by Nick Ercolano
October 08, 2018
Week 5 is in the novels, so we're looking at snatching the gold mines off of the waiver wire. Let's get it. This list will only be composed of players owned in 55% or less of Yahoo leagues.
***Names to keep an eye on for***
- With Ted Ginn Jr. out, this will be a massive opportunity for both Cameron Meredith (11% owned) and rookie Tre'Quan Smith (1% owned) to earn a larger role in the Saints offense.
1. Baker Mayfield - Cleveland Browns
- Yahoo Ownership: 37%
Sunday should've been the third consecutive win for this Browns team, but I think they'll settle for a W along with 342 passing yards and a touchdown from their stud rookie QB. The 342-1-1 + 23 rushing yard game came against arguably the league's best defense in Baltimore. The slate of games for Baker and the Browns gets a whole lot easier starting in Week 6 and beyond.
The Charges are bottom-10 in the NFL in FPs allowed to opposing QBs, 5th highest YPA (8.6), 270 yards/game, 2.2 passing touchdowns/game and over 21 rushing yards to QBs. Even if you don't want to start Baker in Week 6, he should flirt with top-10 numbers for the month following as he faces arguably the four pass-friendliest defenses in the league.
- Next three matchups: LAC, @TB, @PIT (KC, ATL)
- Use #1 Waiver Wire: No
- FAAB Spend: $7-10
2. Jameis Winston - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Yahoo Ownership: 19%
There's not much I need to say here other than when Jameis is on the field, he consistently finds himself in the QB1 fantasy landscape. He has a tremendous group of weapons around him, coming off of a bye week, well-prepared for a ribeye juicy matchup in the dome at Atlanta who have gotten absolutely crushed by QBs this year thanks to the plethora of injuries on their defense. It should be no different in Week 6.
- Next three matchups: @ATL, CLE, @CIN
1. Corey Clement/Wendell Smallwood - Philadelphia Eagles
- Yahoo Ownership: 24%/8%
Given Ajayi's sudden trip to the I.R., the Eagles backfield will form a committee between Wendell Smallwood and Corey Clement and Darren Sproles whenever they return to game action. Clement missed Week 4, and was active in Week 5 but only for emergency purposes as he didn't play at all. Smallwood has been surprisingly good this year and should have a big share of the passing-down work in this offense, as long as Sproles is out. If I had to choose one guy, it's Clement, but it wouldn't surprise me if this is just a completely frustrating committee to deal with throughout the szn. It's well-documented that Doug Pederson will use an RBBC. I'd expect Clement to handle the majority of early-down work, as well as GL work, but Smallwood will warrant flex appeal in PPR leagues.
- Next three matchups: @NYG, CAR, @JAX
- FAAB Spend: $8-12 each
2. Alfred Morris - San Francisco 49ers
- Yahoo Ownership: 42%
What's being called a mid-to-high ankle sprain for Matt Breida will set Alfred Morris up to be the workhorse in San Fran's offense for the foreseeable future. On Sunday, Morris carried the ball 18 times for an unimpressive 61 yards (3.4 ypc), but more importantly caught 3-of-5 targets for 30 yards. That was just the second time in his entire career that Morris has seen five targets in a single game. Kyle Juszczyk will certainly be more involved with Breida out, as he out-snapped Morris on Sunday (69% to 45%) and caught 6-of-7 targets for 75 yards. Next week, as 9.5 point dogs, playing at Lambeau, the Niners will be in catch up mode once again so Morris should be more involved in the passing game and both backs suddenly become intriguing PPR options.
- Next three matchups: @GB, LAR, @ARZ
- FAAB Spend: $8-10
3. Mike Davis - Seattle Seahawks
Imagine me saying in the summer that the Seattle backfield could possess two running backs worthy of owning in fantasy football. That seems to be the case. And Rashaad Penny isn't one of them. This makes me happy. I'm not sure why, but it does. The wasted first-round pick of the Seahawks did not play on a single snap on Sunday. Davis, however, played the #2 role behind Chris Carson, playing on 25 snaps, 10 fewer than the starter Carson (35). Both backs saw noteworthy volume, Carson out-carrying Davis 19-12, while Davis saw 2 targets to Carson's 1. Davis got the carry on the 6-yard line leading to his touchdown score and has now rushed for 169 yards and 3 touchdowns on 33 carries (5.12 ypc) over his last two outings for the Hawks.
Carson is the clear lead back here, but seeing as how the Seahawks are going to utilize both guys, and given his TD prowess, Davis is a flex-worthy option if you're desperate, in a winnable game at Oakland in Week 5.
