The Wire - Week 5
By Levi Ellis
As another week of the NFL season comes to a close it was an unfortunate reminder of the world we live in today and a distinct possibility of what is to come in future weeks. Depth is more important this year than ever before. We all must overcome and adapt. With those things in mind let’s take a look at the best waiver wire pickups for this week and if you missed last week's article take a quick look as there were numerous guys listed that performed quite well this last week and you should be adding in your leagues.
Justin Herbert needs to be owned in all formats as he continues to exceed expectations. This week he put up 290 yards and 3 passing touchdowns. This Chargers team looks dangerous with Herbert in the game and Coach Lynn would be crazy to go back to Tyrod when he recovers. A bid of 20% of your remaining FAAB budget sounds about right.
If you are in a two quarterback league and desperate for a temporary fill in then Joe Flacco or Jarrett Stidham may start this week. Darnold got hurt last week and the extent of the injury isn’t yet known and Cam is likely to be out another week due to Covid. This play would be a worst case scenario and for your sake I hope you are not this desperate. Minimum bid only and you’re still overpaying!
Joshua Kelley must be owned in all formats with Austin Ekeler’s injury. No, Kelley did not look good this last week with a state line of 9 carries for 7 yards and a fumble but he did also catch 3 passes for 26 yards. The fact remains that the Chargers will have to run the ball and Kelley at times has looked amazing. I don’t think we’ve seen the best version of Kelley yet but volume is king in fantasy football and Kelley will have volume moving forward. 75% of your remaining FAAB budget and I still think you will be getting a bargain when it’s all said and done.
Antonio Gibson finally showed up and balled out this week. Gibson finished this week with 13 carries for 46 yards and 1 touchdown. He also added 4 catches for 82 yards. This is the breakout we have all been waiting for, unfortunately though he plays on one of the worst offenses in the league so he is likely to be boom or bust each week. Regardless though this was very encouraging and he is worth owning in all leagues at this point. Bid conservatively with something like 25% of your remaining FAAB money because of the boom bust likelihood.
I rarely recommend a New England Patriots running back but this week is the exception. Damien Harris came off IR for Monday night's game and he performed with 17 carries for 100 yards. Sony Michel was placed on the IR so Harris will most likely have the lead role but again keep in mind this is the Patriots we are talking about and it’s difficult to predict from week to week. Bid 20% of your budget for Harris.
Mike Davis may only have one or two more weeks of starter potential but man he has impressed. Davis finished with 16 carries 84 yards and 1 touchdown and added 5 catches for 27 yards. The Panthers are also 2-0 since McCaffrey’s injury and Davis is a huge part of those wins. He has looked the part and should be good for another game or two. Due to his temporary starter status bid no more than 20% unless you're a McCaffrey owner in which case you must spend up to get him.
D’Ernest Johnson had himself a game last Sunday finishing with 13 carries for 95 yards. With Chubb moving to IR and the Browns offense centered around a strong run game, Johnson should continue to get opportunities. Bid conservatively of 10% of your remaining FAAB budget.
Justin Jackson is another guy worth taking a look at because of the Ekeler injury. Although I believe this is Kelley’s job to lose we have seen that this season is anything but predictable and Jackson has flashed in limited opportunities in previous seasons. 5% of your remaining FAAB budget.
A rookie that finally got a shot this last week due to injuries was Ke'shawn Vaughn. Vaughn didn’t do much on the ground with just 4 yards on 3 carries however he did make an impact in the passing game with 2 catches for 22 yards and a touchdown. With McCoy banged up and Ronald Jones not having hands (3 drops last week) Vaughn may get a shot at an every week role. Generally this is a back field to stay away from with the trio of Jones, Fournette and Vaughn/McCoy but desperate times call for desperate measures and Vaughn just may have earned himself another shot and Brady seems to still be looking for his pass catching running back. 10% of your FAAB would be a fair price.
Honorable Mentions: Jordan Wilkins continues to get carries and Jonathan Taylor hasn’t looked special. If he were to get hurt Wilkins will get volume. Reggie Bonnafon had 10 carries for 53 yards plus another 2 catches for 18 yards and a touchdown. With McCaffrey due back soon this would be a temporary player but could have a role this week. Matt Breida finally was involved in the offense and had 3 catches for 39 yards. The Dolphins need a spark and Breida may just be able to provide that if they give him more opportunities. Latavious Murray appears to have a consistent role in the offense as far as touches but I don’t expect the touchdown production to be so strong for him moving forward. This last week he finished with 14 carries for 64 yards and 2 touchdowns and he added a catch for 19 yards. If something were to happen to Kamara Murray would be very valuable so he’s worth owning in all leagues, just not a guy you can trust to be starter worthy each week. If the Packers are short handed on pass catchers in future weeks Jamal Williams could be worth a look. He finished last week with 8 catches for 95 yards. Cam Akers may be worth a sneaky add this week as he is expected to return from injury and just when we thought we had the Rams running back pecking order figured out we see a game were Henderson and Brown both looked droppable D’Andre Swift found himself finally involved in the offense last week as he finished with 4 carries for 22 yards and 4 catches for 30 yards and a touchdown. I have a hard time trusting a Lions running back though.
