Here are this week’s top Waiver Wire players who are owned in less than 50% of Yahoo leagues. Our favorite players are broken down in Top Targets and the best secondary options are in our Going Deeper sections. We’ll also list any players at the top of each position who are above the 50% threshold — or are household names — and are still widely available for those who might be in smaller leagues.
Be sure to check out our weekly Waiver Wire podcast and our Waiver Wire Livestream for more analysis. We’ll also have Streaming articles every Tuesday that focus on the top quarterbacks, tight ends, and defenses for the upcoming week(s).
Note: The initial Waiver Wire article writeup will be posted every Monday night, followed by in-depth updates Tuesday, and continued additions/updates Wednesday.
Teams on Bye in Week 6:
Chargers, Raiders, Seahawks, and Saints
Andy Dalton (Dal, 2%) — Dak Prescott’s potentially historic 2020 campaign prematurely came to an end in Week 5 when he suffered a compound fracture and dislocation of his right ankle. The Cowboys will hand the keys to the offense to Dalton for the rest of the season, who’s in his first season in Big D after serving as the starter in Cincinnati for the last nine seasons. Dalton led the Cowboys on a game-winning drive in the final minute of Week 5 against the Giants as he completed 9/11 passes for 111 yards (10.1 YPA). We can’t expect Dalton to put up the type of gaudy numbers that Dak posted through the first four weeks, but the veteran QB still has low-end QB1 potential for the rest of the season since he’s taking over a passing attack that has the best receiving corps in the league. It also helps that he’s going to be playing in shootouts pretty much every week since the Cowboys have one of the worst defenses in the league. At first glance of our projected weekly averages for his passing and running stats, Dalton landed #10 on our QB board the rest of the way.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (Mia, 20%) — We’re still week-to-week with Fitz since the Dolphins should want to insert Tua Tagovailoa into the starting lineup at some point, but Fitz bought himself at least another week as the team’s starter (again) after going to San Francisco and knocking off the reigning NFC champions. He completed 22/28 passes for 350 yards (12.5 YPA) and three touchdowns against the 49ers, which gives him 23+ FP in four straight games after struggling against the Patriots in the season opener. The NFL must want Fitz to keep his hot streak going in Week 6 as they rearranged the schedule so that Miami will take on the hapless Jets this week before going on bye in Week 7. Fitz is a week-to-week option right now, but he’s a helluva option with top-12 potential against the Jets this week. Most games are “revenge” games for Fitz, including this week’s tilt with the lifeless Jets. Just keep in mind he’s a great option for upside right now, but if we’re talking total fantasy points the rest of the season, guys like Carr, Cousins, and others are better options.
Derek Carr (LV, 20%) — Carr has an improved cast around him, and he’s posting better numbers so far this season with multiple TDs in his last four games. He completed 22/31 passes for 347 yards (11.2 YPA), three TDs, and one INT in Las Vegas’ stunning road upset of the Chiefs in Week 5. Carr has been playing a bit undermanned recently but Henry Ruggs’ return to the lineup in Week 5 opened the entire offense because of his downfield speed — he had receptions of 72 and 46 yards against the Chiefs. With Ruggs on the field, Carr’s willingness to stand in the pocket for downfield plays to develop has seemingly improved, and that’s been one of his biggest negatives. Carr is on bye this week and he doesn’t have a great slate of matchups coming up (bye, TB, @Cle, @LAC), but his play is certainly trending upward this season.
Kirk Cousins (Min, 29%) — Cousins and the Vikings are off to a shaky start this season but he has now topped 245+ passing yards in four of his five games. He completed 27/39 passes for 249 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception against the Seahawks. Cousins is averaging just 27.4 pass attempts per game and he has eight TD passes compared to seven INTs through five weeks. However, he’s still averaging 8.2 YPA, which has been greatly aided by Justin Jefferson’s emergence in recent weeks. The also took second-year TE Irv Smith off the milk carton in Week 5, and he has a lot to offer this passing game. Cousins has some good spots coming up (Atl, bye, @GB, Det) against some offenses that could force him to throw it a little bit more.
Drew Lock (Den, 9%) — Lock is practicing this week so he should be ready to go for Week 6 after last week’s unscheduled bye bought him more time to rejoin the lineup. He looks mighty appealing compared to the other options Denver has rolled with in Jeff Driskel and Brett Rypien. Denver may not have TE Noah Fant (ankle) in Week 6, but they do have Tim Patrick, who balled out in Week 4, and an emerging Jerry Jeudy so they do still have weapons. Lock will also augment his fantasy production at times with his legs. UPDATED: 10/15
Baker Mayfield (Cle, 40%) — The Browns aired it out a little more in their first game without Nick Chubb, but Mayfield still couldn’t reach 18+ FP for the first time this season. He completed 21/37 passes for 247 yards (6.7 YPA), two touchdowns, and two INTs against the Colts in Week 5. Mayfield has some solid spots coming up the next four weeks (@Pit, @Cin, LV, bye), but he needs a potent offense across from him to attempt enough passes to be fantasy relevant. Mayfield did suffer a rib injury late in their Week 5 victory over the Colts, which is something to keep an eye on this week, but X-rays were negative, so he should be okay. Case Keenum would get the start against the Steelers if he can’t play through the injury.
