It’s week five! And while it feels like fantasy football has just started, we are already going to be 25% done with the regular season which this week concludes. Week five also brings us the first batch of byes, and with that, desperate scrambles to fill the temporary holes in our rosters. With that in mind, every week we provide you with two players at each position available in at least half of leagues, and one player available in at least 90% of leagues to help you out. Let’s dive in!
Joshua Dobbs versus Cincinnati (19% rostered)
Joshua Dobbs has mid-key been a decent fantasy football quarterback in his short tenure with the Cardinals. He was disastrous in week one, posting 129 total yards with no touchdowns. But, given that he went straight from the airport to the stadium in week one, I will give him a pass. Since then, he’s averaged 21.9 fantasy points per game while taking on two of the toughest defenses in the NFL (the Cowboys and 49ers). The reason for this? He’s running like his career depends on it—because it probably does—and his fantasy managers are reaping the rewards. His 48 rushing yards per game over the last three are the equivalent in fantasy points to an extra 100 or so passing yards, and it’s led him to respectable returns.
This week, he gets a Cincy defense that doesn’t put up much of a fight. Good quarterbacks (Deshaun Watson & Lamar Jackson) have topped 20 fantasy points, whereas middling quarterbacks performing middlingly against him (both about 13 fantasy points). Dobbs should end up as a backend QB1/high end QB2 this week, which will work out perfectly if you have to snatch him off the waiver wire.
Zach Wilson at Denver (8% rostered)
Call it the Donna Kelce Effect, but last week, Zach Wilson played himself a respectable football game (and sort of went toe-to-toe with Patrick Mahomes, at least statistically), finishing with 259 total yards 2 touchdowns, and 19.2 fantasy points. That marks Wilson’s fourth-highest-scoring fantasy day of his career, and the most since week eight of 2022.
This week, Wilson gets a different kind of Mile High than Aaron Rodgers is used to as he and the Jets travel to Denver. The Broncos are the best possible matchup in the NFL right now, with Sam Howell, Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Fields, and Jimmy Garoppolo all throwing for multiple touchdowns against them, and Howell, Tua, and Fields topping 300 total yards. If there’s one game where Wilson can come through, it’s this one.
Ryan Tannehill at Indianapolis (8% rostered)
Tannehill has played just as well as his opponent will allow this season, looking competent in smooth matchups (21.04 fantasy points versus the Chargers), and terrible in bad matchups (4.16 fantasy points in Cleveland). This week, he gets another great matchup as he takes on the Colts.
While Wilson has the best matchup in the NFL, Ryan Tannehill isn’t too far behind. The Colts have allowed multiple touchdowns and/or 300 total yards to all four quarterbacks they’ve played this season, with three straight quarterbacks topping the 300 total yard mark against them. The Colts “shut down” Matthew Stafford last week because the Rams were up 20-0 at the half and did whatever they could to slow the game down.
I’m going to level with you… it’s not a great week for streaming running backs. You probably want to see if someone with a higher roster rate somehow slipped through your league’s cracks. But, with that in mind, let’s see me try to squeeze blood from a stone.
Matt Breida at Miami (21% rostered)
With Saquon Barkley looking like he will miss the game this weekend, it seems as though this decent matchup will fall on Matt Breida’s shoulders. Breida’s filled in admirably in Saquon’s absence, posting back-to-back double-digit PPR days against the 49ers and Seahawks. While Breida needed a touchdown to do it against the Niners, we saw how the Giants ideally deployed him last week: 14 carries and 5 targets. Should Breida get five targets again, he would be just the second running back to do so against the Dolphins this year. On the season, Miami allows the ninth-most fantasy points to running backs on the year, while only taking on Austin Ekeler among the top-fifteen options in any given week. Breida should be able to be a good desperation stream this week.
Latavius Murray versus Jacksonville (London) (16% rostered)
If you’re reading this just before the 10 AM games, then you’re already out of luck. And, like I said, this isn’t a great week for streaming options at running back. Murray had 56 yards last week, which was the first time in his last three games that he hadn’t scored a touchdown. While Jacksonville doesn’t have the worst run defense to attack (20th in fantasy points allowed to the position), the Bills have the fourth-highest implied points total this week (27.25 points) in a game with sneaky shootout potential. Murray is the goal-line back in Buffalo, and with the Bills likely hitting the goal-line at least once, he’s the best Hail Mary chance at a touchdown this week.
