Five fantasy stars of Week 5

Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner (30) takes a handoff from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) and runs it in for a touchdown around Atlanta Falcons linebacker Duke Riley (42) in the second half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright)

It was a rather weak week for fantasy football, with the highest scoring player recording just 30 points in standard and 34.5 points in PPR. That is an astonishing 9 and 4.5 points lower than the next lowest scoring week, respectively. Of those who did have a good week, here are the best.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers: 28 points standard, 28.7 points PPR

This was a disappointing week for quarterbacks, and it was the first time the top scorer for the position did not surpass 30 points. In fact, if not for Week 2 when the highest scorer, Ben Roethlisberger, put up 39, it would have been the first time the top QB has failed to put up 40.

Rodgers threw for 442 yards, three touchdowns and lost two fumbles in the Packers’ 31-23 loss to the Detroit Lions. If not for kicker Mason Crosby missing 13 points worth of kicks, Rodgers’ effort would have been enough for a win.

The Packers play the San Francisco 49ers on Monday night next week, and Rodgers is a must start. Frankly, Rodgers is a must start every week no matter what the matchup is. However, the 49ers have just been so bad, giving up the fourth most points per game in the NFL, that Rodgers has a very good chance of having another top-3 week.

Honorable Mentions: Tom Brady, Drew Brees

Running back James Conner, Pittsburgh Steelers: 30 points standard, 34.5 points PPR

The Steelers exploded for 41 points against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday and James Conner was the one who took full advantage of it. Conner rushed the ball 21 times for 110 yards and two touchdowns, the most for each since Week 1. He also caught four passes for 75 yards, his largest receiving yardage total of the season.

Conner and Conner fantasy owners are in a tricky situation: Le’Veon Bell says that he will return to action for the Steelers’ Week 8 game vs the Cleveland Browns and if he follows through on his word, Conner will once again be irrelevant. However, if he does not return—which is a possibility as well—he remains a RB1. I suggest owners try to trade him now and capitalize on his value right now in case it ends up plummeting.

Running back Todd Gurley II, Los Angeles Rams: 28 points standard, 33.3 points PPR

Todd Gurley and the Rams are playing like the best team in football and are currently one of the only two remaining undefeated teams. Gurley is the star and focal point of the offense, and it showed on Sunday. He rushed the ball 22 times for 77 yards and three touchdowns while also bringing in four passes for 36 yards. While the yardage numbers were good but not great, the touchdowns are what really put him over the top.

Gurley is the best running back in the NFL, especially since his greatest competition, Le’Veon Bell, is refusing to take the field. He is guaranteed to get a substantial number of touches per game including a handful of receptions in one of the best offenses in the league. His top-level talent combined with his top-level usage rates make him one of the most valuable running backs in fantasy football.

Honorable Mentions: Isaiah Crowell, Saquon Barkley

Wide Receiver Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants: 23 points standard, 31.4 points PPR

Despite all of Odell’s off the field issues—like calling out his quarterback and saying that he would probably be happier in Los Angeles—the man can still produce in fantasy. In the Giants’ 33-31 loss to the Carolina Panthers, Beckham caught eight passes for 131 yards and touchdown. That wasn’t all: on a little bit of trickery he threw a 53-yard touchdown pass to running back Saquon Barkley.

Despite Beckham’s crazy potential, he is in a terrible situation with the Giants. His quarterback Eli Manning is nowhere near what he used to be and his lack of mobility makes him possibly the worst quarterback to be stuck behind the Giants’ terrible offensive line. While he will have days like this on occasion, more often than not he will have an average to slightly above average game. His skill makes him a must start almost every week, but if he has a particularly difficult matchup it might not be a bad idea to sit him.

Wide Receiver Robby Anderson, New York Jets: 24 points standard, 27.3 points PPR

While Beckham was the highest scoring wide receiver in PPR, Anderson took the cake in standard. The Jets blew out the Broncos 34-16, and Anderson caught three passes for 123 yards and two touchdowns. The first touchdown went for 76 yards and the second for 35 yards.

That is what Robby Anderson is: a big play threat. He hasn’t had more than three catches in a game this season and in the three weeks prior had just seven catches for 67 yards and two fumbles. While he is worth owning, the fact that he is essentially just a boom or bust player makes him only worth starting in select matchups. That could be next week vs the Indianapolis Colts, but just beware of the enormous risk.

Honorable Mentions: Tre’Quan Smith, Davante Adams


Jorge Eckardt is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at jorge.eckardt@uconn.edu.