- Next three matchups: @OAK, BYE, @DET
- FAAB Spend: $3-$5
4. Rod Smith - Dallas Cowboys
- Yahoo Ownership: 3%
Zeke was clearly less than 100% in SNF and he came in and out of the game with lower body issues throughout. If you're a Zeke owner, Rod Smith needs to be rostered as a handcuff. I doubt Zeke will miss any time outside of practice, but it's worth monitoring. If Zeke misses any games, Smith will become the Cowboys featured horse.
- Next three matchups: JAX, @WAS, BYE
- FAAB Spend: $1-2
1. Quincy Enunwa - New York Jets
- Yahoo Ownership: 52%
I know people want to jump on the Robby Anderson train now, but I'm still an Enunwa believer. Enunwa disappeared on Sunday in a game where the Jets scored 34 points. However, this was the first game in which Enunwa caught fewer than 4 passes and saw fewer than eight targets. He's still on pace for 134 targets and that can't be ignored.
Now that the brutal matchups of @JAX and Denver's Chris Harris are off the schedule, it's time for Enunwa to bring some like back to your fantasy team. Sure, Robby Anderson is a fine pick up this week, but he and Darnold won't be clicking like that very often. Darnold has thrown for over 200 passing yards in just 1-of-5 games this year and his game is still tailored to favor Enunwa imo.
Reports surfaced after the game that Enunwa was dealing with some sort of hand injury which may explain his 0-catch game on Sunday where he dropped, or should have caught a few passes included a TD strike. It's something worth monitoring.
- Next three matchups: IND, MIN, @CHI
- FAAB Spend: $8-12
2. Chris Godwin - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Yahoo Ownership: 38%
There's no surprise Godwin's ownership dropped after his worst game of the year in Week 4, followed by a Week 5 bye, but his Week 6 matchup against the Falcons can't be ignored. Following the loss of half of their defense in Week 1, Atlanta has given up double-digit FPs (0.5 PPR) to a ridiculous number of WRs including 4 Panther WRs in Week 2, 2 Saint WRs, 3 Bengal WRs and both Antonio Brown and JuJu on Sunday. I'm expecting a nice bounce-back for the talented sophomore WR in Week 6.
- Next three matchups: @ATL, CLV, @CIN
- FAAB Spend: $6-8
3. Robby Anderson - New York Jets
- Yahoo Ownership: 35%
As you can probably tell from my tone in Enunwa's section, I'm not ecstatic about Anderson despite his 3-123-2 game on Sunday. Those three catches tied a season high and he has just 18 targets on the year, second among NYJ wideouts, but still 21 fewer than Enunwa. He's also seen fewer snaps than Enunwa and Jermain Kearse in each of their previous two games. That being said, good performances like this one usually mean an uptick in snaps, but Anderson is still very boom or bust, tied to a QB that doesn't offer much statistically. He'll be a decent flex option against a soft INDY secondary, but the schedule gets tougher after that.
- FAAB Spend: $2-4
4. Keke Coutee - Houston Texans
- Yahoo Ownership: 34%
Following his breakout 11-109 game in Week 4, Coutee was limited in practice all week (hamstring) before being declared active for SNF versus the Cowboys. Coutee impressed once again, catching 6-of-7 targets from Watson for 51 yards and a touchdown.
Coutee was a must-start had Fuller been ruled inactive, but that wasn't the case. Coutee would operate as their WR3, from the slot (76% of snaps from slot). Hopkins played on his usual 100% of snaps, followed by Fuller (96%) then Coutee (71%). It's encouraging that Coutee was able to produce again despite Fuller playing a full slate of snaps.
This could very well work its way into a 3-headed monster, which lowers Fuller's week-to-week floor. They don't have a pass-catching TE nor do they have a real pass-catching RB, so it wouldn't be a shock if the majority of Watson's throws were dispersed among these three.
Coutee will be hard to trust week-over-week, but I think he gives you a weekly PPR floor in this offense.
- Next three matchups: BUF, @JAX, MIA
- FAAB Spend: $8
5. Ryan Grant/Chester Rogers - Indianapolis Colts
- Yahoo Ownership: 8%/5%
For the same reason these two Colts were here last week, they'll stay, as long as Hilton & Doyle are sidelined, these two are good bets to give you double-digit PPR points. Luck is throwing more than he ever has, and these two are compiling targets by default. You could do better than these two, but you could also do a lot worse. Both are WR3/flex plays as long as Luck's top options are out.
