Week 5 fantasy football winners and losers

Berry believes in Watson as a fantasy stud (1:58)

Matthew Berry explains why QB Deshaun Watson is a fantasy keeper. (1:58)

Injuries and inconsistent quarterback play were largely Sunday's big stories in fantasy football, as the New York Giants' passing game was obliterated by the former, losing Odell Beckham Jr. (broken ankle), Dwayne Harris (foot), Brandon Marshall (ankle) and Sterling Shepard (ankle) to injuries in the same game, while elsewhere both Charles Clay (knee) and DeVante Parker (ankle) also suffered early exits. Meanwhile, quarterbacks managed nearly as many turnovers (21) as they threw touchdowns (25) during the 1 p.m. ET game block.

It wasn't all bad news, though. Leonard Fournette extended what has been an outstanding year for rookie running backs, and Carson Wentz continued to show he's one of the game's best up-and-coming stars at quarterback.

As we do each week, we recap the week's winners and losers from a fantasy perspective, complete with applicable game and historical data. Check back after the conclusion of the Sunday night game for more picks of the week's best and worst.


Leonard Fournette, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars: For the fifth consecutive game to begin his NFL career, Fournette found the end zone, helping him join a group of only four other players since 1950 with a touchdown streak of at least five games to begin an NFL career (see the chart below). He managed the first 30-point fantasy performance -- PPR or non-PPR -- of his young career, finishing with the best non-PPR score of the 1 p.m. ET block (30.4) and the second best in PPR (31.4). With that, Fournette now has 95.4 non-PPR and 108.4 PPR fantasy points in his five-game career. Since 1950, only eight running backs have had more non-PPR fantasy points through five games: Eric Dickerson (132.7), Billy Sims (112.6), Kareem Hunt (111.5), Adrian Peterson (106.2), Marcus Allen (106.2), Gale Sayers (104.4), Marshall Faulk (99.3) and Joe Cribbs (97.1). Nine have had more using PPR scoring: Dickerson (150.7), Hunt (127.5), Allen (127.2), Sims (123.6), Sayers (119.4), Cribbs (119.1), Faulk (116.3), Peterson (116.2) and Curt Warner (110.1). Fournette also finds himself on pace for 349 carries, which not only shows the Jaguars' continued reliance on him as their offensive centerpiece, but also puts him on track for the fifth-largest total by any rookie running back in history.

Carson Wentz, QB, Philadelphia Eagles: In a week during which Drew Brees, Kirk Cousins and Matt Ryan (plus Trevor Siemian) were all on their bye week, many fantasy owners were sent scrambling to find replacements at quarterback. Wentz was a popular choice, started in 48.9 percent of ESPN leagues, the highest rate in any of his five games this season by more than 12 percent, and his second-highest start percentage in his young, two-year career (65.8 percent, 2016 Week 5). The move paid huge dividends, as Wentz rewarded his owners with a career-high 27.26 fantasy points, easily shattering his previous personal best set just two weeks earlier (21.04, in Week 3). He has elevated himself to a weekly QB2 option in two-quarterback leagues and in fact a borderline QB1, thanks in large part to significant improvements this season in terms of yards per attempt (7.7, up from 6.2 during his rookie season) and interception rate (1.7 percent, down from 2.3).

Melvin Gordon, RB, Los Angeles Chargers: Now there's the standout fantasy owners expected when they drafted Gordon 11th overall on average during the preseason. For the third time in his three-year, 32-game NFL career, he reached the 30-point plateau, his 34.3 PPR points trailing only the 36.1 he posted in both 2016 Weeks 7 and 9. Most encouraging about Gordon's performance so far is his receiving work, as he managed 23.8 of his 34.3 points on catches Sunday, and he now has three of five games with at least five catches.

Deshaun Watson, QB, Houston Texans: That's back-to-back weeks with at least four passing touchdowns for the rookie, and this one, a five-passing-score effort, carried greater weight as it came against a tougher matchup in the Chiefs. Watson's 35.54 fantasy points gave him back-to-back weeks with at least 30, making him the fourth rookie quarterback this century to accomplish the feat (Robert Griffin III, Marcus Mariota, Cam Newton). Watson also now has 107.10 fantasy points through his first four career starts, which is the most by any quarterback since at least 1950. In fact, only five players at any position have had more during that time span: Devonta Freeman (148.5 PPR), Larry Johnson (121.9), Billy Sims (119.5), Hunt (112.9) and Eric Dickerson (107.7).

