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Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 6

By Matt Schauf | Updated on Tue, 10 Oct 2023 . 2:48 PM EDT

Waiver Wire Pickups

 

Waiver Wire Targets 

 

Shallow Leagues

Jeff Wilson Jr., RB, Miami Dolphins

Blind-bid recommendation: 15-30%

If you’re looking for a Week 6 fill-in, then Wilson might not be your answer. We don’t know for sure as of this writing that he’ll even return to practice this week. Even if he does, we’d likely need to wait until the weekend to see whether he’ll play and how much.

But whenever he is all the way back, Wilson will return to a hyper-productive run game and offense. And he’s basically guaranteed immediate opportunity by De’Von Achane’s knee injury.

As we pointed out over the summer, Miami traded a draft pick for Wilson last season and then gave him as much work as incumbent Raheem Mostert. And then the Dolphins paid Wilson slightly more in re-signing both players in the offseason.

Wilson easily leads this week’s group in long-term upside and should be rostered in just about all leagues of 10+ teams.

D’Onta Foreman, RB, Chicago Bears

Blind-bid recommendation: 5-10%

If you need a RB starter for Week 6, then Foreman’s probably your best available option. He has been a healthy scratch the past four games, but Chicago lost Khalil Herbert (ankle), Roschon Johnson (concussion), and Travis Homer (hamstring) against Washington.

Johnson might have the best chance at returning for Week 6. Herbert’s expected to miss multiple games. So Foreman should see at least a share of the backfield work against Minnesota this Sunday – and might own it.

That doesn’t make the veteran worth dropping someone worthwhile to acquire. But he can be a solid fill-in. Note, however, that Minnesota has been a negative scoring matchup for RBs so far.

Tyjae Spears, RB, Tennessee Titans

Blind-bid recommendation: 5-10%

Nothing much changed in Week 5 for a guy worth stashing in any league where you have room. The past two weeks, though, have showed us Spears can be a fill-in amid bye-week issues.

The rookie has played more than 50% of offensive snaps in four of five games, including each of the past three. Spears has also garnered 4+ targets in each of those four games and tallied 11 receptions over the past three.

He’s tied for third among Titans in targets through five weeks, drawing 13.2% of the total.

Jaleel McLaughlin, RB, Denver Broncos

Blind-bid recommendation: 5-8%

McLaughlin sat rostered in 59% of Yahoo leagues and 54% of Sleeper leagues on Monday morning. Those rates should probably be at least a little higher.

McLaughlin beat Samaje Perine 9-6 in carries in Sunday’s loss to the Jets and generated 7.4 yards per touch. His season yards per carry (7.3) currently equals the combined total for Perine (3.7) and Javonte Williams (3.6).

McLaughlin’s not only a starting option when Williams is out, but he might be earning a larger role even when Williams returns. The rookie’s speed offers something different vs. both his backfield mates.

TIP

Our Free Agent Finder will highlight the top waiver wire options available in YOUR specific league, with lots of different sorting options to fit what you need.

 

12-Team Leagues

Sam Howell, QB, Washington Commanders

Rostered: 34%
Blind-bid recommendation: 0-5%

Howell sits at QB17 in fantasy points per game (16.4). Not that appealing, right? 

But remember that his terrible 4-INT, 0.6-point performance in Week 3 vs. the Bills is dragging down that average.

Howell has actually finished as the QB13 or better in every other game in 2023.

Whether you’re looking for a replacement for Colts QB Anthony Richardson or want to beat the waiver wire for an upcoming bye-week filler, Howell is your guy.

The Commanders’ next two games (Falcons, Giants) present solid matchups.

Emari Demercado, RB, Arizona Cardinals

Rostered: 2%
Blind-bid recommendation: 6-10%

Demercado ran for 45 yards and a TD on 10 carries Sunday, when James Conner left with a knee injury.

Missing Keaontay Ingram helped those opportunities, and we’ll see whether Ingram’s neck injury allows him to return this week.

But Demercado could be worth a pickup if you need Week 6 help. The undrafted rookie brings a nice speed profile. His 4.49-second 40 time at 215 pounds gives him an 83rd-percentile speed score among NFL RBs.

Demercado posted limited college production – 4.8 yards per carry career, 6.9 yards per catch – but also had his opportunities limited by sharing backfields with Kendre Miller, Zach Evans, and running QB Max Duggan.

