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Stats Perform’s Fantasy Football Outliers vs. Consensus: Week 5

By: Gabe Schmittlein

There’s an exciting slate of games set for Week 5, headlined by a showdown between the division-leading Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys – one that figures to have major fantasy implications.

After finishing with 10 catches and 180 yards last week, Packers’ Davante Adams is looking doubtful for this week’s matchup with a turf toe injury. That leaves an Aaron-Rodgers’-No. 1-receiver-sized gap in the Packers lineup. Can Marquez Valdes-Scantling or Geronimo Allison step up and provide the Packers (and fantasy owners) with a big boost?

For the Cowboys, we can’t help but wonder if this is the week that Ezekiel Elliott breaks out against a Green Bay run defense that struggled against the Eagles in Week 4. Elliott has underperformed his projections in each of the last two weeks and fantasy owners will be desperate for a big showing.

In Los Angeles, the Austin Ekeler-Melvin Gordon situation will be especially interesting to monitor. We project them both to be fairly safe starts in Week 5. To help you pick through these dilemmas and more, Stats Perform’s fantasy projections are here.

We’ve pinpointed players at quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end in a standard-scoring format that we project are either higher or lower than other experts’ rankings. For the consensus rankings, we’re using FantasyPros, which aggregates major fantasy sites’ picks, to compare our projections with others in the industry.

Here are Stats Perform’s top undervalued and overvalued players for Week 5:

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) passes under pressure from Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, right, during the second of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019, in Los Angeles.

Quarterback – Undervalued:

Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Stats Perform Ranking: 5

FantasyPros Ranking: 11

NFL Quarterback Jameis Winston may be risk-prone and inconsistent, but Fantasy Football Quarterback Jameis Winston has been a flat-out stud. Winston has thrown for 380 yards or more in each of the past two weeks to go with seven total touchdowns. Point is – he’s been really good.

The Bucs will likely continue to air it out with Winston and his talented receivers against a Saints defense that has conceded the ninth most pass yards per game. Winston is still error-prone (projected 1.2 interceptions) but he’s also pretty likely to eclipse 300 yards for the third week in a row (64% chance, according to our projections).

Quarterback – Overvalued:

Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals

Stats Perform Ranking: 14

FantasyPros Ranking: 9

Once again, Stats Perform’s player projections are less confident in Murray than the consensus. He salvaged a positive fantasy performance with a rushing touchdown against the Seahawks last week but remains a risky option. He averages just 6.34 yards per pass attempt (29th in the league), with a touchdown percentage of just 2.4% (28th) and an interception percentage of 2.4% (24th).

Murray does have a good matchup against the shaky Cincinnati Bengals, but he’ll be missing one of his top receivers, Christian Kirk, and we expect the Cardinals to lean on David Johnson and the run game. He may end up being one of the premier young quarterbacks in the league, but right now we’re still stepping cautiously with Murray.

Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette, center, runs with the ball during the second half of an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos, Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019, in Denver.

Running Back – Undervalued:

Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars

Stats Perform Ranking: 7

FantasyPros Ranking: 9

Stats Perform’s projections have been high on Fournette all year. In Week 4, he broke out for 225 rushing yards and 20 receiving yards. Fournette’s value is boosted (and his fantasy floor raised) by the fact that the Jaguars are using him as a true workhorse – he’s third among running backs in total snaps through four weeks.

In Week 5, Fournette and the Jaguars face a Panthers defense that is allowing 4.89 yards per carry and yielding gains of 10-plus yards on 17.8% of rushes, measures that rank 28th and 31st in the league, respectively. Fournette seems primed for another positive week in terms of usage and yardage, and fantasy owners will be hoping that he’s able to add his first touchdown of the season as well.

Running Back – Overvalued:

James Conner, Pittsburgh Steelers

Stats Perform Ranking: 17

FantasyPros Ranking: 16

Conner has struggled when the Steelers have struggled. During the team’s 0-3 start, he totaled just 97 yards with one touchdown. In a 27-3 win over the Bengals in Week 4, Connor racked up 125 total yards – including 83 on the receiving end – and a touchdown. Those same results are going to be tough to replicate against a Ravens defense that is ninth in rushing yards allowed (93.5) and will be looking to bounce back after being carved out by Nick Chubb and the Browns last week.

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Marquise Brown runs a route against the Cleveland Browns during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019, in Baltimore.

Wide Receiver – Undervalued:

Marquise Brown, Baltimore Ravens

Stats Perform Ranking: 9

FantasyPros Ranking: 22

Brown has huge upside because of his deep-play ability. He’s averaging 16.9 yards per catch (17th in the league) and has already racked up four catches of at least 25 yards. At the same time, Brown is averaging 8.5 targets per game, making his fantasy floor pretty stable as well.

Wide Receiver – Overvalued:

Amari Cooper, Cowboys

Stats Perform Ranking: 17

FantasyPros Ranking: 9

This is a matchup problem more than anything else for Cooper. As exemplified in their Week 4 loss to the Eagles, the Packers’ secondary is really good but their run defense isn’t. The Packers have allowed just 6.25 yards per attempt (5th in the league) on pass plays, with a completion percentage of 57.1% (tied for 3rd).

On the other hand, the Packers are allowing 5.04 yards per carry, good for 29th in the league, and were exposed by the Eagles’ Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders last week. We project the Cowboys to rely on Elliott and their superb offensive line to keep the ball on the ground in this one.

Houston Texans tight end Jordan Akins scores against the Los Angeles Chargers during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, in Carson, Calif.

Tight End – Undervalued:

Jordan Akins, Houston Texans

Stats Perform Ranking: 10

FantasyPros Ranking: 26

We do not envy those who are streaming tight ends at this point in the season – the options aren’t great. Still, though, there are opportunities to find value, and Akins is someone our projections are high on in Week 5.

Akins has only averaged 34 yards on 3.5 targets, but he’s trending in the right direction. He’s received nine targets over the past two weeks, tallying six catches for 94 yards and two touchdowns.

Tight End – Overvalued:

George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers

Stats Perform Ranking: 8

FantasyPros Ranking: 2

The general fantasy consensus still considers Kittle in the top tier of fantasy tight ends, but our projections don’t agree at the moment. Kittle has underwhelmed this year, averaging just 55 yards per game with zero touchdowns.

Of course, the lack of production isn’t actually Kittle’s fault. The 49ers have thrown the ball just 28.3 times per game (31st in the league) and lead the league with 38 rushes per game. Kittle is a great run blocker and has had a positive impact on the 49ers, but he will remain outside the upper echelon of fantasy tight ends as long as they continue running at this rate.