After a rash of injuries and the start of byes, Week 5 could be a tough one for fantasy owners.
The New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos and Washington Redskins are all off for the upcoming week, removing some of the top performers in the league at each position. With Dalvin Cook tearing his ACL, per the team's account, Chris Carson suffering an ankle injury, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, and other key players likely at least limited, there are a lot of holes in lineups.
Fortunately, there are always players ready to fill the gaps and help out your fantasy teams. Here are the top players at each position with point projections in points-per-reception leagues.
1. Tom Brady at TB (22)
2. Aaron Rodgers at DAL (21)
3. Russell Wilson at LAR (21)
4. Dak Prescott vs. GB (19)
5. Jameis Winston vs. NE (19)
6. Marcus Mariota at MIA (19)
7. Matthew Stafford vs. CAR (18)
8. Ben Roethlisberger vs. JAX (18)
9. Tyrod Taylor at CIN (18)
10. Deshaun Watson vs. KC (17)
11. Philip Rivers at NYG (17)
12. Cam Newton at DET (17)
13. Carson Wentz vs. ARI (17)
14. Carson Palmer at PHI (17)
15. Alex Smith at HOU (16)
Fantasy owners should keep an eye on the injury status of Marcus Mariota, who left early Sunday, although for now, we will assume he plays.
With Drew Brees and Matt Ryan unavailable, though, there is an opportunity for some other quarterbacks to step into the spotlight. Deshaun Watson already did that this past week with four passing touchdowns and a rushing score in the Texans' 57-14 win over the Titans.
Rich Eisen of NFL Network was one of the many complimentary of the rookie's play:
Rich Eisen @richeisen
Wow, @deshaunwatson looks all kinds of spectacular. And @HoustonTexans calling plays that suit him to a T.2017-10-1 17:38:04
He won't have a performance like this every week, or possibly ever again, but his ability to pick up yards through the air and on the ground make him a worthwhile fantasy addition.
Meanwhile, Jameis Winston continues to climb the list after a solid Week 4 and the suddenly porous New England Patriots defense coming up.
1. Kareem Hunt at HOU (18)
2. Ezekiel Elliott vs. GB (17)
3. Le'Veon Bell vs. JAX (17)
4. Leonard Fournette at PIT (16)
5. Todd Gurley vs. SEA (16)
6. LeSean McCoy at CIN (15)
7. Melvin Gordon at NYG (15)
8. Carlos Hyde at IND (15)
9. Jordan Howard vs. MIN (15)
10. Christian McCaffrey at DET (15)
11. DeMarco Murray at MIA (14)
12. LeGarrette Blount vs. ARI (13)
13. Lamar Miller vs. KC (13)
14. Joe Mixon vs. BUF (13)
15. Mike Gillislee at TB (12)
16. Bilal Powell at CLE (12)
17. Doug Martin vs. NE (11)
18. Tarik Cohen vs. MIN (11)
19. Jonathan Stewart at DET (10)
20. Ameer Abdullah vs. CAR (10)
21. Duke Johnson vs. NYJ (10)
22. Andre Ellington at PHI (10)
23. James White at TB (10)
24. J.D. McKissic at LAR (10)
25. Latavius Murray at CHI (9)
26. Wendell Smallwood vs. ARI (9)
27. Frank Gore vs. SF (9)
28. Alex Collins at OAK (8)
29. Theo Riddick vs. CAR (8)
30. Javorius Allen at OAK (8)
31. Giovani Bernard vs. BUF (8)
32. Jerick McKinnon at CHI (7)
33. Isaiah Crowell vs. NYJ (7)
34. Eddie Lacy at LAR (7)
35. Wayne Gallman vs. LAC (7)
The big story at running back is the new names jumping on the list, whether due to injuries or changes in the depth chart.
Alex Collins and Wayne Gallman are two players who appear to have taken control of their respective backfields after strong performances in Week 4. Gallman rushed for 42 yards on 11 carries for the New York Giants, while Paul Perkins was limited to just 13 rushing yards. Perkins is averaging just 1.9 yards per carry and might have finally worn out his welcome in New York.
Meanwhile, Collins used a 50-yard run to help his 82-yard day. Strangely, it was the second straight game with nine carries for 82 yards. Terrance West and Javorius Allen are still getting touches, but the former Arkansas player has been impressive.
