Happy Week 5, everyone. This is one of the worst Sunday-Monday slates we’ve seen in a long time. Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em is geared toward season-long leagues but can also be used for daily fantasy purposes, as these are players I’ll likely have some exposure to over the weekend.
Start of the Week: Dak Prescott vs. Packers: Prescott is coming off yet another solid week, where he threw for 252 yards and three scores, finishing as the QB9 against the Rams. That was his best single-week finish through four games, but Prescott has been real steady with QB11, QB11, and QB10 weeks in Weeks 1-3 in tough spots against the Giants at home and Broncos and Cardinals on the road. On paper, the Packers defended the pass extremely well in the first month, surrendering the fourth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks and sixth-fewest passing yards. However, they haven’t exactly faced stiff competition, getting Russell Wilson in Green Bay in the opener and Matt Ryan on the road in Week 2, followed up by cupcake spots against Andy Dalton and Mike Glennon. Ryan didn’t have to do much in Week 2 after the Falcons got a big lead, and Dalton had a strong first half in Week 3 before doing nothing after the break. Prescott faced the Packers twice as a rookie last year, throwing for three touchdowns in each outing and topping 300 yards in the one at Dallas. The Packers-Cowboys over-under of 52 total points is easily the highest of the Sunday-Monday games. Seahawks-Rams at 46.5 points is the next closest. Prescott combines high floor with a high ceiling. He’s a top-four QB1 play in a legitimately dreadful set of Week 5 games.
Josh McCown at Browns: As mentioned previously, this is a truly disgusting set of games on paper this week. It has put McCown squarely on the streaming radar. The 38-year-old gunslinger has yet to throw for 250 yards in a game this season, with two outings under 200 yards. McCown’s best weekly finish thus far has been QB13 in Week 2 at the Raiders in a blowout loss. Every other week, he has been the QB21 or lower. This is absolutely a run-first offense for the Jets, but they’re running into one of the biggest pass-funnel defenses in the league after four weeks. Cleveland is 30th in pass-defense DVOA compared to sixth against the run. The Browns have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks while yielding just 3.08 YPC to running backs. McCown is in a great spot and is going to have to make something happen through the air, even if it’s just dumping it down to his running backs and tight end while taking a couple deep shots to Robby Anderson. The 39.5-point total in Jets-Browns is tied for the second-lowest of Week 5, but it’s currently a pick’em and could easily turn into some sort of bad teams shootout. There are worse plays than McCown.
Carson Palmer at Eagles: Palmer seems to find his way on this list every week. There isn’t a whole lot not to like. Palmer entered Week 5 leading the league in pass attempts with 17 more than second-place Eli Manning. Palmer is second in yards to Tom Brady. The touchdown numbers are certainly lacking, but watching the games, Palmer could (should?) easily have maybe double the five touchdowns he has thrown. He had one taken away by the refs last week and multiple touchdowns have simply bounced off the hands of Palmer’s receivers’ hands. Palmer enters Week 5 as the QB16 but gets another beautiful draw, even though it’ll be Arizona’s third 1 PM ET start on the road in five weeks. The Eagles have faced the second-most pass attempts in the league and allowed the most completions for the second-most yards and sixth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks. With David Johnson (wrist) out, the Cardinals lead the league in pass:run ratio, throwing the ball a league-high 69.93% of the time. Chris Johnson doesn’t have anything left at running back, so it’s all on Palmer’s shoulders to put up points. He’s been sacked a ton behind a horrid offensive line, but that’s also a product of dropping back to pass every 7-of-10 plays. It’ll be a miracle if Palmer stays healthy all season at this rate; he’s on pace to take 68 sacks. While he’s out there, keep streaming him in these plus matchups. The 45-point total in Cardinals-Eagles is tied for the third-highest of Week 5.
