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Jonathan Mingo | Fantasy Football Winners & Losers: Week 5 + Panic Meter (2023)

Fantasy Football Winners & Losers: Week 5

by Scott Rinear

Welcome to Week 5 of my weekly article series for In-Between Media (IBT), giving you my takes on the fantasy football “winners and losers” after each week of action. This will be a fun topic to cover, and I will include my reasoning behind the judgments, along with actionable analysis when possible. 

Now, let’s break down Week 5 of the NFL season.

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Fantasy Football Winners & Losers: Week 5

Fantasy Football Winners 

Jonathan Mingo (WR, Carolina Panthers)

I am starting with a less obvious Week 5 winner, someone who is trending up but has not yet lit up the fantasy football scoreboard. After Week 1, I posted an early-season update on non-QB rookies who had seen a snap share above 50%. It is a somewhat arbitrary number, but it can act as an early indicator for rookies. A rookie with a high snap share out of the gate can only be seen as a positive, even if the fantasy points aren’t there yet. Panthers’ rookie WR Jonathan Mingo was on that list.

In his NFL debut, Mingo had the second-highest rookie snap share (87%) behind only the Cardinals’ Michael Wilson (90%). In Week 2, Mingo was on the field for 98% of the Panthers’ snaps. Mingo suffered a concussion in Week 3 and missed Week 4. During this same stretch of games, veteran Adam Thielen emphatically grabbed his spot as the team’s WR1, including a 13-target, 107-yard day in the loss to the Lions this week.

The big question for me was what Mingo’s role would look like returning from the concussion in Week 5. At only a 7.8% rostership in one-QB ESPN leagues, Mingo is a player I am monitoring but have not picked up yet. But the rookie picked up right where he left off, with an 85% snap share in Week 5. According to PFF, Mingo ran the third-most routes (36) after Thielen and DJ Chark Jr., and his seven targets trailed only Thielen. He turned this into five catches for 48 yards and 9.8 Points Per Reception (PPR) fantasy points.

Now, I warned you that some of these fantasy football winners are not on the Week 5 list because they won you your week. Mingo makes the list because his arrow is pointing up based on a combination of factors:

  1. He is past his Week 3 concussion and maintained his active role in this passing game.
  2. Including Week 5, the Panthers have one of the highest passing rates in the league at 67%. They average 37 targets per game, which is the second-highest in the league behind the Vikings.
  3. The Panthers are likely to be in negative game scripts more often than most teams, meaning they will often be playing from behind. In some cases, a passing rate of 67% would scream negative regression, but that is not the case with the Panthers. The ineffectiveness of their running game, combined with their seeming propensity to be playing catch-up, should keep that pass rate high.

Breece Hall (RB, New York Jets)

OK, this one is rather obvious, but Breece Hall has to be considered a fantasy football winner in Week 5. He is one of the most talented RBs in the NFL. Yet, Hall is returning from the knee injury he suffered in 2022 and still had not put together a dominant performance. No one knew exactly when (or if) he would return to his pre-injury form in 2023. Add in the Week 1 injury that took out Aaron Rodgers and brought Zach Wilson back to the party, and a lot of uncertainty has surrounded the Jets so far in 2023, including the fantasy outlook for Hall.

After an embarrassing loss to the Patriots in Week 3, signs that this might not be a total dumpster fire season for the Jets surfaced in Week 4 when they went toe-to-toe with the Chiefs in a close three-point loss. Still, Hall seemed to have his training wheels on, as he saw only 43% of the Jets’ RB rush attempts, rushing for 56 yards on eight carries.

Then the stars aligned in Week 5. Head Coach Robert Saleh essentially told us that the training wheels were coming off, and Hall faced the most fantasy-friendly RB matchup versus the Broncos. And I am not saying Hall is 100% recovered. He does not seem to have the same side-to-side prowess he showcased pre-injury. But his straight-line speed is back, which he confirmed when he took an early second-half handoff 72 yards for a TD, knifing through the Broncos’ defense and outrunning everyone to the house.

Hall finished with the kind of performance that those of us who took a shot on him in the third or fourth rounds of our drafts have been waiting for. Hall dominated the RB workload with a 76% RB rush share, turning that into 22 carries for 177 yards and a TD. He also caught all three of his targets for another 17 yards. Hall (along with the Jets and all of his fantasy managers) was a huge winner in Week 5.

