith B-
Kenneth Dixon/Terrance West C+
Mike Wallace/Dennis Pitta C

New York Jets at Pittsburgh Steelers

Two offenses going in very different directions. The Jets are falling apart, with whispers of benching Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Steelers put on a show Sunday night in Le’Veon Bell’s return. They also have Markus Wheaton back, and Sammie Coates is starting to make some plays. They are still the best offense in the NFL.

Start all your Steelers against a reeling Jets team. Brandon Marshall is the only must start on the Jets right now.

Player Grades

Jets
Brandon Marshall B-
Matt Forte C
Eric Decker (Q) C
Quincy Enunwa C-

Steelers
Antonio Brown A++
Le’Veon Bell A-
Ben Roethlisberger B+
Markus Wheaton/Sammie Coates C

Atlanta Falcons at Denver Broncos

We will find out how good the Falcon’s offense really is this week. There won’t be any 500 yards passing for Matt Ryan or 300 yards receiving for Julio Jones in Denver. The key to this game will be if the Falcon’s offensive line can slow down the vicious pass rush of the Broncos.

It’s unsure whether Trevor Siemien or Paxton Lynch will start. Lynch looked very good in relief of Siemien last week. The Falcon’s secondary can’t handle Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. Either QB is a sneaky sleeper in this match-up.

Player Grades

Falcons
Julio Jones B+
Devonta Freeman C+
Matt Ryan C
Tevin Coleman/Jacob Tamme D+

Broncos
Demaryius Thomas B+
Emmanuel Sanders B
Paxton Lynch/Trevor Siemien (Q) B-
C.J. Anderson B-

San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders

The Chargers blew their third game after leading big in the 4th quarter this season last week. Mike McCoy is sitting on a very hot seat. To make matters worse, Pro Bowl CB Justin Verrett was lost for the season, adding to the Charger’s litany of injuries.

The Raiders should score at will in this game. Deandre Washington will get a chance to shine with Latavius Murray out. Phillip Rivers and the Charger’s WRs could rack up some points playing catch up. This could be tough game for Melvin Gordon.

Player Grades

Chargers
Phillip Rivers B
Melvin Gordon B-
Travis Benjammin/Dontrelle Inman/Tyrell Williams C+
Hunter Henry/ Antonio Gates (Q) C

Raiders
Amari Cooper A-
Derek Carr B+
Michael Crabtree B
Deandre Washington B-
Clive Walford D+

Buffalo Bills at Los Angeles Rams

The Bills are a two man offense with Tyrod Taylor and LeSean McCoy. Both of the those guys have played well. This is a tough match-up on the road against a solid Ram’s defense.

The Rams are a one man offense with Todd Gurley, and Gurley has yet to have a 100 yard game. I thought he would breakthrough last week, and he didn’t. I have to believe he finally has a good game this week.

Player Grades

Bills
LeSean McCoy B
Tyrod Taylor C
Robert Woods/Marquise Goodwin/Charles Clay (Q) C-

Rams
Todd Gurley A-
Tavon Austin C

Cincinnati Bengals at Dallas Cowboys

Dak Prescott and Ezekial Elliott have looked great thus far, however they have played a very easy schedule. The Bengal’s are a better defense than they have seen yet this year. Dez Bryant will also likely be out again.

A.J. Green should continue his dominance against a banged up Cowboy’s defense. Jeremy Hill should also see a lot of action.

Player Grades

Bengals
A.J. Green A+
Jeremy Hill B-
Andy Dalton C
Tyler Boyd/Giovani Bernard C-

Cowboys
Ezekial Elliott A-
Dak Prescott C
Terrance Williams/Cole Beasley/Jason Witten C

New York Giants at Green Bay Packers

The Giants play their second straight Primetime road game against a good NFC North team. Odell Beckham has stirred up a lot of turmoil the last couple weeks. He hasn’t played up to his standards this season. He is not on the level of Antonio Brown or Julio Jones right now. The Packer’s secondary, with CB Sam Shields out again, should give Beckham and the other Giants’ WRs ample opportunities.

The Giants have been tough against the run. Their secondary is dealing with some injuries though, and Aaron Rodgers should shred them. This game should be a late night shootout.

Player Grades

Giants
Odell Beckham A
Eli Manning B+
Sterling Shepard B-
Victor Cruz/Rashad Jennings (Q)/Orleans Darkwa C

Packers
Aaron Rodgers A+
Jordy Nelson B+
Eddie Lacy C+
Randall Cobb/Devante Adams C-

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers

I think Cam Newton will sit this game out, but I don’t know for sure. If he doesn’t play it has an obvious huge effect on this game. Greg Olsen and Kelvin Benjamin remain must starts against a terrible Buc’s pass defense, even with Derek Anderson at QB.

The injury to Doug Martin has really hobbled the Buc’s offense. They went from one of the most run heavy offenses last season to one of the most pass heavy offenses this year. Jameis Winston has not been able to handle it, and Mike Evans is the only player benefiting.

Player Grades

Buccaneers
Mike Evans A
Charles Simms C+
Vincent Jackson C-
Jameis Winston C-

Panthers
Greg Olsen A
Kelvin Benjammin B
Derek Anderson C
Fozzy Whittaker/Cameron Artis-Payne C-

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