Demercado did catch 40 passes at TCU and should at least be in for a strong work share if Ingram remains out. A matchup with the Rams brings a defense ranked just 26th in overall DVOA; 22nd vs. the run.

Chuba Hubbard, RB, Carolina Panthers

Rostered: 32%
Blind-bid recommendation: 0-3%
Hubbard led the Panthers in carries for the second straight week in Sunday’s loss. Week 4 found Hubbard clearly gaining work from Miles Sanders managing a groin injury. Week 5 found Hubbard getting a garbage time boost.

Sanders led Hubbard 6-3 in carries at halftime at Detroit but rushed just one more time after that in a lopsided defeat.

Carolina paid Sanders $13 million in guarantees on a four-year contract in free agency. So don’t bet on Hubbard overtaking him when both are healthy. But that groin issue is enough to give Hubbard some upside – albeit in one of the league’s weakest offenses.

Josh Downs, WR, Indianapolis Colts

Rostered: 9%
Blind-bid recommendation: 0-3%

Among rookie WRs, Downs ranks third in targets (30), third in catch rate (76.7%), and sixth in Pro Football Focus receiving grade. 

In Week 5 vs. the Titans, he posted a team-leading 97 yards while being targeted on 26% of his routes.

Downs sits a clear second among Colts in receiving on the year, drawing 19.8% target share, accounting for 21.5% of team catches, and delivering 22.6% of the receiving yards.

The rookie trails only Michael Pittman in each category but leads the veteran in yards per catch, receiving success rate, and catch rate.

Downs could settle in as a decent fantasy WR4 going forward, regardless of who’s behind center.

K.J. Osborn, WR, Minnesota Vikings

Rostered: 9%
Blind-bid recommendation: 0-3%
Now that Justin Jefferson is headed to IR for at least four weeks, Osborn will get a bump in opportunity. 

He has already registered 93% route participation in 2023 and seen just 3 targets fewer than rookie Jordan Addison through five games.

Osborn’s 5 catches, 9 targets, and 49 yards in the game Jefferson left all marked season highs for the fourth-year wideout. That bodes well for his opportunity volume, and also reminds you not to expect big yards-per-catch production.

We’ll see whether Minnesota remains as pass-leaning while Jefferson is out. The Vikings lead the league in pass attempts through five weeks.

Michael Gallup, WR, Dallas Cowboys

Rostered: 22%
Blind-bid recommendation: 0-3%

Gallup has out-targeted WR Brandin Cooks 18-15 over the past three games and leads all Cowboys in receiving yards (167) and receptions (13) over that span.

That has produced just the 38th-most PPR points among WRs over the past three weeks, and we have to assume Dallas will fix its issues in getting the ball to CeeDee Lamb. (He sits tied with Gallup in targets since Week 3.)

But a Week 6 visit to the Chargers presents a rebound spot for the offense and potential shootout conditions. Gallup makes sense as a low-end starting option for that one and could remain a potential fill-in through the bye weeks.

Wan’Dale Robinson, WR, New York Giants

Rostered: 24%
Blind-bid recommendation: 0-3%
Since returning to the lineup in Week 3, the second-year wideout ranks second on the Giants in targets (17) and is tied with TE Darren Waller for the team lead with 14 catches.

That’s not enough to give Robinson intriguing upside. And he’ll be even less interesting if QB Daniel Jones’ neck injury costs him further time.

But the Giants’ effort to get Robinson the ball as soon as he returned from his ACL recovery makes him likely to at least continue leading the team’s WRs in targets. And that’s enough to make him worth some PPR consideration.

Logan Thomas, TE, Washington Commanders

Rostered: 15%
Blind-bid recommendation: 0-3%
Thomas has finished among the top 12 PPR TEs in three of his four appearances this season.

The veteran has seen fluctuating involvement (8, 3, 3, 11 targets). But he ranks first among Commanders by being targeted on 17% of his routes.

Week 6 brings Atlanta, which has been the league’s best scoring matchup for TEs so far, by our adjusted fantasy points allowed.

Jonnu Smith, TE, Atlanta Falcons

Rostered: 16%
Blind-bid recommendation: 0-1%

Smith ranks 12th among PPR TEs for the season, despite throwing up a zero in Week 1. He sits an even better TE8 in points per game since Week 2.

