Fantasy Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 6
Five weeks into the NFL season there should be enough data to start making more than just dart throws when selecting players off waivers. Accurately predicting game flow starts becoming a little easier, and taking that knowledge to identify which players can either break out or continue their recent success is the key to dominating the waiver wire. We go back to just two teams on a bye this week, with Minnesota and Tampa Bay taking Week 6 off. As always, players listed below must be less than 40% owned in ESPN leagues to be considered at each position.
Brian Hoyer (CHI) Owned in 16.6% of ESPN leagues
Hoyer has breathed fantasy life into the Chicago Bears offense since replacing an injured Jay Cutler and looks to have at least two more weeks of solid production (Home vs. JAX, at GB) until a Week 8 matchup against Minnesota followed by a bye. There is a legitimate chance that he will remain the starting QB when Jay Cutler is cleared to return to action.
Given the Bears ineptness on defense, the offense will be playing from behind more often than not, and Hoyer has shown the ability to score points and keep the Bears competitive. He threw for nearly 400 yards and two TDs vs. Indianapolis on Sunday, his third straight 300-yard passing performance since taking over the starting job.
The fact that he has done this while the injury bug has hampered his receiving corps makes his performance all the more impressive. TE Zach Miller has emerged as a steady target, and WR Cameron Meredith appears poised to step up opposite of Alshon Jeffery, giving Hoyer plenty of weapons to continue putting up impressive stats.
Sure, the Dolphins defense could just be really bad, but there is a chance that Mariota has woken up and his performance against Miami is a sign of things to come. His upcoming schedule is extremely soft, with three straight home games against Cleveland, Indianapolis, and Jacksonville, making now the perfect time to pick him up.
Leave on the Wire
There is speculation that this may be the week that Kaepernick takes over as QB for the 49ers due to Blaine Gabbert’s struggles. As a Packer fan I will always have an overblown sense of Kaepernick’s skill set as he had some monster games against Green Bay, but is hard to imagine that he could return to anywhere near that level again and so leaving him on the wire is an easy decision.
Devontae Booker (DEN) Owned in 21.1% of ESPN leagues
There were few surprises or injuries in Week 5 at the RB position, making the under 40% ownership options pretty boring this week. The most intriguing option is Devontae Booker, who is making a push to take playing time away from C.J. Anderson in Denver. While it hasn’t reached committee status, the backfield situation has become a little less clear as Anderson struggles and Booker plays well.
Booker had 10 touches in Sunday’s loss to Atlanta, finishing with 59 total yards. Anderson had 14 touches and 62 total yards. Denver struggled all game so predicting future performances off of this game would be silly, but it is clear that Booker has earned a continued role in the offense as Anderson looks less and less like a bell-cow type back after a hot start to the season.
Booker looks to be a high-end handcuff with some stand-alone value at the moment. Anderson has yet to show he can handle a full load throughout a season, so it could just be a matter of time before Booker has some real fantasy relevance.
White was one of many offensive players on the Patriots to benefit from the return of Tom Brady in Week 5. White instantly elevates to a fantasy flex-option as the primary pass-catching RB, also receiving sporadic carries as well.
Leave on the Wire
Asiata has the occasional fantasy gem due to red-zone usage, but week-to-week he is so unpredictable it becomes frustrating to carry him on your roster.
Sammie Coates (PIT) Owned in 39.8% of ESPN leagues
I tried really hard not to have Sammie Coates as my top WR pickup, but despite how frustrating a WR he is, the fact is that he is the No. 2 WR in a high-octane offense. Despite routinely dropping balls and being out of sync in the Steelers timing routes, he continued to get numerous targets and has established himself as the home-run threat in Pittsburgh’s offense.
During the game, he suffered a hand laceration that required stitches, caused by mishandling one of Ben Roethlisberger’s passes. He shook off the pain to post 139 yards receiving and two TDs. Big Ben has remained committed to throwing him the ball despite his issues with dropped passes, which should keep him fantasy relevant throughout the season despite the other top-notch weapons on offense.
He stepped up in Kevin White’s absence and immediately took on a lead role in the passing game opposite of Alshon Jeffery. With White out for the season and Brian Hoyer playing well, the opportunity is there for Meredith to be more than just a one-hit wonder.
Leave on the wire
Thielen took advantage of his opportunity as fellow WR Stefon Diggs sat out with an injury, catching seven passes for 127 yards and a score. He has been targeted on deep balls by QB Sam Bradford on a regular basis but another 100-yard performance would appear highly unlikely.
Charles Clay (BUF) Owned in 13.8% of ESPN leagues
The TE position should be quiet on the waiver wire this week, but if you own either bye week players Kyle Rudolph or Cameron Brate, you may need to roll up your sleeves and dig deep on the waiver wire. This week’s top option is Charles Clay, who has established a consistent role in Buffalo’s offense.
While he lacks the upside of a top-tier TE, he should see 5-to-10 targets and has a high catch percentage, meaning he usually catches whatever is thrown in his direction. He has yet to find the end zone this season but that could change in this week’s matchup vs. San Francisco.
As I wrote last week, 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. The way the Steelers can move the ball, he may score more often than not.
Leave on the Wire
Uzomah has been the most targeted TE for Cincinnati while Tyler Eifert has been out, but Eifert could be back as early as Week 6 and Uzomah has been less than effective while given the extended opportunity.