Erickson’s Week 5 Rankings, Tiers & Start/Sit Advice (2022 Fantasy Football)
Here are my fantasy football rankings for Week 5. You can find our expert consensus fantasy football rankings for the week here. And you can also sync your fantasy football league for free using our My Playbook tool for custom advice, rankings, and analysis.
- Pat Fitzmaurice’s Weekly Rankings
- Matthew Freedman’s Weekly Rankings
- Derek Brown’s Weekly Rankings
- Joe Pisapia’s Weekly Rankings
Be sure to check out my following notes on all the players/matchups this week from a season-long, DFS, player props, etc. perspective that shed light on “how the sausage is made” when it comes to finalizing my Fantasy Football Week 5 Rankings.
Giants at Packers
- The Giants don’t have a great run defense, so we could see both Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon feast. Bottom-five in total rushing yards and yards per attempt allowed this season. But just 1 rushing TD allowed…
- That won’t last against a run-heavy Packers unit that ranks bottom-5 in early down neutral pass rate.
- Do note that Jones’ rank should not be much higher than Dillon’s ranking. They split carries and touches last week – per usual. But in the year’s totality, Dillon owns a 53% opportunity share to Jones’ 48% opportunity share.
- Allen Lazard and Romeo Doubs both had 8 targets and ran a route on at least 95% of Aaron Rodgers‘ dropbacks in Week 4. But Doubs fumbled and also dropped a 2nd TD in the end zone.
- Christian Watson also saw three targets and had a rushing TD, but was buried in usage. Draft capital pushed aside, it’s hard to envision Watson leapfrogging Doubs as the No. 2 WR unless there is an injury. Doubs’ 22% target rate per route run leads all Packers WRs (minimum 20 targets). He also owns a 24% target share and has 13 catches in his last two games.
- TE Robert Tonyan caught a TD last week but ran a route on just 59% of dropbacks. It was 61% in Week 3. Also played just 44% of the snaps in Week 4. Not enough usage to chase off the waiver wire.
- Rookie tight end Daniel Bellinger was the Giants’ leading receiver with 23 yards on 3 targets (20% target share). Some guy named Tanner Hudson led the team in routes run. Yikes. Stay away from this passing game.
Steelers at Bills
- Things haven’t been great for Gabriel Davis since he returned from his ankle injury two weeks ago. His target rate per route run is horrible. Only Parris Campbell has a worse target rate per route run than Davis this season (9%) among WRs with at least 12 targets.
- He’s been running a route on nearly every one of Josh Allen‘s dropbacks but has done little to nothing in the production department. One catch on 3 targets in Week 4 after a 3-catch outing in Week 3.
- However, it was reported that he reaggravated his ankle injury before Week 4, and the Bills did not have other healthy WRs during the rainy game versus Baltimore. Both Jamison Crowder and Isaiah McKenzie left with injuries. Crowder is going to miss a lot of time with a broken ankle. I’d be a buyer of Davis now, with hopes that he gets healthier. He practicing in full this week. Because his role is just too good in a high-powered offense. And it’s not like anybody is stepping up – aside from Devin Singletary (17% last 2 weeks) – and seizing a massive target share behind Stefon Diggs.
- From their own 32-yard line, the Steelers called a QB sneak for Kenny Pickett on 4th down after Mitchell Trubisky was replaced starting in the 2nd half. The rookie converts. Ballsy call by Mike Tomlin. The Pittsburgh product would go on to score two rushing TDs. He also completed 10-13 passes for 120 yards (9.2 yards per attempt). His only incompletions were his 3 interceptions. But he was being aggressive downfield with a 13.2 aDOT and was putting the ball in place for his guys to make plays.
- His first pick (first NFL throw) was placed pretty well to Chase Claypool, who was unable to make the catch. The second was a little more ill-advised. He was under pressure and threw it high. Tipped and intercepted. But the last one came on the Hail Mary at the end of the game.
- With Pickett at QB in the 2nd half, the targets followed: Pat Freiermuth 4 targets, George Pickens 4 targets (71 receiving yards), Diontae Johnson 2 targets, Claypool 1 target and Zach Gentry 1 target.
- But despite Pickett’s 1st game performance – 9th in expected fantasy points (16.9) – he’s unplayable versus the Buffalo Bills defense that is allowing as many fantasy points per game to QBs as Justin Fields is scoring this season.
- Pat Freiermuth is going to get loose with Pickett taking over as the Steelers’ starting quarterback. He saw a 36% target share in Week 4 after a down Week 3, and half of his targets (8 total) came in the second half from his rookie QB. He tied rookie Pickens for the most targets in Pickett’s debut.
- Despite an 82% opportunity share in Week 4, Najee Harris saw zero targets all game. With an absolutely brutal schedule upcoming for Pittsburgh against Buffalo, Tampa Bay, Miami, Philadelphia, Cincy and New Orleans…the time is now to get out from underneath Harris. His bulletproof role from last season isn’t the same. Buffalo has not allowed an RB to reach 50 yards this season. Third-fewest rushing yards allowed per game. Not great for Harris, who is certainly worth considering to leave on fantasy benches this week.
- Diontae Johnson was targeted just twice by Pickett in the second half. Conversely, rookie George Pickens was targeted four times for 71 receiving yards. Considering both guys are on the field for the majority of the team’s offensive passing plays, don’t be surprised to see Johnson’s target grip loosen to Pickens’ benefit with a new QB under center. Not to mention, Pickens earned a 48% air yards share in Week 4, seeing four targets of 20-plus yards. He ranks second to only Chris Olave in deep targets this season. Buy the Georgia rookie.
