Honorable Mention: Kenbrell Thompkins | WR | New England Patriots
New England at Cincinnati – Sun, 1:00 PM ET
Average Price: $100
Last week, we named Tom Brady as a ‘Player to Watch’ in large part because of the maturation of his young receivers. After the first four weeks, undrafted rookie Kenbrell Thompkins is beginning to stand out. Thompkins followed up his two-touchdown performance in Week 3 with 127-yards and a touchdown (below) in Week 4 against the Falcons. Even with the possible return of veteran Danny Amendola from injury, expect Thompkins’ role in the offense to continue to grow.
See GIFs of the Top 5 players to watch after the jump.
5. Eli Manning | QB | New York Giants
Philadelphia at New York – Sun, 1:00 PM ET
Average Price: $371
In a battle of disappointing NFC East teams, the Giants will be looking for their first win of 2013. While the G-Men have glaring deficiencies on both sides on the ball, Eli Manning’s play will be key to the team’s success. So far this season, Manning has thrown the most interceptions in the league, has the second-most sacks, and has the second-worst rating of any quarterback to start the first four games. Manning will need to perform better against the Eagles’ 31st ranked pass defense to avoid another iteration of the infamous “Manning Face”, exemplified below.
4. Trent Richardson | RB | Indianapolis Colts
Seattle at Indianapolis – Sun, 1:00 PM ET
Average Price: $118
The Colts made a big splash when they traded their 2014 first-round pick to the Browns for former top-five pick Trent Richardson. Richardson made an immediate impact, scoring a touchdown on his first carry as a Colt (below), in a Week 3 road upset against the 49ers. In his first game in Indianapolis on Sunday, he will face a tough challenge against the staunch Seahawks’ defense. If Richardson can break through and produce his first 100-yard rushing game of the season, look for the Colts to earn another upset against a heralded NFC West opponent.
3. Tony Gonzalez | TE | Atlanta Falcons
New York at Atlanta – Mon, 8:30 PM ET
Average Price: $70
With two touchdowns and 149 yards receiving in Week 4 against the Patriots (below), Tony Gonzalez showed why he is still one of the league’s premiere tight ends. Despite his efforts, the Falcons fell short of a last minute comeback and dropped to 1-3, matching their loss total for the entire 2012 season. In another prime-time home game, the Falcons will be heavily favored to get their season back on track against the struggling Jets. Receivers Roddy White (ankle) and Julio Jones (knee) are still not at 100%, so expect Gonzalez to have another productive outing on Monday night.
2. Tony Romo | QB | Dallas Cowboys
Denver at Dallas – Sun, 4:25 PM ET
Average Price: $250
Through the first four weeks of the season, the Broncos have clearly looked like the best team in the league. If the Cowboys have a chance to hand Denver its first loss of the season, Tony Romo will need to do his best to keep pace with MVP front-runner Peyton Manning. Romo has already shown his big-game ability this season in a three-touchdown Week 3 effort against the Rams, in which he posted the highest QBR of any quarterback so far this season (Manning included). Though he is also known for committing costly turnovers, Romo has only thrown one interception in 2013, after throwing eight interceptions through the first four games of 2012.
1. Chris Johnson | RB | Tennessee Titans
Kansas City at Tennessee – Sun, 1:00 PM EST
Average Price: $107
At 3-1, the Titans have been one of the NFL’s early season surprises under maturing quarterback Jake Locker. With Locker expected to be sidelined for at least a few weeks with a hip injury, Chris Johnson will need to take a larger role in the offense for the Titans to maintain their momentum. While the undefeated Chiefs have only given up one rushing touchdown so far this season, Johnson is always a threat to break away for a long touchdown, like his 94-yard run against the Jets in 2012 (below). Johnson has made it clear that he’s not a fan of fantasy football, but increased production would benefit both fantasy owners and the Titans alike.