The good news is that Week 5 had a number of stars get their seasons back on track.

Joe Burrow (24.4 points) looked like Joe Burrow again, Breece Hall (26.9 points) flashed the RB1 potential he showed last season and DeAndre Hopkins (18.0 points) delivered a vintage performance.

Week 5 also marked the season debuts for a pair of highly drafted former league leaders. Cooper Kupp had a stellar first game (15.8 points), and Jonathan Taylor … he also debuted (3.9 points).

Now for the bad news: Week 5 had a number of stars go down with injuries.

Justin Jefferson, De’Von Achane and Anthony Richardson are just a few of the notable players expected to miss multiple weeks.

For fantasy purposes, identifying who that “next man” is on your roster is one of the most important parts of season-long fantasy football.

It’s not always easy, but I’m here to help.

Every week I list out every fantasy-relevant player, sorted by position and bucketed into tiers with the higher-tiered players deemed more start-worthy to help you make those crucial lineup decisions.

These tiers are meant to reflect your typical 12-team, half-PPR scoring formats with only one starting quarterback – though the general rankings can be loosely applied to most formats.

For specific start/sit advice between two players in the same tier, refer to numberFire ’s projection model.

Any player not listed can be assumed sit-worthy in most leagues.

All betting references refer to the NFL odds at FanDuel Sportsbook. All statistics via NFL Next Gen Stats or Pro Football Focus unless otherwise stated.


Tier 1: Lineup locks

– Patrick Mahomes (KC)

– Josh Allen (BUF)

– Lamar Jackson (BAL)

– Jalen Hurts (PHI)

– Justin Fields (CHI)

– Tua Tagovailoa (MIA)

– Kirk Cousins (MIN)

– Justin Herbert (LAC) (probable)

Tier 2: Probable starters

– Joe Burrow (CIN) looked healthy in last week’s 24.4-point outing and finished as a top-12 option for the first time all year. I’m optimistic that performance marked a turning point for last season’s QB4. If you stuck with him through the first four weeks, I doubt you’re benching him this week. The Seahawks have an average secondary, but the Bengals are passing at the third-highest rate over expectation (5.4%). He is a QB1 again.

– Trevor Lawrence (JAX) delivered a fine (15.7 points) line last week, but he has only one game inside the top 12 at the position. Thankfully for his Week 6 outlook, that one game came in Week 1 against the Colts – his opponent this week. Indy has given up the sixth-highest passing success rate (50.8%) this season, penciling in Lawrence as an easy QB1.

– Matthew Stafford (LAR) is a borderline must start in Week 6. Stafford delivered his best fantasy performance of the season with Cooper Kupp back, and that was against the Eagles. Now, with a Cardinals defense allowing the second-highest passing success rate (54.7%) on deck, we could be in for a vintage Stafford performance.

Tier 3: On the fence

– Jared Goff (DET) finished as the QB4 (27.4 points) in Week 5 despite missing his No. 1 wide receiver. With Sunday’s effort, Goff is now averaging 23.4 fantasy points per game at home, compared to 13.2 on the road. Last season, Goff averaged 21.6 points at home but just 12.0 on the road, so there’s certainly a trend of him struggling away from Ford Field. Tampa Bay has allowed the fewest adjusted fantasy points per drop-back (0.27) and a bottom-seven passing success rate (42.1%). I’m personally fading Goff this week, but you can do worse.

– Geno Smith (SEA) had a full week to rest after an injury scare in Week 4 and should be good to go against the Bengals. It’s not a great matchup, but Cincy has allowed the sixth-most adjusted fantasy points per drop-back (0.43) to quarterbacks. With some of the best offensive playmakers in the league, he is a capable starting option – just don’t expect fireworks from someone who’s eclipsed 17 fantasy points just once this season.

– Russell Wilson (DEN) is cooking, at least in fantasy. Wilson delivered 18.7 fantasy points last week and slots in as the QB8 through five weeks. The Chiefs rank in the top 10 in EPA per drop-back (-0.18), adjusted fantasy points per drop-back (0.30), and success rate (41.1%) allowed, so this is far from a good matchup. That said, it’s a short week, and he did score 51.2 points across two matchups with KC last season. You could do worse than Wilson playing in a negative game script.