- Next three matchups: @NYJ, BUF, @OAK
- FAAB Spend: $2-3
6. Mohamed Sanu - Atlanta Falcons
- Yahoo Ownership: 32%
While you could argue there are multiple Falcon WR storylines outshining Sanu (Julio's TD-less szn and Ridley's explosion), he's flown under the radar and has been producing consistently as a WR2/3. Following his 7-4-73-1 outing in the Falcons fuckin embarrassing 41-17 loss to the Steelers on Sunday, Sanu has seen at least 7 targets in three straight games and has a touchdown and/or 100 receiving yards in each of them. He's also led Atlanta's receivers in snaps in all three.
Admittedly, Sanu is the third of three (Julio, Ridley), I'd prefer owning ROS, but on a team whose defense can't stop anyone, there will be a ton of passing volume to go around. Sanu will be a strong flex play in Week 3 against an awful Bucs secondary allowing the most FPs to the WR position in 2018, in a game with a 57.5 point over/under.
- Next three matchups: TB, NYG, BYE
- FAAB Spend: $5-8
7. Marquez Valdes-Scantling/Equanimeous St. Brown - Green Bay Packers
- Yahoo Ownership: 9%/0%
ESB is completely dependent on Geronimo Allison's health. After some optimism coming from Packer's camp regarding Allison's Week 5 availability, he didn't suit up. We found out later this week that along with the concussion, Allison is also dealing with a hamstring injury, of the extent to which we're unsure. Randall Cobb has missed the previous two games with a hammy injury as well, and he hasn't even resumed practicing, so I'd put him at a long-shot for their excellent Week 6 matchup at home against SF.
Both rookie WRs fared well on Sunday in a game where the Packers got down early and needed Rodgers to throw a ton, 52 times to be precise, his highest total since Week 7 of 2016. MVS caught 7-of-10 targets for 68 yards and a score, while ESB turned 5 targets into 3 catches and 89 yards.
With Cobb out in Week 4, Allison ran as the clear WR3, in on 71% of snaps. With Allison and Cobb out, along with a less than 100% Adams in Week 5, MVS led the team playing on 95% of snaps. Cobb and Allison's status for Week 6 are uncertain. If I had to put money on it, I'd say Cobb sits, and gets this week along with their bye in Week 7 to get healthy, while Allison, who was close to playing on Sunday does end up playing in Week 6.
MVS will operate as the primary slot WR in either case, which is why Allison's return won't affect his play time. He saw 73% of his snaps from the slot in Week 4 and 64% in Week 5. He'll remain in the slot until Cobb returns, and if he plays well enough in his absence, may even cut into Cobb's play time.
Depending on the scenario, there are a few different ways this could play out. If Cobb and Allison both sit again in Week 6, I think MVS is a plugin WR2. ESB would be a low WR3/flex with big upside given his 21.0-yard aDOT on Sunday, he's a big play waiting to happen. If Allison suits up, assuming the hamstring isn't a thing, I'd prefer him over MVS, and MVS would fall back to a risky flex play, ESB would then become irrelevant.
- Next three matchups: SF, BYE, @LAR
- FAAB Spend: $8-10 on MVS, $0-2 on ESB
8. Christian Kirk - Arizona Cardinals
- Yahoo Ownership: 9%
The Cardinals 2nd-round rookie wideout broke free for a 75-yard TD on Sunday on the Cardinals first play from scrimmage. He didn't do much after, adding another 10 yards on two catches but he's the only thing in this WR group semi-emerging as an option for Josh Rosen. Fitz has been less than 100% and done next to nothing allowing Kirk to develop his role. He has 85+ yards in 2 of their last 3 games and should continue to develop chemistry with Rosen.
This is a deep add, and you're not starting him, and tbh idk why he's even on this list, but yea.
- Next three matchups: @MIN, DEN, SF
- FAAB Spend: $0-1
9. Willie Snead IV - Baltimore Ravens
- Yahoo Ownership: 6%
There's no one I'd rather start less than Willie Snead. Well, maybe Christian Kirk. You know what you're getting from Snead every single week. Never less than 5 targets, but never more than 8. Never fewer than 3 catches, never more than 6. And right around 40-50 yards. He has one touchdown through five games. BUT, he has double-digit PPR fantasy points in 4-of-5 games. He has a 4/5-45 floor built in, and if you luckily catch him in a week where he scores, you're going to be ecstatic. I'm only considering adding Snead in full PPR leagues.