Jacoby Brissett vs. 49ers: In his three starts, Brissett has fantasy finishes of QB29 (vs. ARZ), QB4 (vs. CLE), and QB24 (@ SEA). Brissett’s first two tilts with NFC West opponents clearly didn’t go so well, but the 49ers present a much easier challenge, especially in Indianapolis with a 1 PM start. To this point, the Niners have faced Cam Newton (QB16), Russell Wilson (QB14), Jared Goff (QB9), and Carson Palmer (QB15). All have put up respectable performances, and the 49ers have surrendered the 11th-most fantasy points to the position while checking in at 26th in pass-defense DVOA. Brissett throwing for two touchdowns and running for another is well within the realm of possibilities here. The 45-point total in Niners-Colts is tied for the third-highest of the week, and there’s some sneaky shootout appeal on the fast track at Lucas Oil Stadium. Of the 22 teams with current lines, the Colts’ implied team total of 23.25 points is the sixth-highest on the board. In a 12-team league where I have Marcus Mariota (hamstring) hanging in the balance, I picked up Brissett to be my streamer in the likely event Mariota is unable to play against the Dolphins.
Philip Rivers at Giants: Rivers’ first month was a true mixed bag of results. He threw for 347 yards and a pair of scores last week at “home” against the Eagles a week after tossing three picks in the same building against the Chiefs. Rivers managed the QB12 finish in Week 4, his third top-12 week of the young year. After three-straight games in L.A., the Bolts now head out on the road for a cross-country trip to MetLife Stadium. The Giants haven’t been nearly as dominant on defense as they were last season. It’s hard to say they’ve even been good at all, checking in at 25th in pass-defense DVOA and 31st against the run. They’re one of just four teams yet to record an interception. But quarterbacks really aren’t picking the G-Men apart, as they’ve allowed the 12th-fewest passing yards and sit at a middling 14th in fantasy points allowed to the position. Pro Bowl CB Janoris Jenkins is back healthy after battling an ankle injury the first couple weeks. This could be a get-right spot for New York’s defense at home after opening with 3-of-4 games on the road. Rivers actually isn’t that bad in 1 PM road games on the East Coast, but this still isn’t a spot I’d be excited to stream him. The Chargers’ implied total of 20.75 points is 14th-highest of 22 available Week 5 totals.
Andy Dalton vs. Bills: Dalton is coming off a Week 4 blowup spot against the Browns, finishing as the overall QB3 after throwing for 286 yards and four scores. It was his first four-touchdown game since 2013, and Dalton’s 83.3% completion rate last Sunday was the best single-game mark of his career. He has completed 80.7% of his throws in two games with new OC Bill Lazor calling the shots. Dalton was surely a hot pickup in casual fantasy leagues this week, but he gets a really tough draw against a surprisingly stingy Bills defense, even in Cincinnati. Buffalo has allowed just one touchdown pass all year. The second-place Steelers and Jaguars have each allowed three. The Bills are No. 3 in pass-defense DVOA and fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. They just shut down Matt Ryan in Atlanta last week. First-round CB Tre’Davious White is Pro Football Focus’ No. 1 cover corner out of 110 qualifiers, and summer trade acquisition E.J. Gaines sits at No. 20. Buffalo is yielding just 229 passing yards per game and has picked off the third-most passes. This could be a letdown spot for the Bills after a big road win over the defending NFC champions last week, but the 39.5-point over-under is the second-lowest of Week 5. Dalton is a hard pass this Sunday.
Alex Smith at Texans: Smith still sits as the overall fantasy QB2 after four weeks. He has managed weekly finishes of QB1, QB10, QB21, and QB6. Freshly off dissecting the Redskins for 349 total yards and a pair of scores last Monday night, Smith and the Chiefs head out on the road on a short week for Sunday Night Football. The Texans are sixth in pass-defense DVOA and are allowing just 211 yards passing per game. Smith faced this same defense Week 2 of last season in Houston and managed just 186 scoreless passing yards, finishing as fantasy’s QB32 that week. The Texans’ secondary is weaker this time around, but J.J. Watt is fully healthy. I’m not completely sold on this defense being as good as it has been through four weeks, especially since they’ve faced Blake Bortles, Andy Dalton, and a half of Matt Cassel sandwiched around Tom Brady in Week 3, but that’s all we have to go off right now. The Chiefs are still mostly a run-first offense that operates at the slowest pace in the league through four weeks. Smith has been relying on big plays.