Smith followed that empty Week 1 with a solid 4-47 receiving line on 6 targets in Week 2. Over the past three weeks, he ranks fifth among all TEs in targets – even with Kyle Pitts’ strong Week 5 pushing him to third on that list.

Smith also ranks third among TEs in receptions over that span and leads the position in receiving yards. For the year, he ranks eighth in target share, just ahead of T.J. Hockenson and Dallas Goedert.

 

Deep Leagues

Gardner Minshew, QB, Indianapolis Colts (superflex)

Rostered: 1%
Blind-bid recommendation: 15-20%

The Colts expect Richardson to miss 4-6 weeks with a Grade 3 AC joint sprain (right shoulder).

Insert Minshew. Coming off the bench, he tallied 155 yards on 11-of-14 passing vs. Tennessee.

“He’s an elite processor of the game,” HC Shane Steichen said. “He’s accurate, he knows where to go with the football at the right time and the right place, and he’s been awesome for us.”

Indy’s near-term schedule doesn’t look perfect: at Jacksonville, vs. Cleveland, vs. New Orleans, and at Carolina. But Minshew should find a place in QB2 range most weeks – especially this Sunday against his former team.

Jordan Mason, RB, San Francisco 49ers

Rostered: 1%
Blind-bid recommendation: 3-5%

We mentioned Mason as the Week 5 “Grab this Guy.” The rationale: Elijah Mitchell hasn’t proved capable of avoiding injuries. And Mason – albeit on a small sample – showed he could excel in San Francisco’s fantasy-friendly offense.

Well, Mason assumed the RB2 role again in Week 5. In a blowout win over Dallas, he ripped off 69 yards and 1 score on 10 attempts.

Even a Mitchell return wouldn’t stop Mason from being stashable.

Kendre Miller, RB, New Orleans Saints

Rostered: 12%
Blind-bid recommendation: 5-7%

Don’t overrate Miller’s 16 touches in Week 5. Only five of those came in the first half. A Saints blowout helped him gain extra work in the second half. But there's still reason to grab the talented rookie.

Jamaal Williams remains on IR with a hamstring injury. He’s eligible to return for Week 7, but we don’t know yet whether he’ll be ready.

Miller’s TCU tape turned up plenty of potential, and the Saints certainly agreed by taking him in Round 3. He’s worth a stash behind Alvin Kamara and is capable of battling Williams for work after the veteran returns.

Salvon Ahmed, RB, Dolphins

Rostered: 0%
Blind-bid recommendation: 1-2%

The Dolphins lost De’Von Achane to a multi-week knee injury

As of Tuesday morning, the Dolphins haven’t activated RB Jeff Wilson Jr. He has spent more than a month on IR with a rib and pinky injuries.

Maybe he’s ready for Week 6 (vs. Carolina). If he’s not, though, Ahmed’s in line for the No. 2 role.

There’s nothing special about the former undrafted free agent’s size or athletic profile. But any RB2 in a Mike McDaniel offense deserves a look.

Rondale Moore, WR, Arizona Cardinals

Rostered: 7%
Blind-bid recommendation: 3-5%

Here's a look at Moore's receiving yards by game: 

  • 33
  • 14
  • 8
  • 0
  • 26

Not great.

However, Moore’s also seeing a boosted rushing role. He has reached 50 rushing yards twice and enters Week 6 with 7 attempts on the year.

We’re not looking at Deebo Samuel of 2021-22. But James Conner’s knee injury could boost that rushing role further. And QB Kyler Murray is bound to return at some point.

Moore averaged 53.5 receiving yards across six games with Murray in 2022.

Jonathan Mingo, WR, Carolina Panthers

Rostered: 8%
Blind-bid recommendation: 3-5%

Mingo missed Week 4 with a concussion, but he jumped right back to a notable role on Sunday.

Playing 85.7% of the snaps, Mingo ranked just behind Adam Thielen in routes (36 to 41) while slotting second in targets (7).

The rookie has now seen 6.5 targets per game. His 50% catch rate and 8.6 yards per catch aren’t great. But improved efficiency from him and rookie QB Bryce Young as they gain experience could turn Mingo’s role into useful fantasy numbers later in the season.

Carolina’s overall struggles should only increase the passing volume.

