Fantasy's best and worst: James Conner's career day, Mason Crosby's game to forget

As we do each week, we recap Week 5's best and worst from a fantasy perspective, complete with applicable game and historical data.

The Best

James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers: Conner's strong year filling in for holdout Le'Veon Bell continued on Sunday, as the second-year running back scored a career-best 34.5 PPR fantasy points, barely edging his previous mark of 34.2, set in Week 1. While Conner's weekly yards-per-carry numbers have been inconsistent, he posted a 5.2 mark on 21 carries on Sunday, days after Steelers offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner had suggested earlier in the week that he needed to get Conner more carries early in games to help his performance. It was a promising sign for Conner with Bell's return expected during the team's Week 7 bye, though it remains entirely unclear whether that indeed will happen or whether the Steelers might trade Bell in the coming days. This, at least, makes it clear that Conner warrants a place in every fantasy lineup for every upcoming game for which he's declared the unquestioned starter in advance.

Isaiah Crowell, RB, New York Jets: What a game for Crowell and the Jets, who handily defeated a good Denver Broncos defense as the veteran running back set personal bests with 219 rushing yards and 30.1 PPR fantasy points. Most remarkably, he did it despite having fewer rushing attempts than Bilal Powell (20-15), something that also happened in Weeks 1 and 4. Unfortunately, due to Crowell's hit-or-miss pattern through the season's first quarter, as well as his time share with Powell, Crowell was started in just 20.8 percent of ESPN leagues in Week 5, his lowest rate since 2016 Week 2. That time share won't make either running back more than a flex-play consideration in Week 6 against the Indianapolis Colts.

Odell Beckham Jr., WR, New York Giants: It was a strange game overall for Beckham, who misplayed a punt return that the opposing Carolina Panthers recovered for a touchdown, then threw for a passing touchdown before he had scored a single receiving touchdown all season. Even though the Giants' game ended in heartbreak, Beckham's 31.4 PPR fantasy points were still quite impressive and a position-best total from the 1 p.m. ET games. It was the ninth time in his 52-game NFL career that he scored at least 30 fantasy points, but the first since 2016 Week 6.

Robby Anderson, WR, Jets: Another of the Jets' standouts Sunday, Anderson's start percentage in ESPN leagues had also suffered due to diminished usage in recent weeks, as he was active in a mere 2.8 percent, his lowest rate in any game since 2017 Week 4 (or 371 days ago). He nevertheless caught a pair of second-quarter touchdowns on his way to a 27.3 PPR fantasy point total, the second-best performance in his career behind only his 32.6 from 2017 Week 12. Anderson had an identical number of targets to Quincy Enunwa (5) but did considerably more with them than Enunwa, who was shut out on the fantasy scorecard. It casts some doubt upon which is the Jets receiver to trust more in future weeks, though they both have favorable matchups in Week 6 against a Colts team that struggled mightily against wide receivers the past two weeks.

Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals: After missing consecutive weeks while recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery, Mixon returned to the lineup on Sunday with 20.5 PPR fantasy points, sixth-best among running backs from the eight 1 p.m. ET games. It was quite an encouraging sign for his health after reports swirled pregame that he might have a somewhat limited workload. In the end, he accumulated 22 of the team's 26 rushing attempts (Andy Dalton had the other four), while Mark Walton didn't have any. Mixon was started in 80.4 percent of ESPN leagues, 10th-most among running backs.

Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers: He gave a comeback his best effort, his Packers ultimately falling short to the Lions 23-31, but his 28.7 fantasy points were a position best from Sunday's 1 p.m. ET games. Rodgers attempted 52 passes in the process, but that his numbers were as good as they were spoke well about his health as he heads into a favorable matchup against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 6 followed by a bye week's rest in Week 7.

Saquon Barkley, RB, Giants: For the fifth consecutive game to begin his NFL career, Barkley reached the 20-point PPR plateau in fantasy, becoming the first player since at least 1950 to do that. His 28.9 points on Sunday was his best single-game score yet, and he did it behind four receptions, two of which went for touchdowns, reflecting his versatility. Barkley is off to an extraordinary start running behind one of the league's weaker offensive lines, and his consistency is especially valuable. He has been well worth the first-round pick.