Jordan Mason versus Dallas (1% rostered)
Consider the bottom of the barrel scraped. Elijah Mitchell won’t play in this one, and despite the 49ers doing whatever they can to feed Christian McCaffrey as much as humanly possible, there are still plenty of scraps to go around off the edge of the table as the 49ers’ main weapons feast. Mitchell’s played just one full game this season, and he had 11 touches in that one. Last week, the 49ers didn’t use their RB2, as they pounded the Cardinals with the passing game. This week will have a lot more grinding, which means a lot more of a running back rotation. Starting a 1% guy, you’re just hoping for 5 or 6 points. And here’s to hoping.
Rashee Rice at Minnesota (33% rostered)
Rooting for Rashee Rice is a completely frustrating endeavor. He doesn’t seem to get on the field (31.3% route share, seventh on the Chiefs). Yet, despite this, he is second on the Chiefs in targets outside of Travis Kelce. He’s first on the team in targets per route run, and yards per route run but he… just doesn’t run any routes. And it’s not like he’s just a per-route run monster, he is second in the WR room in YAC/Rec, and first among receivers in yards after contact per reception. He’s also the first read on most of the plays where he’s in, getting 13 first reads, behind just Travis Kelce.
That all leads up to one thing he needs to break out: a dang opportunity and a quality matchup. Only the Chiefs can give him the first, but the Vikings can give him the second this weekend. The Vikings give up the most fantasy points to wide receivers on the season, with luminaries like Joshua Palmer and Terrace Marshall knocking down double-digit PPR days in the last two weeks. This is half a recommendation and half a plea to the fantasy gods to give Rashee Rice a chance.
Wan’Dale Robinson at Miami (16% rostered)
Wan’Dale Robinson is the most talented wide receiver for the Giants, and much like Rashee Rice, he barely has had a chance to ply his wares this season. While Rice’s issues stem from the Chiefs being physically incapable of doing the right thing and getting him the ball, Wan’Dale just started slow due to recovering from a knee injury. He’s played in two games this season and has 11 targets in those two games, which he’s turned into 9 catches for 61 yards. This week he gets a Miami Dolphins defense that has yielded the tenth-most fantasy points to wide receivers on the season. Eight wide receivers have at least five targets against the Dolphins this season, and JuJu Smith-Schuster’s 7.8 PPR points are the absolute floor for Robinson this week.
Nick Westbrook-Ikhine at Indianapolis (8% rostered)
The Titans’ passing game should have a dead cat bounce this weekend against the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts allow the eighth-most fantasy points allowed to opposing wide receivers. With no Treylon Burks this weekend, it’s down to DeAndre Hopkins and NWI to cash in against this divisional opponent. Westbrook-Ikhine had seven targets last week, which he turned into five catches for 58 yards, which makes three double-digit fantasy days in the three games where he’s had at least one target (which also coincides with the one game wherein he had fewer than 70% of snaps). It’s a deep dive play, but it’s worth a shot if you’re down bad in a deep league.
Zach Ertz versus Cincinnati (45% rostered)
The Bengals a sixth in fantasy points allowed to tight ends this season, giving up double-digit fantasy days to opposing tight ends in three-straight matchups, as Mark Andrews (of course), Tyler Higbee (sure), and Josh Whyle (WHO?!) notched quality games against them recently. Ertz is at least as good as Josh Whyle and, most importantly, gets the targets to matter. Ertz has at least 8 targets in three games so far this season, hitting double-digit figures in half of his contests. With Joshua Dobbs making the Cardinals somewhat respectable on offense, Ertz is a fine play this week, should he be available in your league. I’d start him over anyone else in The Blob, as well as his former teammate, Dallas Goedert.
Jonnu Smith versus Houston (13% rostered)
Never forget who told you about Jonnu Smith first this season (me, it was me). Smith took his 8.7 PPR points per game and nearly doubled it, finishing with 15.5 PPR points last week on 6 targets, 6 catches, and 95 yards. Smith is having the games we hoped Kyle Pitts would so far this season, and given his 6.7 targets per game this year, Smith should continue to produce for you. This is more of a “keep it in the fire” prospect than someone coming out of the blue in a good matchup. Smith and the Falcons get the Texans this week, who grade out as a neutral matchup for tight ends on the year.
Tyler Conklin at Denver (5% rostered)
Conklin has 6, 5, and 6 targets in Zach Wilson’s three starts this season, posting at least 50 yards in two of those three contests. He’s averaging 3 catches for 47 yards per game, and while we strive for 4/40, we can accept 3/47 as a floor, as chasing that volume is a good way to find touchdowns (instead of chasing touchdowns). Speaking of touchdowns, Denver’s allow three of them on 25 targets to tight ends this season, which is the third-highest rate in the league (and just 0.1% behind the Jets). You can start Conklin in this one.