Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 5
Past weeks have felt light in terms of impact adds. After scouring the waiver wire for pickups to start October, those past players look like stars in comparison.
Last week, Wayne Gallman was a skeptical recommendation solely on his opportunity to replace Saquon Barkley in a high-volume role. Those who promptly heaved him into a flex spot received 118 total yards and two touchdowns – Barkley had one before injuring his ankle – in Week 4’s win over Washington. Darrel Williams also punctuated another pair of touchdowns in place of Damien Williams. It should be too late to grab either of them, but check just in case.
Some guys mentioned earlier in September (D.J. Chark, Darren Waller, Will Dissly) have transformed into weekly choices. Others, meanwhile, surface in this column once more after failing to pick up steam. This time, there’s not much competition from an unassuming batch of free agents. At least Monday night churned out a late submission for the top priority add.
The following players, as of Monday, are rostered in under 30% of Yahoo and ESPN leagues, per FantasyPros’ consensus. One exception was made for a perennially overlooked veteran just a couple of ticks above the usual cutoff mark.
Gardner Minshew (JAC): 14% Rostered (1% FAAB)
It’s a shame The Good Place is ending after this season. Now we’re deprived of Jason Mendoza shouting “Minshew!” with pride, only for viewers who don’t watch football to assume the show’s writers made up a new quarterback named Gardner Minshew. To be fair, some die-hard fans felt that way when first seeing the new cult hero replace Nick Foles in Week 1. Minshew’s weekly finishes at quarterback: 15, 17, 18, and 11. He’s offered at least 16 fantasy points every game after tossing two more touchdowns against the Broncos. Readers who stick around to the end will see why I don’t like him much in Week 5, but he’s proving a serviceable QB2 in a hardly ideal schedule.
Jaylen Samuels (PIT): 25% Rostered (9% FAAB)
Desperate for a spark, Mike Tomlin did the unthinkable and played more than one running back in the same game. James Conner and Samuels each left their footprints all over Monday night’s 23-3 onslaught over Cincinnati, combining for 239 yards with one touchdown apiece. Notoriously eligible at tight end last year, Samuels now might stake a claim to QB eligibility after completing three tap “passes” for 31 yards. He also registered 26 rushing and 57 receiving yards on 10 carries and eight catches. After notching their first win of 2019, the Steelers could try to replicate the formula against a Ravens defense that just got gashed for four rushing touchdowns by the Browns.
Nyheim Hines (IND): 29% Rostered (4% FAAB)
Jordan Wilkins (IND): 2% Rostered (2% FAAB)
In light of Marlon Mack leaving Week 4’s loss with a tweaked ankle, Hines led the Colts backfield with 35 snaps to Wilkins’ 16. The Raiders surprisingly jumping to a 14-0 lead helped Hines’ game script, allowing him to catch all six targets for 39 yards. He’s not going to run much with or without Mack, but the 5’8″ back could re-assume a heavier pass-catching role that yielded 63 catches last season. Consider Hines a valuable PPR play if Mack can’t suit up against the Chiefs. Wilkins, who didn’t make much of an opportunity early last season, would be a touchdown-dependent flex play better suited for deeper leagues.
Ryquell Armstead (JAC): 2% Rostered (1% FAAB)
The Jaguars probably won’t run 85 plays in another game. Armstrong, therefore, won’t get a chance to handle nine touches behind Leonard Fournette’s 32 too often. But the available running backs are bleak this week, and the fifth-round pick turned his first true taste of action into 49 yards and a touchdown. This game at least solidifies Armstead’s status as Fournette’s proper handcuff who could easily elevate into RB2 territory if ever forced into starting duty.
Geronimo Allison (GB): 26% Rostered (7% FAAB)
Allison was such a popular preseason sleeper that I probably should have puts quotes around “sleeper.” That excitement quickly dissipated when he garnered zero targets in Week 1. He was even worse in Week 3, going one yard backward on his only grab. Before abandoning ship entirely, he also found the end zone in each other game. Frustrating start aside, Allison now must be rostered everywhere due to Davante Adams’ turf toe. Green Bay’s star wideout is day to day, leaving the possibility of vacating a 24.7% target share from Aaron Rodgers. Anyone in the roughly one-third of leagues where Marquez Valdes-Scantling remains available should make him their top priority this week. He may not wield the same league-winning upside without Adams, but Allison could ascend into an intriguing WR3.
