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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.

Week 5 byes

  • Cleveland Browns
  • Los Angeles Chargers
  • Seattle Seahawks
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers


Justin Edmonds / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Sam Howell, Commanders

Next Up Rostered FAB
vs. CHI 18% $2

Several fantasy managers cut ties with Howell after his disappointing performance against the Bills in Week 3. However, his production has been solid in the other three outings this year.

The 23-year-old just notched his third top-13 weekly fantasy finish on the season in an overtime loss to the Eagles. He'll have an excellent chance to add another when he faces the Bears in Week 5.

Chicago has been one of the five softest matchups for fantasy QBs in 2023.

C.J. Stroud and Matthew Stafford are close to or above the 50% rostered mark, but they'd be the top QB adds this week if available.

Risky streaming options: Zach Wilson at DEN (3% rostered), Josh Dobbs vs. CIN (5% rostered), Bryce Young at DET (12% rostered), Ryan Tannehill at IND (6% rostered)

Risky streaming options (if healthy): Jimmy Garoppolo vs. GB (14% rostered)

Desperation streaming options: Derek Carr at NE (28% rostered), Mac Jones vs. NO (17% rostered), Desmond Ridder vs. HOU (6% rostered)

Desperation streaming options (if starter is out): Mitch Trubisky vs. BAL (0% rostered)

Injured-reserve stashes: Kyler Murray (26% rostered)

Long-term stashes: Taylor Heinicke (0% rostered)

Running backs

Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty

Jaleel McLaughlin, Broncos

Next Up Rostered FAB
vs. NYJ 3% $14

Javonte Williams is dealing with a hip injury that might keep him out of the lineup in Week 5. Samaje Perine (52% rostered) should be picked up if he's still available in your league, but so should McLaughlin.

The undrafted free agent has seen his role grow over the last few weeks, culminating in 104 yards from scrimmage and a receiving score on 10 touches this past weekend. He also played a season-high 33% of the Broncos' snaps, helping to fill the void left by Williams.

When asked about Williams' injury Monday, head coach Sean Payton instead took the opportunity to praise McLaughlin and acknowledged that the explosive rookie's role should grow moving forward.

While he lacks ideal size, McLaughlin isn't vying to be a workhorse in Denver. He's shown he can make an impact on 10-12 touches while sharing the backfield.

If Williams misses time, McLaughlin could be an unexpected low-end RB2 in fantasy since he's more dynamic than the veteran Perine. Even if Williams can suit up, the rookie should be stashed to see how big of a role he can carve out.

Samaje Perine, Jaylen Warren, and Roschon Johnson are close to or above the 50% rostered mark but should be rostered in most leagues.

High-upside backups like Tyjae Spears (24% rostered), Elijah Mitchell (41% rostered), Tank Bigsby (25% rostered), and Kendre Miller (21% rostered) should be rostered in most leagues.

Flex options: Chuba Hubbard at DET (25% rostered), Justice Hill at PIT (35% rostered)

Flex options (if starter is out): Matt Breida at MIA (27% rostered)

Risky flex options: Ezekiel Elliott vs. NO (48% rostered), Devin Singletary at ATL (15% rostered), Latavius Murray vs. JAX (10% rostered),

Risky flex options (if healthy): Rico Dowdle (10% rostered)

Dart-throw flex options: Damien Harris vs. JAX (31% rostered)

Dart-throw flex options (if starter is out): Gary Brightwell at MIA (0% rostered)

Other backups to roster: Jeff Wilson (27% rostered), Zamir White (4% rostered), Ronnie Rivers (0% rostered), Clyde Edwards-Helaire (18% rostered)

Deep stashes: Leonard Fournette (3% rostered), Keaton Mitchell (17% rostered), Trayveon Williams (0% rostered), Michael Carter (2% rostered), Jordan Mason (1% rostered), Deuce Vaughn (6% rostered), Malik Davis (0% rostered), Trey Sermon (0% rostered)

Wide receivers

Rey Del Rio / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Josh Reynolds/Jameson Williams, Lions

Next Up Rostered FAB
vs. CAR 39%/32% $7/$5

Reynolds' hot starts the last two seasons have shown there's a meaningful fantasy role in the Lions' receiving corps alongside Amon-Ra St. Brown.

