Fantasy News & Analysis

Ian Hartitz’s Week 5 fantasy football fallouts: Nullified touchdowns, missed big plays and more

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf (14) rushes in for a touchdown against New Orleans Saints safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) and cornerback Paulson Adebo (29) during the first half at Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

  • Packers WR Randall Cobb, Broncos WR Jerry Jeudy, Bears WR Darnell Mooney and Seahawks WR D.K. Metcalf were involved in the most sheesh-worthy plays in Week 5.
  • Steelers WR Diontae Johnson continues to pop up in this column, demonstrating how much better he’s been than his disappointing counting stats suggest.
  • Ravens QB Lamar Jackson missed back-to-back potential bomb touchdowns to WR Devin Duvernay and Tylan Wallace.
Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

Week 5 has come and gone. Sixteen NFL games brought joy, laughs and tears; today we’ll focus on the latter sadness and break down just how close some came to achieving fantasy football glory.

What follows is a breakdown on all the “Sheesh” moments from Week 5. I’ve watched every game and used PFF’s backend tools to help determine instances when:

  • Pass-catchers could have scored or picked up big yardage with a more accurate pass
  • Pass-catchers did receive an accurate pass that should have resulted in a score or big gain, but the ball was dropped
  • Ball carriers managed to get all the way to the one-yard line, but didn’t score
  • Players scored or picked up big yardage, but the play was nullified by penalty
  • Other random shit happened that tilted fantasy football managers of all shapes and sizes

But first, the four players who had to deal with the most overall sheesh in Week 5.

Packers WR Randall Cobb: The 32-year-old veteran had a great day at the office (7-99-0) during the Packers’ London-themed loss to the Giants. However, the performance could have been quite a bit bigger had just a few things gone his way:

  • Cobb had a step on his man from the 4-yard line; too bad the pass sailed long and fell incomplete out of bounds.
  • The Packers called a successful screen to Cobb from the 11-yard line, but it certainly would have been a lot cooler if he gained 11 yards instead of 10.
  • Cobb had a step on his defender deep from 29 yards out just before the half, but Aaron Rodgers underthrew the potential touchdown. Incomplete.

Broncos WR Jerry Jeudy: First, Broncos QB Russell Wilson nearly had an early 15-yard pearl of a touchdown to Jerry Jeudy. The problem: Jeudy only got one hand on the well-thrown ball in the back of the end zone (bad no-call), eliminating the potential 15-yard touchdown. Later, the Broncos then missed out on a potential 27-yard touchdown when Russ overthrew a wide-open Jeudy, who had sprung free downfield on a slot fade. Finally, Jeudy had an easy 30 to 40 yards at his disposal after getting open on a deep cross; too bad Wilson sailed it long and gave the defender a chance to force the incompletion, which he did.

Seahawks WR D.K. Metcalf: A 5-88-1 receiving line isn’t anything to scoff at, but Metcalf’s day was nearly so much bigger. Part of this was his fault, dropping a perfectly thrown potential touchdown from 13 yards out just before halftime. However, Metcalf also had a separate 32-yard score get nullified by a (fair) holding penalty. Metcalf’s partner-in-crime was happy to pick up the two-touchdown slack.

Bears WR Darnell Mooney: There were three different unfortunate instances involving Mooney in Week 5:

  • Most egregious: Mooney was open for a 26-yard score … if he had gotten a catchable ball. Alas, Justin Fields sent the potential touchdown short and into the turf.
  • Still sucks: Mooney again got some separation down the field and had a decent enough pass from Fields hit his hands. However, Harrison Smith closed in a hurry and helped eliminate any chance of a 25-yard touchdown when the ball was just a tad late.
  • Annoying penalty: Mooney (46-yards out, 20-yard penalty) picked up a big play for the offense via penalty after springing open to the point that Patrick Peterson basically just accepted the penalty and shoved him to the turf.

Pass-catchers could have scored or picked up big yardage with a more accurate pass

The following pass-catchers should have had a much bigger day at the office, but unfortunately their respective quarterbacks weren’t quite up to the task for at least a moment. The following handful of players had to deal with some subjectively shitty near misses:

It’s absolutely wild to think that Josh Allen left some meat on the bone in a first half that featured him rack up 348 passing yards and four touchdowns. Somehow: It’s true. WR Stefon Diggs showed off some every-lethal route-running ability to break wide open from 18 yards out, but Allen’s pass failed wide incomplete.

Allen and Diggs also couldn't connect at the start of the second quarter on a potential 50-yard gain (if not 92-yard house call), although the incompletion was caused more so by solid coverage than any fault of either player

49ers WR Deebo Samuel split a pair of defenders from eight yards out on what should have been a short touchdown, but Jimmy Garoppolo failed to put the ball on the money, leading to the incompletion. Luckily the duo would connect for a short score later. The sheesh Gods tend to work in mysterious ways.

