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Through The Wire - Week 5

By Antonio D'Arcangelis | 10/5/21 |

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. I’ll also provide a brief update on the players I covered the previous week.

Feedback is always welcome, appreciated and encouraged. I’ll get to as many e-mails as I can.


Daniel Jones, NYG – We’re finally seeing the good version of Jones (who’s about 35% owned in fantasy leagues). The third-year QB completed 28 of 40 passes for 402-2-1 in Sunday’s stunning 27-21 overtime win over the Saints. Always good with his legs, he added 27 yards on four rushing attempts and ran in a two-point conversion. He’ll be a solid QB2 fantasy option against the Cowboys in Week 5.

Mac Jones, NE – Jones (15% owned) still looks like the most NFL-ready of the 2021 draft class, and he almost pulled off a victory against Tom Brady on Sunday night. The rookie QB completed 31 of 40 pass attempts for 275-2-1 but gets a much more favorable matchup against the Texans in Week 5 – when he might have more opportunities to come off Bill Belichick’s leash.

Taylor Heinicke, WAS – Heinicke (10% owned) isn’t a sexy option, but he completed 23 of 33 passes for 290-3-0 in Sunday's 34-30 win over the Falcons, adding 43 yards on five rushing attempts. The Washington offense looks solid with him at the helm, and while the Saints could be a tough Week 5 test, Daniel Jones just shredded them without a couple of his favorite WR options.

Other QBs to consider: Trevor Lawrence (45-50%), Trey Lance (20%), Zach Wilson (7-10%)


Kirk Cousins, MIN – Cousins had an off game on Sunday, completing just 20 of 38 passes for 203-1-1 in the Vikings' 14-7 loss to the Browns. I have a feeling he and the entire offense should get back on track in a favorable Week 5 home matchup against the 0-4 Lions.

Sam Darnold, CAR – Darnold just keeps getting it done from a fantasy perspective, throwing for 301-2-2 and adding six rushes for 35 yards and two more TDs. Darnold is averaging almost 300 passing yards per contest, and has now scored 20+ points in every game this season. He's got a shot at another ceiling-type performance facing the Eagles in what could be a high-scoring Week 5 matchup.

Matt Ryan, ATL – Ryan finally had a decent fantasy line (283-4-0), albeit in a loss to Washington on Sunday. The veteran QB may have more success against the Jets than Ryan Tannehill did in in Week 3, when the Titans were missing their top receiving options.

Damien Williams

Running Backs

Damien Williams, CHI – Williams (10% owned) rushed eight times for 55 yards and a TD and caught two passes for 15 yards in the Bears’ 24-14 win over the Lions on Sunday. After David Montgomery put up monster numbers in the first half and left the game with a knee injury, Williams stepped in and didn’t miss a beat. If Montgomery misses any time, Williams could be utilized in a workhorse, three-down role.

UPDATE: Williams suffered a thigh bruise during Sunday's win over the Lions, but with Montgomery out the next 4-5 weeks, I expect Williams to get the bulk of work in his stead, even if he’s dinged up. The other option is rookie Khalil Herbert, so I’ve added him to “options to consider” if Williams thigh bruise is more serious than originally thought.

Samaje Perine, CIN – UPDATE: With the news that Joe Mixon has a low-ankle sprain and will probably miss some time (at or least shoulder a smaller workload), Perine pops into the discussion as a relevant back in Week 5. He’s been a non-factor so far this season but is worth a pickup for the matchup against the Packers.

AJ Dillon, GB – Dillon is 60% owned but should be discussed here as plenty of folks will have questions. He rushed 15 times for 81 yards and secured his only catch for 16 yards in the win over the Steelers on Sunday, but most of his work was late in the game against an obviously worn-down Steelers defense. Unless we get an injury to Aaron Jones or he gets in another specific game script like Sunday, he’ll be a handcuff with mostly latent value – though this performance could give him more confidence and allow the Packers to spell Jones a bit more during the first three quarters moving forward.

Alex Collins, SEA – Chris Carson didn’t get injured (that we know of) but Collins got a lot of work for the Seahawks on Sunday, rushing for 44 yards and a TD on 10 carries against San Francisco. He added two receptions for 34 yards on two targets and is a high-upside handcuff.

Brandon Bolden, NE – Bolden doesn’t do much in the traditional running game, but he caught 6-51-0 on six targets in the SNF loss to Tampa Bay. His role could change a bit if the Pats activate Rhamondre Stevenson next week, which could happen sine J.J. Taylor lost a fumble, and Belichick doesn’t like that stuff.

