Sundays during the NFL season are always chaotic. There are so many twists and turns that it's hard for fantasy football managers to keep up with everything. This column is designed to help, providing you with all of the storylines you need to know from Sunday's action in order to kick-start your research for all of the Week 6 action that lies ahead.
Michael Carter salvages his fantasy day with a touchdown
When it comes to Carter, there is good news and bad news. The good news is that the rookie led the New York Jets' "running back by committee" with 13 opportunities (rushing attempts plus targets), 58 total yards, and a touchdown against the Falcons. The bad news is that the offensive line was unable to create running lanes for him. It's also concerning that the Jets don't seem to trust him at the goal line. However, New York does have a favorable schedule coming out of their bye week with matchups against the Patriots, Bengals, and Colts. Carter can be trusted as a flex option moving forward.
Cordarrelle Patterson's future is so bright, he's gotta wear shades
Patterson's career renaissance under first-year head coach Arthur Smith is breathtaking. He rushed 14 times for 54 yards and caught 7-of-9 targets for 60 yards. Patterson finished with more rushing attempts, targets, rushing yards, and receiving yards than Mike Davis. Take a moment for that to sink in. Even when Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage return to the fold after the Atlanta Falcons' bye to face the Dolphins, Patterson should continue to have a defined role. Heading into Monday Night Football, Miami's defense (31.56) has allowed the second-most RB fantasy points. Patterson is firmly on the RB2 radar.
Najee Harris has his first game of 100-plus yards -- and his first rushing score
Harris has met the expectations of fantasy managers so far this season. However, against the Broncos, he finally exceeded them. The rookie finished with 28 opportunities, 142 total yards, and a touchdown. According to ESPN Stats and Info, Harris is only the second Pittsburgh Steelers player in the Super Bowl era to have 100 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown in any of the first five games of his career. The other was Franco Harris in 1972. Harris faces a Seahawks defense in Week 6 that has given up the third-most RB points per game (31.14). He can be viewed as an RB1.
Courtland Sutton delivers against the Steelers
Sutton caught 7-of-11 targets for 120 yards and a touchdown against the Steelers. Sutton was dealing an ankle injury heading into this week's matchup, but those fantasy managers who deployed him in lineups were ecstatic with the statistical results. Sutton ran a route on 91% of the Denver Broncos' passing plays and also amassed 47% of the team's air yards (indicating how far a pass travels in the air before it is caught). He and the Broncos face a stout Raiders secondary in Week 6.
Laviska Shenault Jr.'s "bigger role" did not come to fruition
Shenault was only targeted three times against the Titans. He did have one 58-yard reception which showcased his speed and tackle-breaking ability. With DJ Chark Jr. out for the season, many anticipated that Shenault would be more involved in the offense. It is worth noting that the Jacksonville Jaguars moved him to an outside receiver role, as opposed to a slot role. Shenault has actually run more routes and been targeted more as an outside receiver. He should much be more involved against the Dolphins next week, with Marvin Jones Jr. most likely being shadowed by cornerback Xavien Howard.
Ja'Marr Chase takes flight again
I'm old enough to remember that time when fantasy managers were in a frenzy about Chase's preseason drops. Ah, the summer. Chase has now scored five touchdowns in five NFL games. Were you aware that four of them have gone for 30-plus yards? According to ESPN Stats and Info, Chase joins Randy Moss as the only players in NFL history (age 21 or younger) with 400-plus receiving yards and five receiving touchdowns in their first five games of a season. Chase caught 6-of-10 targets for 159 yards in the Cincinnati Bengals' overtime affair against the Packers. He has a favorable matchup in Week 6 against the Lions secondary.
Justin Jefferson had a half to remember
Jefferson caught 7-of-8 targets for 124 yards. In fact, he had 104 of those yards before halftime. Jefferson was on pace to break the Minnesota Vikings' franchise record (held by Sammy White) of 210 receiving yards in a game. Unfortunately, Minnesota stopped throwing to him because the Lions were doing everything in their power to take Jefferson away in the second half. The second-year receiver faces a stout Panthers secondary in Week 6 -- one that's allowed the fifth-fewest WR points per game in 2021.