- Week 5 versus the Buffalo Bills defense – Top-5 in fewest fantasy points allowed to WRs – will do Johnson no favors increasing his falling stock.
- Devin Singletary led the Buffalo backfield (15 touches) in Week 4. 80% opportunity share, 88% snap share. Zack Moss had 3, mostly coming on the drive after Singletary fumbled. And James Cook had zero (1 target). But most importantly, Singletary was relied on in the passing game again…with four catches for 47 yards on 5 targets while running a route on 79% of dropbacks. He’s not doing much on the ground, but fantasy managers should be all over the receiving usage he’s seeing in the Bills offense. Nobody is threatening his workload. He should exploit a Steeler run defense that ranks bottom-10 in both rushing and receiving yards allowed to RBs this season. As 14-point home favorites, Singletary checks off all the boxes of an RB you should start in Week 5.
- Dawson Knox saw his route participation increase in Week 4, and that led to 6 targets. With injuries to the Buffalo WRs, Knox is obtaining more chances for production. 21% target rate per route run this past week. However, he is also banged up. He missed practice on Thursday.
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Lions at Patriots
- The Lions rank dead last in rushing defense EPA this season, and second-worst in RZ defense allowing opponents to score on 88% of their drives in the red area. They can easily be run on, which is why both Rhamondre Stevenson and Damien Harris are excellent plays this week.
- Each guy saw at least 18 touches last week with the Patriots playing with backup QBs. Each saw a 50% opportunity share.
- Stevenson was Bailey Zappe‘s most-targeted player (4) after running a route on 52% of dropbacks. He is PFF’s 5th-highest graded rusher this season, ranking fifth in yards after contact per attempt this season. The second-year back has also out-snapped Harris for three straight weeks.
- Jonnu Smith‘s absence shouldn’t be ignored. Hunter Henry will likely be flirting with a 100% snap share with Smith’s serious ankle injury. Understandably Henry has done nothing all year, but Smith has out-targeted him thus far (11 vs 9). Henry was targeted thrice by Zappe in Week 4.
- Prepare to be without Amon-Ra St. Brown. Missed practice on Thursday. Look for Josh Reynolds to continue his last two weeks of production as a result. He leads team with 18 targets (24%) and 13 catches on a whopping 250 air yards (35%)
Chargers at Browns
- David Njoku season LIVES ON. Seven targets and 5 catches for 73 yards. Ran a route on 87% of dropbacks in Week 4. With this consistent usage over the past two weeks, Njoku is an every-week tight end play. YLTSI.
- Cleveland got run over last week by the Falcons without Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney on the defensive line. Expect the same even against a Chargers run game that has struggled to post consistent rushing production this season.
- Browns pass defense: Highest aDOT when thrown on in the NFL. 3rd in yards per completion. Start Justin Herbert and Mike Williams. EZ game.
- Amari Cooper owns two top-10 finishes this season and two outside the top 80. Woof. Talk about boom-or-bust. It’s worth noting that his roller-coaster production is tied to his target volume. 7 or more targets in home games, he’s smashed. 6 or fewer targets on the road, and he busts.
- LA ranks fifth in completions allowed this season, so I think this is a spot you want to play him. Browns could face a negative game script against a high-powered Chargers offense, which could force the narrative of a more aggressive passing attack.
- First prop bet I made this week was the OVER on Nick Chubb‘s rushing prop. LA doesn’t prioritize stopping the run, which is why they rank dead last in yards allowed before contact on their defensive line (1.85). Browns have the No. 1 advantage per PFF’s OL/DL matchup chart as a result.
- I expect both guys to deliver for fantasy purposes and expect TD regression to kick in after went a combined 0-4 on carries inside the 10-yard line in Week 4.
Seahawks at Saints
- Without Michael Thomas (DNP Wed+Thurs) available, Marquez Callaway ascended into the WR1 usage role for the Saints. He ran a route on 97% of dropbacks finishing second on the team in targets.
- Jarvis Landry had just two catches on two targets with a 2-point conversion. Concerning without Thomas active. He didn’t seem to be limited due to injury, concerning he ran a route on 70% of dropbacks.
- Andy Dalton started at QB, but Chris Olave‘s status as the WR1 did not change. He led the team in targets (7) for the third straight week and scored. Since Week 2, the rookie is averaging just under 100 receiving yards per game, 200-plus air yards per game and a 30% target share.
- Thomas is not practicing… opening up the target floodgates for Olave’s hot steak to continue. The Seahawks defense ranks last in pass defense EPA allowing a league-leading 13.5 yards per completion.
- Alvin Kamara says he’s playing this week, so you start him. The Seahawks are allowing the second-most rushing yards to RBs this season. And NO went noticeably run-heavy in Week 4 without Winston under center. 61% run rate on early downs. That rate was 49% from Weeks 1-3.
- Rashaad Penny shredded the league’s worst run defense in Week 4. Next up are the New Orleans Saints, who rank first in run defense EPA. Perfect time to sell high on an injury-prone (already on the injury report this week) Penny with Kenneth Walker vying to eat into Penny’s workload as the season progresses.
- Seahawks TE Will Dissly saw more targets (4) than Noah Fant (1) in Week 4. He also ran more routes and played a higher snap share (735 versus 59%). Drop Fant.
Texans at Jaguars
- Start James Robinson: He and Travis Etienne Jr. split carries in Week 4, eight a piece. But ETN saw the lone target and ran more routes (9 versus 14). However, don’t let one disastrous week from Robinson with a horrible game script let you overlook the fact that he was a top-10 RB the first three weeks and he is playing the Houston Texans in Week 5. The defense that has allowed the most rushing yards per game to RBs this season. And Robinson’s 6 carries inside the 10 are tied for most for any RB that hasn’t converted for a touchdown.
