We’ve hit a point in the season where the pickings are getting slim (especially at the RB position), and a lot of the guys are going to have already made an appearance on previous lists. The early lists were deep, and while a lot of the guys we’ve talked about having graduated out of this space, some of the deeper cuts are now emerging as the next guys up.
Early in the season when a lot of the picks were geared toward season-long potential, while as you’ve probably noticed, they’d started to shift to including more week to week plays as the field thins out and bye weeks create that type of necessity.
I hint at it, and you should be able to spot the differences to fit your needs, but if you ever have any questions about who’s the best fit for your team you can tweet me @Dro210. As always, all players are less than 50% owned in Yahoo! leagues…
The Running Backs:
Chase Edmonds, Cardinals (4%) – With teammate David Johnson’s back locking up on him, and coach Kliff Kingsbury saying there’s a possibility he doesn’t play against Atlanta’s weak defense on Sunday, Edmonds becomes the waiver add with the potential to do the most damage in the box score this week.
Beyond being a weak defense, ATL is especially weak against pass-catching RBs. That’s kind of the Cardinals and Edmonds’ (as well as DJ’s) specialty. He’d be a full 3 down replacement and although he’s never been spectacular in the backup role, he’s been solid, and the volume he’d likely receive in a high paced game should be enough to pay off.
Ito Smith, Falcons (15%) – Another backup RB from the same high paced here. Unlike Edmonds, Smith’s backup isn’t questionable to play, but as I’ve mentioned before when I listed Ito in the early part of the year, Freeman doesn’t look very good. They’re being deployed at a near ever rate, and Smith has actually out touched him at the goalline.
Smith has also come on strong as a pass catcher with 8 catches on 10 targets in the last 2 games, giving the Falcons more reasons to have him on the field. The standalone value isn’t ideal in a timeshare like this, but he’s doing more than anybody else in this type of situation, and the guy in front of him is shaky.
Adrian Peterson, Redskins (47%) – Peterson had worked his way off this list by being above 50% owned for a few weeks, but with his struggles, the team’s struggles, and a matchup last week with New England, he’s back in the mix here. It’s not ideal, I get it, I’ve seen what he’s done so far. So why should you be looking at him?
Like I said, RB is extremely thin at this point, but beyond that, the Redskins play the Dolphins this week. That’s right, those Dolphins. A game Washington could actually find itself competing in. Add in that newly appointed head coach has already said he thought Jay Gruden wasn’t running the ball enough, and this could be a turn back the clock week for Adrian.
Gus Edwards, Ravens (7%) – This is a deep play, because Mark Ingram is likely to go OFF this week against the Bengals, but that’s exactly why I like Edwards a little. The Bengals are terrible against the run, and that’s what the Ravens do. Gus is already averaging 8 touches per game, and this is the kind of game where I can see that rising up to 10-12 if not a few more as Baltimore leans on the run in a game that could get out of hand. That many touches, in that offense, against that defense could easily result in, say 50-60 yards and a TD.
The Wide Receivers:
Mohamed Sanu, Falcons (43%) – Sanu has been putting up solid numbers in almost every game, averaging nearly 6 catches on 7 targets for just under 60 yards per game. He added his first TD last week against Houston, and that should get him the attention needed to push above 50%. Once again, the high volume Cardinals/Falcons game comes into play here, and I expect a nice week for Sanu.
Darius Slayton, Giants (1%) – The Giants could be without their top 2 options in the passing game this week, with Sterling Shepard suffering his second concussion of the season and Evan Engram dealing with a knee injury. Enter Slayton, who’s shown pretty decent chemistry with Daniel Jones. Averages of only 3 catches on 4 targets for 50 yards per game don’t stand out, but considering the connection, the volume increase due to the injuries and his 4.39 speed, he’s gotta be on the radar. The biggest cause for concern is of course the matchup with the Patriots. If you go this route, just pray he doesn’t see too much Stephon Gilmore.
Guys to watch: Demaryius Thomas (3%) saw 9 targets last week, but only hauled in 4 for 47. With Herndon and Darnold back this week, I don’t expect him to see that volume often, but keep an eye on it.
Zay Jones (3%) was traded from the Bills to the Raiders on Monday, and while his career catch rate of 46.4% is abysmal, he has tons of physical abilities and should get a fresh chance in Oakland’s extremely shallow receiving core.
KeeSean Johnson (2%) has averaged 5 targets per game, and if Kirk and Byrd continue to miss time, he’s just waiting for a breakout. Atlanta’s secondary could provide it, but you’d like to see him probe it before picking him up.
Byron Pringle (1%) popped up with a nice game for the Chiefs on Sunday night after Sammy Watkins left. He has to be mentioned because of that game, and everyone seeing it in primetime, but I’m not too high here. A lot of that production (6/103/1) came on one drive, and Pat can make anyone pop when he finds a matchup to exploit. Ty Hill is likely back this week, and with him, Hardman, Robinson, and Watkins when healthy + Kelce, I just don’t ever see a situation where you’ll be able to predict a “Pringle game”.
Albert Wilson (2%) is healthy and will be back in the slot in Miami. Wilson is good, but obviously, Miami is not. With enough volume, he would produce, but it’ll be tough to come by there.
Still there: I’ve talked about all of these guys for multiple weeks, so I won’t go into detail, but any of these guys would be Sanu level priority for me, and well above anyone in the “guys to watch” category, just to clarify. Diontae Johnson (33%), Preston Williams (8%), Cole Beasley (20%), Devontae Parker (9%), Auden Tate (21%), Corey Davis (47%), AJ Brown (23%), Randall Cobb (19%).
The Tight Ends:
Gerald Everett, Rams (12%) – With TE as thin of a position as it is, Everett should have been listed here last week after his 5/44/1 performance on 8 targets in Week 4. That was a whiff by me. We won’t make that mistake again, and neither will anyone else after he followed it up with 7/136 on 11 targets in Week 5.
I don’t know if this type of volume can keep up, but I like his chances to maintain relevance. Rams love targeting their TEs in the red zone, and it appears they’re using them more this year to make up for less targets going the backfield and Todd Gurley’s way. That said, Tyler Higbee is an option in deeper leagues himself right now, but Everett is definitely the guy you’d rather have if given the option.
Chris Herndon, Jets (30%) – We talked about picking him up a week ahead of the end of his suspension last week, and some of you did, but he’s still out there in 70% of leagues. That’s high considering the weak TE position and the fact that Herndon is probably going to play on 95%+ of snaps. That doesn’t mean he’s gonna see huge volume, but it means he’ll be out there with a chance to get it. He’s still gotta prove that he can take the next step from his outstanding rookie season last year, but with Sam Darnold (who loves Herndon) coming back at the same time, he’s got a great opportunity to do it.
Hunter Henry, Chargers (40%) – The early season knee injury to the often injured Henry had many thinking it could be a long drawn out injury that could see him on iR or even out of the year, so they dropped him. Oops. Rumors have it Henry could be back as early as THIS WEEK, and if not, next week seems very likely. If you’re in a league where somebody dropped him, their mistakes can be your season saver.
Henry was drafted as a Top 5 end for a reason. When he’s on the field, he’s a stud. The Chargers will be happy to see him back too, because outside of Keenan Allen, their backfield duo, and the often injured himself Mike Williams, they don’t have many options in the passing game. Instant volume should come right back, and if Henry can stay on the field, he knows what to do with it. Listed last, but easily the top pickup on the board if he’s available.
Good luck in Week 6.
- Michael Hogan, PSR/SouthtownUnscripted