Davante Adams, WR, Packers: He scored 29.0 PPR fantasy points on Sunday, the third-best single-game effort in his 64-game NFL career, and was Rodgers' go-to receiver for yet another week. That was hardly surprising in a game in which both Randall Cobb (hamstring) and Geronimo Allison (concussion) were absent. Adams remains one of the game's more targeted wide receivers, a clear WR1 option every week.

Eric Ebron, TE, Colts: He set a career high in PPR fantasy points on Thursday Night Football with 31.5, a score made more remarkable if you consider that in his 60 previous NFL contests, he had never scored even 20 points. Ebron has capitalized upon Jack Doyle's hip injury, scoring a combined 54.8 points in Doyle's three missed games, and is on pace for 260.8 fantasy points for the season. Ebron's previous single-year best: 144.2, set in 2016. His role is somewhat dependent upon Doyle's health going forward, but Ebron has certainly earned a share of the Colts' tight end targets even after Doyle's return and could well be a top-10 player at the position the rest of the way.

Todd Gurley II, RB, Los Angeles Rams: For the sixth time since the beginning of last season, Gurley reached the 30-PPR-fantasy-point plateau, tying him with Alvin Kamara with the most such games during that time span. Gurley's 33.3 points on Sunday set a new season high and were in fact his fifth-most in his 49 career games, with the four better all occurring in 2017. He's now on pace for 446.4 points, which would easily surpass the 383.3 he scored last season and be the third-most in NFL history, behind only LaDainian Tomlinson's 481.1 (2006) and Marshall Faulk's 459.9 (2000).

Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles: While the game result didn't wind up in his team's favor, Ertz's touchdown within the final two minutes at least gave the Eagles a fighting chance, and it helped push his PPR-fantasy-points total to 27.0, highest among Sunday performers (through the 4 p.m. ET games). It was Ertz's second-best single-game effort in his career, trailing only his 38.9 scored in 2016 Week 17.

Adam Thielen, WR, Minnesota Vikings: For the fifth consecutive week, Thielen reached the 100-yard receiving plateau, as well as the 15-PPR-points plateau in fantasy, his 24.6 placing among the top five at his position through Sunday's 4 p.m. ET games. He has shown a remarkable level of consistency thus far, and with the performance, he temporarily took over the lead in PPR fantasy points among wide receivers for the season (123.9), though Michael Thomas (100.5) will have a chance to catch him on Monday Night Football.

The Worst

Mason Crosby, K, Packers: What a nightmarish game for Crosby, the season's No. 2 scorer among placekickers entering play on Sunday (45 fantasy points), as he missed four field goal attempts, as well as his only extra-point attempt, resulting in a zero the scoreboard. He missed on field goal attempts of 41, 42, 38 and 56 yards, and until his successful 41-yard try with two seconds remaining, he was in danger of joining Lou Michaels (1963 Week 9) and Jim Bakken (1977 Week 1) as the only placekickers since 1950 to have a fantasy-point total as poor as minus-4 in a game -- they both had minus-4, and Crosby had the same before that final kick. Crosby, who was started in a season-high 57.9 percent of ESPN leagues, will probably remain in the role for the Packers entering Week 6, but he surely won't have that long a leash after a performance this poor.

Duke Johnson Jr., RB, Cleveland Browns: He has to rank among 2018's bigger disappointments thus far, as Johnson's 5.2 PPR fantasy points in Week 5 represented the fourth time in five weeks that he was held to fewer than six points. Last season, he had only two such performances all year, and he had only seven such low scores total from 2015-17. Johnson wasn't getting enough looks from Tyrod Taylor, and he's still not from Baker Mayfield, which makes it difficult to make a case to keep him rostered. He's still on 51.5 percent of ESPN rosters, but that should and probably will drop entering Week 6.

