Fantasy: Waiver Wire – Week 5

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Every Monday during the season, theScore’s Justin Boone runs down the recommended waiver-wire pickups.

Rostered percentages are based on Yahoo leagues. Free Agent Budget (FAB) amounts are set off a $100 salary cap. Only players rostered in less than 60% of leagues are considered.


Harry How / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Justin Herbert, Chargers

Next UpRosteredFAB
at NO16%$2

Herbert found his way into last week’s column as a potential long-term option you likely wanted to avoid in a tough Week 4 matchup against the Bucs. It turns out he didn’t need coddling.

The rookie put up 290 passing yards and three touchdowns while going toe to toe with Tom Brady. Herbert now faces a Saints team that’s given up three passing scores in each of its last three contests. After an impressive opening month of his career, the passer is now poised to be a high-end QB2 with QB1 upside the rest of the way.

Daniel Jones, Giants

Next UpRosteredFAB
at DAL34%$1

Jones hasn’t reached double-digit fantasy points in three straight games, but we knew his September schedule was incredibly difficult. His suffocating string of opponents ends this week with a Cowboys defense that’s among the top five in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks, and that includes Dallas giving up 12 touchdown passes over its last three outings.

With one of the highest projected point totals on the Week 5 slate, the game against Dallas should be a shootout featuring Herbert against a vulnerable secondary. Consider him a strong streaming option for the next couple of weeks.

Long-term options (don’t start in Week 5): Ryan Tannehill vs. BUF (49% rostered), Jimmy Garoppolo vs.MIA (31% rostered)

Streamer options: Teddy Bridgewater at ATL (19% rostered), Gardner Minshew at HOU (46% rostered), Kirk Cousins at SEA (29% rostered), Philip Rivers at CLE (21% rostered)

Running backs

James Gilbert / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Joshua Kelley/Justin Jackson, Chargers

Next UpRosteredFAB
at NO55%/5%$49/$24

Austin Ekeler suffered a Grade 2 hamstring strain on Sunday, and he’s now out for four-to-six weeks and possibly longer. Kelley, who was working as the power complement to Ekeler, is now positioned to be the Chargers’ lead back, with Jackson playing a change-of-pace role.

Since Herbert was placed at the helm, the Chargers’ offense has been a revelation, going from one of the NFL’s slowest-paced units in 2019 to the top half of the league in 2020, according to Football Outsiders. The Saints’ run defense is stout, but Los Angeles’ schedule softens considerably after Week 5.

If Kelley is still available in your league, he’s worth paying for since he’ll be a fantasy RB2 moving forward. Jackson is a sneakier add, and he’s capable of delivering as a weekly upside flex play.

Chase Edmonds, Cardinals

Next UpRosteredFAB
at NYJ34%$19

Through the first month, Edmonds has looked like the Cardinals’ best running back. Kenyan Drake, their current starter, has been unable to recapture his second-half magic from last season, and his lack of production – even in favorable matchups – has become too glaring to overlook. Arizona may have never traded for Drake if Edmonds stayed healthy in 2019.

Edmonds racked up 150 total yards and three touchdowns during his lone start last year. You should be trying to acquire him in case Drake gets benched or injured. This situation might take a few weeks to develop, so look elsewhere if you’re in search of immediate RB help.

D’Ernest Johnson, Browns

Next UpRosteredFAB
vs. IND1%$14

The Browns have found success with a run-heavy attack under head coach Kevin Stefanski. Even after Nick Chubb went down with a knee injury that’s expected to keep him out for at least six weeks, Cleveland’s ground game kept chugging on Sunday.

Kareem Hunt did most of the damage, but Johnson played a big role while turning his 13 carries into 95 yards. In the interest of keeping Hunt healthy, Johnson should continue to see significant touches, enough to maintain RB3/flex numbers while Chubb is out.

