Is it really Week 5 already? The NFL moves fast and as a fantasy GM, you need to keep up. I’ll endeavor to put some wind in your fantasy sails with today’s waiver wire. And remember, this morning’s addition is not the end of it. As a dedicated film geek, I watch every NFL snap every week. As soon as I post this, I will get back to the games. So head over to my free site, Rotobahn, this afternoon for my expanded wire. It will feature more players for deeper leagues and some matchup defenses for Week 5.
I’ll be back on Friday with the starts and sits, plus another DraftKings bonus article on Saturday that will delve into the best values for DraftKings lineups in Week 5. Also, check out the Fantasy Football Hour if you haven’t already. Jim Hackett and I are live every Sunday morning from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m and to keep pace with all my fantasy football content, follow me on Twitter.
The rates of ownership listed below are sourced from Yahoo!.
Marcus Mariota, Titans, 68 percent
Sam Bradford, Eagles, 63 percent
Neither should be available, but they are in some leagues. Both can be weekly options in 12-team leagues or matchup plays in 10-team leagues.
Jameis Winston, Buccaneers, 23 percent
His numbers for fantasy are not that bad and they are going to get better the rest of the way as he settles in. Winston’s remaining schedule is very favorable and he has the weapons to put up big numbers.
Alex Smith, Chiefs, 25 percent
He has a nice home matchup with the Bears this week so he’s a solid short-term pickup. Smith is doing his thing. He gets the ball out of his hand and lets his playmakers make plays. He’s a functional bye week replacement in any league.
Michael Vick, Steelers, 18 percent
With Vick’s risk, you get Vick’s upside, which is considerable when you look at his array of weapons. This week he gets Martavis Bryant back and that will loosen up defenses. His matchup at San Diego is nothing to get excited about or be scared of.
Teddy Bridgewater, Vikings, 51 percent
Bridgewater is on the bye this week so he’s a long-term buy. He has value the rest of the way as a matchup option. The Vikings have cleared some of their tougher matchups from their schedule. They do have a matchup with the Seahawks in Week 13, but at least it’s a home game.
Ronnie Hillman, Broncos, 35 percent
The stat-heads are yelling for Hillman, but the reality is that he had one single long run and that the rest of his day was similar to C.J. Anderson. This looks like a time share to me. As much as I would love to say that Hillman will be the lead guy, he’s been stuffed almost as much as Anderson. The real problem in Denver is the offensive line has been simply horrible. Now for the good news. Denver’s early schedule has been very tough against the run and it starts to lighten up this week against Oakland and then again in Week 6 against the Browns. Hillman is an upside add. It’s hard to tell if he can take the gig or whether he will be splitting time. Either way, with a plus schedule going forward, Hillman will have value in most leagues and needs to be owned.
Duke Johnson, Browns, 31 percent
My guy Johnson finally broke out in Week 4. If you are in a league using PPR scoring, this is a player you absolutely want. He’ll have plenty of good weeks in standard scoring, too. While the Browns are obviously forcing him into their moribund passing attack, Johnson also has plenty of ability as a runner. He should be owned in all leagues.
Chris Johnson, Cardinals, 65 percent
It’s not the easiest situation to read. There are three distinctly different backs in the Arizona backfield and they all have the potential to be fantasy options. Johnson seems like a good bet to hang onto the early down carries though perhaps not in a dedicated role. He’s a good pickup for the now and you may get lucky on the long haul. The one big plus Johnson has is his durability. This guy doesn’t miss games though he gets very little credit for it.
Matt Jones, Washington, 61 percent
Coming off of a bad week, Jones is still a back to own if not play because as the season progresses, the priorities in Washington will move from the now to next season, and Jones looms large in the long-term view. I love him as a stash in leagues with adequate bench space.
David Johnson, Cardinals, 44 percent
As I said with the other Arizona Johnson, this is a three-headed backfield and it’s hard to tell how things will play out. Here’s the reason to not give up on the rookie. He’s the best back on the team. Sadly, he is also the most inexperienced. What could happen is that David Johnson’s role will continue to be limited as he continues to learn. Then, at some point, head coach Bruce Arians could go to the rookie in a larger role to boost the offense. It’s also important to note that Andre Ellington is only slightly more durable than Jordan Reed. That alone makes David Johnson a very worthy stash option. As good as Chris Johnson has looked, he is a bit stiff in the passing game and Arizona requires more of its backs in passing situations.
Antonio Andrews, Titans, 9 percent
Andrews would have been a hot pickup last week because he looked very good in Week 3. The Titans Week 4 bye put a damper on his marketability, but he is looking like a reasonable flex option this week against a Bills team that has been mediocre so far. The really good news is that the schedule lightens up nicely after this week’s matchup. If Andrews hangs onto a good portion of this job, he could have some very nice value down the stretch.
Christine Michael, Cowboys, 9 percent
Meet the ultimate lottery ticket. Michael is the lone power back in Dallas where the offensive line is the crown jewel of the entire operation. Over the next few weeks, we will find out about Michael. Is he the talented back who was stuck behind Marshawn Lynch, or is he a guy who doesn’t play to the level of his ability? His competition in Dallas is an old uninspiring Darren McFadden and Joseph Randle, a guy who is getting yanked even when he produces because he refuses to run plays the way they are drawn up. Randle’s lack of respect for ball security is also an issue. Michael may or may not be the answer in Dallas, but he should absolutely be stashed because if he takes off, he could take off big.
