AAF Fantasy Football Player Rankings: Week 5
Last week we nailed some big rankings prediction such as Zach Mettenberger, Jhurell Pressley, and Reece Horn all being top plays. I gave up a week too early on Dontez Ford and even my boy DeVozea Felton showed up with a big play.
This week, we get some big movers in rankings thanks to the Legends and Express trending up and the SD Fleet and Arizona Hotshots trending a bit down. Here’s a breakdown of my personal rankings. You can also use our expert consensus rankings to get a wide range of opinions to assist in making your decisions in DFS and season-long leagues this week. Fantasy stats and points are sourced from Fanball.com for your weekly DFS and NoExtraPoints.com.
The quarterback position has evolved a lot over the last two weeks as Garrett Gilbert and John Wolford are no longer a lock for the top-two honors week in and week out. Last week saw some new starters ranking in the top two spots and this week, I’m rolling with Aaron Murray as the overall QB1. Murray came in early in the game last week as Matt Simms left with a bloody finger. Murray went on to lead the league last week with 254 passing yards and chipped in an additional 54 rushing yards on his way to a QB2 finish with 15.6 fantasy points. The fact that Murray was able to rank so highly despite not throwing a TD gives him a steady floor with loads of overall QB1 upside. That is especially true this week as he gets a prime matchup against the Memphis Express who have allowed an average of 19.4 fantasy points per game to QBs, the most in the league.
Garrett Gilbert isn’t going to fall too far down my rankings this week despite a tough matchup against a stout Birmingham Iron defense. Gilbert is still the overall QB1 on the season averaging 23.7 fantasy points per game and continues to look like the best QB in the league. He is the only QB who has thrown for at least 200 yards in every game this season and is the first AAF QB to hit the 1,000 passing yard mark. Gilbert has a commanding lead with 1,071 total passing yards this season which is 274 yards more than the next best QB. If San Antonio was able to pull off the upset against Birmingham last week, Orlando should have no problem putting together a solid performance.
John Wolford has been trending down recently which has forced me to push him outside the top-two in rankings this week. Wolford has yet to hit 200 yards passing since his breakout Week 1 performance. After starting the season with a 6-2 TD:INT ratio over the first two weeks, he has fallen back to managing only two TDs and one INT over the last two games. This week, Wolford and the declining Hotshots have a get-right matchup at home against the San Antonio Commanders. This is a great spot for Wolford specifically as San Antonio has given up the most passing yards per game this season and the second-most fantasy points to QBs.
I was all over Zach Mettenberger last week as I had him ranked as the QB2. He exceeded even my lofty expectations as he finished as the top-scoring QB in Week 4 with 18.96 fantasy points as he led the Memphis Express to their first win of the season while also securing himself his first win as a starting QB since all the way back in his college days at LSU. Mettenberger threw for 174 yards in the game with one passing TD and one rushing TD. I actually anticipated a little more yardage from him last week but that didn’t come to fruition as the Express didn’t really hit their groove until later in the game. Mettenberger will now get a road date with a similarly hot Atlanta Legends team in a game that is suddenly one of the most interesting of Week 5.
Josh Woodrum rounds out the top-five for QBs this week as he has shown the ability to give us steady, yet unspectacular performances each week this season. Woodrum has yet to cross that 200-yard barrier this season but is still averaging a fairly solid 10.9 fantasy points per game. With the SLC wideouts continuing to take steps forward as weekly playmakers, Woodrum’s ceiling is slowly growing. Until we see him finally put it all together, though, he will be outside of the top three.
The SD Fleet will be without starting QB Philip Nelson for four-to-six weeks. Stepping in and already named the starter for Week 5 will be Mike Bercovici who slides in just outside the top five of my rankings. Bercovici was, of course, the starting QB for the Fleet in Week 1, but that didn’t last long. He threw for 176 scoreless yards and two INTs before getting pulled. Coach Mike Martz is praising Berco early in the week, likely to help build his confidence, but the SD offense has solid weapons and they are willing to air it out.
