Here we are with Week 5 in the books and even more questions to be asked. The running back position has been a veritable disaster, we’re not seeing much in the way of consistency from the wide receivers and how bad is this tight end position right now? Wow. It’s amazing that we were even able to find players who actually see their fantasy stock on the rise. Unless we get a nice shake-up from some of these under-performing top draft picks (Dalvin Cook , Leonard Fournette among others), we could all be in for a very long and arduous season.

Stock Rising

Mark Ingram , RB NO – He’s back from his four-game PEDs suspension and the Saints wasted no time in giving Alvin Kamara a break and letting Ingram tote the rock for most of the game Monday. He looked to be in great shape and in mid-season form as he rumbled his way to 53 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries and should continue to see his usual workload moving forward. The Saints have a bye this week and then come back for three-straight games against tough run defenses, so the results may not immediately reflect the actual value.

Isaiah Crowell , RB NYJ – An absolutely amazing effort this past Sunday as Crowell carried the ball 15 times for 219 yards, including a 77-yard touchdown run. He’s had two amazing games, one really good one and then two we couldn’t care less about, but what his track record indicates is that you want him starting when the Jets are facing teams with strong, fast edge-rushers. As the edge rushers are coming in, the Jets zone-blocking has pushed them further outside, thus opening up some amazing lanes for him to push through. It happened against the Lions, the Browns and now the Broncos. He’s got two really tough match-ups in the next five games, but the other three should be good for him.

Wendell Smallwood , RB PHI – With Jay Ajayi suffering a torn ACL in Week 5, the Eagles are now forced to turn to the rest of their backfield. Darren Sproles is still hurt and Corey Clement , though active this past week, has also been dealing with leg issues. The one consistent runner in the backfield has been Smallwood. It doesn’t matter if Clement or Josh Adams take the lead role because Smallwood always seems to remain a factor. He’s got two touchdowns in his last three games and head coach Doug Pederson loves keeping him active as a change-of-back back.

Frank Gore , RB MIA – Don’t look now, but Gore has now out-carried Kenyan Drake 23-9 over the last two games. Drake was more active in the passing game in Week 5, but the lack of consistent touches out of the backfield have to be a concern. Not for Gore, though, as it’s starting to look like Adam Gase wants to go with the traditional backfield split with Gore as the earl-down back and Drake as the third-down pass-catcher. There’s really no guarantee that it stays like this or that Gore will truly see an increase in overall value, but if he’s seeing the work over Drake right now, you have to pay attention.

Austin Ekeler , RB LAC – Yes, Melvin Gordon remains the lead back and sees 70-percent of the snaps. However, Ekeler is consistently seeing 35 to 40-percent of the snaps as well and is seeing some nice touches both as a runner and a pass-catcher. He posted another receiving TD this past week to give him scores in two-straight games. He’s definitely worth owning as a handcuff to Gordon, but to know you can use him in times of desperation, with or without Gordon being active, is a serious breath of fresh air at this position right now.

Josh Gordon , WR NE – Forever linked to Tom Brady and the Patriots as the recipient of Tom Brady ’s 500th touchdown pass, Gordon’s buzz is growing louder and louder by the day. Is it warranted? Maybe. We’ve never doubted the talent of Gordon – just the mental state. If he can truly walk the path of the straight-and-narrow then he’s got immense potential for fantasy owners. If he doesn’t, then he’s the same old guy and doesn’t command your attention. The way it is right now, hold and start in favorable match-ups. If someone is offering you the moon for him, take it. There’s still a ton of risk.

Tre’Quan Smith, WR NO – With Ted Ginn out of action Monday night, the door opened a lot wider for Smith this week. Not only did he see a significant increase in snaps, but he also racked up 111 yards and two touchdowns, one of which was a 62-yarder that also happened to be the pass Drew Brees threw to pas both Brett Favre and Peyton Manning for the all-time passing yards leader. Smith is an outstanding talent and will be a huge waiver target for many, but be careful. Once Ginn returns, Smith’s snap counts go back to what they were. Maybe even less if the Saints return to their run-heavy ways once again.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling , WR GB – He’s in the exact same boat as Tre’Quan Smith is right now. He saw an increase in snaps and even caught a touchdown pass this past week while Geronimo Allison and Randall Cobb were both out. Once Allison is cleared via concussion protocol, MVS will head back to his limited role as the team’s No. 4 wideout. He should still see a little extra work if Cobb remains sidelined, but once those two are at full health, he loses tremendous value.

Christian Kirk , WR ARI – The changeover to Josh Rosen has lit a fire underneath the collective asses of the Arizona Cardinals and now it’s time to figure out where he’s going with the majority of his passes. Chad Williams and Kirk, along with tight end Rocky Seals-Jones saw the most targets on the team and it was Kirk who worked well as the team’s deep threat. You can’t expect him to catch a 75-yard touchdown every week, but if he’s going to see the targets and David Johnson is running well, Kirk should prove to be more than just a little fantasy relevant.

