Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 5 October 5, 2015  |  Evan Sandel


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Running Backs


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.


Wide Receivers


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.


8 Responses

  1. JDubb says:

    For Flex:


    • Evan says:

      You’re in a league that lets you Flex QB’s?
      I’d go with the Staff-Infection, they love to pass to the RB in DET, especially with Joique Bell middling. That should help pad passing stats.
      Vick was unable to help Antonio Brown against the Ravens on Thursday and it looks like they’re gonna go ultra-run-heavy for the time being.

  2. B. Cherry says:

    Evan – looks good. No love for Gary Barnidge though? Two weeks ago he was on my personal watch list, along with DGB (arrested today for a traffic violation, *sigh*), Theo Riddick for PPR (I see him taking a larger Sproles/Woodhead type role with the Detroit WRs struggling), and Bennie Fowler (okay, that one was dumb).

    I have Jordan Reed in both my leagues and will be cutting him loose tonight. Now I’m sizing up replacements in Fleener (Allen on the horizon), Daniels (getting old), Rodgers (a lot of mouths to feed in GB), Cook (raw talent, athleticism without much discipline) and Barnidge (…biggest knock is probably that he plays for the Browns). Thoughts?

    • Evan Sandel says:

      Barnidge- Already 30 and a career blocking TE, whom the Brown have turned to out of desperation (still surprised they cut Pryor) I may eat my words here but no, no love for Barnidge.

      DGB- Has been a staple of my “musings” section, I recommend anybody add him as a stash, while he’s assured end-zone targets he has yet to carve out a role in between the 20’s. His absence this week was due largely to the Titans Bye.

      Theo- Acceptable bye-week filler in PPR formats, but if anybody has an expanded role with Megatron struggling, which he certainly is (6’5 240 is a lot to haul around secondaries at 30 years old) I think the beneficiaries will be Tate and Abdullah.

      As far as your tight end conundrum, I love Rich-Rod going forward, not including him in the article was an oversight. With Quarless hurt, there’s only one TE to feed in GB and he and Aaron have shown chemistry, he could well evolve into the third passing option for the best offense in the NFL.

  3. Cutler says:

    Evan- another week.
    Which one do you think has more upside for rest of 2015 to pick up this week?
    Desean Jackson or Allen Hurns? Feel free to throw in Leonard Hankerson or Tavon Austin to rank for priority claim

    Thanks again!

    • Evan Sandel says:

      1- DeSean
      2- HankTime
      3- Hurns
      4- Austin

      DeSean is the most proven commodity on this list, Washington loves that little dude.
      Hank and Hurns are in a virtual tie, I give Hank the slight edge for being in the more prolific offense.
      Austin may have the most big play ability on this list, but he will struggle to find consistency in St. Louis, even though things are pointing in the right direction, there’s still reason for hesitance.

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