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2021 Fantasy Football: Week 5 Loves & Hates

About a quarter of the way into the season and it’s around that time you have your strategies in line. Are you streaming at quarterback? Are you looking to buy high on some reeling pass-catchers? And what do you need to do to get that immediate win in Week 5?

In this series, we identify the best and worst value plays at each skill position for fantasy football purposes. We take into account matchups, game scripts, advanced statistics, and any other relevant news. This won’t be your spot for trying to rank the top players at each position or suggesting deep waiver wire digs every week. Rather, whether you are playing DFS or season-long formats, your start/bench/cut decisions can be informed based on the players that stand out the most at each position—the ones that could go off (loves) and the ones that could disappoint and lose you a matchup (hates).

We will review the previous week’s picks and grade our performance before giving out picks for the upcoming week. I firmly believe that the most important part of the process of winning is to evaluate your winning and losing decisions. We’ll do exactly that in our evaluations of the previous week’s picks. 

Yeah, we know football is in full swing. That doesn’t mean you can’t jump into fantasy hoops? From joining a public league with our Fantasy Basketball Commissioner to trying one of our Classic Draft Contests, there are plenty of ways to play Fantasy Basketball on Fantrax!

Week 4 Review

My Week 4 loves and hates can be viewed here. Here are self-evaluations of those picks, with grades for me in parentheses.

Quarterback (A+)

I loved my quarterback pick of the week so much that I used my one bold prediction of Week 4 on him. Against the lackluster secondary of the Atlanta Falcons, Taylor Heinicke lived up to those lofty expectations I set for him, completing 23 of 33 passes for 290 yards and adding a season-high 43 yards on the ground. He threw for 3 touchdowns, a new season-high, and ranked as the QB5 of Week 4. That’s how you find the value on the waiver wire if you’re streaming at quarterback!

On the opposite end of the spectrum, my hate pick of Ben Roethlisberger was partially a PSA to get over the legacy and simply stay away when the going gets tough at all. The Packers took control of this game early and Roethlisberger still passed in volume but not with efficient fantasy production. He totaled 232 passing yards and for the fourth straight game this season, finished the game with exactly one passing touchdown. He also turned the ball over twice and was not a top 30 fantasy quarterback of Week 4.

Running Back (B)

Well, things sure started off on the wrong foot this week. My hate pick, James Robinson, was a narrative play. On short rest coming into Thursday Night Football, I thought the ability of the Bengals run defense would be good enough to keep Robinson from having a high-volume, efficient day. Lo and behold, gameday arrives and Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer announced that backup running back Carlos Hyde would be inactive. It was finally time, the week I least expected it—time to feed the Jacksonville RB1.

Robinson finished the primetime matchup with a 95% snap share and 18 rushing attempts, both season-highs on volume. On those touches, he rushed for 78 yards and his first 2-touchdown game of the season. He was the PPR RB8 of Week 4. There goes that. I won’t penalize myself too much for not predicting the move at running back pre-game but hopefully nobody saw the Hyde news and still decided to bench Robinson. 

On the other hand, my running back love of the week, David Montgomery, got off to the ideal start for a love pick. Montgomery was able to take advantage of a laughable Detroit Lions defense and he was rushing in volume and efficiency. He scored 2 touchdowns in the first half and was looking like an RB1 early in Week 4. But in the second half, the line was over, not just for Sunday but for several weeks as a knee injury took my guy out. Still, it was clearly a good pick and once Montgomery returns, his talent clearly poses upside to be a solid every-week start at running back. Despite the early exit, he finished Week 4 as the overall PPR RB5.

Damien Williams and Khalil Herbert will now line up at running back for the Bears.

Week 5 Rankings: QB | RB | WR | TE | PPR | Flex

Wide Receiver (B-)

My love pick of the week was in another Primetime matchup and I went to the former superstar Antonio Brown. People forget just how Brown still is with his speed and route-running experience and without Rob Gronkowski around to gobble targets, I felt that the Brady-Brown connection in Foxborough would hold some weight as a revenge narrative. Indeed, Brown was a volume-hoarder, racking up 7 receptions on 11 targets, both season-highs. He tallied 63 yards on that and did all of this despite participating in just 51% of Tampa Bay’s offensive snaps. While his final fantasy line was solid for a WR2/FLEX play, it would have been absolutely elite if the conditions didn’t get in the way of Brown holding onto a perfectly-thrown touchdown ball by Brady. Overall, successful call and not really our fault Brown couldn’t cash in on that endzone boost.


