Well we’re back to navigating the injury waters once again. Nick Chubb and Austin Ekeler are both going to miss multiple weeks and the downside is that their backups (Kareem Hunt and Joshua Kelley) are likely unavailable in your league. In the case of Kelley, just double check and see if he’s still floating on Waivers. He is the priority if that’s the case. Aside from these two there are intriguing plays on Waivers, but there aren’t any league winners this week. That wave hit us the first two weeks so for now we can be a little cautious with FAAB this week. A lot of the recommendations this week may be short-term additions to help get through Bye weeks. We were forced into Bye week mania last week as the Titans and Steelers had to re-schedule their game. It’s been a tough year, no doubt about it. And we’re only 25% of the way through. Stay vigilant on waivers and see if these names are available in your league. Waivers are heavily important this year as we try and work our way around games being re-scheduled and an increase in injuries. As always, I’ll be on around 8:00pm ET tomorrow night answering questions in the NFL Seasonal Chat and I’ll be logged on until 10:00pm ET, maybe 10:30pm ET to accommodate you West Coast readers.
Full disclosure: This is a shorter Waiver column. I truly believe these are the only players you need to have your eyes on for this week. We only have three running backs, four wide receivers, and three tight ends worth keeping an eye on this week. Be conservative with the FAAB. We’ll strike at another time.
Teddy Bridgewater (CAR) He is definitely in play as a streamer in Week 5. He gets a road matchup against the Falcons who give up the most points to opposing quarterbacks. Russell Wilson threw four touchdowns on them. Nick Foles and Mitchell Trubisky combined to throw four touchdown against them. Dak Prescott only threw one touchdown, but he ran for three more. At the time of this writing, Aaron Rodgers hasn’t played them yet (but he’d eventually throw four touchdowns), but on paper this is a fantastic matchup for Bridgewater. I’d say two touchdowns are more realistic for him, but this is a safe spot to stream Bridgewater in deeper leagues or two-QB/Superflex formats. FAAB Bid: 7-9%
Justin Herbert (LAC) He’s still very green, but Bruce Arians gave him high praise after Sunday’s game likening him to Patrick Mahomes in a private conversation with Anthony Lynn. Through three games he has at least 290 passing yards in each. He has an absolute cannon and in time he’ll develop into a very talented quarterback. There are still concerns regarding three interceptions in three games. However, he’s stepped up against very good competition. He draws the Saints on the road next week, which is a tough draw. However, the Saints secondary is pretty banged up and Matthew Stafford dropped three touchdowns on them this past Sunday. FAAB Bid: 6-8%
Ryan Tannehill (TEN) The Titans had an impromptu Bye week last week and their schedule is now set up so that five of their next six games are to be played at home. This means four of their last six games will be on the road. In terms of longevity, he may be a better long-term grab than Teddy Bridgewater , but he probably has the lowest ceiling of the quarterbacks listed this week. Still, for a quarterback who could be pretty reliable in two-quarterback/Superflex leagues, his ownership is surprisingly low. Despite the excess of home games they have some difficult matchups coming up against Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Chicago, and Indianapolis followed by Baltimore and Indy (again) on the road. There’s risk, but the ownership is still too low. If you aren’t sold on Tannehill, then Gardner Minshew bounced back this week after a rough performance on Thursday Night in Week 3 against Miami. Jacksonville’s offense looks like it might be clicking as they have D.J. Chark healthy and they’ve been getting Laviska Shenault involved more as well. FAAB Bid: 6-7%
Chase Edmonds (ARI) I would love to get some clarity on how serious Kenyan Drake ’s injury may be. I don’t anticipate him missing any time, but in general, his usage has been poor. He didn’t have a single target yesterday and he has five all season. In Drake’s place, Edmonds came in and caught five-of-six targets for 24 yards and a touchdown. About three weeks ago we mentioned that if anything were to happen to Drake that Edmonds is a potential league winner. Drake isn’t completely out of the picture, but he has disappointed fantasy owners so far. The FAAB bid this week is tough to read. Obviously, Edmonds looked great with the small sample of work on Sunday, but the question becomes, do we gamble on spending up for a guy who may not have a clear workload ahead of him? FAAB Bid: 15-21%