Logan Woodside was a safe play early in the season thanks to a hefty attempt rate that saw him throwing it over 35 times per game. That, unfortunately, led to a 1-3 TD:INT ratio over the first two weeks. Ever since then, the Commanders have opted for a more conservative workload for Woodside which has capped his ceiling as he hasn’t thrown for over 200 yards since Week 2. The matchup this week isn’t bad for Woodside, but until we see him turn up his production, he remains a bottom-ranked QB.
Luis Perez has slowly tumbled down the rankings as he continues his scoreless streak. Perez was at least looking good between the 20s early in the season, but last week he couldn’t hit anyone. I don’t know if the subpar weather really had much to do with it, but he is regressing each week and doesn’t look to be turning things around. Until he can start finding the end zone and make big plays, he will remain a low-floor, low-ceiling fantasy option.
Trent Richardson finished as the RB3 last week, but he still remains the best bet at overall RB1 numbers thanks to an enormous contribution as a goal-line back. T-Rich finally saw some competition in his backfield last week with the emergence of Brandon Ross, but I don’t see Richardson being unseated. He also has secured a heavy role in the passing game the last few weeks as Luis Perez has looked his way often.
After totaling over 100 rushing yards in back-to-back games, Ja’Quan Gardner came crashing back down to earth last week. Garnder managed only six rushing yards on nine carries as the SD running game was completely shut down. Gardner still has the look of one of the most dynamic running backs in this league. Now with question marks at QB, the Fleet may need to lean on the running game.
Zac Stacy has seen one of the most consistent and heavy workloads of any running back in the league this season. He has only one rushing attempt less than Trent Richardson and will now get a prime matchup against the Atlanta Legends who have given up the most fantasy points per game to RBs. The concern that Sherman Badie could take over a large part of Stacy’s role certainly didn’t come to fruition last week.
Jhurell Pressley is coming off his best rushing performance of the season as he handled 14 carries for 110 yards, while also contributing four catches for 13 yards. Pressley totaled over 100 yards rushing for the first time this season on his way to an overall RB1 finish totaling 18.3 points. Pressley should be locked into a top-five spot going forward.
Kenneth Farrow rounds out the top-five ranks coming off a monstrous 30-carry, 142-yard performance last week. He wasn’t just a volume play, though, as he managed 4.7 YPA. The threat of Trey Williams taking over work in this backfield was quickly put to bed as Farrow has reinserted himself into a featured role on an offense that hasn’t been getting it done through the air lately.
With Branden Oliver dealing with a groin injury and questionable to play this week, Joel Bouagnon gets a solid bump. Bouagnon assumed nearly an every-down role once Oliver left the game last week, though I do expect Terrell Newby to mix in as a change-of-pace option and have a role in the passing game. Bouagnon could easily push for top-five numbers this week.
I dissected the Orlando running back scenario earlier this week in the waiver pickups article. The conclusion basically is that D’Ernest Johnson should remain the top-ranked runner in this backfield. De’Veon Smith and Akeem Hunt should still mix in, but in a tougher matchup this week, it is hard to see them all ranking near the top-10.
The Atlanta backfield was another tough one to analyze heading into this week and until we see someone emerge as a true starting back here, no one can be trusted. Tarean Folston does seem to have a solid role as a passing down specialist, and I would expect Denard Robinson to fill the role as more of a between-the-tackles runner and potentially the goal-line back. Brandon Radcliff is a bit of a wild card, though he did lead the RB committee last week with 12 carries for 48 yards.
Iron RB newcomer Brandon Ross looked impressive last week handling more carries than Trent Richardson and showing it is possible to be an efficient running back on this offense as he averaged 7.1 YPA. We need to see more from Ross before we know what to do with him in rankings. T-Rich has a stranglehold on precious goal-line touches and has mixed into the passing game heavily, leaving scraps for Ross.