- Dameon Pierce continues to bully carries in the Texans’ backfield. He had 14 carries for 131 yards in Week 4. He had ALL the rushing attempts, highlighted by a 75-yard TD score. But oh baby, that’s just the surface. The former Florida Gator earned 6 targets and 6 receptions, while running more routes than Rex Burkhead. Second in targets and catches behind only Brandin Cooks. It’s receiving usage we haven’t seen yet from the rookie. His role is growing by the week. The Jaguars’ run defense has been solid most of this season but showed cracks in the armor last week versus the Eagles.
- Brandin Cooks was solid in Week 4, catching all 7 of his targets for 57 yards and one touchdown. But, his status as the clear-cut Texans’ No. 1 WR is waning. After a dominant performance in Week 1, Cooks owns just a 23% target share – 37th amongst all players. Also, he is trailing teammate Nico Collins in both air yards share and receiving yards (133 versus 181) over the last 3 weeks. With Davis Mills playing like arguably the league’s worst quarterback – dead last in passing EPA – get out while you still can. I wouldn’t feel forced to start Cooks in any capacity versus an underrated pass defense. The Jaguars’ secondary ranks 6th in pass defense EPA.
- Christian Kirk posted a team-high nine targets (39% target share) in Week 4. But he finished with just two catches for 60 yards. Trevor Lawrence completed less than 50% of his passes. I’d expect a massive bounce-back effort from Kirk in Week 5. His 29% season-long target share ranks 12th this season and the Texans defense has allowed over 100 receiving yards to 3 of the 4 opposing WR1s they have faced this season. Houston ranks fourth in yards allowed per pass completion (12.6), and Kirk ranks 13th in yards per reception (16.6) this season.
- O.J. Howard led all Texans TEs in targets (5) with them having injuries at the position. He played on 75% of the team’s snaps, running a route on 67% of dropbacks. Worth monitoring if Brevin Jordan misses another week of action.
- Evan Engram ranks 8th in route participation among TEs this season, but 20th in targets share. Desperation streamer, but gets a bump if Zay Jones is out another week with his ankle injury. Jones is expected to return in Week 5.
Titans at Commanders
- Derrick Henry did more in the receiving game for a second straight week in Week 4. 5-plus targets again with 114 rushing yards on 22 carries (1 TD). Also added 3 catches for 33 yards. Feel confident saying that after two straight weeks of high-profile receiver usage – and Treylon Burks being hurt – I think Henry catching 2-3 balls per week will be the expectation moving forward. 25% target share over the last two weeks on a 50% target rate per route run!
- Washington has a strong run defense – 2nd in run defense EPA – but the Colts had an equally strong unit, and the Big Dog still ate ’em up for 100-plus rushing yards in Week 4.
- But there’s no denying that if the Titans elect to throw, they will have success doing so. The Commanders rank 30th in pass defense EPA, allowing the league’s highest passing TD percentage. And no offense has been better in the RZ at scoring than the Titans (90%) who rank second in pass rate over expectation throwing in the RZ.
- Therefore, this should be a solid spot to start veteran WR Robert Woods. He owns a 20% target share on the season and a 27% target share over the last two weeks. Also leads team in red-zone targets. I’d also expect rookie Kyle Philips to see an expanded role. Recall that the 2022 5th-round pick commanded nine targets back in Week 1.
- This game, in general, could be fun for fantasy purposes because both teams possess bad pass defenses. The Titans rank 29th in pass defense EPA, allowing the league’s second-highest passing TD rate and yards per attempt (8.2). Both Carson Wentz and Ryan Tannehill are streaming-viable quarterbacks this week.
- Wentz leads the NFL in passing air yards and the Titans rank third in air yards faced. Expect splash plays for Terry McLaurin, who ranks 5th in deep targets this season.
- Logan Thomas ran a route on 73% of Wentz’s dropbacks in Week 4, while playing a 74% snap share. Both season-high marks. He is starting to get healthy and the playing time reflects it. Grab him now with Jahan Dotson slated to miss the next few weeks. The Titans have allowed a combined 18 catches for 213 yards to TEs these last two weeks. Just be wary of Thomas’ questionable tag. He was added to the injury report late with a calf injury. John Bates would be next in line.
- Sit Antonio Gibson. Washington showed us an ugly 3-headed committee in Week 4. Gibson – 16 touches, Jonathan Williams? – 5 touches, Jd McKissic – 11 touches. Brian Robinson‘s return spells potential doom for AG. Gibson’s Week 4 41% snap share was his lowest of the season. And his snaps/fantasy points have decreased every week since Week 1.
Bears at Vikings
- Dalvin Cook didn’t seem limited by his shoulder injury. 22 touches for 86 yards in London, but Alexander Mattison got the TD on just four touches. Woof. Still, his 85% opportunity share is a top-8 mark for a RB, so I’d be looking to buy low after he missed out on the TD score. The Bears’ run defense – last in total rushing yards allowed per game – provides the perfect bounce-back spot. Chicago has allowed the league’s second-highest rushing TD rate this season.
- Irv Smith Jr.‘s route participation continues to hover in the sub-65% range, making him a fringy play every week with a meh target behind other pass-catchers in the Vikings offense. Caught just 3 passes for 23 yards in Week 4. He needs an Adam Thielen injury to take the next step
- Khalil Herbert got the bellcow usage with David Montgomery sidelined. Totaled 20 touches for over 100 yards. 69% opportunity share. 77% snap share. But no TDs. He’s strongly back in the RB1 conversation against a Minnesota Vikings defense that has allowed the 5th most fantasy points to the RB position this season. Also rank No. 1 in highest rushing TD rate allowed. That’s presuming Monty is inactive for Week 5.