– Dak Prescott (DAL) is the QB21 five weeks into the season – a far cry from his QB10 average draft position. His 6.6 aDOT and 45% success rate leave a lot to be desired, but Dallas has yet to play a close game. The Chargers have allowed the seventh-most adjusted fantasy points (0.43) and the seventh-highest EPA (0.05) per drop-back, so the matchup is there. Just don’t expect too much from an offense that ranks 25th in both pass rate and pass rate over expectation (51.3%).

– Joshua Dobbs (ARI) is one of the top quarterback streamers of the week. Sure, Dobbs is coming off a rough outing against the Bengals, but he’d averaged 21.9 points across his prior three games – two of which came against Dallas and San Francisco. This week, he’ll take on a Rams secondary, one that’s given up 29.6 and 28.3 points to the past two quarterbacks they’ve faced. With James Connor on IR, expect the Cardinals to throw early and often, making Dobbs a sneaky start for QB-needy squads.

Tier 4: Sit if possible

– Brock Purdy (SF) enters Week 6 as the QB7 overall (19.8 points per game) and is coming off a career-high 26.1 fantasy points. While Purdy is a borderline QB1 the rest of the season, I’m not excited to start him at Cleveland. With a high chance of rain, near-20 mph winds, and a 37.5-point total, offense may be hard to come by. The Browns have allowed the lowest passing success rate (28%) and EPA per drop-back (-0.42), so I’m avoiding Purdy if at all possible.

– C.J. Stroud (HOU) had his first sub-20-point outing last week since Week 1. Still, he has yet to throw an interception and he has racked up at least 240 yards in every game. That said, his lack of rushing work makes him a touchdown-dependent fantasy option – rough news for Week 6 considering the Saints have given up the second-fewest passing touchdowns (five) in the league. His floor is solid, but there isn’t much upside.

– Deshaun Watson (CLE) may not play this week, but he won’t be in any of my lineups regardless. Through three starts, Watson’s 41.2% passing success rate is lower than the clips produced by Daniel Jones, Desmond Ridder, Gardner Minshew, and Aidan O’Connell. With such little information about his shoulder and bad weather on the horizon, there is no reason to start Watson against a 49ers defense giving up the sixth-fewest adjusted fantasy points per drop-back (0.33).


Tier 1: Lineup locks

– Christian McCaffrey (SF)

– Bijan Robinson (ATL)

– Austin Ekeler (LAC) (probable)

– Travis Etienne (JAX)

– Tony Pollard (DAL)

– Raheem Mostert (MIA)

– Kenneth Walker III (SEA)

– Josh Jacobs (LV)

– David Montgomery (DET)

– Kyren Williams (LAR)

– Alvin Kamara (NO)

– D’Andre Swift (PHI)

– Isiah Pacheco (KC)

– Joe Mixon (CIN)

– Breece Hall (NYJ)

– James Cook (BUF)

– Saquon Barkley (NYG) (questionable)

– Derrick Henry (TEN)

Tier 2: Probable starters

– Brian Robinson (WSH) has eclipsed double-digit fantasy points only once in the past three weeks, but is still the RB11 for the season. Though he only had six carries last week, that was six more than any other Commanders running back. I’m not expecting Washington to throw 51 times again this week, but the matchup is still tough for Robinson. Atlanta ranks in the top five in EPA per carry (-0.22), rushing success rate (35.7%), and adjusted fantasy points per carry (0.50). Don’t expect a big outing from Robinson, but his volume and touchdown upside make him tough to sit.

– Jonathan Taylor & Zack Moss (IND) look as if they’ll be splitting carries for the time being. Moss stole the show in Taylor’s debut, dominating the rush share (23-6) and the snap share (49-10). He ended up delivering the best fantasy performance of his career, a 32.5-point outing that’s even more impressive considering how stout the Titans had been against the run. Still, Taylor is going to ramp up as the season progresses, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see them closer to 50/50 this week against a good-not-great Jags run defense. They’re both FLEXible.

– Rachaad White (TB) should be fresh coming off the bye week, though his matchup leaves a lot to be desired. The Lions have allowed the fewest adjusted fantasy points per carry (0.44) to opposing backs, but White hasn’t played fewer than 70% of the snaps in any game this season. He’s averaged 22.3 adjusted opportunities (carries plus 2x targets) per game and a 76.5% red zone rush share, making him a solid starter despite the matchup.

