Week 5 Fantasy WR Rankings: Must-starts, sleepers, potential busts at wide receiver

It’s no secret there’s been an offensive surge in the NFL this year, and wide receivers are reaping the benefits with some monster performances. Last Sunday, Odell Beckham Jr., DJ Chark, Tre’Quan Smith, and CeeDee Lamb all had multi-TD games; the week before, seven wideouts had at least two touchdown catches, including “sleepers” Tee Higgins, Andy Isabella, Dontrelle Inman, and Cedrick Wilson. Clearly, it’s “one of those years,” and it seems unlikely to stop anytime soon. That’s ultimately good news, though it did present its own set of unique challenges when we put together our Week 5 fantasy WR rankings,

With so many favorable matchups and overachieving wide receivers to choose from, how do you put them in order? If a receiver is considered a WR2, does it really matter if he’s No. 13 or No. 24? It looks like a big difference on the page, but in truth, it doesn’t matter. Those types of players are all must-starts this week. 

Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver |  Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

A couple new players, including Robby Anderson (@ Falcons) and CeeDee Lamb (vs. Giants), move into that tier because of favorable matchups in Week 5. A.J. Brown (vs. Bills) is hopefully set to return from a knee injury/bye week, so we slot him back in that group, as well. Fantasy owners hope Michael Thomas (knee) and Chris Godwin (hamstring) also return from injury this week. We currently have Thomas (vs. Chargers) in our rankings, but with the Saints off in Week 6, it’s possible they hold out him out through their bye. We don’t anticipate Godwin being back to face the Bears on Thursday, but we’ll be ready to adjust if he’s active.

Quarterback | Running back | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

Moving into the WR3 tier are Darius Slayton (@ Cowboys), Jamison Crowder (vs. Cardinals), Justin Jefferson (@ Seahawks), Jerry Jeudy (@ Patriots), Brandon Aiyuk (vs. Dolphins), and Deebo Samuel (vs. Dolphins). There are risks with some of these guys (Jeudy possibly being matched up with Stephon Gilmore, the 49ers cannibalizing each other’s production, other assorted QB issues), but all have solid matchups and the talent/big-play ability to rip off big games. 

Several more potential sleepers, including Golden Tate (@ Cowboys), Scotty Miller (@ Bears), N’Keal Harry (vs. Broncos), Christian Kirk (@ Jets), Zach Pascal (@ Browns), and Curtis Samuel (@ Falcons), are right on the start-or-sit bubble and could be worth streaming if you’re in a bind because of byes to Lions and Packers receivers. 

On the flipside, some WRs are moving down, though it’s not necessarily because of matchups. We’re at the point in the season where chronically poor performances can’t be ignored. A.J. Green (@ Ravens) represents the worst of both worlds this week, and we have him well out of the WR3 tier. Jarvis Landry (vs. Colts) has also fallen since you can’t count on him throwing a TD every week. T.Y. Hilton (@ Browns) would join them if he didn’t have such a favorable matchup. Brandin Cooks (vs. Jaguars), Preston Williams (@ 49ers), and Anthony Miller (vs. Bucs) all look like they’re better suited for the waiver wire than fantasy benches.

Of course, given how this season has gone, it’s possible any (or all) of those just mentioned go off in Week 5. After all, is there really such thing as a “bad matchup” anymore? It’s starting to feel as if there’s not, but either way, fantasy owners will agonize over their start ’em, sit ’em decisions, so we’ll do our best to help. 

Note: Check back all week leading up to kickoff, as we’ll continue to update our WR rankings and provide analysis based on the latest news and injuries.

Week 5 Fantasy WR Rankings (Standard)

These rankings are for non-PPR leagues.

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