- K.J. Osborn: Just one catch for 6 yards on 2 targets. Had a TD wiped off because of a penalty. Can’t be trusted.
Dolphins at Jets
- In his first start of the season, Zach Wilson was up-and-down. He completed just 50% of his 36 passes for 252 yards and 1 score. The Jets changed their offensive approach from the Joe Flacco offense when they were throwing 50-plus times per game. Although Wilson seemed to shake off the rust in the 2nd half, completing 12 of 20 passes for 161 yards (8.0 yards per attempt). Good for 15.7 expected fantasy points overall.
- The target pecking order with Wilson under center was: Corey Davis (7), Garrett Wilson (6), Breece Hall (6), Tyler Conklin (5) and Elijah Moore (4).
- Note that Wilson’s final stat line is slightly inflated from a receiving TD, but his performance was encouraging, nevertheless. He’s on the QB streaming radar versus the Miami Dolphins defense that is dead last in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks this season.
- However, be warned that Miami’s blitz-heavy defense could pose some issues. Three for 11 versus the blitz for 41 yards in Week 4. Just 3 for 13 when under pressure. When kept clean, 15 for 23, 9 yards per attempt and 206 yards. 12 of 18 of his completions were over the middle of the field.
- Miami has a Chase Edmonds problem. Instead of using their prized free agent acquisition, they are opting for 30-year-old journeyman Raheem Mostert as the RB1 in the offense. Edmonds played just 28% of the snaps on Thursday night to Mostert’s 72% snap share. Mostert was running 67% of the routes and dominating touches 17 to 7. Edmonds has been able to survive off RZ touches converting to TDs the last two weeks, but that won’t last on such low volume. Bench him.
- Tyler Conklin‘s top-tier usage stayed the same with Wilson under center but he only saw five targets with the Jets throwing fewer than 50 times. However, with projected negative game scripts as far as the eye can see amid a brutal upcoming schedule, he will remain a fringe top-15 option based on usage alone with room to grow should the Jets throw more.
- Start Garrett Wilson. The Jets rookie WR finished second in targets and route participation in Wilson’s first start of the 2022 season running a route on 90% of dropbacks. Only Davis saw more targets (7), but Wilson ran more routes. Leverage Davis’ TD score and Wilson’s two-catch game to buy low on the talented rookie. He owns a team-high 22% target share this season, is tied for 1st in the NFL in targets inside the 10-yard line and is facing a Dolphins defense in Week 2 that ranks 2nd in most passing yards allowed per game and the 5th-most to WRs.
- Sit Elijah Moore. First game with Wilson at QB and Moore finished fifth in targets (4). Woof. Just a 14% target share despite leading the team in routes run.
- It’s happening for the Jets’ rookie RB. Breece Hall dominated the touches over Michael Carter (19 vs 11) in Week 4. He posted 17 carries versus Carter’s 9. Including the game-winning TD. Then consider his season-high 66% snap share and 63% route participation – we are COOKING with gas people.
Falcons at Buccaneers
- Cameron Brate saw 8 targets in Week 4 but left the game with a head injury. In his place, rookie Cade Otton earned four targets while running a route on 55% of dropbacks. Otton seems like the most likely candidate to see an expanded role with Brate out due to his concussion, but Kyle Rudolph was inactive in Week 4.
- The Buccaneers have the 3rd-highest implied team total. Tom Brady finally has healthy weapons. Start him.
- The Buccaneers RBs totaled just 6 carries on Sunday night, with Brady attempting 52 passes in full-on comeback mode. Leonard Fournette (3 carries for -3 yards) has been super inefficient as a rusher all season – third-worst in rushing EPA – but did enough as a receiver in Week 4 – 7 catches for 57 yards and a receiving TD on 7 targets – to salvage his fantasy outing. However, TB involved Rachaad White more than the previous 3 weeks. The rookie scored from the 1-yard line and caught 5 passes for 50 yards while running a route on 32% of dropbacks. With the rookie’s role continuing to grow, I’d be looking to sell high on Fournette in trades before Week 5. Although the matchup is solid versus Atlanta, who ranks second-worst in run defense EPA allowing 4.9 yards per carry to opposing RBs. Just a question of what Fournette’s workload will look like.
- Cordarelle Patterson entered Week 4 extremely banged up with a knee injury. As a result, he saw just 9 carries and was again a zero in the passing game. Zero targets. To add literal insult to injury, Patterson suffered further damage to his knee, forcing the team to put him on IR. He’s out the next four weeks. Without him in Week 4, Tyler Allgeier and Caleb Huntley each saw 10 carries. Allgeier ripped off a 42-yard run and averaged 8.4 yards per carry.
- Allgeier was a mega-producer at BYU, ranking first in rushing yards after contact (1,847), second in rushing touchdowns (36) and third in PFF rushing grade (94.8) among FBS players with at least 150 carries.
- He should see an expanded role with the injury to C-Patt, even if he splits carries with Huntley. The rookie dominated the receiving usage, running a route on 40% of dropbacks. Huntley ran one route.
- And I think that the Falcons can run the football against a vaunted Buccaneers run defense that is a little overrated. 4.0 yards per carry allowed to RBs this season. And Per PFF’s OL/DL matchup chart, the Atlanta offensive line has the fourth-best advantage in the trenches. They have PFF’s second-highest graded run-blocking unit this season.