Nelson Agholor, Eagles, 49 percent
He was in my buy-low recommendations last week and he did not disappoint. Agholor is a big part of the Eagles’ plans and he is playing most of the offensive snaps. He is a player to add if you can, and he’s still a nice buy low option in PPR leagues if he’s available via trade. The Eagles’ schedule gets better (much better) going forward. Agholor needs to be owned in all leagues. If you aren’t in the know as far as Agholor’s talents are concerned, check out my scouting report on the Eagles’ first rounder.
Leonard Hankerson, Falcons, 19 percent
His role is what makes him valuable. Hankerson is not a high-end talent, but he is a solid player and he gets to play behind Julio Jones. I’d be adding Hankerson as a play now option in any league where he is available.
Terrance Williams, Cowboys, 66 percent
Volume is the key. Williams is finding out that being a lead dog in the NFL is a hard job. He no longer has Dez Bryant drawing number one corners and extra attention over the top. Still, while he is not getting open as consistently as he was under the old paradigm, his looks are on the rise because he is far and away the best remaining outside threat on the team. That volume will give him weekly WR3 appeal in all formats.
Michael Floyd, Cardinals, 34 percent
He is slowly coming to life and he is one of the better stash options you are going to find. Floyd is a great talent who is stuck on a team with a ton of weapons, but his numbers are not at all representative of what you will see the rest of the way. Floyd is nearing full health as a nasty hand injury (multiple finger dislocations) this August. This is the time to go get him. When the bye weeks really kick in, you will be glad you did.
Tavon Austin, Rams, 17 percent
I know some of you laughed when I had Austin as an add last week and the week prior. What I saw was a player who was being given a real chance by his coaches and the player was responding. I have a feeling that things could get even better now that the Rams have Todd Gurley going strong. They want to use these two players together in much the same way Minnesota should be using Adrian Peterson and Cordarrelle Patterson. I’d be stashing Austin right now or using him as a flex option in larger leagues.
Tedd Ginn, Panthers, 33 percent
It’s hard to argue with production. There’s a target vacuum in Carolina and Ginn is filling the void. Cam Newton has always liked Ginn’s ability to run under the deep ball. Now they are hooking up on shorter routes and in the red zone as well. This is promising. Ginn should be owned in all 12-team leagues.
Dorial Green-Beckham, Titans, 18 percent
His role was growing, heading into Tennessee’s Week 4 bye. He should be stashed for his upside alone, plus, he is a very dangerous red zone weapon right now.
Tyler Lockett, Seahawks, 21 percent
He had his best game so far and I am still stashing him in my leagues that offer sufficient bench space. Lockett has nice PPR upside if they start using him just a tad more. Right now, the rookie is the third receiver.
Willie Snead, Saints, 4 percent
He is now playing more than Marques Colston and he is getting regular targets. The other positive is that Drew Brees looked healthy on Sunday night. Snead is a player to own in 12-team PPR leagues for sure and a player to watch in all leagues.
Devin Smith, Jets, 0 percent
He’s a future star if he can stay healthy, but the Jets will limit him in the near future for a few reasons, none the least of which is Ryan Fitzpatrick‘s buggy whip arm. The good news is that the Jets will play three receivers more than most teams going forward. Smith is one reason for this, but the Jets’ lack of any type of threat at tight end is the bigger factor. The Jets are running a spread offense, so this really isn’t up for debate. They will continue to play a lot of three wide receivers. Smith is a viable add in deep leagues and a mandatory pickup if either Eric Decker or Brandon Marshall suffers a long-term injury.
Stefon Diggs, Vikings, 0 percent
He looked very quick last week and caught six balls against a tough Denver defense. It’s not out of the question that this kid could steal a job soon — even when everybody is healthy. He’s a guy to stash in leagues with ample bench space.
Charles Clay, Bills, 70 percent
Julius Thomas, Jaguars, 65 percent
Antonio Gates, Chargers, 54 percent
The top three guys are easy adds if they happen to be available in your league. Clay has been better than expected (by me), while Thomas and Gates are both returning after four game absences. Gates for a PED suspension and Thomas from a finger injury.
Gary Barnidge, Browns, 11 percent
He lit up the Raiders in Week 3, and that’s like beating up your little brother, so not that many folks paid attention. Well, it’s time to take Barnidge seriously, because he followed it up with a plus effort against the Chargers which included another trip to the end zone. As I said last week, they are desperate for targets in Cleveland. Barnidge is now a player to add if tight end help is what you seek.
Ladarius Green, Chargers, 25 percent
Here is an interesting case. Green has been very good so far and he’d have been even better if he’d avoided a concussion suffered in practice heading into Week 1. Green returned quickly and of course, exacerbated the injury the following week causing Green to miss the Chargers third game. Green returned for Week 3 and scored his second touchdown on the season, and looked very good in the process. As I said a few players ago, San Diego gets Antonio Gates back this week and that creates a logjam at the tight end position. Making matters even more muddied are the injuries to both Malcom Floyd (concussion) and Stevie Johnson (hamstring.) Both players could miss Monday’s game against the Steelers, who do not cover tight ends very well. Green is a player to own for at least one more week, and perhaps longer.
Richard Rodgers, Packers, 17 percent
He’s a guy who can score on any week, so he makes a viable bye week replacement in all leagues and you never know when his usage might increase because Aaron Rodgers likes him.
Tim Wright, Lions, 1 percent
If the injury to Eric Ebron is significant, Wright could be a real sleeper in 12-team leagues for the short term if Ebron is forced to miss time. He may not be an add tonight, but perhaps later in the week depending on Ebron’s status.
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