Wide receiver is the most variable position in fantasy football and that is the case in the 2021 season. Through four weeks, the top five wide receivers in non-PPR formats are Cooper Kupp, Tyreek Hill, Deebo Samuel, D.J. Moore and Mike Williams. Stars like Davante Adams, DeAndre Hopkins and D.K. Metcalf are outside the top 10. With that type of variance in mind, here are three wide receivers to back in Week 5 and three to leave on the bench.
Wide Receiver Starts in Week 5
Terry McLaurin, Washington vs. Saints
McLaurin is coming off a strong performance against the Falcons, going for 123 yards and two touchdowns. The Saints have been surprisingly lenient against the pass, allowing 283.3 yards per game. Expect McLaurin to build on his stellar Week 4 effort with a good showing against New Orleans.
Laviska Shenault Jr., Jaguars vs. Titans
The Jags are a mess, but they’ve still got a game to play Sunday. The Titans have an abysmal pass defense, ranking 23rd in passing yards allowed. Shenault has a connection with Trevor Lawrence, who is starting to gain more confidence. D.J. Chark is on injured reserve, meaning Shenault has a chance to step into the top receiving role on a team that will likely be playing from behind a lot going forward.
Jakobi Meyers, Patriots vs. Texans
Meyers threw two passes in New England’s loss to Tampa Bay last week, but his real contribution came as a receiver with 80 yards on seven catches. The wideout now faces a Texans defense giving up nearly 265 passing yards per game. Meyers is a possible flex play this week given his matchup.
Wide Receiver Sits in Week 5
Brandin Cooks, Texans vs. Patriots
On the opposite side of Meyers, Cooks will have a tough time with this secondary even as the Patriots cut Stephon Gilmore loose. New England ranks fourth in passing yards allowed and is coming off a big performance against Tom Brady. Cooks has been solid this season, but this is not an ideal spot for him to produce good fantasy numbers.
JuJu Smith-Schuster, Steelers vs. Broncos
At one point in his career, Smith-Schuster was considered an ascending talent capable of being a top receiver in any system. That thinking is quickly changing this season with the Steelers in a massive offensive funk. This matchup isn’t a good one, as the Broncos have one of the best pass defenses in the league. Add in Ben Roethlisberger’s struggles and you can see why managers should fade Smith-Schuster here.
Josh Gordon, Chiefs vs. Bills
Yes, Gordon is back in the league. Yes, he’ll be playing Sunday night when the Chiefs take on the Bills. No, you should not expect him to deliver significant fantasy value. It’s hard to see Gordon step onto the field and suddenly change the complexion of Kansas City’s offense. This team still runs through Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. Mecole Hardman, Demarcus Robinson and Byron Pringle also still exist and have more experience in this system than Gordon does.