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Week 5 Flex Rankings for Fantasy Football

For those who have not been privy to this piece in prior weeks, my Week 5 Flex rankings feature the top-250 overall options. These rankings are based on half-PPR scoring, so adjust them to your league settings as needed. A lot is yet to be determined between now and game time based on injuries and what have you. I have added some notes below, but obviously, I cannot cover everybody. At least that’s what my editor and my wife keep telling me. I will update these rankings on Sunday, usually about an hour or so before the early games begin. In the meantime, feel free to comment below or on Twitter with any specific questions you have regarding your lineups.

Week 5 is the last week we will see all 32 NFL teams in action until December. It will also feature the first of this year’s two games overseas when the New York Jets and Atlanta Falcons play in London on Sunday. Weird, I thought the NFL is trying to promote the sport internationally. Don’t worry – I’m allowed to say that because I’m a Jets fan. At least the good people of England will be treated with the presence of the biggest post-hype sleeper in history.

Cordarrelle Patterson has more offensive touchdowns through four games of the 2021 season than he has in any year since his 2013 rookie campaign. Talk about playing the long game. The crazy thing is I don’t think this is a complete fluke, either. People will point to snap counts as a mark against Patterson’s viability going forward. But I think Arthur Smith wants to ensure Patterson doesn’t wear himself out playing 50 or 60 offensive snaps. Patterson obviously will not finish the year as a top-five fantasy running back. Opposing teams will gameplan for him more and focus more defensive attention on him. And Calvin Ridley and Kyle Pitts will get theirs eventually, which will cut into his efficiency metrics. However, I do think Patterson is in the mix as a weekly Flex play until further notice.

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Running Back Notes

Injuries are at the forefront of the news and notes for my Week 5 Flex Rankings. Unfortunately, I do not expect that to change anytime soon. Teams are not going to run players through the wringer in practice if they are banged up considering the elongated season. It will probably be a frustrating dance for fantasy managers to navigate, but few players will be exempt from this as the season wears on. I believe this is especially true at the running back position. Running backs take a pounding every week, and teams may choose to rest them more than usual leading up to games. 

Dalvin Cook, Ezekiel Elliott, and Joe Mixon were among the players whose teams held them out of practice on Wednesday. I expect all three to play this week and receive close to their normal workloads. Mixon gives me the most pause of the three, and I ranked him lower than I normally would. Samaje Perine would be in line to start if Mixon sits out Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers. Perine is cheap enough to be considered a DFS option if Mixon is inactive. However, I would not rush to jam him into redraft lineups. Christian McCaffrey returned to a limited practice on Wednesday. I listed him near the bottom of this week’s Flex rankings on the off chance he is active. Either way, the window on Chuba Hubbard’s fantasy relevance is closing fast.

Chris Carson is a dicey play for me this week. The Seahawks running back has been hampered by a neck injury. The good news is that since Seattle plays on Thursday, we will know whether he will be active before any roster spots lock. This is a divisional matchup featuring two teams playing in the best division in football. That may be enough for Carson to attempt to tough it out. Even if Carson is active on Thursday, I would try to avoid starting him if I could. Neck injuries are always tricky, and one big hit or awkward landing could render Carson a spectator for the remainder of the night. I worry more about the risk of aggravating the injury than I do about the matchup. The Rams are in the middle of the pack against the run so far this season.

One needs to look no further than the running backs in the NFC East to see what a difference a few weeks can make. After Week 1, people were panicking over Ezekiel Elliott and Saquon Barkley. They both enter Week 5 as RB1s through four games with little sign of slowing down. Kudos to those who grabbed them at discounted costs. Miles Sanders, meanwhile, has just 16 total opportunities (touches plus targets) over his last two games. That seems suboptimal. I do not have a ton of confidence in things getting better in the immediate future. Sanders faces the Carolina Panthers in Week 5 and Tampa Bay next week. Both teams are among the leaders in limiting running back production. I may be willing to buy back in after Week 6, but Sanders is not a recommended Flex option this week.

