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Week 5 Rankings

By Cody Smith

Hey all, and welcome back to my weekly rankings. I hope you didn’t struggle too much without me last week.

I’m back from a full week of rest and relaxation in the Smoky Mountains and I’m ready to keep the rankings rolling for the rest of the season.

A lot has happened since the last set of rankings came out. The Tennessee Titans missed a Week 4 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers and a Week 5 game against the Bills is currently in jeopardy. As of me writing this article, the game is still on, but the Titans are still having positive COVID tests and are up to 23 total cases on the team.

For the sake of these rankings, I’m going to rank players as if every game ends up happening this weekend. If we end up having games postponed, just overlook the players from those teams.

Now I’ve got a lot of work to do here, so let’s get to it.

Teams on bye this week: Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers

Injury Notes

Lamar Jackson is yet to practice this week with what seems to be a knee issue. The team reports he is being held out for “precautionary reasons” and I can’t imagine him not suiting up and playing against the Bengals this weekend. Use him as you normally would this week.

Cam Newton is ruled out again this week due to COVID. You’ll have to look elsewhere at quarterback this week.

Sam Darnold has also been ruled out this week with an injury to his AC joint. Joe Flacco will start for the Jets this week.

Jimmy Garoppolo has been limited in practice this week, hinting at a potential return to action in Week 5. If he goes, he’ll have a soft matchup against the Dolphins coming up and would be worth a stream.

Drew Lock has also been limited this week, but if he comes back and plays against New England, I’m not considering him for fantasy, especially with Noah Fant likely out.

Chris Carson played through an injury last week and is still listed as questionable. He should play through it again and is a solid start against the Vikings.

Kareem Hunt has been limited with a groin injury but should be a full go against the Colts this weekend. He is a must start for as long as teammate Nick Chubb is out with his sprained MCL suffered last week against Dallas.

Austin Ekeler suffered “a significant hamstring injury” and was carted off the field last week. He is currently doubtful, but I can’t imagine he’ll be playing for a while.

Calvin Ridley suddenly has a pair of injuries after being held without a catch Monday night against the Packers. He apparently has both a thigh and knee issue and has been limited in practice this week. This is worth keeping an eye on this week. If he misses time, Russell Gage and Olamide Zaccheaus are next up for a reception increase.

Adam Thielen has been limited this week with a shoulder injury. So long as he plays – which he should – he will have a very solid matchup against Seattle.

Terry McLaurin is yet to practice this week with a thigh injury. He missed practice time last week with the same injury and went on to catch 10 balls for 118 yards against the Ravens. He is a solid play against the Rams, even with the team’s quarterback change.

Odell Beckham Jr. is still listed with a back injury that he played through last week. He’ll be good to go this week but faces a tough Colts' defense that should cause you to temper your expectations.

Darren Waller has been limited in practice with a knee injury. It appears he will play this weekend, and if he does, he remains a must start. He has 40 targets in four games this season.

Noah Fant is a “longshot” to play this weekend with an ankle injury according to head coach Vic Fangio. Despite Fant’s great production early this season, it seems best to find another option this week.

O.J. Howard hit the IR with a torn Achilles this week. This opens the door a little wider for the combination of Rob Gronkowski and Cameron Brate to be fantasy relevant going forward, however I’d go a different way if given the opportunity.

Others to keep an eye on: Raheem Mostert (knee), Leonard Fournette (ankle), Jalen Richard (ankle), Carlos Hyde (shoulder), Zack Moss (toe), Cam Akers (ribs), Mike Evans (ankle), DeVante Parker (ankle), Juju Smith-Schuster (knee), Cole Beasley (foot), Julian Edelman (knee), Davante Adams (hamstring), Laviska Shenault Jr. (hamstring), Scotty Miller (hip/groin), John Brown (calf), Hollywood Brown (knee), Jordan Akins (concussion), Jared Cook (groin), Nick Boyle (thigh) and Will Dissly (Achilles)

Quarterbacks I Like

Deshaun Watson has had a bit of a rough go of things in 2020. Despite being one of the more talented quarterbacks in the league, Watson sits at QB14 in his first full season without DeAndre Hopkins. His team is 0-4 and his head coach has just been canned. I feel that things can only go up from here, and that should start this week. Watson faces the Jacksonville Jaguars with brand new play caller Tim Kelly calling the shots. The Jags rank 23rd in the league against opposing quarterbacks, having allowed eight passing touchdowns in four games. I expect Watson to shine this weekend and lead the Texans to their first victory of the season.

