Fantasy News & Analysis

Fantasy Football: 10 biggest fantasy reactions to NFL Week 5

Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt (99) tackles San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance (5) during the first half at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Chris Coduto-USA TODAY Sports

Only Monday Night Football remains on the 2021 NFL Week 5 slate, so most fantasy football managers will now be turning their gaze to Week 6 to try to gain an advantage in their fantasy leagues.

It’s important not to overreact to individual stat lines. For example, some players scored two touchdowns this week yet probably won’t do that again this season, while other players saw the field for most of their team's snaps but couldn't quite make it to the end zone.

Remember: chase the usage, not the box score.

The following are my 10 biggest takeaways from Week 5. For a more detailed 32-team view of the week, including snap counts, check out the Complete Week 5 Fantasy Football Recap.

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1. Start 49ers QB Trey Lance as long as he starts

Lance had a rough start, but what he did on the field is promising for fantasy managers. He had a similar debut to Jalen Hurts, running the ball 16-plus times in his first start. And Hurts has consistently been a fantasy starter since becoming the Eagles' QB1.

Lance will be in a similar situation, where his rushing floor is so high that even a bad performance won’t stop him. Unfortunately, he didn’t score a touchdown in this game, but they will come — both on the ground and through the air.

2. Add Giants RB Devontae Booker

Saquon Barkley rolled his ankle early in the game, and he was ruled out soon after. Booker took over as the running back for the Giants and ran 14 times for 35 yards and a touchdown. He wasn’t all that effective on the ground, but any back who sees that many carries needs to be on a roster. Ideally, Barkley won’t miss much time, but Booker will be a borderline fantasy starter for as long as Barkley is out.

3. Sell high on Packers RB Aaron Jones

The veteran back has been a top-five fantasy running back so far this season and had a 100-yard game in Week 5. However, his time as an elite fantasy back might be coming to an end, as A.J. Dillon has become more involved with the offense.

Dillon has graded better as a runner so far. Jones has been the more explosive player, but Dillon has moved the chains more consistently.

Dillon was the more effective receiver yesterday, with 49 yards on four catches to go with a touchdown. Jones had back-to-back weeks with 20-plus touches in Weeks 2 and 3, but those kinds of games will be hard to come by again with Dillon playing this well.

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4. Sell high on Bears RB Damien Williams

Williams was expected to be the Bears' primary ball carrier with David Montgomery out. Instead, he and rookie Khalil Herbert split snaps fairly evenly throughout the game. The Bears held a lead for most of the game, which allowed them to rely heavily on the running game.

Both backs recorded more than 16 rushing attempts, with Herbert finishing with more rushing yards but Williams scoring the touchdown. The even split will make it much harder to start either one of these backs in games where Chicago is playing from behind.

Snaps Routes Run Targets Carries
Khalil Herbert 34 7 0 18
Damien Williams 31 10 3 16
Ryan Nall 3 0 0 0
Total 64 24 20 37

5. Cardinals WR Rondale Moore is now a must-add

Moore’s role has expanded in the Cardinals' offense. He played 26 of a possible 102 offensive snaps in 11 personnel over the first four weeks while the three starting wide receivers were all at 80-plus snaps. This week, he played in 13 of 27, while Christian Kirk was restricted to 16. The increased role allowed Moore to lead the team in rushing yards while also generating the second-most targets.

Additionally, tight end Maxx Williams was carted off with what appeared to be a serious injury and Demetrius Harris took over as the receiving tight end. Arizona already runs significant four-receiver sets, but that could increase even more with Williams presumably out. Moore’s route to a consistent fantasy wide receiver became a lot clearer in Week 5.

PFF’s WR/CB Matchup Chart is a fantasy football tool that you can use to help you set the best lineups. You can toggle between showing the Matchup Advantage column against all projected coverage or the individual defenders. Click here for access.

6. Buy low on Jaguars WR Laviska Shenault Jr.

Shenault produced one highlight-worthy play of 58 yards but wasn’t a large part of the offense outside of that. The Jaguars moved him to an outside receiver to replace D.J. Chark Jr. instead of the slot role he held all season. He had played both positions significantly as a rookie, and over his career, he’s played much better out wide.

Trevor Lawrence has also been much more willing to throw to outside receivers this year, with 66 targets out wide compared to 38 in the slot. It didn’t work out yesterday, but in the long run, this should be a positive move for Shenault’s fantasy value. The following are his career numbers at the two alignments.

Laviska Shenault
Receiving Grade Routes Targets TD 1D Explosive Plays
Wide 75.7 306 60 5 27 13
Slot 64.4 212 42 0 15 6

7. Avoid the Saints wide receivers

Deonte Harris has been by far the most impressive wide receiver for New Orleans this season. He barely played in Week 6 due to a hamstring injury but caught a 72-yard touchdown pass. Marquez Callaway has made more plays in recent weeks, including a Hail Mary touchdown to end the first half.

Next time we see the Saints — which will be after their bye next week — the starters could be Michael Thomas and Tre’Quan Smith. Smith said he’ll return after the bye, and Thomas will be eligible to come off the PUP list. The stats might look impressive, but the receiving room is about to get a lot more crowded.

8. Start Cowboys TE Dalton Schultz

Schultz caught at least six passes for the third consecutive week. He gained 79 yards on those plays but failed to score a touchdown. He and Blake Jarwin split playing time the first three weeks, but Schultz earned a bigger role last week. He maintained that by staying on the field for the vast majority of the Cowboys' pass plays.

This role makes his play much more sustainable over time. He will eventually have a bad week while other wide receivers shine, but he should be a solid starter more often than not.

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9. Add Jaguars TE Dan Arnold

Arnold was traded to the Jaguars from Carolina two weeks ago. He was used in a limited role on Thursday Night Football a week ago after being on the team for just a few days. And after over a full week of practice, he’s clearly the Jaguars' receiving tight end.

Arnold led the team in receptions (6) and receiving yards (64) despite Jacksonville relying heavily on the run. There are very few tight ends who run a route on nearly all of their team’s pass plays. With a quarterback who wants to target tight ends, he's a borderline starter.

10. Bench and consider dropping Packers TE Robert Tonyan

Green Bay has used a four-man rotation at tight end, and Tonyan is still seeing the most snaps in passing situations, but he’s not seeing the targets. Davante Adams is taking a higher target share than ever, and the ball is getting spread out among everyone else. This weekend, Tonyan was held to single-digit receiving yards for the fourth time in five weeks.

We all knew his touchdown total would regress significantly based on how he was used last season, and they have. He will score his share of touchdowns this year, but it’s not worth scoring 1.8 PPR points several weeks to get there.

Snaps Routes Run Targets
Robert Tonyan 38 25 2
Marcedes Lewis 29 9 2
Josiah Deguara 13 7 0
Tyler Davis 4 1 0
Total 64 41 35

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