Tyler Conklin, TE, New York Jets

Rostered: 6%
Blind-bid recommendation: 1-3%

In four full games with Zach Wilson, Conklin's averaging 9 PPR points. He’s TE14 over that stretch.

So he’s not a difference-maker but can be a viable streamer if you need some help.

The Jets’ upcoming schedule looks positive to neutral for TEs: Eagles, bye, Giants, Chargers, Raiders.

 

Streaming Options

Josh Dobbs, QB, Arizona Cardinals

Dobbs posted his second-worst fantasy outing of the year – and arguably his worst real-life performance – in Sunday’s loss to the Bengals. The QB threw his first 2 INTs of the year. He went from 41-55 rushing yards over the previous three games to just 1 yard on three attempts against Cincinnati.

It’s OK if you don’t want to use Dobbs in Week 6. His matchup looks negative by our adjusted fantasy points allowed. But that’s a mirage.

The Rams entered Week 5 ranked just 22nd in pass-defense DVOA. Then they allowed 303 passing yards and a 15-72-1 rushing line to Jalen Hurts on Sunday.

Cardinals-Rams opens with the fifth-highest Vegas-projected game total for Week 6.

Baker Mayfield, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Mayfield comes out of the bye sitting eighth among QBs in passer rating, sixth in QBR, and 14th in Pro Football Reference’s passing success rate.

He has been pretty good so far. But so has Detroit’s defense, which ranks eighth in pass-defense DVOA and third in total DVOA. They’ve been neutral as a QB fantasy matchup, however.

That has included allowing four of five QBs to reach 20+ fantasy points (depending on your format). A struggling Bryce Young threw for 3 TDs in Week 5.

The Bucs also head toward Week 6 as a home underdog, which could increase passing volume.

Desmond Ridder, QB, Atlanta Falcons

Ridder has run surprisingly little so far. But he has finished as a QB1 each of the two weeks that found him scoring on the ground.

The second of those came Sunday against Houston, which also featured a career-high 329 passing yards on 75.7% completions from the second-year Falcon.

Ridder is no lock to repeat any of that. But Week 6 pits him against a Washington D that just allowed Justin Fields to throw for 282 and 4 TDs. Fields was also the fourth QB to run for at least 34 yards against the Commanders through five games.

Only four teams have allowed more fantasy points to QBs so far.

Bryce Young, QB, Carolina Panthers

Did Young’s first top-12 fantasy week mark a breakthrough? Probably not. He threw for just 247 yards on 41 attempts (6.0 per attempt) and tossed 2 INTs to go with his 3 TDs.

His fantasy score basically doubled any of his other three outings. That profile doesn’t make for a safe Week 6 bet. But there’s upside.

Carolina heads to Miami as a two-TD underdog. And that line might not be big enough.

We’d bet on the Panthers trailing quickly and throughout this contest, which should drive up the passing volume.

Check our Week 6 QB rankings for the top available option in your league.

Jacksonville Jaguars DST

The Jags have already notched a good defensive performance against the Colts this year, back in Week 1:

  • 15 points allowed
  • 4 sacks
  • 2 fumble recoveries
  • 1 INT

Jacksonville has held four of five opponents to 20 points or fewer so far, including the Bills this past Sunday. And only Buffalo’s defense has more takeaways through five weeks.

Los Angeles Rams DST

Wait, didn’t we also just mention the QB facing these Rams as a streaming option?

Yep. Neither side of this matchup is a lock for anything. But you’re not likely to find too many locks when you’re streaming a position.

You’re looking for upside. And Arizona’s coming off a rough outing against the Bengals. That included three turnovers – more than doubling the season total – and three sacks allowed.

The Rams open as 6-point favorites, a game setting that could increase the pressure on QB Josh Dobbs – especially if RB James Conner (knee) is out.

Check our Week 6 DST rankings for the top available option in your league.

Drop Candidates

Anthony Richardson, QB, Indianapolis Colts

Richardson is expected to miss at least a month with his right-shoulder injury. And it’s possible later checks determine that he’ll need surgery.

If you’re sitting on a deep roster and a strong QB1, then you can afford to keep Richardson stashed. But if that’s not the case and you’d be dropping someone like Tyjae Spears to make room for Richardson’s replacement, then it’s OK to ditch the rookie QB.

