Waiver Wire Madness: Week 5
September 30, 2014 | Jeff
Week 4 has now drawn to a close and we are speeding toward the halfway point of the fake football regular season. We have lots to discuss in the world of waiver wire additions, led by a few Minnesota Vikings who will become regular fantasy football names in the near future. Tight end and wide receiver are a little light this week, but we do have some options at each position as we trek further into the bye-week abyss. Let’s dig right in…
Eli Manning (Owned: 48% Yahoo, 43% ESPN) had a monster game on Thursday as New York dominated Washington, and the good times will continue to roll. Manning and the Giants get Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Dallas in the next three weeks which means Eli has a nice shot at QB1 numbers until the New York bye week in Week 8. For fantasy teams with QB byes or folks who like to stream, Eli is an option you can start from now until almost Halloween. The Ben McAdoo offense seems to finally be clicking for Eli and company and with big Larry Donnell emerging as a viable red zone threat, Eli should be a safe play moving forward. Philip Rivers emerged from the dead in 2013 and it very well could be Eli’s turn this year.
Teddy Bridgewater (Owned: 13% Yahoo, 10% ESPN) looked great in his first try as an NFL starter, passing for 317 yards and running for a touchdown. He left with an ankle injury late in Sunday’s game but all signs point to him playing Thursday at Green Bay. Now, please consider the fact that Atlanta’s defense is lousy at best so every week won’t be quite this easy for Teddy but he did look solid. OC Norv Turner has plenty of speedy options to feed in the short passing game, which should keep Teddy both accurate and upright. He will be a nice QB2 option moving forward for those in need.
Worth a look if you’re desperate: Blake Bortles (18% Yahoo, 5% ESPN), Ryan Tannehill (36% Yahoo, 15% ESPN).
Jerick McKinnon (Owned: 17% Yahoo, 1% ESPN) finished with a healthy 135 rushing yards on Sunday as he finally got a sizeable workload in Minnesota. He even flashed his wheels on a 55 yard burst and showed the athleticism that has been promised by scouts (and Twitter) all season. Now, the tricky part moving forward is his workload. Starter Matt Asiata was given 20 carries on the day and still appears to be the goal line and third down back for the Vikings. Asiata also played 45 snaps to McKinnon’s 34 in Week 4. As we have seen with players like Ladarius Green, coaches don’t often check with us fantasy folks when handing out playing time in the NFL. These guys have some nerve! I fully expect McKinnon to continue to chip away and take over late in the season but for now he may be a dicey play each week. He is my top waiver add for the week, however, and could pay off HUGE down the stretch.
Matt Asiata (Owned: 65% Yahoo, 68% ESPN) scored another three touchdowns on Sunday and should be owned in far more than two-thirds of fantasy leagues. He isn’t very exciting and as we mentioned above, Jerick McKinnon may eventually take some of his work, but the guy is getting piles of touches and that can’t be ignored at the moment.
Lorenzo Taliaferro (Owned: 39% Yahoo, 15% ESPN) scored a touchdown on Sunday to go along with 58 rushing yards on 15 carries as he and Justin Forsett (Owned: 41% Yahoo, 9% ESPN) split the work in the Baltimore backfield with Bernard Pierce watching from the sidelines. As I noted in my Week 4 Recap, this backfield is going to be a giant headache moving forward. Forsett appears to be getting the receiving work out of the backfield whether Pierce is healthy or not, which should keep his value afloat in PPR leagues but will make him a sketchy bet in standard leagues. Taliaferro is the best bet here for long-term production but he may be capped in the short term by the presence of Pierce, assuming he returns next week. Pierce is simply a “hold” right now, as his portion of the Ravens running back pie is undetermined at the moment.
This entire situation is as fun as putting together IKEA furniture, but I would hold Pierce where he is at, snag Forsett in PPR if you need RB help, and add Taliaferro everywhere in hopes that he takes the lead back role in future weeks.