With Kenneth Farrow seeing a huge role last week, I am pumping the brakes a bit on Trey Williams. Williams was an afterthought last week as he only saw four carries for 20 yards, though he did manage to get in the end zone for a rushing TD. Even if Williams mixes back in more evenly this week, it would still amount to an unpredictable workload overall. Without that TD last week, Williams would have been a colossal bust.
Toward the bottom of the RB ranks, Terrell Watson is probably the only back who could potentially climb closer to the top-10. Watson has been in a near even timeshare with Ja’Quan Gardner this season, and if the team does indeed opt for a more run-heavy approach, that would bode well for Watson. There is also the possibility that this offense completely torpedoes this week, making Gardner the only back worth trusting. The rest of the backs are hoping for a big play as they don’t see enough work to merit higher rankings.
Rashad Ross and Charles Johnson continue their ways as the clear, top wideouts in the league. This week, I like Ross to take his turn finishing as the overall WR1 as he gets a matchup against the Commanders who have given up the second-most fantasy points to WRs. Johnson, on the other hand, will have a tougher task against the Iron who have been the most stout defense in the league this season.
Mekale McKay should be in a decent spot to try and rebound this week after only coming up with two catches for 19 yards last week. McKay is second in the league with 31 targets this season and has seen a league-high nine looks in the red zone. Gamescript could work in McKay’s favor this week as well against an Arizona offense that will also be looking to get back on track.
Reece Horn was one of my hits last week as he finished with four catches for 63 yards as the WR4 with 10.3 fantasy points. The Express took the step we were expecting last week and will look to take another this week in Atlanta. Horn gets a favorable matchup as the Legends are beatable through the air and Zach Mettenberger looks comfortable targeting Horn often.
Orlando has had a bit of a shakeup at WR as Rannell Hall has been outproducing Jalin Marshall as of late. Hall finds himself rounding out the top-five of my rankings this week while Marshall isn’t far below. Hall has seen a very steady workload over the last three weeks giving him a trustworthy floor with a high ceiling based on the high-scoring nature of this offense.
De’Mornay Pierson-El disappointed last week after blowing up for an 8/90/1 line in Week 3. The SLC receiver corps is pretty crowded right now, but Pierson-El still gives one of the highest possible ceilings while also leading the team with 21 targets on the season.
Greg Ward Jr. and Quinton Patton round out the top 10 of rankings this week at WR. The Commanders continue to find creative ways to keep Ward busy on offense. He has become the most reliable receiver on this team while McKay offers more big-play ability. Patton has been a fixture near the top of the rankings, but as Luis Perez goes, Patton goes. There isn’t much upside with Patton until we can see Perez get back to his early-season form where he looked like one of the better QBs in the league.
The middle of the WR ranks features a mixed bag of players with inconsistent workloads. Dontez Ford obviously blew up last week, but he was barely heard from before Week 4. Without steady QB play, Ford is tough to trust still as Nelson Spruce had looked to be taking over as the WR1 on this offense.
Malachi Jones is a player I could see making a splash soon as he has totaled over 50 yards in back-to-back weeks and will now get more competent and consistent QB play. Jones’ six red zone targets ties for second most among all wideouts this season as well.
Gavin Escobar continues to be the only tight end you can trust each week. Fellow tight end Marcus Baugh has also emerged as a threat as a pass catcher and is quielty the overall TE3 on the season with 19.9 fantasy points.
Wes Saxton has made a solid impression in his two games with the Iron so far. Saxton led the team last week with three catches for 54 yards. He’s a solid starter in season-long leagues and a likely top-three TE going forward.
Gerald Christian has remained a top TE play in the league as well as he ranks as the overall TE2 this season with 22 fantasy points.
After looking like fixtures in the SLC offense, both Anthony Denham and Nick Truesdell have cooled off as of late as they were both dealing with injuries last week. Their health and respective workloads will be worth monitoring going forward.