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Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Advice: Pickups to Target, Stash & Drop (Week 6)

Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Advice: Pickups to Target, Stash & Drop (Week 6)

If you read this article on Monday, you read an introduction that mentioned the poor quality of this week’s waiver wire. The introduction also mentioned that we were lucky not to have had many significant injuries in Week 5.

Well …

Things have changed We have since gotten the bad news that Vikings WR Justin Jefferson has been placed on injured reserve with a hamstring injury, and that Dolphins RB De’Von Achane will miss at least two weeks with a knee injury.

It’s terrible news for Jefferson and Achane investors. But those injuries do spike the value of some widely available players, increasing the overall value of this week’s waiver crop.

The initial grade for overall Week 6 waiver quality was a D. Now?

Grade: C

Rostership percentages are based on Yahoo leagues. Recommended FAAB bids are based on a $100 budget.

Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Advice

Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Rankings

Waiver Wire Rankings powered by FantasyProsECR ™ – Expert Consensus Rankings

 

RUNNING BACKS

Written by Bo McBrayer

Jeff Wilson (MIA): 32% rostered

  • Next Opponents: CAR, @PHI, NE
  • True value: $19
  • Desperate need: $31
  • Budget-minded: $10

Analysis: The Dolphins are expected to designate Wilson for return from IR this week, so the ex-49er should be back soon — possibly as early as this week. The Dolphins need him now that rookie phenom De’Von Achane is expected to miss at least two weeks with a knee injury after having his leg pinned underneath a tackler late in Sunday’s win over the Giants. The Dolphins’ offense has been a machine, making both Achane and Raheem Mostert valuable fantasy assets to this point. But if Achane is out for a substantial length of time, Wilson’s potential value could be immense. Wilson played for McDaniel in San Francisco and can be a plug-and-play RB2 for fantasy as part of a two-man backfield in Miami, operating in one of the top offenses in the league.

Roschon Johnson (CHI): 41% rostered

  • Next Opponents: MIN, LV, @LAC
  • True value: $15
  • Desperate need: $22
  • Budget-minded: $9

Analysis: Despite leaving Chicago’s Week 4 game with a concussion, the “other” Texas rookie RB is still somehow the healthiest Chicago running back in the room. Clearing protocol will hopefully be less of an issue following a Thursday game. Khalil Herbert‘s ankle injury might land him on IR, while only D’Onta Foreman and newly acquired Darrynton Evans are expected to enter Week 6 without an injury designation. Travis Homer is also on the mend, so the hope will be that Roschon and Foreman will spearhead a nice stretch of matchups coming for the red-hot Bears offense.

Antonio Gibson (WAS): 49% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @ATL, @NYG, PHI
  • True value: $13
  • Desperate need: $19
  • Budget-minded: $7

Analysis: Seeing such a talented player fall below the 50% rostership threshold is a sign from the heavens that the creator loves us. Gibson is a great receiver and has a penchant for the big play. He has taken somewhat of a back seat to plodder Brian Robinson, but that shouldn’t shake us from rostering a player with weekly RB2 upside in a blossoming offense.

Tyjae Spears (TEN): 26% rostered

  • Next Opponents: BAL, BYE, ATL
  • True value: $12
  • Desperate need: $16
  • Budget-minded: $6

Analysis: Victory lap time! The rookie from Tulane was dazzling in Week 5, scorching the Colts for 16.9 fantasy points in the loss. Spears scored his first NFL touchdown and turned 11 touches into 69 scrimmage yards alongside a healthier-looking Derrick Henry. Incredibly, you can still claim Spears on waivers this week, albeit for a heftier fee than when I proposed it last week. The only little trouble is two brutal RB matchups in the next three weeks, with Tennessee’s bye week sandwiched between them.