Start of the Week: Joe Mixon vs. Bills: Mixon is coming off a really disappointing Week 4 against the Browns where he ran 17 times for just 29 yards (1.7 YPC) and failed to find the end zone. But the workload under new OC Bill Lazor has been promising. In two games with Lazor, Mixon has handled 42 touches while playing 52% of the snaps. In the first two games under ex-OC Ken Zampese, Mixon touched the ball just 21 times on a 30.4% snap rate. At such a shallow position like running back that was depleted even more last week, that volume is too good to pass up, even in a tough spot against the Bills. Buffalo is No. 9 in run-defense DVOA and has allowed the eighth-fewest fantasy points to running backs. However, the defense did show some cracks last week, allowing a combined 222 yards and one touchdown to Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. Both finished as top-18 running backs for Week 4. Lazor has made a concerted effort to get the ball in the hands of Mixon and A.J. Green. A floor of around 18 touches should be expected for Mixon on Sunday, and with a three-point spread, this one should remain close much of the day. Mixon is a strong RB2.
Buck Allen at Raiders: After getting 19 touches in Week 2 against the Browns, the Ravens have significantly dialed back Allen’s workload as a runner the past two weeks. He’s run the ball just 10 times total the last two games, managing 22 yards. On the positive side, however, Allen remains a fixture in the passing game, catching 11-of-12 targets in that same span while playing a team-best 60% of the running back snaps the last three weeks. Alex Collins has entered the mix in the Baltimore backfield, but his insertion has hurt Terrance West far more than it has Allen. Allen’s role remains constant. While he’s not getting carries, Allen’s catches and yards are valuable PPR points in the current landscape at the running back position. He now gets a great draw against a Raiders defense that has surrendered the fifth-most receiving yards to running backs and is dead last in DVOA at covering the position. With Joe Flacco still not healthy after his summer back injury, he remains one of the biggest check-down machines. Allen is one of the only pieces worth firing up in this Ravens-Raiders tilt that features the lowest total of the week at 39 points with Derek Carr (back) out.
Duke Johnson vs. Jets: A whole heck of a lot of it has had to do with the Browns trailing badly on the scoreboard, but Johnson has out-snapped backfield mate Isaiah Crowell 165-147 this season. Johnson’s main contributions have been as a pass-catcher with a team-high 28 targets and 20 catches, but Johnson has actually been seeing more work as a runner with 10 carries the past three weeks after registering zero in Week 1. He has rushed for a touchdown in back-to-back games after scoring just one time on the ground in 2015-2016. And it was Johnson who received the goal-line plunge late in last week’s loss to the Bengals. Crowell simply hasn’t been moving the chains on the limited work he has been getting, and Johnson adds a different dimension to an offense that is devoid of playmakers. The Jets have been getting killed by running backs, surrendering the fourth-most fantasy points to the position. They’ve also struggled with pass-catching backs, allowing the ninth-most catches and 10th-most yards through the air. Crowell has a chance to be more involved this week with a pick’em spread and 39.5-point total, but Johnson is still going to get his work. The Browns just don’t have any reliable receivers with Kenny Britt a total bust as a free agent and Corey Coleman still being out with his broken hand. Johnson is currently the RB16 in PPR.