Jimmy Garoppolo (SF, 31%) — Jimmy G is only a stash option right now after getting benched in Week 5 in his first game back from his ankle injury. He completed just 7/17 passes for 77 yards (4.5 YPA) and two INTs against the Dolphins before Kyle Shanahan pulled the ripcord at halftime. C.J. Beathard wasn’t much better in relief with 94/1 passing on 18 attempts (5.2 YPA). Jimmy G will likely be the long-term option at quarterback in San Francisco going forward, and he will start Week 6, but he can’t be used in a fantasy lineup until he looks healthy and he posts a strong performance. If he can get healthy and back on track, they do have a lot of talented receivers who can place a lot of stress on opposing defenses. On the downside, at least for now, Shanahan may pull him again if he’s not effective. UPDATED: 10/15
Nick Foles (Chi, 14%) — HC Matt Nagy rightfully pulled the plug on Mitch Trubisky in the second half in Week 3, and Foles promptly came into the game and threw three touchdowns in Chicago’s improbable comeback victory over the Falcons. Foles has failed to keep the momentum going with a pair of performances with 12 FP in Weeks 4 and 5. The Bears will stick with Foles after beating the Buccaneers in Week 5, but he’s an uninspiring low-end QB2 option with some tough matchups looming (@CAR, @LAR, NO, @Ten).
Tua Tagovailoa (Mia, 6%) — Tua’s time is coming soon but he likely won’t be named the starter in Week 6 after Ryan Fitzpatrick and company went to San Francisco and knocked off the reigning NFC champions. The Dolphins did have their bye moved up from Week 11 to Week 7 this past weekend. There’s a chance the Dolphins could be planning a switch as soon as Week 8 against the Rams since they’ll have more time to implement schemes better suited for Tua during their bye week. Of course, that’s all dependent on how Fitz performs against the Jets in a game they’ll be heavily favored to win. Either way, it’s time to stash Tua now in two-QB leagues and in deeper formats as his time is coming soon.
Daniel Jones (NYG, 34%) — It’s now officially time to panic after he failed to reach double-digit FP against a terrible Cowboys secondary. It doesn’t help that he lost Saquon Barkley (ACL, IR) and Sterling Shepard (toe, IR) in Week 2 and that his O-line is also struggling to protect him, but Jones is still struggling to protect the rock with more turnovers (9) than touchdowns (2) in the early going. He does not look comfortable in the new offense being run by Jason Garrett, which could be another problem. Jones is an extremely risky play as QB2 right now even with beatable matchups the next two weeks (@Dal, Was, @Phi).
Alexander Mattison (Min, 40%) — We’ve listed Mattison as the top handcuff stash in the league since Latavius Murray is more heavily owned, and the second-year RB stepped into a sizable role when Cook left Week 5 with a groin injury. Mattison took over as the team’s bell-cow back against the Seahawks, posting 20/112 rushing and 3/24 receiving. Cook did briefly return for a play in the third quarter before the Vikings pulled him for good. Cook has missed seven games over the last two years and it’s about to climb to eight because Cook is NOT expected to play Week 6, so Mattison is looking at 20+ touches with a great overall matchup this week against the Falcons. Seeing 43 snaps in Week 5, Mattison should not be giving way much to Mike Boone, who played only 5 snaps in Week 5. Cook has missed practice all week, so he’s likely out. UPDATED: 10/15
Justin Jackson (LAC, 42%) — Austin Ekeler’s nasty hamstring/knee injury should keep him out of the lineup for the next 4-6 weeks, opening up a big opportunity in this backfield. Jackson had played poorly in his only two games this season with just 8/13 rushing and 2/12 receiving, and he missed Weeks 2-3 because of a quad injury. But he got the official start in Week 5, and he out-performed Joshua Kelley, so Jackson is in business right now with the primary role (although that’s probably still week-to-week). Jackson got 59% of the snaps and put up 15/71 rushing and 5/23 receiving on 6 targets. That’s a strong 21 opportunities for the veteran. Jackson ran hard, and while he might wear down as the weeks progress, he can clearly help RB-starved teams right now. Jackson also has a juicy slate coming up (bye, @Mia, Jax, LV). UPDATED: 10/13
Jamaal Williams (GB, 15%) — Second-round pick A.J. Dillon is a distant third option in this backfield behind Williams and starter Aaron Jones. Williams is the better all-around player than Dillon at this stage of his career, and he would lead this backfield if Jones missed time. Williams may also have standalone value as they deal with a myriad of injuries at receiver. He picked up the slack in the passing game with 8/95 receiving on eight targets and he had 16 opportunities overall in Week 4 with a healthy 57% of the snaps. HC Matt LaFleur wants to keep Jones fresh for the long haul and Williams is playing well enough to consider off of the waiver wire with byes and COVID-19 chaos happening around the league.