Mike Evans has rebounded nicely since his sub-optimal Week 1
Evans was an afterthought in fantasy drafts this summer, but he's been marvelous over the last four games. Evans has now had 75-plus receiving yards in four consecutive games. He caught 6-of-8 targets for 113 yards and two touchdowns in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' contest against the Dolphins. Evans is an every-week WR1 and faces the Eagles on Thursday night.
Moody's rapid-fire report
WR Davante Adams had a career-high 206 receiving yards against the Bengals.
RB Derrick Henry has averaged 34.8 opportunities and 153 total yards per game this season.
WR Jamison Crowder has caught 11-of-15 targets for 85 receiving yards and a touchdown since returning in Week 4.
WR Elijah Moore was only targeted twice against the Falcons. He's also competing for offensive snaps with Keelan Cole.
TEs Pat Freiermuth (32), Eric Ebron (25), and Zach Gentry (22) were all playing on offensive snaps against the Broncos and, as a result, cannibalizing each other's fantasy value.
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster has already dealt with a rib injury this season and has now suffered a shoulder injury. Chase Claypool was the immediate beneficiary of his absence, but keep Ray-Ray McCloud on your radar in deeper formats.
TE Dan Arnold led the Jaguars in receptions (6) and receiving yards (64), despite joining the team just two weeks ago via a trade with the Panthers.
WR A.J. Brown returned to the fold after suffering a hamstring injury in Week 3. He led the Titans with six targets, but only caught three of them for 36 yards. The good news is that Brown didn't suffer any setbacks and is expected to bounce back against the Bills in primetime in Week 6.
RB AJ Dillon continues to become more involved in the Packers offense. Over the last two weeks, he's amassed 28 opportunities and 176 total yards.
TE T.J. Hockenson only has eight receptions over the last three games. It's worth noting that he's been limited with a knee injury.
RB Antonio Gibson's fantasy day was salvaged by his two touchdowns. J.D. McKissic still out-targeted him against the Saints.
WR Marquez Callaway compiled 57% of his 85 yards on a single reception from Jameis Winston, which happened as time expired in the first half.
WR DeVonta Smith continues to be the No. 1 receiving option in the Eagles offense. He's the No. 2 rookie receiving leader with 314 yards, behind Chase (456).
TE Hunter Henry had his best game as a Patriot and is seeing most of the position's receiving work. Jonnu Smith has been used more as a blocking tight end.
RB Nick Chubb has now had consecutive games with 100-plus rushing yards. He only has five targets this season due to the presence of Kareem Hunt, but can still be viewed as an RB1.
TE Donald Parham Jr. scored a touchdown in his second straight game. He played on 41 snaps, while Jared Cook played on 50. However, Parham only ran 14 routes. This dynamic could change in the future.
RB Damien Williams had a solid performance, but rookie Khalil Herbert actually played on more snaps.
RB Josh Jacobs is healthy and has handled 37 of the Raiders 42 backfield touches over the last two games.
WR Rondale Moore continues to see his role increase. He led the Cardinals in rushing yards and had the second-most targets. Arizona already runs a high number of 4-WR sets. However, the absence of TE Maxx Williams could provide Moore with even more opportunities.
RB Ezekiel Elliott's demise was greatly exaggerated. Since Week 2, he has averaged 20.75 opportunities and 117 total yards per game.
WR Kadarius Toney has such rare instincts with the football in his hands. He also broke Odell Beckham Jr.'s single-game record for receiving yards as a Giants rookie. Toney's 189 yards bested Beckham's best by four.
TE Dalton Schultz has now had six-plus receptions in three straight games.
TE Dawson Knox continues to be a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses. He's carved out a role in a Bills offense already teeming with a plethora of weapons. Knox's 117 receiving yards were a career-high.
For more insight on the players mentioned above, please read Matt Bowen and Tristan H. Cockcroft's Fantasy football highs and lows for Week 5.