– Alexander Mattison (MIN) has quietly delivered double-digit fantasy outings in four of five games this season – though he’s yet to eclipse 12 points. Although Mattison’s snap share has dropped each of the past two weeks (down to 53.7%), he could see an uptick in opportunities with Justin Jefferson out. He won’t win you your week, but a matchup with a Bears D allowing the eighth-most adjusted fantasy points per carry (0.65) keeps Mattison in the RB2 conversation.

– Rhamondre Stevenson (NE) has been one of the biggest disappointments in fantasy. He’s suffered from a middling Patriots offense, but his own efficiency numbers are down and his snap share has fallen every week of the season. That said, I’m optimistic he turns things around in Week 6 against a Raiders run defense that made AJ Dillon (13.6 points) serviceable last week. They’ve given up the second-most adjusted fantasy points per carry (0.70) – enough to keep Stevenson on the RB2 radar.

Tier 3: On the fence

– Javonte Williams, Samaje Perine, Jaleel McLaughlin (DEN). Williams practiced in full on Tuesday and looks likely to play on Thursday, but if he’s out, McLaughlin would become a real FLEX candidate. Assuming he plays, Williams is a fringe RB2 against a Chiefs defense that’s been pretty middle of the pack against the run. They have given up the eighth-most adjusted fantasy points per target to backs, so Perine is a decent FLEX option even if Williams plays.

– Jerome Ford (CLE) is a buy low, but you can probably wait a week and buy even lower. He’s borderline unstartable this week against the 49ers – though it’s worth noting San Francisco is middle of the pack in adjusted fantasy points allowed to running backs. The guaranteed volume puts Ford on the FLEX radar, but he’s an easy sit if Deshaun Watson gets ruled out.

– Roschon Johnson & D’Onta Foreman (CHI) have had their value increase with Khalil Herbert dealing with a high ankle sprain. Johnson, a fourth-round rookie out of Texas, would be the preferred fantasy fill-in, but he’s in concussion protocol. The Vikings have been fairly stingy against the run, but they’re not a matchup we’re avoiding. Whoever ends up starting is a fine FLEX play – just pay attention to Johnson’s status.

– Jahmyr Gibbs (DET) is on the FLEX radar this week, assuming he’s able to play after missing Week 5 with a hamstring injury. Though he’s clearly the No. 2 back in Detroit. Gibbs’ 14.5% target share would make him a fair option against a Buccaneers defense allowing the 10th-most adjusted fantasy points per target (1.11).

– Miles Sanders & Chuba Hubbard (CAR) split snaps pretty much 50/50 last week. Whether Sanders ( shoulder ) is still banged up or Hubbard has just played his way onto the field, this has become a true timeshare. That’s not great for fantasy, but there is some potential this week against a Dolphins defense allowing the eighth-most adjusted fantasy points per carry (0.65). Both backs are FLEX options, but Sanders (13% target share) gets a bump in full-PPR formats.

– Tyjae Spears (TEN) may be the single-best handcuff in the league. Spears is coming off the best fantasy performance of his career – a 14.9-point outing where he scored his first NFL touchdown. He’s now played at least 50% of snaps and garnered at least four targets in four of five games this season – hence his rising fantasy value. The Ravens have been fairly vulnerable to pass-catching backs, putting Spears firmly on the FLEX radar.

– Jeff Wilson (MIA) will be activated off IR this week – just as Devon Achane landed on IR. Wilson turned in a pair of top-12 finishes upon arriving in Miami midway through last season and averaged 9.3 points per game over the final three weeks. Miami is perhaps the most fantasy-friendly offense in the NFL, putting Wilson on the FLEX radar if he’s active.

Tier 4: Sit if possible

– Dameon Pierce (HOU). Through five weeks, Pierce has registered a -0.31 rushing EPA per carry to go along with a 20.2% rushing success rate – both bottom-three marks among starting running backs. He’s been serviceable in fantasy over the past three weeks, but still hasn’t eclipsed 13.5 points despite garnering 21.2 adjusted opportunities per game. New Orleans has allowed the fourth-fewest EPA per carry (0.17) and the lowest rushing success rate (30.8%). You can surely do better.

