The Waiver Wire: Week 5
What a week 5! Todd Gurley single handly either won you your matchup or lost you your matchup, Aaron Rodgers finally looked like the ARod of old, and the same is true for OBJ who finally found the end zone. Oh, and he threw one as well! With the Saints & Lions on a bye, this week Kamara, Thomas, Brees, Ingram, Golladay, Jones, Tate, Johnson, and Stafford are among the top fantasy players who will be on a bench this week. With so much firepower out as well as injuries to some key players in week 5, the waiver wire is going to be critical to your team’s success. Let’s take a look at top players were hurt last week;
- Jay Ajayi – Torn ACL out for the season
- Corey Grant – Lisfranc injury and is most likely done for the season
- Matt Breida – Moderately severe ankle sprain and his week 6 availability looks bleak
- Cooper Kupp & Brandin Cooks – Both suffered concussions in Sunday’s win but both will be in concussion protocol all week. This is a situation you will have to monitor all week long
- Saquon Barkley – Barkley looked to have tweaked his knee after a leaping into the end zone on a beautiful catch and run. With the Giants playing on Thursday night this week his “potential” injury is one to monitor closely.
The waiver wire is where champions are built so don’t take this week lightly. It might not seem like there are any big names left but we had two season-ending injuries in week 5 and some depth chart movement looks to be rounding out right in front of our eyes. It’s time to use the Wire to make our team better or play keep away from your league mates. Either way, just win babee!! Let’s dive right in but remember….
As a disclaimer, all players must be owned by less than 60% of ESPN or Yahoo leagues. Ownership percentages are in parenthesizes. Below I have ranked the top 3 adds at each position with a bonus player or two sprinkled in throughout.
Baker Mayfield (ESPN 38% / Yahoo 37%)
Baker is back and deservedly so. The man is balling and should be 2-0 as the starting quarterback of the Cleveland Browns. Against a Ravens team that came in as the #1 defense in all the NFL, Mayfield only threw for 342 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception. The only thing I like more than the win Mayfield was able to pull off in OT was the number of attempts Mayfield had. He has now back to back games with 40+ passing attempts which if you average it out would put him on pace for over 460 attempts over the remainder of the season. That pace would have been good enough for QB21 in passing attempts last year. The volume is even more impressive considering he didn’t start until week 4. The time is now to buy Mayfield before the window closes.
Case Keenum (ESPN 12% / Yahoo 20%)
Keenum is not the issue in Denver the defense is and if the Broncos are going to continue to find themselves in shootouts then Keenum is a good high volume target to go after. We don’t care how they get the numbers just that they do and with Courtland Sutton starting to get more playing time, the Broncos offense could surprise some people as the season moves on. With the Rams on deck at home, Keenum has a great shot to once again put up 300+ yards and 2 touchdowns as LA has given up 31 pts in back to back games.
Jameis Winston (ESPN 12% / Yahoo 20%)
Hey, don’t forget about the number 1 overall pick from a few years back! Winston and the Buccaneers are back from their bye week and Winston has been named the starter for week 6. Winston takes over an offense that is averaging the 6th most pts/g in the NFL (28.0) and the most passing yards per game (363.3). With hopefully, all their weapons ready to go @ Atlanta the Buc aerial attack looks to exploit one of the worst defenses in the league as Atlanta is giving up an NFL worst 32.6 pts/g.
Corey Clement (ESPN 28% / Yahoo 23%)
With the breaking news that Jay Ajayi will be out for the season with a torn ACL, Clement immediately becomes the top pickup of the week. When Ajayi missed week 3 due to injury it was Clement who saw the top snap share out of the RB group, out snapping Wendell Smallwood 45 to 29. Sproles will be a factor as he was not available back in week 3. Clement gets the first crack at the starting gig but I think both Sproles and Smallwood are good options to target in PPR leagues. It’s a gamble but 20% to 25% of your FAAB is what it will take to win Clement. Attack Smallwood if you don’t want to gamble that much of your FAAB or don’t have the money to spend.
Nyheim Hines (ESPN 46% / Yahoo 59%)
Over the past three weeks, Hines has played in 73%, 69%, and 67% of their offensive snaps. During that same time, Hines has seen 25 tgts, 24 carries, and 21 receptions. This is last chance to pick up Hines in your league as he is turning into one of the top satellite backs to own. His value is much greater in PPR leagues but his red zone attempt usage keeps his value still high in standard formats.
Alfred Morris (ESPN 49% / Yahoo 42%) or Kyle Juszczyk (ESPN 1% / Yahoo 0%)
It feels like every week Matt Breida is suffering what looks to be a serious injury, all week he is questionable to play, and somehow he is able to start for the 49ers the following week. Once again Breida suffered a serious injury only this time he was not able to come back. With what looks to be a high ankle sprain, Breida should miss week 6 if not more time. With so little information out there on his timetable, it’s hard to use a top claim or a high percentage of FAAB on either Morris or Juszcyk but I think both are good targets. In PPR leagues Juszczyk would the top target as he has the best pass-catching work of the two. He also has seen more snaps then Morris. Morris is the clear option in standard scoring leagues as he will continue to handle most if not all the goal line work.
BONUS: Mike Davis (ESPN 14% / Yahoo 19%)
Don’t look now but Mike Davis made enough of an impression in week 4 that he was able to see the field on 42% (25) of the Seahawks offensive snaps Sunday vs the Rams. Davis handled the red zone work when and was only out touched 19 to 12 by Carson. Carson is the clear starter but Davis is at the very least a name to remember.
