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Targeting weekly waiver picks is a completely subjective business,
but this column hopes to point out some obvious and not-so-obvious
selections to help your team from week to week while you strive
to collect fantasy wins, reach your league playoffs and win the
elusive title that your friends say is out of your grasp. While
I’m a big proponent of making trades to bolster your roster,
the waiver wire can be an almost limitless resource when it comes
to discovering fantasy value in strange places. Each week, I’ll
highlight some of the popular (and not-so-popular) players who can
help your squad and may still be available in your league.
Alfred Blue: With 28 touches on Sunday
night, do we finally have a fantasy-worth RB in Houston?
Mayfield, CLE – Mayfield (35-65 percent owned) had
342-1-1 and his best statistical game thus far, in a win over
the division rival Ravens. His fantasy stock is increasing, and
he makes for a decent QB2 in Week 6 facing the Chargers.
UPDATE: Mayfield has a good shot
at being a Top 12-15 QB this week, though his receiving corps
is a little dinged up.
Winston, TB – UPDATE: Winston isn’t my
favorite option this week, but he’s a consensus Top 10 QB
with the matchup against the reeling Falcons and their decimated
secondary. He should be owned in all 12-team leagues and is worth
considering for a spot start.
Keenum, DEN – The Broncos QB had his bets fantasy numbers
of 2018 in a brutal loss to the Jets, throwing for 377-2-1. He’s
got weapons and should be a top-end QB2 next week against the
Carr, OAK – Carr (25-75 percent owned – quite the enormous
range based on league size and format) threw for 268-1-1 in Week
5 and faces the Seahawks in Week 6. It’s difficult to discern
if they’ll try to control the ball and grind it out with Marshawn
Lynch versus his old team, but Carr is a solid QB2 with some upside.
Could be a sneaky cheap DFS option moving forward.
Goff, LAR – Goff had a rough day Sunday, throwing for
321-1-2 and losing his two best WRs to concussions. He’s almost
universally owned now, but his stock takes a hit for the next
few weeks (@DEN, @SF, GB) as they could rely more on the brilliant
Dalton, CIN – Dalton threw for 248-1-1 without Tyler
Eifert, Giovani Bernard and John Ross. He’s still having a solid
season and faces the surging Steelers in Week 6.
Trubisky, CHI – The Bears were on a Week 5 bye and
get the Dolphins in Week 6. He’s a mid-range QB2.
Flacco, BAL – After a few solid weeks, Flacco laid
an egg in a tough loss to Cleveland (298-0-1, 13 rushing yards).
He’s not a great option facing the Titans in Week 6.
Crowell, NYJ – I’m including Crowell here because while
he’s owned in 80-95 percent of leagues, that’s not 100 percent,
so SOMEBODY will ask why he’s not listed if I don’t. Crowell rumbled
for 219 yards and a TD Sunday in a win over Denver and should
be owned in all formats. It’s also possible somebody in your shallow
league dropped him after his Week 4 dud (0.3 points) against Jacksonville.
Clement, PHI – UPDATE: With Jay Ajayi out for
the season (torn ACL), Clement – who is practicing this
week – takes over as the favorite for lead back duties.
He’s a dynamic runner and capable of excelling in all phases
of the game, so he’s worth deploying as an RB2. Over 19
regular-season games with the Eagles, Clement (25-55 percent owned)
has averaged 4.3 YPC on 101 rushes, reeled in 18 of 25 passes,
and scored seven TDs. Wendell Smallwood is the secondary pickup.
Allen, BAL – Allen had 34 rushing yards on eight carries
and 6-44-0 Sunday in the loss to Cleveland. Perhaps more importantly,
he played 50 of 87 offensive snaps for the Ravens and gets most
of the goal line work. Buck is a viable flex option against the
Titans next week and is owned in just 55-85 percent of formats.
UPDATE: The Ravens have been hinting at a full committee recently,
but Allen looks like the most useful back in that scenario.
Morris, SF – Matt Breida suffered an ankle injury Sunday
and could be sidelined a game or two (his MRI results will be
updated Tuesday), making Morris (45-55 percent owned) the workhorse
back for the immediate future. He had 61 rushing yards on 18 carries
with 3-30-0 receiving Sunday and gets a favorable Week 6 matchup
with the Packers.
UPDATE: Breida is likely out versus the Packers, but the injury
isn’t as serious as originally believed, so Morris might
have a small viability window.
Williams, GB – On the other side of that Week 6 matchup
is Williams, who shares touches with Aaron Jones but could be
a bigger focus of the offense facing the 49ers weak run defense.
Williams is about 45-60 percent owned and may have been dropped
in a few leagues given his mediocre production and touch volume.
Blue, HOU – Lamar Miller (chest) was active but didn’t
play any snaps, yielding to Blue, who finished with 46 rushing
yards and 8-73-0 receiving. Blue (15-25 percent owned) seems to
be the more versatile back at the moment and could continue supplanting
Miller while he deals with his injury and/or ineffectiveness.
Charles, JAC –UPDATE: This is a longshot, but
the Jaguars worked out and signed Jamaal Charles for veteran depth.
I’d steer clear unless we get some indication it’s
Michel, NE – Michel blew up for 98 yards and a TD on
18 carries in the Patriots' Week 5 win over the Colts. He added
a 12-yard reception but that passing down role is almost exclusively
controlled by James White. The window on adding Michel (90-98
percent owned) is closed now.
Cohen, CHI – The Bears were on a Week 5 bye. I’ve promoted
Cohen all season and love his skill set.
UPDATE: Jordan Howard insisted he wasn’t frustrated with
his reduced role in Week 4, but it’s something to remember
that the offense looked its best with Cohen as the lead back.
