We're only a month in but you should already be looking to the end of the fantasy NFL season says Dave Gray as he discusses players that could be worth having in your team...
"Claypool is a very talented receiver and can certainly carve out a role for himself, but he is still likely to be the fourth option on that offence, perhaps even the fifth behind Eric Ebron."
Be cautious with Claypool
Chase Claypool was the breakout star of week five. He had 116 yards and four touchdowns after taking over from Diontae Johnson in the Steelers offence. With Johnson expected to be available for week six, it is worth being a little cautious on Claypool. He will no doubt be the number one player picked up on waivers this week but we should not be expecting a repeat of this week any time soon, if ever.
He is a very talented receiver and can certainly carve out a role for himself, but he is still likely to be the fourth option on that offence, perhaps even the fifth behind Eric Ebron. His 11 targets this week are more than double what he had in the previous four. You should pick him up if he is available, and can perhaps even start him if you need to cover byes or injuries, but don't go too crazy on him just yet.
Dalton can be a top 10 QB
Dak Prescott left Sunday's game with a horrific ankle injury that will see him miss the rest of the season. He had gotten off to a flying start this season but Andy Dalton will take over from him and he can certainly be a valuable fantasy quarterback.
The Cowboys have a phenomenal group of receivers with Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup and Ezekiel Elliot making up perhaps the best quartet of offensive players in the league. Dallas' defensive problems continued and that means that the offence will still need to put up big numbers to keep the team in games. While Dalton is a drop off from Prescott, it probably isn't huge and Dalton can certainly make use of those players. The Cowboys are still the best team in the poor NFC East and at 5/6, they could be very good value even with Dak on the sidelines.
We have seen throughout the former Bengals quarterback's career that when he has a good team around him he can perform. He was a legitimate MVP contender just a few years ago. With those weapons he has top 10 upside in fantasy and, if you aren't going to be able to get Claypool, make sure you have a claim in on Dalton.
Mattison is a must add
This week is full of options at all the positions but running back Alexander Mattison is perhaps the best of them. While Dalton and Claypool are options for the whole season, Mattison may only get a month or so as the Vikings lead running back. But until Dalvin Cook returns from his groin injury then Mattison is going to be a surefire top 10 RB.
The Vikings like to run the ball as much as anybody. There are just three teams with a higher rush percentage than them this season so Mattison will get plenty of opportunity. He had 136 yards last time out.
End those headaches at tight end
Tight end has been a bit of a fantasy disaster this season. There have been very few players really breaking through and those who have have now dropped away. Noah Fant is injured, Mo Alie-Cox is now down the depth chart - more on that in a second - and the likes of Chris Herndon and Zach Ertz have really disappointed.
There is one player who has a chance to really become a top fantasy tight end over the rest of the season and that is Trey Burton. He made his Colts debut in week four and has gone on to have 11 targets in those two games. That number has a chance to increase even more in the coming weeks. Philip Rivers' arm really looks like it is past its best and that could be great news for the Indy tight ends and running backs. He just can't throw it deep any more meaning that Burton has a chance to really become one of his favourite receivers.
Alie-Cox looked like he had made that spot his own but since his fellow tight end's return he has just one reception. Burton is still available in the majority of leagues and he can solve a headache at a real problem position.
Set your team up for the rest of the season
It feels like the season has only just started but we are going to be over a third of the way through after this weekend and it is time to get your team ready for a championship run. If you are off to a good start and sitting at 4-1 or 5-0, you can already start to look ahead to the fantasy playoffs and making sure your team is ready for that. That could mean taking a chance on players like Dalvin Cook, who may make your team weaker now while he is out, but come playoff time he will be a game winner.
Or if you are at the other end it could mean taking some short term risks to get yourself back into contention. Even at 0-5 you have a chance to turn your season around, it is just about trying to win each week and thinking shorter term. So a trade for somebody such as Mattison could help you win now. It may mean giving up somebody else - maybe it is time to trade Christian McCaffrey or the aforementioned Cook - but they are doing nothing for you sitting on your bench while they are out with injury and by the time they come back it may already be too late.
Look at your team now and make an evaluation of what you need to do right now. It may still seem early but most fantasy regular seasons will end in eight weeks. You still have time to turn things around but it is running out.
Dave Gray's Regular Season NFL 2019/20 P/L
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