Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 5
The first month of the NFL season is in the books, and the waiver wire has been a busy place. Now, bye week planning is in full swing as you make your waiver wire decisions with four teams on a Week 5 break. Jacksonville, Kansas City, New Orleans, and Seattle all have a Week 5 bye. As always, players listed below must be less than 40% owned in ESPN leagues to be considered at each position.
Carson Wentz (PHI) – Owned in 34.2% of ESPN leagues
Prior to the Week 4 bye, Carson Wentz was seen picking apart the Pittsburgh Steelers to the tune of a 34-3 blowout, the lone loss to date for the Steelers. Wentz passed for over 300 yards and two TDs in that game and has yet to throw an INT three games into his rookie season.
Wentz is aided by solid pass-catching RBs to go along with top wideout Jordan Matthews, and he has yet to force any bad passes into coverage early into his career. It also looks like TE Zach Ertz is returning to action this week, giving the passing attack a big boost heading into their Week 5 matchup.
Wentz and the Eagles travel to Detroit on Sunday. The Lions defense has surrendered an average of 271 yards passing and three TDs per game to opposing quarterbacks and those opposing quarterbacks have an average passer rating of 120.2 against Detroit through the first four weeks. Wentz is poised for another strong outing in Week 5.
Brian Hoyer (CHI)
Two weeks as the Bears starting QB and there is already buzz that the Cutler era may be coming to an end in Chicago. Hoyer has stepped in and flourished, including a 300-yard, two-TD performance against Detroit in Week 4. He may be playing his way into the starting job, and he proved me wrong for leaving him on the wire last week.
Leave on the Wire
Marcus Mariota (TEN)
As tempting as his athletic ability is, he is simply awful right now. Just erase the memories of last year’s highlights and leave him off your roster.
Wendell Smallwood (PHI) – Owned in 10% of ESPN leagues
I’m full of love for the city of brotherly love this week, and fortunately for fantasy players both Carson Wentz and RB Wendell Smallwood are still widely available this week following the Eagles’ bye. Smallwood broke out in Week 3 and should continue to have an emerging role throughout the rest of the season.
The Eagles have a loaded backfield, but the only thing keeping Smallwood from a major role in the offense is a healthy Ryan Mathews, and Mathews has already shown signs of breaking down yet again this year.
Even when healthy, Mathews hasn’t looked good running the ball, averaging just 3.2 yards per carry. By comparison, Smallwood is rushing at a 4.8 YPC average and has looked explosive. It seems like it’s only a matter of time until Smallwood consistently sees 12-to-20 carries per game, and given those touches he is capable of repeat performances of his Week 3 production.
Bilal Powell (NYJ)
In all likelihood the fantasy owner who drafted Powell gave up on him as Matt Forte started the season on pace for nearly every touch out of the Jets’ backfield. But that pace already seems to have caught up with Forte, and Powell has seen an increase in playing time and should continue to be involved in the offense going forward. In PPR leagues he is an even more intriguing target on this week’s waiver wire.
Leave on the Wire
Chris Thompson (WAS)
He did find the end zone in Week 4 and is the top receiving RB option for Washington, but his overall usage simply doesn’t warrant a spot on your fantasy team.
Robert Woods (BUF) – Owned in 10.3% of ESPN leagues
Somebody needs to step up in Sammy Watkins’ absence for the Buffalo Bills, and if Week 4 is any indication, that person is Robert Woods. Woods saw 10 targets last Sunday, catching seven passes for 89 yards in the Buffalo Bills victory over New England.
While Woods has never been a big playmaker, he should be targeted frequently enough to be fantasy relevant. With little proven WR depth, by default he moves into the WR1 spot on the team and should be in line for a heavy workload this season. While he only has two career 100-yard games up to this point, look for the increased targets to lead to a career season for Woods.
Eddie Royal (CHI)
While the Bears top two wideouts are struggling with injuries/ailments, Royal has been a steady contributor, with over 50 yards receiving in three of the Bears four games so far this season. With QB Brian Hoyer breathing fresh life into the offense and the status of Kevin White still unknown, Royal looks to be a decent flex option as the Bears head to Indianapolis and play the Colts’ shaky defense in Week 5.
Leave on the wire
Brian Quick (LA)
Sure, Brian Quick scored twice in Week 4, hauling in two catches on seven targets, but when would you ever feel right about putting him into your starting lineup? He’s not worth a roster spot.
Hunter Henry (SD) Owned in 32.5% of ESPN leagues
Henry is defying the trend of rookie TE’s struggling through their first season. In his two games since Antonio Gates went down with an injury, he has totaled 133 yards and a touchdown. With all due respect to Gates, Henry is clearly the best TE on the Chargers and should continue to play a key part in the offense even when Gates returns to full health.
With injuries ravaging QB Philip Rivers’ favorite targets, two TE sets may become the norm when Gates returns to ensure that Rivers has enough quality pass-catching options on the field. Despite a costly fumble, Henry has done nothing but earn continued opportunities in the offense and should continue to build on the success he has had over the last two weeks.
Charles Clay (BUF)
The duo of Clay and the previously mentioned Robert Woods should make up the majority of the Bills passing attack going forward. Clay has stepped up in the past and is capable of producing TE1 numbers giving the opportunity.
Leave on the Wire
Jesse James (PIT)
James is way down on the list of targets for Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger, and his fantasy value is strictly based on whether or not he can score on any given week. There are better TE options than James.