Lamichael Perine (NYJ, 0%) — With Le’Veon Bell released, Perine will get a chance to show what he can do, and he does have a 3-down skillset. He will compete with Frank Gore for snaps and touches and not much else. They do have former Lion Ty Johnson, who may get a look, but they used a fourth round pick on Perine, so he’s the guy to look at here. He will get the first chance to handle 50% or more of the backfield touches. If he does well, that percentage could rise to 60-70%. UPDATED: 10/15
Matt Breida (Mia, 25%) — The Dolphins made Jordan Howard a healthy scratch in Week 5, leaving this backfield to Myles Gaskin and Breida (and rookie Lynn Bowden, who had 3 carries). Gaskin served as the workhorse back in Week 5 with 21 opportunities while Breida posted 9/28 rushing with a 31-yard catch on his only target while playing a season-high 31% of the snaps against the 49ers. If Howard continues to be a healthy scratch going forward, Breida could be looking at 10-12 touches per game going forward, which gives him some standalone value with bye weeks setting in. He would also likely be the player to take over the majority of the work if Gaskin missed time so Breida is worth an add if he’s been dropped in your leagues. Hopefully, for his sake, they don’t sign Le’Veon Bell, which is a possibility. UPDATED: 10/15
Brian Hill (Atl, 21%) — Owner Arthur Blank finally pulled the ripcord and fired both HC Dan Quinn and GM Thomas Dimitroff. One of the questionable organizational decisions was bringing in Todd Gurley on a one-year, $3.5 million deal this off-season. He’s actually off to a strong fantasy start with five touchdowns in five games, but he hasn’t looked particularly explosive as a runner and he’s done next to nothing as a receiver Week 5. Gurley likely won’t have a place with the Falcons after this season as they start to rebuild the franchise so it wouldn’t be shocking to see Hill and Ito Smith get longer looks in the near future now that Dimitroff and Quinn are gone. It’s not a bad idea to stash Hill now if you have a roster spot that’s doing nothing for you or if you own Gurley.
J.D. McKissic (Was, 6%) — He’s a real pest when it comes to Antonio Gibson, but that doesn’t look to be changing in the near future. McKissic led the Football Team with eight targets (27% share) and 6/46 receiving with Kyle Allen and Alex Smith combining for just 111 passing yards against the Rams in Week 5. The Football Team likes him in the passing game, and he could be more involved going forward if the conservative Smith continues to play. He’s dependent on a negative game script, which won’t be a problem most weeks in Washington since they’re one of the worst teams in the league.
Malcolm Brown (LAR, 40%) — It looked like Darrell Henderson had taken control of this Rams backfield with a pair of 100-yard performances in Weeks 2-3, but HC Sean McVay has reminded everyone multiple times that he’s using the hot-hand approach with this backfield every week. Henderson led the backfield with 19 opportunities and two touchdowns in Week 5 against the Football Team while Cam Akers posted 9/61 rushing in his first game back. Brown was the least productive of the three backs, posting 8/30 rushing with six-yard loss on his only catch against Washington, but he was right behind Henderson’s 43% of the snap with 38% himself. McVay should start filtering most of the opportunities to the more talented options in Henderson and Akers (19% of the snaps Week 5) going forward, but we can’t assume he will.
Duke Johnson (Hou, 29%) — Duke returned to the lineup in Week 4 after missing the last two games with an ankle injury he sustained in the season opener. The Texans didn’t need Duke in Week 5 with the Texans actually playing with a lead as he finished with just 3 carries for 8 yards rushing while catching his only target for 11 yards against the Jaguars. Duke (29% of their snaps Week 5) is still the preferred passing back if he’s healthy, but David Johnson could steal a few third-down snaps. If David misses time for whatever reason, Duke hass top-15 potential in PPR with a large role, so he’s also a decent stash-and-hope option. When the Texans are playing from behind, which should be the case more often than not this season, Duke has some standalone potential.
D’Ernest Johnson (Cle, 1%) — Lead runner Nick Chubb went down with a knee injury in Week 4, which opened the door for Johnson to get some major run next to Kareem Hunt in the Browns Browns backfield. The third-year player led the Browns with 13/95 rushing against the Cowboys, but he had a minor role as the #2 option in Week 5 with just 8/32 rushing against the Colts. Of course, Dontrell Hilliard didn’t have an offensive snap in the game, which is encouraging for Johnson. Johnson is looking at 8-12 carries/opportunities per game going forward in a run-first offense so he’s worth a look in deeper non-PPR formats.
Chris Thompson (Jax, 16%) — James Robinson is dominating most of the work in this Jaguars backfield, but Thompson is going to have a secondary role as a receiver most weeks, since Jacksonville is going to be playing from behind most weeks. Thompson didn’t have an opportunity against the Bengals in Week 4, but he bounced back 3/35 receiving and 2/7 rushing in a loss to the Texans in Week 5. Thompson isn’t going to post big numbers behind Robinson most weeks, but he has some value for owners playing in deeper PPR formats. He played a promising 40% of the snaps in Week 5 and may start settling into being their traditional third-down and hurry-up back.