Tim Patrick balled out last Thursday night with a stat line of 6 catches for 113 yards and 1 touchdown. There were rumors throughout the offseason that Denver really liked Patrick and we may be seeing why. He’s a big receiver and with Sutton out for the year he has the opportunity to show out. Drew Lock is also likely to be back sometime in the next week or two so Patrick is a guy worth taking a flyer on. 20% of your remaining FAAB budget doesn’t sound too high for this upside.
Laviska Shenault is another player that should be owned in all formats. He had 5 catches for 86 yards and one carry for 5 yards. I think Shenault only improves as time goes on and he’s worth every penny of a 10% FAAB bid.
Tom Brady may have found his next Wes Welker or Julian Edelman in Scotty Miller. It took Miller 3 plus quarters to get involved in this last week's game but he finished with a solid showing of 5 catches for 83 yards and 1 touchdown. With Godwin likely to miss at least one more game and now OJ Howard lost for the year, Miller should have a consistent week to week role. Bid 20% of your remaining budget.
If you haven’t heard of Jeff Smith from the Jets, well you wouldn’t be the only one. However Smith played great last Thursday with 7 catches for 81 yards and the Jets need someone other than Crowder to throw the ball to. At this point Smith is worth a look. Bid 5% of your remaining FAAB budget.
In last weeks Waiver Wire article I mentioned Olamide Zaccheaus and he didn’t disappoint this week finished with 8 catches on 9 targets for 86 yards. If any of these Falcons pass catchers miss time then Zaccheaus has shown he will step up. Bid 10% to get this sneaky wide receiver.
Darnell Mooney continues to get more and more targets as he finished last week with 9 targets for 5 catches and 52 yards. The Bears like Mooney quite a bit and he hasn’t disappointed. Bid 5% to get Mooney.
Honorable Mention: Tre’Quan Smith finished this week with two touchdowns but Michael Thomas should be back this week and Smith’s targets are likely to be gone. He’s a minimum bid player at this point. David Moore continues to show up each week and the Seahawks passing offense has been on point this season. Moore finished last week with 3 catches for 95 yards and a touchdown. Damiere Byrd has become a focal point of the Patriots offense. Byrd finished the game with 10 targets for 5 catches and 80 yards. Kenny Stills has had back to back games with a touchdown and Cooks has disappeared. Stills may be worth a flyer. Isaiah Ford had 10 yes 10 targets this week. Now he only finished with 4 catches for 48 yards and they were playing the worst pass defense in the league but targets are still very important so keep an eye on this situation. If Parker or Preston Williams were to miss time Ford may be forced into a primary role. If the Raiders rookie starting wide receivers continue to miss time then Hunter Renfrow, Nelson Agholor and Zay Jones will continue to have a role. Zach Pascal is now the #2 wide receiver for the Colts team although he’s not likely to be targeted second as the Colts have both running backs and tight ends that they like to throw the ball to.
The prize TE of the week is Robert Tonyan. Tonyan was a monster on Monday night and finished with 6 catches for 98 yards and 3 touchdowns. When you score 3 touchdowns in one game it isn’t a fluke. Yes, Adams was out for this game and Tonyan isn’t likely to see the same target volume moving forward but he is still going to be relevant. If you need a TE bid 30% of your remaining budget.
If you found yourself needing a tight end after this last week then the timing couldn’t have been better now that Cameron Brate has returned to fantasy relevance. With OJ Howard sustaining a season ending injury, Brate should immediately step into a weekly role in the offense and Brate how shown throughout his career that he is a touchdown scoring machine. Bid 20% of your remaining FAAB budget to secure this guy's services.
Harrison Bryant continues to be involved in the Browns offense as he finished this last week with 4 catches for 37 yards. Bryant is a must own in all dynasty leagues as his future is bright. In redraft leagues Bryant is not worth owning at this point unless you are in a two tight end league and even then it would be pushing it.
Honorable Mention: If Dalton Schultz misses any time then Blake Bell is the obvious recipient of the workload and any workload from the Cowboys offense is worth a look.
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