Phillip Lindsay, Broncos

Next UpRosteredFAB
vs. NE49%$14

This is more of a reminder that Lindsay is returning from a toe injury. He’s been out since Week 1, and as long as the tailback is healthy, Lindsay will work alongside Melvin Gordon and be a weekly flex play. He possesses top-15 upside if the starting job becomes available at any point.

Latavius Murray is around the 60% rostered mark and should be rostered in almost all leagues.

High-upside backups like Alexander Mattison (37% rostered), Tony Pollard (22% rostered), and Brian Hill (29% rostered) should be rostered in most leagues.

Desperation flex options: Malcolm Brown at WAS (37% rostered), Rex Burkhead vs. DEN (45% rostered), Frank Gore vs. ARI (20% rostered)

Long-term upside stashes: Damien Harris vs. DEN (26% rostered), Anthony McFarland Jr. vs. PHI (2% rostered), Ke’Shawn Vaughn at CHI (6% rostered)

Deeper upside backups: Giovani Bernard at BAL (17% rostered), Duke Johnson vs. JAX (18% rostered), Darrel Williams vs. LV (11% rostered), Benny Snell Jr. vs. PHI (15% rostered), Reggie Bonnafon at ATL (0% rostered), Travis Homer vs. MIN (2% rostered), Darrynton Evans vs. BUF (2% rostered), Jordan Wilkins at CLE (1% rostered), Boston Scott at PIT (20% rostered), Chris Thompson at HOU (20% rostered), Gus Edwards vs. CIN (2% rostered)

Wide receivers

Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty

Tee Higgins, Bengals

Next UpRosteredFAB
at BAL33%$39

Last week, we noted Higgins was a discount option for managers who didn’t want to pay the high price for Justin Jefferson or Brandon Aiyuk. Hopefully, you grabbed him then, because his price is steeper now.

Even in a nice Week 4 matchup, A.J. Green‘s struggles continued and he was limited to just one catch. Meanwhile, Higgins built on his two-touchdown performance in Week 3 by posting a four-catch, 77-yard day in Week 4, adding 13 more yards on the ground. The second-round pick is quickly becoming a focal point in an offense that’s logged the second-most pass attempts through four weeks.

This is your last chance to get Higgins off the waiver wire. Don’t miss out on a potential breakout star who’s playing with one of the league’s most exciting young quarterbacks.

Zach Pascal, Colts

Next UpRosteredFAB
at CLE4%$19

Pascal isn’t as talented as Higgins, but he’s in a similar situation while playing with a former star in T.Y. Hilton, who’s struggled to produce in 2020. Hilton is scoreless and has been held under 30 yards in two of his last three appearances.

Stepping up with Parris Campbell and Michael Pittman on the sideline, Pascal led the Colts in targets, receiving yards, receptions, and WR snaps in Week 4. If he outshines Hilton this Sunday against a banged-up Browns pass defense that opposing wideouts are destroying, we might need to treat Pascal as Indy’s No. 1 receiver.

Hunter Renfrow, Raiders

Next UpRosteredFAB
vs. PHI28%$14

Renfrow is the most reliable member of the Raiders’ WR corps until Henry Ruggs recovers from his knee injury. The slot man has posted back-to-back quality stat lines of 6-84-0 and 5-57-0 against a pair of stout secondaries (New England and Buffalo).

He should be heavily targeted again in Week 5 as the Raiders try to keep up with Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs’ offense. Though his ceiling is lower than some of the other names on this list, Renfrow is a solid flex option until Ruggs returns.

Scotty Miller/Justin Watson, Buccaneers

Next UpRosteredFAB
vs. ATL48%/44%$14/$9

Faced with a short turnaround ahead of Thursday Night Football, the Buccaneers are dealing with several offensive injuries that could force Miller and Watson into big roles. In addition to Leonard Fournette (ankle) and O.J. Howard (torn Achilles), Tampa might be without Mike Evans (ankle) and Chris Godwin (hamstring).