Emari Demercado (ARI): 1% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @LAR, @SEA, BAL
  • True value: $11
  • Desperate need: $15
  • Budget-minded: $6

Analysis: Instead of blowing your FAAB balance on RBs such as Chuba Hubbard (meh) and Jamaal Williams (still out at least until Week 7), drop down and grab Demercado, the shifty, undrafted Cardinals rookie. I do a lot of college scouting and still didn’t have a lot of knowledge on the pride of TCU by way of Saddleback College until recently. Five seasons as a Horned Frog and none as a full-time player, Demercado has shown off his prototypical NFL RB size and very good athleticism so far. James Conner is dealing with what lookis to be a multi-week knee injury and could end up on injured reserve. Backup Keaontay Ingram is working his way back from a neck injury. That leaves Demercado as the next man up in Arizona, freely available to plug in as an emergency flex.

Justice Hill (BAL): 28% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @TEN, DET, @ARI
  • True value: $10
  • Desperate need: $14
  • Budget-minded: $4

Analysis: The Ravens desperately miss having J.K. Dobbins on the field. Lamar Jackson has to don a cape every week, while the RBs are a hodgepodge outfit and the WRs have a serious case of the “oopsy-dropsies.” Hill appears to have the most juice in this backfield, albeit most backs would in comparison with Gus Edwards and Melvin Gordon. I like Hill’s open field-ability and receiving role that is game flow-independent.

Chuba Hubbard (CAR): 26% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @MIA, BYE, HOU
  • True value: $6
  • Desperate need: $10
  • Budget-minded: $2

Analysis: Chuba Hubbard has outsnapped Miles Sanders in each of the Panthers’ last two games. The question is whether Hubbard has earned something close to a 50/50 backfield split on the merits, or whether it’s happening because Sanders has been dealing with a groin injury. Hubbard is basically a replacement-level running back, but he’s functional and versatile, and we know that RB value in fantasy football is often more about opportunity than talent.

D’Onta Foreman (CHI): 7% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @MIA, BYE, HOU
  • True value: $5
  • Desperate need: $9
  • Budget-minded: $2

Analysis: With Khalil Herbert expected to miss multiple weeks with a leg injury, and with Roschon Johnson (concussion) and Travis Homer (hamstring) also dealing with injuries, Foreman is likely to be active this week for Chicago’s home game against Minnesota. Signed in the offseason, Foreman fell behind Herbert and Johnson in the Bears’ RB pecking order, but he’s had bursts of significant fantasy value in recent years when he’s fallen into high-volume duty. That might be the case this week, although with nine days to recover between games, the odds are probably better than 50/50 that Johnson is able to clear the concussion protocol and start for the Bears on Sunday. Still, Foreman is an interesting short-term play. Calibrate your bid based on your scoring format, as Foreman is a complete nonfactor in the passing game and is far less valuable in full-point PPR leagues than in standard leagues.

Keaontay Ingram (ARI): 1% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @LAR, @SEA, BAL
  • True value: $3
  • Desperate need: $7
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: Ingram has a neck injury, and it’s uncertain when he’ll be able to return to action. Ingram won the backup job behind starter James Conner over the summer, and now Conner is expected to miss multiple weeks with a knee injury. Ingram may have to share work with emerging UDFA Emari Demercado, but Ingram could still be fantasy relevant upon his return.

Stash Candidates:

Is anyone else nervous about Travis Etienne‘s early workload? Not quite the picture of health, Etienne has looked awesome the past two games but has shouldered the vast majority of RB snaps for Jacksonville. Tank Bigsby has scored twice this season, but he’s had only eight carries in his last three games after his seven Week 1 totes that included a lost fumble. If anything, Tank will offer fresh legs should the starter miss any time.

Rico Dowdle is worlds better than Deuce Vaughn and can certainly better handle a larger workload in the event of a Tony Pollard absence. His versatility as a rotational option has already endeared him to the coaching staff. Stash him with confidence, especially if you have Pollard on your roster.

Although I expect the Browns to continue to develop Jerome Ford as their lead back following the bye, Kareem Hunt will be in the mix. I’ll keep him on retainer for when Cleveland has some RB-friendly matchups on the horizon.

