Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 5
October 5, 2015 | Evan Sandel
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Duke Johnson (31% Yahoo, 49% ESPN)
While Isaiah Crowell will remain the lead back in Cleveland, Johnson has carved out a niche as the passing back and as such needs to be owned in PPR leagues. Johnson caught nine balls for 85 yards and a score against the Chargers in week four; he also tacked on eight carries for 31 yards.
There should continue to be considerable emphasis on Johnson as the Browns’ vertical attack is really nothing to speak of.
As the season wears on it will become increasingly difficult to find reliable starting running backs on the waiver wire. If this guy is still available in your league, go get ‘em.
Ronnie Hillman (34% Yahoo, 47% ESPN)
Hillman has played his way into an even committee with CJ Anderson. While neither back has been truly impressive, Hillman ripped off a 72-yard run, greatly inflating his stat-line, something he’s prone to do from time to time.
While the mile-high offense will continue to be passing-centric, Hillman needs to be owned as the 1-A back on a prolific scoring team. And as the season wears on and Peyton’s arm wears out, he could be in line for an even greater role.
Tavon Austin (16% Yahoo, 11% ESPN)
The diminutive (5’8) Tavon Austin was the 8th overall pick in the 2013 draft and has been largely quiet through his first two years in the league. That’s starting to turn around, however, as the perpetually anemic Rams’ offense has finally started using the playmaker in ways that utilize his lightning fast speed and quick-twitch agility. Creating opportunities in space for Austin has been paying dividends for the Rams this season and with their lack of weapons in the passing game, his role should continue to expand.
The most encouraging thing about Austin’s week 4 effort against the Cardinals was his usage, as he saw 8 touches, a season high. He made the most of the opportunity, collecting 116 all-purpose yards and 2 scores. Austin has been efficient all year, averaging a very high 7.7 yards per carry and fair (for a slot receiver) 9.9 yards per catch.
With Todd Gurley looking solid and likely to draw the majority of attention from opposing defenses, and considering the limited number of receiving options, Austin’s outlook is bright, should he continue to be regularly utilized. Currently he’s on pace for 860 yards and 12 scores, a dream scenario for the Rams. Roster Tavon as a high-ceiling bye-week filler with potential to crack your starting roster.
Leonard Hankerson (19% Yahoo, 14% ESPN)
HankTime has firmed up his position as the no.2 receiver for a prolific Atlanta Falcons’ offense. He’s consistently targeted over an aging Roddy White, who has failed to score a touchdown or even crack the 100-yard-mark on the season. In contrast, Hankerson collected six balls for 103 yards and a score just last week.
Hankerson’s history is uninspiring, but that may not be his fault. He comes from a Redskins’ team that has been atrocious offensively, and he was also buried under quality incumbents including Pierre Garcon, Santana Moss and DeSean Jackson.
Now in Atlanta with the opportunity to play for a quality quarterback in Matt Ryan, plus dwindling competition for touches as White ages, Hankerson has an opportunity to have a career year in 2015.
Allen Hurns (18% Yahoo, 11% ESPN)
Despite a lot of preseason hype around Allen Robinson, Hurns, the 2014 UDFA out of Miami, actually leads the Jaguars in receptions. Hurns had 15 targets on Sunday, which tied Vincent Jackson for second highest number of WR targets in the league for week four. That sort of usage has to be rostered.
Hurns will remain something of a dart-throw on this mediocre Jacksonville team, but he and Bortles have definite chemistry.
Kirk Cousins (6% Yahoo, 5% ESPN)
Cousins finished fifth in standard scoring among quarterbacks in week 4. His fantasy point production has jumped considerably in each game of the year. With the run game middling, the offense in Washington will continue to be pass-happy. The Michigan State product has made 46 and 49 passing attempts, respectively, the last two weeks; that’s more than Peyton Manning or Aaron Rodgers in the same time frame.
Cousins’ career has seen peaks and valleys and it’s not unreasonable to expect that trend to continue. However, having finally earned the backing of the coaches – and with Jordan Reed performing like his old self and Pierre Garcon looking strong as ever – it’s a decent gamble that he’s coming into another peak. Cousins is a quality QB2 if you’re hurting at the position or need a bye-week fill-in.
Tight Ends – If you’re absolutely dying at TE, your best bet is probably to add Coby Fleener and hope Dwayne Allen sits another game. Failing that, Richard Rodgers and Ladarius Green continue to make for decent dart throws.
Kamar Aiken – With the Ravens absolutely battered at receiver, Aiken roughly doubled his 2015 totals in week 4. It’s worth watching him as well as newly acquired Chris Givens to see if they can carve out a significant role.
Willie Snead – He appears to have jumped Brandon Coleman on the depth chart and his receptions have increased every week. He is definitely worth an add as long as Drew Brees is pitching.
Ted Ginn Jr. – Ginn is the first receiver in line for work on a team that never throws to the receiver. Two scores on three catches!? Defines, “dart throw.”
Cameron Artis-Payne – Continuing to get more work as J-Stew continues to disappoint. Keep an eye on this; it could turn into an even committee soon.