We’re already a month into the NFL season with almost every team already played a quarter of their games. Time flies once the NFL season kicks off! We once again missed out on any major long term injuries on the offensive side of the ball, although a few concussions and small nagging injuries might impact a few games this week. Hopefully, too this point in the season, our suggestions have helped you make roster decisions that have aided you in your quest for a fantasy championship. With only 9 regular season fantasy games to go (in most leagues), it’s time to get your team fine-tuned with bye-weeks coming up. As always, with a hand from DFF’s own, Shane Manila (@DFF_Shane), K.J. Hanna (@DFF_KJ) and myself John Di Bari (@dibari22) we hope to draw your attention to some players who can help you in Week 5 and hopefully for the remainder of the season.
QB: Case Keenum, Los Angeles Rams (1% Owned on ESPN);
Bye-weeks kicked off in Week 4 and it’s time to start thinking about some QB streamers. I know the 1st name that pops in your head is probably not Case Keenum when you think of a streamer. But a funny thing happened while we all call the Rams QB situation a dumpster fire. Keenum has put up back to back 20+ point weeks, one against an actual NFL level defense! Keenum passed for 266 yards and 2 TD’s against the Cardinals 7th ranked pass defense Sunday. As an added bonus Keenum also provides a bit of a threat to run averaging just about 3 rushes a game.
RB: Terrance West, Baltimore Ravens (45% Owned on ESPN);
Baltimore’s coaching staff made it clear during the week leading up to Sunday’s game that the running back position was going to see some changes. True to their word Justin Forsett was inactive Sunday (has now been released) and West was the primary beneficiary. West took the opportunity by the throat and murdered it with 21 carries 113 yards and a TD. He faces five more defenses in the bottom of half of run defense the rest of the season so, he will be a viable streaming candidate for you Zero RB fanatics.
WR: Brice Butler, Dallas Cowboys (.6% Owned on ESPN);
Dez Bryant may or may not miss the next several weeks due to a hairline fracture which may allow Brice Butler additional playing time to carve out a role in the Cowboys offense. https://www.playerprofiler.com/nfl/brice-butler/ As shown by his PlayerProfiler workout metrics he’s a big and fast WR who may be able to become a goal line and downfield threat.
WR: Eddie Royal, Chicago Bears (9% Owned on ESPN);
Royal is most likely unavailable in leagues with 22 or more roster spots, but he might still be floating around leagues with smaller rosters. He’s out targeting and out producing Alshon Jeffery for some reason, dropping a 7/111 line with 1 TD against the Lions Sunday. He’s been consistent posting at least 52 yards in 3 of 4 contests this season and is definitely worth adding.
WR: Brian Quick, Los Angeles Rams (.2% Owned on ESPN);
Remember when Brian Quick broke out in 2014 for 4 games? Maybe that can happen again. He’s scored two weeks in a row and he still has the athletic ability that made him a 2nd round draft pick way back in 2012. Would I stake my name on it? Probably not, but with Kenny Britt being the only receiver only other Wide Receiver in the roster worth a look Quick is worth a roster spot in deep leagues.
WR: Walter Powell, Buffalo Bills (0% Owned on ESPN);
With Sammy Watkins out for the next 7 weeks, at a minimum, Tyrod Taylor has throw to someone other than Robert Woods. Powell has received five targets in back to back weeks. The slightly built six-footer is a low low low end flex at the moment but if you happen to be in a league with 8 or more offensive starters he’s worth a look.
QB: Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles (35% Owned on ESPN);
I’m not sure why Wentz is still unowned in 65% of all ESPN leagues. Wentz not only looked like a poised and confident QB against one of the best teams in the NFL, the Steelers, numbers-wise but continued his perfect play by not throwing an INT. Coming off a week to prepare, Wentz now gets to face the Lions. Let me remind you that Brian Hoyer just threw for over 300 yards and 2 touchdowns. Enough said. If you need a QB2 or a bye week replacement, add and start!
QB: Brian Hoyer, Chicago Bears (4% Owned on ESPN);
I briefly mentioned Hoyer above and his convincing performance against the Lions. Hoyer is my streamer of the week as he faces the Colts. As long as Cutler doesn’t make his way back onto the field, look to Hoyer to keep up his (dare I say) impressive play. The Colts are 24th overall in defending the pass. If you need a streamer this week, believe in Hoyer!
RB: Terrance West, Baltimore Ravens (45% Owned on ESPN);
The Forsett reign officially ended in Week 4 when he was a healthy scratch and today he was released. West got the start in Week 4 and did not disappoint by rushing for 113yds and 1 td against a porous Raiders rush defense. I believe West can hold onto the job for another 2-3 weeks until my next waiver add is fully healthy and ready to be unleashed. So if you are in need of a quick fix or bye week RB, pick up West but stash…
RB: Kenneth Dixon, Baltimore Ravens (21% Owned on ESPN);
…Kenneth Dixon! I’ve been stashing Dixon since Week 1 in several leagues and holding out hope that in due time he’s the workhorse of the Ravens backfield. Dixon will make his NFL debut in Week 5 after tearing his MCL in August. I expect Baltimore to ease him back in but I believe he will be the RB to own in 2-3 weeks, barring any setbacks. If available, he’s worth a spot on your bench.