Also check out our Week 5 Rankings: QB | RB | WR | TE | Kickers | D/ST | PPR | Flex

Wide Receiver Notes

More injury news! Amari Cooper, A.J. Brown, Julio Jones, and Tee Higgins are among the wideouts whose statuses require daily monitoring this week. I have the most confidence in Cooper playing this week, though it should be noted he missed Wednesday’s practice. Again, while not ideal, I don’t think I am put as much stock into DNP’s as I have in previous years. Time will tell whether this proves to be a sound strategy or not. I ranked the other three outside the top-100 overall in my Week 5 Flex rankings, but those rankings may be subject to change if we receive good news on the health front in the next 72 hours.

Speaking of Cooper, I believe we should start tempering expectations a bit going forward with him and fellow Cowboys wide receiver CeeDee Lamb. Dallas is running the ball a lot and doing so quite effectively. The Week 1 explosion we saw from the Cowboys’ passing attack looks like it may have been more matchup-fueled than we thought at the time. Over the last three weeks, neither Cooper nor Lamb ranks among the top-40 wide receivers in fantasy points. They also rank outside the top-40 in air yards, so it is not as if they are missing their chances. Both have immense upside, so I would continue to start them where rostered. But if you can find a manager who still considers either a WR1 moving forward, I would explore that opportunity.

The Tyler Lockett experience is in full swing. He is the overall WR9 in half-PPR scoring through four games, yet has finished outside the top-65(!) in each of the last two weeks. You’ve got to respect his commitment to the bit. Seattle has used Lockett in the slot on just 34 percent of his snaps this season. That seems promising when you consider that Jalen Ramsey has lined up in the slot 72 percent of the time. However, I have a funny feeling that the Rams will match Ramsey up against Lockett more than Freddie Swain, who has been Seattle’s primary slot receiver to this point. Lockett is a WR3 for me in this matchup, but I’d be lying if I told you I had a ton of confidence in the call. He could finish as the overall WR3, or score three fantasy points, and I wouldn’t be surprised.

I have a trio of young receivers from the University of Alabama right in the thick of Flex consideration. Rookies Devonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle have been inconsistent from a pure production standpoint, but the opportunities have been there. Each has at least 30 targets through four games. Smith leads the Eagles in air yards by a wide margin, giving him a high weekly ceiling. Miami has almost exclusively utilized Waddle as an underneath target, but he should get more chances after Miami placed Will Fuller on injured reserve and traded Jakeem Grant. And Henry Ruggs is showing signs of a breakout in his second NFL season. His 17.84 aDOT will lead to weekly volatility but is worth starting in Week 5 against the Chicago Bears. Jaylon Johnson has been the only above-average cornerback for the Bears, but his 4.51 40-time is no match for Ruggs.

Tight End Notes

Dalton Schultz and Dawson Knox are top-six fantasy tight ends through six weeks. I think it is safe to say that both will come back to earth a bit. But I also don’t expect them to just disappear into the abyss. Both have run routes on over 60 percent (Knox 66, Schultz 62) of their team’s dropbacks this season. That is especially good news for Knox, as Buffalo is among the most pass-happy teams in the NFL. Schultz has a 17 percent target share, and a 16 percent first read share. He ranks inside the top-10 among tight ends in both metrics. I do not normally advocate for starting a tight end in the Flex spot, but I could see starting either of these tight ends if you have an elite tight end and have some injury or playing time concerns at running back and wide receiver.

I ranked Rob Gronkowski this week, but I would be shocked to see him in action in Week 5. Tampa Bay is one of the few teams in the NFL who has three viable pass-catching options at tight end, so there is no need for Gronkowski to rush back. Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard each played over 60 percent of the snaps in Tampa’s Week 4 victory in New England. Tom Brady targeted Brate six times including a couple of shots in the end zone. If you are a tight end streamer, you could do a lot worse than Brate this week. The Miami Dolphins have already allowed three receiving touchdowns to opposing tight ends this season, two of which came last week at the hands of Colts’ tight end Mo-Alie Cox.

