Fantasy: Waiver Wire - Week 5
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Every Monday during the season, theScore's Justin Boone runs down the recommended waiver-wire pickups.
Roster percentages are based on Yahoo leagues. Free Agent Budget (FAB) amounts are based on a $100 salary cap. Only players rostered in less than 50% of leagues are considered.
Kenny Pickett, Steelers
Though the end result wasn't that much better, it's clear the rookie can breathe some life into this attack and perhaps help unlock some of the skill position talent that's gone dormant with Trubisky at the helm.
Pickett is more willing to push the ball downfield, which meshes well with the likes of Diontae Johnson, George Pickens, Chase Claypool, and Pat Freiermuth. The first-rounder also adds value with his legs, as evidenced by his two rushing touchdowns in Week 4.
Don't consider starting him this week against a Bills defense that's stifled opposing quarterbacks this season, but Pickett's long-term upside is worth chasing. Stash him now and let's see how he fares as the team's new starter over the next few weeks.
Geno Smith, Seahawks
Smith is coming off a strong performance where he took advantage of a weak Lions defense and posted the second-most fantasy points among quarterbacks on the week.
He's thrown for at least 300 yards and two touchdowns in each of his last two contests and has three multi-score games in four outings.
More importantly, the Seahawks' coaching staff is letting him throw more. Moving into the middle of the pack in volume represents a huge improvement for a Seattle offense that finished 31st in pass attempts in 2021.
His upcoming schedule is favorable as well, with five straight average or above-average matchups in terms of fantasy points allowed to QBs. Smith has morphed into a quality streamer or bye-week replacement.
Jared Goff is just above the 50% rostered mark but would be the top pickup at quarterback if available.
Risky streaming options: Ryan Tannehill at WAS (17% rostered), Zach Wilson vs. MIA (10% rostered), Teddy Bridgewater at NYJ (2% rostered)
Risky streaming options (if healthy): Jameis Winston vs. SEA (36% rostered), Mac Jones vs. DET (19% rostered)
Dart-throw streaming options: Jimmy Garoppolo at CAR (28% rostered), Marcus Mariota at TB (27% rostered)
Dart-throw streaming options (if starter is out): Andy Dalton vs. SEA (2% rostered), Bailey Zappe vs. DET (0% rostered)
2QB/Superflex considerations only: Daniel Jones at GB (23% rostered), Justin Fields at MIN (44% rostered), Jacoby Brissett vs. LAC (7% rostered), Davis Mills at JAX (5% rostered), Cooper Rush at LAR (6% rostered)
Rachaad White, Buccaneers
While some of the increased snaps were due to the lopsided score, it's promising to see him produce 56 yards on eight touches. The rookie also scored his first NFL touchdown and fumbled for the first time as a pro.
Either way, he's entrenched as the Buccaneers' No. 2 back, and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich has stated on multiple occasions that the team needs to get him more work.
There's no reason White shouldn't be rostered in most leagues as a possible weekly flex depending on the matchups - and as a potential league-winner if Fournette gets hurt.
Latavius Murray/Mike Boone, Broncos
Javonte Williams is out for the year with a torn ACL, meaning the Broncos' backfield touches are up for grabs. And now it's a three-man battle again after the Broncos added Murray off the Saints' practice squad.
Before the season, Melvin Gordon would have been the most obvious candidate to take over. However, the 29-year-old stumbled out of the gate and has four fumbles in the first four games.
Gordon has also been dealing with a neck injury that limited him in practices over the last two weeks. Whether it was the injury or the ball-security issues, something caused Broncos coaches to lean toward Boone after Williams left on Sunday.
Boone played more snaps (19-10), ran more routes (12-5), had more targets (3-1), and matched Gordon in carries (3-3).
With a short turnaround before their Week 5 encounter with Colts on Thursday night, it's possible Boone could once again have the edge. It's also possible Murray immediately becomes a factor, if Gordon's not 100% or if the coaching staff is truly frustrated with him.
Boone and Murray need to be rostered everywhere until we get a clearer picture of how Denver plans to deploy its new backfield trio. But don't underestimate the 32-year-old Murray's ability to still produce when given volume like he did Sunday for the Saints (12 touches, 65 yards, TD).
Tyler Allgeier/Damien Williams, Falcons
The Falcons placed Cordarrelle Patterson on injured reserve with the plan to recall him in four weeks once he's healed from the knee surgery he underwent Monday.
With Patterson unable to handle a full workload in Week 4, rookie Allgeier stepped in and rushed 10 times for 84 yards while adding another 20 yards on his lone catch.
Allgeier has another chance to audition for the starting job this week before the veteran Williams likely returns from IR in Week 6. The problem for Allgeier is he'll be matched up against a Bucs defense known for its strength against the run.
Tampa is giving up the second-fewest fantasy points to running backs, making this a tough challenge.
That's why Williams is just as enticing an add, even though you'll have to stash him for one more week. He was dominating backfield touches prior to getting hurt in the opener.
Neither one of them should be viewed as more than an RB3/flex over the next month until Patterson is back.
Raheem Mostert, Nyheim Hines, and Brian Robinson are just above the 50% rostered mark but should be rostered in most leagues.
High-upside backups like Isiah Pacheco (19% rostered), Kenneth Walker (47% rostered), and Jaylen Warren (10% rostered) should be rostered in most leagues.