Mike Boone (Min, 0%) — Boone will step into the primary backup role behind Alexander Mattison while Dalvin Cook misses time after suffering a groin injury in Week 5. Boone played only 5 snaps while seeing his first two carries of the season after Cook left the lineup against the Seahawks, which he turned into 19 rushing yards. If you’re a Cook owner who doesn’t own Mattison, it’s not a bad idea to grab Boone for the time being just in case Cook’s injury turns out to be a little more troublesome than anticipated. As it is, Cook is not expected to play Week 6. They do have a bye in Week 7, as well. UPDATED: 10/13
Best Handcuff Stashes
Tony Pollard (Dal, 22%) — Pollard ran for 455 yards on just 86 carries (5.3 YPC) as Ezekiel Elliott’s primary backup last season, and there’s a chance he could have more standalone value if he’s given a bigger role as a sophomore. Pollard would immediately be an RB1 if he’s thrust into a bell-cow role at any point this season.
Darrel Williams (KC, 10%) — Williams is the next man up behind rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire, and he has a small role next to the first-round pick. Williams would see most of the work if CEH missed time — Darwin Thompson would also mix in — and HC Andy Reid feels comfortable with Williams in any situation.
Giovani Bernard (Cin, 8%) — If Joe Mixon goes down, Gio is one of the best handcuffs in all of fantasy football. Across Bernard's last four games without Mixon on the field, he averages 80% of the team's snaps, 13.0 carries, 5.3 targets, and 19.4 FPG. Those are hammer RB1 numbers.
Carlos Hyde (Sea, 16%) — Hyde is the guy to own for early-down work in Seattle if Chris Carson misses time as Rashaad Penny continues to recover from his major knee injury from last season. Travis Homer and DeeJay Dallas would duke it out for passing-game work next to Hyde if Carson misses some time.
Boston Scott (Phi, 15%) — Scott moved back to a secondary role in this backfield in Week 2 with Miles Sanders making his 2020 debut after dealing with a hamstring injury for a month. Scott is unlikely to see enough work each week to have enough standalone value to be a flex option so he’s a handcuff for Sanders right now.
Darrynton Evans (Ten, 2%) — The rookie Evans is the next man up behind King Henry, and he’ll work as a change-of-pace option as the lightning to Henry’s thunder this season. Evans did go on IR on 10/15, so he’s out until at least Week 9. UPDATED: 10/15
Jordan Wilkins (Ind, 1%) — Wilkins has been getting weekly touches as the primary backup to lead runner Jonathan Taylor after Marlon Mack (Achilles, IR) went down for the season. Wilkins would handle the early-down duties with Nyheim Hines mixing in as a change-of-pace back and as a receiver if Taylor missed time.
Devontae Booker (LV, 0%) — The Raiders have built a large part of their offense around stud RB Josh Jacobs, and they also use Jalen Richard as a hurry-up and change-of-pace back. However, Booker is likely the handcuff for the early-down work in Las Vegas if Jacobs misses time.
Tee Higgins (Cin, 53%)
Chase Claypool (Pit, 10%) — We’ve listed Claypool as an upside stash option in our Waiver Wire article in recent weeks, and he’s now the must-own option to emerge in Week 5. Claypool made a couple of splash plays in his first couple games as a pro playing with Ben Roethlisberger before completely breaking out with a ridiculous four-touchdown performance in Week 5. The 2020 second-round pick exploded for 7/110/3 receiving on a team-best 11 targets (32% share) and he added 3/6/1 rushing against the Eagles. He also had a TD taken off the board. Top perimeter WR Diontae Johnson did leave Week 5 early with a back injury, which certainly helped Claypool to his historic performance. Claypool has still shown more than enough through five weeks to command a near every-down role ahead of James Washington going forward. Claypool still figures to be a bit of a boom-or-bust option going forward since he’ll be competing for targets with Johnson and JuJu Smith-Schuster. But his volume will be on the rise going forward because of his strong play out of the gates, and he’ll be an upside option most weeks because he’s getting the old Martavis Bryant targets as a downfield threat and as a red-zone demon.
Laviska Shenault (Jax, 34%) — The Jaguars are rolling with D.J. Chark, Shenault, and Keelan Cole as their top-three WRs with Dede Westbrook a healthy scratch when they’re each in the lineup. Chark left Week 5 early with an ankle injury — he missed time at the end of last season with an ankle injury — which left Shenault and Cole as the top options. Shenault posted 75+ receiving yards for the second straight week and 5+ catches for the third straight week while Cole posted 2/25/1 receiving on six targets against the Texans. Shenault is an obvious add, since he was already challenging Chark for the #1 WR role while Cole is an add in deeper leagues, since he’s getting opportunities in an offense that’s going to be playing from behind a bunch. UPDATED: 10/13
Mike Williams (LAC, 38%) — Williams has been dropped in a bunch of leagues after suffering a hamstring injury in Week 3, which forced him to miss Week 4. But Williams was worth stashing with Justin Herbert showing off his big arm in the early going of his career. The rookie threw a pair of deep touchdown passes to Williams’ replacement Jalen Guyton and Tyron Johnson in Week 4, so it was easy to envision Williams turning into that big-play threat for Herbert as soon as he’s healthy. That’s exactly what happened when Williams returned in Week 5, as Williams racked up 8 targets, many of them downfield for a 5/109/2 day. And Keenan Allen (back) also got hurt in the game, so Williams looks like a great plug-and-play WR3 for most. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Williams continue to turn in several big plays in Weeks 6-10 with an attackable slate coming up (bye, @Mia, Jax, LV). UPDATED: 10/13
Brandin Cooks (Hou, 43%) — Cooks hit the waiver wire in plenty of leagues after he posted a goose egg on three targets in a good matchup against the Vikings in Week 4. Even with his ugly performance in Week 4, his usage in the first month of the year suggested a bounce-back performance was in his near future. He ran a route on 39 of Watson’s 40 dropbacks in Week and was still sitting at a 17% target share heading into Week 5. Well, Cook bounced back in a big way with 8/161/1 receiving on 12 targets against the Jaguars as Deshaun Watson showed some trust in his new receiver. The 27-year-old receiver has been a frustrating player to own in the last season-plus, but he did run off 65+ catches and 1000+ yards in four straight seasons in the distant past (2015-18). They don’t have a go-to guy at TE, and Kenny Stills is just an ancillary guy, playing only 16 snaps in Week 5 (18%). It’s hard to find players with Cook’s potential sitting on the waiver wire so snatch him up if he’s been dropped.
