Whether your fake football outlook is glass-half-full or glass-half-empty, the season is approximately a quarter over. Optimism and pessimism both have their merits, but the heart of a fantasy champion is full of cold, unbiased neutrality. Will the Week 5 Waiver Wire turn your season around? All I know is my guy says “Maybe.”
Better late than never: Brian Hoyer
Filling in for the injured Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel got Minnesota into the win column on Sunday. The Vikes are headed into their bye this week, but Cassel could retain the starting job over Ponder, assuming the team wants to keep their schneid-switch in the “off” position. Talent-wise there isn’t a huge gap between the two QBs, but Cassel throws the ball with more confidence and abandon than Ponder – something the Vikings must be willing to do while opposing defenses stack the line against Adrian Peterson.
As with Cassel, it took an injury for Ryan Fitzpatrick to become the starter for his team. Unlike Cassel, Fitzpatrick has the job locked up for the moment as Jake Locker is scheduled to miss 4-6 weeks with a hip injury. As with every starting quarterback in the NFL, Fitzpatrick is a must-own in 2-QB formats, but he has limited value otherwise.
Better late than never: Le’Veon Bell, Jacquizz Rodgers, Jason Snelling, Kendall Hunter
I’ve mentioned Danny Woodhead in this space before (Kerouac is still rolling in his grave) and he was making noise again in Week 3 with 86 yards and 2 TDs on 10 touches. There are two truths we can derive from this information: 1) Woodhead is the San Diego RB to own, and 2) the fantasy gods hate Ryan Mathews owners. Still, Woodhead isn’t going to score twice every week, so be frugal with your FAAB spending.
Just when you thought it was safe to take Stevan Ridley out of the garage again, LeGarrette Blount had to go and score a 47-yard touchdown in a huge road win for the Patriots. Brandon Bolden tweaked his knee in the contest, so there are probably enough carries to go around between Ridley and Blount, but this classic Belichick timeshare will frustrate the owners of all players involved.
The waiver options at running back are so uninspiring this week that I don’t even feel bad about recommending Rashad Jennings. Jennings subbed in for a pair of injured Oakland backs on Sunday and posted 116 total yards on 15 carries and 8 receptions. His match-up against Washington was about as good as it gets, but Week 4 opponent San Diego is a pretty good draw as well. Jennings is a worthwhile addition if Darren McFadden and Marcel Reece continue to miss time, but he’ll be ousted when those incumbents return to health.
Andre Ellington continues to look solid in a limited role for the Cardinals. He’s a decent stash if you can afford to wait for a possible demotion of Rashard Mendenhall.
Roy Helu scored double-digit points for the first time this season in relief of Alfred Morris on Sunday. Morris’ rib injury isn’t thought to be serious, though, and he should return to action after Washington’s upcoming bye. Helu remains an important handcuff, but a healthy Morris squelches his value.
In a surprising development, Khiry Robinson handled the bulk of the Saints’ carries on Monday night against the Dolphins. Pierre Thomas stayed relevant in PPR formats with 5 catches for 37 yards, but Robinson’s involvement is something to watch against Chicago and New England when the garbage time might not be as plentiful.
Chris Polk made the most of minimal usage on Sunday, netting 52 yards and a score on 5 touches. He’s still picking up scraps from LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown, but he’s in line for a lot of work if his depth chart elders miss any time.
Better late than never: Alshon Jeffery, Justin Blackmon, Marlon Brown, Kendall Wright
Robert Woods had the best game of his young career against the Ravens, with 80 yards and his second touchdown of the season on 8 targets. It’s going to be a rollercoaster ride with Woods going forward, but don’t be afraid to use him when the match-up dictates as it did on Sunday.
Nate Washington’s 22 points in standard scoring tied for the most among wideouts in Week 4. He eclipsed 100 yards for the second-straight week in addition to scoring two touchdowns. It remains to be seen what kind of rapport Washington has with newly instated Ryan Fitzpatrick, but any potential drop-off shouldn’t be severe.
Terrance Williams filled in for the missing Miles Austin on Sunday and caught 7 passes for 71 yards. Austin has never been a glowing picture of health, so Williams is a nice speculative add for WR-hungry fantasy owners.
It was Kris Durham and not Ryan Broyles who filled the receiving void left by Nate Burleson in the Detroit passing attack this past weekend. Durham actually led the team in receiving yards (58) on three paltry catches, but Brandon Pettigrew was the main beneficiary in targets (catching all 7 for 54 yards). Broyles is likely still playing himself back into shape after last season’s knee injury, so look for him to get more involved in the coming games.
Austin Pettis maintained his woefully boring PPR relevance on Sunday with 5 grabs for 59 yards. He’s still without a score this season, but his 31 targets tie him for second among Rams receivers with Jared Cook.
Matt Cassel took a strong liking to Jerome Simpson on Sunday, targeting the flying forehead 11 times. Simpson reeled in 7 of those passes for 124 yards. We’ve been teased by this guy before, so I’m hesitant to buy, but Cassel could be just the boost Simpson needs to be ownable.
Better late than never: Heath Miller, Coby Fleener, Charles Clay
Garrett Graham, a.k.a. “Not Owen Daniels”, found the end zone on Sunday to go with 69 yards receiving. We saw the Texans use both of their tight ends like this last season with Daniels and Joel Dreessen. On a week-to-week basis, we won’t know which tight end will score, making Graham a decent pick-up for owners playing TE-bingo.
Delanie Walker also scored on Sunday, continuing his season-long streak of gaining at least 40 yards or scoring a touchdown in every game. Desperate fantasy owners could do a lot worse than a guaranteed 4-7 points per week from their tight end.