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Early Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 5 (2021 Fantasy Football)

by Matthew MacKay | @Matt_MacKay_ | Featured Writer
Oct 3, 2021
Damien Williams

As Week 4 draws to a close, fantasy managers should be preparing for the start of Bye Weeks. It signifies the beginning of a new fantasy football challenge to overcome, as roster depth will either hold strong or get exposed. There were a lot of role players who increased their production in Week 4,  justifying the possibility of being featured in lineups moving forward.

Week 5 is the last chance to target players from all 32 teams before bidding options become more restrictive due to the onset of Bye Weeks in Week 6. Let’s take a look at the players to prioritize adding ahead of the Week 5 waiver wire.

Note: Most players are less than 30% rostered in Yahoo leagues.

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Running Back

Damien Williams (RB – CHI): 7% Rostered
A late-game injury to David Montgomery (RB – CHI) forced Damien Williams into the starting role for the majority of the fourth quarter during Sunday’s win over Detroit. Even prior to Montgomery’s knee injury, Williams saw a valuable goal-line carry and converted it into a four-yard rushing touchdown. The veteran back averaged nearly seven yards per carry on Sunday, running eight times for 55 yards and a touchdown while catching both of his targets for 15 yards.

Should Montgomery wind up missing any time, Williams immediately ascends to RB2 territory. He also has seen 11.5 percent of the Bears’ target share, ranking fourth on the team ahead of wideouts Marquise Goodwin (WR – CHI) and Damiere Byrd (WR – CHI). Williams’ pass-catching ability makes him a worthy RB3 candidate entering a Week 5 road contest against the Las Vegas Raiders.

Darrel Williams (RB – KC): 9% Rostered
The Kansas City Chiefs use two former LSU running backs in their backfield and have increasingly leaned into the lesser-known option, fourth-year back Darrel Williams. In Week 4, Williams saw 10 carries for 42 yards, including a one-yard touchdown at the goal-line against a stout Eagles’ defensive front. He also caught both of his targets for 16 yards, staying involved in both facets of the offense. Williams holds standalone low-end RB3/RB4 value but draws a difficult Week 5 matchup against the Buffalo Bills defense.

Wide Receiver

K.J. Osborn (WR – MIN): 18% Rostered
The second-year wideout has emerged as the biggest surprise in the Minnesota Vikings offense, as he saw seven targets during a poor offensive showing in a Week 4 loss against the Cleveland Browns. While Osborn only managed to come down with three receptions for 26 yards and carried once for 10 yards, the volume has consistently been there for him in three of four games. Late-game drives and the increasingly pass-centric nature of the Vikings offense make Osborn a solid WR3 to acquire, who can be considered a week-to-week Flex player.

Jamison Crowder (WR – NYJ): 19% Rostered
Jamison Crowder returned from a groin injury in Week 4 and immediately stepped into the WR1 role within the Jets’ offense, leading the team with nine targets and converting them into seven receptions for 61 yards and a touchdown. Expect Crowder to command a heavy target share moving forward, as Zach Wilson (QB – NYJ) appeared to establish great chemistry during their Week 4 overtime win against the Titans. Crowder is a high-end WR3 with WR2 upside entering a Week 5 matchup against a vulnerable Atlanta Falcons pass defense allowing the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing wideouts through four games. Crowder is a Flex-worthy start in Week 5 with WR2 upside.

Quintez Cephus (WR – DET): 17% Rostered
The former fifth-round wide receiver in the 2020 draft class has looked impressive for Detroit to open the season. Cephus only saw five targets in Week 4 against a talented Chicago Bears defense but lead the Lions with 83 receiving yards. He uses his size and speed to create mismatches in the secondary and is a big target for Jared Goff (QB – DET) to rely on when T.J. Hockenson (TE – DET) is blanketed by defenders. As long as the Lions’ defense continues to rank in the bottom-five for total points allowed, Cephus will be involved in the offensive gameplan enough to warrant a fringe-WR3 designation. A Week 5 road contest in Minnesota could see Cephus reach his ceiling, as Minnesota has surrendered the ninth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers.

Zach Pascal (WR – IND): 23% Rostered
Zach Pascal is the unquestioned WR2 in the Colts’ offense, which finally looked good in their first win against the Miami Dolphins in Week 4. While he didn’t manage to find the end zone as he did during the first two weeks, the fourth-year wideout caught four of five passes for 44 yards, second only to Michael Pittman Jr. (WR – IND) in receptions and yards. The offense leans into the run and utilizes its tight ends in the red zone, so expectations for Pascal to see a touchdown every week should be tempered. Still, Carson Wentz (QB – IND) is gaining confidence in Frank Reich’s system and Pascal will benefit as their chemistry continues to develop.

Tight End

Tyler Conklin (TE – MIN): 12% Rostered
Kirk Cousins (QB – MIN) finally came back to reality in Week 4 but still funneled six targets to his security valve, Tyler Conklin. He caught four passes for just 18 yards but has clearly taken over the TE1 role in the Vikings’ offense, despite signing Chris Herndon IV (TE – MIN) prior to the start of the season. Conklin is in his fourth year with Minnesota and is benefitting from his patience and familiarity with the offense, drawing 14 targets across his last two games. This elevates him into low-end TE1 range against a porous Detroit Lions defense in Week 5.

Dan Arnold (TE – JAX): 4% Rostered
Jacksonville attempted only 24 passes in a closely contested Week 4 loss against the Bengals but their newest acquisition, Dan Arnold, drew two targets and caught both for 29 yards. He is a converted receiver and should quickly become one of Trevor Lawrence’s (QB – JAX) favorite targets due to the ankle injury suffered by D.J. Chark (WR – JAX). The Jaguars’ offense will often find itself in a negative game script, playing from behind and therefore increasing their passing volume, benefitting Arnold and the rest of Jacksonville’s receiving options. Treat Arnold as a high-end TE2 who should only be inserted into lineups in deeper 14-team leagues.


Taylor Heinicke (QB – WAS): 10% Rostered
Taylor Heinicke might be the cheapest fantasy dual-threat quarterback option available on league waiver wires. In Week 4, the fourth-year quarterback tossed three touchdown passes and played a turnover-free game to lead Washington to their second win of the season over the Atlanta Falcons. Heinicke carried five times for 43 yards, which elevates his weekly floor due to his elusive speed in the open field. While Heinicke will face stiffer competition against the New Orleans Saints defense in Week 5, it just allowed Daniel Jones (QB – NYG) to throw for over 400 passing yards in a Week 4 overtime loss. Heinicke is a low-end QB1 and can be considered a starter moving forward.

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Matthew MacKay is a featured writer and editor for FantasyPros and BettingPros. For more from Matthew, check out his archive and follow him @Matt_MacKay_.

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