Fantasy Football: Week-Ahead Stash Candidates for Week 5

Fantasy football is all about being a step ahead of your competition, and this weekly column aims to help you achieve that in a couple of ways.

First, I will identify players who could ultimately provide some value for your teams before they become hot waiver-wire adds. This will save you from spending an exorbitant amount of your free agent acquisition budget (FAAB) or using a high waiver priority on them, ultimately allowing you to save each of these for when you most need it.

Second, I'll dig through the data and player trends to illustrate why these players will be worth taking up a spot on your roster. I'm going to try to find the diamonds in the rough that inevitably emerge each and every year so that you don't have to sweat over whether or not you claimed them on waivers -- because you will already own them!

As promised, this is the first week I'll be posting my report card for how well the players I suggested a couple of weeks ago performed this week. My goal each week is to provide you with starting and flex-caliber players at each of their respective positions. That means I'm looking for top-12 quarterbacks, tight ends, and defenses, and top-36 running backs and wide receivers. If I've done that, then I've done my job.

So let's take a look at this past week!

Player Positional Ranking Half-PPR Points
Jacoby Brissett 5th 23.5
James Washington 108th 0
Tyler Eifert 29th 2.7
Denver Broncos D/ST 19th 5.0

Unfortunately, it was another down week -- predicting the NFL for the upcoming week is difficult, nonetheless for a week out James Washington disappeared after being outplayed by Diontae Johnson. Additionally, after going the first three weeks without recording a sack, the Denver D/ST piled up five sacks in a loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, but this wasn't enough to give them much fantasy relevance as they allowed over 450 yards of total offense to Gardner Minshew and company.

While Tyler Eifert didn't do much on Monday Night Football (he was one touchdown drop away from finishing in the top-five at the position), if you picked him up, it is well worth holding on to him as the Cincinnati Bengals take on the Arizona Cardinals in Week 5, and the Cardinals are playing terrible against the tight end position. On the bright side, Jacoby Brissett continued his streak of 16-point fantasy performances and is now one of only six players to do this in every game this season.

Here's to hoping better weeks are ahead!

Gardner Minshew, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars

ESPN Ownership: 17%

A couple weeks ago, I advised you take the defense facing Gardner Minshew, but that didn't turn out too well. The sixth-round rookie pick is taking the league by storm. Minshew has been a model of consistency when it comes to fantasy so far this season. Like Brissett, Minshew has put up at least 16 fantasy points in every game this season (including the first game, in which he came off the bench in relief of Nick Foles). Though his ceiling isn't quite as high, he can fill in as a quality spot start.

Minshew's consistency is due in large part to his interception-free pedigree as well as his ability to extend plays. In addition to being a solid fantasy option, Minshew has proven to be a valuable NFL quarterback. Minshew is currently fifth in the league in both passer rating (106.9) and completion percentage (69.4%) through four weeks.

Even after allowing only 10.3 fantasy points to Dak Prescott this past week, the New Orleans Saints are still one of the best matchups for fantasy quarterbacks. Fortunately for Minshew, the Jaguars won't have to play in the Superdome and will welcome the saints to Duuuuvalll.

Mohamed Sanu, WR, Atlanta Falcons

ESPN Ownership: 41%

Currently trailing hyped-up teammate Calvin Ridley by only 1.2 fantasy points per game (in half-PPR formats), Mohamed Sanu continues to be an underrated asset both in fantasy and NFL circles. If not for Ridley's blow-up game in Week 2, Sanu would easily be outpacing Ridley. Sanu also has yet to score a touchdown this season, meaning all of his fantasy points have come from receptions and yards, meaning he's bound to have a solid week come soon.

I predict that will come when they visit the Arizona Cardinals in Week 6. This will be the last game that star cornerback Patrick Peterson is suspended, and his absence in the secondary has certainly shown. So far, the Cardinals have allowed an average of 271 passing yards per game to opponents along with 2.5 passing touchdowns per game. Granted, a lot of this has been given up to the tight end position, but this secondary is still exploitable.

Ridley is the flashy player because of his big-play ability, but Sanu offers a viable floor in any sort of PPR league by averaging nearly eight targets, six receptions, and 60 receiving yards per game. Sanu has also out-snapped Ridley in each of the first four games, indicating that he's the true number-two receiver in the offense and could stand to benefit the most if Julio Jones gets injured.

Phillip Dorsett, WR, New England Patriots

ESPN Ownership: 35%

Tight ends are to the Cardinals what wide receivers are to the New York Giants: not worth guarding. After a down week against a staunch Buffalo Bills defense, Phillip Dorsett will be ready to break out once again in Week 6 against one of the league's worst passing defenses. Right now, the G-Men offer opposing wide receivers the third-best matchup for fantasy football, averaging 30.3 standard-league points allowed to the position per game.

Dorsett has proven himself to be more than just a role-player as a member of the New England Patriots. Between him, Julian Edelman, and Josh Gordon, Dorsett has the highest Reception Net Expected Points (NEP) per target on the season at 0.76. He remains third on the team in targets while leading the team in receiving touchdowns. If you're looking for a dart throw at the receiver position, what better offense to do it with than one led by Tom Brady.

Chris Herndon, TE, New York Jets

ESPN Ownership: 10%

After Week 5, Chris Herndon will have served his four-game suspension. He would have been back this week had it not been for the New York Jets having an early bye. This means he will give owners the advantage of not having to worry about a bye week anymore.

Herndon was an industry favorite heading into the season before he was suspended. Last year, Herndon became the 11th rookie tight end since 2000 to record over 500 receiving yards in his first season. Furthermore, of tight ends who had at least 30 receptions last year, Herndon ranked 10th in Reception NEP per catch at 1.01.

While the matchup against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 6 isn't particularly favorable, Herndon's debut will hopefully coincide with Sam Darnold's return from battling mono. If you're stuck in tight end purgatory, Herndon could prove to be a weekly starter the rest of the way.