Skip to main content

6 Last-Minute Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups & Injury Replacements (Week 5)

6 Last-Minute Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups & Injury Replacements (Week 5)

Fantasy football can be an extremely fun game to play. It can also be highly frustrating at times. Nothing is more annoying than needing to make a last-minute waiver-wire move because someone in your starting lineup is out for the week.

Sadly, there isn’t much you can do about it. However, I’m going to try and help.

Every week I will have six players you can grab off the waiver wire at the last minute and throw into your lineup. Some will succeed, while others will fail. Unfortunately, that’s how the game of fantasy football is played.

Last-Minute Waiver Wire Pickups & Injury Replacements

All the players in this article are rostered in under 35% of ESPN leagues.

Matthew Stafford (QB – LAR) vs. Philadelphia Eagles (32.7% Rostered)

Many are surprised to see how well the Rams’ offense has looked this year, given how poorly they played in 2022. Stafford is the QB20 for the year, averaging 14 fantasy points per game. Yet, the veteran is second in the NFL with 1,129 passing yards, making him one of four quarterbacks averaging over 300 yards per contest. Unfortunately, he has only three passing downs this season, as the team has struggled to put the ball in the end zone. However, Stafford gets his future Hall of Fame wide receiver back this week – Cooper Kupp.

The superstar wide receiver hasn’t played this season. Yet, he’s been a touchdown machine since teaming up with Stafford. In 25 career games with the veteran quarterback under center, Kupp has 22 receiving touchdowns, scoring in 64% of the contests. Furthermore, he has accounted for nearly half of Stafford’s passing scores in those 25 games. Meanwhile, the Eagles have surrendered the sixth-most fantasy points (20.6) and the third-most passing touchdowns (2.3) per game to quarterbacks this season. With Kupp and Puka Nacua on the field for the first time together, Stafford offers top-10 upside this week.

Tyjae Spears (RB – TEN) vs. Indianapolis Colts (23.9% Rostered)

While Derrick Henry remains the clear-cut No. 1 running back and had a bounce-back performance in Week 4, Spears has earned more snaps. The rookie running back has at least eight touches in three consecutive games, scoring 6.5 half-point PPR fantasy points twice in those contests. He has been outstanding, averaging 7.3 yards per rushing attempt and 5.88 yards after contact per attempt this season outside of the tough matchup against the Cleveland Browns. More importantly, Spears has a fantasy-friendly matchup against the division rivals.

Last week, the Colts surrendered 150 rushing yards, two touchdowns, and 32.9 fantasy points to the Los Angeles Rams running backs, all three season highs. Furthermore, it was the second time this year that Indianapolis has surrendered two rushing touchdowns to the running back position. More importantly, according to Fantasy Points Data, the Colts have struggled with gap running concept plays compared to zone concept plays, giving up a higher yards per rushing attempt and success rate. Meanwhile, Spears has been at his best in gap-running concept plays this season, averaging 7.6 yards per rushing attempt.

Latavius Murray (RB – BUF) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (6.4% Rostered)

James Cook is turning into a fantasy star. However, Murray has carved out the No. 2 role behind the sophomore running back, consistently playing ahead of Damien Harris. The veteran is the RB35, averaging 6.9 half-point PPR fantasy points per game. Furthermore, he has averaged 8.4 fantasy points per game and 4.6 yards per rushing attempt since Week 1, totaling two touchdowns while earning at least six touches in every contest. More importantly, according to Fantasy Points Data, Murray has accounted for 36.4% of the team’s rushing attempts inside the five-yard line this season.

Surprisingly, the veteran has a 5.9% explosive run rate, the highest on the team. By comparison, Cook is at 5.4% this year. Meanwhile, according to Fantasy Points Data, the Jaguars have done well limiting back runs, posting a 3.1% explosive run rate. However, that number jumped to 9.1% against the Atlanta Falcons last week. Murray is clearly not a superstar like Bijan Robinson. Yet, all the veteran needs is a goal-line rushing attempt and one explosive run to be a worthy flex option.

Allen Lazard (WR – NYJ) vs. Denver Broncos (27.7% Rostered)

What Zach Wilson did against the Kansas City Chiefs wasn’t a mirage; it really did happen. The former BYU star had 245 passing yards and two touchdowns, far and away season highs. More importantly, one of those touchdowns went to Lazard. The veteran wide receiver had his best performance as a Jet, totaling three receptions for 61 receiving yards, scoring 13.6 half-point PPR fantasy points. According to Fantasy Points Data, he is second on the team in routes run per game (28.8) and air yard share (30%), only behind Garrett Wilson.

