Waiver Wire - Week 6
Much like Bill Bellichick, COVID-19 does not care about your fantasy football roster. It seems as if the fantasy gods don’t either as more and more significant injuries pile up especially at the running back position. The Waiver Wire could be more important this year than maybe any other year. I encourage you all to “be water” as the great Bruce Lee said. It is time to dig in, be pliable, maneuver, and adapt and survive in this wild and crazy fantasy football year. 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 Chase Edmonds(62%), or Damien Harris(54%), or Justin Herbert(52%), or Tee Higgins (53%), or Rob Gronkowski(53%) 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. Also as these positional groups thin out, be sure to check back in previous week’s articles for any nuggets that may have slipped through the cracks in your league.
Note: some leagues and platforms are pushing waivers out an additional day in light of the Tuesday night contest between Buffalo and Tennessee. Make sure you know your league/platform rules and adjust accordingly.
Alexander Mattison, Minnesota Vikings, Rostered in 41% of Yahoo leagues
The reason Mattison finds himself at the top of the waiver column this week is based on pure upside alone. It has been well documented that the Vikings bell-cow running back Dalvin Cook was forced to miss a portion of Sunday night’s game against the Seahawks with a groin injury. Mattison was then forced into the lead-back role and he shined rushing for 112 yards on 20 carries and adding three receptions for 24 yards. The reports early this week on Cook have been positive saying that he likely avoided a major injury but if Cook were to miss any time and if the injury were to become a lingering long-term injury Mattison would be thrusted into RB1 borderline usage. He is a priority add as RB injuries continue to pile up in 2020.
Justin Jackson, Los Angeles Chargers, Rostered in 44% of Yahoo leagues
Jackson was on this column last week as the Chargers lead running back Austin Ekeler has a significant hamstring injury that has him on the IR. Jackson played Monday night in a featured-back role after many people figured this team would continue to feed his teammate Joshua Kelley as such. It looks like based on the usage from the game Monday night, where Jackson saw 15 carries for 71 yards and 5 catches on 6 targets for 23 yards, that he needs to be added in all formats.
Jamaal Williams, Green Bay Packers, Rostered in 15% of Yahoo leagues
Aaron Jones is the man in Green Bay and given this high octane offense it is likely that Jones is a RB1 for the rest of this season in fantasy football but we shouldn’t look past Jamaal Williams’ value going forward. As Green Bay has dealt with injuries to Davante Adams and Allen Lazard they have leaned on their tight ends and running backs in the passing game. Williams is only averaging just over 7 carries per game but last week saw 8 targets in the passing game and caught them all for 95 yards. In this kind of RB climate where injuries are bountiful, Williams could be a sneaky add.
Mike Williams, Los Angeles Chargers, Rostered in 39% of Yahoo leagues
Mike Williams returned from a hamstring injury on Monday football and in the primetime spotlight he dominated the New Orleans secondary. After his teammate Keenan Allen left the game with a back injury, Williams exploded for five catches on eight targets for 109 yards and two touchdowns including a 64 yard touchdown on broken coverage late in the 4th quarter. Even if Keenan Allen is back after the Chargers week six bye, seeing Justin Herbert look consistently Williams’ way was incredibly encouraging after this offense had been so conservative earlier in the year. Williams is a former first round draft pick and has the size and speed of an alpha receiver he needs to be a priority for those looking for WR help this year.
Brandin Cooks, Houston Texans, Rostered in 44% of Yahoo leagues
Coming into week five most of the peripheral numbers had been there for Brandin Cooks. He was leading the Texans in air yards and routes run, but was coming off a zero catch game against the Minnesota Vikings in week four. If you trusted Cooks in week five you were rewarded handsomely with a 12 target, 8 catch, 161 yard and touchdown performance. The Texans offense seemed to have its best performance yet and that was with Cooks seeing a 34% target market share. If a leaguemate gave up on Cooks you should snag him just for the pure upside alone of a lead receiver in a Watson-led offense.
Chase Claypool, Pittsburgh Steelers, Rostered in 17% of Yahoo leagues
The story of week five had to be Chase Claypool who scored four total touchdowns against the Philadelphia Eagles. Claypool is a repeat member of this column and is no stranger to splash plays. It is hard to gauge if Claypool has the staying power of some of the others on this list simply because I don’t believe he will see the double digit targets he saw on Sunday(11). What is maybe most encouraging is that after the Steelers lost Diontae Johnson to an injury, Claypool played on 68% of the team snaps and the Steelers were finding plenty of ways to get him the ball including a rushing score. HC Mike Tomlin did say that Johnson’s back injury was not that serious and his presence would limit Claypool’s upside but it is now the second time that Johnson was forced out of a game. Stash Claypool immediately.
