Week 5 is the point in the season where what we’ve seen can actually start to be believed. D.J. Chark is real. Austin Ekeler is the most dynamic player on the Chargers. O.J. Howard is not happening. Whether this new reality has led to rags or an embarrassment of riches, continuing to churn the bottom of the roster is what can turn bad teams around and keep good teams winning. Those early season stats are great, but these likely won’t be the same players that propel teams to championships. These are the players to target, based on their advanced stats and metrics profiles.
Chase Edmonds, RB, Cardinals
Finally, Chase Edmonds saw the usage fantasy gamers have hoped for with the uptempo Cardinals offense. He did not disappoint. On eight carries, Edmonds racked up 68 yards and a touchdown, averaging 8.5 yards per carry. He was also targeted four times and added 18 yards to his total. Through the season’s first four weeks, Arizona had rushed the ball only 19.8 times per game, No. 27 overall. They stepped it up to 38 rush attempts in Week 5. That may have been the game plan for attacking the Bengals, who have been generous to opposing running backs. It may also be the previously winless Cardinals looking to adjust.
Edmonds’ athleticism and 34.1-percent (78th-percentile among qualified running backs) College Dominator Rating warrant a roster spot. He has multiple paths to relevance. Edmonds has the ability to be a one-for-one replacement for David Johnson should he become unavailable. He’s also useful in handling the load of an offense that runs 67 plays per game. His untapped upside can change a fantasy roster’s fate.
Gus Edwards, RB, Ravens
The Gus Bus faces Cincinnati in Week 6. Through the first five weeks of play, the Bengals have allowed nearly 40 PPR fantasy points per game to the running back position. Gus Edwards is second on the Ravens in carries. Though his average workload of 7.6 carries per game is ballooned by a 17-carry outing in a blowout Week 1 win against the Dolphins. The Ravens should find themselves in a similar situation against the winless Bengals.
Edwards has been surprisingly good with his opportunities. He owns a 33.3-percent (No. 10) Juke Rate and averages 1.45 (No. 20) Yards Created per Carry. Additionally, Edwards has positive touchdown regression looming. Through the season’s first four weeks, his 11 red zone touches rank No. 22 overall and he has yet to score a touchdown. A game against the Bengals is the right place to restore balance to the universe.
Auden Tate, WR, Bengals
Into the void at wide receiver in Cincinnati steps Auden Tate. He has now been fantasy-relevant for three consecutive weeks, drawing 22 targets in the process. In that time, he trails only Tyler Boyd in Target Distance among his fellow Bengals. Instead of hearing news about when A.J. Green might return, we are hearing that teams are interested in spending a first round draft pick to bring Green to their team. Tate may look like he’s pulling a sled when he runs his routes, but it didn’t stop him from producing a 37.4-percent (75th-percentile) College Dominator Rating at Florida State. He is also enjoying his role on a team throwing 44.8 pass attempts per game, No. 3 overall. Much of that is thanks to the Bengals perpetually playing from behind. Their -8.45 (No. 28) Game Script is not likely to improve in Week 6 against the Ravens.
Mohammed Sanu, WR, Falcons
Even on a field with Austin Hooper, Calvin Ridley and Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu averages 7.2 targets per game. That being said, the sky is not the limit with Sanu. He is a relatively low ceiling player, but a player with Sanu’s floor becomes more valuable as we enter the peak portion of the bye week season.
Check out Mohamed Sanu on PlayerProfiler’s Updated Weekly Rankings and Projections:
The Falcons face off against the Cardinals in Week 6. Danny Amendola and Curtis Samuel both found success against Arizona, and did so at a low average depth of target. Sanu’s 7.1 (No. 96) Average Target Distance puts him in position to reap the same rewards. Moreover, if Atlanta’s rush game continues to flounder and their matchup with Arizona becomes a shootout, they will look to Sanu and the short passing game to keep the offense on schedule.
Byron Pringle, WR, Chiefs
When Sammy Watkins left the game against the Colts in Week 5, it created an opening for Byron Pringle. He made the most of his opportunity. This UDFA has managed to stick on an NFL roster, the Chiefs’ NFL roster no less, and now has found a way to playing time. Pringle did much more than just soak up snaps, he was targeted nine times by Patrick Mahomes, which resulted in 103 receiving yards. These targets weren’t dump offs, Pringle was targeted on average 12.6 yards from the line of scrimmage.
The theme at wide receiver in Kansas City has been that Patrick Mahomes will throw to whomever is open. That may mean that it’s another receiver’s turn to go off next week, but for this UDFA it spells opportunity.
Gerald Everett, TE, Rams
In the last two weeks, Gerald Everett trails only Austin Hooper in tight end Target Distance. Jared Goff targeted Everett 19 times over that time, which he converted into 12 receptions and 180 receiving yards. He has emerged as the lead pass catching tight end in an offense that averages 46.0 (No. 2) pass plays per game. Everett has also caught five passes in the red zone through the first four weeks, tied with Jason Witten for the NFL lead among tight ends.
The Rams are an offense in flux. Their week to week usage of Todd Gurley and Brandin Cooks is mysterious. A hot hand like Everett has a chance to create a role in a prolific offense that is No. 6 in points scored and No. 5 in yards from scrimmage.
Chris Herndon, TE, Jets
Fantasy teams that are in any sort of search for a tight end should be adding Chris Herndon where possible. Herndon’s four game suspension is officially over, and it happens to coincide with Sam Darnold‘s hopeful return.
In his rookie year, Herndon recorded 502 receiving yards with a 10.5 (No. 5) Average Target Distance. Since 2009, other tight ends that reached those benchmarks in their rookie years are Evan Engram, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Timothy Wright, Tony Moeaki, Mark Andrews and George Kittle. That is the whole list. At a position that is notoriously slow developing, early production needs to be jumped on.