Fantasy Football Today - fantasy football rankings, cheatsheets, and information
A Fantasy Football Community!

 Log In  | Sign Up  |  Contact      

Favorites & Fades

Week 5

By: Nick Caron | HC Green | Eli Mack | John Fessel
Updated: 10/8/23



Sunday Early:



Sunday Late:





- Green highlight indicates plus matchup (top eight)
- Red highlight indicates negative matchup (bottom eight)
- Lines and totals updated Sunday morning

Bears @ Commanders - (Caron)
Line: WAS -5.5
Total: 44.5

WAS FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.8
WAS FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.19
WAS FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.7
WAS FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.32

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: QB Justin Fields, WR D.J. Moore

They fell short on the final scoreboard, but we finally saw some life out of the Chicago offense this past week as they went into Denver and scored 28, largely due to a huge game from Justin Fields which saw him throw for 335 yards and four touchdowns - crushing his previous career high of just 291 yards through the air. While he only rushed for 25 yards and is yet to have a truly difference-making day as a runner this season, Fields doesn’t appear to be slowed down by anything and it seems to be more of a small-sample size outlier situation that he’s only averaging 33 yards per game on the ground.

This week Fields has a tough task as he and the Bears go on the road on a short week to face a Commanders defense that has given up the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks so far this season. Of course, that stat might also be a bit misleading as Joshua Dobbs is the only subpar QB they’ve faced. The other three QBs - Russell Wilson, Josh Allen, and Jalen Hurts - all put up over 25 fantasy points against this defense and they did so while contributing at least 34 rushing yards.

Fields is coming off a “boom” week, as is his top target WR D.J. Moore, and both players should be in most fantasy lineups this week. The Commanders have given up a 100-yard game to an opposing receiver in each of their past three games, including a monster game to A.J. Brown this past week. Don’t look for Moore to match Brown’s 175-yard, two-score day, but he should be in line for a strong target share in what should be a fairly competitive game.

On the Fence: RB Khalil Herbert

The Chicago passing game was the biggest story in Week 4, but perhaps the most interesting development of the week was the fact that Khalil Herbert has seemingly taken over as a true bell-cow back for the Bears. Herbert saw snap shares of 36 percent, 60 percent, and 58 percent over the first three weeks of the season, but that number shot up to 78 percent in Week 4 in what was the first game of the season that the Bears didn’t lose by double digits.

The Bears are 5.5-point underdogs which is not a great sign, but the Commanders haven’t looked particularly strong in any contest and it seems unlikely that they’re going to run away on the scoreboard, so Herbert should be in line for another 60 or more percent snap share. Herbert could be a risk all season long as we hope that Chicago doesn’t fall behind by multiple scores in order for him to get a heavy workload, but he’s “the guy” right now and that’s enough for him to be a solid starter for most teams.

Fade: TE Cole Kmet

If you were looking for a young, low-end fantasy TE1 going forward, you might have already scooped up Cole Kmet off of waivers in your league. Kmet is coming off of a gigantic seven-catch, 85-yard, two-touchdown performance which saw him finish as fantasy football’s TE1 in Week 4.

Kmet has shown flashes like this in the past and has actually held onto a strong target share for the Bears this season, but the truth is that throughout his career he has been just another one of the many hyper-inconsistent fantasy options at the tight end position. There aren’t a ton of great options so it’s understandable if you’re in the position where you just need to go with the “hot hand” approach, but this week Kmet is facing a Commanders defense that has conceded the fewest fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends so far this season. No tight end has more than 25 receiving yards against this defense and none of them have gotten into the end zone yet.

CHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.4
CHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.2
CHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.14
CHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.12

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: RB Brian Robinson Jr.

He might only be playing a little more than half of the snaps, but Robinson is completely dominating the Washington backfield from a touch standpoint. Through four games, Robinson has already touched the ball 66 times while his teammates have combined for just 24 touches. Robinson has also scored three times in those games, delivering three usable fantasy performances, including a 13-point day in what many expected to be a down game for him against the Eagles this past week.

Robinson now gets the benefit of playing at home against one of the league’s worst defenses in a game that his team is favored to win by 6.0 points. In other words, this is a prototypical “Brian Robinson game” on paper.

The Bears have given up the second-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season, including a ridiculous six games of 12 or more fantasy points. Most of the backfields they’ve played against are significantly more split than the Washington one, so that’s allowed the point totals to be distributed amongst more players. Robinson’s command of the backfield touches in Washington puts him in a unique spot and could allow him to be the first back to carry the ball 20 times against this defense.

On the Fence: WR Terry McLaurin

It’s been a bit fluky because the Bears have lost three of their four games by at least 10 points and thus opposing offenses haven’t needed to pass the ball much against them, but it’s true that the Bears’ pass defense has been significantly better than their run defense thus far in 2023. In fact, only Mike Evans (who went for 171 yards and a touchdown on six catches) has more than five receptions or 60 receiving yards in a game against Chicago so far this season.

McLaurin is the next top passing game target who’ll have an opportunity against this defense and he’s coming off of his best game of the season, wherein he caught eight of the 10 targets that came his way for 86 yards and a touchdown against the Eagles. Philadelphia’s secondary has had its own struggles, but McLaurin has now finished with at least 10 fantasy points in each of his past three games, which is a great sign as he began the season a bit banged up and appears to be fully healthy now.

McLaurin will probably never truly ascend to WR1 status, especially with a low-volume quarterback like Sam Howell behind center, but he’s a player who you can drop into most lineups and feel confident in to deliver WR2 numbers in most matchups.

Fade: WR Jahan Dotson, WR Curtis Samuel

With the Bears performing well against most opposing receivers, it makes sense that the secondary and tertiary options in the mediocre Washington passing game should be avoided this week. Sam Howell has only thrown one touchdown pass over his past two games and while both Jahan Dotson and Curtis Samuel were able to have success in what was a surprising shootout with the Eagles, neither player had finished with even double-digit fantasy points in any of their three previous contests. This is a passing game to mostly avoid for the time being, unless you’re extremely desperate.

Prediction: Commanders 24, Bears 20 ^ Top

Jaguars @ Bills - London - (Caron)
Line: BUF -5.0
Total: 47.5

BUF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.31
BUF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.11
BUF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.27
BUF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.31

No Brainers: RB Travis Etienne

Favorites: WR Christian Kirk

Things looked grim in Week 1 as Christian Kirk was targeted just three times while Calvin Ridley stole the show, but since then things have been much closer to what we saw in 2022 when Kirk was a reliable WR2 for fantasy who could also occasionally deliver some WR1 weeks. Kirk has now been targeted 36 times over his past three games and appears to be back in control as the team’s WR1. One thing that’s a bit concerning, however, is that Zay Jones could be back this week. Jones missed the past two weeks and has been limited in practice, but his return would almost certainly mean some sort of reduction in snap share and/or target share for Kirk.

A matchup against the Bills who just did a good job against the Dolphins offense is also a bit worrying, but Kirk should still be looked at as a mid-to-low WR2 and the safest option in the Jacksonville offense outside of Travis Etienne.

On the Fence: QB Trevor Lawrence, WR Calvin Ridley, TE Evan Engram

With the Bills having just shut down the Dolphins in Week 4, fantasy managers need to be aware that this game may have less of a shootout potential than we had previously assumed. Buffalo has given up the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks so far this season along with the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends. Ridley hasn’t caught more than three passes in any of his past three games and if it wasn’t for a touchdown in Week 4 he would’ve finished with seven or fewer fantasy points for the third straight contest.

All three of these players have the potential to deliver via touchdown efficiency, but there’s some real risk here with each of them.

