It’s hard to stay up to date with absolutely everything that went down in NFL Week 5. Obviously you know the big storylines—Josh Allen lit the Chiefs defense on fire and Myles Gaskin suddenly decided to do something—but it’s important to also note minor storylines, ones that might have more actionable fantasy football takeaways.
I’ve gone game-by-game to bring you the biggest fantasy narrative to come out of each game.
Jets at Falcons: WE FINALLY GOT THE KYLE PITTS GAME
And it only took Calvin Ridley AND Russell Gage to be out for it to happen!
— NerdBall Fantasy Football (@nerdballff) October 10, 2021
Pitts caught 9-0f-10 targets for 119 yards and a touchdown vs the Jets in London, leading the team in all categories. He showed the dominate TE1 that I’ve been hyping him up to be. Unfortunately for Pitts managers, it’s not all smooth sailing now. Ridley and Gage will return and that’ll give Matt Ryan other targets to throw the ball to. Also, Pitts only played 69% of the Falcons’ offensive snaps even when they needed him most. That’ll certainly cap his TE1-ness if that continues.
Still, after staying patient for four weeks, Pitts managers should rejoice we finally saw the rookie’s full potential just before Atlanta’s bye.
Also, I’ve been saying it for weeks, but Michael Carter is the Jets starting running back now and while not a weekly must-start yet, is well worth rostering.
Eagles at Panthers: Move On From Dallas Goedert & Robby Anderson
In the Eagles’ last three games, Goedert has seen four, five, and three targets. Fellow tight end Zach Ertz on the other hand has seen seven, eight, and six targets. Against the Panthers, Ertz saw more targets on fewer snaps and fewer routes run than Goedert. Neither tight end has emerged as an elite fantasy option, but it’s clear Goedert isn’t even a top option in his own offense.
You can also move on from Anderson if you’re still rostering him. With Christian McCaffrey out, Anderson has seen his target share increase dramatically. After averaging 3.6 targets per game to start the year, Anderson’s averaging nine per game the last two weeks. Unfortunately, this uptick in targets hasn’t led to an uptick in production. Against the Eagles, Anderson turned his 7 targets into just 2 catches for 30 yards. He seems to be very boom-or-bust with Sam Darnold under center and it’s been all bust so far.
Packers at Bengals: Samaje Perine Takes Over Passing Work
On last week’s starts and sits podcast, both Jordan and I were low on starting Perine. I thought we might see more Chris Evans in the passing game with Mixon out and Perine would only get first and second down work. I was even lower on the backup when Mixon was active vs the Packers. Nevertheless, it was Samaje Perine who led the backfield handedly in snaps, routes run, targets, and yards.
— NFL (@NFL) October 10, 2021
Mixon, still coming back from his ankle injury, played just 28% of the snaps and carried the ball just 10 times for 33 yards. He managed to score a touchdown to help salvage his day. What should worry Mixon managers moving forward is that Perine took all of the passing work for Cincy, running 26 routes to Mixon’s 8. Monitor how Mixon looks throughout practice this week as if he’s still banged up, Perine could be in for another solid workload vs the Lions.
Also, A.J. Dillon is starting to emerge as someone with a reliable fantasy role in Green Bay. He’s seen at least 12 touches in back-to-back weeks, going over 79 total yards in each.
Patriots at Texans: Brandon Bolden Is the Patriots’ James White Replacement
Both offenses in this game were a mess and offered little to no fantasy value. It was however the third week in a row that Bolden got involved in the passing game. Against the Texans, Bolden caught all four of his targets for six yards. He led the Patriots’ backfield in routes run by a long shot. Obviously, the performance is nothing to write home about from a fantasy perspective, but Bolden has now seen at least four targets in every game since White went down with injury. If you’re in a deep PPR league, Bolden might be worth rostering.
Also, I told you last week, but Hunter Henry is the TE1 and the only tight end to roster out of New England.
