Top Draftstreet Football Values for Week 5
Now that 30 teams have played a quarter of their schedule, we are starting to get a better feel of where certain players are when it comes to fantasy football. Those who are struggling simply cannot be relied on to provide upper-echelon fantasy production moving forward. The sample size is big enough for us to avoid them in weekly leagues.
A case study here would be Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick, neither of whom have been QB1 options through the first four weeks. While both are bound to rebound from subpar fantasy performances, we simply cannot rate them too high in weekly leagues until they prove their worth all over again.
On the other end of the spectrum, there have been some really big fantasy surprises who are actually in a position to continue their success against less-than-stellar opponents this week.
In what has been a weekly article here at Pro Football Focus, we will be providing readers with the top Draftstreet football values in weekly leagues.
For the purposes of these articles, I will utilize Draftstreet cap numbers and base them off total cap numbers of $100,000 per team.
Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego Chargers ($14,139)
Until Rivers proves us skeptics right, it might just be time to start relying on him in these weekly leagues. He’s now the fourth-ranked fantasy quarterback through nearly the quarter point of the season. Raise your hand if you had him anywhere near that level.
Despite losing Malcom Floyd for the remainder of the season in a Week 2 loss to the Tennessee Titans, Rivers has been able to make do with the receiving threats that he has on the field. He grades out as our second-best quarterback in the NFL behind only Peyton Manning and has compiled 11 touchdowns compared to two interceptions thus far this season.
Rivers now travels to Oakland to take on a Raiders’ defense that ranks 24th against fantasy quarterbacks and grades out as our 27th-best pass defense. He’s also only projected to be the ninth-best quarterback based on Draftstreet cap values. Pick Rivers up at just 14 percent of your total cap room and thank me later.
Alex Smith, QB, Kansas City Chiefs ($11,447)
It truly has been the “AFC Best” when it comes to quarterbacks over the course of the first four weeks. Rivers, Smith and Manning have combined for 34 touchdowns compared to four interceptions. If you have ridden any of them during this span, I am willing to bet you have done pretty damn good in weekly leagues.
Draftstreet values Smith as the 17th-best fantasy quarterback option this week and he is going up against a Tennessee Titans defense that we grade out as the fourth-best against the pass. On the surface this doesn’t seem to be a great matchup for Smith.
That’s just on the surface.
Even if Smith declines a bit from his No. 6 quarterback ranking, he’s still a tremendous value at just over 11 percent of your cap. Ask yourself this. Would you rather have Jay Cutler, Matt Schaub or Smith as your bottom-tier QB1 or top-tier QB2 this week? That’s what I thought.
Ray Rice, RB, Baltimore Ravens ($9,264)
How much longer can we expect Rice to struggle when it comes to fantasy production? After all, he currently ranks behind Da’Rel Scott, who was just released by the New York Giants. The Pro Bowl performer indicated that he came out of Baltimore’s Week 4 loss against the Buffalo Bills healthy and is primed to go against the Miami Dolphins this upcoming week. On that note, we can expect a nice amount of touches for Rice against a Dolphins’ defense that ranks 23rd against fantasy running backs.
At under 10 percent of your cap room, Rice is valued as the ninth-most expensive running back by Draftstreet. He’s one of those low-risk, high-upside options heading into Week 5. At worst, you are going to get top-tier RB2 production, which would make his value pretty much a wash. At best, you are looking at a top-three option in a week that is void of many clear-cut running back options.
David Wilson, RB, New York Giants ($7,673)
Speaking of Da’Rel Scott, the Giants decision to release him on Tuesday may be further indication that they’re ready to move on with Wilson as the primary ball carrier. After all, does anyone really expect them to ride Brandon Jacobs after a 0-4 start? Wilson has seen his attempts and yardage totals go up in each of the last three games, which is an indication that the Giants have moved on from his early-season struggles.