Fade: WR Zay Jones

Zay Jones had a big Week 1 performance and then suffered a knee injury in Week 2 which has kept him out since. He’s been rumored to be back this week, but fantasy managers should avoid him for now. He’s been limited in practice and still hasn’t officially been ruled ready to play as of Thursday and Jones doesn’t exactly have the greatest track record even when he is healthy. This is a “wait and see” week for Jones even if he is active on Sunday.

JAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.12
JAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.21
JAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.19
JAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.5

No Brainers: QB Josh Allen, WR Stefon Diggs

Favorites: RB James Cook

Bills running back James Cook saw his lowest snap total of the season this past week during his team’s dominant victory over the Dolphins. Still, Cook came through from a fantasy standpoint, in large part due to him getting his first rushing touchdown of the season. Cook has now seen 16, 21, 17, and 13 touches over his first four games and sits as a very solid fantasy option, having scored double-digit fantasy points in every game.

This week he’ll face a Jacksonville team that has performed well offensively and should be able to put points on the board. Assuming that the Bills don’t get out to another huge lead, we should see plenty of Cook in this contest and he’s a solid bet to deliver for fantasy managers again this week.

On the Fence: WR Gabriel Davis, TE Dalton Kincaid

Through four weeks, Davis’ catch totals have been the following: two catches, six catches, one catch, three catches. That’s absolutely horrible on the surface, but we have to remember that we’re talking about one of the most efficient, explosive players in the league and he’s somehow been able to deliver a touchdown in each of the past three weeks.

The biggest concern here is that Davis, despite his team being successful on offense, has seen four or fewer targets in each of the past three weeks. He’s capable of big games if he gets more passes thrown his way, but as things are he’s also fairly likely to drop single-digit games if he doesn’t get into the end zone.

Rookie tight end Dalton Kincaid hasn’t been particularly exciting for fantasy purposes, especially compared to fellow rookie tight end Sam LaPorta in Detroit. Still, Kincaid has seen four targets, six targets, two targets, and five targets over his first four games. Rookie tight ends don’t even usually see that much volume, though, so this isn’t particularly discouraging.

One thing that’s contributed to Kincaid’s slow start is that he was out-snapped by veteran teammate Dawson Knox in each of his first three games. On a positive note, though, he finally surpassed Knox this past week while also significantly increasing his route participation on passing plays. In fact, this past week, Knox ran routes on just under 50 percent of Buffalo’s passing plays while Kincaid was at nearly 80 percent.

The volume hasn’t been there yet, but if you’re looking for a physically talented tight end on the come-up in a high-paced offense, then Kincaid is your guy. He’s a borderline TE1 this week in what should be a fairly competitive contest with the Jaguars.

Fade: RB Latavius Murray

Has only played more than 30% of snaps in one game, but Latavius Murray has sure helped to cap James Cook’s ceiling by establishing himself as the team’s early-season goal-line back. Murray himself has been completely touchdown-dependent and hasn’t really been fantasy-relevant himself.

To make matters worse, Cook actually got the goal-line carry this past week and converted it for his first rushing touchdown. Cook isn’t likely to be the new “goal-line back,” but he also might not be specifically pulled off the field in those situations, which would further reduce Murray’s value.

Prediction: Bills 27, Jaguars 21 ^ Top

Giants @ Dolphins - (Caron)
Line: MIA -12.5
Total: 47.5

MIA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.6
MIA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.8
MIA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.10
MIA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.8

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: WR Wan’Dale Robinson

There hasn’t been a lot to get excited about in the Giants offense this season, but one interesting note is that Wan’Dale Robinson returned in Week 3 and has now seen 11 targets over his first two games of the season. Robinson also saw his route participation increase from 25% in Week 3 to over 60% in Week 4 and seems to be overtaking Parris Campbell as the Giants’ primary slot receiver. He’s certainly far from a locked-in fantasy starter but he’s someone to keep an eye on and he could be a usable Flex in deep PPR leagues.

Update: Saquon Barkley is not expected to play.

On the Fence: RB Saquon Barkley (ankle), TE Darren Waller

Saquon Barkley has been practicing in a limited fashion throughout the week and is getting closer to returning after the ankle injury he suffered in Week 2. The injury was originally referred to as “not high-ankle,” but rumors have since indicated that the injury might be of the “high” variety. It’d be tough to bench Barkley if he’s active but understand that his upside is probably limited, especially in a game where his team could lose by multiple scores.

The hype was real for Darren Waller heading into the season so it’s understandable that most fantasy managers really don’t really have other viable options at the tight end position. He has suffered the same fate as the other pass-catchers in this ugly Giants passing game, though, and he’s really only provided fantasy managers with one usable fantasy performance thus far. To make matters worse, Waller was targeted just three times during the Giants’ most recent blowout loss to Seattle who has been one of the absolute worst defenses at defending tight ends over the past two seasons. He’ll have another opportunity to make up for his bad performances in a matchup with the Dolphins this week, who rank as a top-10 opponent for opposing tight ends.

Fade: RB Matt Breida

There’s a good chance that Saquon Barkley will be back this week and thus the backfield will be split while they ramp him up, but this is not an ideal matchup for Matt Breida even if he’s the lead back. Breida is averaging just 2.9 yards per carry and he’s scored just one touchdown. The Dolphins are 12-point home favorites and Breida has just 18 carries over his past two games, so the fact that he isn’t historically much of a contributor in the passing game only furthers the strength of this “fade” recommendation.

NYG FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.24
NYG FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.9
NYG FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.21
NYG FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.16

No Brainers: QB Tua Tagovailoa, WR Tyreek Hill

Favorites: RB Devon Achane, RB Raheem Mostert

It’s not news that the Dolphins running game has been unbelievably efficient this season and now they get a matchup against a bad Giants defense that ranks inside the top 10 in fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. They’ve already given up big games to Tony Pollard, James Conner, and Christian McCaffrey, along with a decent game to Kenneth Walker.

It appeared as though Achane had taken over the backfield in Week 4, but that might have also been circumstantial. The Dolphins fell far behind on the scoreboard for the first time this season which could have led to Raheem Mostert seeing less playing time than usual. Mostert is a strong runner but not a very good receiver, while Achane was a very good receiver out of the backfield in college. That was likely one of the main reasons that the Dolphins drafted him in the first place, so it’s no surprise that he would out-snap Mostert in a game where the Dolphins lost by 28 points.

Either way, we’ve seen that both of these players have the ability to produce even in the same game when the Dolphins get ahead on the scoreboard, as they’re expected to do in this game, so fire them both up in your lineups with confidence.

On the Fence: WR Jaylen Waddle

Dolphins wide receiver Jaylen Waddle has just four catches in each of his three games played so far in 2023. He missed Week 3, but came back and played his normal amount of snaps and routes against the Bills. His volume has been low so far, but Waddle is one of the most explosive players in the league and has the capability of putting up some very usable fantasy days even if he’s not seeing a ton of targets.

It’s possible that you might have multiple better options in smaller leagues, but Waddle is too good to bench after just a few down games.

Fade: WR Braxton Berrios

The Bills were up by a wide margin in Week 4 which meant that their defense was playing very soft to avoid deep plays against them. That led to unproductive days for both Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, but it did lead to a higher-than-usual target share for Braxton Berrios.

Berrios is a useful NFL player, but his fantasy production has never matched his on-field value. He scored a touchdown, and that’s nice, but stay away from him for fantasy.

Prediction: Dolphins 30, Giants 16 ^ Top

Saints @ Patriots - (Caron)
Line: NE -1.5
Total: 38.5

NE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.27
NE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.16
NE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.15
NE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.28

No Brainers: RB Alvin Kamara

Favorites: WR Chris Olave

A disastrous Week 4 saw Chris Olave caught just one pass for four yards on six targets. This horrible game for the entire New Orleans offense appeared to primarily be due to quarterback Derek Carr’s lack of health. He played through a shoulder injury and may have hurt his teammates with that decision.