Teddy Bridgewater is perhaps my favorite streaming option of the week. He seems primed to go off against a weak Atlanta secondary. He is coming off a three-touchdown game against Arizona and is facing an Atlanta team that has allowed four passing touchdowns in three-of-four games this season. Quarterbacks are averaging 39.3 fantasy points-per-game against Atlanta. I expect Bridgewater to post QB1 numbers this week.

Quarterbacks to Avoid

In the same game as Bridgewater above, Matt Ryan may struggle a bit. Ryan has only posted 26 fantasy points in the last two weeks combined. He may end up being without Julio Jones who is dealing with a hamstring injury, as well as Calvin Ridley who is dealing with thigh and knee issues. If these two would miss the game, I believe Ryan would have a tough time against a Carolina pass defense that has ranked fifth best in the league against quarterbacks this season. In four games, the Panthers have allowed multiple touchdown passes just once.

Derek Carr is currently the QB13 on the season and has recently had a pair of 20-plus point performances, however, a tough matchup with Kansas City awaits this weekend. The Chiefs have not allowed a quarterback to pass for multiple touchdowns in a game this season and have allowed over 260 passing yards in a game just once. There are plenty of better streaming options than Carr this week.

Quarterback Rankings

1. Russell Wilson vs. Min

2. Patrick Mahomes vs. LV

3. Dak Prescott vs. NYG

4. Josh Allen @Ten

5. Kyler Murray @NYJ

6. Lamar Jackson vs. Cin

7. Deshaun Watson vs. Jax

8. Drew Brees vs. LAC

9. Tom Brady @Chi

10. Teddy Bridgewater @Atl

11. Justin Herbert @NO

12. Jared Goff @Wsh

13. Ben Roethlisberger vs. Phi

14. Kirk Cousins @Sea

15. Philip Rivers @Cle

16. Joe Burrow @Bal

17. Ryan Tannehill vs. Buf

18. Gardner Minshew @Hou

19. Ryan Fitzpatrick @SF

20. Matt Ryan vs. Car

21. Derek Carr @KC

22. Baker Mayfield vs. Ind

23. Carson Wentz @Pit

24. Daniel Jones @Dal

25. Jimmy Garoppolo vs. Mia

26. Brian Hoyer vs. Den

27. Drew Lock @NE

28. Joe Flacco vs. Ari

29. Nick Foles vs. TB

30. Kyle Allen vs. LAR

Runningbacks I Like

James Robinson has come out of nowhere to be a top-10 fantasy running back through the first four weeks of the season. The schedule remains in Robinson’s favor this week as the Jaguars take on the 0-4 Houston Texans. Houston has been bad against the run, allowing at least one rushing touchdown in every game this season and three rushing touchdowns just last week. Houston has also allowed at least 149 rushing yards to opposing teams in every game this season. This could line up to be a nice week for Robinson, and I plan on playing him in every league where I own him.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire faces the worst defense against the run this season – the Las Vegas Raiders. Vegas has allowed multiple rushing touchdowns in three-of-four-weeks and over 200 rushing yards in Week 3 to the New England Patriots. With CEH as the lone workhorse back for Kansas City, I’m expecting a nice game out of the rookie back.

Runningbacks to Avoid

Myles Gaskin has surprisingly worked his way into the RB2 discussion this season despite sharing a backfield with both Jordan Howard and Matt Breida. Gaskins has posted double-digit PPR fantasy performances more weeks than not for fantasy owners, but I would tread lightly this week as the Dolphins take on San Francisco this weekend. San Francisco has not allowed over 86 rushing yards in a single game this season and have allowed just one total rushing touchdown in four games. I’m sitting Gaskins and all Dolphins' backs this week.

