Here are this week’s top Waiver Wire options that are owned in less than 50% of Yahoo leagues. I’ll list any players at the top who are above the 50% threshold (or are household names) but are still somewhat widely available for those who might be in smaller leagues.
WEEK 6 BYES: Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, Indianapolis Colts, Oakland Raiders
Best Options if Available: Jimmy Garoppolo (SF, 60%), Jacoby Brissett (Ind, 59%), Josh Allen (Buf, 51%) Matthew Stafford (Det, 55%), Daniel Jones (NYG, 50%)
Kirk Cousins (Min, 40%) — Cousins was off to a miserable start in 2019, throwing for just three touchdowns while averaging just 183.8 passing yards per game through four weeks. That all changed in Week 5 with Cousins completing 22/27 passes for 306 yards and two TDs against the Giants, his first 300+ yards performance since Week 11 last season. He does get a juicy matchup against the Eagles this week and his schedule is excellent over the next four weeks (vs. Phi, @Det, vs. Was, @KC) to keep his Week 5 momentum going. Still, he’s not the easiest guy to trust because of the run-heavy approach the Vikings are taking every week, which has limited his upside this season.
Gardner Minshew (Jax, 23%) — The Jaguars got some devastating news in the season opener as Nick Foles broke his collarbone just 10 minutes into his Jacksonville career. The mustachioed Minshew has done an admirable job filling in for Foles and he could be creating a bit of a QB controversy with his play the last couple weeks. Minshew completed 26/44 passes for 374 yards and two TDs against the Panthers as he continues to show great chemistry with D.J. Chark. Minshew doesn’t have the most fantasy upside playing in this run-heavy offense but he’s now thrown for two touchdowns in four of his five appearances this season. Foles will first be eligible to return in Week 11 as the Jags placed him on the injured reserve. Minshew has been aggressive throwing downfield to Chark and Dede Westbrook, which gives him some streaming appeal going forward (vs. NO, @Cin, vs. NYJ, Vs. Hou).
Sam Darnold (NYJ, 13%) — Remember this guy? It feels like a lot has happened since we last saw him in Week 1. Heck, he’s no longer the young, up-and-coming star QB of New York as Daniel Jones has already dethroned him for the title. Well, I’m here to tell you not to count out Darnold just yet. He had the looks of a potential breakout candidate at the end of last season and again this preseason. He did have a miserable Week 1 performance against an excellent Bills defense but he likely played in that game with some of the effects of mononucleosis. Darnold has a shot of returning this week after getting some limited work in last week, but he still needs to get the final clearance from his mono diagnosis to play. He’s also going to get his boy Chris Herndon back in the middle of the field this week. His schedule isn’t the easiest the next three weeks (vs. Dal, vs. NE, @Jax) but he has six juicy spots in a row in Weeks 9-14 (@Mia, vs. NYG, @Was, vs. Oak, @Cin, vs. Mia) if you’re really looking forward.
Andy Dalton (Cin, 35%) — Dalton is throwing it a ton every week — he’s averaging 40.8 attempts per game — because this Bengals O-line can’t create any running room. His O-line also can’t pass protect and he’s struggled without A.J. Green on the field. He needed some late magic in Week 5 to post 262 yards and two TDs on 27/38 passing against the Cardinals. Dalton could be without Green for another couple and it’s possible he never plays for the Bengals again, which would obviously be a huge blow for Dalton’s prospects for the rest of the year. Dalton schedule gets tougher in the next couple weeks (@Bal, vs. Jax, @LAR, bye), but he still has a chance to put up numbers if he continues to throw the rock as much as he has been to start the year.
Teddy Bridgewater (NO, 9%) — Bridgewater was the ultimate game-manager in two victories over the Seahawks and Cowboys, but he let it rip in a victory over the Buccaneers in Week 5. Leaning heavily on a dominant Michael Thomas, Bridgewater completed 26/34 passes for 314 yards, four TDs, and one INT in a victory over Tampa Bay. Drew Brees did post a video of himself already throwing before Week 5 so it looks like he could return a little earlier than expected, but Bridgewater should start at least one more against the Jaguars in Week 6 if you’re desperate for some QB help.
