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Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 5

By Matt Schauf | Updated on Fri, 19 Apr 2024 . 3:28 PM EDT

Waiver Wire Pickups

Waiver Wire Targets 

Shallow Leagues

Jameson Williams, WR, Detroit Lions

Blind-bid recommendation: 8-12%

The NFL changed its discipline for gambling infractions late last week, which trimmed the final two games off Williams’ ban. That returns him to the team ahead of Week 5.

Does that mean we can look to use him in Week 5 fantasy lineups? No. We don’t even know if the second-year wideout will make it into Detroit’s top 3 at WR right away. The 12th overall pick from last year endured a lackluster training camp and preseason before the suspension.

So why bother picking him up? That electric speed. Williams touched the ball twice as a rookie:

  • A 40-yard run
  • And a 41-yard TD catch

There’s potential for him to deliver useful fantasy points even on limited opportunities. And the Lions should be motivated to try to maximize a player they moved up to select at 12.

Tyler Boyd, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

Blind-bid recommendation: 7-10%

There’s nothing thrilling about Boyd or his offense right now. But he’s at least in for temporary role growth.

All we know so far about Tee Higgins’ rib fracture is that it “could keep him off the field for a bit,” according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. We’ll watch for more details, but that sounds like multiple games.

That doesn’t make Boyd an automatic fantasy starter in this year’s struggling pass offense. But the veteran delivered 10+ PPR points eight times last season. And he has seen 8, 9, and 7 targets the past three weeks.

A Week 5 meeting with Arizona can’t hurt. The Cardinals have provided a strongly positive scoring matchup for WRs so far this year.

Jake Ferguson, TE, Dallas Cowboys

Blind-bid recommendation: 5-8%

We talked about Ferguson’s strong role in our Week 4 preview podcast, and that continued in Sunday’s beatdown of the Patriots.

Through four weeks, he ranks seventh among TEs in total targets and ninth in target share. Ferguson also sits among the top 9 fantasy scorers across formats, despite just 1 TD and catching neither of his end-zone targets so far.

Ferguson is already rostered in 53% of Yahoo leagues and 50% on Sleeper. But those numbers should be a lot closer to 100% going forward.

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12-Team Leagues

Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, Las Vegas Raiders

Rostered: 14%
Blind-bid recommendation: 0-1%

Week 5 marks the beginning of NFL teams going on bye.

Need a fill-in for Browns QB Deshaun Watson, Chargers QB Justin Herbert, or Seahawks QB Geno Smith?

Assuming he’s back from his concussion this week, Garoppolo will face a Packers defense that ranks as the 11th-best matchup in adjusted fantasy points allowed to QBs this season.

Garoppolo’s no lock for production. But he threw for 324 yards and delivered a QB13 fantasy finish his last time out. Garoppolo also finished Week 1 as QB14.

With Davante Adams and Jakobi Meyers healthy, the Vegas QB presents some upside.

Latavius Murray, RB, Buffalo Bills

Rostered: 10%
Blind-bid recommendation: 5-8%

We spoke about Murray in last week’s waiver article, and his appeal hasn’t changed.

He’s the clear No. 2 back behind James Cook and has seen at least 6 touches in each of the last three games.

Even if nothing happens to Cook to open up the lead job, Murray is a TD-or-bust flex option for managers missing players due to bye weeks.

Jaleel McLaughlin, RB, Denver Broncos

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

This undrafted free agent is starting to heat up.

McLaughlin got more work than Samaje Perine after Javonte Williams left last week’s game with a hip injury. He turned those 10 touches into 104 total yards and a receiving TD.

Perine has managed just 25 rushing yards and 7 receptions over the past three weeks. And he has 0 TDs to McLaughlin’s 2 on the season.

We might have already seen Denver flip its backups at the position. Williams’ hip injury doesn’t sound serious – and might not even cost him this week – but it adds upside to both guys behind him. 

Chuba Hubbard, RB, Carolina Panthers

Rostered: 25%
Blind-bid recommendation: 3-5%

Miles Sanders played through a groin injury in Week 4 and trailed Hubbard in both carries and yards.

Hubbard turned 14 carries into 41 yards, compared with Sanders’ 13-19 rushing line. He also edged Sanders in yards per catch while playing 54% of Carolina’s offensive snaps.

Neither player actually proved successful against Minnesota, and you shouldn’t bet on Hubbard passing Sanders on the depth chart. But he’ll get more work if Sanders’ groin issue worsens. 

