BITTER BIRDS
Week 5 NFL Fantasy Football Rankings
Here are my positional rankings for Week 5, which do not include players from the Thursday night game. Quarterbacks 1. Tom Brady, New England 2. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh 3. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay 4. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis 5. Philip Rivers, San Diego 6. Derek Carr, Oakland 7. Eli Manning, New York Giants 8. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia 9. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati 10. Kirk Cousins, Washington 11. Joe Flacco, Baltimore 12. Matthew Stafford, Detroit 13. Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay 14. Brian Hoyer, Chicago 15. Dak Prescott, Dallas 16. Ryan Tannehill, Miam i17. Matt Ryan, Atlanta 18. Derek Anderson, Carolina 19. Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets 20. Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo 21. Marcus Mariota, Tennessee 22. Sam Bradford, Minnesota 23. Paxton Lynch, Denver 24. Brock Osweiler, Houston 25. Case Keenum, Los Angeles Tom Brady makes returns from his 4 game suspension, and what a matchup to get things going! Cleveland’s defense is extremely fantasy friendly, and I fully expect Brady to light things up as he has a chip on his shoulder following “deflate-gate.” A major riser in this week’s rankings is rookie quarterback Carson Wentz. Wentz has all the tools a franchise wants in a quarterback and faces a soft Lions defense. While he does not have amazing weapons, the Eagles have enough playmakers for him to put up QB1 numbers in Detroit. Brian Hoyer is a sneaky play this week as the Bears take on the Colts. Indy’s defense is atrocious and Hoyer has actually looked better than Jay Cutler thus far. If you are looking for a bye-week replacement, Hoyer is a solid start. Matt Ryan has been arguably fantasy’s MVP in the first quarter of 2016, however Atlanta is facing the Broncos on Sunday. Sit him for someone with a better matchup. Running Backs 1. Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh 2. DeMarco Murray, Tennessee 3. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas 4. CJ Anderson, Denver 5. Melvin Gordon, San Diego 6. Todd Gurley, Los Angeles 7. Lamar Miller, Houston 8. LeSean McCoy, Buffalo 9. LeGarrette Blount, New England 10. Jordan Howard, Chicago 11. Frank Gore, Indianapolis 12. Eddie Lacy, Green Bay 13. Matt Forte, New York Jets 14. Terrance West, Baltimore 15. Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland 16. Devonta Freeman, Atlanta 17. Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati 18. Matt Jones, Washington 19. Jerick McKinnon, Minnesota 20. DeAndre Washington, Oakland 21. Ryan Mathews, Philadelphia 22. Charles Sims, Tampa Bay 23. Rashad Jennings, New York Giants 24. Theo Riddick, Detroit 25. Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati 26. James White, New England 27. Cameron Artis-Payne, Carolina 28. Tevin Coleman, Atlanta 29. Darren Sproles, Philadelphia 30. Duke Johnson Jr., Cleveland 31. Fozzy Whittaker, Carolina 32. Bilal Powell, New York Jets 33. Jalen Richard, Oakland 34. Jay Ajayi, Miami 35. Matt Asiata, Minnesota 36. Jaquizz Rodgers, Tampa Bay 37. Orleans Darkwa, New York Giants 38. Derrick Henry, Tennessee 39. Wendell Smallwood, Philadelphia 40. DeAngelo Williams, Pittsburgh 41. Kenneth Dixon, Baltimore 42. Bobby Rainey, New York Giants4 3. Chris Thompson, Washington 44. Alfred Morris, Dallas 45. Josh Ferguson, Indianapolis 46. Devontae Booker, Denver 47. Zach Zenner, Detroit 48. Kenyan Drake, Miami 49. Joique Bell, Chicago 50. Paul Perkins, New York Giants Le’Veon Bell tops this list for the second straight week, as he is as matchup proof as running backs get given his ability both running and catching the football. He, along with Antonio Brown, as the focal points of perhaps the NFL’s best offense. DeMarco Murray has surged back in a huge way to begin 2016, and is fantasy’s highest scoring running back thus far. He is being utilized in the passing game more than he ever has before, and it is safe to say he is locked in as an elite option in week 6. Look for Jordan Howard to continue his success against a weak Colts defense. This is a guy who could be a solid RB2 option going forward if he is able to hold onto the starting gig. Howard is well-liked in Chicago, and even if Jeremy Langford is given his job back when he gets healthy, Howard has at least earned more carries. With Latavious Murray out this week, tailback DeAndre Washington is expected to get the start for Oakland. Washington has talent and gets a good matchup with the Chargers coming to town. Monitor this backfield situation going forward given Murray’s early season struggles. Wide Receivers 1. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh 2. Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants 3. AJ Green, Cincinnati 4. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay 5. Julio Jones, Atlanta 6. Jordy Nelson, Green Bay 7. T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis 8. Brandon Marshall, New York Jets 9. Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina 10. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston 11. Demaryius Thomas, Denver 12. Marvin Jones, Detroit 13. Alshon Jeffrey, Chicago 14. Julian Edelman, New England 15. Jarvis Landry, Miami 16. Emmanuel Sanders, Denver 17. Michael Crabtree, Oakland 18. Jordan Matthews, Philadelphia 19. Travis Benjamin, San Diego 20. Amari Cooper, Oakland 21. Steve Smith Sr., Baltimore 22. Randall Cobb, Green Bay 23. Terrell Pryor, Cleveland 24. Sterling Shepard, New York Giants 25. Will Fuller V, Houston 26. DeSean Jackson, Washington 27. Tyrell Williams, San Diego 28. Quincy Enunwa, New York Jets 29. Cole Beasley, Dallas 30. Sammie Coates, Pittsburgh 31. DeVante Parker, Miami 32. Robert Woods, Buffalo 33. Phillip Dorsett, Indianapolis 34. Mike Wallace, Baltimore 35. Victor Cruz, New York Giants 36. Tavon Austin, Los Angeles 37. Golden Tate, Detroit 38. Jamison Crowder, Washington 39. Tajae Sharpe, Tennessee 40. Terrance Williams, Dallas 41. Chris Hogan, New England 42. Dontrelle Inman, San Diego 43. Anquan Boldin, Detroit 44. Mohamed Sanu, Atlanta 45. Kenny Britt, Los Angeles 46. Brice Butler, Dallas 47. Pierre Garcon, Washington 48. Adam Humphries, Tampa Bay 49. Brandon LaFell, Cincinnati 50. Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay Julio Jones drops to WR5 this week given the Falcons are playing the Broncos. Julio should stillbe started, as he is simply too talented to bench, but temper expectations as he will be lined up against Chris Harris Jr. and Aqib Talib. DeAndre Hopkins has had a very slow start to the season, and despite Will Fuller’s early success, teams are still giving him most of their attention. If Lamar Miller could get going, Houston’s passing game could open up more, but until then, expect Hopkins to be a low-end WR1. His talent alone suggests he will begin to produce, but last season’s numbers may be out of reach. Start him, but against the Vikings, he may have another dud game. Don’t give up on the stud wide-out yet however, as I fully expect Hopkins to begin to turn things around soon. Steve Smith Sr. has been one of the great stories to begin the 2016 NFL season. At age 37, following a torn achilles tendon, many though the once All-Pro receiver would basically be done. However, he has put together back-to-back good games and has become Joe Flacco’s favorite target once more. He is a WR2 this week against a soft Redskins secondary, and should be a high-end flex option on a weekly basis. Tight Ends 1. Greg Olsen, Carolina 2. Jordan Reed, Washington 3. Rob Gronkowski, New England 4. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia 5. Delanie Walker, Tennessee 6. Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota 7. Dennis Pitta, Baltimore 8. Zach Miller, Chicago 9. Martellus Bennett, New England 10. Jason Witten, Dallas 11. Gary Barnidge, Cleveland 12. Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay 13. Hunter Henry, San Diego 14. Jacob Tamme, Atlanta 15. Jesse James, Pittsburgh 16. Dwayne Allen, Indianapolis 17. Clive Walford, Oakland 18. C.J. Uzomah, Cincinnati 19. Charles Clay, Buffalo 20. Richard Rodgers, Green Bay 21. Jack Doyle, Indianapolis 22. Will Tye, New York Giants 23. Virgil Green, Denver 24. Antonio Gates, San Diego 25. Lance Kendricks, Los Angeles Although Jordan Reed finally had his breakout game his owners had been waiting for, and although Rob Gronkowski gets Tom Brady back, Mr. Consistency himself, Greg Olsen, tops my tight-end rankings this week. Despite Cam Newton being out this week, Olsen will see a large volume of targets against a soft Tampa defense. He is by far the safest play at this position every week. Jordan Reed is number two after his week 5 performance. I expect more of the same going forward, as the guy is an absolute beast, although he will not score 2 touchdowns every week. Gronkowski is still playing through an injury, but is getting healthier with each week.Now that Tom Brady is back, I would not be surprised to see a huge game, especially given the Pats’ opponent. Zach Ertz returns on Sunday and gets a great matchup with the Lions. Ertz is extremely talented, and I expect Carson Wentz to look his way a lot in week 6. He is a high-end TE1. If you need a bye-week replacement, look for Cameron Brate or Hunter Henry; I like both going forward. DSTs 1. Minnesota 2. Denver 3. New England 4. Buffalo 5. Philadelphia 6. Houston 7. Carolina 8. Los Angeles 9. Pittsburgh 10. Cincinnati 11. Baltimore 12. Green Bay 13. Tennessee 14. Miami 15. Tampa Bay 16. Oakland 17. Washington 18. Atlanta 19. Tampa Bay 20. Indianapolis Minnesota’s DST is the tenth highest scoring fantasy asset thus far, and the second highest scoring non-quarterback. You read that right, a DST is outscoring the likes of Julio Jones, Ezekiel Elliot, and even Antonio Brown! They are a must start every week until proven otherwise. While it is impossible to keep up this level of production, this is a unit that has as much talent as any in the league. Their aggressive nature will continue to force turnovers and hold most offenses relatively in check. They are locked in as a top 3 DST every week despite matchup. Philadelphia’s defense has also been high scoring in large part due to their sacks and forced turnovers. While Detroit’s offense can go off at any time, I expect Philly to be fired up facing defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz’s old team. Until they falter, deploy the Eagles with confidence. Don’t look now, but the Rams are 3-1! The same Rams who lost 28-0 to Chip Kelly’s 49ers. This is large part due to the play of their defense. This is a talented unit, and should usually be a top ten option going forward. Kickers 1. Stephen Gostkowski, New England 2. Adam Vinatieri, Indianapolis 3. Justin Tucker, Baltimore 4. Mason Crosby, Green Bay 5. Graham Gano, Carolina 6. Brandon McManus, Denver 7. Dustin Hopkins, Washington 8. John Brown, New York Giants 9. Chris Boswell, Pittsburgh 10. Dan Bailey, Dallas 11. Blair Walsh, Minnesota 12. Matt Prater, Detroit 13. Matt Bryant, Atlanta 14. Caleb Sturgis, Philadelphia 15. Mike Nugent, Cincinnati 16. Josh Lambo, San Diego 17. Sebastian Janikowski, Oakland 18. Connor Barth, Chicago 19. Nick Novak, Tennessee 20. Nick Folk, New York Jets That wraps up my Week 5 fantasy football rankings, good luck to all the teams this week!