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Fantasy Football Early Waiver Wire Pickups to Target (Week 5)

Fantasy Football Early Waiver Wire Pickups to Target (Week 5)

Hello, bye weeks, my old friend. The Cleveland Browns, Los Angeles Chargers, Seattle Seahawks, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers have Week 5 off.

Hopefully, some of these waiver wire candidates can patch holes in your lineup next week and onward.

NFL Week 5 Early Waiver Wire Pickups

As always, we’re taking an early look (Thursday and first Sunday games) at waiver wire candidates rostered in fewer than 40% of leagues.

Running Backs

Jaleel McLaughlin (RB – DEN)

Rostered: 0.5%

I’m going to swallow my pride here and admit I had to fire up the old Google machine for this one. If you’ve never heard of McLaughlin before today, welcome to the club. The 5’7, 183-pound back out of Youngstown State via Notre Dame College looked explosive today. He touched the ball 10 times, netting 104 yards and a touchdown. He’s worth a pickup, given Javonte Williams‘ injury, but should only be in starter consideration (for now) if Williams misses games.

Tank Bigsby (RB – JAX)

Rostered: 15.2%

Bigsby isn’t startable right now unless rolling a dice and praying for a touchdown gets you going. However, he’s Travis Etienne‘s handcuff, meaning, should Etienne miss any games for any reason, Bigsby becomes start-worthy in fantasy. If you roster Etienne, you should also roster Bigsby.

Tyjae Spears (RB – TEN)

Rostered: 20.2%

Spears is involved in the Titans’ offense in a larger capacity than simply Derrick Henry‘s handcuff. He’s involved early and in many passing situations, making him at least a must-add for anyone who rosters Henry.

Devin Singletary (RB – HOU)

Rostered: 33%

Singletary isn’t the most tantalizingly talented running back in the world, but he’s involved in an offense that’s looking increasingly more competent with C.J. Stroud under center. He’s getting quite a bit of work on passing downs, too. You’d have to be desperate to start him right now, but Singletary is in handcuff-plus territory.

Chase Brown (RB – CIN)

Rostered: 0.8%

This is a super deep pull, so don’t go spending any FAAB dollars here in your 10 or 12-team leagues. However, Joe Mixon doesn’t have the cleanest bill of health through his six NFL seasons, and if he were to miss any games, I’d expect Brown to be the benefactor. Brown, a 2023 fifth-round pick, profiles as an explosive back with solid vision, capable of providing fantasy value on limited touches. Trayveon Williams and Chris Evans have had their chances. I like Brown in deep and dynasty leagues.

Ronnie Rivers (RB – LAR)

Rostered: 0.3%

He’s surely Kyren Williams‘ handcuff. Should Williams miss any time, Rivers could be a solid option in the Rams’ running back-friendly offense.

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Wide Receivers

Romeo Doubs (WR – GB)

Rostered: 33.9%

The Packers’ pass catchers situation has the potential to be ambiguous, with lots of parity: Christian Watson, Luke Musgrave, Aaron Jones, Jayden Reed and others. However, over his last two games, Doubs has 25 targets, 14 catches, 168 yards and a touchdown. Until he cools off, Doubs needs to be rostered and deployed as a flex or bye-week fill-in.

Curtis Samuel (WR – WAS)

Rostered: 12.7%

I’ll start with this: Samuel’s ceiling isn’t exceptional. He’s behind Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson, catching passes from a below-average starting QB. However, Dotson did leave today’s game for a minute with an injury. If Dotson or McLaurin misses a game here or there, I’ll happily start Samuel. Even with them active, he’s a deep-league consideration because of his unique role as someone who lines up all over the field.

Trey Palmer (WR – TB)

Rostered: 0.5%

Here’s your incredibly deep/dynasty league addition. Palmer’s profile coming out of Nebraska was a burner, downfield threat type of player. I personally thought he was significantly underdrafted, going in the sixth round. Once he’s a staple of the offense, he won’t need a ton of targets to produce value. With Chris Godwin and Mike Evans active, I don’t see him becoming fantasy-relevant. However, should one of them miss any time, he could sneak into relevance, given Baker Mayfield‘s arm strength and propensity to indiscriminately heave footballs. Palmer has six catches for 42 yards and two touchdowns this season.

Tight End

Jonnu Smith (TE – ATL)

Rostered: 0.4%

I can’t imagine how Kyle Pitts managers must feel, drafting one of the most scintillating talents of this generation only to be here considering adding his theoretical backup.

The Falcons run two-tight end sets of ten, and with defenses focusing on shutting down Drake London and Pitts, Smith has found some opportunity, catching 15 passes for 179 yards in his last three games. Feel free to give Smith a whirl if you’re desperate at TE. His ceiling is low, but I’d be surprised if he didn’t continue to snag 3-6 catches per game.


C.J. Stroud (QB – HOU)

Rostered: 30.7%

Even against Pittsburgh’s notable pass rush, Stroud held his own. If you’re streaming QBs, meaning you don’t have a top-tier option and are choosing your QB based on matchups, Stroud should be your best friend going forward.

Jordan Love (QB – GB)

Rostered: 27.6%

Is he some transcendent quarterback talent? Probably not. But he’s averaging 22 points per game through four games, which is absolutely good enough to be rostered in more than 28% of leagues. His schedule for the next four weeks: Raiders, bye week, Broncos, Vikings. Looks like the schedule of a solid streamer to me.

Defense/Special Teams

Detroit Lions D/ST

Rostered: 4.7%

After playing Thursday, the Lions have a long week to rest up and prepare for the Carolina Panthers in Week 5 in Detroit.

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