Fantasy Football week 5 viewer’s guide

Game environment is the foundational starting point in making fantasy decisions. As such, I’m going to break down each game on the slate into three categories: Binge, Stream and Skip.

Games you want to “binge” are like the show you can’t miss; you’re watching as soon as it goes live and might just crush all the episodes in one weekend. These are the start-all-your-guys fantasy games and ones with season-defining storylines.

Games you want to “stream” are like the shows you certainly watch start to finish, but perhaps you’re finishing it over time instead of one shot. While these games might not feature a ton of “must-starts,” we can pick and choose our spots, and the teams are likely to matter in the NFL playoff picture.

Lastly, the games you want to “skip” are like the shows you’re leaning toward passing on, but you might catch an episode here and there (or might stick to reading recaps online to stay up with the culture). There will be a non-obvious player or two who stands out in these games, but overall, they aren’t the best environment for fantasy football.

Let’s dive into my Week 5 Fantasy Football Viewer’s Guide.



The Bills enter this game riding high off a massive win over the previously sparkling Dolphins. Josh Allen’s dynamic offense made mince-meat of Vic Fangio’s defense and he ended the game with a perfect passer rating. Allen leads the NFL with a 7.9 completion rate above expectation, per Next Gen Stats.

After a shaky Week 1, no quarterback has been more dialed in the last three games than the Bills’ star.

Buffalo’s defense is also an imposing unit fresh off stomping out Miami, or at the very least slowing them down more than anyone else had. They did suffer a major loss with their top cornerback suffering an Achilles tear. However, they may get Von Miller back in this game, which would be rough news for a Jaguars’ pass protection group that’s struggled to keep Lawrence’s pocket clear.

Non-obvious players I like

  • James Cook, RB, Buffalo Bills. Getting some goal-line work last week was big for his outlook, even if Latavius Murray continues to take some passing-down work as a blocker.

  • Dalton Kincaid, TE, Buffalo Bills. Rather quietly, last week Kincaid took a commanding lead in the tight end room, running a route on 75.9% of the dropbacks. We need him to get more looks downfield (3.6 aDOT on the season) but we can safely assume that comes soon. For now, he’s been a big efficiency boost for Allen. We can be grateful for that.

STAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Calvin Ridley’s air yard share by week: 49%, 28%, 39%, 23%. Ridley is playing the vertical X-receiver role in this offense. That’s going to make him a bit volatile, as we’ve seen in this tiny four-game sample, and his quarterback can always wisely take the better matchups like last week. With White out of the mix for Buffalo, I think this is a good spot that lines up for Ridley.

Don’t be surprised if: The usually inconsistent Gabe Davis does it again. Going against a Jacksonville defense that has had major issues putting pressure on good quarterbacks, you can chase Davis’ big-play ceiling.


The Eagles are 4-0 and despite some corners of the national media wanting to gaslight you into panicking about this team, they’re going to be more than fine. Philadelphia’s offense has shown a capacity to score and win in a variety of ways. I like a lot of the concepts and sequencing new offensive coordinator Brian Johnson is running out. It just needs to click a little for Hurts, who has started the season a tad slow. It’ll get there, no worries.

The Rams are punching much higher than most projected this season. Now, they’ll get back one of the best wide receivers in the league. Cooper Kupp could indeed return to this game and get right back into a big role. The Eagles have allowed the third-most yards to players lined up in the slot on 50 targets. We shouldn’t have any concerns about Kupp being reintegrated into the unit. The attack they’re rolling out now is a sort of beautiful Frankenstein of the drop-back-heavy 2021 Matthew Stafford offense with wrinkles from the early McVay years in Los Angeles. We’ve seen Kupp thrive in both versions.

Non-obvious players I like

  • Tyler Higbee, TE, Los Angeles Rams. You know he’s going to be out there for almost all the snaps and this should be a high-scoring environment.

STAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Kyren Williams played 72% of snaps, the lowest since Week 1, while Ronnie Rivers got out there for 28%. My guess is that the 72% number is a little more realistic for Williams as the lead back in Los Angeles. He still touched the ball 28 times in their win over the Colts, so that’s all just fine. Rivers looks like the current No. 2 and should be on the deep stash radar.

