Week 5 was one to forget on the injury front. The Houston Texans lost JJ Watt for the year, making the Houston defense less desirable as a streaming option, and the Giants lost Odell Beckham Jr. for the year. Not only did the Giants lose Odell Beckham Jr., but they also lost Brandon Marshall, Dwayne Harris and Sterling Shepard. Initial reports on Monday are that Shepard is day to day, but the extent to Marshall’s injury is not yet known, but he is likely to miss several weeks while Harris is done for the season. Even if Shepard plays week 6, the Giants may still be looking for a starter opposite him. If he’s able to get healthy, Shepard is bound to see a huge uptick in targets moving forward in in Beckham’s absence. Additionally, Bilal Powell was injured for the Jets and Orleans Darkwa was in and out of the game for the Giants nursing his calf injury. The tight end position has been disastrous so far this year, and this week we saw one of the year’s more consistent scorers, Charles Clay, go down with a knee injury. That being said, Charles Clay owners may be looking for a replacement for the next few weeks.
In addition to the injuries, week 6 will feature 4 teams on bye: Bengals, Seahawks, Cowboys and Bills. This means we will be losing the following viable fantasy options this week:
Bengals: AJ Green, Joe Mixon, Gio Bernard, Bengals Defense
Seahawks: Russell Wilson, Jimmy Graham, Doug Baldwin, Paul Richardson, Tyler Lockett, the Seahawks muddled backfield, Seahawks Defense
Cowboys: Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Dez Bryant, Jason Witten
Bills: Tyrod Taylor, Charles Clay, LeSean McCoy, Bills Defense
Sam Bradford – QB Minnesota Vikings – If healthy, Bradford will face off against the Packers in week 6 making him an extremely viable fantasy starter if your quarterback is hurt or one bye. Bradford has been out since week 1, so he was dropped in most leagues and is only owned in 18% of all Yahoo leagues. The Packers haven’t been surrendering a ton of fantasy points to the QB position overall, but those numbers are somewhat skewed by a horrible performance by Mike Glennon and Russell Wilson in the opener (the Seahawks always start slow). Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense should put a lot of points on the board, so the game script should favor a high volume passing day for Bradford.
Josh McCown – QB NY Jets – McCown is only 4% owned across Yahoo leagues and he will face off against the Patriots in week 6 who have been surrendering the most points to the QB position through 5 weeks of football. The Patriots have been horrible against the pass this year, and even though they played zone and clamped down against the Bucs last week, they still gave up over 300 yards to Jameis Winston. I am not excited about the prospects of playing McCown, but if you need to, he’s most likely there and the matchup is inviting.
This week we saw Nelson Agholor, Mike Wallace and Cole Beasley have huge weeks. Don’t jump on them and blow your FAAB budget on these guys because they exploited very beatable matchups in the opposing secondaries. The Eagles didn’t really try to throw the ball in the direction of Patrick Peterson and in the process, Nelson Agholor and Torrey Smith got it done. Similarly, Cole Beasley was guarded by one of the worst slot corners in the league and Beasley torched him for 2 touchdowns. Mike Wallace had 133 receiving yards, but he did so on only 3 targets, and he did it against a horrible Ravens secondary. I don’t trust any receiver in the Ravens offense just yet with the way Flacco has been performing. Pump the brakes on these guys. Below are some guys who have the potential to be fantasy studs down the road.
Tavarres King – WR NY Giants – The Giants promoted King from the practice squad on Tuesday and he should factor heavily into the Giants passing attack if Brandon Marshall misses significant time. King is 6’1″, has 4.47 wheels but doesn’t have the best hands. Although his hands are a bit suspect, he’s an athlete, and could flash the big play ability he showed while playing at Georgia if given the opportunity. King is worth a flier in deeper leagues, but you don’t want to consider using him for a few weeks as the Giants have the Broncos on the schedule week 6. King is the type of player you need to wait on to see if he will actually get snaps before you even consider putting him into your lineup.
Demarcus Robinson – WR KC Chiefs – Robinson is 6’1″, 203 pounds and long on athleticism. I drafted Robinson in several leagues this year that drafted in mid to late August because Robinson was getting run with the first team offense in the preseason, but he eventually found himself on the outside looking in on the Chiefs depth chart. With Chris Conley out for the year with a torn achilles, Robinson looks to take over. Personally, I think Robinson warrants a roster spot in deeper leagues, but I am not going to roll him out there until I see what he can do once given the opportunity, because the offense runs primarily through Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce and Kareem Hunt, and there’s only one ball to go around.