I’m not so sure Jamaal Williams has much of a job to return to in Week 7. Alvin Kamara has looked fresh and explosive, while rookie Kendre Miller brings a home run aspect sorely missed in the Saints offense. I prefer the rookie, especially if he looks good versus the Texans this week.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Written by Derek Brown

Quentin Johnston (LAC): 33% rostered

  • Next Opponents: DAL, @KC, CHI
  • True value: $6
  • Desperate need: $10
  • Budget-minded: $4

Analysis: The numbers for Johnston haven’t been pretty. He has a 7.5% target share, an 8.9% air-yard share and a 9.9% first-read share. His Week 4 usage was more encouraging, with a 67.7% route run rate and a 12.5% target share (per Fantasy Points Data). Investing in Johnston is a belief in not only his talent bubbling to the surface as we move through the season but also buying into a high-powered offense. The Chargers are seventh in points per game and yards per play. Johnston is a talented rookie coming out of a bye week who has been thrust into a larger role that could continue to grow. The upcoming matchups are gruesome, but by the time we get to the Bears’ secondary in Week 8, Johnston could be headed for a monster stretch run. In Weeks 14-17, the Chargers get two dates with the Broncos and a game against the Raiders.

K.J. Osborn (MIN): 11% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @CHI, SF, @GB
  • True value: $6
  • Desperate need: $9
  • Budget-minded: $4

Analysis: Osborn has been getting a lot of snaps this season but hasn’t been putting up very compelling fantasy numbers. That’s what happens when you share targets with Justin Jefferson, T.J. Hockenson and Jordan Addison. But now Jefferson is injured reserve with a hamstring injury and will miss at least four games. With Jefferson injured in the second half of the Vikings’ loss to Chiefs on Sunday, Osborn drew a season-high nine targets and finished with 5-49-0. Addison is likely to be a more valuable pass catcher than Osborn while Jefferson is on the mend, but Osborn will nevertheless be prominently involved in Minnesota’s pass-heavy offense and should provide WR3 or WR4 fantasy value in the coming weeks.

Brandin Cooks (DAL): 47% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @LAC, BYE, LAR
  • True value: $3
  • Desperate need: $5
  • Budget-minded: $1

Analysis: Cooks might already be rostered in your league, but if he is out there, pick him up now as a possible flex play for Week 6. Cooks entered Week 5 with a 14.9% target share and only 0.85 yards per route run (per Fantasy Points Data). I know those aren’t pristine numbers by any stretch of the imagination, but hear me out. The Chargers’ secondary is Swiss cheese. They entered Week 5 having allowed the most fantasy points per game, the second-most receiving yards and the second-most receiving touchdowns to opposing wide receivers. Dallas can feed Tony Pollard this week and Cooks can still walk away with a good game.

Wan’Dale Robinson (NYG): 24% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @BUF, WAS, NYJ
  • True value: $3
  • Desperate need: $5
  • Budget-minded: $1

Analysis: Robinson’s playing time is trending up. In Week 5, he played 65% of the snaps with 75% route participation and an 18.7% target share. As wild as it is to say, with Daniel Jones (neck) sidelined with an injury, the Giants’ offense could be in better hands in Week 6 with Tyrod Taylor possibly under center. Robinson could face Taron Johnson (100% catch rate and 113.0 passer rating) this week or Cam Lewis (career: 62.5% catch rate and 108.6 passer rating per PFF) if Johnson (knee) can’t go. Either way, Robinson will have the easiest corner matchup for the Giants to pick on this week. Robinson gets a bump in PPR formats.

Darnell Mooney (CHI): 23% rostered

  • Next Opponents: MIN, LV, @LAC
  • True value: $3
  • Desperate need: $5
  • Budget-minded: $1

Analysis: Don’t look now, haters, but Justin Fields has been surgical over the last two games. That brings Mooney into focus as a possible flex play or bye-week lineup plug-in. Mooney could enjoy a nice three-game run against secondaries that entered Week 5 having allowed the fourth-most, 12th-most and most fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers.

