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The Week 5 matchup between the Arizona Cardinals and the San Francisco 49ers features two teams that are struggling. We've got the fantasy projections courtesy of numberFire.
Quarterback Carson Palmer is unlikely to start Thursday night’s game against the 49ers after he suffered a concussion in Arizona’s Week 4 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. If backup Drew Stanton starts the game, it likely means a busy evening for wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald has put together a fantastic season so far. Even though he’s been held out of the end zone the last two weeks, Stanton should look to his slot receiver a lot in order to move the chains on Thursday. Fitzgerald has 25 catches for 280 yards and three touchdowns on the season. Those numbers should continue to get better against a 49ers defense that only ranks in the middle of the pack in defending fantasy wide receivers.
While Fitzgerald is a fantastic example of consistency, John Brown might have more upside this week. After catching a grand total of two passes through the first two weeks of the season, Brown has 16 receptions for 214 yards in the last two weeks. He’s been targeted 27 times over that stretch. The Cardinals will likely opt for a more conservative passing game if Palmer can’t play, but if Brown sees double digits in targets, he could cross 100 receiving yards for the second straight week.
San Francisco 49ers
Carlos Hyde ended up with solid numbers in Week 4 despite the fact his team fell to the Dallas Cowboys. Hyde rushed for 74 yards on 15 carries, one of which resulted in his fifth touchdown of the season. If not for a big 32-yard run in the third quarter, he would have ended up with just 42 yards on the day. That’s something worth keeping in mind as he faces one of the better rush defenses in the NFL in Week 5. Arizona ranks sixth in the league in terms of limiting fantasy running back production. Hyde is still the team’s best weapon, but he will be hard-pressed to produce this time around even if he gets lots of touches.
Hyde’s challenges this week could represent opportunity for wide receiver Jeremy Kerley. Kerley has been pretty quiet since this opening week of the season, but he did quite well in Week 4. Kerley turned nine targets into six catches for 88 yards and a touchdown against the Cowboys. He is the best option San Francisco has in terms of being able to maintain possession of the football. He’s quick and he’s sneaky. Quarterback Blaine Gabbert will turn to Kerley in the slot when the 49ers need 7 or 8 yards for a first down. They should face that scenario a lot this week. Kerley could be dancing his way to the end zone for the second game in a row in Week 5.