If so, he’s a legit RB1 option against a Philadelphia Eagles defense that we grade out as the 22nd-best against the run this season. At just over seven percent of your cap room, you can rely on Wilson as a decent RB2 option and expect a bit more from him this week. He represents solid overall value.
Johnathan Franklin, RB, Green Bay Packers ($3,899)
This is one of those flier picks. It’s the idea that Green Bay may rely a bit more on Franklin than fellow rookie Eddie Lacy, who is returning from a concussion. In his only extended action of the season Week 3 against the Cincinnati Bengals, Franklin put up 126 yards and one score on just 16 touches. He did so against a Cincinnati Bengals rush defense that we rank as the sixth-best in the entire league through four weeks.
What makes Franklin such an intriguing low-risk flex option is that he can gain yards in bulk. This was evidenced by his performance last season at UCLA and in limited playing time as a rookie. He can break two runs off and already give you flex production. Green Bay also goes up against a Detroit Lions defense that ranks 31st in the league against fantasy running backs. If you are in a pinch after filling out your roster, pick Franklin up on the cheap.
Josh Gordon, WR, Cleveland Browns ($11,657)
It appears that Brian Hoyer has found a couple new friends since taking over as the Browns’ starting quarterback a couple weeks ago. Along with Jordan Cameron, this second-year receiver has put up some ridiculous numbers in his first two games of the season. He’s been targeted a whopping 26 times in two games and is averaging seven catches for 108 yards in those two games.
Gordon and the Browns go up against a Buffalo Bills pass defense that has yielded the fourth-most fantasy points to receivers this season. Add in the amount of targets Gordon promises to get, and he represents top-three value here. Considering that Draftstreet has him as the 10th-most expensive receiver, that would be quite the steal.
Stephen Hill, WR, New York Jets ($4,960)
If you are looking for a low-cost flex option this week, Hill might just be your guy. While Geno Smith has struggled terribly this season, this second-year receiver has still been able to put up some decent numbers. He catching nearly 70 percent of the passes thrown in his direction and is averaging 58 receiving yards per outing.
New York goes up against an Atlanta Falcons defense that has given up the sixth-most fantasy points to receivers and grades out as the 29th-ranked pass defense according to our official rankings. As the 53rd-most expensive receiver in Draftstreet leagues, this is a flyer you can afford to take.
Keenan Allen, WR, San Diego Chargers ($3,769)
With Malcom Floyd out for the season, yet another Chargers’ receiver will have to step up and help Philip Rivers continue what has been an awe-inspiring season. Allen hasn’t been on the fantasy radar thus far as a rookie, but is coming off a five-reception, 80-yard performance against the Dallas Cowboys last week.
He will be starting on the outside against an Oakland Raiders defense that continues to show a tremendous amount of cracks in the secondary. We grade them out No. 27 overall against the pass this season. Whether it’s going up against fellow rookie D.J. Hayden or the combination of lackluster veterans Oakland has at cornerback, Allen should receive the necessary targets to be a top-tier flex option. If so, his price tag of under $4 million will enable you to pick up elite talent elsewhere.
Brandon Myers, TE, New York GIants ($5,792)
Going up against the Philadelphia Eagles defense this season has been a fantasy windfall for players around the league. We grade them out as the 31st-ranked pass defense in the NFL and they are yielding an average of 50 yards and a score to opposing tight ends this season.
For his part, Myers has been a consistent threat for a struggling Giants’ team. He has caught two thirds of the passes thrown in his direction through four weeks and is averaging four receptions per game. In what has been a crapshoot for fantasy tight ends this year, Myers represents good value as the 16th-most expensive player at that position in Draftstreet leagues.
Vincent is the head sports editor at eDraft, co-host of eDraft Sports Radio (which airs every Monday and Wednesday from 3-6 p.m. ET) and a fantasy writer for Pro Football Focus. He’s also the news director at PFC and co-host of Football Debate Central with Ryan Riddle every Friday and a contributor for Yahoo! He’s also a former league-wide featured columnist at Bleacher Report.