– Gus Edwards & Justice Hill (BAL) have been pretty solid this season, slotting in back-to-back as the RB31 and RB32 for the season. If they were morphed into one back, they’d be the RB11 on the season and a surefire starter. Though Zack Moss just dominated Tennessee’s run defense, the Titans have still given up the ninth-lowest rushing success rate (37.3%) compared to the fourth-highest passing success rate (51.4%). Expect Baltimore to go through the air, relegating both backs to our fantasy benches.

– Emari Demercado (ARI) is one of the hottest waiver wire adds this week and for good reason. Demercado played every running back snap after James Conner left the game and had 16 adjusted opportunities. Still, he had just a 30% rushing success rate and 0.78 rushing yards over expectation per carry despite the hefty workload. The Rams have given up the second-fewest adjusted fantasy points per carry (0.45), and Arizona has a low 20.75-point implied team total. He can be left on benches unless you’re desperate.


Tier 1: Lineup locks

– Tyreek Hill (MIA)

– Ja’Marr Chase (CIN)

– Cooper Kupp (LAR)

– Stefon Diggs (BUF)

– CeeDee Lamb (DAL)

– Keenan Allen (LAC)

– Brandon Aiyuk (SF)

– A.J. Brown (PHI)

– Calvin Ridley (JAX)

– D.J. Moore (CHI)

– Puka Nacua (LAR)

– Davante Adams (LV) (probable)

– Amon-Ra St. Brown (DET) (probable)

– Chris Olave (NO)

– Jaylen Waddle (MIA)

– D.K. Metcalf (SEA)

– Adam Thielen (CAR)

– Mike Evans (TB) (questionable)

– Christian Kirk (JAX)

– DeVonta Smith (PHI)

– Michael Pittman Jr. (IND)

– Deebo Samuel (SF)

– Marquise Brown (ARI)

– Zay Flowers (BAL)

Tier 2: Probable starters

– Jordan Addison (MIN) is ready for a breakout game. Justin Jefferson will be out for the foreseeable future, leaving behind more than 10 targets per game. Addison impressed last week, delivering career highs in snap rate (76.5%), route participation (80%), target share (19.6%), and fantasy points (15.4). It’s not a stretch to say he has WR1 upside against a Bears defense allowing the second-highest EPA per drop-back (0.24) and third-most adjusted fantasy points per target (1.59).

– Jakobi Meyers (LV) delivered his second top-10 wide receiver finish of the season with 17 fantasy points. He’s now had at least a 27.0% target share in three of his four games and has cemented himself as the 1B to Davante Adams’ 1A. With Adams still banged up and a game against New England this week, Meyers has a ton of upside in Week 6.

– DeAndre Hopkins (TEN) delivered his best game with the Titans last week. Hopkins had a 30.3% target share en route to 18 fantasy points. Although it marked just the second time this season Hopkins eclipsed double-digit points, he’s in the top 10 with a 29.3% target share for the season. Baltimore has been a top-five pass defense by adjusted fantasy points allowed and EPA, but Hopkins’ steady volume keeps him in the WR3 conversation.

– Garrett Wilson (NYJ) didn’t have quite the breakout we were hoping for last week, but he still had a 26.9% target share – somehow his lowest of the season. Anyone with a 31.6% season-long target share will have some fantasy relevance. Wilson is a volume-based WR3 this week against an Eagles defense that ranks in the middle of the pack against wideouts.

– Gabriel Davis (BUF) scored in his fourth consecutive game last week and now has the fourth-most touchdowns in the NFL. Last week’s 22.2% target share and his season-long 16.3 aDOT have me optimistic about his fantasy stock going forward. There is no reason to fade him with the Giants (ninth-most adjusted fantasy points allowed) on tap.

– Tyler Lockett (SEA) is inconsistent, but his upside is hard to ignore. Though he’s been held under 7.5 points in three of his four games this season, he was the WR6 (21.9 points) in Week 2. There’s some concern rookie Jaxon Smith-Njigba will take on a bigger role after the bye week, but Lockett still leads the team with a 22.3% target share. The Bengals have been average against wideouts this season, making Lockett a strong WR3 in Week 6.