Titans at Jaguars: Buy Low On A.J. Brown
It’s been a slow start to the year for Brown who has yet to go over 50 yards in a game this season. Much of that has to do with the third-year receiver still recovering from a hamstring injury. Even with the injury and playing just 64% of the Titans’ snaps vs the Jaguars, Brown still led the team in targets with six.
Another well-designed play by Todd Downing. Anthony Firkser's rte got in 27's way allowing A.J. Brown to get open on the crosser. Geoff Swaim running a left to right crosser took the LB with him freeing up even more space. It set up Derrick Henry's 1-yd TD just now. #Titans pic.twitter.com/IxxIXjsZRD
— TURRON DAVENPORT (@TDavenport_NFL) October 10, 2021
The Titans play the Bills next which will be another tough outing for Brown. But the schedule gets a lot easier after that with games against the Chiefs and Colts following. The Titans face the 11th-easiest pass defense schedule for the rest of the year, giving Brown ample chance to bounce-back and making him a perfect buy-low target.
Lions at Vikings: Amon-Ra St. Brown Emerging From the Pack
The Lions’ wide receivers have become much more involved in recent weeks and that was the case again Sunday vs the Vikings. Over 55% of Jared Goff’s pass attempts went towards his wide receivers which is much higher than normal for Detroit. The rookie St. Brown led the charge, catching 7-of-8 targets for 65 yards. This is now the second week in a row he’s seen 8 targets and at least 65 yards receiving. He also led the receivers in routes run and snaps Sunday. With games against the Bengals and Rams next, St. Brown has solid value in PPR leagues.
Broncos at Steelers: JuJu Smith-Schuster’s Injury Opens Up Passing Game
It’s been a rough year so far for JuJu and his managers and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. The wide receiver left the game with a shoulder injury which will end his 2021 season. Obviously, not what managers want to hear.
With JuJu sidelined Sunday, Chase Claypool had his best game of the season. The second-year receiver caught 5-of-6 targets for 130 yards and a touchdown.
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) October 10, 2021
With JuJu done for the year, Claypool and Dionate Johnson are set to see more reliable target share, making them weekly starting WR2s in fantasy.
Dolphins at Buccaneers: Mike Evans Is a Weekly WR1
Evans has long been one of the more frustrating fantasy wide receivers. He always seemed to fluctuate between huge WR1 games and completely disappearing WR5 ones. There was never an in-between. So far through five weeks, 2021 Mike Evans seems to be a Mike Evans you can trust.
Outside of Week 1 vs the Cowboys, Evans has seen at least 8 targets and 75 yards receiving in every game this season. He leads the Bucs in targets and yards, and is tied for the lead in catches and touchdowns. He and Tom Brady clearly have worked on developing a connection and it’s paying off for fantasy managers. With one of the easier pass schedules remaining, Evans managers can feel confident in starting him as a WR1 from here on.
Also, sell high on Myles Gaskin. I hate to be a pessimist but I highly doubt he’ll ever replicate his Week 5 stat-line again this year.
Saints at Washington: Preseason Marquez Callaway Is Starting to Emerge
After a breakout preseason, many (including myself) expected Callaway to be a fantasy sleeper with Michael Thomas sidelined for the Saints. While that has not been the case this season, the preseason hype is starting to show itself.
Jameis hits Marquez Callaway on a Hail Mary to end the first half 😱
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 10, 2021
Callaway has now back-to-back weeks with at least 74 yards receiving and has scored a touchdown in 2 out of his last 3 games. The second-year receiver is on a hot streak as the Saints head into their bye. The timing of said hot streak is a little unfortunate however. Tre’Quan Smith is set to return post-bye and Thomas can come off the Saints’ PUP list after their bye. New Orleans’ receiver room could look a lot more crowded come Week 7. Still, there’s reason for optimism with Callaway so he’s a name to certainly monitor on waivers.
Also, don’t worry about Terry McLaurin. He saw 11 targets and ran 43 routes against the Saints, all team highs. Next week he gets to face the terrible Chiefs’ secondary.
Bears at Raiders: Sell High on Damien Williams
Williams was the top waiver target last week and for those who added him and start him, he lived up to the billing. Williams finished with 18 touches for 84 yards and a touchdown vs the Raiders.
