Week 5 is a rough bye week for fantasy owners from a wide receiver (and tight end to a degree) perspective. Allen Robinson, Doug Baldwin, Brandin Cooks, to name a few, are all on bye, as well as a rejuvenated Jimmy Graham and Travis Kelce. But don’t worry, I am here to tell you which wide receivers and tight ends you can rely on this week, and which ones you probably shouldn’t expect great things from. But before I dispense my weekly advice, let’s take a look at what I said for Week 4 and how that turned out.
Start Emmanuel Sanders (14.8 fantasy points) and Demaryius Thomas (15.4 FP) – Both of these guys scored touchdowns and had excellent fantasy days.
Sit Golden Tate (2.1 FP) – Tate must be in the doghouse or playing out of the slot just isn’t his thing
Start Kyle Rudolph (11.5 FP) – Rudolph is Sam Bradford’s favorite red-zone target. He’s scored three weeks in a row now.
Start DeSean Jackson (0.5 FP) – Jackson should have destroyed the Browns, now it’s hard to trust him week in and week out.
Sit Jimmy Graham (11.3 FP) – The real Jimmy Graham is back and he now has back-to-back 100-yard games.
Teams on bye: Jacksonville, Kansas City, New Orleans, Seattle
START THESE WRs...
Julian Edelman, NE (at CLE)
Edelman was pretty good in PPR leagues when Jimmy Garoppolo was throwing him the ball, but he has been absolutely terrible with Jacoby Brissett playing quarterback, highlighted by his single catch for 16 yards last week against the Bills. Now you Edelman owners can rejoice as Tom Brady is back! To make things even sweeter, the Patriots are playing against the Browns and there’s no doubt that Bill Belichick is going to go all out in this one. Don’t be surprised if Edelman scores more than 20 fantasy points this week.
Steve Smith, BAL (vs. WAS)
Smith has played well the past two games, which was highlighted by his eight catches for 111 yards and a touchdown last week against Oakland. He's had at least 11 targets, eight catches and 87 yards in his past two outings, and he should have the chance for another big day this week. The No. 1 receivers against the Redskins this year (Antonio Brown, Dez Bryant, Beckham and Terrelle Pryor) have all scored a touchdown or had at least 100 receiving yards, and six have scored double digits in fantasy points.
Jordan Matthews, PHI (at DET)
Matthews has slowed down since a big game in Week 1 against Cleveland when he had seven catches for 114 yards and a touchdown on 14 targets. Since then, he's had eight catches for 89 yards and a touchdown on 12 targets in two games (Chicago, Pittsburgh). But things should get back on track this week against the Lions, who have allowed six touchdowns to opposing receivers and three to score double digits in fantasy points in a standard league. Expect Matthews to avoid facing Lions cornerback Darius Slay because he plays inside, and Matthews had three catches for 60 yards and a touchdown against Detroit last year. He's a solid No. 2 WR this week.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
DeSean Jackson, WAS (at BAL)
The epitome of boom-or-bust, Jackson has finished as the WR27, WR66, WR11 and WR106 in the first four weeks of the season, but a matchup at Baltimore may be exactly what he needs to hit that upside. Since shutting down Sammy Watkins and the Bills' wide receivers in Week 1, the Ravens’ secondary has been roasted by Corey Coleman (five catches, 104 yards, two touchdowns), Allen Robinson (7, 57, 2) and Michael Crabtree (7, 88, 3) in the last three weeks. If Jackson sees a lot of Shareece Wright, who has given up 16 receptions, 205 yards and five touchdowns over that span, that's great, but he should be able to get free for a big day no matter who's covering him.
SIT THESE WRs...
Travis Benjamin, SD (at OAK)
The Raiders have allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers, so that would seemingly make the Chargers’ No. 1 WR a must-start. But is Benjamin really their No. 1 wide receiver? Benjamin has not played as many snaps as neither Tyrell Williams nor Dontrelle Inman each of the last two weeks, and he was out-targeted by both of them in Week 4. He's still getting seven targets per game over that span, and he has the speed to score from anywhere on the field, but with the way Rivers is spreading the ball to his three wide receivers and tight end Hunter Henry, it's hard to predict who will produce on any given week. Even with the intriguing matchup, I wouldn't treat Benjamin as a WR2.