RB: Bilal Powell, New York Jets (36% Owned on ESPN);
Matt Forte had plenty of naysayers in the preseason but he quickly proved them wrong. But with his age and early season workload it was only a matter of time before he was injured or at the very least extremely fatigued. Powell was drafted late in most drafts, however, because of his limited usage in the first 2 weeks (5 carries and 3 receptions) he was dropped in many leagues. However, Powell has eaten more into Forte’s workload. This is due to the injury bug biting the Jets as well as the coaches wanting to keep Forte healthy. Unfortunately, Forte left week 4 with an injury so we have to wait and see what his status is this week, but, Powell needs to be rostered if available.
RB: Darren Sproles, Philadelphia Eagles (55% Owned on ESPN);
What can be said about Sproles that hasn’t already been said? He will be a part of the Eagles offense in a heavy capacity whether Ryan Mathews is healthy or not which is evident of his snap count. Sproles leads the Philly backfield with 98 snaps in 4 games. Not too shabby for the #2 RB in town. Of course I’d be leery in adding and starting him in standard leagues, unless you’ve been bitten by the injury bug but we all know he can be trusted in PPR. Snag and spot start when needed.
RB: Wendell Smallwood, Philadelphia Eagles (10% Owned on ESPN);
I’ve been advocating adding Smallwood for 2 weeks now, get him while you still can. A preseason must have handcuff then post Week 1 drop, it’s easy to see why he is only 10% owned but after this week, I expect that number to grow exponentially. Knowing all too well that Mathews can’t and won’t stay healthy, Smallwood can take over the lead back roll.
WR: Robert Woods, Buffalo Bills (10% Owned on ESPN);
Here we go again! Watkins is hurt (IR) so once again we are suggesting the unsung WR2, now WR1 in Buffalo, Robert Woods. To say this WR corps is thin is an understatement but we know what matters in fantasy football, targets and opportunity. Woods now has both. Following up his 6/51/0 on 8 targets in Week 3 with a 7/89/0 line on 10 targets in Week 4, I can only see this trend continuing. Why? Well, the only other players who can truly cut into Woods’ targets are McCoy and Clay. I don’t suggest starting him this week vs the Rams, however, I do recommend grabbing and stashing.
WR: Dontrelle Inman, San Diego Chargers (.8% Owned on ESPN);
I recommended adding Inman in Week 3 after the rash of injuries to the Chargers and with Inman’s small but productive history with Allen being out. However, it wasn’t until Week 4 that Inman came through. In Week 4, Inman racked up 7/120/1 on 11 targets. Leading the team! It was against the lowly Saints, however, it does show that Rivers trusts him, but should you trust him in your lineup? If you’re hard up for a Flex player due to the bye week, you could do worse, as the Chargers are facing another terrible Raiders defense in Week 5.
WR: Eddie Royal, Chicago Bears (9%mOwned on ESPN);
Royal is the yo-yo of fantasy relevant WRs. Every year we get a few eye popping games and every year we get sucked into the Royal vortex. Hey, he’s not a bad WR by any means but he’s usually banged up and opportunity reliant. Opportunity may be knocking yet again. With Kevin White hurt, again, and Cutler out and potentially looking at a demotion even when he can return, Royal has found a confidant in Brian Hoyer. Both played a big part to his 7/111/1 line in Week 4. This could continue in Week 5 vs the Colts. I have no problem playing him as a WR3 or FLEX in PPR leagues.
WR: Jeremy Kerley, San Fransisco 49ers (3.5% Owned on ESPN);
I know what you’re thinking, why the hell would I waste a waiver spot on a 49er WR?! Looking at Kerley’s targets over the 1st 4 weeks of the season, he’s received an average of 6 targets per game. Although only averaging 4.5 catches per game (not entirely his doing), he’s done decently with those catches and really put his stamp on the offense in Week 4 with a 6/88/1 line. For those in deep leagues, he’s honestly one of the only men left standing on the wire. If you’re still rostering injured players, why not add a potential consistent contributor instead?
TE: Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9% Owned on ESPN);
Hopefully some of you read my preseason tweets mentioning that you shouldn’t waste an early pick on Gronk and if you’re a keeper or dynasty owner that you should have sold high. My reasoning was his recent injury history, his name & production value at its peak and he’d be without Brady for 4 weeks. Unfortunately, my words have rung true (so far). My other reason for the sell high is that the TE position is very shallow but there are always some surprises you can bank on, Brate being one. I mentioned him in last week’s waiver adds and this is no exception. Brate has taken over the duties as Winston’s security blanket, averaging 4 catches a game and a whopping 18 targets over the past 2! I was against starting him vs the insanely talented Denver defense yet he still saw 8 targets and pulled in a 5/67 line. His only TDs came in Week 3 but there will be more to come. For PPR leagues, he’s 9th TE overall with 10.5 pts./game. Gronk? 66th.
