Each week I’ll list the best widely available free agents for fantasy football — I define “widely available” as being owned in around half of all ESPN or Yahoo leagues — and some guys who are probably better off in the free agent pool than collecting dust on your roster.
Here's my best bets for Week 5:
RB Wayne Gallman, Giants (ESPN: 0.2%; Yahoo: 4%): Paul Perkins was awful before he suffered a rib injury. Gallman was a highly productive running back at Clemson, who happens to run a similar spread offense to the Giants. He’s the type of downhill power runner who could stabilize their dilapidated run game. In a small sample size, the rookie was highly effective with his 11 carries and even caught two balls out of the backfield on Sunday, including a touchdown.
WR Will Fuller, Texans (ESPN: 9%; Yahoo: 32%): Fuller is a big play waiting to happen and judging by the two touchdowns he scored Sunday, he appears to be healthy. With Deshaun Watson looking like a future star, it’s finally time to invest in the Houston offense.
RB Aaron Jones, Packers (ESPN: 2%; Yahoo: 11%): Ty Montgomery broke multiple ribs last Thursday night, which means it could be several weeks before he’s healthy enough to handle his full role in the offense. Jones fits the offense better than fellow rookie Jamaal Williams. He’s a home run hitter who can catch the ball out of the backfield and is a solid short term solution to any running back issues you may have.
RB Alvin Kamara, Saints (ESPN: 21%; Yahoo: 46%): It’s obvious head coach Sean Payton has a man-crush on Kamara. He’s already a solid PPR play — he’s on pace for 80 receptions — and could develop standard league value before the season is up (he’s averaging 5.5 yards per carry).
RB Latavius Murray, Vikings (ESPN: 20%, Yahoo: 18%): Murray was one of the most inefficient running backs in the NFL the past two seasons in Oakland, but he proved he had a nose for the end zone and he’s a better add than Jerick McKinnon with Dalvin Cook out for the rest of the season.
BONUS: K Greg Zuerlein, Rams (ESPN: 17%; Yahoo: 40%): This is a first. I’ve never advised you to add a kicker, but look at the ownership numbers. Zuerlein’s talent has never been in question. His team is finally adequate and he’s coming off the third-best fantasy performance by a kicker in history, behind Rob Bironas’ eight field goal game in 2007 and a 2010 game when Jay Feely made five field goals and scored a touchdown on a fake. (Also, this is why you always draft kickers last.)
BONUS: D/ST Lions (ESPN: 34%; Yahoo: 36%): Detroit’s defense is for real. It has created 11 turnovers through four weeks, sacked the quarterback 10 times and scored two touchdowns — the special teams also contributed a punt return for a TD. It also still faces Carolina, Baltimore, Cleveland and Chicago (twice).
RB Adrian Peterson, Saints: “All Day” is still owned in over half of all leagues, including 98 percent of ESPN leagues. He has yet to receive double digit touches in a game this season, so if you still have him on your roster, you’re essentially waiting on Mark Ingram to get injured.
RB Dalvin Cook, Vikings: A promising rookie season came to an end when Cook tore his ACL on the first carry of the second half against Detroit. You’ll likely want to hold onto him in dynasty leagues.
RB Chris Carson, Seahawks: Carson was placed on injured-reserve with a broken bone high up in his left leg and a high ankle sprain. He’ll be eligible to return in eight weeks, which means he could return for the fantasy playoffs. I don’t recommend holding onto him unless you have an IR slot available.
QB Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers: It seems Roethlisberger is doing just enough to keep the value of Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown high. He hasn’t passed for more than 300 yards in 10 straight regular season games and he only has 15 touchdowns over that same span. It all adds up to mediocrity. I’d rather have a quarterback with more upside like Deshaun Watson or Carson Wentz.
RB Terrance West, Ravens: First, Javorius Allen surpassed his usage and now Alex Collins. All of this behind a weak offensive line and somehow West is still owned in 97 percent of ESPN leagues and 70 percent of Yahoo leagues.