Editor's note: FanDuel.com is hosting a one-week long $350,000 Fantasy Football contest for Week 5. It's only $10 to join and first prize is $30,000. Starts Sunday, October 5th at 1 p.m. ET. Enter now to play with Jamey.
Now that Week 4 is over we can look back and reflect on our good fortune. We weren't hit with a major injury to a starter, assuming Vernon Davis is OK. We survived with six teams on bye. And the only negative thing to happen was realizing Kirk Cousins is a flop.
As we move into Week 5, the goal for this week is likely to tweak your team with some minor enhancements, since a glaring superstar isn't staring us in the face. Sure, there are solid players to be had, including Eli Manning, Jerick McKinnon and Eddie Royal, and Fantasy owners should pounce on Larry Donnell and Travis Kelce if they are still available.
But this is a good week to add depth to your roster and maybe stream DST and kicker options. Handcuff your running backs, as Knile Davis has taught us, and grab top backups wherever possible.
We'll get into plenty of these scenarios, but the Dolphins and Raiders are the only teams on a bye this week, meaning you're only missing Lamar Miller and Mike Wallace in the majority of leagues. Reinforcements have arrived with the Broncos, Bengals, Rams, Seahawks, Cardinals and even the Browns coming off their bye, and we might even get the healthy return of Carson Palmer (shoulder), Ben Tate (knee), Marvin Jones (foot) and Odell Beckham (hamstring).
We're getting into the meat of the season now, so you want to have plenty of weapons at your disposal should an injury occur. Plan ahead, and we hope you're already starting to think about a potential playoff run.
Injuries: Carson Palmer
(shoulder), Jake Locker (wrist), Teddy Bridgewater (ankle), Derek Carr
(knee), Robert Griffin III (ankle), Josh McCown (thumb)
Key players on bye: Ryan Tannehill
Priority list (add them in this order): Eli Manning (65 percent ownership), Palmer (67 percent), Joe Flacco (63 percent), Alex Smith (57 percent), Blake Bortles (33 percent), Bridgewater (28 percent), Ryan Fitzpatrick (27 percent), Ryan Tannehill (45 percent), Michael Vick (6 percent), Mike Glennon (10 percent), Kyle Orton (1 percent)
Potential drop candidates: Kirk Cousins (87 percent), Locker (25 percent) and Geno Smith (22 percent)
Why Manning is the best: I should have stuck to what I wrote here last week instead of going against my gut and calling Manning a sit in Week 4. Here's what I said in last week's Playing the Waiver Wire: if I need a one-week replacement, I'd look at Eli Manning. He might have turned the corner with Ben McAdoo's offense the past two games with 19 Fantasy points against the Cardinals and 21 Fantasy points against the Texans. The Redskins just got lit up by Nick Foles for 32 Fantasy points and lost cornerback DeAngelo Hall (Achilles) for the season. Instead, I fell for Manning's history against the Redskins, which was awful, but he proved me wrong with 300 passing yards and five total touchdowns. Manning looks like a quality starting Fantasy option moving forward, especially in Week 5 against the Falcons. Add him in all leagues.
Of note: I'm getting a lot of questions about dropping Tom Brady, who is owned in 99 percent of leagues. I can understand the move in 8- or 10-team leagues, but hopefully he'll turn things around soon. We don't think he's finished as a starting Fantasy quarterback, but this four-game sample size is ugly. ... I'd pick up Palmer again if he was dropped, even though he isn't guaranteed to return this week against the Broncos. When healthy, Palmer could average 20 Fantasy points a game in the Cardinals offense. ... Most Fantasy owners don't want anything to do with Flacco, Alex Smith or Fitzpatrick in standard leagues. But Flacco is coming off a monster game against the Panthers in Week 4 with 31 Fantasy points and could be in a shootout in Week 5 with Andrew Luck. Smith has at least 24 Fantasy points in consecutive games and faces his former team in the 49ers this week. And Fitzpatrick faces a Cowboys defense this week that has allowed at least 20 Fantasy points to three of four opposing quarterbacks this year. ... Bortles struggled in his first NFL start at San Diego with just 14 Fantasy points, but he could be a nice sleeper in Week 5 against the Steelers, who just allowed 22 Fantasy points to Glennon. ... Bridgewater was better than Bortles with 22 Fantasy points against the Falcons in Week 4, but he hurt his ankle and could miss Week 5 at Green Bay. If healthy, we'd avoid using him this week. ... Don't get overexcited to add Vick this week, but he could be worth speculating on in deeper leagues. Geno Smith will likely start Week 5 at San Diego, but he might not finish the game if he continues to struggle.
