The fantasy football season sure does fly by. It’s Week 6 already if you can believe it and we are starting to really get into the part of the season where making a push for the fantasy playoffs becomes a real priority.
So, choosing the right players to start this week, especially at the wide receiver position is more important than ever. Tough questions need to be answered. Like which Patriots receiver is a must-start this week and which one is a must-sit? What should you do with Amari Cooper? And can you really trust Keke Coutee of the Houston Texans? And who should fantasy owners that won't have Michael Thomas, Golden Tate or Marvin Jones Jr. (thanks bye weeks!) turn to this week?
Find out the answers to those questions and more (tight ends!) below, but first let's see how the Week 5 start/sit advice turned out.
Good Calls for Week 5...
Sit Devin Funchess (5.3 fantasy points) – It should be concerning to Funchess owners that the Panthers are now making a concentrated effort to get first-round pick D.J. Moore more involved in the offense.
Sit Will Fuller (1.5 FP) – Fuller is injured and for now, merely a decoy out there as Keke Coutee had another great game.
Start Austin Hooper (16.7 FP, PPR) – Hooper saw a whopping 12 targets and caught nine of them last week against a Steelers team that struggles to cover tight ends.
Bad Calls for Week 5...
Start Alshon Jeffery (5.9 FP) – A week after returning to the lineup and scoring 24.5 fantasy points, Jeffrey laid an egg, catching two of his eight targets for 39 yards against the Vikings.
Start Calvin Ridley (3.8 FP) – Ridley is completely touchdown-dependent, and if he doesn’t score, it’s Mohamed Sanu who is the better fantasy option.
Teams on bye: Detroit, New Orleans
START THESE WRs...
Josh Gordon, NE (vs. KC)
Gordon showed off his big-play ability by converting a jump ball into Tom Brady’s 500th career touchdown, and now he’ll face an unassuming Kansas City defensive back trio of Steven Nelson, Kendall Fuller, and Orlando Scandrick. Kansas City’s passing defense has looked better lately thanks to subpar performances from Case Keenum and Blake Bortles, but Brady is more likely to replicate the early dominance of Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger. Gordon earned goodwill with the TD and will look to build on his four-target Week 5 in a game fast approaching a 60-point projected total.
Tyler Boyd, CIN (vs. PIT)
Boyd should rebound this week after struggling against Miami. Boyd was held to just four catches for 44 yards on seven targets, and it was his worst game since Week 1 at the Colts. This week, he's facing a Steelers defense that has been terrible against the pass. So far, 10 receivers have either scored or gained at least 100 total yards against Pittsburgh, who has given up the third-most fantasy points to wide receivers on the season. This should bode well for Boyd in a game that has tremendous shootout potential.
Amari Cooper, OAK (vs. SEA, London )
Having Cooper on your fantasy team has been rather frustrating so far this season, but this is a good week to buy in given his matchup against Seattle in London. The Seahawks have struggled against opposing passing games when not facing the Cardinals or Cowboys. Against Denver, Chicago and the Rams, six receiver either scored or gained at least 80 receiving yards. Cooper and even Jordy Nelson are worth starting this week, and Cooper has two games this season with at least 10 targets. In those games against Denver and Cleveland, he scored at least 21 fantasy points. Let’s hope this is a week where Derek Carr and Jon Gruden will lean on Cooper, and if that happens, look for him to deliver.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
Keke Coutee, HOU (vs. BUF)
Coutee leads all wideouts with five yards of separation at the time of the catch per NFL’s NextGen stats, which has helped him convert 22 targets into 17 receptions in just two games. Consistency sharing targets with DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller may be tough, but their presence likely helps Coutee get such ridiculous cushions and put up 11-109-0 and 6-51-1 lines in the past two weeks. He should avoid Buffalo's top cornerback, Tre'Davious White, entirely and face Tavon Brown in the slot.
SIT THESE WRs...
Chris Hogan, NE (vs. KC)
Despite tallying a WR-high 91percent of snaps last week, he only saw four targets to give him nine in his last three games (one being an ugly catch attempt that led to an interception). Julian Edelman saw nine targets while playing 70 percent of the snaps in his return. Hogan and Gordon may appear to have similar workloads, but the trends are going different directions with Hogan’s “drop” and Gordon’s spectacular go-get-it TD. Hogan will still have a big game or two, but his target share is weakening, he’s yet to top 45 yards in a game, and he didn't take part in Thursday's walkthrough because of a knee injury.
Devin Funchess, CAR (at WAS)
Funchess struggled last week against the Giants with four catches for 53 yards on seven targets, and he should have another rough week at Washington this week. While No. 1 receivers have had success against the Redskins, including Larry Fitzgerald, T.Y. Hilton and Davante Adams, it's hard to justify Funchess being a true No. 1 guy like those guys if tight end Greg Olsen (foot) plays as expected. When Olsen is active, Funchess sees a decline in targets and production, and he should just be considered a No. 3 WR in this matchup.