Henry Ruggs (LV, 44%) — Ruggs, the first WR selected in this year’s draft, returned to the lineup in Week 5 and he immediately made an impact with his game-breaking speed. Ruggs saw just three targets and he had only two catches against the Chiefs in Week 5, but he made them count with a 46-yard reception and a 72-yard touchdown on a pair of deep balls from Derek Carr. We’re worried about the overall volume Ruggs is going to see in this offense most weeks, but he can do a lot with little volume because of his 4.27 speed. The Raiders also figure to funnel him more targets as an after-the-catch receiver as the season goes along so snatch up Ruggs now if he’s been dropped in your league. Ruggs won’t help you in Week 6 since he’s on bye, but he could break with more opportunities later in the season.
Christian Kirk (Ari, 34%) — It hasn’t been a pretty start to the season for Kirk with DeAndre Hopkins seeing what seems like every target from Kyler Murray. The third-year WR is trending upward the last two weeks, though, after scoring a touchdown in Week 4 and after posting 5/78 receiving on seven targets against the Jets in Week 5. Kyler Murray isn’t throwing the rock particularly well to start the year, but he had his best day through the air in Week 5 as he spread the rock around to his receivers. Hopkins, Kirk, and Larry Fitzgerald each saw a team-best seven targets against the Jets. Kirk and Kyler, who produced a 3-TD game in 2019, could keep the momentum going with matchups looming against the Cowboys, the Seahawks, and the Dolphins over the next three weeks.
Mecole Hardman (KC, 40%) and DeMarcus Robinson (KC, 1%) — Hardman has really needed an injury in front of him to have a better chance of producing for fantasy, and he could now be looking at a bigger role for the next couple weeks after Sammy Watkins left Week 5 early with a hamstring injury. He has been trending upward anyway with a touchdown and four catches in both Week 3 and Week 4 before posting 2/50 receiving on three targets against the Raiders in Week 5. Robinson also figures to see an uptick in chances for as long as Watkins is out of the lineup, but Robinson looks pretty terrible this year. Hardman is the priority option if he’s still sitting on your waiver wire, since Watkins is fully expected to miss some time. UPDATED: 10/13
Travis Fulgham (Phi, 2%) — Fulgham went from being a complete unknown two weeks ago to being the must-own receiver in this Eagles’ passing game (for now) after a pair of impressive performances. Fulgham caught the game-winning 42-yard touchdown against the 49ers in Week 4 before going bonkers in Week 5, posting 10/152/1 receiving on 13 targets (36% share) against the Steelers. A struggling Carson Wentz could use any kind of help he can get right now, and his top option could be Fulgham going forward. Jalen Reagor (thumb, IR) and Dallas Goedert (ankle, IR) are both out for the next couple weeks while DeSean Jackson (hamstring) and Alshon Jeffery (Lisfranc) are struggling to stay healthy at their advanced football ages. Throw in the fact that Zach Ertz has vanished the last two weeks, and Fulgham could remain a viable fantasy starter while the rest of this receiving corps struggles to get healthy. It’s possible that Fulgham locks in their starting X receiver spot for the time being. UPDATED: 10/15
Cole Beasley (Buf, 28%) — Beasley is always a strong deeper option in PPR formats, and he’s back to putting up solid weekly production as the team’s slot WR. He’s posted at least nine FP in every game this season, including 12+ FP in each of his last three games after recording 3/32/1 receiving on four targets against the Raiders in Week 4. Beasley has been a solid but unspectacular PPR option in the past, but he has more upside than ever before because of Buffalo’s spread attack. Josh Allen is averaging 37 passes per game and 331.5 passing yards per game, which gives Beasley a viable chance to be a low-end WR3 in PPR formats with bye weeks and COVID-19 chaos setting in.
