Week 6 Waiver Wire Pickups (2020 Fantasy Football)
Unfortunately, a handful of fantasy football managers need a new quarterback before Week 6.
In the midst of a record-setting start, Dak Prescott suffered a devastating ankle injury Sunday against the Giants. He already underwent season-ending surgery, robbing both real and fake football of one of its premier stars.
Despite not completing Week 5’s contest, Prescott went out just 0.2 of a point behind Patrick Mahomes for second among all fantasy scorers. The man atop the list, Russell Wilson, will pause his MVP campaign for a Week 6 bye. Drew Brees will also take a breather along with the surging Derek Carr and Justin Herbert, who would have been a priority pick-up this week if not for COVID-19 cases causing the NFL to re-configure the schedule. Those seeking a long-term option under center may still want to grab the Chargers rookie.
Keeping in mind that Gardner Minshew (51% rostered) no longer qualifies for this column, a trio of passers should provide fantasy players immediate relief. While young wide receivers continue to shine bright, it’s going to be another rough waiver period for anyone needing help at running back — unless Chase Edmonds (64% rostered) or Damien Harris (54%) are still out there — or tight end.
Note: Rostered percentages provided via Yahoo leagues.
Top 5 Waiver Targets of Week 4
Alexander Mattison (RB – MIN): 40% Rostered
Sunday night showed why Mattison is the most valuable RB handcuff in fantasy football. Dalvin Cook left the game early with a groin injury. In his place, Mattison recorded 112 rushing yards on 20 carries and an extra 24 yards on three catches. Joe Mixon, Josh Jacobs, Kareem Hunt, and Mike Davis were the only running backs to receive more touches in Week 5. Todd Gurley and Ronald Jones were the only other 100-yard rushers.
Despite the early exit, Cook handily leads the NFL in rushing. If he needs to miss any time, the Vikings clearly trust Mattison to instead assume a heavy role. After just watching Atlanta get shredded by Davis, another backup filling in for a first-round star, Mattison would vault into an instant RB1 if Cook can’t play this Sunday.
Justin Jackson (RB – LAC): 44% Rostered
In their first full game without Austin Ekeler, the Chargers utilized both Jackson and Joshua Kelley. However, Jackson led the way with 20 touches for 94 yards, whereas Kelley notched only 38 yards on a dozen touches. Kelley was the one involved before Ekeler’s injury, but Jackson may now be the better option. He should at the very least be rostered in all leagues moving forward.
Chase Claypool (WR – PIT): 17% Rostered
Claypool scored four touchdowns in the fourth game of his career, and another one was called back because of offensive pass interference. In a shootout that saw Diontae Johnson again leave early with a back injury, the rookie led the Steelers in targets (11), catches (seven), and receiving yards (110). He also got three carries, one of which he punched into the end zone, and punctuated Sunday with an A+ showing on Twitter:
7/11 … always open. pic.twitter.com/vkv49AK6vL
— Chase Claypool (@ChaseClaypool) October 11, 2020
— Chase Claypool (@ChaseClaypool) October 11, 2020
Claypool is suddenly the season’s WR9 with more total touchdowns than all but four of them. With or without Johnson, who may be able to return in Week 6, Claypool’s ceiling is far too towering to ignore in any league.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB – MIA): 21%
Fitzpatrick isn’t ready to mentor Tua Tagovailoa with a clipboard just yet. With his starting job slipping away, the 37-year-old played a virtually flawless game at San Francisco. In a stunning 43-17 blowout, Fitzpatrick went 22-of-28 for 350 yards and three passing touchdowns. It marked the fourth straight game in which he posted at least 20 fantasy points, elevating him to sixth in scoring among all quarterbacks.
Because of the Broncos and Patriots getting postponed to Week 6, the Dolphins will host the Jets this Sunday instead of traveling to Denver. The 0-5 Jets just surrendered 380 passing yards to Kyler Murray, and Miami doesn’t have a prolific run offense to beat their AFC East foe into submission on the ground as favorites. Fitzpatrick is in line for another terrific outing.
Travis Fulgham (WR – PHI): 3% Rostered
Another receiver enjoyed a coming-out party at Heinz Field. A week after securing a go-ahead fourth-quarter touchdown against the 49ers, Fulgham emerged as Carson Wentz‘s go-to wideout. The sophomore secured 10 of 13 targets for 152 yards — more than all of his teammates combined — and another touchdown.
The only other wide receivers to hit 10 catches, 100 yards, and a score in a single game this season are Davante Adams (Week 1), Keenan Allen (Week 3), Allen Robinson (Week 3), and Amari Cooper (Week 4). It’s probably too late to add those guys, but Fulgham remains available in 97% of Yahoo leagues. Regardless of whether Alshon Jeffery finally makes his season debut, this kind of breakout performance should solidify a role on a squad starving for receivers.
Notable Players 35-50% Rostered
Henry Ruggs III (WR – LV): 44%
Playing for the first time since Week 2, Ruggs promptly reminded everyone of his immense upside by bringing home a 72-yard touchdown. Tempering future expectations a bit, that huge play accounted for one of just two grabs on three targets. However, the first-round pick always stood out for his home-run ability. He put his blazing 4.27 40-yard speed on display against a Kansas City defense that had permitted the fewest fantasy points to wide receivers prior to Week 5’s upset. Derek Carr has no clear top targets in a percolating offense producing 30.2 points per game, so grab Ruggs before Oakland embarks on its Week 6 bye.