Kyle Allen (Car, 10%) — The Panthers are resting Cam Newton right now as he deals with a Lisfranc injury. It wouldn’t be surprising if Cam sits out until after their Week 7 bye, which would give Allen another start against the Bucs in London in Week 6. Allen completed 17/30 passes for 181 yards and one TD in a victory over the Jaguars in Week 5. He does get a fantasy-friendly matchup against the Bucs this week but he’s a lower-end streamer with just one TD combined and 206.5 passing yards/game the last two weeks.
Best Options if Available: Chris Thompson (Was, 64%), Kenyan Drake (Mia, 56%), Frank Gore (Buf, 64%), Rashaad Penny (Sea, 56%), Jaylen Samuels (Pit, 58%), Adrian Peterson (Was, 47%), Peyton Barber (TB, 54%)
Chase Edmonds (Ari, 3%) — David Johnson has the potential to finish as a top-five RB this season if Kliff Kingsbury continues to use him all over the field. The second-year RB Edmonds is the handcuff here and he would have top-12 weekly potential if he’s thrust into the starting role. I wondered if Edmonds would have a bigger role in Week 5 with the Cardinals dealing with a ton of WR injuries, and Kliff Kingsbury did use Edmonds more against the Bengals as he finished with 8/68/1 rushing and 3/18 receiving on four targets. However, Edmonds played on 35% of the snaps because Johnson battled through a back injury as it locked up early in the game. DJ’s back injury should be monitored this week and his owners would be wise to handcuff their first-round pick with Edmonds in case he can’t go against the Falcons this week.
Jonathan Hilliman (NYG, 0%) — There’s a chance Hilliman could be the lead runner for the Giants in their matchup with the Patriots on Thursday night in Week 6 after Wayne Gallman suffered a concussion in Week 5. However, Saquon Barkley (ankle) could return this week after practicing on a limited basis last week so Hilliman might stick in his reserve role. Hilliman played 64% of the snaps in Week 5 but he managed just 9/20 rushing with a four-yard catch on two targets. Elijhaa Penny also played 36% of the snaps but he had just three carries and one target. Even if Hilliman is forced to make the start this week if Barkley can’t get cleared, he’d only be a flex option in brutal matchup against the Patriots. He’ll need to catch the rock if he’s to come through since the Giants will be playing from behind as 17-point underdogs.
Rex Burkhead (NE, 28%) — In case you forgot, as soon as you think you’ve figured out the Patriots backfield HC Bill Belichick is about to flip the script on you. Burkhead has been active in this backfield to start the season, but he’s been plagued by a foot injury the last couple weeks and was inactive against the Redskins in Week 5. Trying to figure out how Patriots will divvy up the touches and the snaps from week to week is difficult, but Burkhead had looked healthy again and he can fill in as a replacement for both Sony Michel and James White. It looks like he could have a pretty healthy role going forward in one of the league’s best offenses and there’s a chance they could expand his role given Michel’s uneven start the season — Michel did play well in Week 5 though, with 123 scrimmage yards and a touchdown.
Jamaal Williams (GB, 11%) — Williams sat out Week 5 because of a concussion suffered in Week 4 against the Eagles. He has a chance to return this week against the Lions, and HC Matt LaFleur has talked all season about using Williams and Aaron Jones in a committee. It’s going to be tougher for LaFleur to stick to that RBBC after Jones’ monster game in Week 5 against the Cowboys, but he’s been true to his word so far with this backfield so Williams should still be relatively active in this backfield when he returns.
Ito Smith (Atl, 14%) — Smith has been working in a timeshare with Devonta Freeman, and he ended up not missing any games after suffering a concussion in Week 3. Smith posted 5/19 rushing and 6/45 receiving on six targets against the Texans in Week 5 while playing 47% of the snaps, as the Falcons simply can’t get any kind of running game going behind a bad O-line. Smith has some standalone value right now and he’s certainly worth consideration as a bench stash since he is playing a bunch each week.
Nyheim Hines (Ind, 23%) — Hines is the passing back in the offense and he actually led them in receiving in Week 5 against the Chiefs, posting 4/46 receiving on five targets. He played on just 21% in Week 5 with the Colts surprisingly playing from ahead for most of the game. Hines isn’t a player to use with much confidence unless the Colts project to be playing from behind in a given week because he’s their preferred hurry-up back and receiver out of the backfield.