Spin move into the end zone for Damien Williams! #DaBears
— NFL (@NFL) October 10, 2021
Now I know you likely spent a good amount of FAAB to get Williams and with David Montgomery still out for the foreseeable future you might wonder why trade him after one game. The reason is simple: Williams basically split the backfield with rookie back Khalil Herbert Sunday.
Herbert carried the ball 18 times for 75 yards vs the Raiders and actually played more snaps than Williams. Williams was able to boost his score with the touchdown this week, but if the Bears continue a split backfield approach, it certainly caps Williams’ ceiling. Try trading him when your league-mates might still see him with RB1 potential.
Browns at Chargers: Browns Wide Receivers Remain Fickle as All Hell
Even in a game in which the Browns scored 42 points and Baker Mayfield threw for 305 yards and 2 touchdowns, Cleveland’s wide receivers still didn’t produce any notable fantasy-lines. The best outing of the week went to Rashard Higgins who caught 3-of-5 targets for 29 yards and a touchdown. Donavan Peoples-Jones finally did a little bit of something, catching 5-of-6 targets for 70 yards. Odell Beckham meanwhile caught 2-of-3 targets for 20 yards.
The Chargers are a tough matchup for opposing receivers, but the Browns passing game is nowhere near the fantasy producer their ground game is. I’d try getting out from under any Browns’ receiver you’re still holding onto in redraft leagues.
49ers at Cardinals: Kyle Shanahan Hates Trey Sermon
Seriously though, Kyle Shanahan legit hates Trey Sermon. After missing the last two weeks due to injury, Elijah Mitchell made his return Week 5 against the Cardinals and immediately took over the 49ers backfield. He led SF’s running backs in snaps, carries, yards, and routes run. Trey Sermon on the other hand went from a prominent role to a complete afterthought. Sermon played just TWO EFFING SNAPS Sunday and carried the ball once for seven yards. With Mitchell back in the fold, Sermon loses all fantasy value. Because KYLE SHANAHAN HATES TREY SERMON.
Also, Rondale Moore is back so go add him and get excited people!
How did Rondale Moore make this grab? 😳
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 10, 2021
Giants at Cowboys: Immediately Roster Kadarius Toney & Devontae Booker
Saquon Barkley sadly played just six snaps before he rolled his ankle and left the game. Early reports are indicating Barkley will miss Week 6 vs the Rams with a low-ankle sprain. That means we’re about to see a lot more Booker in Week 6. Booker filled in for Barkley Sunday, running the ball 16 times for 42 yards and a touchdown. He also added 16 yards through the air on 3 catches. Booker is 100% worth adding off waivers even if it’s just for a spot-start this coming week.
Kadarius Toney on the other hand should be added across all leagues and should be added for the long haul.
Kadarius Toney is so shifty. Put the ball in his hands. pic.twitter.com/ZE5cjk4Pi2
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) October 10, 2021
For the second week in a row, Toney saw a huge target share and produced more than solid fantasy numbers. Against the Cowboys, Toney caught 10-of-13 targets for 189 yards. He’s a playmaker whenever he has the ball in his hands and with the Giants dealing with so many injuries, Toney’s workload is likely to continue to increase. It should be noted that Toney was ejected Sunday for throwing a punch. Early reports indicate that he won’t be suspended for this.
Bills at Chiefs: Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s Injury Looked Bad
Edwards-Helaire left Sunday night with what looked like a serious knee injury. If CEH is out for an extended period of time, Darrel Williams and Jerick McKinnon both become interesting waiver targets. Williams handled the majority of the work vs the Bills, touching the ball 8 times for 45 yards and playing the most snaps of the backfield. McKinnon was used almost exclusively in passing situations, playing 24 snaps and running 22 routes. With the edge in backfield touches, Williams is the back to prioritize off waivers if CEH can’t play Week 6.
Also, Emmanuel Sanders has replaced Cole Beasley who hasn’t done anything since Week 3 vs Washington’s porous secondary.