Howard's rest-of-season workload is now at least a question mark,
while Cohen is on the rise.
Davis, SEA – Both Chris Carson and Davis were heavily
involved Sunday, with Davis rushing for 68 yards and a TD on 12
carries (2-7-0 receiving). He’s still available in plenty of formats.
Hines, IND – Hines had 45 rushing yards on 15 carries
and 7-45-0 receiving Thursday night. Until we hear differently
and Marlon Mack is ready to return (he practiced Monday), Hines
is the RB to own in Indy.
UPDATE: Mack should have a better shot to suit up this week,
but he’s stuck in a committee with Jordan Wilkins and Robert
Turbin. As I said yesterday, Hines is the guy.
Chubb, CLE – It was a lost week for Chubb with just
2 yards on 3 carries. He’s a hold in dynasty leagues but not a
great option in redrafts.
Jones, GB – The waiver window is closed on Jones, who
ran for 40 yards on 7 carries and added 2-19-0 receiving on Sunday.
UPDATE: Mike McCarthy praised Jones and said he’s “dynamic
with the ball in his hands,” but the RB’s weak pass-blocking
abilities are keeping him from assuming a larger role. It’s
a huge part of RB usage in the NFL and its importance in gauging
prospective workload cannot be overstated.
Yeldon, JAC – Yeldon has filled in admirably for Leonard
Fournette and remains a solid RB2 in his stead. He finished Week
5 with 53 rushing yards on 10 carries and 8-69-1 receiving.
Wide Receivers / Tight Ends
Anderson, NYJ – Anderson is just 40-45 percent owned
but had a monster day Sunday with 3-123-2. Of course, he had just
five targets and the big scores provided most of the value, so
the chances of another two-TD day are slim. Still, the matchup
with the Colts in Week 6 is a good one, and perhaps the Jets can
build on this performance and the rapport of Sam Darnold and Anderson
– who hasn’t had more than three catches in a game this season.
Sanu, ATL – Sanu is about 50-75 percent owned and gets
plenty of looks with defenses shrouding Julio Jones. The Falcons
offense might be playing from behind a lot more this season with
their defensive woes. Sanu had 4-73-1 on Sunday.
Meredith, NO – I’ll update Tuesday after we see what
he does on Monday Night Football, but I like this matchup for
him, especially with Ted Ginn out. The Saints are on a Week 6
bye but Meredith could be a sneaky stash for the last few weeks
of the season, when he could shine.
Smith, NO –UPDATE: With Ginn out, Smith took
over as the dep threat in the Saints offense, and his 3-111-2
helped me and a friend win some big money on the single game showdown.
Smith is a very exciting DFS, keeper and dynasty league player
but he’ll likely revert to a low-volume role once Ginn is
Kirk, ARI – Kirk (10-30 percent owned) had 3-85-1 on
4 targets Sunday. He’s supplanting Larry Fitzgerald as the relevant
WR in Arizona.
Valdes-Scantling, GB – I included him in my “others”
to consider last week and he finished Week 5 with 7-68-1 on 10
targets. He’s still only about 10 percent owned and makes a fine
addition in 12-team leagues with the WRs in Green Bay hurting.
Olsen, CAR – Olsen (foot) is about 50-75 percent owned
in fantasy leagues and still has one more check-up to clear before
he rejoins the team. The Panthers are hopeful he’ll practice on
Wednesday and play against Washington. Olsen should be added in
all formats if he was dropped.
UPDATE: Olsen’s foot isn’t 100 percent and he’ll
likely need surgery once the season is over, but for now he’s
Hooper, ATL – Hooper had 9-77-0 on 12 targets and seems
to be ramping up his involvement in this offense as a popular
target for Ryan.
Davis, TEN – Davis disappointed with 4-49-0 on six
targets, and gets a tough matchup in Week 6. I’d keep him on my
bench for a spell.
Donte Moncrief, JAC – The Jags passing game never really
clicked on Sunday but there was some garbage time padding for
Bortles. Westbrook’s 3-55-0 (5 targets) was eclipsed by Moncrief’s
6-76-0 on a whopping 15 targets. Keelan Cole had 4-70-0 on 10
Boyd, CIN – Boyd had 4-44-0 on 7 targets Sunday in
the win over Miami. He’s a WR3/4 moving forward and is getting
regular looks from Dalton.
UPDATE: Crowder caught 4-of-8 targets for 55 yards in the Week
5 loss to the Saints, and his fantasy stock takes a hit with Alex
Smith performing so poorly of late.
Coutee, HOU – Coutee followed up his big Week 4 with
6-51-1 on 7 targets Sunday night in the win over Dallas. He’s
got huge ownership disparity, with just 20 percent in ESPN leagues
and as high as 65 percent on competitive leagues. But he’s still
out there in plenty of them and seems to be a big part of this
offense moving forward.
Gabriel, CHI – Gabriel and the Bears were on a bye
but he needs to be on your fantasy radar.
Snead, BAL – Snead had 5-55-0 and makes the most sense
as a steady flex option with some upside in PPR leagues.
Grant, IND – Grant’s 6-58-0 was serviceable but he’s
not a huge red zone option for the Colts, who look to Eric Ebron
a lot near the goal line.
Brate, TB – Bucs were on a bye, but Brate is the starting
TE in Week 6 and a low-end TE1 this week with O.J. Howard likely
Gallup, DAL – Gallup was a non-factor on Sunday night
(1-6-0) despite a few targets. I had high hopes for Gallup in
this matchup, but the Cowboys passing game is a disaster and there's
been no signs of his role expanding under the tepid playcalling
of Scott Linehan and coaching of Jason Garrett. As a Cowboys fans,
my already thin hopes are dwindling.