Miles Sanders is off to a bit of a slow start this season. He’s scored just one touchdown in three games and is yet to have a 100-yard rushing game. This week Sanders faces the Steelers who have absolutely shut down opponents running games this season. Pittsburgh has allowed over 25 rushing yards in a game just once (Melvin Gordon) and have allowed just one rushing touchdown this season. Sanders could be in for a rough day this week.

Runningback Rankings

1. Alvin Kamara vs. LAC

2. Ezekiel Elliott vs. NYG

3. Clyde Edwards-Helaire vs. LV

4. Chris Carson vs. Min

5. Dalvin Cook @Sea

6. Josh Jacobs @KC

7. James Robinson @Hou

8. Mike Davis @Atl

9. Derrick Henry vs. Buf

10. Melvin Gordon @NE

11. Joe Mixon @Bal

12. Kareem Hunt vs. Ind

13. Todd Gurley vs. Car

14. David Johnson vs. Jax

15. Le’Veon Bell vs. Ari

16. Kenyan Drake @NYJ

17. Ronald Jones @Chi

18. David Montgomery vs. TB

19. James Conner vs. Phi

20. Miles Sanders @Pit

21. Jonathan Taylor @Cle

22. Jerick McKinnon vs. Mia

23. Devin Singletary @Ten

24. Antonio Gibson vs. LAR

25. Joshua Kelley @NO

26. Raheem Mostert vs. Mia

27. Darrell Henderson @Wsh

28. Devonta Freeman @Dal

29. Chase Edmonds @NYJ

30. Damien Harris vs. Den

31. Myles Gaskins @SF

32. Justin Jackson @NO

33. Rex Burkhead vs. Den

34. Nyheim Hines @Cle

35. Malcolm Brown @Wsh

36. James White vs. Den

37. Latavius Murray vs. LAC

38. Ke’Shawn Vaughn @Chi

39. Mark Ingram vs. Cin

40. J.D. McKissic vs. LAR

41. J.K. Dobbins vs. Cin

42. Brian Hill vs. Car

43. Zack Moss @Ten

44. Phillip Lindsay @NE

45. Duke Johnson vs. Jax

46. Cordarrelle Patterson vs. TB

47. D’Ernest Johnson vs. Ind

48. Cam Akers @Wsh

49. Alexander Mattison @Sea

50. Dion Lewis @Dal

Wide Receivers I Like

Justin Jefferson has broken out the last two weeks to climb all the way up to WR21 on the season. He has posted back-to-back 100-yard games and this weekend gets to face the worst secondary in the league. Seattle has allowed nearly 1,400 receiving yards to the wide receiver position already this season. They’ve also allowed five receiving touchdowns by wide receivers in four games. Jefferson should have a very productive day, especially if the Vikings must play from behind which I’m assuming they will.

Robby Anderson in my opinion has surpassed D.J. Moore as the true No. 1 receiver for the Panthers and he’ll have a nice matchup against the Atlanta secondary this weekend. Teams have been able to score on the Falcons at will this season. They have allowed 138 points in four games this season and are yet to earn a win. Anderson has a pair of 100+ yard receiving games as well as a 99-yard performance last week. He only has one touchdown on the year, but I expect him to add onto that this weekend.

Wide Receivers to Avoid

DeVante Parker may be in intriguing option to start coming off a 10-110 performance on 12 targets last week. That was against a weak Seattle secondary, and this week he’ll face a tough 49ers secondary that is currently seventh best in the league at defending wide receivers. I would temper my expectations for Parker this week.

Mike Evans is an interesting name this week. He may end up not playing as he is a game-time decision for Thursday Night Football. Even if he does play he worries me slightly. The Bears are fourth best in the league at defending the receivers and a hobbled Evans may find it hard to get open against this Bears’ secondary.