Marlon Mack, RB, Indianapolis Colts: Though his wasn't one of the best fantasy point totals of the week -- his 16.3 PPR fantasy points were just fifth best among the 1 p.m. ET game block -- Mack's effort was one of the most important of the week. Owned in just 3.36 percent and started in 0.15 percent of ESPN leagues in Week 5, Mack managed 91 yards and a score on his nine carries, including a 35-yard run late in overtime that set up the game-winning field goal as well as four runs of at least 11 yards. That it came in his first game back from a shoulder injury while Frank Gore managed just 11.6 PPR fantasy points is significant, as it could signal a closer division of the rushing chores between them going forward.

Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers: Make that back-to-back big weeks for the top scorer in fantasy from 2015, as Newton managed 26.20 points despite facing a much tougher matchup Sunday (Detroit Lions) than in Week 4 (New England Patriots). Remarkably, this was the first time that Newton managed back-to-back games of at least 25 fantasy points since 2015 Weeks 2-3 (27.40 and 29.90). He was started in 56.6 percent of ESPN leagues, which was a significant increase from 21.3 percent in Week 4.

A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals: For the third consecutive week, Green found the end zone, his 29.9 PPR fantasy points tops among wide receivers during the 1 p.m. ET block and representing his best single-game score since 2016 Week 7 (30.9). Of particular note was the fact that he accomplished it against a Buffalo Bills defense that, entering Sunday, had allowed wide receivers the 10th-fewest PPR fantasy points per game (28.5) and opposing No. 1 wideouts the ninth fewest (10.4).

Odell Beckham Jr., WR, New York Giants: Though the news on Beckham isn't good -- he suffered a broken ankle late in Sunday's game and likely will need season-ending surgery -- he delivered his fantasy owners yet another outstanding score before exiting early. With 21.5 PPR fantasy points, he managed the 23rd game of at least 20 in his career, a total that -- since Beckham's 2014 Week 5 NFL debut -- is second most among all flex-eligible (RB/WR/TE) players, behind only Antonio Brown (28).

Ed Dickson, TE, Carolina: No Greg Olsen, no problem. Dickson ate up tons of yardage for Cam Newton on Sunday -- 175 of Newton's 355 passing yards, in fact -- on his way to a position-best (during the 1 p.m. ET games) 22.5 PPR fantasy points. It was the second-best single-game score of his 113-game NFL career, trailing only his 29.9 of 2011 Week 10. Dickson was started in 5.86 percent of ESPN leagues -- a number, while low, was actually the highest rate in his four-year Panthers career.

George Kittle, TE, San Francisco 49ers: The rookie gave Dickson a run for the position lead during the 1 p.m. ET game slot, scoring 21.3 PPR fantasy points for his first score in double digits. Kittle is owned in just 1.16 percent of ESPN leagues, and while this outing might make him a popular pickup entering Week 6, be aware that most of his production -- 18.3 of it and six of his nine targets, to be exact -- came on the 49ers' final drive of regulation. Hey, it's a start.

Jaguars defense/special teams: Ben Roethlisberger's loss was the Jaguars defense's gain, as the Jags converted a pair of pick-sixes en route to a position-best 26 fantasy points on Sunday. That gives the Jaguars 78 fantasy points through five games, meaning they've already exceeded their 2016 season total (75), and look at their drool-inducing remaining schedule: LAR, @IND, bye, CIN, LAC, @CLE, @ARI, IND, SEA, HOU, @SF, @TEN.

Aaron Jones, RB, Green Bay Packers: Well, that answers that. Jones was the clear fill-in for the injured Ty Montgomery (ribs) on Sunday, managing 19 of the team's 25 rushing attempts and 20 total touches, resulting in 20.4 PPR fantasy points. The rookie was a popular addition during the past week, going from 0.42 percent ownership in ESPN leagues at the time of the Week 4 kickoff to 65.7 percent on Sunday, with 36.6 percent of owners starting him. While it's unclear whether Montgomery will be ready to play by Week 6, chances are that he'll be limited in some regard during the practice, making Jones a handy insurance policy to keep around.

