Fantasy Football Week 5 Rankings: Guide for Top Players and Sleepers

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistOctober 4, 2017

FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 01:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots looks to pass during the second half against the Carolina Panthers at Gillette Stadium on October 1, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

As the bye weeks begin, it's more important than ever to be able to identify a few key sleepers or waiver pickups to aid your team. On the flip side, however, it's just as important to avoid getting "sleeper happy" and ignoring your more reliable players on the whims of recency bias and trends.

So below, I'll break down the top 10 players at each position for this week and also offer one sleeper per group for your consideration.

          

Quarterbacks

CARSON, CA - OCTOBER 01:  Philip Rivers #17 of the Los Angeles Chargers gestures to officials during the first half of a game against the Philadelphia Eagles  at StubHub Center on October 1, 2017 in Carson, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Imag
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

1. Tom Brady, New England Patriots 

2. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

3. Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

4. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers

5. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

6. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys

7. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers

8. Alex Smith, QB, Kansas City Chiefs

9. Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans

10. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles

         

Sleeper: Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers

While Philip Rivers finds himself barely in the QB2 range among scoring leaders at the position after four games, that designation is a bit deceptive. Yes, he was horrid against the Chiefs, but in every other week he's been an extremely reliable producer for fantasy owners.

This week, he faces a New York Giants defense giving up 17.5 points per week to opposing quarterbacks, 25th in the NFL. Rivers is a pretty safe bet to give you solid production if you find yourself needing a replacement at QB this week.

As for the rest of the rankings, bye weeks for Drew Brees, Kirk Cousins and Matt Ryan mean you may need to get a bit creative.

Don't sleep on Watson or Wentz. Watson has been a beast in fantasy since earning the starting gig, while Wentz has cooled off slightly since a hot start but has largely played well and remains in the QB1 discussion each week.

         

Running Backs

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - OCTOBER 1: Latavius Murray #25 of the Minnesota Vikings carries the ball in the second half of the game against the Detroit Lions on October 1, 2017 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)
Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

1. Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers

2. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys

3. Kareem Hunt, Kansas City Chiefs

4. Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars

5. LeSean McCoy, Buffalo Bills

6. Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams

7. Carlos Hyde, San Francisco 49ers

8. Jordan Howard, Chicago Bears

9. Melvin Gordon, Los Angeles Chargers

10. Lamar Miller, Houston Texans

      

Sleeper: Latavius Murray, Minnesota Vikings

There's no need to get cute at running back. Trust your studs. Given the slew of injuries and backfield committees this season, the top-tier running backs remain wildly valuable.

One player who should certainly be owned in every format and will immediately enter the flex conversation is Latavius Murray now that Dalvin Cook is out for the year with an ACL tear.

While Murray doesn't offer the upside Cook did—there was a reason Cook was the starter and Murray barely saw the field early in the season—Murray did rush for 1,854 yards and 18 touchdowns in the previous two seasons with Oakland.

As handcuffs go, he's a solid one to have on your roster. Now that he's likely to be the starter—though Jerick McKinnon will see his fair share of touches, namely on third downs—Murray is immediately worth RB2 or flex consideration.

                

Wide Receivers

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 24: Wide Receiver DeVante Parker #11 of the Miami Dolphins has a long gain against the New York Jets on September 24, 2017 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Jets defeated the Dolphins 20-6. (Photo by Al
Al Pereira/Getty Images

1. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers

2. Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants

3. Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers

4. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

5. A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals

6. Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs

7. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans

8. Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikings

9. T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts

10. Chris Hogan, New England Patriots

       

Sleeper: DeVante Parker, Miami Dolphins

Like running backs, your top wide receivers are worth your trust. Don't overanalyze matchups when it comes to studs at the position—more often than not, the top wideouts will still produce.

One player worth your consideration this week, however, is DeVante Parker. Despite the fact Miami's offense has been dreadful the past two weeks, they're facing a Tennessee Titans defense that continues to get shredded by opposing wideouts.