Jimmy Graham (TE – CHI): 40%
Tight end is looking uglier than ever following a week where just nine reached double-digit fantasy points in half-PPR formats. That short list includes Graham, who deposited his fourth touchdown of the season., Only Robert Tonyan and Mark Andrews (five each) have more at the position. Although he’s not a threat to put up 100 — or even 75 — yards on any given Sunday, the veteran has drawn five targets all but once this season. Even if it says more about the state of tight end, Graham now looks like a top-12 option moving forward.
Notable Players 10-35% Rostered
Christian Kirk (WR – ARI): 34%
Entering the season with hopes of a breakout, Kirk instead posted just 76 total yards through Week 4. He topped that tally by two yards Sunday, setting season highs in catches (five) and targets (seven) in a 30-10 win over the Jets. Let’s remember why the bar was set so high for the 23-year-old, who averaged 54.5 receiving yards per game in his first year with Murray. As the young quarterback continues to master Kliff Kingsbury’s high-octane Air Raid offense, there’s major upside for Kirk when operating as the second receive opposite of DeAndre Hopkins. Arizona’s next two matchups against Dallas and Seattle both scream shootout, so this should be the last week he remains available in a majority of leagues.
Laviska Shenault JR. (WR – JAC): 34%
Shenault appears better off with D.J. Chark in the lineup. In two games since Chark returned from an injury, the Jaguars rookie has caught 12 of 14 targets for 165 yards. While yet to reach the end zone since Week 1, Shenault tallied a red-zone reception in each of the last two contests. He’s averaging 54 yards per game, just one yard below Chark. The newcomer is settling into a steady role, and it may only be a matter of time before he declares himself a household name with a breakthrough performance a la Justin Jefferson in Week 3 and Claypool in Week 5.
Kirk Cousins (QB – MIN): 32%
Cousins didn’t make the most of a juicy Sunday night slate at Seattle, settling for a tame 249 passing yards with two touchdowns and two turnovers. Nevertheless, he now gets a tremendous home matchup against the 0-5 Falcons, who have surrendered the second-most passing yards after the Seahawks. They have allowed over 300 passing yards and 20 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks — Teddy Bridgewater became the first to fall short of 29 in Week 5 — in every game thus far, so Cousins still warrants streamer consideration despite unappetizing 2020 results.
Notable Players <10% Rostered
Washington D/ST: 7%
Washington has allowed at least 30 points in each of its last four games since accumulating eight sacks and three takeaways in Week 1’s 27-17 victory over the Eagles. Through those struggles, the defense has still amassed 15 sacks (at least one in every game) and six interceptions this season. A fierce pass-rush could make life difficult for a Giants offense ranked 30th in total yards, 31st in points, and 26th in sacks allowed.
J.D. McKissic (RB – WAS): 6%
It’s a rough week to need a running back on the waiver wire. If requiring a warm body in a deeper league, your best bet might be someone with 75 rushing yards on the season. Although a non-factor in the ground game, McKinnon has registered 123 receiving yards on 20 targets in the last three games. Neither Kyle Allen nor Alex Smith could muster anything downfield last Sunday, leading to a productive performance for the 27-year-old while playing half of the team’s snaps. Now that he’s doing what drafters hoped to see from former Washington back Chris Thompson, McKissic is worth a look in PPR formats.
Irv Smith Jr. (TE – MIN): 6%
In a brutal week for tight ends, Smith finally factored into Minnesota’s game plan. Entering Sunday night with just two catches for 14 yards on the season, the second-year pro collected four of five targets for 64 yards. He played a season-high 59 snaps and ran a route on 72.7% of Minnesota’s passing plays. Plenty of fantasy players had high expectations for last year’s 50th overall NFL Draft pick, and the Falcons present the perfect opportunity for Smith to fast-track his sudden progress.
Andy Dalton (QB – DAL): 3%
Once Prescott went down, the Cowboys handed Dalton the keys to their high-flying offense. In late relief, he went 9-of-11 for 111 yards to secure a narrow victory. While Prescott certainly deserves ample credit for leading the NFL’s top-ranked offense, Dalton inherits a loaded skill-position group on a team whose games have averaged a combined 68.4 points per contest. The 10-year veteran is a must-add in two-quarterback and Superflex leagues and could make a capable streamer with five more games against the abysmal NFC East looming.
Miami Dolphins D/ST: 2%
Because of schedule changes, the Dolphins and now facing the Jets in Week 6 instead of the Broncos. (Cancel those plans to add the Chargers’ defense, who instead have a bye instead of an unofficial week off against the Jets.) Both are strong matchups for an opposing defense, but Gang Green has mustered an NFL-low 15.0 points per game with the second-fewest total yards per contest (279.4). Coming off their best performance of the season, the Dolphins picked up five sacks, two interceptions, and two fumble recoveries in a surprising rout over San Francisco.
Jeff Smith (WR – NYJ): 1%
Beyond recommending whichever defense they’re facing, the Jets don’t make their way around this neck of the woods often. Smith submitted just three catches for 23 yards in Week 5, but he also drew a team-high 11 targets from Joe Flacco. His nine targets in Week 4 led to a far more efficient seven catches for 81 yards with Sam Darnold under center, so Smith’s heavy involvement could lead to deep-league value even in a decrepit offense.
Tyler Johnson (WR – TB): 0%
With all eyes on Scotty Miller to fill the void left behind by Chris Godwin, Johnson instead led Tampa Bay with 61 receiving yards on six targets. The rookie played more snaps (56) than Miller (45) despite not suiting up until Week 3 or previously seeing a single target all season. Miller is still the better option going forward, but the fifth-round pick is an elusive receiver with eye-popping college numbers at Minnesota.
Beyond our fantasy football content, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you prepare for your draft this season. From our free mock Draft Simulator – which allows you to mock draft against realistic opponents – to our Draft Assistant – which optimizes your picks with expert advice – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football draft season.