2021 Fantasy Football Targets and Touches Week 5

by Cale Clinton
2021 Fantasy Football Targets And Touches Week 5

Welcome back to our Week 5 roundup of Targets and Touches for the 2021 Fantasy Football season.

At this point, you know the drill. This article helps you find the inefficiencies in your league's market for players. By following snap count trends and tracking target shares, we help you find players primed to break out before they actually do.

In an article like this week's, some of these players are going to be low-ownership players who are trending upward, or some widely owned names with high boom potential long-term.

As always, let's state our sources up top. All metrics on run/pass frequency, yards/game or attempt, or attempts per game come from Team Rankings. All snap counts and target shares come from Fantasy Data. Any Fantasy rankings, ownership percentages, or target numbers come from FantasyPros in a Half-PPR scoring format. All references to EPA/play can be found on Ben Baldwin's Box Score plug-in on RBSDM. Anything else in the article will be directly linked to.

2021 Fantasy Football Targets and Touches Week 5

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Running Backs

Darrel Williams, Kansas City (rostered in 16.6% of leagues)

As you are probably well aware at this point, the Kansas City Chiefs have placed running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire on the injured reserve list. Yes, Edwards-Helaire was not having his best season at the time of injury. FantasyPros lists Edwards-Helaire as RB29, but his production has been up-and-down. The Chiefs lead back had as many fumbles lost as rushing touchdowns at the time of injury. Now that he is unavailable for at least three weeks, the Chiefs will turn to Darrel Williams.

Ben Baldwin's box scores on RBSDM tell us that may be a good thing for the Chiefs.

PlayerWeek 1Week 2Week 3Week 4Week 5
Clyde Edwards-HelaireRush: -0.26 (14)
Pass: 0.34 (4)
Rush: -0.31 (14)
Pass: -0.24 (3)
Rush: -0.21 (17)
Pass: 0.71 (2)
Rush: 0.31 (14)
Pass: 0.27 (3)
Rush: -0.32 (7)
Pass: 0.23 (2)
Darrel WilliamsRush: -0.11 (1)
Pass: --
Rush: -0.24 (3)
Pass: --
Rush: 0.10 (7)
Pass: 0.07 (3)
Rush: 0.06 (11)
Pass: 0.58 (3)
Rush: -0.03 (5)
Pass: 0.25 (6)
Jerick McKinnon--------Rush: -0.54 (1)
Pass: 0.23 (2)

Edwards-Helaire was playing much worse than his numbers suggest. Every handoff to CEH was a net-negative play on average, disastrous in some cases. Williams, while also not always a net positive runner, operated much closer to the mean than his lead back.

On top of this, Williams is competent enough in the passing game to pick up Edwards-Helaire's targets in the part of the game CEH excelled most in.

Jerick McKinnon does not have the ability to overtake Williams, especially considering Williams' knowledge of the Chiefs offense. The benefit of picking up Williams now is that when Edward-Helaire returns, he may split carries more with Williams pending his performance.

AJ Dillon, Green Bay Packers (63.5%)

The Green Bay Packers have yet to get the run game going much this season. According to ESPN, they currently rank 20th in rushing yards per attempt, 21st in rushing yards per game, and 23rd in rushing touchdowns per game. However, the deeper numbers aren't adding up in this equation. ESPN currently lists Green Bay 10th in Run Block Win Rate, RBSDM lists Green Bay as 13th in Rush EPA, and Football Outsiders has the Packers 15th in offensive rushing DVOA. While they aren't elite numbers, they show that the Packers just haven't hit their stride yet (no pun intended).

A Packers running back is due for a breakout game at some point. For the sake of playing the odds, I'd suggest trying to acquire AJ Dillon over Aaron Jones.

PlayerWeek 1Week 2Week 3Week 4Week 5
Aaron Jones28 (49.1%)45 (69.2%)46 (73%)45 (62.5%)44 (68.8%)
AJ Dillon16 (28.1%)19 (29.2%)18 (28.6%)29 (40.3%)21 (32.8%)

Listen, I understand Jones is a guaranteed RB1 when healthy. Tell me, what's easier to trade for: a back rostered in 100% of leagues or one rostered in 63.5% of them? Jones will be the surefire starter, yes, but Dillon is starting to see an increased workload.
In some games, like the one against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 4, Dillon outright performs Jones. RBSDM box scores show Dillon and Jones both notched 15 rushing attempts. Dillon averaged 0.24 EPA/play, while Jones averaged -0.39 EPA/play. The Packers are due for a breakout rushing performance, and you should have some kind of skin in that game.

Myles Gaskin, Miami Dolphins (77.1%)

The Miami Dolphins have yet to offer much rhyme or reason in the running back department this year. However, one thing is certain: Myles Gaskin is getting looks.

PlayerWeek 1Week 2Week 3Week 4Week 5
Myles Gaskin29 (53.7%)45 (60.8%)43 (51.8%)12 (23.1%)37 (68.5%)
Malcolm Brown16 (29.6%)9 (12.2%)34 (41%)35 (67.3%)5 (9.3%)
Salvon Ahmed11 (20.4%)23 (31.1%)5 (6%)5 (9.6%)11 (20.4%)

Gaskin currently leads the team in rushing attempts while ranking 4th in targets and 3rd in receptions. That also factors that Week 4 game where Gaskin got just 12 snaps. The Dolphins' two other backs, Malcolm Brown and Salvon Ahmed, oscillate widely on the snap charts.