Don’t be surprised if: Puka Nacua still thrives with Cooper Kupp in the mix. It’s a point I’ve made countless times at this stage but it’s a drum worth banging again; these two can co-exist.

Nacua won’t see 30.1% of the targets going forward if Kupp is healthy — others like Tutu Atwell will see their roles change — but he’s playing a different role than the 2021 Triple Crown winner.


It’s perfectly okay to admit the Chiefs haven’t played their best football yet and every player on their passing game is playing under expectations, Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce included, and then end the analysis.

It doesn’t need to turn into a hot-take pissing match from there. We should have all the faith in the world that this operation led by that head coach and quarterback figures it out well before the end of the season. Kansas City could use at least one young wide receiver to develop, their offseason offensive tackle bets to get right quickly and for Kelce to get healthier. That can all come in time. It’s not ideal for fantasy but the last thing this team is concerned with is September glory. They can, however, get a roaring start to October with a matchup against a Vikings defense that has a live-by-the-sword, die-by-the-sword blitz philosophy. Brian Flores has dialed up a blitz on 57% of opposing dropbacks, easily an NFL-high mark, but that’s led to the fourth-lowest pressure rate.

The Vikings offense wasn’t at its best in Week 4 but managed to escape Carolina with a win. Not saying much. The Chiefs obviously pose a much more formidable challenge, including on the defensive side of the football. Some of the hand-wringing about the offense has overshadowed the fact that the Chiefs rank third in defensive success rate. That could mean trouble for Kirk Cousins in the pocket but a pass-heavy negative game script is mostly how this team has returned value in fantasy this season. Justin Jefferson and T.J. Hockenson share almost 50% of the targets to themselves. We should have no concerns about the main fantasy players in this offense, even if it’s a bit murky of a real-life spot for Minnesota.

Non-obvious players I like

  • Jordan Addison, WR, Minnesota Vikings. He remains fourth on the Vikings in routes run and has a 12.1% target share (10.8% for KJ Osborn). That role will lead to volatility. But last week was a pretty major fluke as the Vikings ran just 44 plays. This looks like the right spot (52.5 projected total) to chase his ceiling.

STAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Isiah Pacheco has the sixth most expected fantasy points among running backs the last two weeks, per Fantasy Points Data. Pacheco’s dominance of the workload in this backfield continues to evolve. At this point, I’m not sure there are 15 other backs across the league I’d rather have in fantasy football.

Don’t be surprised if: Rashee Rice continues to move forward. Rice has seen his routes jump in the last couple of weeks and it’s easy to see why. He has clear juice in the YAC game now that he’s healthy after an injury-mired final collegiate season. He’s shown an ability to sit down against zone coverage and then get rolling downfield. That type of player can be critical in the Chiefs’ pursuit to beat the blitz if Flores dares to stick to the mantra against Mahomes.


We’ve seen far too much of the New York Giants in our primetime lives of late. It’s time for a palette cleanser. This gorgeous matchup is exactly what we need. It’ll also provide a big test for both squads.

I still maintain we haven’t really seen the Dallas offense in a normal game, as they’ve blown out three of four opponents. The Cowboys have run 7.6 plays per drive and have the most time per drive in the NFL. Yet, they’ve had the second-best average field position among any offense so far. This shows some of the odd situational occurrences and frankly, perfectly personifies their red zone issues. Through some of the strangeness, we have received some good signals from Dallas. CeeDee Lamb and Tony Pollard are still ballers and some of the ancillary players like Michael Gallup and Jake Ferguson are playing well.

Time to see it fully expressed or fall short in a big test.

Meanwhile, the 49ers are rolling. Christian McCaffrey is dominating in truly ridiculous ways. He’s only run into eight-man boxes on 25% of his carries to this point, well outside the top 10 runners, per Next Gen Stats. Some of that is formation dictated but it’s also a byproduct of the 49ers passing game. With a quarterback willing to test defenses downfield and a truly elite (yes, elite) separator against man coverage in Brandon Aiyuk, defenses are in a total bind. The CMC and Aiyuk combination along with Brock Purdy operating the controls is what’s taking this offense to a whole new level.