Rashid Shaheed (NO): 37% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @HOU, JAX, @IND
  • True value: $2
  • Desperate need: $4
  • Budget-minded: $1

Analysis: Shaheed is New Orleans’s deep threat and zone coverage dominator. Each of his next three opponents are zone-heavy secondaries. Against zone, Shaheed entered Week 5 with a 13.6% target share, a 16.4-yard average depth of target and 2.02 yards per route run (per Fantasy Points Data). The Texans have been tough against receivers, but they just allowed the Falcons to look like a competent passing attack. Indy and Jacksonville have allowed the third-most and 15th-most receiving fantasy points in zone coverage.

Josh Reynolds (DET): 41% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @TB, @BAL, LV
  • True value: $2
  • Desperate need: $4
  • Budget-minded: $1

Analysis: The Lions deployed a wide receiver committee in Week 5, with Reynolds, Kalif Raymond, Marvin Jones and Jameson Williams mixing and matching in personnel all day. While that isn’t fantastic, Reynolds still saw a 17.8% target share, as he led the team in receiving yards and scored a touchdown. Reynolds had turned in two top-36 wide receiver weeks (WR8, WR30) this season going into Week 5, and I’m sure that when the week has concluded, he’ll have another top-36 finish to add to the scrapbook. With Amon-Ra St. Brown sidelined, Reynolds could continue to lead this passing attack along with TE Sam LaPorta in the coming weeks.

Josh Downs (IND): 9% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @JAX, CLE, NO
  • True value: $2
  • Desperate need: $4
  • Budget-minded: $1

Analysis: Downs crushed in Week 5. He had a 23.0% target share, as he led the Colts with 97 receiving yards. Downs is a plug-and-play flex option this week in all formats. He should have no issues eating up slot corner Jaguars Tre Herndon (78.9% catch rate and 145.0 passer rating, per PFF) this week, regardless of whether he is catching passes from Anthony Richardson or Gardner Minshew.

Curtis Samuel (WAS): 17% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @ATL, @NYG, PHI
  • True value: $2
  • Desperate need: $4
  • Budget-minded: $1

Analysis: Samuel is another plug-and-play waiver wire flex gem this week. He is coming off a productive Week 5 game where Sam Howell dropped back 51 times. While I don’t envision Howell accruing that much passing volume in Week 6, Samuel should be an integral part of the game plan against the Falcons. Samuel will run about 68% of his routes against Dee Alford (77.3% catch rate and 125.8 passer rating), who is the easiest corner matchup on the board for the Washington passing attack.

Zay Jones (JAX): 30% rostered

  • Next Opponents: IND, @NO, @PIT
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate need: $2
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: Jones remains a trusted red zone weapon for Trevor Lawrence, but his numbers outside of touchdowns and health remain concerns. Among 102 qualifying receivers, Jones ranks 70th in receiving grade and 84th in yards per route run (per PFF). Jones returned to action in Week 5 to catch another touchdown with 23 receiving yards before departing again due to his balky knee. The problematic knee held Jones out Weeks 3-4 this season, so I’m unsure of when we’ll see Jones again. He’s worth a pickup if your fantasy team is sitting pretty right now with one or fewer losses. Jones will be a high-end flex play against the Steelers in Week 8 if healthy.

Kendrick Bourne (NE): 18% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @LV, BUF, @MIA
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate need: $2
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: Bourne is a deep-league flex play this week. Demario Douglas and JuJu Smith-Schuster left New England’s Week 5 game with head injuries. If they can’t get cleared in time for Week 6, Bourne could offer some flex appeal. Bourne’s playing time has been hit or miss, but when he’s been on the field, he has been productive. He entered Week 5 with an 18.1% target share, 26% target per route run rate, and 1.64 yards per route run (per Fantasy Points Data). The Raiders have been giving to wide receivers with the 12th-most fantasy points per game allowed.

Stash Candidates:

Marvin Mims continues to split work with Brandon Johnson for some reason. Make it make sense, Sean Payton. I don’t get it, but that’s where we are. Mims’ per-route metrics continue to be insane. He is a priority stash who could be a stretch-run league winner if Payton ever gets out of the talented rookie’s way.