Darrin Reaves (Owned: 2% Yahoo, 0% ESPN) could be a somewhat viable fantasy option this week as the Panthers host the Chicago Bears with the entire group of Carolina running backs currently injured. It sounds as if Jonathan Stewart is the only player with a shot of playing in Week 5 outside of Reaves, as DeAngelo Williams and Mike Tolbert are both looking at multiple week absences. Even if Stewart starts, we all know the likelihood of him staying healthy for four quarters is extremely small. In a running back landscape that as rocky as ever, Reaves could be a flex play for those desperate enough.
Isaiah Crowell (Owned: 25% Yahoo, 6% ESPN) is someone to check out even with Ben Tate likely to return from injury this week. Crowell has been great in his first few games as a rookie and has seemingly overtaken Terrance West as the top back behind Tate according to reports out of Cleveland. As we mentioned with Jonathan Stewart above, the odds of Ben Tate staying healthy for the rest of the season reside somewhere between “Are you crazy?” and “Is your brain functioning properly?” Crowell is a beast of a running back and he should flirt with flex type production even with Tate in the lineup. He is a great option to swipe if you want to bolster your running back department.
Make sure these guys are owned: Bishop Sankey (56% Yahoo, 92% ESPN), Khiry Robinson (50% Yahoo, 98% ESPN)
Leave these guys for the chumps in your league: Andre Williams (15% Yahoo, 30% ESPN), Antone Smith (3% Yahoo, 1% ESPN)
Eddie Royal (Owned: 23% Yahoo, 28% ESPN) caught two more touchdowns on Sunday and ended with five grabs for 105 yards. It was Royal’s third straight productive outing and he appears to be a sizeable part of San Diego’s offense, whether Keenan Allen owners want to admit it or not. Royal’s four touchdown catches in two weeks are far from sustainable, but he should be a decent matchup play moving forward if you need WR help during bye weeks. I certainly wouldn’t blow a top priority on him or break the bank for FAAB dollars, but he is a name to keep in mind if you need bench depth.
Andre Holmes (Owned: 3% Yahoo, 0% ESPN) is probably my favorite pickup of the week at the wide receiver position. Holmes was targeted 12 times on Sunday and hauled in five passes for 74 yards and a touchdown while leading Oakland wide receivers in snaps. This is all great news for Holmes, who is a 6’4”, 210 pound moose. Fellow Oakland wide receivers Rod Streater (injured) and Denarius Moore (healthy inactive) are out of the picture so the bulk of the passing attention for the raiders should funnel through Holmes and James Jones. Snag this guy for some serious upside and hope the workload continues moving forward.
Louis Murphy (Owned: 0% Yahoo, 0% ESPN) had a big day on Sunday as he led the Buccaneers in receiving with six catches for 99 yards on 11 targets. This would ordinarily be viewed as a fluky performance, but Tamp Bay wide receiver Mike Evans is expected to miss a few weeks with a groin injury, so Murphy could continue to get more work. This is a deep league type of player here so don’t jump for him in normal 10-12 team leagues.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins (Owned: 1% Yahoo, 1% ESPN) is the top tight end add for leagues in which Larry Donnell and Travis Kelce are already rostered. ASJ saw seven targets on Sunday but most importantly played all 71 of Tampa Bay’s snaps. That is mighty impressive for a rookie in the toddler stages of an NFL career, and we could just be seeing the start of something special with Seferian-Jenkins. With fellow Bucs rookie Mike Evans out for 2-3 weeks with a groin injury, it will mean added targets for ASJ from Mike Glennon. If you missed the boat on picking up Donnell or Kelce, give ASJ a look if you want some upside in your backup tight end or are looking for a streaming option.
Eric Ebron (Owned: 8% Yahoo, 6% ESPN) is worth noting due to his draft pedigree and his 34 yard, one touchdown performance on Sunday but he won’t be worth sprinting to the waiver wire to click the “add” button. Ebron still played 20 less snaps than Brandon Pettigrew and was only targeted four times with Calvin Johnson out of the Detroit game plan. He is a fine dynasty or keeper player but with so many viable options at the tight end position right now, Ebron won’t make much of a redraft impact in the near future.
Drop what you are doing and make sure these guys are owned. Not later today. Not tonight. Now!!…Larry Donnell (55% Yahoo, 27% ESPN), Travis Kelce (68% Yahoo, 37% ESPN), Heath Miller (62% Yahoo, 13% ESPN),