Daniel Jones, QB, New York Giants

We’ll see whether the neck injury Jones suffered at Miami costs him any further time. But it might not matter for fantasy. Here are his weekly finishes to date:

  • QB29
  • QB1
  • QB31
  • QB23
  • QB26

Should you hang on to a guy capable of leading all QBs in fantasy points? No. You should strongly consider upgrading any QB facing the Cardinals.

That’s the only week Jones has been not-harmful to your fantasy lineup.

Derek Carr, QB, New Orleans Saints

Sunday’s lopsided win at New England marked Carr’s third straight game with less than 200 yards passing. 

Sure, the shoulder injury has factored in. But we’re also talking about a guy with loads of mediocre production behind him.

That has included exceeding 24 TD passes just once in the past six years.

Dalvin Cook, RB, New York Jets

If you took five people whose ages matched Cook’s weekly rushing-yardage totals, only two of them would be old enough to drink. (And you’d be part of some weird population surveying.)

Cook and his 2.7 yards per carry have been bad by any metric. The Jets’ offense also isn’t good. And Week 5 marked a ramp up for Breece Hall’s work. Even a Hall injury would likely at least find Michael Carter splitting work with Cook, if not running ahead of him.

Carter has seen more targets for the year and played more snaps than Cook each of the past two weeks.

Tank Bigsby, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars

Bigsby – who remains rostered in 30% of Sleeper leagues – isn’t even a must-hold for handcuff purposes. He has shared time with D’Ernest Johnson and JaMycal Hasty in recent weeks, signaling a likely backfield committee if Travis Etienne were to go down.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, Kansas City Chiefs

CEH still finds himself on a roster in 20% of Sleeper leagues. His role has declined, though, since a six-carry opener that seemed mildly promising.

His 15-55-1 rushing line in Week 3 came thanks to a game that was over before halftime. Kansas City pulled starters early in the second half. Otherwise, Edwards-Helaire has seen just 7 total carries and 3 targets since Week 1.

Isiah Pacheco, meanwhile, claimed a dominant share – with Jerick McKinnon behind him.

Devin Singletary, RB, Houston Texans

Singletary garnered zero touches for the first time this season in Sunday’s loss at Atlanta. He’s running distantly behind Dameon Pierce – who claimed all 20 RB carries in that game – in a backfield that’s not targeting any of the RBs.

There’s no meaningful upside to wait on with Singletary here.

Allen Lazard, WR, New York Jets

There was some hope for Lazard after a 3-61-1 receiving line against Kansas City, including a promising second half from QB Zach Wilson.

But Lazard has now gone five games without catching more than three passes. He’s averaging just 2.6 receptions and 40.4 yards per game. And Wilson followed that promise with his fourth game of sub-200 passing yards through five weeks.

Lazard still sits on a roster in 43% of Sleeper leagues. That should be much lower.

All Giants WRs besides Wan’Dale Robinson

As you can see above, we’re only modestly investing in even Robinson. And we’re comfy dropping the Giants’ QB. So with basically nothing going right in this offense, it makes little sense to cling to any wideout. Just in case you weren’t sure.

JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, New England Patriots

We mentioned Smith-Schuster in this space last week. And then he suffered a concussion in the loss to the Saints. That only makes him more droppable this time around.

 

Grab This Guy

Greg Dulcich, TE, Broncos

Rostered: 12%
Blind-bid recommendation: 3-5%

This is a speculative add, since Dulcich remains on IR as of Tuesday morning (hamstring).

He’s eligible to come off IR any day, so here’s the bull case:

Dulcich supplied TE10 numbers when healthy last season. He entered the league with an attractive profile, checking boxes for athleticism and production.

Denver’s actually getting solid play from Russell Wilson. In a composite measure of EPA and completion rate over expected, Wilson ranks sixth league wide. That puts him ahead of QBs such as Justin Herbert and Jalen Hurts.

Dulcich will have to fight WRs Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy for target share, but no Bronco has claimed 20% of team targets to date. And the team could use some help amid a 1-4 start, with Kansas City awaiting in two of their next three games.

If things don’t turn around, Denver could be motivated to trade a WR before the deadline.

You’re stashing Dulcich because he has already flashed as a rookie, and there’s room for him to produce as a top-12 TE the rest of the way.

 

More on Week 6 Waiver Wire Picks

This video digs into some of the top names for your Week 6 waiver run.

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