And Hubbard’s two games of double-digit touches through four weeks could make him an emergency fill-in during the bye weeks.

Wan'Dale Robinson, WR, New York Giants

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

Robinson hasn't done anything special across his first two appearances this year. But he did climb to second among Giants WRs in routes (behind Darius Slayton) in the Monday night loss to the Seahawks.

Robinson has tied Parris Campbell for the target lead over those two games, one ahead of Darren Waller. He trails Campbell in targets per route (34.4% vs. 26.8%) but leads him in routes.

This remains a limited pass offense, but Robinson looks like the best bet to lead the WRs in targets going forward. He's fine to add as a deeper PPR stash or even low-end weekly option.

The Giants might need to up the passing volume against Miami in Week 5.

Michael Wilson, WR, Arizona Cardinals

Rostered: 2%
Blind-bid recommendation: 3-5%

Wilson ranks second among Cardinals WRs with a 75% route participation rate and 14% target share so far, trailing Marquise Brown.

The rookie delivered what might have been a breakout game at San Francisco last week. He caught all seven of his targets for 76 yards and 2 TDs.

We obviously can’t expect Wilson to keep a 100% catch rate or 28.6% TD rate going. But he’s certainly capable of remaining Arizona’s No. 2 WR. And his 16.6-yard average target depth so far adds boom upside to the obvious bust risk.

Just make sure you don’t overreact to the one strong week, which doubled the rookie’s reception total for the season.

Luke Musgrave, TE, Green Bay Packers

Rostered: 37%
Blind-bid recommendation: 5-8%

The rookie left Week 4 vs. the Lions with a concussion, which might keep him out for Week 5.

After three weeks, though, here were his ranks among 32 TEs with 10+ targets:

  • ninth in yards per route run (1.39)
  • ninth in yards after catch per reception (4.9)
  • second in aDOT (10.9)

That’s more explosiveness than you typically find in a TE, giving Musgrave upside beyond his production to date – if QB Jordan Love can improve.

Zach Ertz, TE, Arizona Cardinals

Rostered: 26%
Blind-bid recommendation: 3-5%

Believe it or not, Ertz sits tied with Vikings TE T.J. Hockenson for most targets (30) among TEs.

He has also recorded at least 8.1 PPR points in three of four games and sits 10th among TEs in total PPR points. 

Ertz’s playing time had dipped the previous two weeks before rebounding at San Francisco. He could see fewer snaps when Arizona plays from ahead – as it did against Dallas in Week 3 – but we’re not betting on that becoming the norm for these Cardinals.

 

Deep Leagues

Superflex: Zach Wilson, QB, New York Jets 

Rostered: 3%
Blind-bid recommendation: 2-4%

Wilson might have saved his job – at least temporarily – after Sunday night’s performance.

Wilson completed 28 of 39 passes for 245 yards and 2 TDs. Per Pro Football Focus, he avoided a turnover-worthy play for the second straight week.

Progress.

Now, he draws a Broncos pass defense that’s been the laughingstock of the league. 

They've allowed a 73.5% completion rate on the year. In just the first halves of weeks 3 and 4, Denver gave up 437 yards and 5 TDs to Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Fields.

They combined to go 32 of 33 passing.

We’re not expecting a QB1 line from Wilson. But he’s in position to at least keep fantasy lineups afloat, especially in a week with four QBs on bye.

Superflex: Mitchell Trubisky, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers

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

It’s gross.

But we’re talking superflex here, and pretty much anyone with a pulse deserves a look.

If QB Kenny Pickett's knee injury costs him Week 5, Trubisky will get a Ravens defense that’s the most injury-plagued league-wide. Their pass D looks strong on the surface, with only 570 yards and 3 TDs allowed to QBs through the first month.

But consider who they’ve played: C.J. Stroud (in his NFL debut), Joe Burrow (clearly less than 100%), Gardner Minshew (backup) and Dorian Thompson-Robinson (backup).

Mix in some rushing upside for Trubisky, and he’s an option for fantasy managers in a pinch.

Melvin Gordon, RB, Baltimore Ravens

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

As expected, Gordon played well behind Gus Edwards in Week 4. But Gordon actually out-snapped Justice Hill 11-7 while topping him in touches (4 to 3).

Sure, that’s nothing to get fired up about. But given the injury histories of Edwards and Hill, Gordon will remain a candidate for a bigger role as the season wears on. 