Devin Funchess – WR Carolina Panthers – Funchess faces the Eagles this week and has been getting it done with Greg Olsen being absent from the lineup. Even though Funchess has been coming through lately, he’s still only owned in 64% of Yahoo leagues. With the amount of injuries and viable options on bye this week, Funchess should be a must add in almost all formats, especially given the great matchup against the Eagles whose secondary hasn’t been able to slow down anybody lately.
Marquise Goodwin – WR SF 49ers – Goodwin finally exploded onto the scene against a weak Colts secondary and hauled in 5 of 11 targets for 116 yards. If the matchup is right, Goodwin is a boom or bust, DeSean Jackson-like receiver. Goodwin is only owned in 2% of Yahoo leagues. Goodwin is more appealing in leagues with bonuses for long plays.
Robby Anderson – WR NY Jets – Anderson is only owned in 20% of Yahoo leagues and faces the New England Patriots this week. As I said earlier, the Patriots have been giving up a lot of yards through the air, and Anderson should benefit from that. Also, game script should be in Anderson’s favor as the Jets will likely need to throw to keep up with the Patriots high octane offense.
Ricardo Louis – WR Cleveland Browns – Lewis is only owned in 1% of Yahoo leagues and he appears to be getting most of the targets vacated when Corey Coleman went down. Initially, it looked like Rashard Higgins was going to be the man, but since his solid week 2 performance, Higgins has fallen off the face of the earth, while Lewis has gotten the consistent targets. I am finally willing to admit I was wrong about Higgins in my week 3 waiver article – maybe we should have listened to the Cleveland beat writers who said Lewis, not Higgins, will be picking up the slack for Coleman.
Jamison Crowder – WR Washington Redskins – To say that Jamison Crowder has been underwhelming so far this year would be an understatement. However, you cannot deny the talent, and to be fair, he has been nursing a hip injury since week 1. Coming off the bye, it appears many people decided to cut ties with him as he’s only owned in 60% of Yahoo leagues. Crowder was likely able to get healthy during the bye and is a good bet to bounce back against the 49ers this week. The cream always rises to the top.
This week, the Colts, Seahawks and 49ers backfields all got a little muddier than they were before. It’s not time to hit the panic button on any one of the Seahawks backs if you own one of them, because it’s too early to tell how things will shake out since Chris Carson went down. Similarly, although Marlon Mack and Matt Breida had good days this week, it’s not time to hit the panic button on Frank Gore or Carlos Hyde just yet, but if you own either, you may want to pick up Mack and Breida as security.
Gio Bernard – RB Cincinnati Bengals – Gio Bernard is quietly an RB2 through 5 weeks of the season, coming in at #24 in standard scoring at the position. He’s still only owned in 29% of Yahoo leagues. If he’s out there, get him, especially if you need help at the running back position. The Bengals are on bye this week so he may get cut in some leagues, be on alert.
Aaron Jones – RB Green Bay Packers – Jones was the primary ball carrier for the Packers this weekend with Ty Montgomery out and he looked great out there. If you missed the boat on Jones last week, he’s still only owned in 57% of Yahoo leagues. If Jones continues to excel, there is a chance that Jones keeps the early down work even after Montgomery returns and Montgomery is left to passing downs.
Matt Breida – RB SF 49ers – Breida had 13 total touches in week 5 compared to only 9 touches for Carlos Hyde. This usage indicates that maybe Hyde wasn’t good to go this week and the coaching staff decided to go with Breida. If Hyde ends up going down, Breida is an RB2. He’s still only owned in 7% of Yahoo leagues, so if you are a Hyde owner, you may want to get him handcuffed now.
Marlon Mack – RB Indianapolis Colts – Last week I mentioned Marlon Mack as a player you should add to your fantasy roster, and in week 5, Mack had 10 total touches for 93 total yards and a touchdown. Mack is more athletic than Gore and is more of a home run threat, so if the Colts ever decide to give him a larger workload on a more consistent basis, Mack will be a viable every week player. If you didn’t listen last week, Mack is still only owned in 9% of Yahoo leagues – go get him, he should be owned.