- Next three matchups: @TEN, NO, @CAR
10. Josh Reynolds - Los Angeles Rams
- Yahoo Ownership: 0%
Both Cooper Kupp and Brandin Cooks left the Ram's Week 5 game with concussions. Their status for Week 6 is up in the air. If either or both miss time, Josh Reynolds is the next man up in the offense. He came in hot and caught two passes for 39 yards and added a rush for 10 yards. He's a talented young second-year player, but so is Kupp, and as long as Kupp and Cooks are playing, Reynolds won't be. This all depends on their health, it's a situation to monitor.
- Next three matchups: @DEN, @SF, GB
- FAAB Spend: $0-2
1. Cameron Brate - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Yahoo Ownership: 1%
With O.J. Howard expected to miss a few weeks (2-4), and Winston taking over at QB, Brate will be a weekly TD threat, as we saw on Sunday, catching his second TD on the season from Winston. The two have always connected in the RZ and with no one to compete with Brate for TE targets while Howard is sidelined, he should flirt with weekly TE1 numbers.
2. C.J. Uzomah - Cincinnati Bengals
- Yahoo Ownership: 26%
With Tyler Eifert out for the year, Uzomah is operating as the Bengals every down TE. It doesn't hurt that Tyler Kroft left Sunday's game with a foot injury which would only open the door wider for Uzomah's role to grow as both a full-time player and a pass-catcher. He's not an exciting play, but given the injuries here, Uzomah has a built-in floor and we don't yet know his ceiling. The Bengals get a fantastic slate of games for their offense, so if you're going to grab him, now would be the time.
- Next three matchups: PIT, @KC, TB
- FAAB Spend: $1-3
3. Geoff Swaim - Dallas Cowboys
I want no part of Dallas' passing offense, but Geoff Swaim has put himself on the fantasy radar over the last few weeks.
His stat lines, starting with Week 3: | 7-5-47-0 | | 5-3-39-1 | | 3-3-55-0 |. At the very least, they're useful lines in PPR. Over that three week span, Swaim has run away with the pass-catching TE role for Dallas too. He's played on 94% of the Cowboys snaps, compared to Blake Jarwin (29%) and Rico Gathers (11%). What's more encouraging is that Swaim has run 80 routes in that span, way more than Jarwin (21) and Gathers (6).
From weeks 3-5, Swaim was fantasy's TE8, and his 1.76 YPRR, ranks 8th of 24 among TEs that have at least 10 targets.
He gets a matchup against a stingy JAX defense who just allowed Travis Kelce to eclipse the 100-yard mark on Sunday and may be without one of PFF's top-graded coverage safeties, Tashaun Gipson, who left Sunday's game with a hamstring injury.
- Next three matchups: JAX, @WAS, BYE
- FAAB Spend: $3-5
****If you have room, stash O.J. Howard (51% owned) or Jack Doyle (33% onwed) until they return. Greg Olsen is 68% owned. I have very little confidence he stays healthy/relevant for the rest of the year.
As always, I look for teams that are favored, at home, with a low over/under.
1. Green Bay Packers vs. San Francisco 49ers
- Point Spread: -9.5
- Over/Under: 46.5
The Packers play much better at home, averaging 13.6 FPs at Lambeau, as opposed to 1.5 FPs on the road. They'll take on a C.J. Beathard-led 49er team that just allowed the previously winless Cardinals team to put up 18 defensive FPs.
2. Cleveland Browns vs. Los Angeles Chargers
- Point Spread: +1.5
- Over/Under: 44.5
I almost never take an underdog, but this defense is legit, and like the Packers, the Browns splits at home (12.3 FPs) vs. on the road (5.0 FPs) are a thing. Having two consecutive weeks of being at home should benefit the Browns as they look to build on their second win of the season (should be third consecutive).
3. Miami Dolphins vs. Chicago Bears
- Point Spread: +3
- Over/Under: 43.5
Despite all of the injuries to their defense, Miami seems to be legit as well. Outside of their Week 4 matchup at Foxborough, where it's nearly impossible not to get murked, the Dolphins D/ST has at least 8.0 FPs in every game, and 13.0 in 3-of-5. In week 6, they'll get a home game against a Bears offense who, outside of Week 4 against the NFL's worst defense (TB), has drastically underperformed. It's early, but the weather forecast calls for thunderstorms during this one, which would only hold Trubisky back further. It may not be a game the Dolphins can win, but I think it'll be a defensive showdown with very little scoring involved.
by Nick Ercolano
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