- No.1 you ask? The Chiefs, who just rushed for 189 yards on the Bucs defense in Week 4.
- Falcons can run on anyone. Atlanta is the No.1-ranked offense in rush EPA on early downs this season and run the ball at the 3rd-highest rate on those downs
- Chris Godwin returned from his hamstring injury on Sunday night and played a near full-time role. 83% snap share, 85% route participation and respectable 19% target share – equivalent to Mike Evans. It’s a reminder that the two Buccaneers wideouts are a 1A-1B situation, even though Evans has been viewed as the clear-cut No. 1 due to Godwin’s injury.
- Great matchup in the slot for Godwin in Week 5. They’ve allowed an average of 78 receiving yards to an opposing team’s top slot WR through four weeks.
- Drake London ranks No. 1 in the NFL in target share (35%) as a 21-year-old rookie. Fantasy football doesn’t have to be hard. Start him. Marcus Mariota isn’t going to complete just 7 passes every single week. Especially versus the Buccaneers in Week 5, who have allowed the 3rd-most WR targets this season.
- YHTSI. TE Kyle Pitts ran a route on just 60% of dropbacks in Week 4. By far his lowest route participation. But even so after four weeks, Pitts ranks second among TEs in target share this season (25%). To add insult to injury, Pitts has logged back-to-back DNPs with a hamstring injury. And he was ruled out on Friday. Woof. Parker Hesse and Olamide Zaccheaus benefit the most from a playing time and target share perspective. Also expect Atlanta to operate extremely run heavy with no one threatening at receiver outside London.
49ers at Panthers
- 90% opportunity share for Jeff Wilson Jr. on Monday Night Football. Compiled 18 carries for 74 yards and a rushing TD. Fullback Kyle Juszczyk was second in backfield touches (2). Deebo Samuel also had just two carries. Wilson ran a route on just 33% of dropbacks and was not targeted. He’s a carbon copy RB2 every week regardless of matchup.
- Deebo Samuel led the 49ers in target share (28%) in Week 4. The next 3 49ers pass-catchers each earned a 16% target share – Brandon Aiyuk, Jauan Jennings and George Kittle. Aiyuk ran a route on 100% of team dropbacks, followed by Samuel (96%) and Kittle (93%).
- Leave Aiyuk on the bench this week. He projects to see the most of CB Jaycee Horn, who ranks No.1 in fewest fantasy points allowed per coverage snap this season.
- It’s over for D.J. Moore. He finally got the target volume (11) but finished with just 6 catches for 50 yards in a cakewalk matchup. That’s the boom game we all waited for. Sigh. He’s nothing more than a WR4 versus the 49ers who rank 3rd in pass defense EPA this season. Also 6th-best against fantasy WRs this season.
- Kittle’s route participation over the last two weeks: 82% and 93%. 17% target share. 6 catches for 52 yards on 9 targets. 17% target rate per route run is the same as Dalton Schultz. Fringe TE1 play.
- The 49ers rank 2nd in fewest rushing yards allowed and in fantasy points allowed to RBs. CMC had just 8 carries for 27 yards last week. So I don’t expect Christian McCaffrey to do much on the ground. The 49ers’ defensive line is allowing a league-low 0.86 yards before contact. But he’ll still get it done as a receiver coming off a week where he was targeted nine times. Catching all nine passes for 81 yards and 1 TD.
Cowboys at Rams
- Matthew Stafford: Los Angeles, we have a problem. Matthew Stafford has taken a major step back in his second season with the Rams ranking as the QB26 overall behind the likes of David Mills, Baker Mayfield and Joe Flacco. He’s underperforming the most versus expectation (-24.9 fantasy points) which is indicative of how poor he is playing. The Rams’ offensive line is providing him no favors as the No.32-ranked unit in pass-blocking this season per PFF. He cannot be trusted in a matchup versus the Dallas Cowboys defense that has generated the league’s second-highest pressure rate.
- Cooper Rush: Dak Prescott is not expected to make his return for Dallas in Week 5, giving Cooper Rush the starting nod for the fourth consecutive game this season. Rush has performed admirably in relief of Prescott, leading Dallas to a 3-0 record. He’s ranked inside the top-12 in most passing categories, capped off by a QB13 fantasy finish in Week 4 versus the Washington Commanders. However, that was easily his softest matchup to date. The LA Rams provide a bigger hurdle to overcome as they have allowed just one QB to surpass 16 fantasy points against them this season (Josh Allen). The other QB finished their weeks as the QB18, QB22 and QB22, respectively. If you’ve been using Rush in 2QB-formats, I think he’s fine to keep in starting lineups with how well he has played. But he’s not an option in one-QB leagues.
- Ezekiel Elliott: Ezekiel Elliott earned 19 carries in Week 4…but rushed for just 49 yards (2.6 yards per carry) against a stout Washington front. The 21 overall touches are nice to see, but the lack of efficiency is just the reality with Zeke at this point in his career. He’s also a complete afterthought in the passing game. Elliott has caught more than one pass once this year despite ranking in the top 12 in RB route participation. His 10% target rate per route run is tied for the lowest (Darrell Henderson) among RBs that have run a route on at least 50% of their team dropbacks this season. He is a TD-or-bust RB3 without any hope of him hitting a high rushing total in Week 5. Los Angeles gives up the fewest fantasy points to the RB position.
