Carroll County Times

Fantasy Football: Week 5 waiver wire advice

Three teams with running backs drafted in the first round -- Vikings (Adrian Peterson), Buccaneers (Doug Martin) and Washington (Alfred Morris) -- are on bye this week, meaning a good number of you will be scrambling to find fill-ins at the league's thinnest position; and fantasy football's most valuable one.
Here is a list of running backs available on waivers that might be able to keep the ship afloat for a week, as well as other players who could give your team a boost.
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RB Le'Veon Bell. The Steelers rookie can't help you this week, as 0-4 Pittsburgh is on a bye, but the Michigan State product looked good in his NFL debut, picking up 84 total yards and scoring twice. It's clear he'll be the Steelers workhorse and it's not often you can find running backs like that on waivers (he's available in 28 percent of Yahoo leagues) four weeks into the season, no matter how poor the Steelers offense may be.
RB Daryl Richardson. Surprisingly not more widely available (just 23 percent of leagues), Richardson really struggled against a San Francisco defense that had been pretty bad against running backs. But he was also coming off a foot injury and got stuck playing on Thursday night football -- and against a 49ers team that had a lot to prove. This week, the Rams get Jacksonville and if you need an RB fill-in, you could do worse than D-Rich.
RB Willis McGahee. Entering his third week as the Cleveland Browns starter, McGahee will get a shot against the team the drafted him, the Buffalo Bills, on Thursday night. McGahee hasn't done much to impress so far, but the Bills could be in for a major let-down after beating the defending Super Bowl champs. Their defense hadn't exactly been lights-out against the run until this past week either, and that might've been more of a byproduct of the Ravens playcalling (9 runs).
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RB Danny Woodhead. Available in a more than half of Yahoo leagues (58 percent), Woodhead is an especially dangerous player in a PPR league because he is mainly used on third downs. He showed why the Chargers signed him last week, scoring two touchdowns to help them past Dallas.
RB Rashad Jennings. Fantasy players might remember that, last summer, a lot of folks were high on Jennings when he was in Jacksonville and Maurice Jones-Drew was going to miss a lot of games. He was an absolute disappointment. Now with the Raiders, Jennings ran for an uninspiring 45 yards on 15 carries once Darren McFadden (you knew this was coming) and last year's super sleeper, Marcel Reece. What Jennings did do was catch eight passes for 71 yards, so maybe he's not a total waste. He's widely available in 91 percent of leagues.
QB Eli Manning. Unless you are an RG3 or maybe Ben Roethlisberger owner, you aren't looking for a bye week fill-in at QB this week. But I mention Eli because, while according to Yahoo, he's only available in 18 percent of leagues, he's available in 2 of my 3 leagues of 10 teams or more. He's schedule is about to get a lot softer and I think the younger Manning could bounce back in a big way. If you're only carrying one quarterback (who is likely to go on bye soon) and Eli is available, snatch him up.
QB Philip Rivers. Against all odds, Rivers is the third-highest point scorer in fantasy football, and is still available in more than quarter of leagues (27 percent). If you're in one of those leagues, go get him. I can't promise it isn't going to come crashing down at some point, but you just can't ignore Rivers any longer.
WR Kembrell Thompkins. Those of you who stuck with the Patriots undrafted rookie receiver after two duds to start the season (74 percent of you, apparently) have been rewarded with double-digit fantasy performances each of the past two weeks. He'll still be a starter when Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola get back on the field. That's a double-edge sword. One, it means he'll probably become Brady's third option, at best. On the other hand, it means he'll see more favorable coverage, and having earned Brady's trust now, that will bode well for him later on.
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WR Alshon Jeffrey. The second-year Bears receiver posted his first career 100-yard game in a loss to the Lions. You probably aren't going to start him most weeks, but he's a nice match-up play during bye weeks. He's available in 53 percent of leagues.
WR Justin Blackmon. Returning from a four-game suspension, it will be interesting to see if Blackmon can make a big splash a la Josh Gordon two weeks ago. He certainly has a favorable match-up playing the St. Louis Rams, but will be hampered by the Jags quarterback situation. Still, he's available in 57 percent of leagues, and that's just crazy for a guy with his natural talent.
WR Nate Washington. He's had back-to-back double-digit fantasy days, but will have a new quarterback for the foreseeable future with Ryan Fitzpatrick replacing a surprisingly efficient Jake Locker, who suffered a hip injury. Washington's biggest play of the day Sunday, a 77-yard catch and run, came off the arm of Fitzpatrick, however, so not all hope is lost. He's available in a whopping 84 percent of leagues.
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TE Coby Fleener. How this guy is available in 67 percent of Yahoo leagues is beyond me. He's been a bit up and down, but also has a rapport with quarterback Andrew Luck and no one else challenging him for snaps at the position. He's a high-end TE2.
TE Charles Clay. The Dolphins hybrid RB/TE keeps making plays. He caught six passes for 42 yards and a score on Sunday night and is availabe in 52 percent of leagues.
D/ST St. Louis. I really thought the Rams, who tied for the league-lead in sacks a year ago, would be a lot better fantasy defense. The good news? They get the anemic Jacksonville Jaguars this week, so if you've been rostering them like I have, or they are available in your league (47 percent available) they are worth a plug-and-play this week.
D/ST Atlanta. The Falcons defense has not been very good this year, and in Yahoo standard leagues, even gave owners the dreaded minus-1 points this week. They play the turnover prone New York Jets, so if you're desperate for a defense, Atlanta is a possibility, and one that is available in 82 percent of leagues.