Another week down, another week full of injuries to key players on NFL teams. Add in to the fact that bye weeks officially start this week (Tennessee – Pittsburgh jumped the gun on that one), and you probably need to find quality players to fill your roster this week.
By this point in the season the waiver wire has been scoured over many times, but there are always players that have good match ups or are starting to ascend at just the right time for you. Here are the best waiver wire pick-ups for week 5. Percentage rostered in parentheses (%).
Justin Herbert – Los Angeles Chargers (17%)
The rookie quarterback out of Oregon is taking full advantage of his opportunity. Last week he had his second game with multiple touchdowns out of his first three as a professional, and that came against a tough defense in Tampa Bay.
With his next month looking at opponents such as New Orleans, the Jets, Miami and Jacksonville, there’s no reason that he cannot continue this pace.
Teddy Bridgewater – Carolina Panthers (20%)
Bridgewater may not be a long term answer for your fantasy team at quarterback, but this week against the Atlanta Falcons you can definitely play him with confidence.
Coming off a good games against the Arizona Cardinals, throwing for 276 yards passing and 2 touchdowns, with another 32 yards rushing and another touchdown, Bridgewater is starting to get comfortable with his new team. Combine that with the fact that Atlanta’s defense hasn’t stopped anybody this year, and he is a lock for a good game this week.
Kirk Cousins – Minnesota Vikings (28%)
The Vikings want to be a run-first team, but when you start out 0-3 sometimes you have to do whatever you can do to get a win.
With games against the Seattle Seahawks and the Atlanta Falcons up in the next two weeks, and rookie wide receiver Justin Jefferson starting to shine, Cousins will put up good numbers.
If those QB’s are taken:
Gardner Minshew (46%) is having a quietly solid season, scoring over 20 fantasy points in traditional scoring leagues in 3 of 4 games this year. Daniel Jones (34%) has struggled this year, but faces a Dallas defense in week 5 that can’t stop anybody this year. Normally I would stay away from a match up against the San Francisco 49ers, but with injuries plaguing their team, especially on defense, Ryan Fitzpatrick (33%) might be a good play this week. With three consecutive solid games, including one against Buffalo, he is an interesting streamer for this week.
Joshua Kelly – Los Angeles Chargers (56%)
One of the big injuries of the week was to starting running back Austin EkelerHe is expected to miss at least a month, if not 6 weeks.
Up next is Joshua Kelley, who had some standalone success the first two weeks, and with the Chargers schedule setting up nicely in the next 5 weeks before the bye, he should fill in nicely. If he is already taken, look at Justin Jackson (6%), who is now the backup for the Chargers until Ekeler returns.
Chase Edmonds – Arizona Cardinals (36%)
If you do not have Kenyan Drake on your fantasy team, as I do, then you may not have realized that he has not been the best back for the Cardinals this year.
That has been Edmonds, who is being utilized out of the backfield, increasing his value. In their week 4 match up against Carolina, Edmonds ran 15 routes, seeing 6 targets, while Drake was not seen at all in the passing game.
Obviously Edmonds is still number 2 on the depth chart, but you may want to get ahead of the game if the Cardinals decide they’ve had enough of Drake’s ineffectiveness.
Latavius Murray – New Orleans Saints (60%)
Alvin Kamara is obviously still the lead back in New Orleans, but Murray has been utilized more in recent weeks, breaking out for 2 touchdowns on 14 carries on Sunday against the Lions.
He will not be used much in the passing game, only seeing 2 targets on Sunday, but he will be the guy running between the tackles, keeping defenses unbalanced trying to watch Kamara.
If you are in a pinch:
With Nick Chubb going down Sunday, and out at least a month if not more, obviously Kareem Hunt will step up as the starting back in Cleveland. D’Ernest Johnson (6%) looked good though when he came in against the Cowboys, and the Browns look like they want to run the ball. He should be picked up in deeper leagues. Dion Lewis (18%) may see a lot of passes out of the backfield depending on how fast the Cowboys score this week. If Myles Gaskin (77%) is still available, grab him. He is the top back coming out of that backfield, and could get you double digit fantasy points on a weekly basis.
