Fantasy Stars

Week 5 fantasy football rankings: Cowboys-Packers should be fantasy gold

Jordy Nelson should have a big day against the Cowboys' depleted secondary. Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Below are my PPR fantasy rankings for Week 5. Most leagues are using points per reception these days, so take that into consideration when looking at the ranks. Six points are awarded for every receiving and rushing TD, and four points for every passing TD. If you are playing in a non-PPR league, pass-catching running backs lose a bit of value and so do possession receivers. Make sure you check the status of players that have been limited or out of practice.

I will update rankings throughout the week, so make sure you check back before kickoff on Sunday. If you have any start-sit questions, feel free to hit me up at @jordanpfx on Twitter, and I will do my best to get to every question. Include your scoring system with your questions. Good luck!

QB

1 A. Rodgers GB

2 D. Prescott DAL

3 R. Wilson SEA

4 B. Roethlisberger PIT

5 D. Watson HOU

6 E. Manning NYG

7 C. Wentz PHI

8 C. Palmer ARI

9 C. Newton CAR 

10 A. Smith KC

11 M. Stafford DET

12 P. Rivers LAC

13 J. Cutler MIA

14 A. Dalton CIN

15 T. Taylor BUF

16 S. Bradford MIN *questionable knee

17 J. McCown NYJ

18 J. Brissett IND

19 J. Goff LAR

20 B. Bortles JAC

21 M. Mariota *questionable hamstring

22 D. Carr *questionable back

RB

1 L. Bell PIT

2 E. Elliott DAL

3 L. McCoy BUF

4 T. Gurley LAR

5 K. Hunt KC

6 J. Ajayi MIA

7 C. Hyde SF

8 D. Murray TEN

9 L. Fournette JAC

10 M. Gordon LAC

11 J. Howard CHI

12 L. Miller HOU

13 B. Powell NYJ 

14 F. Gore IND

15 M. Lynch OAK

16 L. Blount PHI

17 J. Mixon CIN

18 C. McCaffrey CAR

19 D. Johnson CLE

20 A. Abdullah DET

21 A. Ellington ARI

22 T. Cohen CHI 

23 I. Crowell CLE

24 A. Jones GB

25 W. Gallman NYG

26 L. Murray MIN

27 A. Collins BAL

28 J. Allen BAL  

29 E. McGuire NYJ

30 J. Stewart CAR

31 T. Rawls SEA 

32 J. Williams GB

33 G. Bernard CIN

34 D. Henry TEN

35 E. Lacy SEA

36 C. Clement PHI

37 J. McKissic SEA

38 J. McKinnon MIN

39 T. Riddick DET

40 D. Foreman HOU

WR

1  A. Brown PIT  

2  J. Nelson GB

3 D. Bryant DAL 

4 A. Green CIN

5 O. Beckham NYG  

6 D. Hopkins HOU

7 S. Diggs MIN 

8 T. Hill KC  

9 L. Fitzgerald ARI 

10 D. Baldwin SEA 

11 K. Allen LAC

12 D. Parker MIA  

13 T. Hilton IND

14 A. Thielen MIN 

15 R. Cobb GB  

16 G. Tate DET

17 J. Landry MIA

18 P. Garcon SF

19 D. Adams GB *If he's active I would roll with him

20 K. Benjamin CAR 

21 C. Kupp LAR

22 M. Bryant PIT

23 Jaron Brown ARI

24 A. Cooper OAK

25 T. Williams LAC

26 A. Hurns JAC

27 D. Funchess CAR

28 M. Crabtree OAK

29 S. Watkins LAR

30 R. Matthews TEN 

31 A. Jeffery PHI 

32 B. Marshall NYG  

33 W. Fuller HOU

34 J. Maclin BAL

35 K. Wright CHI   

36 S. Shepard NYG  

37 P. Richardson SEA

38 J. Kearse NYJ

39 J. Nelson ARI 

40 R. Anderson NYJ

TE

1 T. Kelce KC  

2 Z. Ertz PHI 

3 J. Graham SEA  

4 C. Clay BUF

5 H. Henry LAC   

6 K. Rudolph MIN  

7 A. Seferian-Jenkins NYJ

8 M. Bennett GB

9 D. Walker TEN

10 E. Engram NYG

11 J. Witten DAL

12 B. Watson BAL  

13 A. Gates LAC 

14 T. Croft CIN

15 J. Cook OAK

16 R. Griffin HOU 

17 J. Thomas MIA

18 E. Ebron DET

19 D. Njoku CLE

20 M. Lewis JAC 

DEF

1 Vikings 

2 Seahawks

3 Eagles

4 Steelers

5 Ravens 

6 Giants 

7 Bills

8  Jets

9 Cardinals

10 Rams 

11 Lions 

12 Chiefs 

13 Texans 

14 Panthers 

15 Bengals

16 49ers 

17 Dolphins

18 Packers

19 Titans

20 Colts

21  Raiders

22 Chargers

23 Jaguars 

24 Cowboys

Kicker

1 J. Elliott PHI  

2 M. Crosby GB

3 D. Bailey DAL

4 C. Boswell PIT 

5  J. Tucker BAL

6 G. Zuerlein LAR

7 H. Butker KC    

8 M. Prater DET

9 K. Fairbairn HOU

10 A. Vinatieri IND

11  A. Rosas NYG

12 R. Gould SF

13 P. Dawson ARI

14 R. Succop TEN

15 R. Bullock CIN

17 B. Walsh SEA 

18 G. Tavecchio OAK  

19 C. Parkey MIA 

20 K. Forbath MIN

21 G. Gano CAR

22 J. Myers JAC 

 

 

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Tucker looks like the real deal. Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

Kyle Tucker finally had his breakout season in 2020. The 23-year-old flashed potential to be a legitimate five-tool threat. He slashed .268/.325/.512, swiped eight bags, and played above average defense. Is Tucker's performance sustainable? Not only that, but is there room for growth?