- Tony Pollard: Pollard was also surprisingly inefficient as a rusher in Week 4, which is a credit to the Washington Commanders’ strong defensive line. The Cowboys RB totaled just 6 yards on 8 carries (0.8 yards per carry). He rushed for 18 yards after contact. Needless to say, Dallas could not open up any lanes for their tailbacks in Week 4 and that’s going to be the case again in Week 5. Per PFF OL/DL matchup chart, Dallas is at the biggest disadvantage when they decide to run the football versus the Rams. You’re hoping that Pollard can just break off a big run if/and the Rams stack the box, but that’s no guarantee. Pollard has a better chance of producing in the passing game based on his 27% target rate per route run. Like his teammate Zeke, Pollard is an RB3 for Week 5, but hardly a desirable FLEX option.
- Darrell Henderson: For the second straight week, Darrell Henderson (31 routes, 55% route participation) ran more routes than Cam Akers (14 routes, 25% route participation). Henderson also out-targeted Akers 4-to-1 and out-snapped him 59% to 38% in Week 4. His role as the preferred receiving back makes Henderson game-script-proof, but he’s a better option in game where the Rams project to be trailing. As 4.5-point home favorites, this probably isn’t the spot to consider Henderson. Although he is more serviceable in PPR formats, as he could see a lot of dump-off passes as Stafford will likely see a lot of pressure from the Dallas pass rush.
- Cam Akers: Neither Rams RB did anything on the ground versus the elite 49ers run defense in Week 4. And even though Akers had one more carry than Henderson (8 vs 7), he rushed for just 13 yards (1.6 yards per carry). I’d anticipate Akers to lead the charge as the team’s main ball carrier in Week 5 and to be more effective than in Week 4 in a better matchup. Dallas ranks 27th in rushing EPA allowing 4.8 yards per carry to opposing RBs.
- CeeDee Lamb: Hopefully, people are starting to realize that WRs facing the Rams defense is a good thing, despite Jalen Ramsey‘s reputation as a “lock-down” cornerback. Because he can’t cover everybody and doesn’t shadow specific opposing WRs. As a result, the Rams have allowed the third-most fantasy points and most completions to WRs this season. Start Lamb with confidence as a fantasy WR1. The 3rd-year WR owns a 36% target share (2nd) and 51% air yards share (1st) with Cooper Rush under center this season.
- Noah Brown: Brown finished with the second-most targets in Week 4 (6, 23% target share). However, Brown ran a route on just 76% of team dropbacks because he was forced to leave late with a neck injury (79% snap share). The expectation is that he is back for Week 5. He’s been a nice story the last three weeks, commanding a 21% target share, 69 receiving yards and four catches per game as the WR31 in half-point scoring. However, the return of Michael Gallup makes it tougher to trust Brown as anything more than a WR4.
- Michael Gallup: First game back for Michael Gallup: 83% route participation, three targets and one touchdown. He’s a plug-in-play fantasy WR upside option ahead of a juicy Rams matchup. I’d expect his snaps to increase another week removed from his injury.
- Cooper Kupp: Cooper Kupp is on pace for 179 catches and 230 targets this season, with 42 receptions through the first four weeks. The overall fantasy WR1 this week, next week and probably every week after that.
- Allen Robinson: It’s over for Allen Robinson. He ran a route on 98% of Matthew Stafford‘s 56 dropbacks Monday night and caught just 2 passes for 7 yards on 6 targets. Cooper Kupp (40% target share, 100% route rate) and Tyler Higbee (29% target share, 84% route rate) dominated the receiving production for the Rams. A-Rob had one target in the first half of Monday night’s game. He owns a 13% target share through the first month of the season. His 11% target rate per route run ranks fourth-worst among WRs with at least ten targets this season. You’re just praying Robinson falls in the end zone.
- Tyler Higbee: As previously noted, the Rams’ passing game is going through Kupp and Tyler Higbee. The Rams’ tight end ranks third in target share (24%) and first in raw targets (38) at the position this season. And he’s actually due for positive TD regression. Higbee ranks fifth in red-zone targets but has scored zero TDs. Keep starting him as a TE1 until the wheels fall off.
- Dalton Schultz: The same cannot be said for Dalton Schultz, who is not startable as long as Cooper Rush is under center. The three-game sample size of Schultz playing with Rush has resulted in an average of fewer than 2 catches and 10 receiving yards per game. He caught zero passes on 3 targets last week. And that came with the Cowboys TE running a route on 79% of dropbacks on a 90% snap share. The Rams have also allowed the fewest catches to TEs this season despite facing Dawson Knox, Kyle Pitts, Zach Ertz and George Kittle the last four weeks.
Eagles at Cardinals
- Jalen Hurts: The Eagles QB stands as the QB3 overall this season, averaging 25.7 fantasy points per game. His 200 rushing yards (50 per game) rank second behind only Lamar Jackson, but he leads all QBs with four rushing scores. He’s a top-three option every single week and has a great chance of a QB1 overall finish versus a Cardinals defense that has struggled versus the pass. They rank 28th in pass defense EPA and have allowed the most yards after the catch of any defensive unit. Hurts ranks 6th in total passing yards after the catch this season and fourth in completion percentage above expectation.
- Kyler Murray: After totaling just 12 rushes through the first three weeks of the season, Murray turned on the afterburners with 12 carries alone for 26 yards in Week 4. The yardage still wasn’t great, but the rushing is always just going to give Murray a needed fantasy boost. The Cardinals QB miraculous is only the QB8 in points per game despite leading the NFL in passing attempts because this Kliff Kingsbury offense is just dysfunctional. As a result, Murray ranks second-to-last in the NFL in yards per attempt (5.7) in front of only Mitchell Trubisky. The matchup versus the Eagles’ defense is also no walk in the park. Philadelphia gives up the 3rd fewest fantasy points to the QB position and they rank No. 1 in pass defense EPA allowing the league’s lowest completion percentage (56%). For Murray to have a top-5 finish, he will need to run more with his legs and hope that starting cornerbacks Darius Slay and Avonte Maddox miss the contest. He’s a mid-range QB1 for Week 3.