Scotty Miller – Tampa Bay Buccaneers (16%)
The wide receiver waiver wire is full of receivers that are boom or bust at this point, and typically I wouldn’t pick a receiver going up against the Bears defense, especially on a short week.
But not everybody has Tom Brady as your quarterback, and with Chris Godwin for sure out and now OJ Howard is done for the year, there are fewer people taking targets away from Miller.
Laviska Shenault – Jacksonville Jaguars (24%)
I put Shenault on here earlier in the season and he let me down, but I am going to try again with the second-round rookie from the University of Colorado.
Coming off his best game of the season, catching 5 passes from 6 targets for 86 yards, it just feels like he is going to break out soon, and with a match up against the winless Houston Texans it very well could be this week.
N’Keal Harry – New England Patriots (35%)
Harry salvaged an otherwise quiet night against the Kansas City Chiefs Monday night with a late touchdown, which gave him 11.1 points in PPR leagues.
If Cam Newton comes back he has fantasy value, and possibly if Jarrett Sidham plays, but Brian Hoyer plays you will want to leave him on your bench.
Still on the Waiver wire:
Deebo Samuel (74%) is off of the IR, but as long as Garappolo is out it will be tough to see any consistency outside of Kittle on that offense. Same with Brandon Aiyuk (57%). Jamison Crowder (73%) is surprisingly still available in some leagues, and with the rumors of Joe Flacco taking over for the Jets that should increase his already good numbers.
Robert Tonyan – Green Bay Packers (31%)
It is not often that you will see a player that has a bye on this list. But unless you are playing with a bunch of rookie fantasy football players, he will not make it to next week before somebody grabs him.
Typically I stay away from Green Bay tight ends, as the offense has never really focused on them, but Tonyan is worth making an exception after catching all 6 of his targets last night for 98 yards and 3 touchdowns.
That gives him 5 touchdowns in the last three games, and no reason to believe he will not be utilized going forward.
Jimmy Graham – Chicago Bears (48%)
Speaking of former Green Bay Packer tight ends, Graham has already tied his touchdown numbers from a year ago. And although he (and the Bears offense in general) struggle against the Colts on Sunday, he still saw 5 targets from Nick Foles which he caught 4 of.
They will not be facing the number 1 defense in the NFL every week, and with Nick Foles moving forward they should develop chemistry to improve throughout the season.
Dalton Schultz – Dallas Cowboys (53%)
Schultz is basically doing what many thought Blake Jarwin would do for the Cowboys coming into the season. He is averaging 8 targets a game over the last three since Jarwin was injured, this past week catching 4 of them for 72 yards and a touchdown.
With the Cowboys passing early and often, look for Schultz to be in the TE1 conversation at least because of the opportunities he will see as the Cowboys play from behind in seemingly every game.
Eric Ebron – Pittsburgh Steelers (27%)
It seems like it has been forever since the Steelers have played, but they were doing a good job to start the season 3-0 before having an impromptu bye week because of Covid-19.
During the Steelers last game in week 3, Ebron had a team-high 7 targets, and will only continue to grow with the offense as the season goes on.
If you are desperate:
Mo Alie-Cox (33%) scored the Colts only touchdown on Sunday against the Bears, but it looks like he will be touchdown-dependent to be fantasy relevant. Logan Thomas (25%) is seeing plenty of targets, but catching less than half of them.
Arizona Cardinals (49%) vs. New York Jets
Not known for their defensive prowess, but when you are playing the New York Jets you do not have to be.
New England Patriots (77%) vs. Denver
A lot of people must have dropped them going into their match up with the Kansas City Chiefs, a game that was in question due to Covid-19. They are playing the Denver Broncos this week, and actually played very well against the Chiefs last night, if you need a defense pick them up.
Dallas Cowboys (26%) vs. New York Giants
I know, I have spent the entire article talking about how bad this defense is. And it is. But the New York Giants may actually be worse. They are 0-4 so far this season, and haven’t really looked like they could beat many teams, especially with Saquon Barkley now out for the season.
Definitely not my first choice, but if you are in a bind could be a good match up for the worst defense in the league.
Hopefully your fantasy football team has not been hit hard by injuries, but that is a part of the game. Keep an eye on the waiver wire every week, it is the best way to improve your team.
How is your team looking this year? Do you have any of these players already on your team? Let me know in the comments below!