It’s Week 5, and the cream is starting to rise to the top in fantasy football. These players are my best bets to score at the running back and wide receiver positions.
EZEKIEL ELLIOTT, Cowboys
Elliott had an inauspicious start to his season, but he has kicked things up a notch. Even with fellow running back Tony Pollard in the mix, Elliott is playing 75% of offensive snaps for Dallas, and he’s found the end zone four times in his past three games. Elliott will take his 37.8% TD dependency against New York this week, where he’ll face a Giants defense that is middling at best against the run.
JAMES CONNER, Cardinals
The writing was on the wall for Chase Edmonds’ TD chances when the Cardinals added Conner to the backfield in the offseason. And true to form Conner has been the only one of the pair to score this season. He has scored four times in his past two games. On the field 42% of the time, Conner has 54.79% TD dependency, and he’s likely to maintain it when Arizona faces the 49ers and their run defense that’s allowed the 10th-most fantasy points to RBs this season.
JAMES ROBINSON, Jaguars
Things didn’t start out well for Robinson and the Jaguars offense to begin the season, but even though they haven’t managed to pull off a win yet, they’ve become competitive in games with Robinson leading the way by going over 75 yards and scoring three TDs in his past two games. Without the injured Travis Etienne, Robinson has led the way in the Jaguars backfield, leading the league’s RBs in snap count (95%). He’ll face a Titans team this week that just gave the Jets their first win of the season.
LATAVIUS MURRAY, Ravens
Murray assumed the role of lead back in Week 4 by carrying the ball 18 times against Denver. Ty’Son Williams didn’t even see the field. Murray’s snap count leaped from low 40% to more than 62% in Week 4, and he’ll look to continue to see the bulk of touches against a Colts team that is stout but not impenetrable, especially against a team that runs as much as the Ravens do. With a 54.38% TD dependency, Murray stands a great chance to score in Week 5.
KAREEM HUNT, Browns
It’s been Hunt, not Nick Chubb, who’s been scoring for the Browns as of late, scoring three times in his past four games. And they’re not all from far away, as Hunt scored from 1 yard in Week 4 after Chubb failed to reach the end zone earlier in that drive. Hunt actually has a 53% snap count to Chubb’s 47%, and he’ll continue to flourish as long as the Browns continue to lean heavily on the run. This seems possible as QB Baker Mayfield has struggled with consistency this season. Hunt will have plenty of opportunities to add to his TD total in what should be a high-scoring matchup with the prolific Chargers in Week 5.
CORDARRELLE PATTERSON, Falcons
Patterson is on a roll with his electric play in an otherwise ho-hum Falcons offense, scoring five TDs in his past three games, through the air and on the ground. Patterson is on the field only about a third of the time, but he’s used in high-yield situations that often bring about scores for Atlanta, as indicated by his 45.87% TD dependency. The best part is that you can use Patterson as a WR or RB in most formats.
DJ MOORE, Panthers
Moore is doing almost everything for the Panthers offense while Christian McCaffrey is sidelined, getting more than 30% of the team’s total targets right now. Moore has scored three times in his past three games, and he’ll look to continue his run against an Eagles defense that has allowed five receiving TDs in its past three games.
TERRY MCLAURIN, Washington
McLaurin has 34 targets in his past three games, with QB Taylor Heinicke going to him plenty thus far. McLaurin is turning those targets into scores, reaching the end zone three times over that time. He’ll face a New Orleans team this week that started strong, but has given up the ninth-most points to WRs so far this season. McLaurin has the third-highest TD dependency (33.17%) of anyone with 38 or more targets this season, so he’s a good bet to score once again in Week 5.
JUSTIN JEFFERSON, Vikings
Jefferson has been as productive, if not more so than Adam Thielen in the red zone over the past three weeks, scoring in each of those games. His opponent this week, the Lions, have only allowed one WR to score in the past two weeks, but then again they’ve played Chicago and Baltimore. They’re either low-scoring or run-heavy teams. Jefferson and company should have no trouble finding the end zone at home against Detroit.
DEEBO SAMUEL, 49ers
Samuel has been the favored option in San Francisco this season, even over tight end George Kittle. Scoring three TDs and averaging 10 targets a game so far, Deebo has also posted 93 yards or more in all but one game. On the field for 89% of the offensive snaps, he’s in for a key matchup against a Cardinals team this week that has given up the eighth-most fantasy points to WRs this season.
This column was provided to The Associated Press by RosterWatch, www.rosterwatch.com.