Bold fantasy football predictions: Will Washington receivers command respect in Week 5?

A first-round fantasy RB finally breaks through

Andy Behrens: You've been waiting patiently for the first big Dalvin Cook week and, hey, great news: Chicago's defense is here to facilitate a monster performance. The Bears rank dead-last in the league against the run, allowing an outrageous 183.3 YPG on the ground. Aaron Jones, Dameon Pierce and Saquon Barkley have feasted against them and Cook is about to become the fourth back in as many weeks to produce a top-12 finish against Chicago.

In fact, if you want to get bold, let's say Dalvin erupts for 160 total yards and finishes as the overall RB1 for Week 5.

Curtis Samuel continues strong start with big performance

Scott Pianowski: The Washington offense has fallen on hard times, but give the Eagles and Cowboys some credit for that. A bounce-back is likely against an ordinary Titans defense, and that might push Curtis Samuel into rare territory, perhaps a top-12 WR performance. The team is creatively scheming the ball and using Samuel more proactively than anyone on the roster.

Let's push him over 100 yards, with a score. Don't overreact to the horror show of the last two weeks.

Washington's No. 1 receiver joins the party

Matt Harmon: Scott and I are on the same brainwave here but I think the big rebound will come from Washington's No. 1 wide receiver, Terry McLaurin. I'm as big a Curtis Samuel fan as you'll find but at some point, the team needs to move away from the extreme usage of all his shallow aDOT targets. Samuel can do more and should be asked to do it with Dotson out.

However, the rookie's absence is also good for McLaurin, who had some role overlap with Dotson. McLaurin and Dotson have run 50 go routes on the year. The only players with more: Marquise Brown, Ja’Marr Chase and the great Mack Hollins.

Terry McLaurin #17 of the Washington Commanders has fantasy value
Terry McLaurin is poised for a big fantasy performance in Week 5. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) (Scott Taetsch via Getty Images)

At some point, Washington will have to mix up McLaurin's route tree because they need him running high-percentage plays. He's too good to just be a deep threat. For the time being, he should be good to hit a couple of big plays against a Titans pass defense that can be exploited. We know by now to downgrade all Commanders' players when Carson Wentz has to go against a fierce edge pass rush.

The Titans do not have that. I see McLaurin finishing inside the top-five receivers this week.

Patriot backs take over in fantasy's best defensive matchup

Dalton Del Don: Whether it’s fourth-round rookie Bailey Zappe making his first career start or a badly hobbled Mac Jones playing through a high-ankle sprain at quarterback, New England figures to be even run-heavier than usual this week as home favorites.

Facing a Lions defense allowing an NFL-high 5.6 YPC and 10 rushing touchdowns as well as the second-most fantasy points to running backs, there’s no need to debate New England’s RB usage this week. Both Rhamondre Stevenson and Damien Harris will finish as top-12 fantasy backs. Detroit is somehow on pace to allow the most points in NFL history while scoring the second-most points. They have become the perfect fantasy matchup.

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