It’s tough to be too overly critical on third-string Dolphins QB Skylar Thompson’s NFL debut. That said: Tyreek Hill got a step deep (when does he not) and could have had an 88-yard touchdown to his name with a perfect throw. Alas, the underthrown deep ball only led to a 34-yard gain courtesy of a defensive pass interference.

Davante Adams moved the Raiders all the way to the Chiefs' doorstep with a pair of pass-interference penalties. The second one featured a badly underthrown deep ball from Derek Carr; an on-point pass very possibly would have resulted in a 24-yard score for Adams. Josh Jacobs wound up punching the ball in the end zone instead.

Non-wide receivers messing up the whole “catch the ball and score a touchdown” thing

There were three main instances of a non-wide receivers having a good enough ball to score, and yet here we are discussing why they didn’t:

  • Bills TE Quintin Morris technically didn’t drop a touchdown, but that would have been better than the reality of him fumbling a shovel pass from the 1-yard line.
  • Broncos FB Andrew Beck received a (rare) well-thrown dime from Russell Wilson down the seam for a potential 27-yard score, but the pass was dropped.
  • Saints TE Adam Trautman should have caught a 17-yard touchdown from Andy Dalton, but he didn’t. Luckily Trautman did redeem himself later when Taysom Hill threw the ball.

Don’t be too hard on Diontae Johnson

Readers of this column are all too familiar with Johnson’s run of sheeshes this season. Don’t let his 53.4 receiving yards per game and zero touchdowns fool you: Johnson continues to impression a weekly basis with both his ball skills and (especially) route-running sweetness. Last Sunday featured a pair of rather great catches — the only problem was that Johnson *barely* came down out of bounds on both occasions.

Johnson also nearly picked up 25 yards in the fourth quarter upon breaking free down the sideline, but Kenny Pickett sent the ball long and out of bounds. Here’s to hoping the rookie continues to grow and enables all these receivers to bigger heights down the road.

The biggest “Sheeshquence” (sequence involving sheesh) of the week

Ravens QB Lamar Jackson got the W on Sunday night, but things could have been a bit bigger had he not missed multiple deep touchdowns on the same third-quarter drive. First, Jackson's heave to Devin Duvernay from 51 yards away was just a bit too long. This one wasn't too egregious; the throw would have needed to be perfect. The same can't be said for Jackson missing Tylan Wallace from 41 yards out just two plays later; this one was a layup given the coverage bust at hand.

Other sheeshes

There were a number of other near misses throughout Week 3 that were tougher to fully blame one particular party, but that doesn’t make the near-miss result any less sheeshful for the fantasy managers and fans at hand to deal with.

Good ball, no dice: The Packers dialed up a deep ball to WR Romeo Doubs from their own 32-yard line midway through the third quarter. Unfortunately, Doubs got held up halfway through his route, leading to the Packers having to settle for a penalty instead of a potential 50-plus yard gain. … Bills WR Gabriel Davis certainly had a perfectly amazing day at the office anyway; just realize he almost caught a trio of touchdowns but was interfered with on a slant that gave the Bills the ball at the 1-yard line instead of potentially being a five-yard score. … Titans TE Chigoziem Okonkwo caught a potential 12-yard touchdown in the back of the end zone; the problem was that his hand came down out of bounds before establishing possession. … Chargers WR Mike Williams caught a 22-yard pass that was originally ruled a touchdown, but further review showed that he only had one foot down. The incompletion being ruled a touchdown at first is an easy way to make a play extra sheeshy. … Browns RB Nick Chubb found himself with a catchable target downfield for a change; too bad he failed to haul in the potential 20-plus yard gain. … Panthers WR Robbie Anderson had a potential 17-yard touchdown in his hands, however, the 49ers managed to make a great play on the ball and knocked it away. Not quite a drop, but definitely a sheesh. … Cardinals WR Marquise Brown has been one of the league’s more impressive players regardless of position over the last few weeks; his one low point was letting a perfectly thrown ball from Kyler Murray bounce off his chest and onto the turf. The completion would have easily been good for 20 yards, and knowing Hollywood’s long speed — this was a potential 75-yard house-call. … Lions QB Jared Goff tried to squeeze in a five-yard touchdown to Amon-Ra St. Brown, but the ball fell to the turf with multiple defenders closing in at the catch point. The Sun God might have been just short anyway. Goff also missed out on a potential 30-yard gain to backup RB Justin Jackson when the well-thrown deep ball went through the backup running back’s hands. … Chargers QB Justin Herbert zipped a low pass to WR Josh Palmer from nine yards out that bounced off his hands and fell incomplete. Best-case, Palmer catches the pass and finds a way to move another few inches into the end zone. Worst-case, the Chargers at least would have had a new set of downs inside the 1-yard line. … Browns WR Donovan Peoples-Jones hauled in a rather pretty throw down the sideline from Jacoby Brissett. Alas, DPJ came down just out of bounds on the potential 34-yard gain/35-yard touchdown. … Raiders WR Mack Hollins got open deep on the Raiders' very first drive. Credit to Derek Carr for literally putting the football between Hollins' numbers; the problem is that he failed to convert what would have been a 50-plus yard catch. Hollins later followed up this near miss by briefly getting two hands on the ball in the end zone for a potential 29-yard score … before losing the tug-of-war and watching the ball fall harmlessly to the turf. Sheesh.