Carr needs to be more than a check-down artist if we’re going to be very excited about Olave or any of these pass catchers, but the second-year receiver had been excelling prior to the injury to his QB. He had produced 300 yards and 22 catches on 32 targets through three games and there’s plenty of reason to be optimistic that, even if Carr isn’t fully healthy, Olave should still be a strong WR2 at worst, especially with the Patriots now being without lockdown rookie cornerback Christian Gonzalez.

On the Fence: WR Michael Thomas

While Chris Olave has shown a real ceiling in the normal New Orleans offense, his teammate, Michael Thomas, is more of a consistent, but low-upside option. What’s interesting is that while Carr’s inability to pass deep could hurt Olave, it might actually be just fine for Thomas. He’s seen at least six targets in every game but hasn’t had more than 61 yards receiving in a game. He also has yet to score a touchdown. Thomas is a low-upside option but he should be able to deliver a handful of receptions which is enough to make him playable as a WR3/Flex in PPR formats.

Fade: QB Derek Carr

Saints quarterback Derek Carr was not even expected to suit up this past week and after seeing his performance it’s pretty clear that he probably shouldn’t have. Carr looked unhealthy and unconfident with his shoulder injury. To make matters worse, he wasn’t even good when he was healthy. Carr has delivered single-digit fantasy points in three of four games.

The Patriots are banged up in their secondary, but this is not a quarterback who fantasy managers want to be relying on right now - even in Superflex formats. He’s outside of QB2 range until he gets healthy.

NO FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.17
NO FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.25
NO FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.12
NO FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.29

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: N/A

On the Fence: RB Rhamondre Stevenson, TE Hunter Henry

The New England offense has looked absolutely terrible this season and it’s starting to affect even Rhamondre Stevenson who had somehow thrived in a mediocre Patriots offense in 2022. Stevenson has been held to single-digit fantasy points in each of his past two games and has only scored one touchdown on the year. What’s been really frustrating is that, even in games they’re losing, the Patriots haven’t prioritized getting the ball to Stevenson in the passing game.

However, if you’re looking for some positivity, take solace in the fact that Stevenson’s overall touches have still mostly been there. He saw 18 touches in Week 1, 18 touches in Week 2, 20 touches in Week 3, and 16 touches in a blowout loss to the Cowboys in Week 4. His yards per-carry average is embarrassingly bad so far, but it’d be hard to imagine that the Patriots offense continues to look quite this bad.

Things are rough at the running back position throughout the league, so a player touching the ball this often has to at least be considered a low-end RB2/Flex.

Tight end Hunter Henry got out to a red-hot start with a touchdown in each of his first two games, but has fallen back to Earth and hasn’t scored since. The Patriots offense is just awful right now, so it’s not surprising that he’s produced just 68 receiving yards on six receptions over his past two games. Still, tight end is a disaster and any player who is his team’s primary end-zone receiver is at least worthy of low-end TE1 consideration.

Fade: QB Mac Jones, All Patriots Wide Receivers

Mac Jones looked excellent in Week 1, but has thrown just two touchdowns since while averaging a pathetic 194 passing yards per game over his past three. Jones and the entire Patriots’ offense has completely fallen apart, largely due to some surprisingly horrible play from the team’s offensive line. Jones’ passing game inefficiency is coupled with the fact that he’s a complete non-factor as a runner and that’s made him a complete no-go for fantasy purposes for now.

With Jones struggling, it makes sense that the Patriots haven’t had a receiver catch more than four passes in either of their past two games. Kendrick Bourne started off the season strong but has come back to reality and hasn’t done much of anything over the past three weeks. There’s just not much to be excited about here and this passing game needs to be avoided as much as possible.

Prediction: Patriots 20, Saints 17 ^ Top

Ravens @ Steelers - (Green)
Line: BAL -4.5
Total: 38.5

PIT FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.13
PIT FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.10
PIT FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.4
PIT FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.27

No Brainers: QB Lamar Jackson, TE Mark Andrews

Favorites: WR Zay Flowers

Injuries have taken the steam out of Baltimore’s offseason revamping of the receiver position with both Odell Beckham Jr. (ankle) and Rashod Bateman (hamstring) missing last week’s thumping of the Browns. The one constant for the passing game has been Flowers, who caught three passes for 56 yards on a day that Jackson attempted just 19 passes. The Steelers have had all kinds of trouble stopping top receivers this year, with Brandon Aiyuk, Davante Adams, and Nico Collins all surpassing 100 yards. Although none of them have a complement like Mark Andrews to contend with, Flowers still looks lined up for some serious upside.

On the Fence: RB Gus Edwards

While Baltimore’s top two backs both carried injury designations into Week 4, both suited up. It was Edwards that shouldered the load, however, carrying the ball 15 times for 48 yards -- Justice Hill had just three rushing attempts. The question is whether that distribution was a sign of things to come, or a nod to Hill’s injury being a larger concern last Sunday. We should get a better feel for the hierarchy this weekend, but in the interim you shouldn’t consider Edwards as more than a flex play or weak RB3.

Fade: N/A

BAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.28
BAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.22
BAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.16
BAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.30

No Brainers: RB Najee Harris

Favorites: RB Jaylen Warren

After a disappointing Week 1, Warren has averaged 11.7 touches and 64 yards per game over the last three. For comparison, Harris has logged an average of 15 touches during that same stretch. Warren is heavily involved in the passing game these days, and he should be a popular target for whoever takes the snaps in Week 5. As a flex candidate, Warren has decent potential.

On the Fence: WR George Pickens

Only Cleveland and Dallas have allowed fewer passing yards per game than the Ravens at 168.3 per game. Pickens, meanwhile, has been up and down, posting two games with fewer than 40 yards receiving on either side of a two-game stretch where he caught eight passes for 202 yards and a touchdown. It feels like anything is in play here, from Baltimore completely locking down the second-year wideout to Pickens getting the majority of the action -- after all, somebody is going to gain yards through the air. He feels like a risk/reward play as a WR3.

Fade: QB Kenny Pickett (knee)

At this point, it’s unclear if Pickett will even suit up. With the Steelers set for a Bye in Week 6, it might make sense for him to sit and get that extra week of healing. Even if he’s given a clean bill of health, you shouldn’t consider playing Pickett. He’s averaging just a shade over 200 yards per game with 4 TDs and 4 INTs. He threw for 168 yards and 1 TD in his lone start against the Ravens last year. Stay away.

Prediction: Ravens 23, Steelers 12 ^ Top

Panthers @ Lions - (Green)
Line: DET -9.0
Total: 44.5

DET FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.15
DET FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.28
DET FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.18
DET FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.2

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: WR Adam Thielen

There isn’t much to like offensively with Carolina this season. They’re 24th in scoring at 16.8 points per game, but if you only account for Bryce Young’s three starts (and take away last Sunday’s defensive score) that number drops to 11 points per game, which would be the worst in the NFL. One guy that has played well is Thielen, who has 25 receptions over the last three games for 275 yards and 2 TDs. Granted, his best game came with Andy Dalton under center, but he still had seven grabs in Weeks 2 and 4 with Young at the helm. Back in a familiar NFC North haunt, Thielen is a solid WR3.

On the Fence: RB Miles Sanders

Ever since posting 98 total yards in the opener, Sanders has gained 47, 62, and 32 yards combined in the last three games, respectively. Teams don’t fear Young and the passing game, and as such they’re willing to stack the box to stop the run. Detroit is currently the No. 1 run defense in the NFL (60.8 yards per game), so don’t expect Sanders to have a big day in Week 5. He’s getting enough touches to remain a viable RB3 or flex, but that looks to be his ceiling this Sunday.