Week 5 Flex Rankings

1Derrick HenryTENRB1@JAX
2Alvin KamaraNORB2@WAS
3Dalvin CookMINRB3DET
4Davante AdamsGBWR1@CIN
5Tyreek HillKCWR2BUF
6Aaron JonesGBRB4@CIN
7Travis KelceKCTE1BUF
8Najee HarrisPITRB5DEN
9Justin JeffersonMINWR3DET
10Ezekiel ElliottDALRB6NYG
11Stefon DiggsBUFWR4@KC
13Saquon BarkleyNYGRB7@DAL
14Calvin RidleyATLWR6NYJ
15Austin EkelerLACRB8CLE
16Darrell HendersonLARRB9@SEA
17Jonathan TaylorINDRB10@BAL
18Cooper KuppLARWR7@SEA
19Nick ChubbCLERB11@LAC
20James RobinsonJAXRB12TEN
21Keenan AllenLACWR8CLE
22Deebo SamuelSFWR9@ARI
23Terry McLaurinWASWR10NO
24Adam ThielenMINWR11DET
25DK MetcalfSEAWR12LAR
26Leonard FournetteTBRB13MIA
27DeAndre HopkinsARIWR13SF
28Mike WilliamsLACWR14CLE
29CeeDee LambDALWR15NYG
30Chris GodwinTBWR16MIA
31Darren WallerLVTE2CHI
32Damien WilliamsCHIRB14@LV
33Mike EvansTBWR17MIA
34Chase EdmondsARIRB15SF
35Diontae JohnsonPITWR18DEN
36Jakobi MeyersNEWR19@HOU
37Antonio GibsonWASRB16NO
38Ja'Marr ChaseCINWR20GB
39Damien HarrisNERB17@HOU
40Clyde Edwards-HelaireKCRB18BUF
41D'Andre SwiftDETRB19@MIN
42Brandin CooksHOUWR21NE
43Marquise BrownBALWR22IND
44Marvin JonesJAXWR23TEN
45Tyler BoydCINWR24GB
46Kareem HuntCLERB20@LAC
47Courtland SuttonDENWR25@PIT
48Robert WoodsLARWR26@SEA
49Emmanuel SandersBUFWR27@KC
50Amari CooperDALWR28NYG
51Chuba HubbardCARRB21PHI
52Antonio BrownTBWR29MIA
53Kenny GolladayNYGWR30@DAL
54Joe MixonCINRB22GB
55Josh JacobsLVRB23CHI
56Odell BeckhamCLEWR31@LAC
57Corey DavisNYJWR32@ATL
58DeVonta SmithPHIWR33@CAR
59Cordarrelle PattersonATLRB24NYJ
60Michael Pittman Jr.INDWR34@BAL
61Allen RobinsonCHIWR35@LV
62Mark AndrewsBALTE3IND
63DeVante ParkerMIAWR36@TB
64Tyler LockettSEAWR37LAR
65Michael CarterNYJRB25@ATL
66Jamaal WilliamsDETRB26@MIN
67Henry RuggsLVWR38CHI
68Cole BeasleyBUFWR39@KC
69George KittleSFTE4@ARI
70Jaylen WaddleMIAWR40@TB
71T.J. HockensonDETTE5@MIN
72Zack MossBUFRB27@KC
73Laviska ShenaultJAXWR41TEN
74Melvin GordonDENRB28@PIT
75Mike DavisATLRB29NYJ
76Chris CarsonSEARB30LAR
77Javonte WilliamsDENRB31@PIT
78Jamison CrowderNYJWR42@ATL
79Robby AndersonCARWR43PHI
80Darnell MooneyCHIWR44@LV
81Hunter RenfrowLVWR45CHI
82JuJu Smith-SchusterPITWR46DEN
83Tim PatrickDENWR47@PIT
84Elijah MitchellSFRB32@ARI
85Kyle PittsATLTE6NYJ
86Noah FantDENTE7@PIT
87Sammy WatkinsBALWR48IND
88Tony PollardDALRB33NYG