Ameer Abdullah vs. Panthers: Abdullah is coming off one of the best games of his career after setting career-highs in carries (20) and rushing yards (94) while scoring a touchdown against a tough Vikings defense on the road. Abdullah also matched his season-high with four targets, reeling in three for 15 yards. He seems to be eating into Theo Riddick’s usage. Abdullah played 47% of the snaps to Riddick’s 25.7%. Prior to Week 4, Riddick had been in on 40.4% of the plays. On top of the usage spike, Abdullah also scored his touchdown last week on a plunge at the goal line. That work had typically been going to Dwayne Washington or Zach Zenner, or Riddick was in the game in pass situations. It very easily could have been a one-time deal for Abdullah, but since he did well with the increased load in a divisional road win, look for OC Jim Bob Cooter to maybe lengthen Abdullah’s leash a bit. The matchup against the Panthers isn’t great by any means. Carolina has allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to running backs, but it has surrendered the most catches to the position. Abdullah’s (hopefully) new workload puts him firmly on the RB2 radar based on volume.
Marshawn Lynch vs. Ravens: Lynch was a firm pass for me in fantasy drafts over the summer. I simply wanted nothing to do with a 31-year-old running back coming out of a one-year retirement that was spent spanning the globe following a 2015 that saw Lynch’s body break down in Seattle. After Week 1, when Lynch rushed 18 times for 76 yards against the Titans, running over defensive linemen in the process, I feared I may have made a mistake. But in the three games since, Lynch is averaging nine carries and 25 rushing yards per contest. Lynch is playing just 38% of the snaps in that span after being in on 47% of the Week 1 plays. The Ravens have been victimized on the ground the past two games by Leonard Fournette (17-59-1, RB13) and Le’Veon Bell (35-144-2, RB1), especially with DT Brandon Williams (foot) being out. Williams still has yet to practice this week, and the Ravens have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to running backs. But Lynch is now going to be running in an offense with E.J. Manuel at quarterback where Baltimore will surely stack the box and make Manuel beat them. Also, it’s not as if Lynch can be Manuel’s outlet with check-downs in the short passing game. Lynch has caught three passes all year; that’s not his game. While Fournette and Bell gashed the Ravens in Weeks 3 and 4, Lynch doesn’t get nearly the same usage as those two. The Raiders may lean on him more with Derek Carr (back) out, but it’s to the point where we need to see it from Lynch before we can believe it. He’s a weak FLEX play.
Theo Riddick vs. Panthers: This was touched on above, but Riddick saw his snap rate dip all the way down to 25.7% last week against the Vikings after playing 40.4% of the reps in Weeks 1-3. It’s a big concern, and Riddick has received just nine touches total over the past two games and has yet to top 38 total yards in a contest this season. Ameer Abdullah matched a season-high with four targets last week and even got some of the goal-line work inside the 10-yard line. Those reps had normally been going to Riddick. It very easily may have been a game-flow situation, but Abdullah has vastly outplayed Riddick through the first month. The only concern with Abdullah is he always seems to come up hobbling at some point each week. He’s practicing in full this week after twisting his ankle last Sunday. The Panthers have allowed the most catches to running backs, which plays right into Riddick’s strong suit, but he just hasn’t shown it so far. Riddick is by no means a must-keep in 12-team leagues right now. If his snaps are again cut back in Week 5, he can be dropped.
Thomas Rawls at Rams: Rawls was one of the hotter pickups of the week off fantasy waiver wires, but he’s impossible to trust as an immediate plug-and-play. Rawls was inactive Week 1 with an ankle injury, played 16 snaps and rushed for four yards on five carries in Week 2, played one snap and didn’t touch the ball in Week 3, and was a healthy scratch in Week 4. But now that rookie Chris Carson is out with a broken ankle, Rawls is expected to reenter the mix. Coach Pete Carroll hinted earlier in the week that Rawls would be the lead back and then said again on Wednesday that Rawls and Eddie Lacy will “take the load” moving forward. Lacy rushed for 52 yards on 11 carries last week and looked the best we’ve seen him in a Seahawks uniform. It would be surprising to see Seattle not go back to Lacy as the 1A to Rawls’ 1B. Further clouding up the picture is J.D. McKissic’s two-touchdown breakout last week as the pass-game back. Rawls and Lacy offer nothing in that department, further lowering their floors. The Rams have been shredded by running backs, allowing the most fantasy points to the position and checking in at 24th in run-defense DVOA, but Lacy is the preferred RB3/FLEX play if forced to pick between the two backs this Sunday.
