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Fantasy Football Panic Index, Week 5: What happened to MVP Lamar Jackson?

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Grading the panic level fantasy owners should have for Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes, and more.

Getty Images/Pete Rogers Illustrations

Every week, some NFL player underperforms and it sends a shockwave through fantasy football. I mean, Patrick Mahomes has only thrown one touchdown over his last two games. ONE TOUCHDOWN I TELL YOU! How can I possibly remain calm when he’s not giving me 50 fantasy points with regularity? After a bad weekend of fantasy, it’s easy to come into Monday filled with panic and dread about your team and the season ahead.

If you’re looking for comfort, you’ve kinda come to the right place.

I’ve collected a bunch of fantasy names that I’m sure you’re worrying about to start the week and given each of them a rating of how much panic is the right amount of panic to have if these players populate your fantasy roster.

Let’s begin.

Even the best fall down sometimes

Patrick Mahomes

Now Patrick Mahomes owners know what it feels like to have a normal quarterback on their fantasy team. It’s like in Hercules (the Disney film of course) when Hades takes away Hercules’ powers for 24 hours and suddenly the world is pretty tough of ol’ Herc. That’s what’s happening to Mahomes and those who own him in fantasy. In his last two games, Mahomes has looked almost pedestrian, only throwing one touchdown in total. But he’s still casually tossed 300+ yards in each game so really, you’re fine. I wouldn’t expect Mahomes owners to be panicking quite yet, but if you are, you need to relax.

Lamar Jackson

It’s felt like years since the start of the season when Lamar Jackson was scoring fantasy points and tossing touchdowns with ease. It’s no coincidence that those two amazing games were against possibly the two worst defenses in the league right now. Since then, Jackson has thrown four touchdowns to five interceptions, has only gone over 250 passing yards once, and is coming off a three interception game against the Steelers. Despite all this, I’m not panicking—and I can speak personally on this since I have Lamar Jackson in two of my leagues. Two of his interceptions against the Steelers were fluke plays (receivers tipping the ball in the air) and he’s still giving you strong production on the ground (averaging 60 yards per game across his last three). With the Bengals on the horizon, Jackson is bound to get back to his fantasy MVP ways.

Julio Jones

I’ve bounced back and forth about whether Jones belongs in this category or in the next “Not great, Bob” category. When you look just at the numbers, there doesn’t seem to be too much to be worried about. Jones leads the Falcons in touchdowns (4) and targets (44) and is second in yards (359). He’s gone over 100 yards receiving in two out of his last four games. What’s worrisome is that Matt Ryan is on pace for 710 pass attempts (well, WELL beyond his current career high) and yet Jones is set to finish with only 141 targets, which would be the lowest targets per game he’s received since 2012. I don’t think it’s time to worry quite yet, but it’s not great to see Jones as the WR45 over the last two weeks.

Not great, Bob!

Josh Gordon

This is tough to write because I want a Josh Gordon revenge tour so badly; a season where Gordon lives up to his fullest potential and puts up just insane numbers as a part of an explosive Patriots’ passing attack. Well, through five weeks Gordon hasn’t been great and the Patriots’ passing attack has been far from explosive. Gordon currently is the WR43 in non-PPR leagues and WR41 in PPR leagues, and hasn’t gone over 60 yards receiving in three of the first five games. He’s caught only one touchdown and his yards per catch ranks bottom two in his career (14.7). Outside of just Gordon’s struggles, the Patriots offensive line has had difficulty protecting Tom Brady, giving him the time to hit Gordon for the big plays. And even when they do, Brady has missed Gordon on more than a few occasions.

The Steelers’ passing game

The hit that Mason Rudolph took against the Ravens was terrifying. Watching a human loose conscientiousness and collapse to the ground like a rag doll is the last thing you ever want to see in a football game. Here’s to hoping that he has a full recovery and didn’t sustain any serious, lasting trauma (though he most certainly did). With Rudolph out, the Steelers are now on their third quarterback, undrafted rookie Devlin Hodges who came into the game Sunday and threw for 68 yards on seven completions. That’s not bad, but an offense can only go so far with a third string quarterback at the helm. This puts a serious ceiling on guys like JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington and Diontae Johnson moving forward.

Wait, he’s still on your team?

Nelson Agholor

While his numbers may not show it, Agholor has been a terrible fantasy receiver this year. If you take away his Week 2 and 3 games, Agholor is averaging three targets, one catch and a little over 10 yards per game. He’s famously dropped open passes and has already two fumbles on the year. Once more, the Eagles next five games is the stuff of nightmares for opposing wide receivers. The Eagles play at Vikings, at Cowboys, at Bills, Bears and Patriots. All but the Vikings rank top six in fewest fantasy points allowed to wide receivers. It’s time to move on from Agholor.