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.
Winston, TB – Winston shook off
his previously ugly performances with a solid game against the
Rams – completing 28-of-41 passes for 385 yards, four TDs, and
just one interception in the Bucs' thrilling 55-40 Week 4 win.
The mistake was a bad one – a fourth-quarter pick-six to Marcus
Peters that gave the Rams life after trailing most of the day
by multiple scores. The high-risk, high-reward Winston will be
low-end QB1 play next week against the Saints, and he’s owned
in just 45-60 percent of leagues.
Dalton, CIN – I’ll update after
tomorrow’s game, but for now Dalton (20-30 percent owned) looks
like a decent pickup heading into Week 5 against the Cards if
you need a streaming QB option.
UPDATE: It may be a blessing in
disguise that the Bengals were still running the ball in the second
half down three scores, because Dalton and the offense couldn’t
have looked much worse on MNF. The Red Rifle threw for 171-0-1
with a lost fumble and the offensive line was atrocious, giving
up eight sacks. If the line can improve, the Bengals have a chance
to post some numbers against the Cards.
Cousins, MIN – Cousins is owned
in about 25-40 percent of leagues, and he’s another option based
on matchup alone. The Vikings might play conservative in this
game against a Giants defense that’s improved since poor performances
in weeks 1 and 2, but there’s a good shot at 200 passing yards
and a couple TDs.
UPDATE:Adam Thielen’s post-game commentary was devastating,
and hopefully Cousins was listening to his concerns about throwing
the ball more to his capable WRs. It’s a great bounce-back
spot for Cousins because the Vikings should be much better than
Jones, NYG – Jones followed up his
gleaming debut as a starter with a more pedestrian performance,
completing 23-of-31 passes for 225-1-2 in the Giants’ Week 4 win
over Washington. He’s not a great option this week hosting Minnesota.
Minshew, JAC – Minshew completed
19-of-33 passes for 213-2-0 in Week 4, beating the Broncos in Denver.
The Jaguars’ rookie QB grinded and ran, extending plays with his
feet and making some great throws. He’s not going to be a QB1
because of the Jaguars low passing volume, but he’s worth a look
as a QB2 facing the Panthers in Week 5.
CAR – Cam Newton is still out, and Allen completed 24-of-34
passes for 232-0-0 in the Week 4 win over the Texans. He’s off
the radar for Week 5 in a tough matchup against the Jags.
WAS – Keenum was benched in the first half of the Redskins’
Week 4 loss to the Giants and can de dropped in all formats, as
the team will be looking toward Colt McCoy (also not a great fantasy
option) for Week 5.
UPDATE: HC Jay Gruden said he's
not sure who he will start at QB in Week 5 against the Patriots,
but regardless, they won’t be a viable fantasy starter against
Howard, PHI – Howard exploded for
three TDs and 115 total yards in Week 4. He’s not always going
to have this type of workload, since the Eagles also favor Miles
Sanders, but for a running back who’s owned in fewer than 50 percent
of ESPN leagues, this was a likely high-water mark. Expect more
touches for Howard moving forward.
UPDATE: I still believe that Sanders is the best RB option for
Philly, but Howard could be a worthwhile FLEX play facing the
Jets in Week 5.
Johnson, HOU – Johnson tallied 56
yards on just six carries and had 2-22-0 receiving in Week 4,
and he’s still available in about 20-35 percent of fantasy leagues.
A must-own in PPR formats, Johnson could be seeing more work as
the Texans continue to fall into negative game scripts.
Samuels, PIT –UPDATE:
Perhaps Samuels (10-30 percent owned) is more than just a handcuff
to James Conner? The Pittsburgh RB had a monster fantasy day along
with Conner on MNF, rushing 10 times for 26 yards and a TD and
adding 8-57-0 yards on eight targets. A reliable pass catcher
who may not see this workload every week, he’s best utilized
as a spot starter flex in favorable matchups in PPR leagues. He’s
got a tough Week 5 matchup against the Ravens.
Mostert, SF – I’ve spoken of Mostert
before in this column and I love the guy’s running style. A bye
week in Week 4 means you may have one more chance to grab him
before he takes full control of the lead back duties in the 49ers
RB committee. His ownership is a little higher at than Matt Breida
right now (30-40 percent for Mostert and 15-30 percent for Breida).