Start of the Week: DeVante Parker vs. Titans: Parker has played one fewer game than everyone else, but he’s 10th among all receivers seeing nine targets per game. Parker has seen target totals of 9, 10, and 8 the first three weeks and has yet to produce fewer than 69 yards. A lot of his stats accumulation has come via garbage time the past two weeks, but whatever, it still counts. When the Dolphins get near the end zone, which hasn’t been much so far, Jay Cutler loves to try and get the ball to 6-foot-3 Parker. The Dolphins will be playing their first home game on Sunday after the Week 1 opener was postponed by Hurricane Irma. And the Miami offense couldn’t ask for a better draw. The Titans have been getting flamed through the air. Tennessee has surrendered the second-most fantasy points to wide receivers, and no team has allowed more touchdowns (8) to the position. The Chargers are next-closest at six. The Titans are also 29th in pass-defense DVOA. Parker figures to see a lot of the Titans’ small outside CB duo of Brice McCain (5’9/182) and Adoree’ Jackson (5’11/185). McCain is Pro Football Focus’ No. 78 cover corner after four weeks, and Jackson is a rookie who struggled big time with consistency in college. He’s PFF’s No. 91 cover corner.
T.Y. Hilton vs. 49ers: Hilton has been a huge disappointment for the most part through four weeks, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel. He has always performed much better at home in the dome, and that has carried over into 2017. For his career, Hilton averages 81.5 yards per game at home with 18 touchdowns compared to 68.2 and 13 scores on the road in just two fewer games. In two home games this season, Hilton has reeled in 11-of-15 targets for 202 yards and one score. On the road, he’s managed six grabs on 13 targets for 87 scoreless yards. Hilton is back at home this week against a 49ers defense that has surrendered the fifth-most fantasy points to receivers, including a pair of 100-yard games to Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods in Week 3 and then Jaron Brown in Week 4. The Niners are 26th in pass-defense DVOA, and this game features a solid 45-point total and 1.5-point spread that could easily turn into a bit of a sloppy shootout. Hilton figures to see a ton of 49ers top CB Rashard Robinson, who is Pro Football Focus’ No. 104 cover corner out of 106 qualifiers. He’s allowing 14.2 yards per catch in his coverage and has given up two scores.
Pierre Garcon at Colts: Garcon was an easy sit last week on the road against shutdown CB Patrick Peterson’s man coverage. Garcon fought his way to a 4-36 line on eight targets but should bounce back this week in a #RevengeGame against his former Colts team. Garcon was drafted by the Colts but left as a free agent in 2012. This will be his second time back. Garcon should avoid CB Vontae Davis a lot of the day, as Davis doesn’t travel much with No. 1 receivers anymore as he has been unable to get and stay healthy the past two seasons. Even in a matchup one-on-one with Davis, it wouldn’t be a scary spot. The Colts have been getting torched by receivers, allowing the fourth-most yards and ninth-most fantasy points to the position. Indianapolis is 24th in pass-defense DVOA. Outside WRs Tyler Lockett (4-67, WR25), Kenny Britt (3-54-1, WR33), J.J. Nelson (5-120-1, WR4), and Jaron Brown (4-73, WR32) have all had respectable games in the past three weeks against Indy. After a WR59 finish in Week 4, Garcon will be back in the mix as a top-36 wideout with upside.