Aaron Jones, RB, Packers: Game flow had a lot to do with Jones' disappointing 7.9 PPR fantasy point total on Sunday, as the Packers fell into an early hole and were forced to frequently pass late. Considering the strength of the matchup, however, one should've expected Jones might offer more than the 40 yards he did on seven carries, and it's also bothersome that Jamaal Williams had six carries and Ty Montgomery four. This remains a frustrating time share, and while Jones has the greatest upside of the three, he can't be trusted as more than a flex-play consideration until his workload increases.

Quincy Enunwa, WR, Jets: As mentioned above, Enunwa was shut out on his five targets on the fantasy score sheet, a frustrating performance in light of the Jets' team success, as well as Anderson's in the receiving game. It was the first time all year that Enunwa was held to fewer than 9.7 fantasy points, and it is a concern for his role going forward. He was started in 22.9 percent of ESPN leagues in Week 5, among the top 40 at his position, but that should drop entering Week 6.

Kenny Stills, WR, Miami Dolphins: He was started in a slightly greater number of ESPN leagues than Enunwa -- 26.5 percent to be exact -- but didn't deliver his managers a much better score, posting 3.7 PPR fantasy points on his five targets. Stills' role in the passing game took a back seat to Kenyan Drake, who had 11 targets, and Albert Wilson, who had six, though he should still shape up as the team's No. 1 receiver in most weeks going forward.

Amari Cooper, WR, Oakland Raiders: Considering the game flow, one would've expected Cooper to finish with better than the 2.0 PPR fantasy points he had on Sunday. Though he was dealing with a foot injury entering the week, he wasn't listed on the team's official injury report, which made his one target puzzling. It brought back painful reminders of his disappointing 2017, during which he had three individual scores worse than this one; this wound up his sixth-worst point total in any of his 51 career NFL games. Cooper, who was started in 52.1 percent of ESPN leagues in Week 5, should enjoy greater success against a mediocre-at-best Seattle Seahawks defense in Week 6.

Marshawn Lynch, RB, Raiders: His 6.1 PPR fantasy points represented the first time all season that he was held with fewer than 12.9 and, in fact, were his worst single-game total since 2017 Week 7 (0.9), a game from which he was ejected in the second quarter after shoving an official. Lynch merely wasn't much of a factor due to the Raiders' falling into a deep, early hole, though he did have nine of the team's 13 total carries. He was started in 81.1 percent of ESPN leagues, a season high for him and the 10th-highest rate among running backs.

Jay Ajayi, RB, Eagles: Game flow also had a say in Ajayi's poor performance, as the Eagles played the majority of their game from behind, but he didn't help his cause by losing a key fumble on the first possession of the second half. The final result was just 2.4 PPR fantasy points, his worst score of the season and fourth-worst in his 42-game NFL career. Ajayi is often in danger of slipping deeper into a committee that includes Corey Clement, Wendell Smallwood and Darren Sproles (depending upon who is healthy in any given week), so the turnover might not help matters, especially considering Ajayi had only one more carry after that point in the game. He was started in 60.4 percent of ESPN leagues, 18th-most among running backs in Week 5.

Doug Baldwin, WR, Seahawks: After a respectable return to the lineup in Week 4 with five catches on seven targets, Baldwin's 1.1 PPR fantasy points on one target Sunday cannot be considered anything short of a setback. He's still limited by his knee injury despite not being listed on the team's official report and was barely a part of the game plan in this one. Baldwin, who was started in 39.3 percent of ESPN leagues, isn't going to be an easy player to trust in Week 5 despite a better matchup against the Oakland Raiders.

Will Fuller V, WR, Houston Texans: While DeAndre Hopkins had a strong game on Sunday Night Football (22.1 PPR fantasy points), Fuller was held quiet by the Dallas Cowboys, scoring only 3.5 points on three targets. It was the worst performance of any of Fuller's eight career games in which Deshaun Watson was the Texans' starting quarterback, and the first in which Fuller failed to catch a touchdown.