Jayden Reed is another talented, must-stash rookie. While he remains in a capped snap role as the Packer’s slot receiver, that hasn’t stopped him from posting fantastic per-route numbers. Entering Week 5, among 139 wide receivers, Reed ranked 29th in target per route run rate, 28th in fantasy points per route run and 30th in yards per route run (per Fantasy Points Data). His weekly target volume is worrisome, but his talent is not.

QUARTERBACKS

Written by Bo McBrayer

Sam Howell (WAS): 34% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @ATL, @NYG, PHI
  • True value: $9
  • Desperate need: $14
  • Budget-minded: $3

Analysis: I tried to tell y’all two weeks ago. Hopefully you listened and picked up Howell for pennies on the dollar and a sterling upcoming schedule. He now has three 20-point fantasy performances in five games and, aside from the beatdown vs. Buffalo, has finished no worse than QB14 in any game this season. He’s QB5 overall right now but still the best streaming option readily available on waivers. Grab him and enjoy this season’s Geno Smith.

Derek Carr (NO): 24% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @HOU, JAX, @IND
  • True value: $5
  • Desperate need: $11
  • Budget-minded: $2

Analysis: While I would normally let Carr and his touchdown allergies waste away on the wire, he is entering a wild stretch of favorable games that extends all the way to the Saints’ Week 11 bye. New Orleans absolutely destroyed New England in Week 5. Carr looked sharp and showed no ill effects from his shoulder strain. Chris Olave and Michael Thomas have proven to be worthy weapons, while Alvin Kamara’s return to the field has worked wonders in keeping Carr’s jersey clean, letting him check down before taking too many shots.

Bryce Young (CAR): 10% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @MIA, BYE, HOU
  • True value: $3
  • Desperate need: $8
  • Budget-minded: $1

Analysis: Has the rookie No. 1 pick looked good this season? No. He was still QB9 this week with three touchdown passes on 41 attempts. This is a one-week stream. It would be a two-week stream if you picked him up for his mop-up statistical outburst against Detroit in Week 5 (told ya so!). Miami will, in all likelihood, crush Carolina just like Detroit did. Young is still a remarkable passer and will put up solid fantasy numbers when the Dolphins inevitably soften coverage later in the game.

Desmond Ridder (ATL): 5% rostered

  • Next Opponents: WAS, @TB, @TEN
  • True value: $3
  • Desperate need: $7
  • Budget-minded: $1

Analysis: Do my eyes deceive me, or was Atlanta’s passing game … kinda good in Week 5? Ridder unleashed 37 attempts, including a season-high 11 targets to Kyle Pitts, en route to 329 passing yards and a QB6 performance in a win over Houston. Next up are the Commanders, who have been eviscerated through the air this season. Most recently, they were carved up by Justin Fields and the previously scuffling Bears offense. Give Arthur Smith credit. He adjusted to loaded boxes with a solid game plan that revolved around getting more work to Pitts and Drake London. That same formula should have similar success versus Washington.

Stash Candidates: N/A

  • Stream, don’t stash! Save those vital bench spots for skill players and only add a QB off waivers you intend to start that week.

TIGHT ENDS

Written by Derek Brown

Logan Thomas (WAS): 15% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @ATL, @NYG, PHI
  • True value: $4
  • Desperate need: $8
  • Budget-minded: $2

Analysis: Thomas blew up last week with a 21.5% target share, nine grabs, 77 receiving yards and a touchdown. Thomas has surpassed 40 receiving yards in three of his four games and now has two contests with at least eight targets under his belt. Thomas could be a top-12 fantasy option in each of the next three games. Over that stretch, he faces defenses that have allowed the seventh-most, 14th-most and second-most fantasy points per game to tight ends.