Golden Tate, DET (vs. PHI)
If Tate hits his projected stat line here then he would set a season-high in fantasy points for the season since his best performance was four points, which he has done twice. The Lions benched Tate in Week 4 at Chicago after he ran a bad route, which resulted in an interception for Stafford, and he's yet to score a touchdown this year. There’s hope that things turn around for Tate, but you can't play him in the majority of leagues this week. Marvin Jones is about the only safe play for the Lions against the Eagles, who have yet to allow a touchdown to a receiver this year.
Randall Cobb, GB (vs. NYG)
Everyone thought that Cobb and the whole Packers' offense would instantly return to their 2014 form once Jordy Nelson came back. Well, that isn’t the case. Aaron Rodgers is averaging 200 passing yards per game and Cobb has once again been a major disappointment. All you need to know is that since 2015, he has failed to score 10 or more fantasy points 16 times (19 games), and this weekend's matchup against the Giants isn't a favorable one on paper.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
DeAndre Hopkins, HOU (at MIN)
Realistically, Hopkins probably isn't someone you can bench unless you have immense depth. But you may want to temper your expectations if you do start him. The Texans’ young star tallied just one catch for four yards on six targets last week, and now he goes up against a Vikings defense that has absolutely smothered No. 1 receivers over the past two weeks. Kelvin Benjamin was completely shut out in Week 3 and Odell Beckham Jr. had his worst game (23 yards) against Minnesota on Monday night.
START THESE TEs...
Zach Ertz, PHI (at DET)
Ertz returns after injuring his ribs in Week 1 at the right time with a game against the Lions, who have allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this year. A tight end has scored against Detroit in every game (Colts, Titans, Packers and Bears), and Dwayne Allen, Jack Doyle and Delanie Walker have all scored double digits in fantasy points. Prior to getting hurt, Ertz had six catches for 58 yards on seven targets against Cleveland. He's a PPR star, but this week he should be considered a top-5 fantasy tight end given the matchup with Detroit.
Zach Miller, CHI (at IND)
Backup quarterbacks tend to lock in on their tight ends–especially in the red zone–and Brian Hoyer is no exception. Since taking over for Jay Cutler in Week 3, Hoyer has found Miller for three touchdowns, and the Colts’ defense has allowed five-plus catches to two tight ends already this season.
Hunter Henry, SD (at OAK)
Assuming that Antonio Gates misses another game due to a hamstring injury, Henry will project to be a viable No. 1 fantasy tight end. Henry should have been listed as a must-start last week when he put up a touchdown and 12.1 fantasy points in a loss to the Saints. This week he faces the Raiders, who have surrendered an average of 8.4 fantasy points to TEs.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
Cameron Brate, TB (at CAR)
Since permanently taking over for Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Brate has recorded 18 targets, 10 receptions, 113 yards and two touchdowns in two games. Those were against two very good defenses in the Los Angeles Rams and Denver Broncos, and now he's up against a Panthers unit that just allowed more than 500 passing yards and has given up four touchdowns to tight ends in the last three weeks.
SIT THESE TEs...
Eric Ebron, DET (vs. PHI)
Ebron has been a model of consistency so far this year, tallying at least five targets, four catches and 40 yards in every game. The only problem is his upside has been limited, as he has scored just once and has yet to hit the 70-yard mark. Moreover, things get considerably more difficult this week against the Eagles, who have held Gary Barnidge, Zach Miller and Jesse James to a combined six catches, 44 yards and zero touchdowns on 11 targets.
Dwayne Allen, IND (vs. CHI)
Since scoring a touchdown in Week 1 against Detroit, Allen has watched his production fade, and he's had to share the ball with Jack Doyle. Allen went from 13 fantasy points against the Lions to a combined seven points over the next three games against Denver, San Diego and Jacksonville. Things won’t improve this week against the Bears, who have allowed one touchdown to a tight end this season, including matchups with Jason Witten and Eric Ebron. At this point, if Allen doesn't score a touchdown he's pretty useless for your fantasy roster in all formats, so don't plan on starting him in Week 5.
Jason Witten, DAL (vs. CIN)
Witten has been on the field for 100 percent of the Cowboys’ offensive snaps, and he's fifth in targets among tight ends. With that said, these opportunities have not equated into fantasy points as he's failed to score more than 5.1 points in each of his last three contests. Keep Witten on the sidelines.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
Dennis Pitta, BAL (vs. WAS)
Pitta is seeing a lot of targets from Joe Flacco, but does that make him start-worthy in fantasy land? He's put up fewer than five fantasy points in three of four games this season in standard leagues; and the veteran has yet to find the end zone. Pitta also has a tough matchup in Week 5, as the Redskins have allowed 4.8 fantasy points per game to tight ends in 2016.
— 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.