TE: Hunter Henry, San Diego Chargers (32.5% Owned on ESPN);
Gates is a Hall of Fame TE, no doubt. But, he’s old, slow and can’t get on the practice field. I’m a perennial Gates drafter, including this year, but, it’s time to call a career a career and let the youth take over. Rivers LOVES his TE’s and it shows. The last 2 weeks Henry has made his mark going 5/72 in week 3 and 4/61/1 in Week 4. Second overall in yardage over the past 2 weeks since taking over for the injured Gates and up against a favorable matchup against the Raiders in Week 5, add and start with confidence. BUT, the Chargers have their bye in Week 6 so be prepared.
TE: Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles (61% Owned on ESPN);
IF Ertz was dropped in your league, go get him now! No analysis, no fancy data, just go get him. Go ahead, I’ll wait…
QBs: As of this writing, it looks like Cam Newton, Trevor Siemian and Carson Palmer are all going to miss this week’s games. Although neither represents a great play, if you’re in need of a starter between bye-weeks and injuries, Derek Anderson & Paxton Lynch could be serviceable fill-ins this week. Not to mention Brian Hoyer as well, who looks like he might be holding onto the starting job in Chicago even when Jay Cutler gets healthy.
RB: Zach Zenner, Detroit Lions (<1% Owned on ESPN);
The Lions already lost Ameer Abdullah weeks ago and Dwayne Washington suffered an injury last week. Theo Riddick has been underwhelming as a rusher, leaving a possible opening for Zenner to scoop up the carries left behind if Washington isn’t 100%.
RB: James White, New England Patriots (21% Owned on ESPN);
James White is the Patriot’s main receiving threat out of the backfield, and in case you hadn’t heard, Tom Brady is back from suspension this week increasing all of the Pats receiving options value. A stash and hold in deeper leagues, in PPR formats White should be a must add now before he breaks out in the next few weeks.
RB: Kenneth Dixon, Baltimore Ravens (20% Owned on ESPN);
A rookie out of Louisiana Tech, Dixon was injured at the end of the pre-season and is rumored to make his long awaited season debut this week. Terrence West locked up the starting role last week after his breakout performance, but keep an eye on Dixon who should be taking over the role Buck Allen was occupying. He’s just the type of player who might not do much in the next few weeks, but could be a monster in the fantasy playoffs a la David Johnson last season.
RB: DeAndre Washington, Oakland Raiders (15% Owned on ESPN);
Have you had a chance to watch a Raiders’ game yet? If you have, you’ll already know that Washington is the most dynamic back on their roster and it’s only a matter of time until the powers that be in Oakland see that too. He was already supposed to be getting more carries last week, and even though it didn’t end up happening, it will shortly.
RB: Wendell Smallwood, Philadelphia Eagles (10% Owned on ESPN);
A personal favorite of mine and a few of the other guys here at DFF, Smallwood stepped up 2 weeks ago when Ryan Matthews went down with 79 yards and a touchdown. His workload has increased weekly, and we’ll see if that continues out of the bye week. Even if Matthews is healthy, he has shown that he probably won’t be for long opening the door for Smallwood again in the future.
RB: Jay Ajayi, Miami Dolphins (50% Owned on ESPN);
I’m shocked that Ajayi is 50% owned given the season he’s had so far. After his healthy scratch to start the year after pouting about losing his job, Ajayi has performed decently in his limited opportunities. Foster is still going to be out for a little more time and Adam Gase has said he’s looking to get away from the running back by committee approach. He might end up emerging from all of this as a legit fantasy RB.
RB: Paul Perkins, New York Giants (3% Owned on ESPN);
Orleans Darkwa isn’t the future in New York. Perkins flashed a little of his upside on Monday night breaking a pass play for 67 yards and actually leading the Giants in receiving yards. Long term, Perkins is the back to own here, with Rashad Jennings injury history and the loss of Shane Vereen for the season Perkins can be a difference maker as the season wears on.
TE: Hunter Henry, San Diego Chargers (32% Owned on ESPN);
Another player I was shocked to see such high ownership numbers. The rookie’s value will take a hit when Antonio Gates returns but until then, he’s a fine fill in during the upcoming bye weeks and has already become a trusted target for Philip Rivers.
There you have it. Our waiver wire pick-ups for Week 5 of the NFL season. With Kansas City, New Orleans, Seattle and Jacksonville on their bye, plenty of fantasy relevant firepower will be on the bench this week. We hope that you’re able to scoop up some of these options to help lead you to another winning fantasy weekend and a 5-0 start to your season! Good luck and thanks for reading!