Luke Musgrave (GB): 24% rostered

  • Next Opponents: BYE, DEN, MIN
  • True value: $3
  • Desperate need: $5
  • Budget-minded: $1

Analysis: Entering Week 5, in Musgrave’s full games played (he left one early with a concussion), he had a 15.8% target share, a 16.5% air-yard share, 1.55 yards per route run and a 16.2% first-read share (per Fantasy Points Data). Musgrave is third on the team with three red-zone targets. I continue to pound the drum for Musgrave, who is low-key getting TE1 usage. Pick him up now and play him in Week 7 against the Broncos, who have allowed the third-most fantasy points per game to tight ends.

Cade Otton (TB): 2% rostered

  • Next Opponents: DET, ATL, @BUF
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate need: $2
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: Otton is a matchup-based streaming option for the next two weeks. His 12.6% target share isn’t amazing, but he is running all of the routes for Tampa Bay and has electric matchups for Week 6 and 7. The Lions and Falcons have allowed the sixth- and seventh-most fantasy points per game to tight ends. Otton could return TE1 production for the next two weeks for pennies.

Tyler Conklin (NYJ): 6% rostered

  • Next Opponents: PHI, BYE, @NYG
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate need: $2
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: Conklin entered Week 5 with a 16.4% target share (13th-best) and 75% route participation. Against the Broncos on Sunday, he had a 19.2% target share and led the team with 67 receiving yards. While Zach Wilson turned back into a pumpkin, Conklin was still productive. This is why he makes the waiver wire article as a matchup-based streaming option. The Eagles have allowed the third-most fantasy points per game and the seventh-most receiving yards to the TE position.

Stash Candidates: None.

DEFENSES

Written by Pat Fitzmaurice

Minnesota Vikings: 5% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @CHI, SF, @GB
  • True value: $2
  • Desperate need: $4
  • Budget-minded: $1

Analysis: The Vikings’ defense has scored five or fewer fantasy points in 3-of-4 games this season, the exception being a 17-point outburst against the Panthers in Week 4 featuring five sacks and a fumble return for a touchdown. But Minnesota gets a juicy matchup this week against the Bears. The Chicago offense found its footing last week in a 40-20 Thursday-night win over Washington. But Bears QB Justin Fields is still sack-prone and turnover-prone. After taking a league-high 55 sacks last year, Fields has been sacked 20 times in his first five games. He’s thrown five interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown. Fields has also fumbled four times, with one of those cough-ups returned for a touchdown. Successfully streaming defenses is often more about picking on an error-prone offense than on finding a high-quality defense, and that’s the case here. Play the Vikings this week, then dump them before a tough Week 6 matchup against the 49ers.

Cleveland Browns: 29% rostered

  • Next Opponents: SF, @IND, @SEA
  • True value: $2
  • Desperate need: $4
  • Budget-minded: $1

Analysis: The Browns are an interesting proposition for fantasy managers looking for a defense to stream in Week 6. The Cleveland defense is widely available because the Browns are coming off a bye. The Browns were No. 3 in defensive DVOA going into Week 4, allowing 196.8 yards per game and recording 12 sacks. It’s one of the best defenses in the league. You can probably get the Browns off waivers for a buck or two this week. The catch is that Cleveland has a bad Week 6 matchup against San Francisco, which entered Week 5 giving up 0.5 fantasy points per game to opposing defenses. If you’re willing to deal with the bad matchup this week, you could ride with the Browns for a month or more and feel pretty good about your team defense.

Las Vegas Raiders: 1% rostered

  • Next Opponents: NE, @CHI, @DET
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate need: $2
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: The Las Vegas defense entered Week 5 ranked 31st in fantasy scoring, but the appeal here is a Week 6 matchup against a broken New England offense that was just shut out at home by New Orleans. The Patriots committed three turnovers against the Saints and gave up a pair of sacks. New England is averaging just 11 points per game this season. This is purely a matchup play, but the Raiders are worth a buck if you’re trying to find a cheap streamable defense.