Keke Coutee (ESPN 19% / Yahoo 34%)
I see you, Coutee, I see you. We’ve all been fooled by the one-week out of nowhere performance and I couldn’t advise you to attack Coutee last week with any high waive capital. This week things change. Now with a game under his belt where he saw 71% (57) of the offensive snaps with Will Fuller in the lineup and out targeted Fuller 8 to 3, Coutee looks to have grabbed the 3rd WR role. He has weekly plus matchup value but his ceiling is so much more as Fuller has a long track record for hamstring injuries. This means Keke is one hamstring strain away from seeing WR2 snap & target volume. Coutee is the real deal and provides tremendous upside in PPR leagues.
Mohamed Sanu (ESPN 53% / Yahoo 32%)
Sanu is like a fine wine, he just keeps getting better with old age. It looks like every WR not named Julio Jones can find the end zone just fine and Sanu found it again this past week. Sanu is seeing healthy target volume since week 3 (23 over the past 3 weeks) and the emergence of Ridley is helping to take the #2 Corner off of him. With Tampa’s 32nd ranked passing defense (358.0 yds/gm) on deck, look for the Falcons WRs to get plenty of work in this game. I like Sanu’s chances to find the end zone again in week 6.
Robby Anderson (ESPN 41% / Yahoo 35%)
Anderson finally came alive on Sunday torching corner Bradley Roby to the tune of 123 yards & 2 touchdowns. Sam Darnold who had been playing conservatively aired it out in this game connecting on a 76-yard touchdown catch with Anderson. Anderson is a volatile player to own who will hit major highs and lows throughout the course of the season. What really makes me nervous going after Anderson with a waiver claim is his lack of target volume (21) and the fact he has been out snapped by Jermaine Kearse the past two weeks (47 to 41 wk 4 & 39 to 32 wk 5) are very concerning. Anderson’s upside is enough to make him worth rostering but his volume tells you he only touches your lineup in plus matchups or an injury.
BONUS: Christian Kirk (ESPN 11% / Yahoo 9%)
Before Sunday Kirk had seen 5 or more targets in three straight games. What Kirk wasn’t able to do in any of those games but he was able to do Sunday was find the end zone. He and Josh Rosen have a nice repour and it showed on the 75-yard touchdown catch. The drawbacks with Kirk is that the Cardinals are just not very good and are
BONUS: Marquez Valdes-Scantling (ESPN 3% / Yahoo 9%)
MVS was ready to go as he filled in for the injured Randel Cobb & Geronimo Allison and boy did he deliver. Valdes-Scantling who at 6’4 has blazing speed (4.37 40) stepped right into the starting lineup and saw 10 targets and the most snaps (77) of any WR. MVS isn’t a higher option because he is buried on the depth chart and requires multiple injuries to be a factor. His performance, however, could catapult him over Allison even after he returns.
Don’t Forget About Me: Taylor Gabriel (ESPN 14% / Yahoo 18%)
The leader in receptions (23) & second in targets (33) for the Bears is owned in less than 20% of ESPN & Yahoo leagues. The last time you saw Gabriel he popped off for 7/7/104/2. Go pick him up!
Players to Consider: Donte Moncrief (ESPN 13% / Yahoo 13%), David Moore (ESPN 0% / Yahoo 0%), & Tre’Quan Smith (ESPN 1% / Yahoo 2%)
Moncrief led the Jaguars in targets and it now marks the 3rd different WR to lead the team in targets this season. Hard to trust that offense and if you need evidence look to last week and Westbrook. David Moore looks to have jumped over Brandon Marshall as the Hawks #3 WR and looked to have an instant connection with Wilson. Moore is a name to remember. Tre’Quan Smith got an increased role after Ted Ginn was forced to sit out of the Monday Night game. Smith made the most of his 3 targets popping off for a stat line of 3/111/2. Unfortunately with Ginn most likely back after the Saints bye, Smith is more than likely going to have a low-volume role in the offense. Cameron Meredith who is also owned in less than 20% of Yahoo & ESPN leagues has a safer floor even when Ginn returns. If Ginn is too miss any significant time either are great options to have on your bench.
Austin Hooper (ESPN 49% / Yahoo 57%)
I know Hooper’s middle name is disappointing because whenever you pick him up he lets you down. I am only putting Hooper in this week because for one he is coming off a 12 target game but secondly and most importantly Atlanta gets home cooking and the Buccaneers next Sunday. No team is giving up more points to tight ends then Tampa Bay. You wanna know who the second worst team is against the tight end position, yup you guessed it, the Pittsburgh Steelers.
C.J Uzomah (ESPN 10% / Yahoo 26%)
In the first game since Tyler Eifert was lost for the season, C.J. Uzomah saw 95% of the offensive snaps out snapping Tyler Kroft 55 to 24. Now, Uzomah only saw 2 targets but the snap volume is outstanding and with an injury, to Kroft, he may not be able to suit up for Week 6. With Pittsburgh on deck and KC & TB left before the Bengals week 9 bye, he has a chance to be a major contributor for you over the next three weeks.
Geoff Swaim (ESPN 7% / Yahoo 9%)
I feel dirty advising to go pick up a pass catcher on the Cowboys but with how thin the tight end position is Swaim presents some nice upside as he is the clear top TE option in Dallas. His snap count of 288 over the first 5 weeks is far and away tops of all the TEs (Jarwin – 93, Rico – 27, & Schultz – 0). Swaim is also 3rd on the team in targets with 19. It’s not a high powered offense to attach yourself too but Swaim presents a safe floor to help bridge your bye weeks or player returning from injury.
That will do it for Week 5! Don’t forget to get those waiver claims in and thank you for reading I hope you enjoyed it. You can find me on Twitter @Trotta23. If you need EVEN more fantasy advice, you can follow The Gurus @TFFGurus & you can find all our season-long advice at www.tffgurus.com. I will see you all next Tuesday for another edition of The Waiver Wire. Until then may the health gods be forever in your favor.