Last-minute pickups for Week 5: C.J. Stroud, emerging RBs lead the way

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Each week throughout the NFL regular season, we will discuss the top fantasy football streaming options. These are deeper-league targets who have shown viable production or fit as a matchup-dependent play to give you a boost in the lineup this week.

Players listed below are rostered in fewer than 50% of ESPN leagues. Although you might notice some overlap with Eric Moody’s waiver wire column that publishes on Mondays, an important distinction is that the options mentioned in this column are focused solely on this week’s matchup and not on the players’ values for the remainder of the season.

With four teams on a bye this week, and injuries starting to mount at the offensive skill positions across the league, I went deeper into the streaming options this week. There’s three quarterbacks to discuss here, multiple running backs and some emerging players at the wide receiver position. Plus, we’ll hit on the tight ends and a pass rushing defense with a really positive matchup.

So, let’s get into it. Here are my top streaming options for Week 5.

All references to fantasy points are for PPR leagues.


C.J. Stroud, Houston Texans (32.0% rostered; at Falcons)

I’ll be honest here, because I questioned Stroud last week due to the matchup versus the Pittsburgh defense. But the rookie posted over 20 fantasy points, with multiple touchdown throws, for the third straight game. And the Texans have big play targets in the route tree, too. Now, Stroud will have to read out the late movement from safety Jessie Bates and the Falcons secondary in this one, but his ability to play from the pocket is jumping on the tape. See it. And rip it. You can go with Stroud as a lower tier QB1 this week.

Joshua Dobbs, Arizona Cardinals (2.1% rostered; vs. Bengals)

Dobbs is producing dual-threat numbers that can give you a boost in lineup for the Week 5 game versus the Bengals defense. Dobbs has now posted 23 or more fantasy points in two of his last three games, with at least 41 yards rushing in all three. Second-reaction scrambles here. Get outside of the pocket and create as a runner. And he hasn’t turned the ball over since Week 1. With those totals, he does fit as a deeper league streaming option this week.

Sam Howell, Washington Commanders (8.9% rostered; vs. Bears)

I have concerns on Howell’s gunslinger mentality, and we saw that back in Week 3 versus the Bills. He threw four picks and played frenetically from the pocket. However, Howell did make plays in the Week 4 game versus the Eagles, throwing for 290 yards and score, while using his legs to produce 40 yards rushing. 19.6 fantasy points there. And, on a short week, I like the matchup for Howell versus a Bears defense that can’t create pressure and lacks difference making talent. You’re going with the upside of Howell in this one as a quarterback who can create late in the down.

Running backs

Jaleel McLaughlin, Denver Broncos (0.5% rostered; vs. Jets)

If Javonte Williams is out this week due to a hip injury, then go get McLaughlin. Even in a tough matchup versus the Jets, McLaughlin has the play-speed, and receiving chops, to create production in your lineup. In the Week 4 win over the Bears, he posted 19.4 PPR points, rushing for 72 yards (on only seven carries), while adding three receptions for 32 yards and a touchdown. He’ll share the backfield with Samaje Perine, but with a bump in total volume, McLaughlin has he traits to play a productive role as a dual-threat back.

Ezekiel Elliott, New England Patriots (47.9% rostered; vs. Saints)

I don’t like the matchup for Mac Jones and this Patriots pass game versus the Saints secondary. So, I’m anticipating a more run-heavy script, with Zeke getting touches as the No.2 behind Rhamondre Stevenson. Let’s eliminate the blow-out loss to the Cowboys in Week 4, where Elliott saw just six carries, and go back to the Week 3 matchup versus the Jets. Here, he logged 16 carries for 80 yards. Use the run game to control tempo. I’ll take Zeke as a deeper league streaming option, with more upside in Non PPR formats.

Gus Edwards, Baltimore Ravens (45.6% rostered; at Steelers)

Edwards logged 15 carries in the Week 4 win over the Browns, which gave him three straight games with double digit rushing attempts. Yes, Edwards is a touchdown dependent back, with more value in Non PPR formats, but he’s playing the role of the lead runner for this Ravens offense. Take the volume and hope for Edwards to see multiple carries inside the low red zone area of the field. The straight-line burst is still there on the tape, too.