Injuries: Joique Bell
(concussion), DeAngelo Williams (ankle), Ryan Mathews (knee), Knowshon Moreno
(elbow), Mark Ingram (hand), Ben Tate (knee), Jonathan Stewart
(knee), Mike Tolbert (leg)
Key players on bye: Lamar Miller, Moreno, Darren McFadden, Maurice Jones-Drew
Priority list (add them in this order): Jerick McKinnon (20 percent ownership), Justin Forsett (63 percent), Lorenzo Taliaferro (61 percent), Isaiah Crowell (40 percent), Alfred Blue (64 percent), Andre Williams (40 percent), Darrin Reaves (1 percent), Denard Robinson (7 percent), Roy Helu (23 percent), Antone Smith (4 percent), Ka'Deem Carey (4 percent)
Potential drop candidates: Adrian Peterson (93 percent), DeAngelo Williams (81 percent), McFadden (76 percent), Bernard Pierce (74 percent), Jones-Drew (71 percent) and Shonn Greene (52 percent)
Why McKinnon is the best: I would add Forsett if I need someone for this week, but long-term you should stash McKinnon if you haven't done so already. It looks grim for Peterson to return to the Vikings this year, and McKinnon could take on a bigger role ahead of Matt Asiata. We still like Asiata better now, and he is worth adding in all leagues if still available with his ownership at 78 percent. He had 20 carries for 78 yards and three touchdowns and three catches for 22 yards against the Falcons in Week 4. But McKinnon looked special with 18 carries for 135 yards and one catch for 17 yards. With an expanded role he could be a starting Fantasy option down the road.
Of note: The reason to like Forsett this week was he got the majority of work in Week 4 against the Panthers even with Bernard Pierce (thigh) active and the new toy in Taliaferro coming off a strong game in Week 3. While Taliaferro was still good against Carolina with 15 carries for 58 yards and a touchdown in garbage time, Forsett was better with 14 carries for 66 yards and a touchdown and three catches for 31 yards. In ranking the Ravens running backs now, it's Forsett, Taliaferro and Pierce, but we'll see if Pierce gets back in the mix this week. ... Tate is expected to return this week, but we'll find out how the Browns will use him, Crowell and Terrance West. That's how we'd rank them now, and Crowell could get an extended look after he ran well the past three games (27 carries for 141 yards and three touchdowns) with Tate out. And if Tate went down again we could see Crowell as the starter ahead of West, at least according to reports out of Cleveland. ... Arian Foster did not look good in Week 4 against Buffalo after being out in Week 3 with a hamstring injury. Based on his history, we'd stash Blue in all leagues. It seems like it's only a matter of time until Foster gets hurt again, unfortunately. ... The most carries Rashad Jennings had in his career were 163 last year with Oakland. He has 81 now, putting him on pace for 324 for the season. There's now way he will hold up if this continues, so stash Andre Williams in all leagues. It helps that he played well against the Redskins in Week 4 with 15 carries for 66 yards and a touchdown and could score again this week against the Falcons. ... Reaves might start for the Panthers this week with DeAngelo Williams, Stewart and Tolbert out. He had 12 carries for 26 yards and three catches for 11 yards at Baltimore in Week 4 after Williams was hurt, and we'd speculate on him in deeper leagues with his matchup against Chicago. Fozzy Whitaker and newly-signed Chris Ogbonnaya will also be in the mix. ... Robinson is starting to get more work in Jacksonville, but it would take Toby Gerhart getting hurt or benched outright for us to buy into him in anything but 14-team leagues or larger. ... Every Matt Forte owner should own Carey, who had 14 carries for 72 yards against the Packers in Week 4. Handcuff, handcuff, handcuff.
Injuries: Mike Evans (groin), Cecil Shorts (hamstring), Rod Streater
(foot), Tavon Austin (knee), Marvin Jones (foot), Marqise Lee
(hamstring), Jarrett Boykin (groin), Donnie Avery (groin), Odell Beckham
Key players on bye: Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline, James Jones
Priority list (add them in this order): Eddie Royal (25 percent ownership), Brian Quick (54 percent), Rueben Randle (64 percent), Malcom Floyd (34 percent), Andrew Hawkins (56 percent), John Brown (20 percent), Allen Hurns (46 percent), Markus Wheaton (59 percent), Marvin Jones (24 percent), Odell Beckham (13 percent), Hartline (36 percent), Davante Adams (9 percent), Jairus Wright (0 percent), Louis Murphy (0 percent), Andre Holmes (3 percent), Devin Hester (12 percent), Brandon LaFell (7 percent), Steve Johnson (22 percent), Jerricho Cotchery (12 percent), Mike Williams (3 percent), Andre Roberts (3 percent) and Jeremy Ross (0 percent)
Potential drop candidates: Kendall Wright (89 percent), Shorts (60 percent), Riley Cooper (52 percent), Justin Hunter (47 percent) and Harry Douglas (37 percent)
Why Royal is the best: The targets have been there all year for Royal with at least six in every game, but he's started to produce in a big way the past two games with four touchdowns combined against Buffalo and Jacksonville. Now, we saw this from Royal last year with five touchdowns through two games, and he finished with three touchdowns the rest of the year. But the running game is gone with Ryan Mathews (knee) and Danny Woodhead (ankle) out, and Philip Rivers is going to carry this offense. Floyd is also in the mix as a great add candidate with at least nine Fantasy points in three of four games, but Royal is a must add in all formats.
