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NFL Draft

Fantasy Football Week 5 Waiver Wire: Add These Players

  • The Draft Network
  • October 5, 2020
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Fantasy football is weird. It’s just a sophisticated way of predicting the future. Instead of crystal balls or Time Stones, we use a whole slew of projections and analytics. Think about all the time you spend just trying to figure out if a running back will get some receptions or not. In other words, predicting the future is no easy task. And yet, fantasy football is one of the biggest, fastest-growing industries in sports. 

There are countless reasons why people play fantasy football; I’d take up way too much time trying to list them all. Perhaps the biggest reason: It’s fun. Sometimes, that fun is threatened when, say, an unprecedented pandemic comes barreling through the NFL season. That’s what happened ahead of Week 4, and there’s a good chance COVID-19 isn’t going away anytime soon. This means—among other things—that it’s more important than ever to make the right moves for your fantasy rosters. I broke down some intriguing options going forward, but at the end of the day, there’s no proven method for predicting the future. It’s up to us to gather the facts and make our best judgment call. Let me help with the first part.

NOTE: Players listed below are owned in fewer than 45% of leagues and typically geared toward 12-team leagues.


Justin Herbert (QB - LAC) | Available in 89% of leagues

Herbert has come on strong in his first three NFL games, as he’s averaged just under 20 points per game. There’s no reason that shouldn’t continue in the coming weeks. His next three matchups (at Saints, vs Jets, at Dolphins) are favorable to quarterbacks. On top of that, Herbert looked excellent against a stingy Tampa Bay defense; he was 20-of-25 with three touchdowns. I’d rather have Herbert than, say, Carson Wentz, who is rostered in 61% of ESPN leagues...

Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB - MIA) | Available in 72% of leagues

Did anyone expect a 37-year-old quarterback to be this effective as a runner? Fitzpatrick has rushed for 85 yards over the last two games, and he’s not afraid to lower his head and pick up a few extra yards, either. The best fantasy quarterbacks are good runners or high-volume passers. Considering Fitzpatrick has tossed over 40 passes twice, he could be a valid option for your fantasy team. The Dolphins face the 49ers next week, so don’t get your expectations up too high, though.


Justin Jackson (RB - LAC) | Available in 91% of leagues

Viable fantasy running backs are hard to come by. The only way a running back on the waiver wire becomes a good fantasy option is if the starter is injured. In Jackson’s case, Austin Ekeler went down and could miss a few weeks. This bodes well for Joshua Kelley, but it could also mean more targets for Jackson. I’d be shocked to see Kelley become the primary pass-catcher out of the backfield as he hasn’t had more than three receptions in a game this year. Jackson is more similar to Ekeler than Kelley is, so keep an eye out for Jackson as a fill-in for Ekeler. Jackson looked good in limited action last year, too.

Chase Edmonds (RB - ARI) | Available in 75% of leagues

Edmonds has surprisingly been somewhat involved in the Cardinals’ offense. He only saw four carries in Sunday’s loss to the Panthers, but Edmonds also got five receptions on six targets, both of which were the second-most on the team. That’s very interesting, especially since Kenyan Drake hasn’t been too hot lately. (Dare I say Edmonds has actually looked better than Drake this season.) If Edmonds were to take over for Drake — either through injury or continued underperformance — he’d immediately be thrust into an RB2 situation, at minimum. Regardless, Edmonds’ usage makes him a roster-worthy player.

Travis Homer (RB - SEA) | Available in 99% of leagues

As I said previously, it’s tough to find a running back unless the normal starter gets hurt. So this is contingent on Chris Carson’s health for next week. Carson left the game against the Dolphins but came back after being evaluated for a concussion. Homer is by no means a priority, but if Carson isn’t good to go, Homer looks like the next man up — Carlos Hyde was inactive Sunday. If you have a roster spot available, Homer could pay huge dividends down the line. Honestly, I wouldn’t prioritize any of these running backs on the waiver wire unless you’re desperate, though.


Tim Patrick (WR - DEN) | Available in 99% of leagues

While I still have faith in KJ Hamler, his hamstring injury paves the way for Patrick, who has quietly played the most snaps out of any Broncos receiver. Denver’s quarterback situation isn’t great, although Patrick showed Thursday that he can still find ways to produce. As long as he continues to play at least 75% of the team’s snaps, Patrick is worth a waiver-wire addition.

Laviska Shenault Jr. (WR - JAX) | Available in 72.8% of leagues

How is Shenault this available? He’s failed to reach double-digit points just once and has been used as a receiver AND a running back. That’s fantasy gold. He’s only averaging five targets, yet he sees the fourth-most snaps on Jacksonville behind Gardner Minshew, D.J. Chark, and Keelan Cole. His upside is sky-high.

Cole Beasley (WR - BUF) | Available in 80.4% of leagues

Let’s do this again… *clears throat* How is Beasley THIS available? He averages six targets and 12.6 points, yet he’s only scored once. Beasley screams consistency, and it helps that he’s a part of a top passing team. He may not be the Bills’ best receiving option, but Beasley is a solid security blanket for Josh Allen. Translation: He just gets points. I’m shocked that he’s not on more rosters.

Greg Ward (WR - PHI) | Available in 82% of leagues

The injury bug must have a permanent home in Philadelphia. As injuries ravaged the Eagles’ receiving corps, Ward has stepped up into a starting role. (That sentence gives me déjà vu.) While I doubt Travis Fulgham will catch a touchdown every game, the thin options at wide receiver work in Ward’s favor. Excluding an invisible Week 2, Ward has seen 8.3 targets a game. Even with Zach Ertz and Miles Sanders snagging passes, Ward should still see enough action to earn a roster spot on your team. 

Tee Higgins (WR - CIN) | Available in 75% of leagues

Higgins has slowly been seeing more snaps each week, and he’s made the most of his opportunities. The second-round rookie had another solid fantasy performance Sunday with 13 fantasy points in PPR leagues. He’s now had 16 targets over the last two games, second only to Tyler Boyd. As long as Joe Burrow keeps passing the ball, Higgins should keep seeing enough targets. The Bengals face the Ravens next weekend, so he may just be a bench player until they face the Colts and Browns in Weeks 6 and 7, respectively.


Dalton Schultz (TE - DAL) | Available in 62% of leagues

I’m not saying Schultz is the next Jason Witten, but the way Schultz has been playing lately should give Cowboys’ fans hope for finding Witten’s replacement. In his last three games, Schultz averaged eight targets and 15.9 points. Those are two essential stats because it shows how involved Schultz is in the passing game and that he’s a viable fantasy starter. Dak Prescott has tossed the most pass attempts per game, which gives Schultz plenty of chances to rack up targets, and therefore, receptions.

Mo Alie-Cox (TE - IND) | Available in 79% of leagues

At first glance, Alie-Cox may not be the most efficient player. He’s only averaging 3.5 targets a game. Indianapolis also loves to spread the ball around, especially among its tight ends. But since taking over for Jack Doyle in Week 2, Alie-Cox has played at least 60% of the Colts’ offensive snaps. He may not be the best option, but 12.8 points per game in that span is noticeable for a normally thin position in fantasy. And as Jaime Eisner mentioned last week, Philip Rivers looooves throwing to his tight ends. I’d prefer Schultz, though Alie-Cox could have matchup-based upside.

Want more fantasy advice? Follow Zach on Twitter @ZachCohenFB.

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