The 2016 Fantasy Football schedule enters Week 5, and Jake Ciely (@allinkid) of *RotoExperts.com *is providing exclusive expert Fantasy coverage for NewOrleansSaints.com. Throughout the season, Jake will give you the expert deal on Saints players from Fantasy perspectives, while letting you know which performers will help you take home a championship.
The Saints are coming off a win and their bye week, which sets them up with full rest and preparation for an important divisional matchup against the Carolina Panthers. As they look to earn two wins a row, it starts with Drew Brees at quarterback. Brees entered the bye week with 1,269 passing yards and 10 touchdowns, putting him on pace for more than 5,000 yards and 40 touchdowns. With those kinds of numbers, it's clear to see why Brees is a must-start, Top 3 quarterback option every week. In fact, Brees still ranks eighth for all quarterbacks at NFL.com despite playing one less game than most other quarterbacks.
As for the Saints receivers, Brandin Cooks, Willie Snead and Michael Thomas each entered the bye with at least 229 receiving yards and two touchdowns. There is a bit of surprise, as Thomas is leading the way with 21 receptions. Despite his rookie status, Thomas is making a strong weekly play given his early rapport with Brees and ability to be a strong red zone target. Cooks and Snead are must starts and Top 20 receiver options each week, but Thomas isn't far behind, especially with the Panthers defense not being as strong as it used to be. Don't forget Coby Fleener, as he had a big game against the Falcons in Week 3 and is always a threat to find the end zone. On top of that, the Panthers defense allows the fifth most Fantasy points per game to tight ends.
Mark Ingram got on the scoring train with a touchdown in back-to-back games before the bye, one of those being the first receiving touchdown of his career. Ingram has 221 yards with a 4.1 yards per carry average and has chipped in another 125 receiving yards. Ingram is on pace for nearly 1,400 total yards, and is proving why he's one of the most reliable Fantasy options at running back that also carries a high ceiling each week. The Panthers defense isn't the fearsome unit of years past, so you don't need to have any concerns with keeping Ingram in every lineup.
Quarterback Carson Palmer missed last week to a concussion but has a good chance to return, and if so, he's in a great situation against a Jets defense that can't stop the pass. The Jets are one of three teams that have allowed more than 1,500 passing yards and at least a dozen passing touchdowns. Marcus Mariota had his best game of the season with three passing touchdowns and another on the ground, totaling 30.52 Fantasy points on NFL.com. He faces a Browns defense that has struggled to stop every opponent. If you haven't noticed by now, Brian Hoyer has been a pretty good streaming option. In fact, some needy owners might actually use Hoyer every week. Hoyer has three straight games with 300-plus yards (1,016 total) with two touchdowns in each game and now faces the weak Jaguars defense. He makes a stronger play than Matt Ryan, as hot as he's been, since Ryan faces a rested Seahawks team fresh off its bye and at home.
Lamar Miller hasn't found the end zone yet, but he does have 453 yards and has a great shot to finally score this week. The Colts have allowed 804 total yards and seven touchdowns to running backs already. Ryan Mathews is the lead option for the Eagles, as seen with his team-high 11 carries last week. While we want more from a lead running back, we should see it this week. The Eagles play the Redskins, a team that has been extremely weak against the run, giving up 95 rushing yards to Terrance West on just 11 carries. Mathews is a solid RB2 this week. The Raiders defense has been susceptible to the run, and Jamaal Charles saw a few snaps before the Chiefs bye. There is a ton of upside with Charles leading the Chiefs backfield once again, and it would be hard to bench him in any league. The Giants backfield is reverting to a committee, and the Ravens allow the third fewest running back points per game on NFL.com. It would be wise to find another option this week.
The Raiders continue to give up significant points to opposing receivers. Jeremy Maclin is a must-start option in all formats as a result. As mentioned with Palmer, the Jets present a great opportunity for the Cardinals passing game. It can be difficult to predict which of the three receivers produces each week, but this is a matchup where you can start an of them given the upside. Sammie Coates is steadily improving and had a huge Week 5 performance. Look for Coates to continue rolling against a Dolphins team allowing 26.14 receiver Fantasy points per game on NFL.com. The Packers run defense is the best in the league but the pass defense is weak. That gives Dak Prescott, Brice Butler and Cole Beasley start-worthy potential this week. Beasley is the better option in PPR and Butler in standard scoring. Any Redskins receiver not named DeSean Jackson is not recommended, given the strength of the Eagles defense.
Delanie Walker continues to be one of the more reliable tight ends in the league and has the best matchup of all against the Browns this week. He needs to be in all lineups. Jimmy Graham looks like the top-level tight end we used to know, and the Falcons have allowed the third most FPPG to tight ends. Graham is another must start. The only defense stingier than the Texans against tight ends is the Eagles unit. Both teams have yet to allow a touchdown to tight ends, and the Texans have allowed just 107 receiving yards to them. That makes Dwayne Allen and Jack Doyle high-risk options this week.
The Lions DST performed admirably against the Eagles and gave Carson Wentz his first interception. They are a sneaky streaming option, as they host the Rams in Week 6. The Browns offense is struggling to click given their quarterback situation, which makes the Titans another solid one-week DST option. The Saints should have plenty of scoring opportunities this week, making Wil Lutz a strong K1. Adam Vinatieri is Fantasy's top scoring kicker, yet is owned in just 40.9 percent of NFL.com leagues. Grab him if you can. The Bears allow more Fantasy points to kickers than any other team, so if you own Roberto Aguayo or Nick Folk, Jason Myers (Jaguars) could be your replacement.
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