I know Gaskin is coming off his best game of the season, but try and get your hands on a piece of the Dolphins right now. Miami has one of the easiest remaining schedules in football; that Buccaneers game was the hump they needed to get over. The rest of their road includes the Jaguars, Falcons, Texans, Giants, and the Jets twice. Tua Tagovailoa is returning from injury soon, and there are going to be some cakewalk defenses for him to work back onto the field with.

Gaskin is my favorite pick of potential Dolphins weapons because in a very skilled receiver room, targets get spread thin. Gaskin gets targets by default, whether that be in screens or as a checkdown option. While his snap count oscillates, it consistently sits above the other two backs in the system.

Wide Receivers

Embed from Getty Images

Emmanuel Sanders, Buffalo Bills (69.0%)

The Buffalo Bills offense hasn't been the most efficient this year, but man has it been good for Fantasy Football. Lots of volume, high touchdown rate; the fact that this team refuses to take their foot off the pedal makes them even more dangerous. This is my third week pushing for Bills players. If you missed out on Dawson Knox and Zack Moss, I have one more (before I basically run out of good Bills skill position players).

If you want to get in on the Bills, check to see what Emmanuel Sanders' availability is in your league. Yes, he's rostered in nearly 70% of leagues. But Sanders is really starting to establish himself as the second option as wide receiver.

PlayerWeek 1Week 2Week 3Week 4Week 5Total
Stefon Diggs1481011548
Cole Beasley134132234
Emmanuel Sanders8666531
Dawson Knox4358424

26 of Cole Beasley's 34 targets came in Weeks 1 and 3. Since Week 3, Beasley's snap percentage has steadily declined, falling from 65.8% to 50%, then down to 38.6% in Week 5. Sanders, on the other hand, has yet to play less than 70% of snaps. Sanders is averaging 13.4 yards per catch to Beasley's 8.3. Sanders leads the team in big plays with 6. Sanders is also a target when hunting for first downs, tied with Stefon Diggs and Devin Singletary for most on the team.

If there's any way possible to get your hands on Sanders, do it. The price may be high after taking out the Chiefs on national television, but it is well worth it considering his usage going forward.

Kadarius Toney, New York Giants (19.5%)

Kadarius Toney's been on a hot streak with the Giants. In the last three weeks, Toney has burst onto the scene.

PlayerWeek 3Week 4Week 5Total
Kadarius Toney391325
Kenny Golladay57315
Evan Engram66416
Saquon Barkley76114

The funniest thing about that Week 5 matchup? Toney went for 189 yards on 10 receptions and didn't even play the whole game. He was ejected in the 4th quarter for throwing a punch. Whether that results in any discipline from head coach Joe Judge remains to be seen, but Toney showed just talented he is as a receiver.

Toney is seemingly the Giant to own in fantasy at the moment. If you want to pick him up, however, this would not be the week to start him. The New York Giants host the Los Angeles Rams this coming Sunday. I'm not sure whether Toney's earned the Jalen Ramsey assignment, but the Giants may be without Daniel Jones, so that may not even matter.

Marquez Callaway, New Orleans Saints (36.4%)

Listen, I don't know if you want anyone from the New Orleans Saints not named Alvin Kamara on your fantasy team. Lasik didn't seem to fix Jameis Winston's volatility at quarterback. The Saints pass the ball on a league-low 45.26% of plays.

The one thing you can't turn down, however, is a team's WR1. Through five weeks, Marquez Calloway is the Saint's top dog.

PlayerWeek 1Week 2Week 3Week 4Week 5Total
Alvin Kamara4640822
Marquez Callaway2452821
Deonte Harris2238116
Juwaun Johnson3313111
Kenny Stills----3159

Deonte Harris leads the team in total yards, but Callaway leads in targets, receptions, and touchdowns. Callaway has the volume going forward to put up numbers. I'd suggest keeping an eye on him once they come out of the bye week against the Seahawks.

Tight Ends

David Njoku, Cleveland Browns (3.1%)

Here's the part of the article where we remember just how many potential tight end options there are in fantasy this year. David Njoku is hot off the heels of his best performance this season, going 7-for-7 with 149 yards and a touchdown.

Yes, he had a breakaway touchdown because the Chargers forgot how to tackle, but the point remains: Njoku is on the rise.

In an odd way, the Njoku surge couldn't come at a more perfect time for him. Njoku's big game came at the behest of tight end Austin Hooper despite Hooper receiving more snaps (52 for Hooper, 46 for Njoku). Odell Beckham Jr. has also seen decreasing production in the three weeks since his return from injury.

Factor in the loss of Jarvis Landry, and all of a sudden Njoku is the top target on the team. Donovan Peoples-Jones and Rashard Higgins are sat just behind Njoku on the Week 5 target list, but Njoku is out-snapping both of them.

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