John Brown at Eagles: The theme here is picking on soft pass defenses. Brown returned Week 4 from a two-week absence with a quad injury and played 62.8% of the snaps while seeing seven targets. He came out of the game healthy and has been practicing on a limited basis all week as the Cardinals manage his reps. Brown has already re-passed J.J. Nelson on the depth chart and should see his snaps increase a bit in the league’s pass-happiest offense that likes to use a ton of three-wide sets. The Eagles have serious problems at cornerback, especially on the outside. They’ve allowed the most yards and third-most fantasy points to receivers. Outside CBs Jalen Mills and rookie Rasul Douglas have combined to give up 46 catches for 516 yards and three touchdowns in their coverage, according to Pro Football Focus’ charts. Brown and Jaron Brown both draw good matchups, while Larry Fitzgerald should continue to be peppered with targets in the slot. All are usable fantasy plays in a week with a ton of skilled receivers on their byes.
Tyrell Williams at Giants: The Gazelle just had his predictable breakout game against the Eagles’ sorry pass defense in Week 4, totaling 115 yards and a touchdown on five grabs, taking one of them to the house from 75 yards away. The 115 yards nearly doubled his season total entering the game. But with Keenan Allen back to full health and looking as good as ever, Williams’ target share is down from last season. He’s averaging just six targets per game, which is hard to get by on when you rely on the big play. Williams figures to see a ton of shutdown CB Janoris Jenkins on Sunday. While Jenkins hasn’t been healthy much through the first month, he’s off the injury report now and has only allowed nine catches in his coverage. Jenkins was Pro Football Focus’ No. 8 cover corner in 2016. Williams is usable as a FLEX option, but you’d really just be hoping for a big play.
Alshon Jeffery vs. Cardinals: Jeffery had a strong Week 2 in Kansas City, nabbing 7-of-13 targets for 92 yards and a score. In his other three games, Jeffery has averaged 3.3 catches for 41 yards and an additional touchdown. Jeffery is still the WR18 in PPR formats and a very usable asset, but he is going to see a ton of Patrick Peterson on Sunday. Peterson is playing some of the best ball of his life at the moment. Through four games, Peterson has allowed just five catches for 56 yards and one touchdown on 13 targets. Quarterbacks simply aren’t testing him much, and he follows around opposing No. 1 receivers on the outside. Jeffery runs 86% of his routes on the outside. It’s tough to flat-out bench Jeffery, but he very easily may not finish as a top-50 wideout in Week 5.
Martavis Bryant vs. Jaguars: Bryant has been a major disappointment through four weeks, failing to top 48 yards in 3-of-4 games. He’s been really close to making some big plays on deep balls, but they simply haven’t been there to this point. Bryant now gets a brutal matchup against the Jaguars’ elite outside cornerback duo of Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye. In terms of size, Ramsey (6’1/208) should see a lot of the 6’4/211 Bryant, while 6’1/191 Bouye works on Antonio Brown (5’10/181). It won’t be a true shadow situation for either, but both Bouye and Ramsey have been playing great ball. Ramsey is Pro Football Focus’ No. 3 cover corner out of 110 qualifiers, and his 23.4 passer rating allowed in his coverage is second-best only to the Ravens’ Brandon Carr. Bouye is No. 18 and has allowed a 35.2 passer rating. Neither is a cake walk. Bryant is always a threat for a long score any time he steps on the field, but this matchup is really tough to navigate. The Jaguars are No. 1 in pass-defense DVOA and passing yards allowed.
Start of the Week: Martellus Bennett at Cowboys: Bennett has been a relative disappointment as the TE16 through four weeks. He has dropped a number of passes, but there’s plenty of reason for optimism. Bennett is tied for fourth among tight ends averaging seven targets per game and gets a plus spot against a Dallas defense that has long struggled to defend tight ends. The Cowboys haven’t faced any premier players at the position, but rookie Evan Engram went 4-45 in Week 1 and Rams second-year TE Tyler Higbee set new career-highs across the board with a 3-47 line on six targets last week. Packers-Cowboys has the highest total of the week at 52 points, and we’re going to want a lot of pieces of this game. Bennett is someone Aaron Rodgers came out and said this week that the Packers need to get involved more. He’s a rock-solid TE1 play. He could also have some extra motivation in this one after Bennett spent the first few years of his career buried in Dallas. Bennett sounded off on Jason Witten and head coach Jason Garrett last year.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins at Browns: Since coming off his two-game suspension to open the season, Seferian-Jenkins has played 77% of the snaps and drawn a total of 11 targets, catching nine of them for 77 yards. It’s nothing flashy, but it’s solid volume at a shallow position like tight end. ASJ now gets a prime matchup against a Browns defense that coughed up two touchdowns each to Jesse James in Week 1 and Tyler Kroft in Week 4. Cleveland has allowed the most catches, second-most touchdowns, and second-most fantasy points to tight ends. ASJ is a viable streamer in redraft leagues and can be paired with Josh McCown as an ultra-cheap QB-TE stack in daily formats.