Other RBs to consider: Rhamondre Stevenson (8-10%), Tevin Coleman (8-10%), Jeremy McNichols (2-3%), Kyle Juszczyk (1-2%), Khalil Herbert (0-1%)


Chuba Hubbard, CAR – Hubbard carried 13 times for 57 yards in Sunday’s Week 4 loss to the Cowboys, adding two receptions for 14 yards. His ownership shot up 75% in the last week and now he’s rostered in more than 90% of leagues.

Zack Moss, BUF – Moss was a great add this past week and is now at around 75% ownership, up from 60%. He benefited from a big lead against a bad opponent, carrying the rock 14 times for 61 yards and a TD in Sunday’s Week 4 win over the Texans. The Bills take on the Chiefs in Week 5 and may have to throw the ball a bit more to keep up, though Moss can be used in the passing game just like Devin Singletary.

Wide Receivers / Tight Ends

Jamison Crowder, NYJ – Crowder (groin) was activated from IR and caught 7-61-1 on nine targets in Sunday’s 27-24 overtime win over the Titans. The offense looked a lot more potent with Crowder, whose biggest contributions came on the Jets’ game-tying drive early in the fourth quarter. That’s when the veteran WR caught a 29-yard pass that got the Jets in the red zone and eventually in the end zone. Crowder was Wilson’s favorite target (he loves working the slot) and he should be busy against the Falcons in London in Week 5. He’s only about 15% owned, so he should be available in plenty of 12-team leagues and is a must-add in PPR formats.

Darnell Mooney, CHI – So THIS is why I drafted Mooney! I dropped the guy in one league and he responds with 5-125-0, adding a 10-yard rush in the win over Detroit. Mooney is 8-10% owned and has now seen at least seven targets in all but one game this year. Unfortunately, his QB situation is terrible, so we can’t count on consistent production anytime soon.

TE Dawson Knox, BUF – Knox is 20% owned but that number should jump dramatically this week. He recorded five receptions on eight targets for 37 yards and two TDs in Sunday’s Week 4 win over the Texans and now has four scores in his last three games.

Randall Cobb, GB – Cobb is about 15% owned and got extra targets this week with Marquez Valdes-Scantling (IR-hamstring) out. He finished with 5-69-2 on six targets for 69 yards and should continue to enjoy an expanded role while MVS is on the shelf.

Kalif Raymond, DET – Raymond, owned in less than 1% of leagues, caught three of six targets for 46 yards and (wow!) two TDs during Sunday’s 24-14 loss to the Bears. Even though it appears Quintez Cephus is the Lions’ top WR in the absence of Tyrell Williams (concussion), Raymond is playing well. He’ll struggle to see double-digit targets or multiple TDs again once Williams returns, but anything is possible on a team where the enigmatic Jared Goff is the QB.

TE C.J. Uzomah, CIN – Uzomah (0-1%) went off on Thursday night, securing five of six targets for 95 yards and two touchdowns in the win over the Jaguars. He’s a high upside TE2 who won’t be as productive once Tee Higgins returns to take away some red zone targets.

Other WRs/TEs to consider: Hunter Henry (40%), A.J. Green (25-30%), Zach Pascal (25-30%), Terrace Marshall Jr. (20%), Van Jefferson (5-10%), TE Maxx Williams (3-5%), John Ross (0-1%)


Emmanuel Sanders, BUF – Sanders caught five of six targets for 74 yards during Sunday’s win over the Texans and could be busy in Week 5 against the Chiefs – just the kind of matchup they brought the veteran in to help with.

Hunter Renfrow, LV – UPDATE: Renfrow (now up to about 55-60% owned) had another solid game on Monday night, hauling in six of his eight targets for 45 yards and a TD. He’s reached the end zone in back-to-back games and is looking like a weekly option at WR4 in PPR leagues.

Kendrick Bourne, NE – Bourne had 5-58-0 on Sunday night and looks like the Patriots best possession receiver. I’ve always liked Bourne, who never seems to get much press but always produces when given the opportunity.

Josh Gordon, KC – Gordon is apparently almost ready and could be promoted to the 53-man roster ahead of the team’s Week 5 game against the Bills, according to Ian Rapoport. He’s already almost 20% owned, so this could be last chance to get him in many formats.

DeSean Jackson, LAR – Just one catch for 6 yards on three targets. Typical DeSean.

Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, TEN – Westbrook-Ikhine disappointed in DFS and caught just three receptions on eight targets for 29 yards in the stunning loss to the Jets. While he’ll have the chance to redeem himself if A.J. Brown and Julio Jones remain sidelined for a Week 5 matchup against the Jaguars, he’s clearly not that good.

TE Tyler Conklin, MIN – Conklin had just 4-18-0 on six targets Sunday but could get more chances in eek 5 against the Lions.