89A.J. GreenARIWR49SF
90Nelson AgholorNEWR50@HOU
91Miles SandersPHIRB34@CAR
92Mike GesickiMIATE8@TB
93Latavius MurrayBALRB35IND
94K.J. OsbornMINWR51DET
95Van JeffersonLARWR52@SEA
96Nyheim HinesINDRB36@BAL
97Devin SingletaryBUFRB37@KC
98Dalton SchultzDALTE9NYG
99Zach PascalINDWR53@BAL
100Tyler HigbeeLARTE10@SEA
101James ConnerARIRB38SF
102Kalif RaymondDETWR54@MIN
103Jared CookLACTE11CLE
104Randall CobbGBWR55@CIN
105Dawson KnoxBUFTE12@KC
106Christian KirkARIWR56SF
107Marquez CallawayNOWR57@WAS
108Tee HigginsCINWR58GB
109Kenneth GainwellPHIRB39@CAR
110Dallas GoedertPHITE13@CAR
111Terrace MarshallCARWR59PHI
112Mecole HardmanKCWR60BUF
113Robert TonyanGBTE14@CIN
114Curtis SamuelWASWR61NO
115Deonte HarrisNOWR62@WAS
116Brandon AiyukSFWR63@ARI
117Bryan EdwardsLVWR64CHI
118Cameron BrateTBTE15MIA
119Myles GaskinMIARB40@TB
120Tyler ConklinMINTE16DET
121Hunter HenryNETE17@HOU
122Jalen ReagorPHIWR65@CAR
123Kendrick BourneNEWR66@HOU
124Quintez CephusDETWR67@MIN
125Rondale MooreARIWR68SF
126Alexander MattisonMINRB41DET
127Trey SermonSFRB42@ARI
128Evan EngramNYGTE18@DAL
129Chase ClaypoolPITWR69DEN
130J.D. McKissicWASRB43NO
131Jonnu SmithNETE19@HOU
132Samaje PerineCINRB44GB
133Julio JonesTENWR70@JAX
134Kenyan DrakeLVRB45CHI
135Kadarius ToneyNYGWR71@DAL
136David JohnsonHOURB46NE
137Austin HooperCLETE20@LAC
138Ronald JonesTBRB47MIA
139Mark IngramHOURB48NE
140A.J. DillonGBRB49@CIN
141Chester RogersTENWR72@JAX
142Alex CollinsSEARB50LAR
143Jeremy McNicholsTENRB51@JAX
144Cole KmetCHITE21@LV
145Darrel WilliamsKCRB52BUF
146Maxx WilliamsARITE22SF
147Allen LazardGBWR73@CIN
148Rashard HigginsCLEWR74@LAC
149Quez WatkinsPHIWR75@CAR
150Freddie SwainSEAWR76LAR
151Zach ErtzPHITE23@CAR
152Anthony FirkserTENTE24@JAX
153Cedrick WilsonDALWR77NYG
154Ricky Seals-JonesWASTE25NO
155Le'Veon BellBALRB53IND
156Dan ArnoldJAXTE26TEN
157Malcolm BrownMIARB54@TB
158Blake JarwinDALTE27NYG
159Amon-Ra St. BrownDETWR78@MIN
160Tavon AustinJAXWR79TEN
161C.J. UzomahCINTE28GB
162Mo Alie-CoxINDTE29@BAL
163DeSean JacksonLARWR80@SEA
164Sterling ShepardNYGWR81@DAL
165Josh ReynoldsTENWR82@JAX
166Brandon BoldenNERB55@HOU
167Parris CampbellINDWR83@BAL
168Nick Westbrook-IkhineTENWR84@JAX
169Keelan ColeNYJWR85@ATL
170Sony MichelLARRB56@SEA
171Chris ConleyHOUWR86NE
172Juwan JohnsonNOTE30@WAS
173Elijah MooreNYJWR87@ATL