Mohamed Sanu (ATL): 32% Rostered (5% FAAB)
Four weeks into the season, Sanu has one more reception (24) than Julio Jones. His superstar teammate also has four more touchdowns, as Sanu has yet to find pay dirt or reach triple-digit yards in a game. The 30-year-old is still a boring depth piece, but one who just garnered a dozen targets in a high-octane Falcons offense. Calvin Ridley has yet to draw more looks from Matt Ryan than Sanu this year. The latter particularly becomes valuable in larger leagues once bye weeks surface in full force, making the idea of a safeish six catches and 60 yards far more appealing.
Cole Beasley (BUF): 16% Rostered (5% FAAB)
Highlighted here after capturing 10 targets in Week 3, Beasley received another 12 from Josh Allen and Matt Barkley in a defensive stalemate with New England. His 23.8% target share is exceptional despite still not crossing the pylons. Buffalo’s passing offense is particularly ill-equipped to foster fantasy success if Allen doesn’t clear the league’s concussion protocol. Beasley nevertheless continues to flourish as a volume sieve, manufacturing at least 12 PPR points in three consecutive contests.
A.J. Brown (TEN): 8% Rostered (3% FAAB)
Tennessee’s offense as a whole is awfully hit or miss, so Brown will likely remain prone to that affliction. After opening his career with a 100-yard showing, he managed 25 yards against the Colts and a measly four versus the Jaguars. Expelled back to the waiver wire in most leagues, he bounced back from a one-catch dud to deposit two touchdowns of 11 and 55 yards. He still has no more than three catches or five targets in a game, meaning nobody can start the Titans’ second-round pick comfortably beyond the deepest of leagues. While still a better dynasty asset, Brown has the big-play abilities to keep hitting once in a while. He’ll spend the rest of 2019 as a volatile, high-upside dart throw, though not one to use Week 5 against the Bills unless desperate.
Jack Doyle (IND): 21% Rostered (3% FAAB)
While Jacoby Brissett shared the wealth without T.Y. Hilton, Doyle purchased his first touchdown of 2019. By tying Parris Campbell for a team-high eight targets, he nearly matched his nine combined from Weeks 1-3. With Brissett at the helm in 2017, the tight end corralled 80 of 107 targets in 15 games. Perhaps the duo rekindles their connection enough to at least make Doyle a passable option at a spot with little depth. The Colts will likely have to throw plenty at Arrowhead to keep up with the Chiefs, who have tied the Cardinals with an NFL-high 32 catches ceded to tight ends.
Tyler Eifert (CIN): 16% Rostered (2% FAAB)
Along with those 32 receptions, the Cardinals have coughed up a whopping 431 yards — Tampa Bay is second at 365 – and six touchdowns to tight ends. This is mostly about the matchup, but a healthy Eifert is always a red-zone threat. Dating back to the start of 205, he’s scored 20 touchdowns in his last 31 games.
Noah Fant (DEN): 9% Rostered (1% FAAB)
Not many tight ends are going to take a screen pass to the house for a 25-yard score. Fant has now broken a play of at least 20 yards in three of four games. It’s still only amounted to 130 yards on 115 targets, so he’s hardly breaking the stigma attached to newcomers at this spot. Still, anyone digging this deep is better off taking a chance on a first-round draft pick than the likes of Ricky Seals-Jones, Dawson Knox, and Gerald Everett.
Carolina Panthers: 22% Rostered (1 % FAAB)
OK, who’s facing the Dolphins this week? Furiously scrolls down Week 5 schedule and back up, breaks into a sweat when realizing they’re on a bye. The best streaming option still on the board is Carolina, a unit warranting more praise after stuffing the Texans to 264 total yards in a 16-10 victory. The Panthers have procured 18 sacks, six at Deshaun Watson’s expense, and only the Bills have yielded fewer yards per pass attempts than their 5.2. Minshew has filled in commendably for Foles, but hosting Jacksonville is still far better than facing Watson at Houston for Luke Kuechly and Co.
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