Tier 3: On the fence

– Amari Cooper and Elijah Moore (CLE) are entirely dependent on Deshaun Watson’s health. It’s hard to get super excited about their matchup with the 49ers, but they both had a 25% target share in three games with Watson active. That volume is enough to put each of them on the FLEX radar, with Cooper bumping into borderline must-start given his 41% air yard share in Watson’s starts. On the flip side, I’d sit both of them if Watson is out.

– Josh Downs (IND) continues to produce despite only playing the third-most snaps (75.2%) among Colts wideouts. Downs had his best game as a pro in Week 5, finishing as the WR18 (12.7 points) and commanding a 25.0% target share. He had 12 targets in Gardner Minshew’s lone prior start this season and should again be busy against a Jags defense allowing the fourth-most adjusted fantasy points per target (1.59).

– Josh Reynolds (DET) is PFF’s 10th-ranked receiver and has two top-15 finishes in the past four weeks and has eclipsed 65 receiving yards in four of five games this season. He led Detroit with an 18.5% target share last week, but the Bucs have allowed the fifth-fewest adjusted fantasy points per target (1.15) to wideouts. His fantasy value is entirely dependent on whether Amon-Ra St. Brown returns.

– Chris Godwin (TB) delivered in Tampa Bay’s most recent game before the bye week, commanding a 36.7% target share en route to 15.4 fantasy points. However, much of that production came with Mike Evans sidelined. Evans should be back this week, and that will probably send Godwin’s target share back into the low-20% range. He’s merely a FLEX consideration against a solid Detroit defense – though he has more upside in full-point PRR formats.

– Jerry Jeudy (DEN) is trending in the right direction. While he scored only 8.0 fantasy points last week, Jeudy took the sole lead in target share (25.9%) for the first time all season. In addition, he had, by far, his highest snap share (89.5%) and he’s now racked up at least 50 yards in three consecutive games. The Chiefs’ secondary is solid, but they gave up 34.3 points to Minnesota’s top four wideouts last week. Denver is a 10.5-point underdog, so Jeudy should see a ton of work in a negative game script. He’s a fringe WR3 and solid FLEX this week.

– K.J. Osborn (MIN) has an opportunity to take on a bigger role with Justin Jefferson out. While Jordan Addison will likely generate more buzz, Osborn has more experience and, more importantly, has run more routes and played more snaps than Addison in every game this season. The two tied with a team-high 19.6% target share last week, so there will be plenty of work to go around against the Bears secondary. He’s a WR3 with upside.

– Rashee Rice (KC) continues to play well in limited action. He scored his second touchdown of the season last week en route to a career-high 11.3 fantasy points. However, he had his snap share and target share both dip after two encouraging weeks. Rice’s usage inside the 20 (25% red zone target share) keeps him on the FLEX radar, but he’s difficult to trust.

– Robert Woods (HOU) has FLEX appeal this week after commanding a season-high 28.1% of targets his previous time out. Though it only translated to 4.5 fantasy points, Woods has now had at least a 20% target share in all five games this season.

– Tyler Boyd & Trenton Irwin (CIN) are FLEX considerations, assuming Tee Higgins misses another week. Boyd didn’t do much last week, but played nearly 75% of snaps and had seven targets. He also had a nice touchdown called back because of a penalty and has produced in expanded roles in the past. Irwin doesn’t have Boyd’s track record, but had a 22.7% target share and more than 100 air yards last week. They’re both decent FLEX options against a Seahawks secondary allowing the 10th-most adjusted fantasy points per target (1.49).

Tier 4: Sit if possible

– Nico Collins (HOU) is a sit for the second consecutive week. This has nothing to do with Collins – he’s PFF’s fifth-highest-graded wide receiver for a reason. This is all about the matchup. He had a mere 12.5% target share in last week’s matchup with A.J. Terrell, with CJ Stroud focused on his slot options and tight end. Collins draws Marshon Lattimore this week – someone who’s played bigger wideouts well over the years. Fade Collins again, but know better days are on the horizon.

– Terry McLaurin (WSH) had just a 10.4% target share despite Sam Howell throwing the ball 51 times last week. McLaurin finished with 6.9 fantasy points, and he’s now been held under 7.5 points in three of five games this season. As Washington’s primary perimeter option, he’ll likely see plenty of Terrell this week. Keep him on your bench.