Cameron Brate , TE TB – It’s all very simple. O.J. Howard is hurt and Jameis Winston is back under center. We’ve all been privy to Winston’s penchant to find Brate inside the red zone and we caught sight of it last week when the tight end caught one touchdown and almost had a second. He’s coming off a bye week and he’s still a free agent in numerous fantasy leagues. Make sure you get a piece if you can.

Stock Falling

Matt Ryan , QB ATL – Just go back to my Week 5 Hot Takes and you’ll see all you need to see about Ryan. If you don’t want to go back there, just look at his home/road splits and the upcoming schedule. As big a fan as I am of Matty Ice, I would be remiss to not point this out to you. He’s got two games coming up to pad his stats and once they’re gone, so is he maybe.

Adrian Peterson , RB WAS – He suffered a dislocated shoulder during Monday’s loss to the Saints. Well, actually he says it’s a dislocation. Head coach Jay Gruden says he thinks it’s just a strain. Regardless, Peterson will undergo an MRI on Tuesday and will be re-evaluated once the results are in. For now, he gets a bump down on his fantasy stock and could go down even further if he is expected to miss multiple weeks.

Royce Freeman , RB DEN – There was a glimmer of hope about two weeks ago where we thought maybe Freeman was ready to be featured a little more than he had been. Unfortunately, he’s now been out-carried 24-13 and out-targeted 6-4 by Phillip Lindsay and it would appear Vance Joseph is a little more inclined to give Lindsay the work. They split snaps pretty evenly this past week, but you’re not scoring points for snaps. You can be on the field all day long but if they’re not giving you the ball when you’re there, there’s no fantasy value to be had.

Aaron Jones , RB GB – In the realm of disappointing coaches and the backfield they screw up, Jones is suffering at the whim of Mike McCarthy. We all expected jones, who is clearly the superior runner, to see the bulk of the work this past week against the Lions, but to no avail. Jamaal Williams shared the workload pretty evenly, but the snaps themselves tilted way more in Williams’ favor. Then McCarthy came out for the post-game press conference to let everyone know that there’s more to being a running back than just running and cited Jones’ shortcomings as a pass-blocker for the lack of time on the field. This situation just doesn’t appear to be getting any better anytime soon.

Kerryon Johnson , RB DET – Another nightmare for those in need of running backs as Jim Bob Cooter opted to keep Kerryon Johnson on the sidelines for both of LeGarrette Blount ’s touchdowns. Why? We have no idea. None whatsoever. Two weeks removed from Johnson’s historic 100-yard day, Cooter and head coach Matt Patricia continue to hold him back and leave him in some useless, part-time, unfeatured role. Unless we start seeing an increase in touches, particularly near the goal line, it looks like we may be stuck with another platooner who gets the short stick every time.

Derrick Henry , RB TEN – How is this guy still a thing? He’s seen double-digit carries in four of five games and hasn’t done squat with them. This past week against Buffalo was actually his best performance as he carried the ball 11 times for a 5.1 YPC, but again, no touchdowns, no big breakaway runs, nothing. Dion Lewis is much more heavily favored by the coaching staff and while henry is still seeing a decent number of touches, his inability to produce is a problem. His problem used to be his lack of consistency. Now he’s just consistently awful.

Larry Fitzgerald , WR ARI – We were hoping to see a little life from Larry Legend this past week, but rookie quarterback Josh Rosen stuck to his contemporaries rather than lean on the veteran wideout. We certainly don’t want to write him off as useless, but the clear lack of targets is troubling and he’s been reduced to being nothing more than a bye-week fill-in. As someone who won many a fantasy championship with Fitz on my roster, this is one of the most disheartening paragraphs to write.

Amari Cooper , WR OAK – It seems pretty safe to say that we can be done with Amari Pooper, right? I wouldn’t go dropping him just yet, but similar to Larry Fitzgerald , his lack of consistent productivity is problematic and he’s been reduced to nothing more than a bye-week fill-in as well. We get one good game out of him and then he disappears. It doesn’t matter that he had a bad match-up with Casey Hayward this week. There’s always some sort of an excuse.

Vance McDonald , TE PIT – Sorry, folks. He’s just another guy struggling to produce for a trashy position. The stiff-arm that put Chris Conte onto IR is nothing more than a YouTube highlight or an answer to some ridiculous trivia question heard asked in a Pittsburgh bar. There are just too many targets on this team and he’s even splitting reps with Jesse James . Predicting which game he’s going to go off in is an impossible feat and not one you want to keep gambling with in your lineups.

Los Angeles Rams Defense – Wow has this crew really dropped off the map. They lost Aqib Talib for the season and Marcus Peters hasn’t been at 100-prcent for two weeks now. On top of that, they’ve allowed 85 points over the last three games, they were shredded through the air two weeks ago by the Vikings and then Seattle torched them for 184 rushing yards in a game the Seahawks probably should have won. Time to start streaming defense again.