Predicting studs and duds for NFL Week 5

By Rachel Wold

It is hard to believe that the 2018 NFL season has already hit its first quarter mark. And, boy have a lot of major surprises occurred.

As Week 5 approaches, more shocking turns of events will continue to bring fans excitement, as well as heartache. On the heartache side, there is one lonely team that currently sits at 0-4. Will this be the game that any Arizona Cardinals players finally have a breakout performance?

Looking at the brighter side, we must wonder what is in store for those high-rolling, undefeated Kansas City Chiefs squaring off against the Jacksonville Jaguars this Sunday.

Let’s take a peek at this week’s stud and dud predictions.

Stud: Russell Wilson, quarterback, Seattle Seahawks

After witnessing unpredictable performances so far this season, we are never sure which version of Wilson is going to show up on game day. Though in Week 5, the Seahawks host the Los Angeles Rams when things might turn for the better in Wilson’s camp. First of all, he is going to have to throw a ton to keep up with that on-fire Rams offense. Just look at the 422 passing yards and three touchdowns the Rams let Kirk Cousins get away with last Thursday. The recipe for success is there if Wilson and his crew can take advantage.

Dud: Tyreek Hill, wide receiver, Kansas City Chiefs

Hill is an exceptional receiver and can typically exploit his matchups. But, expectations need to be relaxed for Hill and possibly for quarterback Patrick Mahomes when the Jacksonville Jaguars hit Arrowhead Stadium. The Jags passing defense is top notch, and it has surrendered just two touchdowns to opposing wide receivers. This comes along with wideouts managing a lowly average of 111 yards per game. Cornerbacks Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye are going to pull out all the stops to slow Hill down.

Stud: Donte Jackson, cornerback, Carolina Panthers

Returning from a bye, Jackson and the Panthers will look to continue their win streak when they host the New York Giants. The Giants are quickly becoming the new punching bag of the league and Jackson will likely be tasked with covering Odell Beckham Jr. We might note that the Saints kept OBJ well in check in Week 4. Through just three games, Jackson has tallied three interceptions as well as 19 combined tackles. The Giants offense has been a bumbling mess, and a guy like Jackson will try to swoop in and ruin everything.

Dud: Demaryius Thomas, wide receiver, Denver Broncos

The Broncos offense has offered a mixed bag, but coming out on the bottom throughout four weeks is Thomas. His targets are diminishing and he has averaged only 42 yards per game thus far. He also has not scored since Week 1. That latter stat may not change when Thomas plays the Jets on Sunday. This defense has given up just three wide receiving touchdowns in four games. If any Broncos receiver excels this game, it is likely Emmanuel Sanders. Sanders is averaging 13.1 yards per catch compared to the lowly 8.4 Thomas is averaging.

Stud: Aaron Jones, running back, Green Bay Packers

Jones looks to be receiving more work each week after returning from his two-game suspension. If the Packers continue to lean on him more in Week 5, he should shine brightly. A trip to Ford Field to square off with the Detroit Lions could nudge Jones into stud territory. The Lions are ceding a crazy 157.8 rushing yards per game and 5.3 yards per carry. This is perfect, because Jones is already averaging a hefty 6.5 yards per tote since re-joining his team.

Dud: Vance McDonald, tight end, Pittsburgh Steelers

McDonald has been having himself quite some lofty performances as of late. He has caught 9-of-10 targets for 174 yards and one touchdown during his last two games. But in Week 5, McDonald might cool down some. The Steelers will face an Atlanta Falcons defense that has not given up much to opposing tight ends. Atlanta has allowed only one score to this position and just 48.5 yards on average per game thus far. Look for other Steelers offensive players to find more wiggle room than McDonald in this particular clash.

Stud: Philip Rivers, quarterback, Los Angeles Chargers

Rivers’ name doesn’t often pop up when elite quarterbacks or top fantasy football players come into conversation. But, it should be in Week 5 when the Chargers host their divisional rival Oakland Raiders. The Raiders defense just allowed rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield to pass for 295 yards and two touchdowns, while it gave up 42 points. Rivers should simply thrive taking all of these generous giveaways into account.

Dud: Nick Chubb, running back, Cleveland Browns

Chubb had been nearly invisible so far this season up until he dumped 105 rushing yards and two touchdowns on the Raiders in Week 4. Don’t let that fool you into thinking he is going to put up the same numbers in Week 5, though. Chubb next faces the Baltimore Ravens, whose defense has allowed a mere average of 67.3 running back rushing yards per game. Toss Carlos Hyde into the picture, and the likelihood the Browns will have to pass heavy to keep up, and Chubb stands to be the odd man out.

Stud: Christian McCaffrey, running back, Carolina Panthers

McCaffrey may be the top NFL stud of Week 5. He returns fresh off of a bye and is primed to destroy his next opponent. That would be the New York Giants, whose run defense has seen better days. The Giants are giving up 4.8 yards per carry on average and their defense just got annihilated by New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara. The dual-threat back just unleashed 181 total yards and three touchdowns on the Giants. McCaffrey is a dual-threat in any given game as well, and he should continue to run the Giants through the ringer.