Non-obvious players I like

  • Jake Ferguson, TE, Dallas Cowboys. We’re getting to a point where Ferguson is a top-12 tight end for the rest of the season. That’s somewhat of a reflection on the state of the position league-wide but also his role. Ferguson has been targeted on 30% of his routes run, has forced a missed tackle on 35% of his catches and has two end-zone looks on the season (Fantasy Points Data).

STAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Brock Purdy has now eclipsed Tua Tagovailoa in EPA per dropbacks. We waste a lot of oxygen in the football space debating how much credit we need to give to Purdy for the way this offense is humming. Here’s the reality: this offense is humming in ways we have never seen before and that’s saying something for this Death Star scoring unit. For my money, Purdy has already taken this unit to heights we never saw fully expressed with Jimmy Garoppolo, and he was the previous high watermark for Kyle Shanahan-49ers quarterbacks.

Don’t be surprised if: Tony Pollard scores at least one touchdown. No doubt the 49ers are a fierce defense but they quietly rank 29th in rushing success rate allowed. They’ve ceded big rushing performances to James Conner/Josh Dobbs (23-100) and Kyren Williams (14-52-TD), aka the only two functional offenses they’ve played thus far. Pollard has an elite role as the workhorse back and is due for some touchdown regression to the mean.



The Houston Texans are pulling most of the weight in this matchup. C.J. Stroud and Co. rank third in the NFL in passing yards per attempt behind only the Dolphins and 49ers. That’s a credit to coordinator Bobby Slowik (another Shanahan-tree member), Stroud and the painfully underrated pass-catchers in this offense. The Falcons’ defense is much improved over what we’re used to but is a bit of a pass funnel. They rank first in EPA per rush allowed but 23rd in dropback EPA. It’s another great spot for the rookie passer to shine.

The Falcons are entering this game with bad vibes after a nightmare performance by Desmond Ridder in London. Atlanta passed on taking a post-international game bye week, which is unusual. So they’re right back to it. Arthur Smith is already fielding questions about Ridder’s status as the starter. We could be nearing Taylor Heinicke o’clock earlier than expected. Ridder has the tools but he needs to speed up his process; he has to get off bad routes when they aren’t open faster and pull the trigger when there’s an open guy much earlier.

Non-obvious players I like

  • Tank Dell, WR, Houston Texans. We watched the Falcons run out a great game plan to take away Calvin Ridley last week. Could they do the same against Nico Collins? That doesn’t concern me as much for Collins as it makes me think that Dell could find favorable matchups.

  • Drake London, WR, Atlanta Falcons. He’s a touchdown or bust WR3 at this stage of the proceedings but he has that ceiling against an under-manned, albeit well-coached secondary. He’s easily the best player in this messy but well-designed Atlanta passing game.

STAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Snaps for Bijan Robinson by week: 63%, 72%, 81%, 76%. Meanwhile, here are the snaps for Tyler Allgeier by week: 56%, 44%, 30%, 26%. Whatever the planned spit for this backfield was entering this season, we’re seeing it tossed aside. Atlanta needs juice by any means possible and Robinson is without question their path of least resistance. Unfortunately, this usage relegates Allgeier to bench-hold status; he is not flex-worthy in fantasy.

Don’t be surprised if: Kyle Pitts discourse mind-numbingly continues. Pitts is a talented player but the moment the fantasy space stops talking about him seemingly every day (for now) will be a sign their collective mental health improves. The ESPN+ broadcast casually slipped in that Pitts is playing well below 100% during the London game. I don’t know how anyone can watch him play and conclude otherwise. Just accept where we’re at and move on.


The Carolina Panthers have run the eighth-most plays per drive but rank 26th in yards per drive. They don’t do anything well apart from carve up zone coverage with Adam Thielen. They don’t really belong in the stream category … but their opponent certainly does.

The Lions are 10-point home favorites. They’re set up well to dispose of this Panthers team which is a far cry from the operation that ran all over them late last season. Defensively might well be where Detroit possesses the biggest edge. Not that the Panthers run game is potent but the Lions front has been suffocating ground attacks. They rank second in rushing success rate allowed and while their secondary has some holes, their pass rush has taken a leap under second-year edge rusher, Aiden Hutchinson.