Preston Williams (Mia, 22%) — Williams has been slow out of the gates in his first month of action coming back from his ACL injury, but he showed his first signs of life in Week 5. He failed to reach double-digit FP in his first four games, but he went off for 4/106/1 receiving on five targets against a banged up 49ers secondary. It might be time to give Williams another look if he’s been dumped to the waiver wire. It’s worth noting that DeVante Parker has been banged up this young season, and he caught only 2 balls in Week 5. Williams may be rounding into from a month-plu into the season, and he has the chance to keep his momentum going against a terrible Jets team after the NFL rearranged the schedule this past weekend.
Tim Patrick (Den, 18%) — Patrick has been a solid contributor every time he’s been given a chance in Denver, and he’s at it again with Courtland Sutton (ACL, IR), K.J. Hamler (hamstring), and TE Noah Fant (ankle) out of the lineup. He was Brett Rypien’s go-to receiver in Week 4 against the Jets, hauling 6/113/1 receiving on a team-best seven targets (22.6% share) while playing 76% of the snaps. Patrick will stick in the X receiver spot going forward with Sutton done for the year, and he’s actually the most-seasoned receiver for Drew Lock and company in his third season at 26 years old. He’s unlikely to have many 20+ FP outbursts this season, but he could maintain a sizable role even when Hamler returns to the lineup for those looking for help in deeper formats.
Darnell Mooney (Chi, 1%) — We told readers about this kid all summer, and he’s been used as the #2 WR behind Allen Robinson and ahead of Anthony Miller so far this season. He finished second in WR snap share (65%) again in Week 5, but he managed just 2/15 receiving on five targets with Foles missing him for a long TD against the Buccaneers. If you didn’t see the game, it was one of the more promising 2/15 performances you’ll ever see, since he consistently got open. The Bears have been high on him and they’ve been blown away with his speed and how quickly he’s picked things up. His upside is capped playing with Foles and playing behind a ball-hog like A-Rob, so he should be boom-or-bust. But Mooney will certainly be making some big plays going forward, and his “boom” could be pretty appealing.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling (GB, 39%) — MVS has gone quiet in his last three games after posting 4/96/1 receiving on six targets in the season opener. He’s managed only 8/114 receiving on 19 targets in his last three games, but Aaron Rodgers will be looking for him to step up behind Davante Adams while Allen Lazard (core, IR) for the next 5-7 weeks. It looks like MVS is now behind Robert Tonyan in the passing-game pecking order, but Rodgers is going to continue to give MVS chances to make plays as the team’s primary deep threat.
Scotty Miller (TB, 31%) — Miller drew praise from QB Tom Brady and HC Bruce Arians during training camp, and he’s had a pretty sizable role in the early going with Chris Godwin (hamstring) and Mike Evans a bit banged. Miller will be hitting a lot of waiver wires this week after he didn’t see a target in Week 5, even with Chris Godwin and Justin Watson out of the lineup. Miller was dealing with his own hip and groin issues, but he can’t be trusted for the time being, especially with Chris Godwin potentially returning in Week 6. Tampa may also have to go with more three-WR sets after O.J. Howard suffered an Achilles injury in Week 4 that is expected to end his season. The question is will he maintain his role as the #3 WR after rookie Tyler Johnson’s impressive performance in Week 5.
Damiere Byrd (NE, 4%) — Not many sites were talking this guy up this summer, but we isolated him way back in the spring as a deep sleeper simply because he actually has some speed and juice, which is severely lacking on this roster. That’s why he’s grabbed hold of a large role here the last three weeks. In that span, he has 22 targets and 14/179 receiving while playing with three different QBs. He led the way with a whopping 97% of the snaps with 10 targets and 5/80 receiving in Week 4, good for a solid 13 PPR points. He may never score, but he absolutely can offer relief for those looking for catches and 10+ PPR points most weeks. N’Keal Harry is too slow to count on, and Julian Edelman has been up-and-down, plus they have nothing at TE. Add it up and Byrd is a thing.
N’Keal Harry (NE, 33%) — Harry posted 2/34 receiving and he saw just a 14% target share in Week 3 after posting 13/111 receiving on a 29% target share in Weeks 1-2. He did score in Week 4, but his line was otherwise underwhelming with 3/21 on 6 targets. He did play a solid 76% of the snaps. You could do worse for a WW pickup in a deeper league, but you could probably do better. He is their clear X receiver, though, so he will continue to play a lot.
Randall Cobb (Hou, 19%) — Cobb has seen a steady diet of targets in the middle of the field from Deshaun Watson most weeks. The veteran slot WR caught all six of his targets for 47 yards in Houston’s first victory of the season against the Jaguars in Week 5. Cobb should stay active and he should get more comfortable with Watson as they work together longer. It’s only a matter of time before Will Fuller and/or Brandin Cooks misses time with an injury and Cobb can help in deeper PPR formats, as well.