If that happens, Miller would be the best fantasy option due to his established connection with Tom Brady. Miller has totaled 73-plus yards in three of Tampa’s first four games, and he’s coming off a five-catch, 83-yard, one-touchdown performance. Watson would be more of a one-game streamer with a low floor against a Bears defense that’s held most wideouts in check this year.

Brandon Aiyuk and Russell Gage are around the 60% rostered mark and should be rostered in almost all leagues.

Flex options: Christian Kirk at NYJ (33% rostered), Tim Patrick at NE (2% rostered), Tre’Quan Smith vs. LAC (27% rostered), Laviska Shenault Jr. at HOU (24% rostered), N’Keal Harry vs. DEN (35% rostered), Golden Tate at DAL (35% rostered)

Risky flex options: Corey Davis vs. BUF (36% rostered), Cole Beasley at TEN (25% rostered), Keelan Cole at HOU (31% rostered), Curtis Samuel at ATL (22% rostered), Greg Ward at PIT (19% rostered), MeCole Hardman vs. LV (40% rostered), Adam Humphries vs. BUF (3% rostered), Anthony Miller vs. TB (47% rostered)

Injury Stashes: Alshon Jeffery at PIT (16% rostered), Henry Ruggs at KC, (43% rostered), Mike Williams at NO (39% rostered)

Promising rookies: Chase Claypool vs. PHI (10% rostered), Darnell Mooney vs. TB (1% rostered), Gabriel Davis at TEN (2% rostered)

Deep bench stashes: Jeff Smith vs. ARI (0% rostered), David Moore vs. MIN (1% rotered), Andy Isabella at NYJ (9% rostered), Damiere Byrd vs. DEN (1% rostered), Isaiah Ford at SF (1% rostered), Demarcus Robinson vs. LV (1% rostered), Jalen Guyton at NO (0% rostered), Nelson Agholor at KC (1% rostered), Darrius Sheperd on Bye (0% rostered)

Tight ends

Joe Sargent / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Eric Ebron, Steelers

Next UpRosteredFAB
vs. PHI27%$2

Ebron‘s game may have been postponed in Week 4, but our excitement over his developing chemistry with Ben Roethlisberger isn’t going anywhere.

As we mentioned in this space last week, the tight end’s targets have risen each contest – from two to five to seven – over his first three outings as a Steeler. Ebron came through with five receptions, 52 yards, and a touchdown in his most recent appearance. He now projects as a high-end TE2 streamer against an Eagles defense that just gave up 15 catches, 183 yards, and a touchdown to George Kittle.

Mo Alie-Cox, Colts

Next UpRosteredFAB
at CLE33%$1

Alie-Cox has logged three consecutive quality fantasy weeks, but his most recent game is concerning after he only caught one pass, though it went for a touchdown. The team is adamant it will keep the talented tight end involved now that Jack Doyle and Trey Burton are healthy, but Alie-Cox’s two targets in Week 4 tell a different story.

After the two veterans out-snapped him, Alie-Cox is simply a bench stash as we wait to see if the Colts do the right thing and continue to lean on his vast upside.

Other options: Rob Gronkowski at CHI (57% rostered), Austin Hooper vs. IND (53% rostered), Logan Thomas vs. LAR (26% rostered), Greg Olsen vs. MIN (22% rostered), Robert Tonyan on Bye (25% rostered), Jimmy Graham vs. TB (50% rostered), Drew Sample at BAL (3% rostered), Darren Fells vs. JAX (1% rostered), Cameron Brate at CHI (1% rostered)


Week 5 streamers

TeamNext UpRostered
Cardinalsat NYJ50%
Cowboysvs. NYG25%
Brownsvs. IND12%
Texansvs. JAX12%

Favorable upcoming schedules: Chargers DEF (39% rostered), Cowboys DEF (25% rostered), Browns DEF (12% rostered)

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