AN EARLY LOOK AT THE WAIVER WIRE FOR WEEK 5
Week 5 is here already! It’s hard to believe, but the season is already one-fourth of the way through. The injuries have been rough to overcame, although, Week 4 wasn’t as bad as the previous three weeks in terms of the quantity of injuries. Still, we’re seeing plenty of significant changes to offensive schemes on several teams. These offensive shifts create opportunities for players that previously were either rarely involved or riding the pine. Listed here are an even dozen players that probably weren’t on your radar even a week ago. Well, if there is one thing that is constant in Fantasy Football – that would have to be…change. Get ready to roll with the changes with this first look at the waiver wire for Week 5.
Teddy Bridgewater – Too bad he went off the field on a cart. The good news is that his x-rays were negative and he was diagnosed with a sprain. However, that doesn’t mean he’ll be ready to play on Thursday Night Football. Bridgewater has now proven he is a worth bye week filler and two-QB league starter. If he’s on your waiver wire, grab him if you need a QB.
Blake Bortles – Bortles absorbed three sacks and threw a couple of interceptions but otherwise played a pretty good game. Unfortunately, he can’t win these things by himself. The total lack of any semblance of a ground game will make things difficult for Bortles, but he’s acquitted himself quite nicely so far. He’s a viable bye week fill in, but I’m going to stop short of endorsing him for two-QB leagues, though I have to admit, he looked pretty good connecting on the deep ball with Allen Hurns.
Mike Glennon – Glennon managed to embarrass the Steelers, who really beat themselves with 13 penalties. However, 302 yards is nothing to sneeze at. Heck, there’s a possibility that Tom Brady won’t reach that mark all season. Glennon hit seven different receivers in this game, which bodes well for his future. Again, we’ve got viable bye week filler here, but prepare for Jeckyl and Hyde-like performances.
Jerick McKinnon – We’ve been talking about McKinnon as the more dynamic player and we finally got a glimpse at what he can do. He racked up 135 yards on the ground, averaging 7.5 yards per carry and added another 17 yards on a pass play. More importantly, he got 19 total touches to Matt Asiata’s 23, a clear indication that these two will work in a timeshare at the very least. We still like McKinnon to become the featured back eventually, but for now, Asiata will still be the primary red zone and goal line back. Thus, Asiata’s value will be TD dependent but McKinnon will pile up his points with yardage.
Darrin Reaves – The Panthers were dealt a cruel blow Sunday, losing DeAngelo Williams to an ankle injury; he was spotted in a walking cast after the game. That leaves them with practice squad players Darrin Reaves and Tauren Poole to tote the rock until someone gets healthy. Regardless of who is taking handoffs from Cam Newton, you want nothing to do with the Panthers running game.
Lorenzo Taliaferro – Bernard Pierce suited up and was active but didn’t play, much to the chagrin of his Fantasy owners. Justin Forsett was clearly the featured back, and most of what Taliaferro did in this game was during garbage time once the game got out of hand. Still, there is no question that Taliaferro is the best running back on the Ravens, meaning it’s just a matter of time before he takes over. If he is somehow still sitting on waivers in your league, now is the time to scoop him up and stash him.
Branden Oliver – As expected, the Chargers added Branden Oliver to the RB mix along with Donald Brown; however, a 50/50 split of the RB touches was a surprise. Then again, given how ineffective both backs were it shouldn’t have been a surprise. Overall, it looks like the Chargers offense will become totally reliant on the passing game, at least until Ryan Mathews returns in a couple of weeks. If you’re in a deep league that also uses return yards, Oliver may have some value. Otherwise, there isn’t much value to be mined here.
Eddie Royal – Last week, nearly every single waiver column (including this one) mentioned that Royal had five scored in the first few games last season and only three more over the last 14 games. Well, here we go again. Royal amassed 105 yards on five catches and scored twice on pass plays of 47 and 43 yards. He now has 17 receptions for 236 yards and four TDs through four weeks. You have to add him and play him but don’t expect this every week.
Marvin Jones – Jones is expected to finally hit the field for Week 5, but it’s not clear that he’ll have a prominent role in the offense right off the bat. Mohamed Sanu has played very well, both as a receiver and as a quarterback on a couple of trick plays that resulted in two touchdowns. Jones did have 10 TDs last season, and was targeted 80 times resulting in 51 receptions for 712 yards. So, if was left for dead on waivers he is worthy of a roster spot, as he could potentially provide solid WR2/borderline WR1 production if Andy Dalton still trusts him.
Jarius Wright – We’ve already seen several examples of backup quarterbacks being brought in to play and targeting their second string receiver brethren more often than the veteran first stringers. Teddy Bridgewater did it again this week, targeting Jarius Wright 10 times on Sunday, resulting in eight receptions for 132 yards. Wright is a talented player and this is his third season in the NFL, which is usually when WRs are expected to be fully integrated into a team’s offense. Wright wasn’t seeing much action with Matt Cassel under center, but with Teddy Bridgewater now in control, we could very well see Wright become top dog in the Vikes’ offensive schemes. Of course, Cordarrelle Patterson may have something to say about this, but Wright is worth a roster spot. He has the talent and it looks like he has the opportunity.
Garrett Graham – Ugh! You know things are bad at a position when the analysts are recommending players like Graham. Tight ends are woeful this season. Beyond the Top 5, there isn’t very much to recommend; Graham makes the list because the Colts have allowed the fifth most Fantasy points to tight ends over the first four weeks. Most of the time you can expect 4-6 catches and about 50 yards; the occasional touchdown is cause for celebration. He’s a desperation/bye week fill-in and nothing more.
Clay Harbor – It’s a fact that the tight end is the safety blanket for a young quarterback. He’s a big ol’ target that usually stands head and shoulders above the defensive players, thus making him easy to identify and throw the ball to. Blake Bortles is no different than any young quarterback; he hooked up with Clay for eight receptions and 69 yards, tops among all Jaguars on Sunday. With Marcedes Lewis gone for another month or more, Harbor becomes Bortles’ safety blanket, one we’re quite sure he will need…often. Consider Harbor a sneaky play going forward. If you’re stuck with someone like Graham, Coby Fleener or some other TE stiff, then a gamble on Harbor could have some decent upside for you.