Wayne Gallman – RB NY Giants – Orleans Darkwa started the game for the Giants and saw 9 total touches, while Wayne Gallman came off the bench and saw 16 total touches. Although Darkwa scored, Gallman was more effective in the passing game as Darkwa needed to check out a few times because of his calf injury. The Giants figure to be playing from behind for the remainder of the season, so projected game script would seem to indicate that Gallman is the back to own for the Giants. He’s still only owned in 39% of Yahoo leagues, and at this point he’s a must own, especially with the current landscape at the running back position.
Elijah McGuire – RB NY Jets – I missed the boat in week 4 and left McGuire off my waiver column, I had McGuire included last week, and now heading into week 6, Bilal Powell is expected to miss the Jets week 6 game due to injury. McGuire is still only owned in 17% of Yahoo leagues even though he has been on the fantasy radar for roughly 2 weeks which is incredible to me. McGuire may very well see a heavy workload against the Patriots this week who are hemorrhaging points to the running back position. Prepare to pay up for McGuire if he’s available on your waiver wire, especially if you need him for week 6.
At this point in the season, unless you own Rob Gronkowski, Travis Kelce or Zach Ertz, your tight end is probably driving you nuts on a week to week basis. Eric Ebron is the 12th most targeted tight end in the league right now, but he continues to drop passes and simply isn’t coming through. Jordan Reed was drafted as a high end starter and has struggled due to injury. The list of disappointments at the position could go on and on. At this point, unless you own one of those big three, I would roll with a high upside tight end who has top 15 target share at the position, accept what I get, and simply hope volume prevails. Here are a few options for you to consider moving forward.
Evan Engram – TE NY Giants – With the current state of the Giants receiving corps, Engram is a lock to see an increase in target share. Engram is owned in 69% of Yahoo leagues, and if you are in the 31% where he is available, get him, because he is a good bet to finish the season as a TE1.
David Njoku – TE Cleveland Browns – Last week Njoku had 3 catches on 3 targets for 48 yards and a touchdown. Njoku now has 3 touchdowns on the season on 12 total grabs, making him the #8 scoring TE in standard scoring leagues. Njoku is much more athletic than Kyle Rudolph, but because he splits time with Seth DeValve who is still dominating the Browns target share at the tight end position, he’s giving you Rudolph like, touchdown dependent numbers. With the current landscape at tight end, you would be foolish not to add Njoku, because if the Browns start giving him a larger target share, his value will sky rocket.
Ed Dickson – TE Carolina Panthers – Dickson had a big week 5, coming through with 175 yards on 5 catches. Although Dickson did come through this week, it’s unclear just how consistent he can be, because he had 1 catch for 8 yards in week 3, and 3 catches for 62 yards in week 4. I didn’t advocate for adding Dickson when Olsen first went down, but it looks like he’s starting to gel with Cam Newton. Dickson appears to be ascending as a viable option at the tight end position given the current landscape at the position, and is still only owned in 3% of Yahoo leagues.
George Kittle – TE SF 49ers – Kittle is a top 20 scoring TE, the 13th most targeted tight end in the game right now and is only owned in 1% of Yahoo leagues. The 49ers offense isn’t very explosive and Brian Hoyer isn’t really getting it done, but Kittle is getting volume.
Nick O’Leary – TE Buffalo Bills – Charles Clay is set to miss multiple weeks because of his knee injury and the Bills don’t really have another viable receiving option to distribute the ball to. Nick O’Leary wasn’t on my fantasy radar until yesterday, but he is now because of the Bills system and lack of play makers at the wide receiver position. O’Leary is 6’3″, weighs 252 and can move ok. In Clay’s absence, he grabbed 5 balls off 6 targets for 54 yards. As I’ve said before, Rick Dennison has a horizontal passing attack, and solid production from the tight end is a product of that system. If you are desperate, O’Leary may not be a bad option to get you through a tough time. The Bills are on bye this week, so there shouldn’t be too much competition for O’Leary on the waiver wire, if any.
For your viewing pleasure, I listed the top 20 targeted tight ends below:
Zach Ertz – 48
Jason Witten – 38
Travis Kelce – 37
Evan Engram – 34
Jimmy Graham – 34
Jared Cook – 31
Martellus Bennett – 31
Delanie Walker – 31
Rob Gronkowski – 30
Charles Clay – 28
Jesse James – 25
Eric Ebron – 23
George Kittle – 23
Jack Doyle – 23
Seth DeValve – 22
Cameron Brate – 22
Ben Watson – 22
Tyler Higbee – 21
Zach Miller – 20
Antonio Gates – 20
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