Fade: N/A

CAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.32
CAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.4
CAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.28
CAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.17

Update: Amon-Ra St. Brown (abdomen) is Doubtful, Jahmyr Gibbs (hamstring) is Doubtful and Jameson Williams is expected to be limited.

No Brainers: RB David Montgomery, RB Jahmyr Gibbs, WR Amon-Ra St. Brown, TE Sam LaPorta

Favorites: N/A

On the Fence: WR Jameson Williams

The NFL announced they were reducing Williams’ suspension from six games to four late last week, meaning the 2022 first-round pick is eligible to play this Sunday. Based purely on talent, Williams is Detroit’s most dangerous target, and he should be an immediate upgrade on the likes of Josh Reynolds and Kalif Raymond. How quickly Detroit works Williams into the lineup is the question? While it’s best to leave him on your bench until it’s answered, Williams’ talent at least gives him a chance to contribute.

Fade: QB Jared Goff

While Goff is generally a much better option at home than on the road, Carolina has been a rugged pass defense through four games. They sit sixth in the NFL, yielding 176.8 yards per game, and just put together a very strong effort against the Vikings in Week 4, holding Kirk Cousins to 139 yards after he’d thrown for 340-plus each of the first three weeks. This is probably a good week to keep Goff inactive.

Prediction: Lions 30, Panthers 17 ^ Top

Texans @ Falcons - (Mack)
Line: ATL -2.5
Total: 41.5

ATL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.20
ATL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.30
ATL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.25
ATL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.4

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: QB C.J. Stroud, WR Nico Collins

QBs that become elite in the NFL are usually elite from the very beginning. While it’s too soon to call Stroud elite, we can certainly classify his production as such so far through four games. To be sure, Stroud is off to one of the best starts ever for a quarterback. The last three games have seen him average 323 passing yards, 2 passing TDs in each contest, while also protecting the football. The rookie has yet to toss an interception. He’s definitely becoming a serious consideration for QB1 status. But with byes starting this week, Stroud is a top-10 option for me. He’d be a great plug-n-play for those enduring Justin Herbert’s bye. Start Stroud against an Atlanta pass defense that has shown some vulnerability.

Stroud’s ascension as a primetime player brings with it the prospects of propelling a teammate who’s enjoying a similar upward trajectory. WR Nico Collins is off to the best start of his three-year career. To put Collins’ production in perspective, he’s on pace to finish the season with 93 catches for more than 1,800 yards and 12 scores. Elite QBs often produce elite WRs. Collins may soon morph into one, providing his managers with incredible value on a player some leagues drafted as the 50th WR. Both belong in your lineup as every-week starters, regardless of matchup.

On the Fence: RB Dameon Pierce (knee), WR Tank Dell

Dameon Pierce has gotten off to a slow start in 2023. His 181 rushing yards through four games is a far cry from this time last year when the rookie racked up 313 yards on the ground and a couple scores. Part of it, of course, was the team’s desire to take the ball out the hands of the carousel of QBs they had in 2022. But Pierce’s rushing production this year has fallen off because of Stroud’s incredible play, although some might hope for production through the air. Pierce’s 8 catches so far don’t prove he’s a cog in the team’s pass attack, so you may want to temper expectations going into this contest. Also, you should keep an eye open for Pierce’s practice participation. He’s battling a knee issue this week.

Tank Dell has risen onto the scene and commanded the fantasy community take notice. He’s putting up sensational numbers as a waiver wire pickup—all while still playing behind veteran Robert Woods. Should Woods miss any time, Dell becomes a solid WR2. But still, Dell can be a flex option this week if you believe Stroud spreads production beyond Collins.

Fade: WR Robert Woods

Robert Woods is a 31-year-old veteran with a lot of miles and a history of injury. But he’s good for this team in the locker room and as a mentor to the young players. It’s just that he has diminishing fantasy relevance in 2023, so he should be left on your bench or waiver wire.

HOU FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.23
HOU FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.7
HOU FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.29
HOU FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.15

No Brainers: RB Bijan Robinson

Favorites: N/A

On the Fence: WR Drake London

Fantasy managers entered the 2023 draft season with Drake London generally pegged as a low-end WR2 player. He’s fallen woefully short of that expectation so far, with little optimism that things will change for the better moving forward. Atlanta’s passing game is an unattractive version of modern-day football, as the apparently limited skillset of QB Desmond Ridder prevents London from expanding on his potential. Only three teams have fewer pass attempts, but no team has fewer passing yards than the Falcons. For anyone relying on an Atlanta pass catcher for fantasy production, I would suggest a changed course of action because the Falcons passing game will leave you deserted.

Fade: TE Kyle Pitts

What in the world has happened to Kyle Pitts? Drafted as a (supposed) generational talent, he’s been anything but. However, in his defense, we honestly don’t know how good he is because the team seems to have little idea how to use him. He’s played 31 games yet only has three TDs. And in a league where tight ends NOT named Kelce or Hockenson are largely TD dependent, that makes Pitts an also-ran in fantasy discussions. Here’s something else. We’ve heard many say how difficult it is for young tight ends to make a difference, but when we see how Detroit is using rookie TE Sam LaPorta, it blows that theory right out the water. At this point, it’s obvious Pitts belongs on your bench. The debate now becomes, is he even rosterable? Indeed, I will continue that topic as we advance through the season.

Prediction: Texans 27, Falcons 17 ^ Top

Titans @ Colts - (Mack)
Line: TEN -2.5
Total: 43.5

IND FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.3
IND FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.13
IND FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.8
IND FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.13

No Brainers: RB Derrick Henry

Favorites: WR DeAndre Hopkins

DeAndre Hopkins has been the WR1 on every team he’s played for, meaning he has consistently received the lion’s share of targets wherever he’s been. Even in a Tennessee passing game that scares no one, Hopkins’ 31 targets make him a threat every game. But there’s simply not enough firepower elsewhere in this passing game to turn the threat of Hopkins into consistent production. He’s a lone wolf as a receiver on this team and the only viable option outside of Henry on the Titans. As always, Hopkins is a must start as a WR3 or flex. Start him with the continued hope that Ryan Tannehill will one day help Hopkins exceed his expectations.

On the Fence: N/A

Fade: QB Ryan Tannehill, WR Treylon Burks

Ryan Tannehill is not a viable fantasy option at this point in his career, and Treylon Burks continues to battle through a knee issue this week. If either is on your roster, you might want to give some serious consideration as to why that is so.

TEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.21
TEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.31
TEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.5
TEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.26

No Brainers: QB Anthony Richardson

Favorites: WR Michael Pittman Jr.

Pittman’s 39 targets place him in the top 10 in the league and makes him a must-start option this week and every week. He’s turned those 39 targets into 26 grabs—also top 10 in the league. Pittman has been a reliable starter since Week 2, and his massive upside as the Alpha receiving option on the Colts makes him someone you should feel comfortable having in your lineup. Plus, Tennessee’s pass defense is a middle-of-the-road unit, so that should not serve as a deterrent to starting him. Let Pittman feast this week as you WR2.

Update: Jonathan Taylor has agreed to a contract extension with the Colts. He's expected to play but could be on a snap count accoring to Dianna Russini.