Risky flex options: Mark Ingram vs. SEA (31% rostered), J.D. McKissic vs. TEN (28% rostered), Rex Burkhead at JAX (23% rostered), Craig Reynolds at NE (4% rostered)
Dart-throw flex options: Eno Benjamin vs. PHI (10% rostered), Kenneth Gainwell at ARI (32% rostered), Sony Michel at CLE (4% rostered), Samaje Perine at BAL (11% rostered), Dontrell Hilliard at WAS (16% rostered), Jerick McKinnon vs. LV (13% rostered), Phillip Lindsay at DEN (0% rostered)
Other backups to consider: Darrel Williams vs. PHI (10% rostered), D'Onta Foreman vs. SF (11% rostered), Zack Moss vs. PIT (10% rostered), James Cook vs. PIT (35% rostered), Tevin Coleman at CAR (0% rostered), Matt Breida at GB in London (1% rostered)
Long-shot stashes: Jordan Mason at CAR (3% rostered), Trestan Ebner at MIN (0% rostered), Zamir White at KC (5% rostered)
Injured-reserve stashes: Gus Edwards (12% rostered)
George Pickens, Steelers
Pickens was praised for being the star of offseason practices all summer. So it was surprising to see him get just five targets through the first two games while clearly playing behind No. 2 wideout Chase Claypool.
However, that arrangement might be shifting a bit. Pickens drew 15 targets over his last two appearances, amassing nine grabs for 141 yards and making one of the catches of the year.
Claypool, who played over 90% of the snaps in the opening three weeks, dipped down to 73.4% in Week 4 - much closer to Pickens' 70.3%.
It's also evident that Pickens enjoyed having Pickett on the field, since his target share (which had already risen over the last three weeks) was almost three times higher with his fellow rookie compared to Trubisky.
With Pickett expected to be the Steelers' starter going forward, the Pickens breakout is upon us.
Michael Gallup, Cowboys
Gallup returned from a late-season torn ACL sooner than we projected and he even managed to find the end zone in his first game back.
While he played the third-most snaps among Cowboys wideouts behind CeeDee Lamb and Noah Brown, his usage is sure to increase the further removed he is from the injury. Brown also left with a neck issue last week, which might expedite his slide back down the depth chart.
Gallup should eventually step back in as the starter in two-receiver sets and could be a sneaky fantasy WR3/flex once Dak Prescott is active.
Flex options: Josh Reynolds at NE (20% rostered)
Flex options (if healthy): Jakobi Meyers vs. DET (43% rostered), Josh Palmer at CLE (36% rostered), Zay Jones vs. HOU (29% rostered), Isaiah McKenzie vs. PIT (47% rostered), DJ Chark at NE (38% rostered)
Risky flex options: Alec Pierce at DEN (5% rostered), Nico Collins at JAX (21% rostered), Corey Davis vs. MIA (25% rostered), Marquez Valdes-Scantling vs. LV (31% rostered), Rondale Moore vs. PHI (19% rostered), Donovan Peoples-Jones vs. LAC (8% rostered), DeVante Parker vs. DET (28% rostered), Nelson Agholor vs. DET (8% rostered), Mack Hollins at KC (31% rostered)
Dart-throw flex options: Robbie Anderson vs. SF (20% rostered), Jarvis Landry vs. SEA (36% rostered), Christian Watson vs. NYG (8% rostered), Russell Gage vs. ATL (42% rostered), Kyle Philips at WAS (1% rostered), KJ Osborn vs. CHI (7% rostered), Jamal Agnew vs. HOU (0% rostered), Marquez Callaway vs. SEA (0% rostered)
Dart-throw flex options (if healthy): Noah Brown at LAR (20% rostered)
Long-term rookie stashes: Skyy Moore vs. LV (12% rostered), Wan'Dale Robinson at GB (4% rostered)
Long-shot stashes: Kadarius Toney at GB (27% rostered), Khalil Shakir vs PIT (0% rostered), Parris Campbell at DEN (3% rostered)
Injured-reserve stashes: Jameson Williams (28% rostered), Tyquan Thornton (1% rostered), Odell Beckham Jr. (10% rostered)
Tyler Conklin, Jets
Conklin has at least five targets in every game. He's also topped 40 yards or scored a touchdown in each contest.
The fact that he continued to produce (52 yards) in Zach Wilson's first start of the season was all the proof required to make him a must-add in all formats.
The 27-year-old has emerged as a trustworthy TE1 in fantasy and will remain in that range the rest of the way.
Streamer options: Robert Tonyan vs. NYG (32% rostered), Logan Thomas vs. TEN (24% rostered)
Risky streamer options: Hayden Hurst at BAL (21% rostered), Irv Smith Jr. vs. CHI (49% rostered)
Dart-throw streamer options: Taysom Hill vs. SEA (29% rostered), Evan Engram vs. HOU (23% rostered), Mo Alie-Cox at DEN (5% rostered), Kylen Granson at DEN (0% rostered), Will Dissly at NO (3% rostered)
Dart-throw streamer options (if healthy): Cameron Brate vs. ATL (4% rostered)
Dart-throw streamer options (if starter out): Cade Otton vs. ATL (0% rostered)
Long-term rookie stashes: Greg Dulcich (1% rostered), Chigoziem Okonkwo (0% rostered), Isaiah Likely (4% rostered)
Week 4 streamers
Favorable upcoming schedules: Browns (25% rostered), Jaguars (13% rostered)