The injury bug ate well in Week 5, feeding on a number of notable fantasy options. A few of the bug’s victims were bit before the start of Sunday’s action. Opportunistic managers pounced on the backups to guys like Calvin Johnson and Miles Austin before game-time, but those backups will still be available in many leagues. They are noted below, along with a wealth of other Week 6 waiver wire targets. Be sure to douse any and all of them in DEET before you slot them into your starting lineup, though.
Hasta la vista, Brian Hoyer. The newly designated starter in Cleveland tore his ACL on Thursday and will miss the rest of the season. The former starter Brandon Weeden took over for Hoyer and led the Browns to victory over the Bills, completing 13 of 24 for 197 yards and a TD. Weeden isn’t a viable fake football starter outside of 2-QB leagues, but he has the starting job all to himself again. That job security is the only reason he tops this week’s QB waiver ranks.
If the Jaguars would only sign Tim Tebow, I could stop alternating between Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne in this space every week. Gabbert came up lame against the Rams and was replaced by Henne, who will start in Week 6 in what should be a garbage time bonanza against the Broncos.
Nick Foles will start for the injured Michael Vick this week against Tampa Bay, but Eagles coach Chip Kelly stated that Vick would return to the starting role when healthy. Foles would rise to the top of these rankings if Vick’s hamstring issue turns out to be serious, but for all we know, Vick could return as soon as Week 7. Still, Foles is worth a speculative add if you have roster space to burn or a need at quarterback.
The Vikings signed Josh Freeman on Monday and he’s already competing with Matt Cassel for the starting gig in Minnesota. Cassel will start in Week 6, but Freeman is a decent stash for double-quarterback leagues. The Vikes wouldn’t have signed the former Buc if they thought Cassel was the answer behind center.
Thad Lewis has usurped the incumbent backup Jeff Tuel and will start Buffalo’s upcoming contest against Cincinnati for the injured E.J. Manuel. Tuel can’t feel good about being passed over for a guy from the practice squad and you shouldn’t feel good about picking either guy up in fantasy.
Better late than never: Brandon Bolden and LeGarrette Blount
Zac Stacy started at running back for St. Louis on Sunday and posted 78 yards on 14 carries. He should continue to start going forward, but the Rams’ upcoming schedule is about as bad as it could be for a fantasy rusher, so don’t expect excellence. If you manage to snag Stacy off waivers, it might be worth trying to sell him right away.
Andre Ellington continues to outshine Rashard Mendenhall out of the Arizona backfield. Coach Bruce Arians has explicitly said he doesn’t plan to increase Ellington’s workload, but he may not have a choice considering the way the rookie’s been playing.
Two touchdowns and 91 total yards were enough to tie Pierre Thomas with Knowshon Moreno for the second-most Week 5 fantasy points among running backs in standard scoring. Thomas has a few of these outbursts every season, but the Saints’ offense is too unpredictable on a weekly basis to expect consistent fantasy value from him. Regardless, the RB position is such a general mess this season that Thomas should be owned in most leagues.
Marcel Reece filled in admirably when Darren McFadden missed time last season and the Black Hole’s surrounding stars are aligning once again to light Reece’s path to playing time. Both McFadden and his backup Rashad Jennings are nursing injuries, leaving only Reece and Jeremy Stewart to line up in the Oakland backfield.
The Giants have re-signed Da’Rel Scott in the wake of David Wilson’s Week 5 neck injury. Scott will split carries with Brandon Jacobs if Wilson is unable to play. It’s okay if you’re not excited to claim a guy who was cut a week ago, but beggars can’t be choosers, especially when the alternative is Michael Cox.
Mike Goodson made his 2013 debut on Monday night at put up 3 fantasy points in a timeshare with Bilal Powell and Chris Ivory. Goodson equaled Powell’s production on 9 fewer carries and should stay in the mix for touches going forward, but Powell and Ivory limit his upside.
Better late than never: Alshon Jeffery, Justin Blackmon, Denarius Moore, and Robert Woods
Rueben Randle broke out on Sunday with 96 yards and a pair of TDs on 13 targets. David Wilson’s injury could force the Giants to pass even more and if an owner in your league foolishly dropped Randle before Week 5, put in a waiver claim.
The upcoming schedule for Dallas is a dream come true for fantasy receivers and thus Terrance Williams must be owned while Miles Austin remains hobbled. Williams has shown enough skill to merit more looks from Tony Romo even after Austin returns.
Keenan Allen might be nocturnal, because it took a late-night contest for him to finally do double-digit work for his fantasy owners. He caught 6 passes for 115 yards and a score on 9 targets in the Chargers’ loss to the Raiders. Aside from Antonio Gates, Allen is the most talented receiver at Philip Rivers’ disposal. He should continue to stay involved in the offense and in a few more weeks, we’ll all have forgotten about Eddie Royal’s first two games.
Chalk up another quality performance for Austin Pettis. He had his best game of the season on Sunday two touchdowns and 49 yards. Pettis won’t score twice every week, but Sam Bradford continues to look for him in every game. Consistent usage like that is valuable in fake football, especially in PPR leagues.
Stephen Hill suited up for Monday Night Fooball against Atlanta, but Jeremy Kerley was Geno Smith’s favorite target in the contest. Hill should be closer to full strength in Week 6, but Kerley’s value will increase as Smith continues to improve at quarterback and learn to spread the ball.
Kris Durham was the main beneficiary of Calvin Johnson’s DNP on Sunday, going for 30 yards and a TD on 3 receptions. Megatron will return eventually and relegate Durham to Starscream status, but until then, Matthew Stafford will have no choice but to keep targeting Durham.
Better late than never: Charles Clay and Brandon Pettigrew
Jeff Cumberland caught a TD pass for the second week in a row on Monday night to go with 79 receiving yards. Kellen Winslow also got into the end zone, so it’s clear that Geno Smith and the Jets’ coaching staff want to keep the tight ends involved in the passing game. Both guys are worth a shot if you’re playing TE-bingo, but I prefer Cumberland now that he’s healthy.
Would you believe that Tyler Eifert has the second-most receiving yards on the Bengals? He does. He’s also fourth on the team in targets (24) and actually leads the team in yards per catch (12.5 compared to A.J. Green’s 11.6). Eifert hasn’t scored yet, but it’s only a matter of time. Grab him now before his price goes up.