Dak Prescott, QB, Dallas Cowboys: It might seem difficult to believe after the kind of rookie season he had in 2016, finishing sixth among quarterbacks in fantasy points (286.88), but Prescott set a personal best with his 29.74 fantasy points on Sunday. It also gave him a third consecutive week with at least 20, the first time he has done that in his career. It came at an opportune time, considering he was the fourth-most-started quarterback of the week (77.0 percent of ESPN leagues).

Cole Beasley, Cowboys: Just as he was last season, Beasley was a valuable cog for Prescott on Sunday, converting his six targets into 18.3 PPR and 14.3 non-PPR fantasy points. Remember, Beasley caught a team-high 74 of Prescott's throws and tied for his most targets (96, with Dez Bryant) last season. Beasley, started in just 5.4 percent of ESPN leagues on Sunday, could be a handy fill-in for fantasy owners during the bye weeks once he returns from his team's own bye in Week 6.

Will Fuller V, WR, Texans: For the second consecutive week, he scored multiple touchdowns, on his way to 20.2 PPR fantasy points. It was the third time in his 16 career games that he has managed at least 20. Expect Fuller's 27.0 start percentage in ESPN leagues to rise significantly when he faces the Cleveland Browns next week.

Alex Smith, QB, Kansas City Chiefs: For the first time in his 13-year, 146-game career, Smith managed 25-plus fantasy points in back-to-back weeks, his 26.9 on Sunday night third-best among the day's quarterbacks. He has been remarkably accurate, with 11 passing touchdowns compared to zero interceptions with a 76.6 completion percentage that is by far the best of his career. Smith, who was started in 44.1 percent of ESPN leagues in Week 5, is a viable QB2, but he does face two of his tougher matchups in the next three weeks (versus Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 6, versus Denver Broncos in Week 8).


Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers: For the first time in his 190-game NFL career, Roethlisberger was intercepted five times in a game, in what was an ugly, ugly performance against the Jaguars' defense. The result was a 2.58-point fantasy score, the seventh worst of his career but an extraordinarily low total for a player who attempted 55 passes. In fact, that's the fewest fantasy points by any player in any game with at least that many attempts since 1950, and only three times did a quarterback score fewer while attempting at least 50 passes: Ken Stabler (0.96, 1980 Week 5), Drew Bledsoe (1.64, 1995 Week 3) and Jay Cutler (2.48, 2009 Week 10). It snapped what was a remarkable run of production for Roethlisberger at Heinz Field, ending a streak of 11 home games with at least 17 fantasy points, and bear in mind that since the beginning of 2014 he has averaged 23.0 fantasy points per game at Heinz (including Sunday's). It casts serious doubt upon his rest-of-year fantasy potential in standard leagues.

Carlos Hyde, RB, 49ers: Only eight running backs were started in a greater percentage of ESPN leagues than Hyde in Week 5 (93.8 percent), and he delivered his owners a mere 2.8 PPR and 1.8 non-PPR fantasy points. Those were his sixth- and fifth-worst totals in any of his 39 career NFL games. Hyde's hip issue presumably played a part in the performance, however, especially as per Pro Football Focus' Nathan Jahnke, he played 33 snaps to Matt Breida's 35. Breida remains one of the game's most critical handcuffs.

Alshon Jeffery, WR, Eagles: Few things frustrate fantasy owners more than perusing the box scores, seeing their wide receiver's team on the winning side of a 34-7 score and its quarterback enjoying a position-leading fantasy point total, only to find that their wideout managed a forgettable 6.1 PPR fantasy points. Such was Jeffery's day, as he simply could not break free from Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson often enough to make an impact, scoring just four targets in the contest. Jeffery, started in 64.6 percent of ESPN leagues, should fare better with a more favorable Week 5 matchup (@CAR).

