Welcome to the Week 5 edition of The Inside Look for the 2022 NFL season. This will be a data-driven article and will go under the hood to see if the box scores tell the whole story about what transpired during the weekend. My goal here will be to either calm your nerves about a player that may have underperformed or cause you to rethink some of the spots you may have taken.
Let’s dig in to the data!
Before we dig into individual player performances I wanted to take a moment to talk about why we focus so heavily on Targets. Targets equal opportunities and in fantasy opportunity more often than creates production. The more targets that a player gets the better chance there is that the player will return on value.
Justin Jefferson’s 2022 is off to a stellar start. Week 5 saw him get 13 targets for a second straight week. We also saw Jefferson eclipse double-digit catches for second straight week as he was able to haul in 12 of those 13 targets. At the end of the day, Jefferson finished with 154 yards on those 12 catches. While he didn’t find the endzone, he did end up with a two-point conversion. Up next week for the Vikings will be a date with the Miami Dolphins and a matchup of two of the best in the league at what they do, Tyreek Hill and Justin Jefferson.
Yes, you are reading that correctly. Randall Cobb was tied for the lead this weekend for wide receiver targets with 13. That is not a typo. The 13 targets Cobb had were the most he’s had in a game since all the way back in Week 15 of 2017. Coming into Week 5, Cobb had only been targeted 12 times. We should consider this week an outlier as he normally only gets 2-3 targets a game.
Mike Williams continues to dominate. Williams had double-digit targets for a second straight week and 3 out of his last 4 games. His 13 targets this week were the most he’s had this season, as were the 10 catches. His final stat line was extremely impressive as he finished with 10 catches for 134 yards. The only negative here was he failed to find the endzone. Up next will be a matchup against the Broncos and their tough D.
Christian McCaffrey and his pass-catching game is back. For a second straight week, McCaffrey has set a season-high in targets. After being targeted 9 times in Week 4, McCaffrey was targeted 12 times in Week 5. Those were his most targets since all the way back in 2019. For a fourth straight week, McCaffrey finished with at least 100 yards from scrimmage.
The targets for Leonard Fournette are slowly coming around. Each week Fournette has seen more and more targets. In Week 5, Fournette set a season-high with 11 targets. He was able to catch 10 of them 83 yards and had a receiving TD for a second straight week. Fournette will look to keep the good times going in Week 6 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Tyler Higbee continues to be one of Matthew Stafford’s favorite targets. While the 10 targets he had in Week 5 weren’t the most he’s had this season, it was the third time this season that Higbee had double-digit targets. It wasn’t all rosy for Higbee though as he was only able to catch 7 of them for just 46 yards. The 46 yards were the fewest he’s had since Week 1. Up next for the Rams will be the Panthers, a team that has given up less than 200 receiving yards so far to Tight Ends.
After being essentially invisible in Weeks 3 and 4, Evan Engram set a season-high in targets with 10 in Week 5. His 10 targets were the most he’s had since 2020 when he was a member of the New York Giants. Engram was able to catch 6 of the 10 targets for 69 yards. The 69 yards were the most he’s had this season.
When you have a pass-catching back like Christian McCaffrey, you better heavily utilize him in the passing game. And that’s exactly what Mayfield did in Week 5. Nearly 35% of the 25 pass attempts by Mayfield went to his backs. McCaffrey’s 7 targets were far and away the most by anyone on the Panthers this past weekend.
On the polar opposite end of the spectrum, I present to you the Buffalo Bills. Nearly 80% of all of Josh Allen’s passes went to his receivers this weekend. All but 7 of his 36 passes went to his receivers. Devin Singletary was targeted just 2 times and Tight End Quintin Morris was targeted 5 times.
No running back had more attempts than Derrick Henry in Week 5. That’s a statement we’ve heard often over the last several seasons. For the fourth time this season, Henry eclipsed 20 runs. His 28 attempts this weekend were the most he’s had this season. Henry also set a season-high with 2 touchdowns in Week 5. All in all, Henry went for 102 rushing yards on his 28 carries. He’ll have a chance to rest those legs this weekend as the Titans have a bye in Week 6.
After averaging around 15 carries through the first 4 weeks of the season, Dameon Pierce set a career-high with 26 carries in Week 5. He just missed having a second consecutive 100-yard rushing game as he finished with 99 yards. He did find the endzone though for the third straight week. The rookie running back is slowly becoming the focal point of this Texans offense.
The ‘Playbook’ as I like to call it shows a breakdown of the play splits that teams used this past weekend.
Up early in this one, the undefeated Dallas Cowboys went with a run-heavy offense. Of their 50 plays on Sunday, 34 were for runs and only 16 pass attempts. While the majority of the carries went to Elliot this week, Tony Pollard was the one that did the damage thanks to a 57-yard TD run in the second quarter that put the Cowboys up for good in this one.
Having a QB that can throw with some competence, the Steelers ran pass plays more than 70% of the time on Sunday. Most of that was dictated by the score though as the Steelers were essentially down from the moment Josh Allen and the Bills’ offense took the field. In Kenny Pickett’s first career start, he threw the ball 52 times and ended up with 327 passing yards. Even though he threw a ton of passes, none went for a TD as the Steelers were slaughtered by the Bill 38-3. Ouch, Pittsburgh!
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I've been playing fantasy sports since I was 12, which means I've been playing for over half of my life. I love DFS and season-long formats and have been writing for nearly a decade. I started my writing career at RotoWire and currently write for FantasyPros, Rotoballer, Razzball and DFSR. I cover NBA, MLB and NFL and follow all major sports. I generally cover primarily DFS but I also do game previews, recaps, player write-ups, injury updates etc.
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