Jacksonville Jaguars: 16% rostered

  • Next Opponents: IND, @NO, @PIT
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate need: $2
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: The Jaguars entered Week 5 ranked 11th in defensive DVOA, then limited a potent Bills offense to 20 points in London, forcing a pair of turnovers. The Jaguars will likely be facing backup Colts QB Gardner Minshew this week after rookie starter Anthony Richardson sustained a shoulder injury on Sunday. Jacksonville also has playable matchups in Weeks 7-8.

Los Angeles Rams: 2% rostered

  • Next Opponents: ARI, PIT, @DAL
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate need: $2
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: Although the Rams’ defense hasn’t been producing a lot of fantasy points, it has been a respectable unit this season, led by stalwart DT Aaron Donald. The Rams have a Week 6 matchup against the Cardinals, who have been better than advertised but are still very offensively limited. The LAR defense is a decent budget option that you might be able to sneak through with a zero-dollar bid.

Stash Candidates: None.

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KICKERS

Written by Pat Fitzmaurice

Blake Grupe (NO): 3% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @HOU, JAX, @IND
  • True value: $2
  • Desperate need: $3
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: The Saints’ pixie-sized rookie kicker is 11-of-12 on field goals and 9-of-9 on extra points. He’s had at least two FG attempts in each of his first five games. The Saints have one of the easiest schedules in the league, and you can use Grupe all the way up until his Week 11 bye without running into an unappealing matchup. Go the extra buck.

Ka’imi Fairbairn (HOU): 11% rostered

  • Next Opponents: NO, BYE, @CAR
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate need: $2
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: The underrated Fairbairn was 29-of-31 on field goals last season and has converted 15-of-16 tries this year. The Texans are surprisingly competitive, and rookie QB C.J. Stroud has done an excellent job of avoiding turnovers and getting the Houston offense into scoring range. The Texans have a Week 6 matchup against the Saints, who had given up the fifth-most fantasy points to kickers over the first four weeks before shutting out the Patriots in Week 5.

Brett Maher (LAR): 42% rostered

  • Next Opponents: ARI, PIT, @DAL
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate need: $2
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: Maher entered Week 5 second among kickers in fantasy scoring, having produced double-digit point totals in each of his first four games. He had only a pair of extra points against the Eagles on Sunday, but Maher and the Rams get an attractive Week 6 matchup against the Cardinals, who just gave up 34 points to a Bengals offense that had been having trouble putting points on the board.

Brandon McManus (JAX): 25% rostered

  • Next Opponents: IND, @NO, @PIT
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate need: $2
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: The Jaguars’ offense seems to be finding its footing, which should bode well for their kicker. From Week 2 to Week 4, McManus had three FG attempts in three straight games. He had only one FG attempt against the Bills on Sunday but knocked home his 44-yard try. McManus has playable matchups in each of the next three weeks before Jacksonville’s Week 9 bye.

Jason Myers (SEA): 18% rostered

  • Next Opponents: @CIN, ARI, CLE
  • True value: $1
  • Desperate need: $2
  • Budget-minded: $0

Analysis: The Seahawks are averaging 27.8 points per game and have a decent Week 4 matchup against the Bengals, who have given up 20 or more points in 4-of-5 games this season. Myers has had a lot of FG opportunities but has been erratic, converting 9-of-13 tries this season. He’s a perfect 10-of-10 on extra points, however.

Stash Candidates: None.

FOOL’S GOLD

Rashee Rice had four catches for 33 yards on Sunday and had his second TD catch of the season. It’s understandable that fantasy managers would be interested in a talented young Chiefs receiver, but Rice had only a 30% snap share in Week 5 and 24% route participation. The Chiefs are deploying a five-man committee at the WR position, and it’s maddening if you’re trying to mine a valuable passing offense for value. Unfortunately, the value is mostly with TE Travis Kelce, and what’s left is being chopped up and split five ways.

Jonnu Smith has caught 12 passes for 162 yards in his last two games, but he’s the second-best tight end on the Falcons behind Kyle Pitts, and he’s not going to provide bankable fantasy value despite Falcons head coach Arthur Smith’s fetish for getting the ball in the hands of his least talented skill-position players.