Tre'quan Smith (NO, 40%) — Smith has stepped up with Michael Thomas (ankle) out of the lineup the last three weeks, posting 13+ FP in two of his three games without New Orleans’ top receiver. Smith did come up small in Week 5, however, posting only 2/8 on 3 targets. Smith will return to the bench in most fantasy formats when Thomas gets back in the lineup, especially since Emmanuel Sanders has emerged as a force in this passing attack. Still, there’s a lot to be said for the production Smith has logged the last couple weeks and it bodes well for his long-term outlook. UPDATED: 10/13
Keelan Cole (Jax, 25%) — The Jaguars are rolling with D.J. Chark, Shenault, and Cole as their top-three WRs with Dede Westbrook a healthy scratch when they’re each in the lineup. Chark left Week 5 early with an ankle injury — he missed time at the end of last season with an ankle injury — which left Shenault and Cole as the top options. Shenault did well while Cole posted 2/25/1 receiving on six targets against the Texans. He’s not exciting or reliable, but Cole is an add in deeper leagues, since he’s getting opportunities in an offense that’s going to be playing from behind a bunch.
Tyler Johnson (TB, 0%) — The rookie Johnson staked a claim for more playing time going forward with his impressive performance in Week 5 in his first real chance to catch passes from Tom Brady. With Chris Godwin and Justin Watson out of the lineup against the Bears, the fifth-round pick out of Minnesota posted a team-best 4/61 receiving on six targets, which included a 35-yard catch-and-run play that set up Tampa’s only touchdown of the night. Johnson should be owned in most Dynasty formats, and he’s worth a stash since neither Scotty Miller nor Watson have locked down the #3 WR role.
Gabriel Davis (Buf, 2%) — We’ve been hearing great things about the rookie Davis since the summer, and he’s flashed a couple of different times in the first few weeks of the season in this suddenly potent Bills passing attack. He made another splash play with a 26-yard touchdown against the Raiders in Week 4, which gave him a touchdown or 80+ receiving yards Weeks 3-5. In Week 5, he had to start for John Brown, and he put up 5/58 on 9 targets and just missed a TD. Davis can’t be used except in the deepest formats while Stefon Diggs, Brown, and Cole Beasley are still healthy, but fantasy owners would be scrambling to add him if one of those receivers goes down if you have a bench spot to stash him. UPDATED: 10/15
Auden Tate (Cin, 1%) — A.J. Green left Week 5 early with a hamstring injury to add injury to insult to the start of his season. He saw just one target before leaving early in which he gave zero effort, which resulted in a Joe Burrow interception. Green could miss some time because of his injury and HC Zac Taylor may look to start playing some of his younger WRs like Tate, John Ross, and Michael Thomas more anyway because of Green’s terrible play. Tate received rave reviews for his performance in training camp and it wouldn’t be shocking if he starts to see more opportunities behind Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins in this passing attack.
DeSean Jackson (Phi, 28%) and Alshon Jeffery, (Phi, 18%) — You’re probably better off avoiding these older Eagles WRs since they can no longer be counted on to stay healthy. D-Jax has missed the last two weeks because of a hamstring injury while Jeffery has yet to play this season as he continues his glacial recovery from off-season Lisfranc surgery. A struggling Carson Wentz could use any kind of help he can get right now, but his top WR option could be Travis Fulgham going forward after the second-year WR exploded for 10/152/1 receiving against the Steelers in Week 5. It’s fine to stash Jeffery just in case he has something left in the tank but just don’t expect the world from him. D-Jax has the better chance of being an impact fantasy option, but he’s not a great bet since he no longer can stay healthy. It’s probably best just to wait for Jalen Reagor’s return in the second half of the year if you can’t grab Fulgham.
Bryan Edwards (LV, 4%) — Edwards will look to return to the lineup out of Las Vegas’ Week 6 bye after missing the last two weeks because of an ankle injury. The 2020 third-round pick had 40+ yards in consecutive games in Weeks 2-3 before he suffered his ankle injury against the Patriots in Week 3. Edwards was generating plenty of buzz during training camp and he made a couple big plays before his injury so it’s not a bad idea to stash Edwards if you have the bench space and you’re looking for an upside player in the second half of the season.
Golden Tate (NYG, 37%) — The Giants passing attack has been dismal through the first month of the season. Tate has yet to reach double-digit FP in his first four games even with Sterling Shepard (toe, IR) out the last three weeks. He mustered just 4/42 receiving on five targets against a pitiful Cowboys defense in Week 5. Daniel Jones is holding this entire offense back at this point, but Tate is also past his prime at 32 years old so he’s an option in only deep PPR leagues.
Breshad Perriman (NYJ, 8%) and Denzel Mims (NYJ, 3%) — The Jets are an absolute dumpster fire but, to be fair to Sam Darnold, he has been playing with the deck completely stacked against him. The Jets top perimeter WR the last two weeks was someone named Jeff Smith. Perriman can’t be trusted to stay healthy for long and Mims has barely worked since August so there are absolutely zero expectations for either player. Still, it wouldn’t be crazy if one of these WRs emerges as a relevant option in deeper formats later in the season.
Jimmy Graham (Chi, 41%) — The Bears felt like they could get more out of Graham this season after the Packers misused him as more of an inline player last season, and they were right. He’s still a little soft in terms of fighting for the ball, but he’s still pretty unstoppable in the red zone, as he’s shown the last two weeks. Graham has already surpassed his three touchdowns from last season after scoring his fourth TD in Week 5 as he posted 3/33/1 receiving on five targets against the Buccaneers. Graham is in much better shape going forward with Nick Foles as the starter as he’s posted three touchdowns with 33 + receiving yards in every game that Foles has appeared in. Graham will be competing for the second-most targets in this passing attack most weeks — behind Allen Robinson — and Graham did score 10 TDs with the Seahawks in 2017 before he went to Green Bay in 2018-19.
