Fantasy Football Week 5 Rankings and Notes for Every Position
The 2021 fantasy football season is well underway, and most people's squads are already starting to take shape.
While you certainly won't always agree with them, fantasy football rankings are important because it helps people contextualize their start/sit decisions.
Imagine spending months researching what car you should buy, finally deciding on one, and then driving it into a river one week after you got it because you thought you were smarter than the GPS. Now, there are times where you might actually know a better route than the GPS (especially if your name is Michael Scott), but it is there to serve as a guide for when you need it.
Rankings are your fantasy team's GPS. And I'll attempt to be that annoying voice telling you which way to turn when you reach a fork in the road.
Anyhoo...here are my notes for every position. Feel free to scroll to the bottom if you're only looking for the rankings.
- The Chiefs have ceded the second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. Josh Allen has a great case for overall QB1.
- San Francisco is fifth-most-generous to the position, so Kyler Murray has a case for the top spot as well.
- Though the Panthers have been a top-10 defense against quarterbacks, they had the luxury of going up against Zach Wilson, Jameis Winston, and Davis Mills in their first three games. Dak touched them up for four tuddies last week, the lowest Jalen Hurts has finished this season has been QB10. He's a top-eight option. Easily.
- Seattle is fourth in passing yards allowed this season, and they've only picked off one pass. Matthew Stafford can be confidently started as a QB1.
- No team in the league has ceded more passing yards to the opposition than Dallas, and they've also allowed signal-callers to have success on the ground against them. Daniel Jones has posted a top-six finish in two of his last three games and could be considered a low-end QB1 for this matchup.
- The Jaguars are a mess. And no, I'm not just talking about Urban Meyer. Jacksonville ranks dead last in Defensive Passing DVOA, per FootballOutsiders. This could be the week Ryan Tannehill bounces back, assuming he can get some of his top targets back.
- The Cardinals might not be known for their defense, but that group is underrated. That unit ranks third in Defensive Passing DVOA. Rookie quarterback Trey Lance could be in for a long one here.
- The Chargers are an absolutely brutal matchup for quarterbacks. Keep Baker Mayfield on the bench.
Running Back Notes
- While the Chargers are tough against the pass, they are beatable on the ground (eighth-worst in Rush DVOA), which means this could be one of those Nick Chubb games we all yearn for -- of course, that's unless you're playing against him.
- To date, Seattle has surrendered the most rushing yards and receiving yards to opposing backs. Darrell Henderson is a low-end RB1 this week.
- No team in the NFL has been stingier against running backs than the Broncos. Najee Harris will get another chance to prove his matchup-proof status after failing that test in Week 1 against Buffalo.
- The Jets are also generous to runners both on the ground and through the air, which means the Cordarrelle Patterson show should continue for at least one more week. He's a mid-level RB2.
- Mike Davis also gets a boost and is in RB3 territory.
- Buffalo is second-best in the league against the run, per DVOA, and they're fourth-best in terms of fantasy production allowed. Clyde Edwards-Helaire should be downgraded a bit.
- The Dolphins have given up at least 91 total yards to a back in every game in 2021, and three of those backs also scored. Leonard Fournette had 138 scrimmage yards on 25 opportunities last week, and he should have another big game in Week 5.
- New England has the second-highest neutral situation pass rate in the league, which lowers the ceiling of Damien Harris considerably. Harris has yet to finish higher than RB17 in half-PPR formats.
- Samaje Perine faces a Packers team that's sixth-worst in Rushing DVOA. He's worth a look as an RB3 or FLEX play.
- The Panthers have ceded the second-fewest receiving yards to backs this season. This wouldn't be the week to throw a dart at Kenneth Gainwell.
- If Eli Mitchell returns this week, Trey Sermon would only be worth a look in deep leagues.
Wide Receiver Notes
- Terry McLaurin has been a top-four wideout in fantasy in two of the last three weeks. The Saints rank ninth-worst against the position in 2021. Do you see where I'm going with this?
- Covering wideouts has not been Arizona's specialty, and they've allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to the position. Deebo Samuel should stay hot.
- The Jets have somehow been the third-stingiest team against wide receivers, and Calvin Ridley hasn't finished higher than WR17 yet this campaign. He's a middling WR2. (Update: Ridley is out for Week 5.)
- Since last year, Big Ben has showered Diontae Johnson with double-digit targets in all but one game that the wideout has been healthy. That kind of volume makes him a top-20 play regardless of matchup.
- The Colts have surrendered the most touchdowns to the receiver position. Marquise Brown could certainly break a big one against this secondary.
- The ranking of Ja'Marr Chase depends entirely upon the status of Jaire Alexander. The shutdown corner being active would downgrade the rookie in a big way.
- D.J. Chark's injury last week led to Laviska Shenault finishing as the WR23 in half-PPR formats. 'Viska has seen at least seven looks in three of the four games, and he should get more high-value opportunities with Chark out. He's a top-30 play for Week 5. Oh, and before I forget, only the Bucs have been more generous to wideouts than the Titans.
- Marvin Jones Jr. gets a matchup-based bump as well.
- Dallas has struggled to contain wide receivers and Kenny Golladay's involvement in the offense seems to be growing by the game. He's a high-upside WR3.
- On the other hand, former Giant Odell Beckham Jr. could struggle again in Week 5. The Chargers rank second to only the Bills when it comes to surrendering wideout production.
- As I already mentioned, the Bucs have been the Oprah of defenses against wideouts. A top-30 finish is within reach for Jaylen Waddle.
- The Ravens have been their usual stout selves against pass-catchers, and Michael Pittman has only finished better than WR35 once this season. He's a fade.
- Robby Anderson hasn't finished better than WR54 since Week 1. He's impossible to trust against an Eagles team that's been solid at limiting wideout damage.
Tight End Notes
- Mike Gesicki has posted TE5 and TE7 finishes in his two games with Jacoby Brissett behind center, and he'll be facing a Bucs team that's allowed the third-most fantasy points to the position. Bump.
- Until proven otherwise, Dawson Knox is a top-eight option. The 24-year-old has scored in three straight games and has garnered 13 targets over his last two outings.
- The Jets have yet to allow more than six half-PPR points to a tight end, and Kyle Pitts hasn't finished higher than TE9 at any point. He's purely a volume-based play this week.
- Dalton Schultz has finished inside the top-six at tight end in each of the last two weeks. He gets a mouth-watering draw this week in a Giants team that's fifth-worst versus the position.
- The Houston Texans have allowed the second-most fantasy points to tight ends in 2021, so if you want to throw a dart, try Hunter Henry or even Jonnu Smith.
- Robert Tonyan's target share in Week 4 was encouraging, but there are better ways to exploit the Bengals' defense than with tight ends. Baby Kittle is a touchdown-dependent TE2 this week.
- The Ravens have been a tight end-funnel defense so far this season, ceding the most fantasy points to the position to date. Mo Alie-Cox scored twice in Week 4 and could be worth a dart throw in deeper leagues this week.