DROP RECOMMENDATIONS

Droppable:

Returning from a hamstring injury, Rashod Bateman had one catch for 8 yards and dropped what should have been an easy 4-yard touchdown against the Steelers on Sunday. The oft-injured Bateman played fewer snaps, ran fewer routes and drew fewer targets than teammates Zay Flowers, Nelson Agholor and Odell Beckham. It’s time to extinguish his torch.

In search of a much-needed offensive spark, the Giants dialed down Matt Breida’s snap share in Week 5 and gave more work to rookie RB Eric Gray. Even if Breida can hold off Gray on the depth chart, it won’t matter with Saquon Barkley likely to return from a high-ankle sprain this week and render all other Giants RBs irrelevant.

The Patriots’ offense is a smoldering crater. New England’s starting RB, Rhamondre Stevenson, is averaging only 2.8 yards per carry. Ezekiel Elliott is averaging 2.8 yards per carry and only 2.5 yards per target, so it’s not as if Zeke is forcing the Patriots’ brass to consider a changing of the guard. No need to keep Elliott around when there are better RB stashes to be had.

Over his last two games, Mac Jones has completed 55.8% of his passes and averaged 6.0 yards per attempt with zero touchdowns, four interceptions and two lost fumbles. Even though he has a decent matchup against the Raiders this week, Jones is too risky to trust as a streamer because Bill Belichick could pull him if he gets off to a poor start and replace him with Bailey Zappe.

Droppable with a chance of regret:

Back in action after missing two games with an ankle injury, Odell Beckham sustained another (unspecified) injury after two catches for 13 yards. He simply isn’t durable enough to be counted on, and the starry upside of OBJ’s younger days may be gone.

Tyler Higbee probably isn’t going to see a great deal of targets going forward now that target hog Cooper Kupp is back to form a powerful WR trio for the Rams along with Puka Nacua and Tutu Atwell. Facing an Eagles defense that had allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to tight ends entering Week 5, Higbee had 2-20-0 receiving on three targets.

Poor Daniel Jones. His offensive line is incapable of protecting him, and his WR corps is among the worst in the league. Even at the height of his powers, Tom Brady might have had difficulty moving the chains with such a feeble supporting cast. You can drop Jones without regret.

Joshua Kelley didn’t distinguish himself while Austin Ekeler was out with a high-ankle sprain. Ekeler is expected back in Week 6, so it’s fine to ditch Kelley.

Don’t drop yet:

Zack Moss wasn’t aware that Week 5 was supposed to be all about Jonathan Taylor‘s return to action. Taylor was indeed back after coming off injured reserve and signing a lucrative new deal with the Colts after a summer of acrimony. But Moss stole the show from JT, with 23 carries for 165 yards and two touchdowns against a tough Titans run defense. Moss also added two catches for 30 yards. Taylor will eventually assume something close to a workhorse role after Shane Steichen and his staff decided that Taylor is back in game shape, but with his outstanding early-season performance, Moss has let us know that he’s among the most valuable handcuff RBs in the game, if not the most valuable handcuff.

Miles Sanders is off to a slow start, and his performance keep getting worse. Sanders had 32 rushing yards in Week 5, and that was actually his best rushing output since Week 2. But Sanders has been dealing with a groin injury, and he was up against a tough Detroit run defense on Sunday. With better health and matchups, Sanders’ numbers should get better.

Rhamondre Stevenson investors are panicking, and it’s hard to blame them. After an outstanding 2022 season, Stevenson is averaging 37/6 rushing yards per game and 2.8 yards per carry. The Patriots’ offense is a mess at the moment, and Stevenson is getting pulled down by the undertow. But lead RBs have value even when they’re playing in bad offenses, and we’ve seen what Stevenson is capable of. If you have to bench him, fine, but don’t cut him.

A lot of people eagerly scooped up Michael Wilson after his 7-76-2 performance in Week 4. He followed it up with a 1-18-0 clunker in Week 5. Don’t give up on your bench stashes after one bad game.

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