Irv Smith (Min, 6%) — Smith had run a route on only 52.6% of Kirk Cousins’ dropbacks through the first four weeks of the season as he ran just 62 routes through the first four weeks of the season, which was one more route than Kyle Rudolph had run to that point. OC Gary Kubiak actually got his talented second-year TE involved in Week 5 against the Seahawks, letting him run routes on 31-of-42 dropbacks from Cousins (73.8%). His spike in usage helped him to a season-best 4/64 receiving on five targets against the Seahawks. Mike Zimmer ideally wants his team to be a low-volume passing attack every week so we’re at least a bit skeptical Smith’s role will carry over to the future. Still, Smith showed he deserves to see a steady diet of targets every week so he’s worth a speculative add just in case Week 5 was the start of an uptick in usage.
Trey Burton (Ind, 1%) — We warned in Mo Alie-Cox’s waiver wire write-up last week that he was bound to disappoint soon because he was seeing limited opportunities next to Burton and Jack Doyle. We ranked Burton higher than Doyle and Alie-Cox in our Projections in Week 5, and he finished with 5/33 receiving on six targets against the Browns while Doyle and Alie-Cox combined no catches on three targets. Burton has the most upside in this tight end room going forward, but he’s far from a reliable option since Doyle and Alie-Cox aren’t going and because he’s had durability issues in recent seasons.
Greg Olsen (Sea, 22%) — Olsen is leading this Seahawks TE committee, which also has Will Dissly and Jacob Hollister involved. Olsen posted five catches in consecutive games before catching his only target for 20 yards against the Vikings in Week 6. Dissly caught his only target for a 19-yard score, but Olsen still paced this TE corps with an 83% snap share compared to Dissly’s 37% share. Russell Wilson is going to throw a ton of touchdown passes this season as he already has 19 TD passes through the first five weeks of the season. Olsen is a distant #3 option behind D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, but grabbing pieces of this potent passing attack is a wise decision, especially if Olsen is just developing chemistry with Wilson.
Jordan Akins (Hou, 8%) — We’ve had our eye on Akins since he started making splash plays daily during Texans’ training camp, and he carried it over to the regular season with 28+ receiving yards in every game and a pair of double-digit FP performances in his first four games. He did suffer a concussion and an ankle injury in Week 4, and his ankle injury ultimately forced him to miss Week 5. His injury opened the door for Darren Fells to score on a 44-yard play on a broken coverage, but Akins is the team’s primary receiving threat at the position when healthy. Akins should return this week after getting in limited practices before Week 5, and he’ll get a strong matchup to come back to against the Titans.
Dan Bailey (Min, 41%) - The Vikings should have won in Seattle last week and are desperate for a win at home against the winless Falcons. With RB Dalvin Cook (groin) likely to miss Week 6, the Vikings offense could stall at times and settle for field goals.
Mason Crosby (GB, 30%) - Crosby is tied for fourth in the NFl with 16 extra points. He has converted all eight of his field goal attempts with four of them in the 40-49 yard range and one from beyond 50. All of this and he already had his bye week.
Brandon McManus (Den,12 %) - McManus only has six field goals made in four games. What stands out here is that five of those six field goals have come from the bonus range of 40 or more yards and half of those six from 50 or more yards. He certainly has the leg strength and could get a couple of opportunities in this re-scheduled road game against New England.
Jason Sanders (Mia, 3%) - If five field goals and three extra points for Sanders in Week 5 are not appealing enough, how about playing the Jets at home in week 6. Miami is rolling right now and this is an extremely good matchup for Sanders.
Graham Gano (NYG, 2%) - Gano is seriously flying under everyone’s fantasy radar. Yet, he has nine field goals in his last three games and two or more field goals in four straight outings. His only miss of the season was a 57-yard attempt that went wide left in Week 2. In addition, nearly half of his eleven field goals made have come from the bonus range of 40 yards or more.
Patriots (NE, 74%)
Packers (GB, 18%) — Coming off their bye, the Packers will be getting a few key defenders back very soon. With run-stuffing DT Kenny Clark due back this week, along with ILB Christian Kirksey and CB Kevin King not far behind, one of the league’s better defenses last season will be facing three top-10 opponents for DST production (@TB, @Hou, Min). In fact, the Packers will face a ton of turnover-prone offenses for the rest of the season (@SF, Jax, @Ind, Chi). Even without their injured starters, Green Bay held Atlanta to just 16 points in Week 4. They have 12 sacks, 2 INTs, 2 forced fumbles and a defensive TD in four games.
Football Team (Was, 7%) — After a strong start to the season, Washington faced the Ravens and Rams in the last two weeks. They still managed 3 sacks and 2 INTs in those two games, as one of the more aggressive playmaking defenses in the league. Over the next two weeks, a healthy Chase Young and Co. will set their sights on Daniel Jones (@NYG) and Andy Dalton (Dal) to help right the ship.