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Fantasy Football: QB matchups, streamer of the week, Week 5 rankings and more

Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) throws during the first half against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

  • Different play style, same results for Josh Allen: The Buffalo Bills QB is playing the position far differently than he has in past seasons, luckily the results remain great.
  • Detroit Lions should continue to produce: The Lions rank first in points per game and 32nd in points per game against, adding credence to the idea that Jared Goff and company will keep on putting up big numbers.
  • Kyler Murray still performing well despite slow starts: The Arizona Cardinals QB has had a bit of a slow start, but still stands as the fantasy QB8 thanks to the team’s impressive ability to rebound in the second half.
Estimated reading time: 16 minutes

Week 5 is here, so it’s truly a great day to be great. Today’s goal is to break down the week’s key fantasy football questions facing the quarterback position before producing the group’s specific ranks. Updated rankings throughout the week from myself and the rest of the PFF Fantasy crew can be accessed with PFF+.

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“Why be a king, when you can be a God. – Eminem” – Geno Smith

Smith has thrown for 300-plus yards and multiple touchdowns in consecutive games, surprisingly engineering the NFL’s 11th-ranked scoring offense through four weeks of action. All the veteran quarterback has done over the past two seasons is function as one of the league’s better quarterbacks:

  • PFF passing grade: 80.2 (No. 9 among 50 QB with 100-plus dropbacks 2021-2022)
  • QB rating: 106.0 (No. 2)
  • Yards per attempt: 7.7 (No. 9)
  • Adjusted completion rate: 81.3% (No. 2)
  • Big-time throw rate: 5.3% (No. 10)
  • Turnover-worthy play rate: 3.4% (No. 20)

Will this keep up all season? Maybe not to this extent, but there should still be plenty of opportunities for fantasy-friendly volume considering the Seahawks can’t stop a nosebleed, allowing the 31st-most points in the league, and have operated with a quick pace — only the Eagles have run more plays with 15-plus seconds remaining on the play clock.

The Saints’ eighth-ranked defense in fewest fantasy points per game allowed to opposing quarterbacks is hardly a layup but just realize Smith and company look capable of at least competing with more defenses than not, which is quite the improvement over their “worst offense in the league” reputation entering the season.

This version of Josh Allen isn’t quite what we’re used to seeing

Allen has evolved quite a bit from his early-career self. Young Allen would throw a downfield bomb to a double-covered fullback in overtime of wild-card game without a second thought, but this version is far more content to simply get the ball out of his hand in a hurry:

  • 2018: 11.5-yard average target depth, 3.2 seconds average time of release
  • 2019: 9.8, 2.93
  • 2020: 9.1, 2.99
  • 2021: 9.0, 2.88
  • 2022: 7.1, 2.64

Overall, the Bills rank just 28th in deep ball (20-plus yards downfield) rate this season, puzzling when you consider their quarterback’s Uncle Rico-esque cannon for a right arm.

Don’t mistake this as an indictment. Allen is PFF’s seventh-highest graded passer and has the NFL’s second-most passing yards (1,227) to complement his 12 total touchdowns. The Bills rank fifth in scoring and EPA per play alike. The offense continues to look like one of the better overall units in the league despite dealing with all kinds of injuries at wide receiver to start the season.

Up next is a home matchup against the T.J. Watt-less Steelers so don’t be surprised if fantasy’s overall QB2 keeps on keeping on with his 10th-consecutive top-eight weekly finish.

There’s a new QB1 in Pittsburgh

Rookie QB Kenny Pickett replaced Mitch Trubisky in the second half of the Steelers’ Week 4 loss to the Jets. He utilized the following target distribution:

Pickett’s three interceptions don’t quite paint the whole story considering two were tipped and one was on a Hail Mary. Perhaps the rookie quarterback continues to produce as a rusher, although this really wasn’t his game in college: He gained at least 50 rushing yards in just 13% of his career collegiate games, easily the lowest mark among the top-five quarterbacks in the 2022 class.

Regardless, Pickett will need to grow up fast considering the fire he’s being thrown into:

  • Week 5: at Bills (No. 2 defense in fewest fantasy points per game allowed to QB)
  • Week 6: vs. Buccaneers (No. 10)
  • Week 7: at Dolphins (No. 32)
  • Week 8: at Eagles (No. 4)
  • Week 10: vs. Saints (No. 8)
  • Week 11: vs. Bengals (No. 5)

Quarterback competition in Dallas?

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