With Martavis Bryant suspended, the No. 2 option in the Steelers' offense has been a potentially lucrative spot for Fantasy owners to find value. The problem has been, going back to the preseason, it hasn't been clear who would step up.
Eli Rodgers, Darrius Heyward-Bey and Markus Wheaton have all had their opportunities, but Sammie Coates has always seemed like the most interesting player in the bunch, thanks to his impressive physical tools. Of course, if physical tools were everything, Heyward-Bey would have been a star, so Coates hasn't really caught fire in Fantasy circles just yet.
Week 5 should have changed that.
Coates was productive in the first four games of the season, averaging 70.5 yards per game with 13 catches, but was just 66 percent owned coming into play Sunday. A lack of touchdowns kept him from really breaking out, but Coates was doing a very passable Bryant impersonation, and has been clearly trending in the right direction.
It all came together for Coates Sunday against the Jets, as he hauled in six of 11 passes thrown his way for 139 yards, including a 72 yard touchdown. That score was the first of Coates' career, and he now sits at 421 yards on 19 catches through five games. Coates has been Ben Roethlisberger's primary target on deep passes, and given Roethlisberger's history of success as a deep passes, that's a very good thing.
Coates has been a big part of the Steelers' offense so far, and he fits a very important role for them. His ownership has grown slowly, but after his big game Sunday, he needs to be owned across the board in all Fantasy leagues.
Of course, Coates isn't the only WR worth a look coming out of Week 5.
The Bears certainly have a type when it comes to wide receivers. They want big guys with large catch radius who can go get the ball even if it isn't perfectly placed, as shown by the heavy investments they've made in Alshon Jeffery and Kevin White in recent years. As an undrafted free agent from 2015, Cameron Meredith obviously doesn't have the pedigree of either White or Jeffery, but at 6'3", he certainly has the size the Bears have looked for out of their wide receivers. And, with White on IR, Meredith made the most of his opportunity, hauling in nine of 12 targets -- both a team-high -- for 130 yards and a touchdown. Meredith may just be a one-week wonder, but he has an opportunity and showed the skills to take advantage of it Sunday. If you miss out on Coates, he should be your top target.
When you do this job, you're going to be wrong pretty often, and you'll often be wrong pretty loudly. That was the case for me Sunday morning, when I posted this on Twitter:
Gotta admit, I'm sorta mystified by the "Chris Hogan, Fantasy relevant WR" talk. What are we going on here?— Chris Towers (@CTowersCBS) October 9, 2016
Of course, you saw what happened Sunday: Tom Brady found Hogan for a couple of long receptions, en route to a career-best 114 yards in Week 5. Hogan doesn't have much of a track record of success, but the Patriots went after him for a reason this offseason, and they showed why Sunday. Julian Edelman, James White and Martellus Bennett are all terrific options in the short and intermediate range, and Rob Gronkowski is as good as anyone in football at picking up big chunks of yardage up the seams. However, Hogan supplied what might just be the missing ingredient for this Patriots' offense Sunday, as Brady connected with him on passes of 43 and 63 yards. Hogan ultimately ended up with just five targets on Brady's 40 pass attempts, so consistency might be an issue, but this was a very nice start to the Hogan-Brady era, and makes him someone you should definitely be looking to add this week.
All other things being equal, you would prefer to avoid wide receivers with bad quarterbacks. Of the three mentioned previously in this column, only Meredith catches his passes from a below-average quarterback, and even Brian Hoyer has proved he can be competent enough to wring production out of his wide receivers. It is fair to say Blaine Gabbert hasn't showed even that much in his career. However, Gabbert has had to throw it to somebody and, more and more as the season has gone on, that somebody has been Jeremy Kerley. Kerley comes out of Week 5 with 304 yards on 26 catches, after he hauled in eight for 102 yards and a touchdown Thursday against a tough Cardinals' defense. Kerley has scored in each of his last two games, to boot, and has produced 13.7 Fantasy points per game in PPR formats as a result. With reports swirling that the 49ers may be on the verge of changing quarterbacks, Kerley may be at risk of losing the rapport he has developed with Gabbert. However, Colin Kaepernick probably can't be worse than Gabbert has been overall, so that shouldn't be enough to scare you off. Kerley is hard to get excited about, but he has little competition for targets in San Francisco and has shown enough to be worth picking up at this point.