Mark Walton (Mia, 0%) — Kalen Ballage is terrible at football and the Dolphins appear to have realized it in Week 4 before their bye. He played only eight snaps as Mark Walton (13 snaps) appears to have jumped ahead of him to the #2 RB role behind Kenyan Drake (28). Walton has seen two targets in each of the last two games and he has 10/39 rushing in limited work. He was an interesting prospect coming out of Miami but he fell to the fourth round in 2018 because of a shaky Combine. He then had three different run-ins with the law this past off-season, which earned him his release for Cincinnati. Keep your expectations low for any offensive player in Miami but at least it looks like Walton could get a chance to play more in the coming weeks.
Alexander Mattison (Min, 23%) — Starting RB Dalvin Cook looks primed for a huge season, but he has had some injury issues throughout his career dating back to his days at Florida State. The Vikings have just Ameer Abdullah behind Mattison so I’d expect Mattison to see a heavy workload if Cook missed time.
Giovani Bernard (Cin, 11%) — Gio is a must-own in any week that Mixon is out of the lineup. Bernard is a capable runner and receiver who can take on a big role as we’ve seen in the past when Mixon has missed time. Gio is one of the best handcuffs in the league and it looks like he could have some low-end standalone value playing next to Mixon.
Ty Montgomery (NYJ, 6%) — Montgomery has almost no value playing behind Le’Veon Bell but Montgomery would have RB2 potential as the lead back in New York.
Tony Pollard (Dal, 23%) — Pollard’s complementary role has evaporated with Zeke back to dominating the work in this backfield. Elliott owners would be wise to scoop up Pollard if he’s thrown to the scrapheap if you want to handcuff your top-five pick.
Ryquell Armstead (Jax, 2%) — It might be wise to scoop up Armstead if you’re a Leonard Fournette owner as he’s the clear #2 RB on this depth chart. Armstead may have earned a slightly bigger role going forward after producing 9/49/1 scrimmage against the Broncos in Week 4.
Mike Davis (Chi, 5%) — HC Matt Nagy outwitted himself with the usage of his three backs in the season opener, but Davis has been used as the backup to David Montgomery since then. The Bears made Davis a healthy scratch in Week 4 so he’s just a handcuff to Montgomery at this point.
Best Options if Available: D.K. Metcalf (Sea, 57%), Dede Westbrook (Jax, 58%), Mecole Hardman (KC, 54%), Jamison Crowder (NYJ, 44%)
Mohamed Sanu (Atl, 41%) — Sanu is never a sexy option off the waiver wire but he’s typically an effective PPR option in a pinch. He came through for fantasy for the third straight week with 5/42/1 receiving on five targets against the Texans in Week 5 on 84% of the snaps. He’s now managed 5+ catches in four of five contests and he could stay pretty active going forward since their defense is sieve right now, which is going to result in a ton of passing volume for Matt Ryan. Sanu provides a decent PPR floor and he’s shown a better ceiling because of the number of times Ryan is throwing the rock.
Diontae Johnson (Pit, 34%) — The Steelers wisely benched Donte Moncrief in Week 3 and elevated Johnson and James Washington into bigger roles. Somewhat surprisingly, it was the rookie Johnson who had been the clear beneficiary working with Mason Rudolph and not JuJu Smith-Schuster or his college teammate Washington, at least through two weeks. However, Rudolph suffered a nasty head injury during Week 5 and someone named Devlin Hodges will start while he’s out of the lineup. Johnson did see a team-high eight targets against the Ravens in Week 5 but he turned them into just 5/27 receiving on 92% of the snaps. Washington suffered a shoulder injury in Week 5 and JuJu has been playing through a toe injury, so Johnson should stay pretty active even with a third-string QB. The Steelers are going nowhere this season and it would be wise to get Johnson as much experience as they possibly can, which gives him a chance to be a low-end WR3.
Auden Tate (Cin, 22%) — John Ross landed on the IR with a shoulder injury, and it’s also looking like A.J. Green may never play for the Bengals again as his “rehab” drags into a third month after an initial 6-8 week recovery timeline. Green is in the final year of his contract and he could be angling to be traded rather than playing for this winless team. Heck, he’s been out of his walking boot since Week 2 and Adam Schefter reported he’ll sit out at least through Week 6, so it doesn’t sound like he’s in a rush to play. Tate is the new #2 WR here for now, and he managed 3/26/1 receiving on six targets while playing every snaps against the Cardinals in Week 5. Our guy Greg Cosell said Tate has lost some significant weight and looks much more explosive than he did when he first came into the league as a seventh-round pick out of Florida State in 2018. Tate was an absolute monster in the red zone in college with 24.6% of his career catches going for TDs (16 of 65).