Gallman, NYG – Gallman rushed 18
times for 63 yards and one rushing TD and caught 6-of-7 targets
for 55 yards and a TD in the Week 4 win. He had a whopping 24
touches and was involved in the red zone, which makes him an every-week
fantasy starter for as long as he keeps this usage. He’s looking
at an RB2 role in Week 5.
Jones, TB – Jones seems to have
finally surpassed Peyton Barber on the depth chart, but that’s
always subject to change based on who’s running the ball better
and staying out of the doghouse. Jones (40-60 percent) carried
the ball 19 times for 70 yards and a TD in the Bucs’ Week 4 win
over the Rams and will be a hot commodity on the wire this week.
Pollard, DAL – We didn’t see much
of Pollard in Week 4, so for now he’s off my fantasy radar. Still
a necessary handcuff for Zeke owners though.
Williams, KC – Williams and LeSean
McCoy are having themselves a fine time with Damien Williams still
out for the Chiefs. Darrel had 13 yards and two TDs on eight carries
while hauling in 3-43-0 in the Chiefs’ exciting Week 4 win over
the Lions. Once Damien returns from his knee injury, Darrel will
be the Chiefs third RB option.
UPDATE: Still no word on Damien’s injury, so stay tuned.
Wide Receivers / Tight Ends
TEN – Brown should be added in all 12-team leagues following
his breakout game against the Falcons, when he hauled in all three
of his targets for 94 yards and two scores. The Bills are a tough
Week 5 matchup but the upside Brown offers as a big-bodied target
means he’ll be scooped off the wire in most formats after this
Ebron, IND –UPDATE:
The 26-year-old TE was having a terrible game in Week 4, but it
was salvaged by garbage time TD. He had three drive-killing drops
and was quite unhappy with his performance after the game. Despite
this outing, Ebron (40-60 percent owned) and Jack Doyle (20-40
percent owned) both have upside as TE2 for Week 5 against the
Allison, GB – If Davante Adams (toe)
is forced to mis any time, Allison could garner more looks from
Aaron Rodgers. He had 3-52-1 in Week 4 on TNF and is owned in
about 25-40 percent of leagues.
UPDATE: Adams did not practice on Monday, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling,
Allison and Jimmy Graham would all be in for increased roles if
Adams, an elite WR1 in al formats, sits in Week 5.
Sanu, ATL – Sanu may not have the
upside of Julio Jones or Calvin Ridley, but he’s available, and
he produces. The veteran receiver is just 35-40 percent owned
and is coming off a 9-91-0 game where he saw 12 targets. With
24-239-0 this season, TDs are the only thing keeping him from
being a WR3.
Pascal, IND – Pascal caught four
of seven targets for 72 yards during Sunday's 31-24 loss to Oakland,
but his upside and relevance hinger on the availability of T.Y.
Hilton in Week 5 facing the Chiefs.
Parker, MIA – Parker caught all
four of his targets for 70 yards and a TD during Sunday's 30-10
loss to the Chargers, but the Dolphins don’t play again until
Week 6 against Washington. If you don’t need immediate help this
week, this might be the time to grab him, as he’s just 5-15 percent
Johnson, PIT –UPDATE:
Johnson (5-10 percent owned) has played well in both games Mason
Rudolph has started for the Steelers, and caught 6-77-1 on six
targets on MNF. The talented WR formed a connection with his QB
after practicing together in the summer, and it looks like it’s
paying dividends. He’s a must-own in 12-team leagues and
makes sense as a big-play threat in an offense that needs some.
Valdes-Scantling, GB – Valdes-Scantling
caught 3-47-0 in the Packers’ Week 4 loss to the Eagles. He’s
not a great matchup against a capable Cowboys secondary in week
Dorsett, NE – Dorsett had a tough
game in Week 4 with just two catches on nine targets for 10 yards
in the Patriots’ Week 4 win over the Bills, but he’s a much better
play in weeks 5 and 6 facing the Redskins and Giants.
Akins, HOU – Akins was quiet in Week 4 with just
3-21-0 on four targets. He’s a low-end TE2 right now.
Tate, NYG – Tate has been reinstated
from his four-game suspension and it will be interesting to see
how the Giants use him given their propensity to use WR Sterling
Shepard out of the slot (79.5 percent this season). At worst,
Tate makes for a speculative WR4 addition.
Knox, BUF – Knox caught 3-of-3 targets for 58 yards
in the Bills’ Week 4 loss to the Patriots and makes sense as a
TE2 moving forward at a weak fantasy position.