Parker has been the best receiver for Miami this season, even as Jay Cutler plays uninspired football. He's nothing more than a flex option, but against Tennessee, he has the sort of upside that makes him a worthy sleeper candidate. 

      

Tight Ends

Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

1. Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots

2. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles

3. Charles Clay, Buffalo Bills

4. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs

5. Jimmy Graham, Seattle Seahawks

6. Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

7. Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys

8. Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans

9. Evan Engram, New York Giants

10. Jared Cook, Oakland Raiders

      

Sleeper: Hunter Henry, Los Angeles Chargers

Tight end has been a pretty rough position for fantasy owners this year, with only Rob Gronkowski averaging double-digit points per game and only Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz and Charles Clay averaging more than eight points a contest.

You may have to get creative when seeking out a player to fill the slot, in other words, especially with the bye weeks now in full swing. 

Suffice to say, there aren't many sleepers to be had, but Henry is an intriguing option. The Giants have given up five touchdowns to opposing tight ends—a good sign for a red-zone threat such as Henry.

With Antonio Gates also in the game plan, it's hard to trust Henry outright. But if you are streaming tight ends and looking for high ceiling more than high floor, you can't beat the Chargers man.

                

Defenses 

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 24: Defensive Lineman Leonard Williams #92 of the New York Jets in action against the Miami Dolphins on September 24, 2017 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Jets defeated the Dolphins 20-6. (Photo by Al
Al Pereira/Getty Images

1. Detroit Lions

2. Buffalo Bills

3. Pittsburgh Steelers

4. Kansas City Chiefs

5. Philadelphia Eagles

6. Baltimore Ravens

7. Cincinnati Bengals

8. Jacksonville Jaguars

9. Oakland Raiders

10. Minnesota Vikings

      

Sleeper: New York Jets

The Jets? You think I should consider starting the Jets? 

The Jets?

Yes, the Jets. As a sleeper pick. Obviously, the 10 defenses listed ahead of them are preferable. But here's the thing about those Jets: In the past two weeks, they've given up a total of 20 points, and they now face a Cleveland Browns offense with rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer, who has already thrown eight interceptions this season.

That makes the Jets are a sneaky pick this week. Yes, the Jets.

          

Kickers

Jason Behnken/Associated Press

1. Greg Zuerlein, Los Angeles Rams

2. Stephen Gostkowski, New England Patriots

3. Matt Prater, Detroit Lions

4. Stephen Hauschka, Buffalo Bills

5. Ka'imi Fairbairn, Houston Texans

6. Robbie Gould, San Francisco 49ers

7. Jason Myers, Jacksonville Jaguars

8. Graham Gano, Carolina Panthers

9. Chandler Catanzaro, New York Jets

10. Ryan Succop, Tennessee Titans

      

Sleeper: Aldrick Rosas, New York Giants

Kickers are notoriously difficult to project, so in general these rankings will always reflect the season leaders pretty closely.

As for Aldrick Rosas, he faces a Chargers team giving 11.5 fantasy points to opposing kickers per week.

               

All fantasy stats and points-against totals via Yahoo Sports.

Related

    Report: Le'Veon May Sit Out Half the Season

    NFL logo
    NFL

    Report: Le'Veon May Sit Out Half the Season

    Timothy Rapp
    via Bleacher Report

    Is It Time for the Future in Baltimore?

    NFL logo
    NFL

    Is It Time for the Future in Baltimore?

    Doug Farrar
    via Bleacher Report

    Rodgers Wants to Play Until He's 40

    NFL logo
    NFL

    Rodgers Wants to Play Until He's 40

    Timothy Rapp
    via Bleacher Report

    Report: Bell Unlikely to Sign New Deal Today

    NFL logo
    NFL

    Report: Bell Unlikely to Sign New Deal Today

    Scott Polacek
    via Bleacher Report