If you learn anything in the Week 5 Waiver Wire coverage, learn that running backs are at a premium right now. Each week more teams get a feel for how they’ll manage their running backs, and that’s led to several running-back-by-committee (RBBC) offenses. That is not helpful to any Fantasy Football team owner.
With that said, there are more running backs to avoid than to target. I’m not interested in running backs—at 30 percent owned or lower in ESPN leagues—from the Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins, Detroit Lions, New England Patriots or New Orleans Saints. Those aren’t the only RBBC, but those are notable ones to avoid. Take a look at the Fantasy Football: Strength of Schedule Comparison Tool to compare your RBs to your opponents’.
Also, an injured Andrew Luck almost gave Matt Hasselback another opportunity in Week 5, but it turns out Luck is likely to play through a shoulder injury this Thursday. Without Hasselback as possible streaming option off the Week 5 Waiver Wire, there are few desirable QBs, like Michael Vick and Brandon Weeden. For more on what happened around the league, check out the Monday Morning Hangover and Week 4 Game Recaps.
Already in Week 5, the Waiver Wire is getting thin at QB and RB, in large part because of unexpected injuries or busts. When you’re filling your FLEX positions, consider the abundance of WRs on the Waiver Wire. There’s nothing wrong with putting an RB in your FLEX, but with all of these RBBC, it gets frustrating predicting who will get the plurality of snaps.
With all of that in mind, here are the Week 5 Waiver Wire talents worth considering:
Week 5 Waiver Wire Targets
Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars (20 percent owned)
There’s nothing exciting about Bortles, but he meets the criteria of being less than 30 percent owned in ESPN leagues and having an above average matchup in Week 5. The Jaguars play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who haven’t allowed 750 total passing yards in the first four weeks, but the Bucs’ defense has allowed 8 passing TDs to just 2 INTs. In really desperate situations, Bortles will serve you fine. For that matter Weeden and Vick might, too.
Chris Polk, Houston Texans (3 percent owned)
The Texans RB1, Arian Foster, said he feels 100 percent healthy, although his Week 4 performance was uninspiring (8 carries, 10 yards). Since the Texans play on Thursday, check the news to see how Foster held up in practice. Polk is the healthiest of the three Texan RBs, but won’t out-carry Foster or Alfred Blue. Nevertheless, he recorded a TD and faces an OK Colts rush defense this week. In deep leagues, Polk serves as an RB3 or FLEX, at best.
— UW Football (@UW_Football) October 5, 2015
Eddie Royal, Chicago Bears (28 percent owned)
With teammate Alshon Jeffery sidelined in Week 4, Royal caught 7-of-10 targets for 54 yards and a TD. Keep an eye on Bears practice reports this week. Jeffery could return as the lead target for Cutler in Week 5. If not though, Royal is a safe streaming option for WR3 spots this week. The Bears play the Kansas City Chiefs, who’ve allowed the most receiving yards (975) and most receiving TDs (10) to WRs this year. If Cutler is at full strength and Jeffery is not, Royal has the chance to put up a big day.
Leonard Hankerson, Atlanta Falcons (14 percent owned)
Here’s a Week 5 Waiver Wire add with a favorable matchup. The Washington Redskins have not intercepted a pass yet, so Hankerson and Julio Jones have the chance to exploit that secondary this Sunday. QB Matt Ryan has targeted Hankerson at least four times in every game, plus he’s looked to Hankerson four times in the red zone in the 2015. Expect Hankerson to deliver a higher ceiling than floor, but that’s good enough for 12-team FLEX roles.
Allen Hurns, Jacksonville Jaguars (11 percent owned)
Hurns has only 30 targets so far, but he’s posted 60 receiving yards or more in every game, and has a TD in each of the last two games. As a Week 5 Waiver Wire add, Hurns is a great streaming option because he faces the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs have allowed WRs to catch 49-of-77 targets for 619 yards and six TDs. Not only did Hurns post his first 100-yard game in Week 4, but he also caught 1-of-2 targets inside the 10 yard line for a TD. This weekend, Hurns could deliver WR2 value.
— Tad Dickman (@Tdickman89) September 29, 2015
Willie Snead, New Orleans Saints (1 percent owned)
In each of the last three games, Snead has been targeted six times and has made at least four receptions. From Week 1 to Week 3, his snap count increased from 18 to 43. Snead is getting more targets than Brandon Coleman and almost as many targets as WR Brandin Cooks. Playing the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 5 behooves Snead as the Eagles have allowed the second most receptions (69) and the fourth most receiving yards to WRs in 2015. Add Snead now for his upside as he continues to climb the Saints’ WR depth chart.
Ladarius Green, San Diego Chargers (16 percent owned)
After sitting out Week 3 due to concussion concerns, Green played with gusto last Sunday when he caught 4-of-6 targets for 53 yards and a TD. Green is listed as the Chargers TE1 even though Antonio Gates returns from his suspension in Week 5. The Chargers play at home this week against the Pittsburgh Steelers, a defense that’s allowed TEs to catch 22-of-38 targets for 226 yards and four TDs. QB Philip Rivers commented on Green’s strong play, so expect him to get 6 to 10 targets next Monday.
Gary Barnidge, Cleveland Browns (11 percent owned)
Now that he’s the TE1 for the Browns, Barnidge can be owned in almost all leagues. Unfortunately, he gets the best defense against TEs so far this season when the Browns play the Baltimore Ravens this week. Still, Barnidge is worthy of a Week 5 Waiver Wire addition. In Weeks 3 and 4, QB Josh McCown targeted Barnidge 9 and 6 times, respectively. It looks like Barnidge will be a go-to target for McCown, but QB Johnny Manziel has only targeted Barnidge six times in two games. Barnidge gets a difficult matchup this week: The Ravens have allowed only 31 receiving yards to TEs this year.
Cincinnati Bengals (29 percent owned)
The Bengals unbalanced defense is as good as any D/ST that’s owned in less than 30 percent of ESPN leagues. The Bengals play at home against the Seattle Seahawks, which makes for an OK Week 5 Waiver Wire add. So far, the Bengals have allowed the sixth most passing yards in the NFL, but they have three INTs and allowed only six TDs in the air. Against rushing attacks, the Bengals have allowed 82 attempts to go for 343 yards and 0 TDs. Against a Seahawks offense that could be without RB Marshawn Lynch, the Bengals could force the Seahawks into a one-dimensional aerial offense.
New York Giants (5 percent owned)
No defense is more imbalanced so far this year, in fact, than the Giants. They’ve allowed the fewest rushing yards and the most passing yards in the league. However, the defense has five INTs to just six passing TDs allowed, and three FR. In Week 5, the San Francisco 49ers go to New York City to play the Giants. QB Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers offense have yet to find their rhythm. Consequently, Kaepernick has been sacked 14 times, which has lost him 92 yards. He’s thrown five INTs and fumbled three times. The Giants defense has a chance to impress in Week 5.
Let us know what Week 5 Waiver Wire additions you’re hunting or if you have any questions on who to sit or start. Using the Waiver Wire week in and week out takes commitment. Hopefully this week’s coverage provides you with victorious results!
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