Keelan Cole, JAC (at DAL)
After torching the Patriots for 7-116-1 in the Jaguars’ Week 2 win, Cole looked to be a receiver on the rise. In the three games since, Cole has totaled 11 catches for 125 yards. The good news is Cole was still seeing healthy targets, averaging 7.3 per game in that span. But Blake Bortles’ ineffectiveness as a passer has been a letdown for most everyone involved not named T.J. Yeldon. With Bortles coming off some truly bad performances of late, this passing game is a total avoid in a game with the lowest total of the week at 40 points.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
Allen Robinson, CHI (at MIA)
Robinson averaged 9.3 targets per game the first three weeks of the season but saw just four last time out against the Bucs, though he did score his first touchdown as a Bear. The four targets aren’t really anything to get worked up about, but the 2-23-1 line was a bit disappointing on a day Mitchell Trubisky set career highs in yards (354) and touchdowns (6). That was at home against arguably the league’s worst pass defense. This Bears-Dolphins game features the fourth-lowest total on the board at 42 points and figures to be a defensive slugfest. Both teams are in the top five in the league against the pass, so Robinson is more of a low-floor, minimal-upside WR4 in this matchup.
START THESE TEs...
Cameron Brate, TB (at ATL)
Two major factors come into play here, like O.J. Howard remains sidelines with an MCL sprain and Jameis Winston is back under center. Brate has historically been one of Winston’s favorite receivers, netting 81 targets in 2016 and 77 in '17. With the duo back together and Howard on the sidelines, Brate should see an increase in usage this week against Atlanta.
Austin Hooper, ATL (vs. TB)
Among tight ends, Hooper ranks ninth for total targets (27) and gets to face a Tampa Bay defense that is allowing the most fantasy points per game to the position (13.4). Looked at another way, opposing quarterbacks have a league-high 131.1 passer rating against the Bucs when targeting tight ends, and that includes a 75 percent completion rate with two touchdowns and no interceptions thrown this season.
Nick Vannett, SEA (vs. OAK, London)
Vannett didn’t exactly break down doors in his first game as the starting tight end, but the 25-year-old caught three balls for 43 yards, translating to 7.3 PPR points. He was the second-most-targeted player for the Seahawks behind Tyler Lockett. This week In London, the Seahawks will battle an Oakland defense that allowed 22.1 PPR points to the Browns’ TE tandem of Darren Fells and David Njoku in Week 4, which bodes well for Vannett’s potential in Week 6. The Raiders are near the top in terms of fantasy points allowed per game to TEs, and with Vannett’s usage potential and super-low ownership, he makes a nice option for your streaming pleasure.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
Ryan Griffin, HOU (vs. BUF)
Griffin has steadily been in on between 70-80 percent of Houston’s snaps throughout the season, with Jordan Akins and Jordan Thomas well behind. While the snap counts have been steady, Griffin saw nine targets last week after combining for 11 in the prior four contests. The Texans are set to face the Bills and sit around 8-10-point favorites, though most books have taken the game off of their books due to Deshaun Watson's chest injury (he says he'll play).
SIT THESE TEs...
Trey Burton, CHI (at MIA)
The Dolphins have been sneaky good in covering tight ends. They haven’t allowed an opposing tight end to top 50 yards against them since Week 1, and it’s because of stud rookie safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, who has the athleticism to stay with Burton.
David Njoku, CLE (vs. LAC)
Njoku finally had a decent game last week against the Ravens, and he's on the fringe of being a TE1 due to the lack of depth at the position and with Baker Mayfield throwing him the ball. Just keep in mind that the Chargers have allowed just one TD and an average of 9.64 PPR points per game to opposing tight ends. Don't be surprised if Njoku struggles – again.
Ricky Seals-Jones, ARI (at MIN)
RSJ is a fringe TE that you may be forced to consider in 14-team leagues, but he’s caught just 40 percent of his targets from Sam Bradford and Josh Rosen thus far (10-of-25). Arizona’s 29.84 seconds per play is 30th in the league, though at least that speeds up to 26.16 seconds when down by seven or more points (13th fastest). Don’t trust this meandering offense that has yet to find any sort of groove, let alone RSJ and Rosen who have yet to establish chemistry.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
Eric Ebron, IND (at NYJ)
Jack Doyle is likely to miss yet another game, but that won’t matter since Ebron is facing a Jets defense that has been particularly stingy to TEs. To be fair, the Jets have faced Detroit, Miami, Cleveland, Jacksonville and Denver. That means David Njoku is the best of the lot, and he posted a 2-36-0 line in Baker Mayfield’s coming-out party. The Jets have allowed a 15-167-1 stat line on 25 targets over five games to opposing tight ends and have given up the fewest fantasy points to the position on the season. Ebron also missed practice with a litany of injuries (shin, quad, ankle, knee) so that's another strike against him.
— Written by Michael Horvath, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Horvath is a Canadian who also happens to be a fantasy football (not to be confused with CFL) and fitness nut. Follow him on Twitter @realmikehorvath.
(Top photo by David SIlverman, courtesy of www.patriots.com)