- Miles Sanders: Have a day, Miles Sanders. The Eagles RB totaled 134 rushing yards on 27 carries in Week 4 while playing on 67% of the team’s offensive snaps. He ran a route on 50% of Jalen Hurts‘ dropbacks and was targeted three times (12 catches). Overall a 77% opportunity share, which boosted his season-long opportunity share to 69% – the 10th-best mark among RBs this season. And most importantly, Sanders also scored from the 5-yard line and 10-yard line. His six carries from inside the 10 are tied with Hurts for the most on the team. The usage has been great for Sanders, so I’d expect him to keep up his productivity against the Cardinals’ run defense. Arizona hasn’t given up massive numbers to opposing rushers – 30th in rushes faced this season – but they haven’t faced quite a rushing juggernaut like the Eagles yet. Philly ranks 2nd in expected run rate this season and 5th in true run rate. And per PFF’s OL/DL matchup chart, the Eagles have the 5th biggest advantage in trenches. He’s a solid RB2 option this week, with RB1 upside if he finds the end zone with the Eagles’ fourth-highest implied team total.
- Kenneth Gainwell: It would have been nice to see Gainwell take on a larger role with Boston Scott out last week, but alas, he got 6 touches on a 27% snap share. Gainwell scored a rushing TD on his lone carry inside the 10-yard line and also was missed by Hurts in the red zone on a potential walk-in score. But all in all, Gainwell has not supplanted Sanders as the true receiving back and will only pay off in fantasy if he score. Super fringy play, especially if Scott returns.
- James Conner: Conner still rules the Arizona Cardinals backfield – 18 touches for 77 yards in Week 4 – but remains super reliant on volume and TD production to deliver fantasy production. He ranks 50th out of 55 qualifying RBs in yards after contact per attempt, meaning he’s not creating much on his own. It’s problematic versus a stout Eagles front that hasn’t allowed any rushing room since D’Andre Swift went for 100-plus yards back in Week 1. No RB they have faced has surpassed 32 rushing yards since Week 2. Their DL also ranks fourth in fewest rushing yards allowed before contact (1.09) this season. Conner is a low-end RB2 that you’ll begrudgingly have to play. His role as a receiver increased last week (57% route participation) so stay assured he will catch passes if and when Arizona trails in this game. He has 3 catches in his last two games and has averaged four targets this season.
- Eno Benjamin: He’s viewed as the pass-catcher in Arizona’s backfield, but his 14% route participation, 1 target and 14% snap share from Week 4 hardly suggest he’s worth sniffing fantasy lineups. He might be better off on the waiver wire.
- A.J. Brown: Not even the rain can stop A.J. Brown. The Titans WR caught five balls for 95 yards on a team-high 29% target share in Week 4. This season, AJB leads all players in weighted opportunity (WOPR) which factors in total target share and air yards share. Needless to say, the former Titans WR is vacuuming up all of the high-value targets in the Eagles’ passing attack. Expect Brown to continue his fantasy WR1 production versus a Cardinals secondary that ranks last in yards after the catch allowed this season. The Eagles WR ranks fourth in the NFL in YAC.
- DeVonta Smith: The Slim Reaper has granted the full WR3 boom-or-bust experience through the 1st month of the season. In two games, he’s surpassed over 80 receiving yards with a WR1 overall performance. But outside those two games are two finishes outside the top 70. His upside alone and role in the Eagles offense – 10th overall in route participation (97%) and 22% target share – warrants FLEX consideration, especially in a solid matchup versus the Cardinals. Arizona perimeter defensive backs Marco Wilson and Trayvon Mullen are each bottom-15 graded CBs per PFF this season.
- Marquise Brown: It’s hard to not be productive when your QB leads the NFL in pass attempts. Case in point with Hollywood Brown, who ranks third in the NFL in targets (11 per game) and fourth in the NFL in receptions (7.5 per game). He also ranks 6th in air yards (420). Brown plays such an integral role in the Arizona passing game that he has a super-high floor every single week, even in a tougher matchup versus the Eagles, who are middle-of-the-pack versus fantasy WRs this season. They do, however, play very favorably into chasing Brown’s volume as they have faced the second-most WR targets this season. Brown’s ultimate finish will hinder how efficient he is on the volume he gets, and I’d be optimistic after his slow start to the season. His yards per route run has increased every single week.
- Rondale Moore: Rondale Moore appeared fully healthy in Week 4, playing 86% of the snaps while running a route on 94% of dropbacks. He regulated Greg Dortch back to the bench. Moore earned 5 targets and a 10.4 aDOT in his season debut, seeing two targets of 20-plus air yards. His downfield usage and lack of slot deployment (34% slot rate) were vastly different from his rookie year usage. Considering Dortch was a top-36 WR for three straight weeks before Moore came back into the lineup, the second-year wideout owns sneaky WR4 appeal in Week 5. Especially if Darius Slay is healthy, who would likely force targets away from Marquise Brown.