Hard Hit % - 44.5%

Barrel % - 9.1%

K % - 20.2%

BB % - 7.9%
Chase % - 26.2%

The first thing to realize with Kyle Tucker is the small sample size at the MLB level. Despite appearing in three separate seasons, he's played in a total of 108 games, which is obviously quite a bit shy of even one full season. He also has an extremely unique swing that you wouldn't teach to anybody, but it "works" for him. This makes him a tough hitter to judge, as it's uncomfortable judging mechanics that work for him, and it's uncomfortable judging numbers that haven't had time to develop trends.

Hard Hit, Barrel, and Chase numbers are unavailable for the minors, but walk and strikeouts percentages are. This creates the ability to at least look at one trend.

Tucker broke onto the scene in 2018 with a monstrous season for AAA Fresno, the Astros affiliate at the time. In 2018, Tucker slashed .332/.400/.590 with 24 homers and 20 steals. He had an 18.1% K% and a 10.3% BB% that season. In 2019, Tucker struck out a little bit more (21.6%) but also walked a little bit more (11.2%). Tucker's 20.2% K% in 2020 is more in line with his minor league K%, indicating he's adjusted to major league pitching.

Tucker essentially put the pieces of contact ability and quality of contact from his previous MLB stints together in 2020. In 2018, Tucker didn't strike out very much (18.1% K%), but his 3.9% Barrel % didn't strike fear in any opponent.

In 2019, Tucker had a 12.8% Barrel %, and his 92 MPH average exit velocity is the best of his three seasons in MLB, but he struck out 27.8% of the time and walked just 5.6% of the time.

In 2020, there's a marriage between the two. His K% and BB% aren't as good as his 2018 marks, but they're better than his 2019 marks. His exit velocity and Barrel % aren't as good as his 2019 marks, but they're better than his 2018 marks. Tucker became a hitter that was able to do more damage without sacrificing consistency.

Tucker had a xBA of .267, which is right in line with his .268 average. His .459 xSLG lags behind his .512 actual SLG, but it isn't a catastrophic drop. The version of Tucker Astros fans saw is essentially who he is, but how does he improve?

What really unlocked Tucker in 2020 was a change in his setup.

Image via: GraysonSkweres/Twitter/Screenshot

Here he is on August 2nd against the Angels. As you can see, he's standing pretty straight up, and he has a "neutral" stance. Following the game on Aug. 2, Tucker was batting .200/.250/.300 with no homers.

Image via: GraysonSkweres/Twitter/Screenshot

Here's Tucker on August 6th, just a few days later. He's started to close off his stance just a bit, but he's still pretty neutral, and he has a little more forward body lean with his torso. Following the game on Aug. 6, he was batting .214/.267/.357 with a homer.

Image via: GraysonSkweres/Twitter/Screenshot

Now, here's Tucker on August 10th. His stance is considerably closed off, and he's maintaining the forward body lean he adopted on August 6th. Following the game on Aug. 10, Tucker was batting .190/.230/.328. It would be the last time any of those numbers would be that low the rest of the year. He maintained that stance for the rest of the season, and he finished the month of August hitting .272/.333/.588.

The swing change allowed him to be a factor on the outside pitch. Tucker would pull off on his front side, which made it tough for him to keep balls fair on the pull side. He'd often yank inside fastballs into the stands down the right field line. It also made him uncompetitive on outside strikes, as he'd either swing-and-miss, or roll them over into the shift.

After he made the change, Tucker started steering inside pitches fair, and he was able to do something with pitches on the outer third.

The next step is finding a way to continue to diversify his batted ball profile. Tucker's pull percentage in 2020 was 47%. That's a higher pull % than guys like Kyle Schwarber and Matt Olson. It was only 1% lower than Rangers outfielder Joey Gallo.

The one dimensional batted ball profile allows teams to shift Tucker aggressively. Teams shifted Tucker in 74% of his at-bats. His wOBA against the shift is .304. In AB's where teams didn't shift him, Tucker had a .455 wOBA. The shift hurts Tucker more than most as well, because he hits the ball on the ground 39% of the time. Gallo and Olson hit it on the ground 32% and 35% of the time respectively.

Lastly, Tucker's performance on breaking balls leaves a lot to be desired. He crushes fastballs, as he batted .303 with a .574 SLG against fastballs in 2020, with a .292 xBA and .528 xSLG. His .208 AVG and .396 SLG against breaking balls aren't very good, and his .209 xBA and .340 xSLG don't tell a prettier story. His 32% whiff % against breaking balls is nearly double his whiff % on fastballs.

If Tucker can learn to be more competitive against breaking balls and learn to use the whole field, then he'll be a really scary hitter. If he doesn't, teams will be able to gameplan for him, and he'll see streaky production similar to other one dimensional hitters like Matt Carpenter and the aforementioned Gallo and Olson.

While the bat may be streaky, Tucker brings it with the glove and on the bases. He had 5 DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) in the outfield in 2020, a 0.6 UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating), and he was plus-4 in Outs Above Average. His well above average speed and instincts give him the ability to be a rangy outfielder and dangerous baserunner.

Tucker had a breakout season in 2020, but there's still changes left to be made if he wants to be a breakout star and not a one hit wonder.

This is part four of an offseason series covering the 2020 Houston Astros. Be sure to check out parts 1-3 on SportsMap.

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