On the Fence: RB Zack Moss, RB Jonathan Taylor

For the most part, Zack Moss has delivered during Taylor’s absence. He’s averaged more than 20 carries in each of the last three games and scored two TDs in that span. And his 84 percent snap share is the highest in the league for RBs. That all sounds like the making of a consistent and productive fantasy player, which Moss has been. But now Jonathan Taylor is poised to return from the PUP list, effectively stalling Moss’s fantasy relevance. Taylor, however, has not yet been cleared by the team to play, although he put in a full practice on Thursday. If both are active, I would side with Moss over Taylor at this point. That’s subject to change as the weeks go by and Taylor’s practice load gets ramped up. But for now, keep an eye on this backfield to see who suits up. Before long, it will be Taylor’s backfield exclusively.

Fade: WR Josh Downs

Josh Downs has shown promise but not enough to warrant any serious consideration to start. For now, he is a roster stash. Hold him and see how his role plays out in the coming weeks.

Prediction: Colts 20, Titans 17 ^ Top

Bengals @ Cardinals - (Fessel)
Line: CIN -3.0
Total: 44.5

ARI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.5
ARI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.3
ARI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.22
ARI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.20

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: RB Joe Mixon, WR Ja’Marr Chase

Joe Mixon is 20th in fantasy points at Running Back, and 24th in fantasy points per game among all RB’s who’ve played multiple games. It’s hardly a shining start, but Mixon is getting more than enough volume – 17 touches per game – to at least maintain flex value, even with the serious struggles that the Bengals offense has experienced thus far. It’s likely that the Bengals will lean harder on Mixon in both the running and passing game against a Cardinals team that has already surrendered a whopping 8 touchdowns to running backs (4 rushing and 4 receiving), especially with Tee Higgins (ribs) either playing hurt or sitting out this week. As such, he’s one of the surprisingly few confident plays on the Cincinnati roster at this time.

Ja’Marr Chase, meanwhile, should be a no brainer. Yet, right now, he’s barely an unenthusiastic “favorite”. Who would have thought he’d only be 27th in fantasy points at wide receiver after a month of football? Chase certainly tapped into some squeaky wheel energy following two quiet showings to start the season, and has had a more productive 19 catches for 214 yards on 24 targets in the last two weeks. Yet the seemingly relentless dark cloud over the Bengals that is Joe Burrow’s health status offers nothing near a guarantee. A twenty-point effort in Week 3 indicates there’s still more than enough upside there to keep Chase in your lineup, but there are a lot of reasons to keep expectations down around the WR2 or even Flex level, for now. Especially against a Cardinals secondary that has held Terry McLaurin, CeeDee Lamb, Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel to just 31.7 combined points (with Aiyuk being the only one of the four to have a top 25 performance). Stick with Chase, but count more on a high floor than a high ceiling.

On the Fence: N/A

Update: Tee Higgins is not expected to play.

Fade: QB Joe Burrow (calf), WR Tee Higgins (fractured rib)

Joe Burrow has averaged just 9.4 fantasy points per game this season, which is a whole 2 points per game less than the league’s stiffest defense against QB’s (Carolina with 11.6). Still, USA Today’s Chris Roling reported that following last Sunday’s game, Burrow declared “this is the best I’ve felt after a game. I’m optimistic.” Coupled with reports that a short video clip from Wednesday’s practice showed Burrow looking more mobile than he has all year, there could be real cause for optimism, especially with the Cardinals having already surrendered 3 rushing TDs to QB’s.

Yet Burrow only produced 6.7 fantasy points in a game that he walked away from feeling “the best” he has all year. For the unshaken and faithful, this has already meant taking the massive dent of 37.8 points below replacement at the QB position. Even against a Cardinals team that has thus far surrendered the 5th most points to opposing QB’s, it may be wisest to let Burrow show that he’s healthy and back in form before rolling him out in your starting lineup. If you need a cherry on top, Higgins is dealing with a rib fracture, which will only make times harder for Burrow. Both Burrow and Higgins are fair fades this week.

CIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.14
CIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.17
CIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.20
CIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.6

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: RB James Conner

Seven-year veteran James Conner was slowed by the 49ers after back-to-back hundred plus yard performances, that also saw him crossing the goal line. Yet with 14 rushes and 5 receptions, Conner continued to be a focal point of the Arizona offense. That’s likely to continue this week against a Bengals team that has been too banged up to force their opponents into negative game script early in games, if at all. Conner, of course, is also more adaptable to game script, as evidenced by his 5 receptions last week in a game where the Cardinals trailed most of the way.

At No.17 against opposing running backs, the Bengals haven’t been terrible against the run. But they haven’t been great either, having allowed each of Nick Chubb, Gus Edwards and Derrick Henry to score Top 20 performances. Kyren Williams’ No.28 performance against the Bengals D in Week 3 has set a comfortable floor and that makes Conner a relatively safe play with upside.

On the Fence: QB Joshua Dobbs, WR Michael Wilson

Joshua Dobbs has been one of the best stories of the early season, and with reports coming out that Kyler Murray is “weeks” away from returning, Dobbs will get ample opportunities to continue writing surprising chapters as the Cardinals QB1. With 23.2 points in Week 2 (No.8) and 23.4 points in Week 4 (No.9), Dobbs has demonstrated he’s at least capable of producing back-end QB1 performances. A lot of this is thanks to 24 rushes for 141 yards and a touchdown (including 12 rushes for 48 yards last week), but Dobbs has also helped his cause by avoiding the interception column.

Coming off a game where he had 41 pass attempts and 12 rushes, Arizona may be growing increasingly willing to open the playbook up now that Dobbs has both been with the team for several weeks and has shown a higher-than-anticipated level of competence. Whether or not the Bengals can produce enough offense to discourage the Cardinals from sitting on the ball and letting Cincinnati make the first mistake remains to be seen. The Bengals have been middling against opposing QB’s thus far (14th most QB points allowed), so this is by no means a scenario where Dobbs has an inside track to low-end QB1 status, but with bye weeks under way, anyone strapped at QB certainly could take their chances on Dobbs.

Michael Wilson has seen his production line steadily increase after posting just 2 receptions for 19 yards in his first NFL game. Last week, he had an excellent showing, picking up 7 receptions for 76 yards and 2 scores on 7 targets. In the last two weeks, he’s recorded 162 yards receiving, and has had at least 56 yards receiving in each of the last three weeks. But last week was his first game seeing more than 4 targets, and it’s his snap rate has fluctuated between 43% and 70% since playing a whopping 90% of his team’s offensive snaps in Week 1, meaning there’s a lot of bust potential to go with his boom (14.8 yards per target).

In Wilson’s favor, it has been complementary receivers who have done the most damage against the Bengals secondary, with the likes of Nelson Agholor, Tutu Atwell and Nick Westbrook-Ikhine all producing at least 13.6 fantasy points against the Bengals. No number 1 receiver has produced even 10 against Cincy, thus far, and so Dobbs may could turn to Wilson fairly frequently again in Week 5. If you’re in a pinch due to bye weeks and/or injuries at wide receiver or flex, the No.32 ranked Wilson has WR2 upside.

Fade: WR Marquise Brown

Brown leads the Cardinals with 32 targets, and has converted them into 49.3 points, good for WR2 status. Brown has thus far peaked at 1013 yards from scrimmage (2021), and his 265 yards of offense through four games suggest that he could match or eclipse that mark in 2023. With 2 touchdowns in the early going, he also appears to be returning to the red zone form of his first three years, where-in he averaged 7 touchdowns before managing just 3 in 12 games last season.

The Bengals have been good against WR1’s. Amari Cooper managed just 5.2 points against them, Zay Flowers picked up 8.8, Cooper Kupp/Calvin Johnson impersonator Puca Nacua picked up just 9.7, and DeAndre Hopkins had 8.3 last week. For Cooper, that matched his lowest total in nine games with DeShaun Watson (matched during a previous game against the Bengals). Nacua, meanwhile, has had at least 16.8 points in every other game, this season. It looks to be a difficult Sunday upcoming for Brown, and as such it’s likely best to sit him.