There are also a few changes in depth chart due to injuries.
One of the most exciting options is J.D. McKissic, who scored two touchdowns for the Seattle Seahawks Sunday night, including this tough catch:
Perfect throw. Tough catch. @DangeRussWilson to @JdMcKissic for the #Seahawks TD! #INDvsSEA https://t.co/01SVNOAHJ72017-10-2 03:43:17
With Carson injured, McKissic and Eddie Lacy could be ready for bigger roles. The same could be said about Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon, who will get extra touches with Cook out for the year.
1. Antonio Brown vs. JAX (16)
2. Jordy Nelson at DAL (16)
3. Odell Beckham Jr. vs. LAC (15)
4. A.J. Green vs. BUF (15)
5. Mike Evans vs. NE (15)
6. Stefon Diggs at CHI (15)
7. DeAndre Hopkins vs. KC (14)
8. Larry Fitzgerald at PHI (14)
9. Keenan Allen at NYG (13)
10. Brandin Cooks at TB (13)
11. Doug Baldwin at LAR (13)
12. Tyreek Hill at HOU (13)
13. Dez Bryant vs. GB (13)
14. T.Y. Hilton vs. SF (12)
15. Adam Thielen at CHI (12)
16. Jarvis Landry vs. TEN (12)
17. Devin Funchess at DET (12)
18. DeVante Parker vs. TEN (12)
19. Davante Adams at DAL (11)
20. Golden Tate vs. CAR(11)
21. Chris Hogan at TB (10)
22. Allen Hurns at PIT (10)
23. Tyrell Williams at NYG (10)
24. Will Fuller vs. KC (10)
25. Mike Wallace at OAK (9)
26. Sammy Watkins vs. SEA (9)
27. Sterling Shepard vs. LAC (8)
28. Jermaine Kearse at CLE (8)
29. Michael Crabtree vs. BAL (8)
30. Pierre Garcon at IND (8)
31. Rishard Matthews at MIA (8)
32. DeSean Jackson vs. NE (8)
33. Amari Cooper vs. BAL (7)
34. Martavis Bryant vs. JAX (7)
35. Paul Richardson at LAR (7)
It's harder to trust receivers on a weekly basis, but those at the top have the best chances for success. Stefon Diggs continues to show he is an elite wideout who can put up numbers every week, even without a healthy Sam Bradford.
Jordy Nelson is also a top option after bringing in four touchdown receptions over the last two games. As long as Aaron Rodgers continues to look his way, he will be a top fantasy player.
Houston Texans receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller rise with the play of Watson, although Los Angeles Chargers players Keenan Allen and Tyrell Williams also move up after big weeks where they each tallied over 100 receiving yards.
Finally, you might want to avoid the Oakland Raiders duo of Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper if possible, with Carr dealing with his back issue, Crabtree suffering a bruised lung and Cooper simply not looking like himself.
1. Rob Gronkowski at TB (13)
2. Travis Kelce at HOU (12)
3. Zach Ertz vs. ARI (10)
4. Jimmy Graham at LAR (10)
5. Charles Clay at CIN (9)
6. Delanie Walker at MIA (9)
7. Kyle Rudolph at CHI (8)
8. Cameron Brate vs. NE (8)
9. Jason Witten vs. GB (7)
10. Martellus Bennett at DAL (7)
11. Evan Engram vs. LAC (7)
12. Hunter Henry at NYG (6)
13. Jared Cook vs. BAL (6)
14. Benjamin Watson at OAK (6)
15. Ed Dickson at DET (6)
Cameron Brate now has a touchdown in two straight games, although fantasy owners have to be wary of rookie first-round pick O.J. Howard coming up and taking away targets, especially near the red zone.
A different rookie could be an interesting player going forward in Evan Engram. The Giants tight end had a season-high 11 targets last game and has over 40 receiving yards in all four games. This doesn't necessarily equal a huge fantasy output, especially with just one touchdown, but his usage continues to increase.
As a significant part of a team that likes to pass a lot, Engram could be set for big days ahead.
Players like Hunter Henry or Jared Cook are more boom-or-bust, but they could be valuable assets if you are desperate at the position.