The small sample size of NFL games is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, it’s fleeting - especially when the injuries and bye weeks hit. On the other, that means there’s crazy news and rumors every single week. Were it London games, the returns of guys like Cooper Kupp, Jonathan Taylor, and Jameson Williams, or Travis Kelce dating Taylor Swift, there is always something to keep us occupied. And, as we clearly know now, any team can win in any given week. Here are some key takeaways from Week Five of NFL football that should make an impact on the landscape moving forward.
Breece Hall is BACK
There was an ambiguous quote this week from Jet’s head coach Robert Saleh that had the whole fantasy commuting speculating:
"From an opportunity standpoint, there is no pitch count with him anymore. We would love to get him going. But at the same time, we've got a lot of guys that we want to get involved."
That can be read either way. Is dropping the pitch count a new development? Or has there never been a pitch count but they want it to be a split backfield? Well, on Sunday Hall ripped off 177 yards and a TD on the ground with another three catches for 17 in the passing game which puts that debate to rest. There should not be a pitch count for Breece Hall because he is back. And he is awesome.
Cooper Kupp and Puka Nacua Can Live In Harmony
Puka Nacua has been the surprise fantasy darling of the early season but we all waited with bated breath as Cooper Kupp returned. Folks that utilized Greg Dortch last year while Rondale Moore was out saw a guy making plays go right back to the bench so obviously some concern was there. As it turns out, both players are really good and both should get a bunch of looks each week from a revitalized Matthew Stafford. It may be bad news for the likes of Van Jefferson, Tyler Higbee, and Tutu Atwell in fantasy footbal but it’s certainly good for the Rams fans out there.
Real Deal Jaleel McLaughlin?
Here’s my policy on backup running backs. If the starter is out and we are simply scouring the depth chart for the next man up, I’m not typically excited. But, if there has been some smoke for the player even before then - I’m in. With Jaleel McLaughlin, there were rumors floating around in the off-season that he was looking great and getting first team reps so we were intrigued already. After having 100+ yards from scrimmage last week and a TD then dropping 99 yards and a TD this week, we have to be interested. Especially when Javonte Williams is out.
Bengals Redemption Song?
Last week one of our headlines in this article read “Joe Burrow Is Not Okay”. And, according to Dianni Russini, he still isn’t 100% and might not be for a couple weeks. But the Bengals this week looked like a totally new team, led by almost 200 yards receiving and three touchdowns from Ja'Marr Chase. And that was all without Tee Higgins and with a supposedly banged up Joe Burrow. Are the now 2-3 Bengals righting the ship to be the competitor we believed they could be? Or just they just beat up on a lower tier Arizona Cardinals teams? Their next three games are against the Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers, and Buffalo Bills so we are fixing to find out.
“Name Brand” Tight Ends Aren’t Dead After All
I have to admit this one is a bit personal to me after I was accused on social media of ranking a few tight ends too high this week based on “name value”. And those accusations are levied despite me providing my full list of criteria for elite tight end production to anyone who is willing to read, every year, FOR FREE. Well, the “name brand” tight ends like Dallas Goedert, Travis Kelce. Darren Waller, Kyler Pitts, Mark Andrews, and T.J. Hockenson are all sitting in the TE1 range going into Monday night so maybe there was a reason we ranked them there outside of their reputation. Because no one cares about that, we care about the numbers.