- Dallas Goedert: Other than Austin Ekeler – who owns a -1.4 aDOT – no player has accumulated more yards after the catch than Dallas Goedert.No.1 in separation rate per NFL’s Next Gen Stats. The Eagles talented TE is averaging a league-leading 13 yards after the catch and 9.3 expected yards after the catch. He has absolutely terrorized defense with the ball in his hands, and that should be the presumption against Arizona; their defense ranks second-worst in fantasy points allowed to TEs this season. They have faced the most targets and allowed the second-most yards to the position. Considering Goedert’s usage in Week 4 – 100% route participation, 25% target share – he is slated for a ceiling performance in Week 5. His season-long route participation ranks fifth overall this season (83%).
- Zach Ertz: Ertz has been nearly perfect as “the” late-round tight end in 2022. He currently stands as the TE4, which is exactly how he performed last season with Arizona sans DeAndre in 2021. There’s no reason to think his production falters either until Hopkins returns with the league’s fourth-most targets (8 per game) and second-most routes run among TEs. Ertz also leads all TEs in red-zone targets (10) which provides him additional upside across all scoring formats. Fantasy TE1.
Bengals at Ravens
- Two games versus Baltimore last season for Joe Burrow: Averaged 470 passing yards. Baltimore ranks last in passing yards allowed this season. Every QB they have faced this year has thrown for 300-plus yards aside from Josh Allen who played in the rain. And the Ravens rank dead last in pressure rate (25%), which should alleviate some of the struggles from the Bengals OL while protecting Burrow this season.
- Last season, Tee Higgins earned a higher target rate per route run than Ja’Marr Chase. It’s the same story this season. Higgins’ 22.4% target rate per route run is nearly identical to Chase’s this season (22.2%). Over the last three weeks, both guys are healthy and Higgins has a higher target share (25% versus 24%), air yards share (38% versus 35%) and higher points per game average (19.6 versus 11.9). Both guys should be viewed as fantasy WR1s. And Chase should be bought on the cheap if managers are concerned he is firmly the WR2 on the offense. His 100% route participation and standing as the WR2 in expected fantasy points say otherwise.
- Joe Mixon led Thursday night with a whopping 24 carries and 4 catches. Good for a 90% opportunity share. The efficiency leaves a lot to be desired – or their lack of at 2.5 yards per carry, dead last in the NFL in rushing EPA – but usage is what fantasy managers dream about. He totaled 7 carries inside the 10-yard line in Week 4 alone as the current NFL leader in that category through the first four weeks of the season. Mixon leads the NFL in expected TDs (4.7) but has scored just once.
- Hayden Hurst‘s routes came back to life in Week 4 (71%) after falling off in Week 3, because he was dealing with an injury. With 10 days of rest to fully push the injury aside, Hurst remains a reliable tight end streamer that can be plugged into almost any matchup off the waiver wire for TE-needy roster.
- J.K. Dobbins led the backfield with 17 touches for 63 yards (50% snap share) and two scores (4 carries inside the 10-yard line). The Ravens RB getting goal-line touches is super key for his fantasy success. And he’s been low-key used as a receiver, with 6 targets the past two games. Expect the usage to climb with Justice Hill suffering a hamstring injury.
- Rashod Bateman led the Ravens in targets (6), before leaving with a mid-foot injury. He ran a route on just 53% of dropbacks. In relief, Devin Duvernay (68% route participation), Demarcus Robinson (58% route participation) and Isaiah Likely (52% route participation) saw expanded roles. Duvernay led the way with 5 targets. I’d expect him to pick up the slack should Bateman miss Week 5. He’s missed practice all week.
- J.K. Dobbins led the Baltimore backfield with 17 touches for 63 yards (50% snap share) and two scores (4 carries inside the 10-yard line). The Ravens RB getting goal-line touches is super key for his fantasy success. And he’s been low-key used as a receiver, with 6 targets in the past two games. Expect the usage to climb with Justice Hill suffering a hamstring injury.
- Matchup is tough, though, versus a stout Bengals run defense. Cincy’s fourth-fewest rushing yards allowed per game at 3.7 yards per carry. And just one rushing score to opposing RBs with a defense that ranks 7th in total red-zone defense.
Raiders at Chiefs
- Don’t lose faith in Derek Carr as a fantasy QB. The Chief’s defense ranks 30th in red-zone defense this season. Las Vegas has struggled in this department – 28th in red-zone offense – but the matchup warrants more scoring success in Week 5.
- Feed Josh Jacobs. Week 4 was a monster day for Jacobs who rushed for 144 yards on 28 carries. But the best part about his day was he rolled over his receiving usage from Week 3. He caught 5 balls on 6 targets while running a route on 62% of dropbacks. With receiving usage and back-to-back weeks with a top-3 elite opportunity share – 92% in Week 4 – Jacobs has the chance to finish the season as fantasy RB1. Zamir White had just two carries, and Brandon Bolden one target in Week 4.
- And the matchup versus the Chiefs is exactly why Jacobs’ receiving usage will continue. The Chiefs rank first in fewest rushing yards allowed to RBs, but they have allowed the most receptions (10 per game), yards (69.3 per game) and targets (12 per game) to RBs this season.
- TEs that saw multiple red-zone targets that did not score in Week 4 include Mark Andrews and Darren Waller. Waller has 7 red-zone targets but has scored once. I like his odds of scoring in Week 5.
- Clyde Edwards-Helaire‘s reign continues. In Week 4, he totaled more than 12 touches. The KC running back commanded 20 touches for 94 yards on the ground plus one catch for 2 yards. He benefited majorly from a positive game script and scored two more TDs. However, Isiah Pacheco and Jerick McKinnon each earned a carry inside the 10-yard line. And the seventh-round rookie looked spry running the ball, totaling 11 carries for 63 yards. Keep Pacheco stashed on all benches. And keep starting CEH until the flame dies out.
Fantasy Football Week 5 Rankings
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