Of note: Quick, Hawkins and Brown were all off in Week 4, but they remain quality adds this week. Quick had at least seven Fantasy points in all three games and remains the No. 1 receiver for the Rams. Hawkins has at least six catches and 70 receiving yards in all three games. And Brown leads the Cardinals in touchdowns with three and should remain a viable option in the passing game even with Michael Floyd and Larry Fitzgerald. ... Randle could be impacted by Beckham once he returns, which could be in Week 5 against the Falcons, but as Manning has improved, so has Randle. He has at least eight Fantasy points in two of his past three games with 20 targets in his past two outings. ... Hurns and Allen Robinson will continue to be the top receivers for the Jaguars with Shorts and Lee banged up. Hurns had six targets in Week 4 at San Diego with five catches for 68 yards. ... Jones could return this week, and we'd speculate on him in deeper leagues heading into Week 5 at New England. Keep in mind he scored 10 touchdowns last year as the No. 2 receiver for the Bengals. ... Big games are coming for Wheaton, who has been limited to five Fantasy points or less in each of the past three weeks, but the targets are there with 19 over that span. He could be a sneaky option this week at Jacksonville. ... Adams is worth speculating on with Boykin hurt. He has just two Fantasy points combined the past two games, but we could see an increase in production if Boykin is out for an extended period of time. ... Jarius Wright had a big game in Bridgewater's first start, which was also the first game without Kyle Rudolph. He had eight catches for 132 yards on 10 targets against the Falcons, and he's worth a look in deeper leagues. ... Murphy could see a boost in production with Evans out. He had six catches for 99 yards on 11 targets, and like Wright he's worth a look in deeper formats.
Injuries: Vernon Davis (back), Niles Paul (concussion), Jordan Reed
(hamstring), Joseph Fauria (ankle), Tyler Eifert (elbow) and Kyle Rudolph
Key players on bye: Charles Clay
Priority list (add them in this order): Larry Donnell (71 percent ownership), Travis Kelce (72 percent), Dwayne Allen (71 percent), Garrett Graham (14 percent), Jordan Reed (61 percent), Owen Daniels (59 percent), Eric Ebron (31 percent), Coby Fleener (36 percent), Jace Amaro (9 percent), Austin Seferian-Jenkins (6 percent), Clay Harbor (0 percent) and Luke Willson (0 percent)
Potential drop candidates: Clay (50 percent), Rudolph (48 percent) and Ladarius Green (47 percent)
Why Donnell and Kelce are the best: I'm torn on Donnell and Kelce being the best tight end add this week, if they are still out there. I give the nod to Donnell because of his red-zone prowess, but Kelce won't be far behind. Both tight ends could end up being must-start options the rest of the way. Donnell is coming off a monster game with seven catches for 54 yards and three touchdowns against the Redskins, and he has at least eight targets in three of four games this year. Kelce was awesome as well with eight catches for 93 yards and a touchdown against the Patriots on nine targets, and he now has at least eight Fantasy points in three games in a row. It should be fun to see who is better for the rest of the season, but they won't be on waivers for long in the majority of leagues after this week.
Of note: Allen and Fleener continue to limit the upside for either guy, but both have scored touchdowns now in each of the past two weeks. I still like Allen better, but Fleener clearly will remain a vital part of this passing game. Add Allen first if you need tight end help, but Fleener is also worth picking up in deeper leagues. ... For one week, look at Graham for the Texans. He faces the Cowboys, who have allowed six touchdowns to tight ends through four games. Graham has 11 targets the past two games and is a sneaky sleeper this week. ... We're not sure when Reed will return after getting hurt in Week 1, but he could be needed if Paul is out with the concussion he sustained against the Giants. Reed might return to a timeshare at tight end with Paul, but he's worth adding if you have an extra roster spot just based on his potential alone. ... Daniels didn't have a great game in his first start for the injured Dennis Pitta (hip) with four catches for 43 yards against the Panthers, but he did have six targets. I wouldn't give up on him yet, and he's still worth adding if you need tight end help. ... The three rookie tight ends all showed up in Week 4, which was nice to see. Ebron had three catches for 34 yards and a touchdown on four targets at the Jets with Fauria out. Amaro had five catches for 58 yards on five targets against the Lions and now has eight catches for 112 yards the past two games. And Seferian-Jenkins had three catches for 44 yards on seven targets. All three are worth speculating on, in that order, in deeper leagues with the hope that playing time and targets continue to increase. ... Harbor had eight targets in his first start this year with Bortles, and he finished with eight catches for 69 yards at San Diego. The Jaguars need tight end help with Marcedes Lewis (ankle) out until at least Week 12.
Lions: 73 percent
Browns: 22 percent
Packers: 47 percent