• Travis Caples

Waiver Wire - Week 5


Last week the NFL, the Titans, Steelers, Chiefs, Patriots, Saints, and fantasy football players all navigated the tumultuous waters of the COVID-19 pandemic and the fuzzy “parameters” of the NFL’s policy/plan. After nearly a month of no hiccups, we saw a game get postponed, a game get moved to a couple days later, Cam Newton test positive for COVID, and a scary false positive situation for the Saints. This is just a friendly reminder that the virus does not care about your fantasy team and I will continue to advise you that you all need to be more fluid this season in your attempts to navigate the uncertainty especially in fantasy football, and thus, the waiver wire will be more important than ever. Maybe you need to bolster your wide receiver depth or replace an injured running back either way, I‘ve got you covered. This is my Weekly Waiver Wire Whisper column in which I will give you my take on some stash/start worthy players that are rostered in 50% or less of Yahoo leagues. That is the cutoff, so please don’t slide all in my mentions on Twitter about how I could possibly leave off Cam Akers (67%), or Rob Gronkowski (57%), or even Joshua Kelley (55%) from this article. As always you can find us on Twitter or Instagram and DM your waiver wire questions to us there as well. If you are curious about my preference or priority between a player in the particular positional groups, I will rank them from top to bottom priority in this article. If you are curious about my priority or preference between positions, you will need to make that decision based on your roster construction. Typically in most formats running backs are the top priority but maybe you have a deep RB corps and need WR or TE help. Make good decisions, folks.


RUNNING BACKS:

Damien Harris, New England Patriots, Rostered in 30% of Yahoo leagues

If you read the article last week you may have been slick enough to be ahead of the curve on Damien Harris this week. Based on Yahoo’s rostered percentage, however, the majority of you didn’t invest quite yet. The cat's out of the bag with Harris after his game on Monday night. Harris ran the ball as the featured back for New England against the Chiefs gaining 100 yards on 17 carries. Sony Michel was also placed on the IR this week and based on Harris’ debut workload this season coupled with the hype he received this offseason, he needs to be added with high priority this week.


D’Ernest Johnson, Cleveland Browns, Rostered in 3% of Yahoo leagues

The major storyline out of the Browns backfield this week was that Nick Chubb is expected to miss about 6 weeks per Adam Schefter of ESPN.

While this will obviously put Kareem Hunt into a league-winning role in this voluminous rushing offense, getting lost in the noise was the usage of D’Ernest Johnson against Dallas last week. As Hunt was nursing a groin injury coming into this game, Johnson helped carry the load once Chubb went down. Johnson carried the ball 13 times for 95 yards. This is the best run blocking line in football through the first month and given how both Chubb and Hunt were startable in the first three weeks of the year, I believe Johnson is going to have FLEX appeal in most games that Chubb is out this season.


Justin Jackson, Los Angeles Chargers, Rostered in 6% of Yahoo leagues

Another week and another marquee running back injured. Chargers fans and fantasy football GM’s watched in anguish this past Sunday as Austin Ekeler hyper-extended his knee and subsequently pulled his hamstring suffering a serious injury that will cause him to miss several weeks.

Now Josh Kelley should see the bulk of the work going forward but we have seen this backfield be split historically under Lynn and if that trend continues it would open the door for Justin Jackson to see increased opportunities. Jackson saw work last week against Tampa Bay with Ekeler going down as he saw 8 total touches including some work in the passing game. Herbert’s dink and dunk style makes Jackson a speculative add, especially in deeper RB thirsty leagues.


Dontrell Hilliard, Cleveland Browns, Rostered in less than 1% of Yahoo leagues

Hilliard should only be added in 14-team or deeper leagues given that the rushing attack in Cleveland should run through Hunt and then Johnson first as mentioned above, but Hilliard did see some solid work against Dallas getting 6 touches.


Ke’Shawn Vaughn, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Rostered in 6% of Yahoo leagues

Ke’Shawn Vaughn was an offseason darling early on but a rough camp relegated him to the bench. After the Buccs signed Leonard Fournette and then LeSean McCoy, Vaugh was buried on the bench. Fournette missed Sunday’s game and LeSean McCoy suffered an ankle sprain in the contest which will make Vaughn the next man up to spell Ronald Jones and potentially be worked in the passing game. Vaughn only had 5 touches last week but did catch a touchdown. Don’t expect a bunch but should injuries persist in this backfield Vaughn could continue to take advantage.


Reggie Bonnafan, Carolina Panthers, Rostered in less than 1% of Yahoo leagues

Bonnafan finds himself at the bottom of the RB group given the fact that he is just the change of pace back for his team at this point and Mike Davis has been so effective. But in a high scoring contest against the Cardinals, Bonnafan saw 10 carries for 53 yards and 2 receptions for 18 yards and a touchdown as well. With a matchup against the Falcons up next Bonnafan could be worth a FLEX shot in deeper leagues.


WIDE RECEIVERS:

Zach Pascal, Indianapolis Colts, Rostered in 4% of Yahoo leagues

If you recall the Week 2 waiver article, I was extremely high on Parris Campbell not only after his week one performance but because his play style fit that of Philip Rivers as a slot receiver. Well since that week one performance, Campbell went down with injury and now, so has Michael Pittman Jr forcing Pascal to run more routes and consequently see more targets. Pascal saw a team high 8 targets last week catching only three of them but for 58 yards against a tough Chicago defense. Pascal not only has some allure for his upcoming schedule but if this connection with Rivers can continue he could end up a great season long add on a highly efficient Colts offense.