174David NjokuCLETE31@LAC
175Phillip LindsayHOURB57NE
176Adam HumphriesWASWR88NO
177A.J. BrownTENWR89@JAX
178Ty JohnsonNYJRB58@ATL
179Danny AmendolaHOUWR90NE
180John RossNYGWR91@DAL
181Royce FreemanCARRB59PHI
182Albert WilsonMIAWR92@TB
183Jalen GuytonLACWR93CLE
184Tevin ColemanNYJRB60@ATL
185Russell GageATLWR94NYJ
186Marquise GoodwinCHIWR95@LV
187Pat FreiermuthPITTE32DEN
188Khalil HerbertCHIRB61@LV
189Jack DoyleINDTE33@BAL
190Kyle JuszczykSFRB62@ARI
191Jordan AkinsHOUTE34NE
192O.J. HowardTBTE35MIA
193James WashingtonPITWR96DEN
194Will DisslySEATE36LAR
195Byron PringleKCWR97BUF
196Hayden HurstATLTE37NYJ
197Gabriel DavisBUFWR98@KC
198Ryan GriffinNYJTE38@ATL
199Albert OkwuegbunamDENTE39@PIT
200Tyler KroftNYJTE40@ATL
201Donovan Peoples-JonesCLEWR99@LAC
202Olamide ZaccheausATLWR100NYJ
203Mohamed SanuSFWR101@ARI
204Harrison BryantCLETE41@LAC
205Larry RountreeLACRB63CLE
206Josh GordonKCWR102BUF
207Ty MontgomeryNORB64@WAS
208Darius SlaytonNYGWR103@DAL
209Ian ThomasCARTE42PHI
210Adam TrautmanNOTE43@WAS
211Pharaoh BrownHOUTE44NE
212Chris EvansCINRB65GB
213Eric EbronPITTE45DEN
214Kenny StillsNOWR104@WAS
215Rob GronkowskiTBTE46MIA
216Rodney SmithCARRB66PHI
217Salvon AhmedMIARB67@TB
218Dyami BrownWASWR105NO
219Rashod BatemanBALWR106IND
220Giovani BernardTBRB68MIA
221Kyle RudolphNYGTE47@DAL
222Dwayne WashingtonNORB69@WAS
223Tyler JohnsonTBWR107MIA
224Chris HoganNOWR108@WAS
225J.J. TaylorNERB70@HOU
226Peyton BarberLVRB71CHI
227Demarcus RobinsonKCWR109BUF
228Trinity BensonDETWR110@MIN
229Demetric FeltonCLERB72@LAC
230Gerald EverettSEATE48LAR
231Justin JacksonLACRB73CLE
232Auden TateCINWR111GB
233Donald ParhamLACTE49CLE
234Jacob HollisterJAXTE50TEN
235Devin DuvernayBALWR112IND
236Tommy TrembleCARTE51PHI
237Foster MoreauLVTE52CHI
238Geoff SwaimTENTE53@JAX
239Jimmy GrahamCHITE54@LV
240Travis HomerSEARB74LAR
241Braxton BerriosNYJWR113@ATL
242Carlos HydeJAXRB75TEN
243Trent SherfieldSFWR114@ARI
244Tajae SharpeATLWR115NYJ
245Anthony SchwartzCLEWR116@LAC
246Damiere ByrdCHIWR117@LV
247Christian McCaffreyCARRB76PHI
248David MooreDENWR118@PIT
249Brandon ZylstraCARWR119PHI
250Ty'Son WilliamsBALRB77IND

Did you enjoy Mick’s Week 5 Flex Rankings? Here’s a little 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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