Not the worst throw, but also not the best: Giants WR Darius Slayton was open across the middle on a deep crosser from the 43-yard line. A touchdown wasn't guaranteed with a perfect throw, but it would have gained 20-plus yards. Actual result: Ball thrown behind Slayton, incomplete. … Bills backup TE Quintin Morris got some separation on a nice double-move from 24 yards out; too bad Josh Allen’s pass sailed long incomplete. Don’t be too distraught: Allen connected with rookie Khalil Shakir for a touchdown on the very next play. … Jets WR Elijah Moore was open in the back of the end zone from 16 yards out; a pinpoint perfect throw from Zach Wilson perhaps could have led to a score, but it wasn’t egregious. The dup also just missed on a potential 27-yard sideline completion when Moore couldn’t quite keep both feet in bounds. … Bucs WR Scotty Miller doesn’t exactly present Tom Brady with the biggest catch radius in the world. That said: TB12 underthrew Miller from 44 yards out when Tampa Bay’s pint-sized speedster had a step or two of separation, and later Miller corralled a potential 37-yard gain just barely out of bounds. … Another instance of a small receiver being open, albeit not exactly offering the easiest window: Cardinals WR Rondale Moore watched a potential two-yard score from Kyler Murray sail long incomplete. Murray also missed Zach Ertz for a potential 25-plus yard gain on the game’s final drive before eventually putting his team in a position to make the game-tying field goal. … Titans WR Nick Westbrook-Ikhine almost added a 50-plus yard completion to his 2-72-0 performance, but Ryan Tannehill’s bomb sailed just a hair out of reach. … Rams WR Tutu Atwell did hook up with Matthew Stafford for a long 54-yard completion, although the pair nearly had another potential 50-plus-yard completion earlier overthrown and thus incomplete. … Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey got loose down the sideline for a potential 20-plus yard gain – perhaps even a 36-yard touchdown if hit in stride; too bad Baker Mayfield couldn't deal with the pressure and failed to throw an accurate pass. … Bengals Mike Thomas got a step down the sidelines just before halftime, however, Joe Burrow‘s pass carried him just a bit out of bounds. The backup receiver also failed to maintain possession of the ball to the ground.

Penalties are annoying whether they are warranted or not: Justin Fields had an absolutely amazing 52-yard touchdown run that was wiped off the board. Seriously: This was too cool not to count.

DeVante Parker (65-yards out, 25-yard penalty) picked up a big gain via penalty upon breaking free downfield. The Bailey Zappe deep ball sailed out of bounds, eliminating the potential for Parker to take advantage of his primary coverage defender falling down. … 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo had a four-yard rushing touchdown taken off the board; luckily he connected with Deebo Samuel for a touchdown a mere two plays later. … Lions WR Tom Kennedy caught a 13-yard touchdown — the only issue was that the refs (rightfully) called offensive pass interference on the pick that sprung him open in the first place.

Just short. Sheesh: Note that sequences where a player was downed just short of the goal line, but later went on to score the touchdown themself on the same drive, aren’t listed. … Chiefs RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire nearly had a seven-yard touchdown out of nowhere during a drive that was being dominated by Jerick McKinnon, but he was ruled down at the half-yard line after further review. Next play: Touchdown pass to Travis Kelce. That's what a good sheesh is all about. Later in the fourth, CEH corralled a reception near the goal line before once again getting stopped at the one. You'll never guess who scored on the next play. … Jets rookie sensation Breece Hall caught two passes for 100 yards in Week 5 — just realize he would have had a pair of receiving touchdowns to his name had he managed to gain 102 yards. Instead, Michael Carter got to vulture Hall on the goal line not once, but twice. Sheesh.  … Three Vikings nearly had touchdowns, but a different party wound up scoring after they were downed at the 1-yard line: Justin Jefferson (9-yard reception from 10 yards out), Alexander Mattison (7-yard rush from 8 yards out) and Dalvin Cook (1-yard rush from 1 yard out. … Dolphins RB Raheem Mostert took a swing pass nine yards to the 1-yard line before Miami naturally decided to let TE Durham Smythe sneak the ball across the goal line. Very cool! … Buccaneers RB Leonard Fournette was somewhat fortunate to get his pair of one-yard touchdowns considering Mike Evans (40-yard gain) and Chris Godwin (9) were the ones who got the offense down to the goal line in the first place. … Bengals RB Joe Mixon got stuffed at the 1-yard line on a carry from the 5-yard line. This brings Mixon to 0-for-7 on carries inside the 5-yard line this season. Sheesh.


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