Preston Williams (Mia, 9%) — The Dolphins are going to be a tire fire this season, which is good news for Williams since it’s in their best interests to let their talented rookie take his lumps as they tank this season. Williams once again led the team in targets with Josh Rosen at QB in Week 4 as he finished with 4/46 receiving on seven targets against the Chargers while playing 83% of the snaps. Williams showed a great connection with Rosen in the preseason and the new QB has clearly favored him so far. Williams is massive (6’5”, 218 pounds) and a former five-star recruit who had his college career derailed by failed drug tests and a 2017 domestic violence charge. Williams is locked into the starting lineup and the Dolphins will be playing in a lot of garbage-time situations this season.
Byron Pringle (KC, 1%) — Sammy Watkins left Week 5 just minutes into the game after he aggravated his hamstring injury. Pringle stepped up and unexpectedly led the Chiefs in receiving with 6/103/1 on nine targets while playing 79% of the snaps. Watkins’ status is very much up in the air going forward with his long history of injuries but the Chiefs could get Tyreek Hill (clavicle) back in Week 6, which would likely push Pringle back into the #4 WR spot. We’ll have to see about the status of Watkins and Hill this week, but Pringle may be worth a speculative add just in case they can’t play and he’s forced into a juicy fantasy role this week against the Texans.
Josh Reynolds (LAR, 0%) — Reynolds could be thrust into a bigger role the next couple weeks after Brandin Cooks suffered his third documented concussion in the NFL in Week 5. Reynolds has been the handcuff for these top three WRs in Los Angeles, and as a starter in the final six contests last season he averaged 3.7/50.7/.5 receiving per game on 6.8 targets per game. Reynolds is high-end WR4/flex for as long as Cooks is out of the lineup.
Darius Slayton (NYG, 0%) — WR Sterling Shepard suffered his second concussion of the season and that means he could be looking at an extended absence. The rookie Slayton will see his role grow with Shepard out of the lineup and he’s coming off a 4/62/1 receiving performance on five targets while playing 64% of the snaps against the Vikings in Week 5. Slayton will primarily be a deep threat in this offense with his 4.39 speed and he has flashed in two of his three games this season.
Jakobi Meyers (NE, 1%) — The Patriots third WR Phillip Dorsett left Week 5 early with a hamstring injury, which elevated Meyers to a bigger role. He had just a six-yard catch on two targets against the Redskins on 40% of the snaps, but Meyers could be more heavily involved on Thursday night in Week 6 against the Giants with Dorsett unlikely to play with a short turnaround — his injury isn’t believed to be significant, though. The Giants have been gashed through the air all season long so Meyers could be a plug-and-play option with four teams on bye this week.
Geronimo Allison (GB, 37%) — Allison has been a disappointment this season but he came through with a couple pivotal, difficult catches on a late first-half scoring drive in Week 4. He went back to disappointing in Week 5 even with Davante Adams out of the lineup, posting just 2/28 receiving on six targets against the Cowboys while playing 86% of the snaps. Allison saw an uptick in targets with Adams out of the lineup, but he still couldn’t come through. Adams has a solid chance of playing in Week 6 and Allison would be off the radar for most owners.
A.J. Brown (Ten, 23%) and Corey Davis (Ten, 48%) — I’d love to rank these talented young receivers higher after their big games in Week 4 against the Falcons but their upside will be capped by Marcus Mariota going forward. They came back to earth in Week 5, managing just 4/55 receiving on six targets against the Titans. Brown and Davis will be boom-or-bust WR4s going forward but they could have a little more potential if Ryan Tannehill is eventually inserted into the starting lineup.
Cole Beasley (Buf, 20%) — Josh Allen is going to chuck it deep to John Brown or he’s going throw it underneath to his safety-valve Beasley. The former Cowboys slot WR had seen 9+ targets in three of his first four games before posting just 3/21 receiving on three targets against the Titans in Week 5. Beasley provides a solid PPR floor but he’s not going to offer much of a weekly ceiling since he has 23 career TDs in 107 games.