We’ll just keep an eye on how the Ravens handle his roster status. Entering Week 5, the Ravens have already used up Gordon’s three practice-squad elevations.

Terrace Marshall, WR, Carolina Panthers

Rostered: 1%
Blind-bid recommendation: 2-4%

Marshall set career highs in targets (10) and catches (9) in Week 4. And that was with the Panthers' WR corps at full strength.

Bryce Young showed some much-needed improvement in the loss. His 64.1 PFF passing grade, 86.2% adjusted completion rate, and 2.3% turnover-worthy play rate all marked season bests.

Carolina’s upcoming schedule looks strong for pass volume with a pair of road matchups at Detroit and Miami.

Tyler Conklin, TE, New York Jets

Rostered: 3%
Blind-bid recommendation: 1-2%

Conklin's targets have gone 6-5-6 over his past three outings.

He's totaled 12 catches over that stretch.

It’s nothing flashy. In fact, a shaky Jets passing game has afforded only one total red zone target.

Still, with Zach Wilson showing signs of progress – plus an upcoming matchup at Denver – Conklin deserves consideration as a low-end option in deep formats.

 

Streaming Options

Sam Howell, QB, Washington Commanders

Howell rebounded from a horrid outing in the Week 3 loss to Buffalo for a solid day at Philadelphia. He threw for 290 yards, ran for 40 more, and found WR Jahan Dotson for the tying TD at the end of regulation.

That marked Howell’s second 290+ yard line in three weeks and his third outing of 19+ fantasy points through four weeks.

Now comes a Week 5 meeting with Chicago. The Bears have allowed the league’s third-most QB fantasy points to date, including 3-TD games to Jordan Love, Patrick Mahomes, and Russell Wilson.

Another good outing here could make Howell a fantasy option in the ensuing weeks as well. Washington’s next three games:

  • at Atlanta
  • at N.Y. Giants
  • vs. Philadelphia

Josh Dobbs, QB, Arizona Cardinals

Through four weeks, Dobbs quietly ranks seventh in the league in completion rate and fourth among QBs in rushing yards. He has topped 40 yards on the ground in three straight games and topped 25 fantasy points twice.

The past two weeks have been particularly impressive. Dobbs notched a QB16 finish in an upset win over the Cowboys and then a QB7 outing in Sunday’s loss to the 49ers.

If Dobbs can do that against two of the league’s toughest defenses, then he’s downright intriguing against the Bengals in Week 5.

Cincinnati was already the third-best scoring matchup for QBs heading into Sunday. And then it let the Titans score 27 points and rack up 400 total yards.

Washington Commanders DST

The Commanders have allowed three straight opponents to score 33+ points, so there’s clearly some downside risk. But this week brings the Bears to town.

Didn’t chasing that Bears matchup get us in trouble last week?

Not quite. The Broncos did allow a big passing day to Justin Fields and 28 points to Chicago. But they also still finished 11th among fantasy defenses for the week (by ESPN scoring) thanks to a fumble-return TD.

The Bears have turned the ball over twice every week and allowed 4.25 sacks per game. Washington has tallied 3+ sacks in three of four outings.

Detroit Lions DST

The Lions come off two straight high-end performances (against the Falcons and Packers) to face a Panthers team that’s having trouble scoring.

Detroit racked up 12 sacks over those two contests. Bryce Young has taken 9 over his past two outings. The one game he missed marks the only time Carolina has scored more than 17 points so far this season.

The Lions look like a high-ceiling, high-floor option for Week 5. Another good performance could also make them usable at Tampa Bay in Week 6.

Green Bay Packers DST

The Packers visit a bad Raiders offense this week. Vegas ranks bottom-8 in both yards and scoring. The team has also turned the ball over three times in each of the past three games and allowed 11 sacks over the past two weeks.

The Green Bay defense hasn’t posted a good fantasy score since Week 1, benefiting from a TD return in that one to finish fifth for the week.

The Packers are no lock to get back into top-12 territory this week. But they have the upside to do so if the first two streaming options here aren’t available.

Check our Week 5 DST rankings for the top available option in your league.

 

Drop Candidates

Bryce Young, QB, Carolina Panthers

Young remained rostered in 30% of Sleeper leagues as of Monday. He’s not worth hanging on to in 1-QB formats.