Non-obvious players I like

  • Josh Reynolds, WR, Detroit Lions. The veteran has an established role as the X-receiver on this team and he’s not going away. He has a 13.7% target share on the season and is the lone player out of the top three guys (along with St. Brown and LaPorta) who has an aDOT north of 10 yards.

STAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Jared Goff leads all QBs to start multiple games in adjusted completion rate on throws of 20+ yards, per PFF. This, and of course his pedigree, is what has the world aflutter over Jameson Williams’ return. It remains to be seen how Williams will be integrated into the offense. He wasn’t having a great offseason prior to his ultimately reduced suspension. He’ll likely be able to take snaps from Marvin Jones and rotate as an off-ball speed receiver with Kalif Raymond. It could be a slow burn for Williams but his return will nonetheless be fascinating to observe.

Don’t be surprised if: David Montgomery does it again. Austin Ekeler explained to us on Ekeler’s Edge why Montgomery is playing so well right now, yards per carry bros be damned.

Montgomery has every chance at another big game against a Panthers defense that ranks 31st in rushing success rate allowed as a 10-point home favorite.


The Colts offense has played quite well so far, in spurts. When Anthony Richardson is on, he looks like the rare talent he is behind center. He can make some outrageous throws even if the accuracy comes and goes. Receiving talents like Michael Pittman and Josh Downs have proven to be reliable targets for Richardson. Now, this unit will welcome back Jonathan Taylor at running back and he’ll provide a sizable upgrade. Despite the capable Zack Moss’ fantasy production, the Colts rank 23rd in rushing success rate. The hope is that Taylor returns to bring a bit more steady down-and-distance movement to the offense overall.

Tennessee is coming off a big win over the spiraling Bengals and just like the Colts are 2-2. It’s a credit to Mike Vrabel who continues to show why he’s a great coach. This is a pretty even matchup. We don’t have much to discuss with Tennessee’s offense as no one beyond the big-name veterans is seeing enough consistent work to merit fantasy consideration.

Non-obvious players I like

  • Josh Downs, WR, Indianapolis Colts. The rookie’s average depth has started to tick up in recent weeks. He’s a good player and is second on the team in targets. Tennessee’s secondary is underwhelming in general and allows the 10th-highest yards per reception to slot receivers.

STAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Derrick Henry has played 48% and 38% of the snaps in the Titans’ two losses, and 71% and 59% in their two wins. When the Titans are down, they’ll throw Tyjae Spears out on the field. It’s really not anything to worry about in fantasy. Henry is as valuable as ever.

Don’t be surprised if: DeAndre Hopkins turns in a vintage game. The Colts have allowed a 74% catch rate and the fourth-most yards in the league to perimeter receivers. Hopkins was inches away from hauling in a deep touchdown last week. He gets home in Week 5.


The Giants are circling the drain. New York leads the league in pressures and hurries allowed. Their offensive line is allowing unrelenting waves of pressure on Daniel Jones. The quarterback has not played well but the pass protection is rendering the offense non-functional, especially when coupled with the receiver talent. I don’t see a way out of this for New York in the current offensive construction.

Miami took their first beating of the season at the hands of the Bills. Welcoming the Giants into their own home is an ideal get-right spot. We can dial up our expectations once more for Tua Tagovailoa, Tyreek Hill and this running game. Wink Martindale’s blitz-heavy man coverage defense is a poor matchup against Mike McDaniel’s offense.

Non-obvious players I like

  • De’Von Achane, RB, Miami Dolphins. The rookie led Miami backs in snaps, rushing share, route participation and tied Raheem Mostert in target share. This is the last week Achane can be reasonably placed in this category. Mostert is still playable as well, especially with the Dolphins coming in as heavy home favorites.

  • Wan’Dale Robinson, WR, New York Giants. Robinson finished third on the team in routes and drew six targets. Darren Waller should theoretically remain the leading receiver on this team but Robinson’s role in the short area for a team in desperate need of a check-down option grows in importance.

STAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Just 6.9% of Daniel Jones’ throws have come on play-action passes out of the pocket this season per Fantasy Points Data. That’s resulted in 3.9 YPA, 64.6 passer rating. Last season he had the most of those passes in the NFL last season at 11% of his throws with a 127.3 passer rating. Last year isn’t this year. But Brian Daboll and Mike Kafka clearly thought they could advance the offense beyond some of the smoke and mirrors they pulled last year.

Clearly, they cannot. It may be time to return to the 2022 approach just to salvage some good weeks.

Don’t be surprised if: Jaylen Waddle has his first big game. I did predict this exact same thing last week to no reward. Back to the well! The game got out of hand for Miami last week and even Hill was bottled up. Waddle ran 27 routes against the Bills with a 5.2 aDOT. If he’s used in the short area again, he can rip a big catch-and-run play against the Giants’ blitz.


The Bengals offense has scored the same amount of touchdowns (four) as the Dallas Cowboys defense. They rank dead last in yards per drive. It has been a truly nightmarish start to the season for Joe Burrow and Co. We’re all talking about Burrow’s health, which is without question the biggest factor at play in this struggle. However, the Bengals’ efforts to build their offensive line have hit another stumbling block. Cincinnati ranks 19th in pass block efficiency. Burrow got crushed multiple times against the Titans. If that problem doesn’t get right in a hurry, the issues will only grow for this offense. For now, Ja’Marr Chase and Joe Mixon are the only reliable Bengals players in fantasy football, based on pure volume.

Arizona has played well above expectations. This offense has been certifiably frisky and Jonathan Gannon has a talent-light defense playing well. Hopefully, you’ve moved past your preseason takes on this team. There are guys we actually want to play from this offense.

Non-obvious players I like

STAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Marquise Brown’s target share by week: 17%, 36%, 33%, 24%. Brown is an underrated player. He struggles to win against press coverage outside but he’s been one of the top zone-beating receivers in the NFL since 2019. That volume is sticky and he’s producing. He should remain a weekly WR3.

Don’t be surprised if: Michael Wilson trunks in another strong effort. This guy can play.

He’s a big receiver who can run routes and get open while carrying the trump-card trait of winning in tight coverage. He’s had back-to-back good games against top defenses. I love how they’re using him out at X-receiver and as a big slot.


By the time this game kicks off, it’ll have been quite some time since we’ve seen the Packers play as they lost last Thursday. They need the time. Aaron Jones and Christian Watson needed the extra days to get right. Hopefully, at full form, this will be the first time we get a glimpse of Jordan Love behind a fully operational set of weapons.

The problem, however, lies up front. A deep Green Bay offensive line has suffered multiple hits. Maxx Crosby has game-wrecking potential on Monday night if Green Bay can’t block it up.

The Aiden O’Connell start did not go well. He turned 58% of his pressures into sacks, per Fantasy Points Data. You can’t run an offense like that. However, whether you want to credit this team or the Chargers, the Raiders did keep it close at the end. I’d lay the credit at the feet of Davante Adams who is a near one-man wrecking crew at this point. If Garoppolo is healthy and available, this game should be close at home.

Non-obvious players I like

  • Romeo Doubs, WR, Green Bay Packers. I have my suspicions the days of Doubs owning a 24.4% target share will come to an end but he’s played quite well this season. You can run him out this week against the Raiders.

  • Jakobi Meyers, WR, Las Vegas Raiders. Meyers has 22 targets in his two games with Jimmy Garoppolo this season. If Jimmy G is out there, Meyers is in weekly consideration alongside Davante Adams.

STAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Christian Watson ran a route on just 43.9% of the dropbacks in his return. He was on a pitch count but that may not be the case moving forward. The Raiders rank 25th in dropback success rate allowed despite having an elite edge rusher. I see Watson getting loose downfield for at least one big reception.

Don’t be surprised if: Josh Jacobs has a top-10 running back performance. Jacobs’ 5.6 yards per touch in Week 4 was his best of the season and he got off the fantasy runway with a big game against the Chargers. Green Bay just allowed a massive game to David Montgomery in the power run game and the Raiders would be wise to mimic that type of sustaining performance.