Delanie Walker, TE, Tennessee Titans: The Titans simply couldn't get much of anything done on offense with Matt Cassel under center on Sunday, and Walker's numbers suffered particularly. Walker managed just 5.5 PPR fantasy points on his five targets in a week during which he was started in a season-high (and third highest at his position) 87.2 percent of ESPN leagues.

Tyrod Taylor, QB, Bills: For the third time in four weeks, Taylor failed to reach the 15-point threshold, posting a season-low 8.94 on Sunday. That was the third-worst score in any of his 33 career starts, behind his 5.54 of 2016 Week 1 and 8.54 of 2016 Week 11 (that one also in a game against the Bengals). Is it that the Bengals, whom the Bills don't play again this year, have Taylor's number? Perhaps, though Charles Clay's (knee) status will have a bearing upon Taylor's fantasy appeal once the Bills return from their Week 6 bye. Taylor's mobility keeps his floor high enough to lock him into the QB2 class, but expecting much more with the weapons he has might be asking too much.

Golden Tate, WR, Lions: Matthew Stafford got off to a terrible start in this one, and if not for a fourth-quarter rally, Tate's 9.8 PPR fantasy point total would've been a whole lot worse. Tate was practically invisible during the first half, and his final score was mediocre considering he was started in 75.3 percent of ESPN leagues, within the top 20 at his position and a season high for him, and caught five of his eight targets. In fact, he wasn't even the highest-scoring Tate on Sunday: Brandon Tate had 10.5 PPR fantasy points of his own.

Evan Engram, TE, Giants: One would think that he'd have been featured more in a game during which his Giants lost four of their wide receivers to injuries. Instead, Engram delivered a zero on four targets, letting down the 54.6 percent of managers in ESPN leagues who started him. Still, while this might cause some to doubt his potential moving forward, Beckham's long-term injury and the other ailments plaguing the team's wideouts probably will force Engram into a much more sizable role. Ignore this stinker; there should be plenty of production coming from the rookie in future weeks.

Amari Cooper, WR, Oakland Raiders: For the third consecutive week, Cooper was held to two catches or fewer and 2.9 PPR fantasy points or fewer, as he finished Sunday's game with 1.8 on his two targets. It's the first time in his three-year, 37-game NFL career that Cooper has been held in single digits for three consecutive games, and that Michael Crabtree had 20.2 PPR fantasy points of his own on eight targets in his return from a chest injury doesn't bode well for Cooper's usage moving forward. EJ Manuel simply didn't look to Cooper in this one, so consider Cooper a low-end WR3 at best for Week 6.

Eddie Lacy, RB, Seattle Seahawks: With Chris Carson's (ankle surgery) season finished, Lacy became fantasy owners' most popular pick from the Seahawks' backfield in Week 5, his 50.7 percent ownership and 17.0 percent start rate in ESPN leagues easily greater than Thomas Rawls' 34.3 and 5.6 percent and J.D. McKissic's 9.2 and 1.9 percent. Lacy unfortunately flopped, his 3.8 PPR fantasy points worst of the three, despite his managing the most carries of the trio (nine, compared to Rawls' eight and McKissic's two). It was the ninth time in his 23 games played since the beginning of 2015 that Lacy finished with five PPR fantasy points or fewer.

Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams: He's human after all. Gurley, the top PPR scorer in fantasy football entering the week (119.6 points), couldn't get anything done against the Seahawks' defense on Sunday, turning 16 total touches into a mere five PPR and three non-PPR fantasy points. It was the fifth- and second-worst totals of his 34-game NFL career to date, but for more perspective, only once in 2016 did he have fewer PPR fantasy points in a game (4.6, Week 15), in a season that most of his owners declared a complete disappointment. Gurley was the third-most-started running back in ESPN leagues in Week 5 (99.6 percent), behind only Le'Veon Bell (99.9) and Ezekiel Elliott (99.7).

Sammy Watkins, WR, Rams: For the second consecutive week, Watkins failed to perform for his fantasy managers, and on Sunday he was nearly invisible if not for his four targets (none of which resulted in a catch). It was only the second time in his 42-game career that he was shut out, as he failed to score on two targets in 2015 Week 1.