The 28-year-old has strong stat lines in three of his four appearances this year, including 4-80-0, 5-66-2, and 3-69-0.

Though Williams was originally ticketed for that spot, there are no guarantees he'll win that job when he returns from suspension this week. In fact, head coach Dan Campbell seemed to suggest the club would ease the former first-rounder back into the lineup.

For now, Reynolds can still be deployed as a WR3/flex while Williams is stashed on your benches. Williams' long-term outlook is still higher, but he has a lot to prove after a rocky start to his NFL career.

Tyler Boyd/Trenton Irwin, Bengals

Next Up Rostered FAB
at ARI 37%/0% $5/$1

This isn't a great week for fantasy receivers on the waiver wire, so be cautious with your bids.

Tee Higgins is dealing with a fractured rib that could keep him out until after the Bengals' Week 7 bye.

Though Cincy's offense hasn't been operating at peak levels, there'd still be opportunity in Higgins' absence.

Ja'Marr Chase will continue to be a volume hog, but Boyd will see his target share grow, giving him weekly WR3/flex value for however long Higgins is sidelined.

Irwin is more of a dart throw for deeper leagues after he posted three contests with double-digit fantasy points over a six-game stretch last season, including four touchdowns during that span.

Romeo Doubs and Quentin Johnston are close to or above the 50% rostered mark but should be rostered in most leagues.

Flex options: Michael Wilson vs. CIN (2% rostered), Jayden Reed at LV (24% rostered), Marvin Mims vs. NYJ (39% rostered)

Flex options (if healthy): Zay Jones at BUF (31% rostered)

Risky flex options: Curtis Samuel vs. CHI (9% rostered), Michael Gallup at SF (19% rostered), Rashid Shaheed at NE (42% rostered), Josh Downs vs. TEN (11% rostered), Rashee Rice at MIN (36% rostered), Wan'Dale Robinson at MIA (4% rostered), Allen Lazard at DEN (22% rostered), Nick Westbrook-Ikhine at IND (0% rostered)

Risky flex options (if healthy): Odell Beckham Jr. at PIT (39% rostered), Jonathan Mingo at DET (9% rostered)

Dart-throw flex options: Darius Slayton at MIA (3% rostered), Darnell Mooney at WAS (27% rostered), DeVante Parker vs. NO (3% rostered), Kendrick Bourne vs. NO (27% rostered), D.J. Chark at DET (17% rostered), Calvin Austin III vs. BAL (3% rostered), K.J. Osborn vs. KC (11% rostered), Braxton Berrios vs. NYG (2% rostered), Jalin Hyatt at MIA (9% rostered)

Deep stashes: Trey Palmer (0% rostered), Deven Thompkins (0% rostered), Kyle Philips (0% rostered)

Tight ends

Scott Taetsch / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Logan Thomas, Commanders

Next Up Rostered FAB
vs. CHI 6% $2

Thomas returned from concussion protocol last week and immediately went to work.

He's now topped 40 yards in each of the two full games he's played this season. Those aren't massive stats, but the bar for streamer tight ends is low.

As expected, the veteran is earning consistent targets in Eric Bieniemy's system. His next opponent, the Bears, is a favorable matchup for his position.

Jake Ferguson is just above the 50% rostered mark but should be rostered in most leagues.

Streamer options (if healthy): Luke Musgrave at LV (36% rostered)

Risky streamer options: Zach Ertz vs. CIN (26% rostered), Tyler Conklin at DEN (3% rostered)

Dart-throw streamer options: Kylen Granson vs. TEN (1% rostered), Durham Smythe vs. NYG (1% rostered), Jonnu Smith vs. HOU (1% rostered), Dawson Knox vs. JAX (21% rostered)

Dart-throw streamer options (if starter is out): Darnell Washington vs. BAL (0% rostered)

Bye-week stashes: Gerald Everett (34% rostered), Cade Otton (2% rostered)

Deep stashes: Greg Dulcich (13% rostered)


Michael Owens / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Week 5 streamers

Team Next Up Rostered
Commanders vs. CHI 36%
Lions vs. CAR 11%
Packers at LV 26%
Broncos vs. NYJ 40%
Dolphins vs. NYG 48%
Falcons vs. HOU 4%

Favorable upcoming schedules: Dolphins DEF (48% rostered), Jaguars DEF (23% rostered), Vikings DEF (12% rostered)

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