Hunter Henry at Giants: Henry was being drafted as one of the top fantasy tight ends over summer. Through four games, it has been extreme highs and lows for the sophomore. He wasn’t targeted in Week 1 and then broke out for a 7-80 line in Week 2. The following week, Henry wasn’t targeted again and then scored a touchdown in Week 4. If the same pattern plays out, Henry won’t be targeted this week, but that’s unlikely to happen in such a good spot. The Giants have a pair of lockdown corners in Janoris Jenkins and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and that forces a lot of passes inside to tight ends. The Giants have surrendered the second-most catches for the second-most yards and most touchdowns and fantasy points to opposing tight ends. The Bolts insist on using a timeshare with Henry and Antonio Gates, but Henry is the far better option to accumulate volume and make plays. Both are decent bets for touchdowns.
Evan Engram vs. Chargers: Engram has been a rare rookie producer at a position that rarely sees first-year success. Engram is tied for second with Rob Gronkowski in seeing 7.5 targets per game behind leader Zach Ertz at nine. Engram has yet to catch fewer than four passes for 45 yards in a game and is fresh off a six-grab Week 4 against the Bucs on 11 targets, and that was with all of the Giants’ skill players healthy. With no running game to speak of, Engram is essentially an extension of the run game for the Giants. The Chargers have stamped out tight ends to this point, but Engram’s role and volume have been too secure to not continue to plug him in lineups.
Jason Witten vs. Packers: Witten had massive 7-59-1 and 10-97-1 lines in Weeks 1 and 2 against the Giants and Broncos, but he has predictably come crashing back down with just two total catches for 12 yards on six targets the past two weeks versus the Cardinals and Rams. Both were tough matchups for tight ends, and the Packers present a similarly-tough draw. Green Bay has allowed the second-fewest catches for the third-fewest yards and no touchdown to opposing tight ends. Those tight ends have included Jimmy Graham and Zach Miller. Witten is a threat to score in the red zone, which always makes him at least a high-end TE2, but there are better streamers available this week despite the high Vegas total of 52 points in Packers-Cowboys.
Eric Ebron vs. Panthers: Truthfully, Ebron shouldn’t even be owned in 12-team leagues right now. But he was a popular summer breakout candidate, and those types are hard to let go. A quarter of the way through the season, Ebron is on pace to catch just 44 passes for 348 yards and four touchdowns. He’s basically been invisible outside of the first half of Week 2 against the Giants. Dropped passes remains a big issue for Ebron, and Matthew Stafford started throwing the ball more to No. 2 TE Darren Fells last week, who caught all four of his targets for 40 yards. Ebron managed just 27 yards and two grabs on his four looks. Carolina has allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to tight ends despite allowing a 4-80 line to Rob Gronkowski in Week 4.
Jimmy Graham at Rams: Graham has been another big disappointment early in the season. He has just 142 scoreless yards on the season despite seeing 26 targets. 133 of those yards have come in the past two games, however, but Graham runs into a tough matchup against the Rams. Los Angeles has defended the tight end pretty well for years due to athletic linebackers and safeties. The Rams did allow a wide-open James Hanna to score a long touchdown last week in Dallas, but they locked down Jack Doyle and Jordan Reed in previous weeks. Graham is a borderline TE1/2.