Keke Coutee (Hou, 18%) — Coutee has some life again after Kenny Stills pulled up lame with a hamstring injury in Week 4, which kept him out in Week 5. Coutee posted 3/72 receiving on four targets against the Falcons in Week 5, including a 51-yard catch-and-run reception. Stills did practice on a limited basis last week so he could be back in Week 6, but Coutee could be more active in the coming weeks in PPR formats.
Randall Cobb (Dal, 19%) — Cobb looked past his prime in his final couple years in Green Bay, and he struggled the last three weeks after a strong Cowboys debut in the season opener — he’s managed just 10/88 receiving in Weeks 2-4. He showed some signs of like in Week 5, posting 3/53 receiving on six targets against the Packers. He’s still a distant #3 WR and #4 option in this offense with Michael Gallup back on the field, but Cobb should have some Cole Beasley type performances out of the slot this season.
Best Options if Available: Jared Cook (NO, 54%) Jason Witten (Dal, 54%), Vance McDonald (Pit, 62%), Jimmy Graham (GB, 67%)
Chris Herndon (NYJ, 28%) — Herndon will first be eligible to return this week off his four-game suspension. At least Sam Darnold (mono) is trending toward being back in the lineup when Herndon returns to the field against the Cowboys in Week 6. Herndon has top-12 potential at the position over the rest of the season.
Hunter Henry (LAC, 40%) — Henry has been dropped in quite a few leagues so he might be a good stash for savvy owners, especially if you have an IR spot in your league. The Chargers didn’t place Henry on the injured reserve and the initial timeline has him out 4-6 weeks, which could put him back on the field in Week 6 at the earliest against the Steelers. He did get some limited work in practice leading up to Week 5 so he’s trending toward a return in the near future. Mike Williams has been a disappointment so far this season and Philip Rivers could use Henry in the middle of the field with Keenan Allen soaking up so much work.
Gerald Everett (LAR, 6%) — Everett and Tyler Higbee are going to be thorns in the side for each other’s fantasy value, but Everett’s role appears to be growing the last two weeks — he played 81% of the snaps in Week 5. After posting 5/44/1 receiving on eight targets against the Buccaneers in Week 4, Everett backed it up with a career-high 7/136 on 11 targets against the Seahawks and he was inches away from an impressive bulldozing touchdown. WR Brandin Cooks left Week 5 early with a concussion, his third documented in the NFL, and he could be looking at some sort of absence, which will also help to keep Everett involved.
Dawson Knox (Buf, 17%) — Knox has strung together two good performances in Week 3-4 to put himself on the streaming radar but he came back to earth in Week 5. He managed just 2/12 receiving on five targets while playing 72% of the snaps against the Titans as he saw fellow TE Lee Smith vulture a TD from him. Knox impressed at the Combine by posting a 4.58 forty and a 34.5-inch vertical at 6’4”, 254 pounds. The Bills are desperate for a third-receiving option behind John Brown and Cole Beasley and it’s possible Knox could be developing into that guy for Josh Allen.
Noah Fant (Den, 13%) — Fant is seeing positive usage through the first four weeks — he played __ of the snaps in Week 5 — and he finally came through with a big play in Week 4. However, he did little in Week 5 catching his only target for six yards against the Chargers. Fant’s usage has been solid so far and Joe Flacco has shown a knack for leaning on his tight ends heavily in the past so there’s room for growth here.
Tyler Eifert (Cin, 27%) — Eifert managed just 2/14 receiving on four targets in the easiest tight end matchup in the league against the Cardinals in Week 5 so he officially can’t be trusted as a streaming option. Eifert has at least been targeted in the end zone multiple times the last two weeks and he should’ve had a touchdown against the Cardinals but Andy Dalton had an errant throw in the end zone. Eifert is a TD-or-bust option for those dying at the position since he played just 27% of the snaps in Week 5.
Jack Doyle (Ind, 19%) — Doyle has shown a pulse in the last three weeks, catching 11 passes in that span but for just 87 yards and a touchdown. He caught all three of his targets for 19 yards while playing 72% of the snaps against the Chiefs in Week 5. He’s not an ideal option since he splits the tight end workload with Eric Ebron, and the Colts have been a run-heavy squad with their O-line dominating in the trenches.
Baltimore Ravens (vs. Cin, 68%), Dallas Cowboys (at NYJ, 53%), New Orleans Saints (at Jax, 63%), Green Bay Packers (vs. Det, 30%), Carolina Panthers (at TB, 45%), Washington Redskins (at Mia, 4%)
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