Wide Receiver Rankings

1. Adam Thielen @Sea

2. DK Metcalf vs. Min

3. Amari Cooper vs. NYG

4. Michael Thomas vs. LAC

5. Robby Anderson @Atl

6. Stefon Diggs @Ten

7. Tyreek Hill vs. LV

8. DeAndre Hopkins @NYJ

9. Allen Robinson vs. TB

10. Odell Beckham Jr. vs. Ind

11. Terry McLaurin vs. LAR

12. Keenan Allen @NO

13. Justin Jefferson @Sea

14. Juju Smith-Schuster vs. Phi

15. D.J. Chark @Hou

16. Tyler Boyd @Bal

17. Cooper Kupp @Wsh

18. Julian Edelman vs. Den

19. Deebo Samuel vs. Mia

20. A.J. Brown vs. Buf

21. Calvin Ridley vs. Car

22. Mike Evans @Chi

23. Hollywood Brown vs. Cin

24. Will Fuller V vs. Jax

25. DeVante Parker @SF

26. Darius Slayton @Dal

27. Hunter Renfrow @KC

28. Jamison Crowder vs. Ari

29. Tyler Lockett vs. Min

30. D.J. Moore @Atl

31. CeeDee Lamb vs. NYG

32. Robert Woods @Wsh

33. Diontae Johnson vs. Phi

34. Jerry Jeudy @NE

35. John Brown @Ten

36. Sammy Watkins vs. LV

37. Mecole Hardman vs. LV

38. Scotty Miller @Chi

39. Laviska Shenault @Hou

40. Tim Patrick @NE

41. Tee Higgins @Bal

42. Russell Gage vs. Car

43. Cole Beasley @Ten

44. Jarvis Landry vs. Ind

45. Michael Gallup vs. NYG

46. Greg Ward @Pit

47. Darnell Mooney vs. TB

48. Curtis Samuel @Atl

49. T.Y. Hilton @Cle

50. A.J. Green @Bal

Tight-Ends I Like

Jonnu Smith may not play due to COVID, but if he does he has a great matchup against the Bills. Buffalo has a great secondary that can wreak havoc on opposing wide receivers, but they have struggled to cover tight ends this season. The Bills let both Darren Waller and Mike Gesicki have big games this season, and Smith has the kind of upside among tight ends that he could also have a big game here. Smith has used three touchdowns in three games to account for three double-digit fantasy point performances on the year. I don’t see the Bills slowing him down.

Tyler Higbee is another guy I see with some nice upside this week. His routes run have dipped, but against a tough Washington front seven, I could see the Rams wanting to get the ball out quick and Higbee benefiting from that.

Tight-Ends to Avoid

Dalton Schultz is a guy I’m not in love with this week. Schultz has had some nice performances recently, but I could see a game against the Giants getting out of hand early and the Cowboys leaning on Zeke to run some clock and get out with a win. The Giants also have not allowed more than 72 yards to the tight-end position this year and have not allowed a single touchdown to tight-ends either.

My preseason love for Mike Gesicki is beginning to slightly fade. Gesicki is TE12 on the season but has just two catches for 30 yards and a touchdown in the last two games combined. His numbers are inflated due to an 8-130-1 line against Buffalo in Week 2. He faced the 49ers this week who have locked down opposing tight ends this year, allowing just 14 receptions for 104 yards and no touchdowns to the position on the season.

Tight-End Rankings

1. George Kittle vs. Mia

2. Travis Kelce vs. LV

3. Mark Andrews vs. Cin

4. Darren Waller @KC

5. Jonnu Smith vs. Buf

6. Tyler Higbee @Wsh

7. Hunter Henry @NO

8. Mo Alie-Cox @Cle

9. Evan Engram @Dal

10. Zach Ertz @Pit

11. Eric Ebron vs. Phi

12. Jared Cook vs. LAC

13. Jimmy Graham vs. TB

14. Hayden Hurst vs. Car

15. Dalton Schultz vs. NYG

16. Mike Gesicki @SF

17. Austin Hooper vs. Ind

18. Drew Sample @Bal

19. Rob Gronkowski @Chi

20. Logan Thomas vs. LAR

21. Jordan Akins vs. Jax

22. Tyler Eifert @Hou

23. Greg Olsen vs. Min

24. Chris Herndon vs. Ari

25. Cameron Brate @Chi

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