Prediction: Bengals 20, Cardinals 19 ^ Top

Eagles @ Rams - (Fessel)
Line: PHI -4.0
Total: 50.5

LAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.25
LAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.27
LAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.24
LAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.10

No Brainers: QB Jalen Hurts, WR A.J. Brown, RB D’Andre Swift

Favorites: N/A

On the Fence: WR DeVonta Smith, TE Dallas Goedert

The Rams allowed 12 receptions and 141 yards to Ja’Marr Chase in Week 3, but have otherwise not allowed more than 63 yards receiving to any wideout, and held Michael Pittman Jr. to just 1 catch for 15 yards on 5 targets a week ago. The mobility of Anthony Richardson did not loosen the grip the Rams secondary had on Pittman and the rest of the Colts receivers, so it’s not certain the mobility of Jalen Hurts will do the trick either. Of course, DeVonta Smith is arguably on a different level than Michael Pittman, and he also has the talents of A.J. Brown across from him to draw attention. But it would not be surprising to see a subdued performance from Smith this week.

The Rams have largely made a quiet showing out of tight ends this year with no tight end besting 50 yards against them and George Kittle producing just 30 yards in Week 2. But they did surrender two touchdowns to the Colts tight ends last week, and one has to wonder how much longer Dallas Goedert (13-88-0) remains exclusively a check down option for Jalen Hurts. It’s hard to imagine he won’t break out at some point, but it is far from a lock that a break out is coming this week.

Fade: N/A

PHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.7
PHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.23
PHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.6
PHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.3

Update: Cooper Kupp will play.

No Brainers: WR Puka Nacua

Favorites: WR Tutu Atwell, TE Tyler Higbee

The Eagles have paid the price for letting Chauncey Gardener-Johnson and Marcus Epps go during the off season, having surrendered 739 yards and 7 touchdowns to wide receivers already this year. That’s good for the 5th most fantasy points allowed to the position, and much of that damage has been done out of the slot, where Tutu Atwell spends a lot of time. Kendrick Bourne reaped 21.4 points Week 1, K.J. Osborn picked up 10.9 in Week 2, and Curtis Samuel produced 14.7 points in Week 4. Atwell already appears to have taken a leap in his 3rd season, ranking No.22 with 11.7 points per game, and he stands to continue his emergence this week against the Eagles shallow secondary.

Tyler Higbee could be another major benefactor of Philadelphia’s problems at safety, as they’ve had difficulties in stopping opposing tight ends as well. But the Eagles exasperated their struggles by letting linebackers T.J. Edwards and Kyzir White walk in free agency. Each of the two linebackers had 7 passes defensed last season, and neither allowed a touchdown in coverage. Matthew Stafford could be calling on Tyler Higbee often in order to survive the Eagles pass rush (31 quarterback hits and 11 sacks in 4 games). Furthermore, issues in coverage mean Higbee has a strong shot to tack on yards with big play or two against struggling coverage, perhaps finding the end zone, as well.

On the Fence: QB Matthew Stafford, RB Kyren Williams

The Eagles strength is largely in their defensive front seven, and that’s bad news for both Matthew Stafford (hip) and for running back Kyren Williams. Stafford has shown more than his No.18 fantasy ranking among quarterbacks indicates, as he’s second in passing yards despite leaning on a 5th round rookie to be his number 1 receiver. The Eagles have been stung by QB’s for 21.6 fantasy points per game, so if Stafford can survive their fierce pass rush, he may be able to break the week’s top 12, but if he spends a lot of time on his back or gets sent to the locker room due to a worsening of his hip, fantasy managers who start him may suffer.

As for Kyren Williams, there are few teams – if any – that are more difficult to run against than the Eagles. They’ve yet to surrender 200 yards rushing for the season, so tough sledding seems in store. A saving grace may be that Williams appears to have little competition for workload (82% snap rate), and the Eagles have surrendered 24 receptions to RBs (tied for 5th most), giving him another avenue to reach flex value this week. Keep in mind that Williams’ production has been carried by volume, as well as a touchdown rate that is likely to regress (especially when Cooper Kupp returns), having under a 4-yard rushing average and only catching half of his 22 targets. Consider him an iffy proposition at flex this week, despite his big start (19.0 FPTs/G).

Fade: N/A

Prediction: Eagles 24, Rams 20 ^ Top

Chiefs @ Vikings - (Green)
Line: KC -3.5
Total: 52.5

MIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.9
MIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.24
MIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.2
MIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.21

No Brainers: QB Patrick Mahomes, RB Isiah Pacheco, TE Travis Kelce

Favorites: N/A

On the Fence: WR Rashee Rice

It has not been a great start for KC’s receivers with Rice (13-140-1) being the only one to amass more than 10 receptions -- that is followed by Kadarius Toney (9), Justin Watson (8), Skyy Moore (7), and Marquez Valdes-Scantling (6). Obviously, the passing game starts with Travis Kelce (hey, did you know he’s linked to Taylor Swift!?!?) and then whatever is left is metered out amongst the receiving corps. While that prevents anyone in that group from having definitive value, Rice feels the closest to establishing himself. In what figures to be a high-scoring affair against a middling secondary, Rice could be a high-end lottery ticket from your flex slot.

Fade: N/A

KC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.26
KC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.26
KC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.23
KC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.9

No Brainers: RB Alexander Mattison, WR Justin Jefferson, TE T.J. Hockenson

Favorites: QB Kirk Cousins

Cousins had basically reached no-brainer status after rattling off three games of 340-plus yards and multiple TD passes to open the season, but then he struggled mightily in Week 4, completing just 12 of 19 passes for 139 yards, 2 TDs, and 2 INTs (one of which was returned 99 yards for a touchdown). Well, flush it and forget it. Cousins should be right back in your lineup this Sunday. The Vikings return home to entertain the Chiefs, and while KC has a capable defense, they’re not going to bleed the clock the way Carolina did. In fact, this game has both shootout potential and a chance of being a one-sided game with lots of garbage time to rack up stats. Both bode well for Cousins, who is a mid-range QB1 this week.

On the Fence: WR Jordan Addison

Off to a solid start through three games, Addison was targeted only once versus the Panthers and finished the day without a catch. Using the same rationale as Cousins, you should expect a lot more offensive fireworks from the Vikings in Week 5. The reason Addison isn’t a favorite is that the only two sure things in Minnesota’s passing attack are Jefferson and Hockenson, so while the rookie has worked ahead of K.J. Osborn for the most part, Cousins isn’t at a point where he’s committed to getting Addison the ball. View Addison as a low-end WR3 with a little juice.

Fade: N/A

Prediction: Chiefs 34, Vikings 24 ^ Top

Jets @ Broncos - (Fessel)
Line: DEN -2.5
Total: 43.5

DEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.1
DEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.1
DEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.9
DEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.7

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: WR Garrett Wilson, RB Breece Hall, TE Tyler Conklin

Garrett Wilson’s talents have certainly earned him every bit of his 36 targets to-date (good for No.11 among WR). The efficiency of those targets (225 yards) is limited by corresponding QB play of Zach Wilson, but volume and the fact that Wilson is clearly the Jets premier red zone receiving option should keep him in the WR2 conversation on a weekly basis. This week, think of him as more, as the stunningly vulnerable Broncos defense has surrendered three 20+ point fantasy performances to receivers already. D.J. Moore was the latest to victimize them, going for 131 yards receiving despite also dealing with the struggles of his QB. Wilson could have a blow-up performance in this one, but with the Broncos surrendering no less than 9.6 fantasy points to opposing teams’ WR1’s, the floor is also very high.