– Josh Palmer and Quentin Johnston (LAC) had a week off to audition to be Justin Herbert’s No. 2 option, but your guess is as good as mine as to who’s getting the job. If you have to play one, I’d lean Johnston. Rookies getting a bump after the bye is a decent narrative, but against a good Dallas defense, I’d prefer to sit both of them and evaluate again next week.

– Drake London (ATL) is a wide receiver in Arthur Smith’s offense quarterbacked by Desmond Ridder. Sit him.


Tier 1: Lineup locks

– Travis Kelce (KC) (questionable)

– T.J. Hockenson (MIN)

– Mark Andrews (BAL)

– Sam LaPorta (DET)

– Evan Engram (JAX)

– Darren Waller (NYG)

– Dallas Goedert (PHI)

– George Kittle (SF)

Tier 2: Probable starters

– Cole Kmet (CHI) is on a roll, having scored three touchdowns and 36.8 fantasy points across his past two games. Kmet’s renaissance has aligned directly with Justin Fields’ hot stretch. Over the past two weeks, Kmet has garnered 28.1% and 20.0% target shares. He’s averaged 4.5 receptions, six targets, and 55.3 yards in his past four meetings with Minnesota, and the Vikings have been below-average defending tight ends this season. I’d be hard-pressed to sit Kmet this week.

– Zach Ertz (ARI) was quiet this past week, but his 22.5% target share still ranks third among all tight ends. That kind of usage is about all you need to be fantasy-relevant at such a weak position, but it doesn’t hurt that he takes on the Rams this week. LA has given up the sixth-most adjusted fantasy points per target to tight ends (1.80), setting up Ertz for a productive outing.

– Logan Thomas (WSH) is coming off a big performance where he had nine receptions, 77 yards, and a touchdown en route to 16.2 fantasy points (he also lost a fumble). Thomas has been getting targets when he’s been on the field this season, averaging 7.3 targets (19% market share) in the three games where he’s played at least 70% of snaps. Atlanta has allowed tight ends to be targeted at the highest rate (26.3%) in the NFL this season, making Thomas a near must start in Week 6.

Tier 3: On the fence

– Jake Ferguson (DAL) had his second-lowest target share (11.5%) of the season last week in a poor outing from the entire Cowboys offense. Still, we can’t ignore his overall 17.5% target share – not with the Chargers up next. LA has been average against the position this season, putting Ferguson firmly in the starting conversation.

– Kyle Pitts & Jonnu Smith (ATL) both delivered in Week 5, scoring 12.2 and 7.7 fantasy points, respectively. Pitts (21.1%) now leads the team in target share, with Smith (17.8%) a close third. I’m not ready to officially buy into either of them, but you could do worse this week considering the Commanders have given up the 10th-highest catch rate over expectation (6.7%) to the position.

– Dalton Schultz (HOU) has turned in consecutive top-five weeks thanks to a pair of touchdowns. He got his most targets (10) as a Texan last week, but I’m not rushing to start him in Week 6. The Saints have given up the fewest yards per route run (0.55) and the third-lowest catch rate over expectation (-8.5%) to tight ends this season. He’s merely a desperation play.

– Tyler Conklin (NYJ) turned in his first TE1 performance of the season last week – though it came with just 8.7 fantasy points. Still, he’s played 71.6% of snaps and commanded an 18.6% target share in the past four weeks. That kind of usage is enough to consider starting him against an Eagles defense allowing the third-most adjusted fantasy points per target (1.87) to tight ends.

Tier 4: Sit if possible

– Tyler Higbee (LAR) had his target share dry up to 8.8% with Cooper Kupp back after he got 28.9% of looks the week prior. He’s turned in a top-12 finish in three of his past five outings against Arizona, but the Cardinals have been stingy against tight ends this season. He’s an easy sit as the No. 4 option in LA’s passing attack.

– David Njoku (CLE) didn’t practice on Monday, but I’m not looking to start him on my fantasy team even if he’s cleared for Sunday. Deshaun Watson’s status is up in the air, and the 49ers have given up the sixth-fewest fantasy points per target (1.07) to opposing tight ends this season. Throw in some pass-averse weather, and I’m sitting Njoku in Week 6.

– Hunter Henry (NE) has scored a combined 9.8 fantasy points in the past three weeks. His TE1 and TE2 finishes in the first two weeks feel like a distant memory, and this Patriots offense is impossible to trust. He’s an easy sit.

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