Tyjae Spears, Tennessee Titans (20.3% rostered; at Colts)

It’s a tough sell to play Derrick Henry’s backup, but with bye weeks starting and multiple running backs down due to injury, this could be the week to take a shot on Spears. He’s seen at least eight touches in each of his last three games, and he did post 8.8 PPR points in the Week 4 win over the Bengals. The point here is that Spears is getting snaps and he has the traits to produce as both a runner and receiver. 16 team league? I play in one. And I’m going to pick up Spears for this week.

Wide receivers

Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals (43.1% rostered; at Cardinals)

If you roster Tee Higgins, who might be down with a rib injury, then get in on Boyd for this week’s matchup versus the Cardinals. Even in a Bengals pass game that looks rough right now, Boyd can fit as a WR3 in your lineup due to his ability to work the underneath and intermediate levels of the field. Over the last two weeks, Boyd has caught nine of 16 targets, and he can uncover on middle of the field throws for Joe Burrow. PPR upside here.

Rashee Rice, Kansas City Chiefs (11.0% rostered; at Vikings)

Let’s take a shot on Rice, as his five targets in the Week 4 win over the Jets were the second-most to Travis Kelce at nine, and someone needs to emerge at the wide receiver spot for Patrick Mahomes. Rice has caught eight of 12 targets in his last two games for 91 yards, and he’s posted double digit PPR production in two of four games played this season. Plus, I’ll take this matchup versus the Vikings pass defense in Week 5.

Terrace Marshall Jr., Carolina Panthers (0.4% rostered; at Lions)

In Jonathan Mingo’s absence (concussion), Marshall, Jr. logged 14.6 PPR points in the Week 4 loss to the Vikings, catching 9 of 10 targets for 56 yards. And over the last two weeks, he’s caught 14 of 18 targets. Even if Mingo returns, Marshall Jr’s. recent run on production warrants more looks in the Sunday game versus Detroit. And I believe the Panthers will have to throw with volume to compete here.

Michael Wilson Jr., Arizona Cardinals (1.4% rostered; vs. Bengals)

The rookie dropped 26.6 PPR points on the 49ers defense in Week 4, catching all seven of his targets for 76 yards and two touchdowns. Yes, the Cards had to throw the ball here as they fell behind in this one. I get it. But Wilson also caught two passes for 86 yards in the Week 3 game against the Cowboys. Follow the production for a player who is emerging as the No.2 wide receiver for the Cardinals. He’s another deeper league option this week.



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Field Yates explains why Cardinals wide receiver Michael Wilson’s fantasy stock is up.

Tight end

Jake Ferguson, Dallas Cowboys (24.5% rostered; at 49ers)

It’s a tough Week 5 matchup for Dak Prescott and Ferguson, but the tight end is seeing consistent volume and he has three level ability in the route tree. In Week 4, Ferguson caught all seven of his targets for 77 yards, finishing with 14.7 PPR points. He’s now seen seven targets in three of four games played this season. Against San Francisco’ split-safety coverages, Ferguson should also be a check-down/flat option for Prescott on Sunday night.

Luke Musgrave, Green Bay Packers (34.8% rostered; vs. Raiders)

Musgrave left the Thursday night game versus the Lions with a concussion, so we’ll have to monitor his status this week. If he can go, however, he’s a smart streaming fit for the Week 5 matchup against the Raiders. Musgrave caught six of eight targets for 49 yards in the Week 3 win over the Saints, displaying his ability to work the seams and the middle of the field.


Detroit Lions (4.7% rostered; vs. Panthers)

I’m in on the Lions this week given their matchup advantages along the defensive front. Over the last two games, Detroit has produced 12 sacks, with at least one turnover in both. Carolina has allowed 14 sacks this season, and the Lions have the personnel to heat-up quarterback Bryce Young.

Source: ESPN

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