More importantly, Lazard has an excellent fantasy matchup against the Broncos. Furthermore, he likely rarely sees Patrick Surtain II opposite him, with Wilson being the clear-cut No. 1 wide receiver. Denver has given up 25.9 fantasy points per game to wide receivers this season, the seventh-most in the NFL. According to Fantasy Points Data, they have given up the highest yards per route run rate (1.97) and yards per target (10) this season. While Wilson will have a strong performance, Lazard is a solid bye-week WR3 or flex replacement option.

Rashee Rice (WR – KC) vs. Minnesota Vikings (16.7% Rostered)

A few weeks ago, I suggested fantasy players pick up Tank Dell, start him against the Jacksonville Jaguars, and keep him on their roster. Then, the rookie receiver scored 23 half-point PPR fantasy points against the Jaguars and was the WR6 for the week. Now, I’m telling you to do the same thing with Rice. While he won’t have the same production, the former SMU star is prime for a breakout performance.

The rookie has quietly become the top wide receiver on the roster. According to Fantasy Points Data, Rice is seventh on the team in routes run (52) behind three wide receivers, Isiah Pacheco, and both tight ends. However, the former SMU star is first in target per route run rate (36.5%) and yards per route run (2.69). Furthermore, he is second only to Travis Kelce in first-read targets (13) and receiving first downs (eight). That means Patrick Mahomes values Rice second only to the future Hall of Fame tight end.

Meanwhile, the Vikings have been a fantasy goldmine for opposing wide receivers. They have surrendered 40.1 fantasy points per game to the position this year, the most in the NFL. Furthermore, wide receivers have totaled 587 receiving yards, two touchdowns, and over 101 fantasy points over the past two weeks against Minnesota. More importantly, according to Fantasy Points Data, the Vikings have played Cover-3 on nearly a third of their defensive pass plays this season. Rice has averaged 8.67 yards per route run and a 55.6% target per route run rate against Cover-3. The rookie has a top-20 upside against Minnesota.

Tyler Conklin (TE – NYJ) vs. Denver Broncos (16.5% Rostered)

When streaming off the waiver wire or looking for a last-minute replacement option, you want to target appealing matchups and awful defenses. Well, the worst defense in football this year has been the Broncos. They have surrendered 37.5 points per game, the most in the NFL. More importantly, Denver has struggled to slow down opposing tight ends, surrendering 12.8 half-point PPR fantasy points per game, the fourth-most in the league. More importantly, the Broncos have played two teams that barely use their tight ends – the Las Vegas Raiders and Miami Dolphins.

Yet, they have gotten shredded in the two other matchups this season against the Washington Commanders and Chicago Bears, giving up 8.5 receptions for 100 receiving yards, 1.5 touchdowns, and 23.3 fantasy points per game. Meanwhile, Conklin has been solid since Week 1, averaging four receptions on 5.7 targets for 44.7 receiving yards and 6.5 fantasy points per game, totaling at least 50 receiving yards and 7.5 fantasy points twice. Last week, the veteran led the Jets in yards per route run in Week 4 (2.9). Hopefully, Conklin can find the end zone on Sunday.

Mike Fanelli is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @Mike_NFL2.

More Articles

Dynasty Draft Strategy, Rankings & Tiers: Tight Ends (2024 Fantasy Football)

Dynasty Draft Strategy, Rankings & Tiers: Tight Ends (2024 Fantasy Football)

fp-headshot by Pat Fitzmaurice | 4 min read
2024 NFL Mock Draft: Kent Weyrauch’s “The Model” Picks (4.0)

2024 NFL Mock Draft: Kent Weyrauch’s “The Model” Picks (4.0)

fp-headshot by Kent Weyrauch | 3 min read
2024 NFL Draft Big Board: Final Prospect Rankings & Player Notes

2024 NFL Draft Big Board: Final Prospect Rankings & Player Notes

fp-headshot by Andrew Erickson | 1 min read
Dynasty Trade Advice: 3 Tight Ends to Target (2024 Fantasy Football)

Dynasty Trade Advice: 3 Tight Ends to Target (2024 Fantasy Football)

fp-headshot by Marco Enriquez | 2 min read

About Author

Hide

Current Article

4 min read

Dynasty Draft Strategy, Rankings & Tiers: Tight Ends (2024 Fantasy Football)

Next Up - Dynasty Draft Strategy, Rankings & Tiers: Tight Ends (2024 Fantasy Football)

Next Article