Breece Hall has mostly been quiet since his explosive 147-yard performance in Week 1, and is only averaging 10.5 touches per game due to both a timeshare with (thus far ineffective) Dalvin Cook and the Jets spending a lot of time in negative game script. But the Jets have an opportunity to see a fair amount of positive game script in this one, and with the out of this world performances that running backs Devon Achane and Raheem Mostert have had against the Broncos, as well as 20+ point performances from Brian Robinson Jr. and Khalil Herbert, a talent such as Hall is a must start.

Meanwhile, the Broncos have given up 12.8 points per game to tight ends, good for 4th most, despite having faced just two tight ends in the Top 25 in points. Last week, Cole Kmet had a career performance, producing 24.1 fantasy points. That thrust him to No.4 among TE’s for the season. Logan Thomas, who currently sits at No.17, had 9.6 points against the Broncos during Week 2. Both Kmet and Thomas have otherwise been back end TE2’s thus far, which is exactly what Tyler Conklin has been (20.1 points) coming into this week. Conklin does rank 16th in both targets and catches among tight ends, and a match up against a Broncos defense that also struggled against TE’s in 2022 (11.5 ppg allowed) catapults Conklin into TE1 territory this week.

On the Fence: QB Zach Wilson, WR Allen Lazard

Zach Wilson put up his first statistically solid performance of the season last week against the Chiefs. It was arguably his career game, producing a career best 105.2 passer rating, throwing multiple touchdowns without tossing an interception for the first time in his career, and producing a two-point conversion on a day where he threw for 245 yards, ran for 14 and took just 2 sacks. Whether this is a sign that Wilson is finally taking at least a small step forward, or if it was a flash in the pan remains to be seen. The Broncos have given up multiple touchdowns to each of the four quarterbacks they’ve faced and so rolling with Zach Wilson this week may be more about betting on swiss cheese defense from the Broncos than the Jets 3rd year quarterback having an epiphany. These forces colliding make Wilson about as big a boom-or-bust play as one will ever find at quarterback.

Allen Lazard could be one of the benefactors of a potential multi-touchdown performance from Zach Wilson this week, and as such is worth some consideration for strapped fantasy managers. Lazard has only averaged 4 targets per game, thus far, but is producing 10.6 yards per target and picked up his first touchdown in a 61-yard performance last week. The Broncos have thus far surrendered 11.2 yards per target to wide receivers and have already given up 6 touchdowns to the position, so Lazard could easy have a flex-level showing without heavy volume. Again, this is more about what has been an extremely exploitable Broncos defense than it is about the talent of the player.

Fade: N/A

NYJ FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.19
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.12
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.30
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.1

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: N/A

On the Fence: WR Jerry Jeudy, WR Courtland Sutton

Courtland Sutton is 21st among wide receivers in points per game in 2023, but that’s largely on the back of scoring 3 touchdowns in his team’s first four games. Sutton has yet to surpass 6 touchdowns in a season, and the Broncos are facing a Jets defense that has given up just 11 touchdowns to receivers since the start of last year. Even worse news for Sutton, as well as fellow wide receiver Jerry Jeudy, is that the Jets allowed the least points to wideouts last year and have thus far allowed the second least to receivers in 2023. The possibility that the Broncos spend much of another game in negative game script could be a saving grace for one or both of these receivers, but it’s a real dice roll.

Update: Javonte Williams is a gametime decision.

Fade: QB Russell Wilson, All Broncos RBs

While the Broncos fortunes have not only failed to take a turn for the better, but have actually taken a turn for the worse with the arrival of Sean Payton. Russell Wilson – aided by lots of garbage time and a hail mary conversion – has found himself back inside fantasy football’s QB1 territory in the early going of 2023. But there is a strong chance of a close game in this one, and the Jets will be the best pass defense that the Broncos have faced thus far.

Despite facing both Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes, the Jets have allowed just the 20th most fantasy points to opposing QBs, giving up just 5 touchdown passes against 5 interceptions. They’ve also gone 22 consecutive games without allowing 300 yards to a passer, dating back to 2021. Russell Wilson, to this point, has only encountered defenses that are currently top 10 in points allowed to opposing quarterbacks. With both Allen and Mahomes having had their poorest production of the season against the Jets, it’s easy to see how Wilson could be shut down.

The Jets have not been as stellar against the run (14th most fantasy points allowed), but have given up just 1 rushing touchdown this season, and as a result only 2 running backs have reached double figure points against them. Last year was similar, with the Jets giving up just 7 rushing touchdowns and allowing just the 20th most fantasy points to the RB position. Considering that the Broncos now have a third hat in the ring with Jaleel McLaughlin rushing for over 70 yards last week (on 7 rushes), it’d be hard to figure who might have a productive day even against a far more vulnerable rushing defense than the Jets have.

McLaughlin might be the flavor of the week, but his 187-pound frame indicates he’s unlikely to be more than a change of pace back most weeks. Meanwhile, neither Javonte Williams (hip) nor Samaje Perine has scored a touchdown and they are averaging 3.6 and 3.7 yards per rush, respectively. Even in the passing game, Williams and Perine were already both splitting the action (11 catches each) until McLaughlin came along and caught 3 passes last week, further muddying this water. It may just be too big a risk to roll with any of these backs, especially in a game where the Broncos may struggle to get into the end zone.

Prediction: Jets 23, Broncos 16 ^ Top

Cowboys @ 49ers - (Fessel)
Line: SF -3.5
Total: 44.5

SF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.22
SF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.20
SF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.11
SF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.24

No Brainers: RB Tony Pollard, WR CeeDee Lamb

Favorites: N/A

On the Fence: TE Jake Ferguson

Jake Ferguson is coming off a 7-reception game, and has seen 7 targets back-to-back games. Ferguson also leads all Cowboy tight ends by good measure with a 64% snap rate. Yet despite Week 4’s successes, the former 4th round selection saw a season low 56% snap rate, which was tied by 2nd round rookie Luke Schoonmaker. Schoonmaker was targeted just 3 times, though, and caught none of his targets. He has just 1 catch for 1 yard on 5 targets for the season (a TD), suggesting that Ferguson is still Dak Prescott’s favored check down option for the time being.

The 49ers, meanwhile, continue to be really tough on tight ends, allowing just 120 yards receiving to the position in four games. There could be enough check down work for Ferguson to once again break the top 12 despite this, but Ferguson is best suited as a substitute for a fantasy manager dealing with a bye week for their TE and also lacking a reliable back up option.

Fade: QB Dak Prescott, WR Brandin Cooks

Dak Prescott is playing a very different role this year on a Cowboys team that seems determined to center it’s title run around a dominant defense and protecting the football. As such, Prescott has thrown for just 9.4 yards per completion. He’s back to avoiding interceptions, and despite leading in fumbles twice in his career, he’s yet to fumble this season. The recipe seems to be working for Dallas but it’s not a traditional one for fantasy football production. To top it off, Prescott’s wheels appear to be no more than average as he had just 43 yards and no touchdowns on the ground in the season’s first month, and has only produced 11.6 rushing yards per game since 2020.

The 49ers defense won’t make it any easier (just 15.3 FPts/G allowed to opposing QB’s). It’s possible that the Cowboys spend a fair amount of time trying to come back on the road in this game. If so, volume and a two-minute drill could be the one way Prescott gets into QB1 territory, but without even a Top 16 performance yet, it’s probably best to sit Dak for this one.

The Cowboys ball control offense also has wideout Brandin Cooks playing a role he’s never really played before – that of an underneath receiver. And it’s not working. Cooks is averaging just 7.4 intended air yards per target, which is 3 intended yards per target less than his next “lowest” year. He’s only seen 15 targets, and those targets have produced just 8 receptions and 66 yards with no touchdowns. The lack of production is unlikely to change against the 49ers.

DAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.30
DAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.32
DAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.31
DAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.22

No Brainers: RB Christian McCaffrey

Favorites: TE George Kittle

Kittle is essentially a no brainer, but a slow start – just 14th in points at TE with 21.8 – lands him in the discussion here. He saw just 1 target last week, a 9-yard reception. In this 49er’s offense, Kittle is always going to be a streaky producer who has a high ceiling and low floor. In a position with few receiving talents on his level, though, he’s still worthy of a start every week. This week is no exception, despite a tough Dallas defense that is yet to give up a touchdown to a tight end.

On the Fence: WR Deebo Samuel (knee), QB Brock Purdy

The Cowboys have given up the 4th fewest fantasy points to wide receivers. They did recently lose star corner Trevon Diggs for the season, so they may not be quite as bullet proof, but they still have likely Hall of Famer Stephon Gilmore leading a quality secondary. Brandon Aiyuk is coming off his second big week (6 receptions 148 yards) and may draw a lot of Gilmore’s attention, but Deebo Samuel carries some question marks due to playing at less than a 100% last week - with 0 targets and 3 rushes for 6 yards - and starting Week 5 with a day-to-day injury status. Samuel is probably only worth considering starting if he appears healthy by the weekend.

Brock Purdy continues to not know what it’s like to lose in the NFL – having to leave the game due to injury notwithstanding. This week, Dallas will provide the greatest test he’s seen, outside of the 2022 Eagles team that ended his season on a hit, and later ended his team’s year, as well.

Purdy’s pass attempts continue to be limited – just 21 last week. Yet the sheer talent on the 49er’s offense, coupled with competent play from Purdy, has been able to boost him up to at least the borderline fantasy QB1 territory. The Dallas defense has been unsurprisingly stingy to quarterbacks, giving up the 30th most points to the position while allowing just 12.3 points per game, but on the other hand they have yet to face even an average offense and Joshua Dobbs is arguably the most productive quarterback they’ve had to deal with. It remains to be seen both whether Dallas will be as tough a defense against a loaded offense, and conversely whether Brock Purdy can continue to show strong poise against Micah Parsons and company. Purdy has a decent ceiling in this game, but he also runs the risk of a low floor.

Fade: RB Elijah Mitchell (knee)

Elijah Mitchell’s seemingly endless string of injury problems continued last week, and his inability to stay on the field is not helping him to be able to stake out a significant minority of the running back volume that is available in San Francisco. Playing one of the toughest opponents in the league in what could be a down-to-the-wire game leaves the moment even less favorable for Mitchell to make an impact.

Prediction: 49ers 24, Cowboys 21 ^ Top

Packers @ Raiders - (Fessel)
Line: LV -2.0
Total: 44.5

LV FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.10
LV FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.15
LV FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.13
LV FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.11

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: QB Jordan Love, WR Christian Watson

Aaron Rodgers understudy Jordan Love has been a very pleasant surprise in 2023. Despite being a former 1st round pick, Love was often one of the last QB’s picked in fantasy leagues this year. Love’s 21.9 fantasy points per game is good for 9th among quarterbacks who’ve made multiple starts, and he’ll face a Raiders team that has given up the 8th most points to opposing quarterbacks. Love’s specialty thus far has been producing touchdowns (10), and the Raiders defense has given up just as many to opposing QB’s. With Aaron Jones and Christian Watson both returning to the field, Love is finally armed with his full arsenal of receiving weapons and is in a good spot to have a strong showing.

Update: Aaron Jones is listed as Questionable.

On the Fence: RB Aaron Jones, RB AJ Dillon

Aaron Jones returned last week from a two-game absence to have a rather quiet day, producing just 14 yards on 6 touches. This just three weeks removed from an opening performance that saw him produce 127 yards of offense and 2 touchdowns. There’s an interesting dynamic developing between Jones and Dillon, with the latter out-snapping the former in both games Jones has been active. How much Jones exiting late in Week 1 and being fresh off an injury in Week 4 has to do with Dillon out snapping him is not entirely clear, but it raises questions. Especially considering that Jones only had 11 touches in Week 1 despite robust production.

Dillon, for his part, has turned a career high 58% snap rate into just 29.5 rushing yards per game and just 3 total receptions. He’s yet to cross the goal line despite his massive 247-pound frame, and has just a 2.7 rushing average.

The Raiders are a very beatable run defense, having allowed the fifth most fantasy points to running backs in both 2021 and 2022, and while they’re No.15 thus far, James Cook is the only top 20 rusher they’ve faced and he scored 17.9 points against them, so the competition has been light. It’s certainly a situation where Jones and/or Dillon could have a strong showing, but will Jones see enough volume and can Dillon – who has just 7 break tackles since the start of 2022 - greatly improve his efficiency in week 5?

Fade: TE Luke Musgrave

Following an 8 target, 6 reception performance against the Saints, Musgrave turned in just 1 reception on 1 target against the Lions in Week 4. This was largely due to a concussion which caused him to leave the game after just 14 snaps. His average of 5 targets in three healthy games would rank just 14th among tight ends but he hasn’t been a recipient of any of Jordan Love’s 8 touchdown passes. The Raiders, meanwhile, have yet to give up more than 43 yards receiving to a tight end, so coverage against the position has been one of their porous defense’s stronger suits. Rookie tight ends, in general, don’t often make for TE1’s in fantasy football, and it might be best to keep that in mind with Musgrave this week.

GB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.18
GB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.5
GB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.26
GB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.14

Update: Davante Adams is listed as Questionable.

No Brainers: WR Davante Adams

Favorites: RB Josh Jacobs

Jacobs’ Week 4 performance calmed some nerves of fantasy managers who spent a high pick on him. As he did in 2022, Jacobos finally broke the goal line in Week 4, and now those managers counting on him will hope that his 2023 season takes off in a similar manner to how it did last year.

The asterisk here is that Jacobs still hasn’t rushed for 4 yards per carry in a game this year, after averaging just 3.4 yards last week. But his 81 receiving yards gave him his second performance on the early season with at least 5 receptions and 51 yards, so against a Packers team that has surrendered the second most receptions to running backs (26), and a whopping 25.3 points per game to the RB position, there is ample reason to feel positively about Jacobs building on last week’s performance.

On the Fence: WR Jakobi Meyers

Meyers saw 22 targets in the first two games with the Raiders, but with Jimmy Garoppolo out in Week 4 and Aidan O’Connell in, his targets plummeted to 4. O’Connell only appeared to be comfortable going through 1 or 2 of his looks, generally targeting Davante Adams or Josh Jacobs (13 and 11 targets, respectively). This left Meyers tied with Hunter Renfrow for a very distant third in target share. The upshot is that the Raiders have allowed five opposing receivers to reach double figures already this season, and Meyers could join that list (alongside Adams, of course), but whether he’s worth starting this week largely depends on who his QB is.

Fade: QB Jimmy Garoppolo

Jimmy Garoppolo is still in the concussion protocol, and his status remains to be seen. Even if he plays, he’ll face a Packers team that has yet to allow a 300-yard passer, nor more than 1 touchdown pass in any game this year. As a matter of fact, the Packers haven’t surrendered 2 touchdown passes in a game since Week 12 of last season (Jalen Hurts), and their main vulnerability against QB’s has been in the rushing department (8th most rushing yards allowed to QB’s last year, and 7th most thus far in 2023). Garoppolo is not particularly equipped to take advantage of the Packers one vulnerability against quarterbacks, and even if he does play, his limited upside is set to be capped even lower this week.

Prediction: Packers 24, Raiders 20 ^ Top