Tee Higgins, Cincinnati Bengals, Rostered in 33% of Yahoo leagues

Only Dallas has more passing volume through 4 games than the Cincinnati Bengals. Joe Burrow, their terrible defense, and Zac Taylor’s aggressive play calling make the Bengals one of the most pass happy squads in the NFL and therefore you should want pieces of this offense. Look no further than Tee Higgins who was drafted in the second round as the first pick for the Bengals and now has 6 or more targets in three straight weeks. Higgins seems to have a connection with Burrow and now leads the Bengals WR corps with 4 RZ targets this season.


Scott Miller, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Rostered in 16% of Yahoo leagues

The waiver wire warriors have had a on-again/off-again relationship with Scott Miller this year. Most of that has to do with the health of the WRs ahead of him in Chris Godwin and Mike Evans who have battled their fair share of ailments this season. Godwin was forced to miss this past week and in his absence, Miller continued his chemistry with Tom Brady as he caught five of his seven targets for 83 yards and a touchdown. With Godwin nursing his hamstring injury, Mike Evans getting his ankle rolled up on last week(he came back to the game), and with Tampa facing a short week, snag Miller off waivers this week.


Alshon Jeffery, Philadelphia Eagles, Rostered in 16% of Yahoo leagues

The Eagles are in desperate need of wide receivers yet again this year and the injuries continue to pile up. Last week they couldn’t even practice with the correct amount of starting wide receivers. The good news for Philly and potentially fantasy football GMs is that Alshon Jeffery is close to making his season debut. He has established rapport with Wentz and should be added if you are in need of WR help this year.


Olamide Zaccheaus, Atlanta Falcons, Rostered in 2% of Yahoo leagues

Julio Jones seemed to aggravate his hamstring on Monday night against the Packers and in his absence Olamide Zaccheaus racked up 86 yards on 8 catches on 9 targets. If Julio is forced to miss more time Zaccheaus could be in for some nice opportunity down the stretch with the high powered Falcons offense.


Tim Patrick, Denver Broncos Rostered in 2% of Yahoo leagues

Maybe it’s hard for you to remember all the way back to last Thursday night or maybe you have chosen to block that gross matchup from your memory. Either way, one of, if not the bright spot from that game was Broncos wide receiver Tim Patrick. Patrick now has 5 or more targets in three of four contests this season and led all Broncos in targets with 7 against the Jets last week. He is the deep threat for this offense with Courtland Sutton now out for the year and should be rostered as a potential WR4 with FLEX upside each week especially with Drew Lock’s return on the horizon.


Justin Watson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Rostered in less than 1% of Yahoo leagues

If both Chris Godwin and Mike Evans are forced to miss Thursday night, Watson would become very interesting as the next man up for deep targets in Tampa. He is a rental, so if you need more of a season long add, look elsewhere.


Hunter Renfrow, Las Vegas Raiders, Rostered in 42% of Yahoo leagues

The Raider offense runs through Darren Waller but Renfrow now has 8 or more targets, 5 or more catches and at least 50 yards in back to back weeks. As the injuries linger for the Raiders exciting rookie WRs, ol’ reliable Renfrow continues to add value to his offense and could add value for you fantasy team in desperation situations.


Greg Ward, Philadelphia Eagles, Rostered in 18% of Yahoo leagues

With all the injuries in the Eagles wide receiver corps, Ward now has averaged 6.5 targets per game this season. He has 18 targets over the last two weeks and should be added in all formats.


Tyron Johnson, Los Angeles Chargers, Rostered in less than 1% of Yahoo leagues

One of these Chargers wide receivers is going to have a chance to be the deep threat with Mike Williams nursing injuries. Your guess is as good as mine.


Jalen Guyton, Los Angeles Chargers, Rostered in less than 1% of Yahoo leagues

See above.


TIGHT ENDS:

Robert Tonyan, Green Bay Packers, Rostered in 27% of Yahoo leagues

You may have snagged Tonyan last week or over the weekend in order to pivot off of Davante Adams this monday night, but if he is available you should definitely pick him up. It seems as if he can be the safety-valve receiving option in the absence of Allen Lazard in this offense. Be advised he does have a BYE week this week but Tonyan was called “an ascending player” by his quarterback Aaron Rodgers on Monday night and after a 6 catch, 98 yard, and a 3 touchdown performance how can you argue with him?


Mo Alie-Cox, Indianapolis Colts, Rostered in 32% of Yahoo leagues

For three straight weeks, Mo-Alie Cox has been on this waiver column and for three straight weeks he has delivered. Unlike those shady hitch-hikers on the side of the I-95, you should pick him up.


Drew Sample, Cincinnati Bengals, Rostered in 3% of Yahoo leagues

The TE position like almost every year is a dumpster fire. Drew Sample was responsible for Joe Burrow’s interception on Sunday as he just gave the ball up to Miles Jack, but he was targeted twice in the end zone and should have scored on both. Sample now has 15 targets over the last 3 weeks and can be rostered as the main TE in a high octane Bengals attack.


QUARTERBACKS:

Teddy Bridgewater, Carolina Panthers, Rostered in 19% of Yahoo leagues

There are few better stories in the NFL than Teddy “2 Gloves.” Last week he had his best game as a Panther as he completed 26 of 37 passing attempts for 276 yards and two touchdowns. He also added a rushing touchdown on six carries for 32 yards. Teddy will not be a matchup proof season-long option but with Rodgers and Stafford on bye and Teddy facing a god-awful Atlanta defense this week, he needs to top your QB waiver claims.


Gardner Minshew, Jacksonville Jaguars, Rostered in 46% of Yahoo leagues

I am afraid to write about Minshew these days. When I love him he does terribly, when I hate him, he does well. He is stream-worthy this week facing a dejected Houston defense coming off of firing their head coach. Minshew also seemed to play much better with D.J. Chark back in the lineup.


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