Joe Burrow (QB, Cincinnati Bengals)

Joe Burrow is a Week 5 fantasy football winner for one simple reason:  People were panicking. And rightly so. A consensus top-five QB in redraft formats, it had been about as ugly as possible for Burrow and the Bengals’ passing game over the first month of the season. After four games, Burrow had completed only 57.6% of his 151 passes, averaging 182 passing yards per game with two TDs and two interceptions. Burrow’s weekly finishes at the position were QB31, QB21, QB26 and QB28, with a ceiling game of 16.4 fantasy points in Week 2. The nagging calf injury that Burrow began the season with was having a significant impact on his ability to play at the high level to which we have become accustomed. There was talk of him having to be shut down until the calf fully healed.

Although the Bengals were trounced 27-3 by the Titans in Week 4, there were some positives after the game. Burrow himself told the media that it was the best he had felt after a game since last season. Some hope materialized as we entered Week 5. Hope for both Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase, whose slow start to the season was tied to Burrow’s health.

Hope turned into elation for Burrow and Chase managers against the Cardinals. Burrow completed 36 of 46 passes (a 78.3% completion rate) for 317 yards and three TDs, with 192 of the passing yards and all three TDs going to Chase. With “Monday Night Football” still to go, Burrow sits as the QB8 of Week 5 with 23.3 fantasy points. While he’s not fully 100% yet, nor the traditional fantasy football winner, he’s no loser, and the early season panic surrounding Burrow and the Bengals’ passing attack can subside.

Fantasy Football Losers

Miles Sanders (RB, Carolina Panthers)

Miles Sanders saw season-lows in usage and volume in Week 5. After battling a groin injury, Sanders entered Week 5 without an injury designation. The Panthers’ RBs saw only 16 carries all game as the Lions built an early lead. Sanders ended up with 32 yards on seven carries and saw one target, which was not caught. None of this is good, but it was better than his 13 rush attempts for 19 yards in Week 4. What’s worse, however, is the fact that Sanders ended up with his lowest RB rush share of the season (43.8%).

After spotting the Lions two TDs in the first quarter, the Panthers cut the lead in half as the first quarter ended. The Panthers then got a stop, got the ball back and were building momentum. Sanders lost a fumble on the next play, which was early in the second quarter, and saw only one more carry the rest of the game. Whether the fumble-induced doghouse spills into the future remains to be seen, but Sanders had already been trending in the wrong direction.

Here are Sanders’ weekly RB rush share numbers from Weeks 1 through 5:

  • Week 1: 67.7%
  • Week 2: 87.5%
  • Week 3: 90%
  • Week 4: 48.1%
  • Week 5: 43.8%

Mac Jones (QB, New England Patriots)

Things have gone from bad to worse for the Patriots. After notching their first (and only) win of the season in Week 3, the Patriots have lost the last two games by a combined 72-3. They haven’t scored a TD since the second quarter of Week 3, and that was their only TD in that game. And Mac Jones has been integral (in all the wrong ways) in this offensive descent into nothingness.

It looked as if Jones was finally let loose the first two games, averaging 48 pass attempts, 274 passing yards and two TDs per game. His completion rate was 68.8%, and the Patriots played the Eagles and Dolphins to two close (one-score) losses. Since then, he has taken a turn into the fantasy football loser category. Jones has completed 39 of 72 passes (54.2%), averaging 154 passing yards per game and has thrown four interceptions. Backup Bailey Zappe has taken over in the fourth quarter in each of the last two games. As crazy as it sounds, it seems Bill Belichick’s seat is heating up, and Jones’ days as the starter for the Patriots may be limited.

Not What It Seems: Fantasy Football Panic Meter

The following players were fantasy disappointments in Week 5, but my concern is low moving forward:

The following players were disappointments in Week 5, and I am concerned about them moving forward:

Thanks for reading my Week 5 fantasy football winners and losers. As always, find me on Twitter, talking fantasy football, joking around, posting GIFs and lending my support where it’s needed @MunderDifflinFF.

*Photo Credit: Jim Dedmon – USA TODAY Sports*

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