The pursuit of average for the New England offense is looking like a failure. The Patriots rank second to last in rate of drives to end in a score and worst of all, they’re 29th in rushing EPA. Splitting carries on a bad offense while the run game is inefficient, all of that is a recipe for disaster for Rhamondre Stevenson. It might be near closing time for the talented RB.

The Saints are licking their wounds following a miserable outing in Week 4. How can anyone watch that film and think, “Good idea that we let Derek Carr play?” If Carr is physically compromised, this already middling offense is crippled. Chris Olave and Alvin Kamara can survive it, hopefully, but that’s it.

Non-obvious players I like

STAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Saints are top seven in sacks allowed; just one has been the QB’s fault per Fantasy Points Data. One of the under-discussed issues in New Orleans’ offense is that the pass protection has been a mess. They’ve sunk a lot of resources into this line over the years and it’s beginning to wither. That is a massive issue when Carr is your quarterback.

Don’t be surprised if: The worries about Chris Olave seem silly in hindsight. Yes, he caught one pass last week. He still ranks fifth among all pass-catchers in air yards. I’d like to see Olave get more touches as a layup target with Derek Carr physically compromised at this point. Olave should rip through this secondary with Christian Gonzalez out of the mix.


The Ravens don’t deserve to be here. No one deserves the “skip” section more than Pittsburgh.

The Matt Canada offense is as bland as ever, the passing game sorely misses their only above-average separator in Diontae Johnson, and Kenny Pickett has regressed from his mild promise displayed late last season. Oh, they also can’t run the ball. I’m sure this game will turn into a tightly contested AFC North slop-fest somehow but on paper, the Ravens have every advantage to run through this matchup.

Non-obvious players I like

  • Zay Flowers, WR, Baltimore Ravens. He ranks eighth among all pass catchers in target share (27%). That may tick down if Rashod Bateman and Odell Beckham Jr. return but I’ll nevertheless chance him in this matchup. The Steelers have been shredded by wide receivers this season.

  • Gus Edwards, RB, Baltimore Ravens. Edwards took a commanding lead in the backfield last week, running out for 69.1% of the snaps. We need to see if rookie Keaton Mitchell mixes in at all coming off IR but for now, Edwards makes a good bye-week fill-in.

STAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Steelers rank 27th in adjusted line yards (FTN Data) and 30th in PFF’s pass block efficiency. All of their problems begin on the offensive line. If you can avoid playing a Steelers player, go ahead and do that.

Don’t be surprised if: Jaylen Warren catches seven-plus passes. That beleaguered Steelers offensive line against the suffocating scheme of Mike Macdonald is a bad matchup for an injured Kenny Pickett. I foresee plenty of check-down options for Pickett in this one.


No one wants to say it but … Russell Wilson might be sort of back. Wilson ranks sixth in dropback success rate, fifth in EPA per dropback and sixth in PFF passing grade. I think Wilson’s days as a fringe elite passer are still in the rearview mirror but he has still been an above-average quarterback in a functional offense. Sean Payton’s early Broncos tenure has not been good but this part of the operation has been fruitful.

The Jets got a nice performance from Zach Wilson in Week 4. It was encouraging, even if I’d like to leave the door open that it was a small mirage. Still, my hopes are now back up to “reasonable” for talents like Garrett Wilson and Breece Hall.

Non-obvious players I like

STAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Zach Wilson’s 7.31 adjusted yards per attempt is the sixth-best of his career. He has been viable against bad defenses (which KC is not) before in his playing days. The Broncos, meanwhile, are indeed a bad defense. Denver has allowed the second-most yards and a certifiably goofy 86% catch rate to outside receivers. I’m ready to get hurt again with Garrett Wilson this week.

Don’t be surprised if: Breece Hall has his first monster game. If Robert Saleh is expressing optimism about Hall’s condition, I’m willing to believe him. This is right around the time when we should expect Hall to get closer to full explosion after his ACL tear. We’ve seen his open field juice but now we need to see that when moving laterally. Either way, the Broncos unserious defense should provide the lanes.

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