Henry Ruggs, Las Vegas Raiders, Rostered in 44% of Yahoo leagues
After Henry Ruggs was a popular late round rookie WR stash in fantasy football drafts this fall he has dealt with some nagging injuries that forced him to miss weeks three and four. Ruggs returned to action this week against the Chiefs in a divisional upset victory and he played a pivotal role. As the fastest recorded WR in this year's draft, Ruggs is this team’s field stretcher and got behind the Chiefs defense on two separate occasions. Ruggs finished the day with only three targets and two catches but racked up 118 yards and scored a touchdown as well. As Ruggs is able to stay healthy, the Raiders will manufacture touches for their special first round pick. Ruggs will see a week 6 bye but is a nice stash.
Mecole Hardman, Kansas City Chiefs, Rostered in 40% of Yahoo leagues
Mecole Hardman and his truthers(looking at you “Game Time”) may have just received the break they needed. The Chiefs #2 wide receiver Sammy Watkins left Sunday’s contest with what looks to be a significant hamstring injury. This opens the door for the game breaking speedster Hardman to see more looks. With the Watkins injury, Hardman saw a season high snap rate of 71% and caught two of his three targets for 50 yards. It is not hard to see the upside for Hardman in this offense with Patrick Mahomes throwing him the ball and that upside should be on your team if you need FLEX or WR help.
Travis Fulgham, Philadelphia Eagles, Rostered in 3% of Yahoo leagues
After making his debut on Sunday Night football two Sundays ago, Travis Fulgham posted another solid performance. In a game overshadowed by Chase Claypool’s four TD performance, Fulgham was targeted a whopping 13 times, catching 10 of them for 152 yards and a touchdown. He now has back to back games with a touchdown and looks to be what this offense has been missing as far as an X receiver is concerned. With Alshon Jefferey and Desean Jackson nursing injuries and potentially on their way to a nursing home, Fulgham could have some staying power in this offense. He has a tough draw next week against Baltimore but if Wentz’s trust in him continues he will be on the WR2 radar.
Preston Williams, Miami Dolphins, Rostered in 22% of Yahoo leagues
The Miami Dolphins shocked Vegas and most of us when they put a beatdown on the San Francisco 49ers this past Sunday. The Dolphins beat San Fran 43 to 17 behind a strong performance from Ryan Fitzpatrick and Preston Williams. Williams caught 4 of his 5 targets for 106 yards and a touchdown for his best game of the year so far. Williams will cede the target share most weeks to DeVante Parker but will see favorable matchups in 4 of his next 6 games and he looks to have shaken off most of the rust of his ACL surgery from last year.
Christian Kirk, Arizona Cardinals, Rostered in 34% of Yahoo leagues
It is hard for me to trust Christian Kirk after his best game of the year given how stagnant and inconsistent this offense has been at times. Kirk saw a season high in targets with 7, catches with 5, and yards with 78. If you are interested in some depth with upside Kirk is your guy. He is especially interesting moving forward as the Cardinals play the Cowboys, Dolphins, and Seahawks twice in their next 6 games.
Jimmy Graham, Chicago Bears, Rostered in 40% of Yahoo leagues
Believe it or not, Jimmy is the TE #7 in PPR scoring so far this year and has touchdowns in 3 of 5 games this season. With Nick Foles providing at the very least some stability to the QB room, Jimmy should be added in a very thin tight end landscape. Need some more convincing? Graham has played at least 61% of the team snaps in every game this year and has seen five or more targets in 4 of 5 games so far this season.
Darren Fells, Houston Texans, Rostered in 2% of Yahoo leagues
Darren Fells had a great game on Sunday against the Jaguars. Fells played 81% of the team snaps with fellow TE Jordan Akins out with a concussion. That was his highest mark this season and if Akins is forced to miss extended time Fells could be worth a stream or two going forward with bye weeks starting to roll in.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Miami Dolphins, Rostered in 21% of Yahoo leagues
The bearded, chest-furred, Ivy league QB is back on the column again after a great performance against the 49ers on Sunday as he accounted for 350 passing yards and three touchdowns. Up next? An injury riddled Denver Broncos squad. Giddyup. If you lost Dak to injury and need some help figuring out your QB spot Fitz could get you by at the very least for this week.
Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings, Rostered in 32% of Yahoo leagues
I know the Vikings offense has been low volume and that Cousins has not put up gaudy numbers this year, but he gets a date with the Atlanta Falcons who are the absolute best defense to face if you are starting your fantasy football QB against them. With Cam Newton, Drew Brees, and Russell Wilson on bye, Cousins gives you a great shot to make up for those missing points this week.