On the other hand, my hate pick of the week at wide receiver was probably my most delusional call of the week and deserves an apology. Carolina’s D.J. Moore ranks #4 in the NFL in targets through four weeks and is the biggest beneficiary of the strong offensive system for Sam Darnold. Moore heard my doubts about his upside in a sneaky-tough matchup for him but still produced at an elite level. He finished the game with 8 receptions on 12 targets (both tied for season-highs) and tallied 113 yards and his first 2-touchdown game of the season. He was the PPR WR4 of Week 4. I’ll think more deeply before doubting your talent again, Mr. Moore.

Tight End (A-)

This position has been kind of a crapshoot so far this season but in Week 4, our picks were not too shabby. Our love pick Jonnu Smith was a participant in the narrative that Patriots quarterback Mac Jones likes targeting tight ends. Granted, teammate tight end Hunter Henry hauled in 4 receptions on 5 targets for 32 yards and a touchdown but Smith also participated in the scoring offense of New England as he tallied 3 receptions on 5 targets for 14 yards and a touchdown himself. He finished as the PPR TE14 of Week 4

Smith is a consistent part of the “sprinkling” style of the Patriots passing offense but he hasn’t been a “big play” weapon as he has recorded 6.8 yards per catch this season. 

Our hate pick, Tyler Higbee, is part of a dynamic offense that sometimes leaves the tight end as an afterthought. Indeed, while Cooper Kupp leads the NFL in receiving touchdowns and targets, Higbee is far from a consistent volume hog. In Week 4, we stayed away from the tough matchup at his position against the Arizona Cardinals. Indeed, the 28-year-old did log 4 receptions on 6 targets but only for 36 yards and no touchdowns. He was the PPR TE22 of Week 4

Week 5 Loves & Hates

Ja'Marr Chase Rookie Wide Receivers

It’s about that time. Let’s set those lineups and find that sneaky value. I’m digging deep on some of these names, get ready!


Love: Jacoby Brissett (MIA)

Back-to-back weeks where I’m really reaching for a helping hand to those who must stream at the quarterback position. Last week, we cashed big with Taylor Heinicke. This week, we dig deeper into the bag for a backup that has some sneaky upside in Week 5. 

The Buccaneers have continued being a force to be reckoned with stopping the run but their defense is targetable in the air. Through the first four weeks of the season, Tampa Bay ranks as the #4 defense by rushing DVOA but #21 by passing DVOA. Now, with cornerbacks Carlton Davis and Sean Murphy-Bunting already ruled out for Week 5, it’s going to be easier for Jacoby Brissett to take advantage of both his arm and his ability to scramble. The Dolphins should still be playing from behind as the inferior team and Brissett should be able to amass fantasy production easily and put up his best performance of the season. Not bad at all if you’re cool with a streaming quarterback that could outscore some regular starters that cost your league-mates a draft pick. 

Hate: Baker Mayfield (CLE)

The Chargers are good. Really good on offense and underappreciated on defense, led by the perennial Pro-Bowler Joey Bosa at linebacker and the rise of rookie Asante Samuel Jr. at cornerback. The skill is reflected in the statistics as the Chargers rank #4 in the NFL in passing DVOA as a defense. Additionally, in 2021, only three teams have allowed fewer passing yards than the Chargers and only eight teams have allowed fewer passing touchdowns than the Chargers. 

In what should be a well-contested game between two aspiring playoff teams, expect head coach Kevin Stefanski to go to his best weapons and strongest gameplan—running the football with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. With no Jarvis Landry around to present easy passing lanes, it’ll be tough for Baker Mayfield to produce efficiently or be trusted to sling it to the endzone. 

Running Back

Love: Brandon Bolden (NE)

Targeting Patriots running backs heavily has historically not proven to be the best strategy to sleeping well at night. I like playing with fire if the upside is too enticing, which is exactly the case here as I go with New England’s new backup running back.

The Patriots are 1-3 but they have played in a pair of close games, including Week 4 where they were just one miracle kick away from beating the fearsome Buccaneers. They should have no problem getting back in the win column against the Houston Texans like they did Week 2 against the Jets. Instead of trusting offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to stick with the gameplan of letting Mac Jones eat, how do we find the best start on that team instead?

