As fantasy football owners head into Week 5, some teams are already looking at digging themselves out of a 0-4 or 1-3 hole. Others are doing better, but a month ago, it seemed like a long season. It’s getting shorter, and players are injured and others are simply not performing. It’s nearing the time where players that were drafted early may be found on the waiver wire (Lamar Miller, Kenyan Drake).
After four weeks of play, trends can be found to see which players should have good matchups. Defenses are showing their weaknesses toward certain positions, and fantasy owners should try to exploit them as much as possible.
Please note 5 Up/5 Down is a guide on players that should exceed or fall below their rank this week. This is based on past performance, injury status and matchup. This is not a start/sit column, but rather a guide. You also can see how my Week 3 calls turned out at the bottom.
Teams on bye: Chicago, Tampa Bay
Alex Smith, QB, Washington Redskins
In three weeks (the Redskins had a bye last week), Smith has not exceeded 300 passing yards. He only has four touchdowns in that span and one interception. However, the Redskins, coming off a bye, play the New Orleans Saints on Monday night. This game has the potential to be a shootout, and while Smith hasn’t been in that type of game yet this season, he certainly can hold his own in one. He’s ranked No. 16, but should exceed that.
Javorius "Buck" Allen, RB, Baltimore Ravens
Allen is ranked No. 37, but he should exceed that. He has four touchdowns this season (he didn’t score in Week 4) and he’s clearly the goal-line back. The Ravens should have plenty of opportunities to get into the red zone against the Browns, and as long as they continue to turn to Allen, he will score (again). Alex Collins has been missing practice time this week, and has had two lost fumbles this year, paving the way for more touches for Allen.
Mike Davis, RB, Seattle Seahawks
When fantasy owners found out Chris Carson was going to miss Week 4, they scrambled to the waiver wire to hopefully find someone to fill in. It seemed like Rashaad Penny would be the likely fill-in for Seattle. Instead, Davis turned 21 carries into 101 yards and two touchdowns. He earned more playing time, and this will likely be a running back by committee for the near future. Carson is still banged up, which opens to the door for Davis to exceed his No. 46 ranking.
Calvin Ridley, WR, Atlanta Falcons
The Atlanta/Pittsburgh game is projecting to be one of the highest scoring games of the season so far. While projections don’t mean a lot, both of these defenses have certainly struggled and let up plenty of points. For Atlanta, odds are if points are going to be scored, Ridley is going to find the end zone. He’s ranked No. 25, but he should exceed that. Ridley has six touchdowns in three games. While that rate is unsustainable, Matt Ryan looks for him in the red zone and he should have plenty of those opportunities in this game.
Geoff Swaim, TE, Dallas Cowboys
In Week 4, four players on Dallas all saw five targets (the team high). One of those was Swaim. He caught three of those for 39 yards and a touchdown. In Week 3, he had the most targets on the team with seven. He was the leading receiver with five receptions for 47 yards. While Swaim isn’t on the fantasy radar in leagues that start one tight end, but Swaim may be an interesting DFS option. He should finish higher than his No. 22 ranking.
Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs
Even though Mahomes is one of the top real-life and fantasy quarterbacks, he is ranked No. 8 for Week 5. The Chiefs face the Jacksonville Jaguars, who have allowed the fewest points to opposing fantasy quarterbacks. While Mahomes is clearly still a fantasy starter, this will be a tough week for him. The Jaguars held Tom Brady to under 235 yards and just two touchdowns.
Kareem Hunt, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
Similar to Mahomes, the matchup is what puts Hunt on the “down” list. The Jacksonville Jaguars allow the seventh-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs. Saquon Barkley had more than 100 yards and a touchdown against them in Week 1, but no other running back has come close to that. Hunt is coming off his first 100-yard game of the season. While he is certainly a solid running back, he’s not going to break the top 10 this week (he’s ranked No. 9).
Odell Beckham, Jr., WR, New York Giants
The biggest problem for Beckham is Eli Manning. He has two 100-yard games and no touchdowns on the season. The two games where he didn’t go over 100 yards he had 51 and 60, respectively. The Giants face the Carolina Panthers in Week 5, who did allow a big game to Tyler Boyd in Week 3. However, the Giants have really struggled on offense. Manning hasn’t thrown for more than 300 yards yet this season. He also only has four touchdown passes. Beckham’s big game is coming, but ranking him No. 5 is too high this week.
Corey Davis, WR, Tennessee Titans
After a monster Week 4, Davis flew up the ranks. However, in the first three weeks of the season (albeit not with Marcus Mariota at quarterback for all of that time), he had 13 receptions for 151 yards — total. In Week 4, he had nine receptions for 161 yards and a touchdown. While it makes sense that he will build off of that, especially in a matchup against Buffalo, ranking him No. 21 seems a bit high. Time will tell how valuable Davis will be in fantasy, but anointing him a borderline top-20 WR after one week seems a bit premature.
David Njoku, TE, Cleveland Browns
While Njoku has looked better playing with Baker Mayfield, he still should finish outside the top 10 for Week 5. He’s ranked No. 10 but he’s facing the Baltimore Ravens this week. The Ravens have yet to allow a tight end to score a touchdown against them. While they haven’t faced some of the elite tight ends, it’s hard to see Njoku finding the end zone. He has been seeing a lot of targets, but he’s hasn’t scored yet this year either.
Full Disclosure for Week 4
5 Up (1/5 correct)
Philip Rivers, QB, Los Angeles Chargers (Ranked: 4, Actual: 13)
Leonard Fournette, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars (Ranked: 13, Actual: 44 — left injured)
Kerryon Johnson, RB, Detroit Lions (Ranked: 18, Actual: 24)
Sterling Shepard, WR, New York Giants (Ranked: 31, Actual: 10)
Dallas Goedert, TE, Philadelphia Eagles (Ranked: 20, Actual: 31)
5 Down (4/5 correct)
Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots (Ranked: 3, Actual: 16)
Alex Collins, RB, Baltimore Ravens (Ranked: 17, Actual: 29)
Marvin Jones Jr., WR, Detroit Lions (Ranked: 25, Actual: outside top 50)
Amari Cooper, WR, Oakland Raiders (Ranked: 28, Actual: 7)
O.J. Howard, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Ranked: 8, Actual: left injured without a catch)
— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.