Dud: Larry Fitzgerald, wide receiver, Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals are a huge work in progress as they continue to seek their first win of the season. But a first road game for rookie quarterback Josh Rosen might not be the winning ticket and could spell doom again for Fitzgerald. Fitz is simply not being utilized enough while the Cardinals attempt to straighten out their quarterback woes. As a result, Fitzgerald has received a measly 12 targets since Week 2. Even against a leaky 49ers pass defense, it is difficult to envision Fitzgerald suddenly having a 100-yard day, given his sparse usage.

Stud: Anthony Levine, safety, Baltimore Ravens

When the Ravens head to Cleveland there should be plenty of havok to be caused by Levine against a rookie quarterback-led offense. Levine just got done handing the Pittsburgh Steelers the business when he recorded six combined tackles, one interception and three defended passes. Surely, he can make things tough for Baker Mayfield, who last threw two interceptions. At the very least, Levine will pose a threat as Mayfield attempts to get his best pass-catchers the ball.

Dud: Eric Ebron, tight end, Indianapolis Colts

Ebron is fitting in nicely in his new digs and has scored a touchdown in three of his four games played thus far. He is also averaging 4.25 catches per game. Next up, Ebron and the Colts head to New England to take on the Patriots. And, while the Pats defense has been suspect this season, it has been quite adept in defending tight ends. To date, it has yielded only one tight end score and a total of just 11 catches to the position. We will see soon enough if Ebron can upset these defensive stats.

Stud: Ezekiel Elliott, running back, Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys are finally starting to feed Zeke, and in Week 5 Elliott should completely feast. He will face a Houston Texans defense that has yielded the 11th-most total yards, as well as 27 points on average per game. Since Elliott does it all and is emerging as the team’s best option at a pass-catcher, he stands to go bonkers in this particular matchup. Elliott is also a beast on the ground and should prove to be the most difficult running back the Texans defense has had to deal with so far this season.

Dud: Golden Tate, wide receiver, Detroit Lions

Through four games, Tate has become the Lions’ top wideout, averaging seven catches and 97.3 yards per game. He has also scored three times and has garnered 44 targets. This will make Tate enemy No. 1 against Green Bay when the Packers arrive. Tate will surely draw the attention of safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix who is tied for a league-high three interceptions. Clinton-Dix also has recorded 35 combined tackles and six defended passes. Quarterback Matthew Stafford would be wise to look for other passing options outside of Tate this game.

Stud: Andy Dalton, quarterback, Cincinnati Bengals

Flying under the radar, Dalton has thrown 11 touchdowns and is averaging 299.2 passing yards per game. He stands to beef up these stats when the Miami Dolphins hit Cincinnati. The Dolphins completely rolled over and played dead on the road in their last game, ceding 274 passing yards and three passing touchdowns to quarterback Tom Brady. Dalton has been launching dimes as of late and this suddenly worn-out looking Dolphins defense might have trouble keeping up with an on-point Bengals passing game.

Dud: Mark Ingram, running back, New Orleans Saints

It is the talk of the town in New Orleans. Ingram will be returning from his four-game suspension. But, will he suddenly play as if he is in mid-season form? Ingram’s upcoming Week 5 matchup does not look to be a cakewalk when the Washington Redskins arrive. Throughout three games, the Redskins have allowed just two running back scores and only 83.3 rushing yards per game on average to the position. Plus, Alvin Kamara has been performing lights out and is definitely considered the hot hand.

Stud: Malcolm Butler, cornerback, Tennessee Titans

The Titans defense has proven to be quite legit so far this season. So Butler should find a way to gain the upper hand playing against the Buffalo Bills. He is coming off of a season-best 10 tackle game when he also recorded one sack and one forced fumble. Lo and behold, Butler now faces the young Josh Allen, who last threw two interceptions, lost a fumble and got sacked seven times in Week 4. He also completed less than 50 percent of his passes. These stats should play perfectly into Butler’s defensive outlook for Week 5.

Dud: Dalvin Cook, running back, Minnesota Vikings

Cook is banged up and the Vikings are no sure bet to take down the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 5. In particular, this is a bad matchup for Cook facing an Eagles front seven that is yielding just 3.4 yards per carry on the season. Worse yet is that Philly has allowed only one running back touchdown in four games. Even if the Vikings increase Cook’s workload from his limited 10 attempts last week, his outlook is depressing.

Stud: Calvin Ridley, wide receiver, Atlanta Falcons

There is a new guy on the Falcons doing all of the scoring, and that is the rookie Calvin Ridley. He has scored a league-leading six touchdowns compared to the zero that fellow wideout Julio Jones has. This trend might well continue when the Falcons next play the Steelers. While the Steelers attempt to blanket Jones in coverage, quarterback Matt Ryan should continue looking Ridley’s way. And for what it is worth, the Steelers defense has been complete garbage. It has allowed the fourth-most passing yards and 12 passing touchdowns, which bodes great for Ridley as well as Ryan.

Dud: Sam Darnold, quarterback, New York Jets

Darnold has talent and one of these games soon, he will hopefully break out. But, Week 5 is not ideal for Darnold as the Jets host the Denver Broncos. He will be facing a defense that last held Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes to just one passing touchdown and his lowest quarterback rating to date. Look for sack master Von Miller to strike fast while those in the Broncos secondary make life miserable for the Jets receivers. The dud at the end of this battle will likely be Darnold.