The rookie has averaged just 167.7 passing yards per game and fallen short of 20 rushing yards in two of three outings, while running just seven total times.

It doesn’t help that Young has limited surrounding talent in Carolina. But the Panthers’ best offensive output through four weeks has also come in the only game Young missed.

Baker Mayfield, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Mayfield has been better so far this season than anyone expected. But Week 4 marked the first time he finished higher than QB16 among fantasy scorers.

That doesn’t make him someone you need to move on from in all formats this week. But it does make him a QB you don’t need to cling to through the bye in 1-QB setups.

That said, if you don’t need to spend that roster spot on someone else and do need the QB option after Tampa’s bye, Mayfield has a fine upcoming schedule:

  • vs. Detroit
  • vs. Atlanta
  • at Buffalo
  • at Houston

Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers

Pickett ranked just 24th among QB scorers over the past three weeks, ahead of the Week 4 contest he left early. If you were still holding him, cut him loose in the wake of the injury – even if he doesn’t wind up missing Week 5.

Antonio Gibson, RB, Washington Commanders

If you’re playing in a league that finds every handcuff RB sitting on a roster, then you don’t need to unload Gibson. But if you’re otherwise staring at a bench full of backups and wondering who you can dump for help, he might be your guy.

Gibson logged just 6 carries in the OT loss at Philadelphia on Sunday, a game Washington led most of the way. And that nearly doubled Gibson’s carry total for the season. He also drew just 1 target and finished with 10 receiving yards or less for the third time in four games.

Gibson doesn’t look like he’ll help you without Brian Robinson getting hurt.

JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, New England Patriots

Smith-Schuster remains the most rostered Patriots WR (53% of Sleeper leagues) despite doing nothing through four weeks to prove he deserves it.

He ranks third on the team in targets so far but just fifth in receptions per game (2.8) and fourth among Patriots WRs in yards per target (3.8).

Worse, JuJu sank to 38.2% route participation in Sunday’s loss at Dallas. That ranked him behind three other New England WRs, two TEs, and both RBs.

Less than halfway through his first season with the Pats, Smith-Schuster looks nearly worthless in fantasy.

Kendrick Bourne, WR, New England Patriots

Bourne has spent the past three weeks reminding us that his Week 1 blowup was a fluke. He racked up 24.4 PPR points in that one (with DeVante Parker out). 

Bourne has totaled 21.1 points in the three games since. He has also watched Parker lead the group in routes for three straight weeks.

As we mentioned in this article back in Week 2, the past three weeks align with Bourne’s career to date. He has averaged just 2.9 receptions per game across 2+ seasons in New England; 2.6 per game for his career. 

Bourne is also working on a career-low 6.3 yards per target so far in 2023.

Hayden Hurst, TE, Carolina Panthers

We all got a little too excited about Hurst’s 5 receptions and TD in Week 1, ignoring that he ran a route on just 58.7% of Bryce Young’s dropbacks. That trailed the top three Carolina WRs.

Hurst’s rate has picked up a little over the past three weeks. But he still ran a route on just 65% of Young’s dropbacks in Week 4. And TEs Tommy Tremble and Ian Thomas each gained significant ground on him.

Most importantly, Hurst has seen just 3 targets in each of the past three games. He’s tied for 21st among TEs in that category through four weeks, tied for 24th in receptions, and tied for 30th in yards.

 

Grab This Guy

Jordan Mason, RB, 49ers

223.

That’s the number of snaps played by Christian McCaffrey through just four games. He sits second among RBs in that category; first in carries (80).

It’s certainly a larger workload than we anticipated given how 2022 ended.

Long term, though, it’s debatable whether CMC can hold up on such a hefty workload.

So we’re proactively stashing Mason in deep formats.

Elijah Mitchell missed Week 4 with yet another injury. He has proven effective in spurts but also can't stay healthy.

Ty Davis-Price remains on the roster, but it was Mason who held down the RB2 role Sunday (8 snaps, 4 touches). 

Recall that last year, Mason showed well on a limited sample. Among 72 RBs with 45+ carries, Mason ranked second in PFF rushing grade, second in yards after contact per attempt, and seventh in Elusive Rating.

If Mason ever sees starter-level volume in Kyle Shanahan's offense, it’s easy to forecast RB2 value.

More on Week 5 Waiver Wire Picks

This video digs into some of the top names for your Week 5 waiver run.

Other rankings are stale  before the 2nd round.

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