I’m going with the man with an alarming out of dual volume ever since he started taking meaningful snaps for the team. After pass-catching back James White was ruled out of Week 3, Bolden came in and was useless running the ball but participated lightly in the receiving game, tallying 3 receptions on 4 targets for 23 yards. That skill became even more prevalent in Week 4 as he only participated in 32% of the Patriots’ offensive snaps but still racked up 6 receptions on 6 targets for 51 yards. That’s a fantasy-relevant performance from a guy who might still be sitting on your waiver wire. Go pick him up for Week 5 and if you’re desperate for something of note out of your RB2 spot, you can take a shot with Bolden, who could participate in the short Mac Jones passing game or simply get a ton of work in light of keeping Damien Harris fresh. The point is, regardless of how the Patriots play this game on offense, you’re getting someone who can participate regardless and be relevant in PPR formats even if he doesn’t find the endzone. 

Hate: Clyde Edwards-Helaire (KC)

The Buffalo Bills are dangerous. Their defense is improved and the statistics reflect it early in the season. They rank #2 in the NFL in rushing DVOA as a defensive group this season. Despite Edwards-Helaire’s back-to-back big fantasy games in Weeks 3 and 4, the efficiency is far from sustainable against the Bills on Primetime. The best passing attack in the NFL is about to be the prime focus for Kansas City in what should be a competitive game and without a touchdown, there isn’t any guarantee that the starting running back of the Chiefs can even put up RB1.5-level fantasy numbers. Last season, the Bills allowed a big game to “Glyde” as he went for 169 scrimmage yards. This season, they should be more prepared and contain him to a limited fantasy role. 

Wide Receiver

Love: Marvin Jones Jr. (JAX)

The veteran Marvin Jones Jr. continues to be one of the more underrated pass-catching weapons in the league. He’s doing his thing again in 2021 as he started off the season with three straight games of at least 8 targets from #1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence. The most important thing to keep in mind this week, however? The potential for the big play immediately implying upside. The Tennessee Titans have some issues and not defending explosive pass-catchers has been one of the most alarming obstacles for them, and arguably the biggest reason they fell to the lowly New York Jets. In fact, this season, no team in the NFL has given up more receiving yards or receiving touchdowns to wide receivers than the Titans. 

While Laviska Shenault has seen his moments as an explosive pass-catcher in the Jacksonville offense, he is still primarily in the back-seat when it comes to testing Lawrence’s arm strength. With big-play connoisseur D.J. Chark now on the injured reserve, Jones becomes the new captain of the bomb as his average depth of target (aDOT) stands at 11.58 yards, whereas Shenault still sits at only 6.93 yards. It’s time for a rebound for Jones and an upside to being a WR1 in all formats. 

Hate: Ja’Marr Chase (CIN)

While the overall passing defense numbers haven’t been great for the Packers recently, it’s about one player and his matchups here. The Packers still have one of the best cornerbacks in the game in Jaire Alexander and as a CB1, he will likely match up toe-to-toe with the dynamic first-round rookie. If the additional playing time for Packers cornerback Eric Stokes comes into play, he is solid as well and can be a threat to limit Chase’s easy pass-catch lanes and trouble Joe Burrow looking for his top target. 

To make matters worse from a fantasy perspective for Chase owners, his teammate Tee Higgins could make a return in Week 5, setting the floor at a scary low for the rookie WR1. Wait for injury news and if you’re deep at wide receiver, seek other options for upside; this could finally be the inaugural disappointment game for the LSU product.

Tight End

Love: Dawson Knox (BUF)

On the season, Knox has averaged 36 yards per game and the Chiefs have allowed 87 yards per game to tight ends, the most in the NFL. The 24-year-old tight end has built a strong connection with quarterback Josh Allen and in a primetime matchup this Sunday, the Chiefs secondary will be way too focused on containing Stefon Diggs to keep Knox from having a big fantasy game. 

Hate: Dalton Schultz (DAL)

The Cowboys’ offense is, as expected, high-powered. The newest name added to the mix is 25-year-old tight end, Dalton Schultz. He is the PPR TE4 on the season but now is not the time to get carried away. The narrative is clear and the Giants won’t be able to defy it as the NFL’s #24-ranked defense by passing DVOA. The Giants secondary has shown no signs of being competent enough to contain the elite pass-catchers and the wide receiver threats of Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb are exactly that. Expect Dak Prescott to utilize his backfield and his top two wide receivers heavily to feed them all big games and Schultz to regress a tad and remind everybody why he isn’t anywhere near the team’s #1 option in the air.

More fantasy football fun for Week 5: Waiver Wire | FAAB Guide | Buy-Low, Sell-High Trade Targets | Start & Sit | Loves & Hates | Stock Watch | Sleepers & Streamers | QB Streamers | D/ST Streamers |

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