D’Ernest Johnson (CLE) With Nick Chubb likely to miss about six weeks, Johnson has a tremendous opportunity as the team’s RB2. He led the team with 13 carries on Sunday and he ran for 95 yards against a very poor Dallas defense. Kareem Hunt is now the RB1 in Cleveland, but Johnson may see 10-to-12 carries each week until Chubb returns. Depending on the matchup he’s a viable Flex play for the forseeable future. The Browns like to utilize multiple running backs as we’ve seen with the Chubb/Hunt tandem. In deeper leagues where Justin Jackson and Edmonds may not be available, you might have to spend up a little for Johnson. But he’s in line for a good workload going forward. Dontrell Hilliard may sneak up and vulture some carries as well. But if we assume the Browns ride the hot hand, then it would be Johnson over Hilliard. Crazier things have happened though. FAAB Bid: 15-18%
Justin Jackson (LAC) Again, if Joshua Kelley is available in your league, then he is the priority grab and he’s probably worth a 40-45% FAAB bid. When Ekeler left the game the snaps between Kelley and Jackson were 14-to-9. I might expect a slightly heavier share in favor of Kelley going forward, but that doesn’t mean Jackson won’t get work. This offense thrives on using multiple running backs. We saw it in previous years with Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler , and we saw it this year with Ekeler and Kelley. I know Kelley has had some issues with ball security and if that continues maybe Jackson chews into his workload a little more. But for now, I expect Kelley to get more of the pure rushing work, while Jackson may get more use on third downs. FAAB Bid: 15%
Tee Higgins (CIN) The Bengals got their first win in the Joe Burrow era and Tee Higgins maintained a solid role in the offense. For all the experts who touted A.J. Green ’s air yards and aDOT, Green has made zero noise in this offense and it’s clear that Burrow likes Tee Higgins. Tyler Boyd is still the primary target in this offense, but Higgins has 16 targets in the last two games. They have some very difficult games coming up. Over the next four weeks they have the Ravens and Colts (both on the road) followed by the Browns and Titans before their Bye week. Then in Week 10 they come back and are fed to the Steelers. So take it week-by-week, he’s a clear add right now especially since the Bengals will likely be chasing points in most of their games so there will be targets to go around and Higgins is emerging as the number-two in this passing attack. FAAB Bid: 12-14%
Laviska Shenault Jr. (JAX) He was a whiff in Week 3 but he had a very good game in Week 4 even with D.J. Chark finding the end zone twice. Shenault hauled in five-of-six targets for 86 yards and the Jaguars have even found ways to get him rushing attempts as well. He did leave last week’s game with a hamstring injury. And as we know, those injuries linger and vary with everybody. If he’s healthy he’s definitely worth rostering as a stash and he could be a Flex play going forward if the Jaguars continue to make the concentrated effort to get him the ball. FAAB Bid: 10-13%
Scotty Miller (TB) The Bucs play on a short week this week as they draw the Bears in Chicago Thursday night. O.J. Howard just tore his Achilles, Chris Godwin is still out for a little longer, even Mike Evans has been banged up on multiple occasions this year. With that said, Scotty Miller has at least 73 receiving yards in three of four games this year. He’s leading the team in receiving yards at 250 through four games. Yes, he’s on pace for a 1,000-yard season. He’s drawn comparisons to Wes Welker and Julian Edelman and Brady’s been getting him some targets. It’s a tough matchup on a short week, but it’s a spot for Miller could catch six-to-eight passes. FAAB Bid: 8-10%
Tim Patrick (DEN) Patrick might be one of the more underrated options available on waivers right now. There are a lot of mouths to feed in this passing game. With all the attention going to Jerry Jeudy and Noah Fant, Patrick’s slipped by. In his last two games he’s caught 10-of-11 targets for 156 total yards and a pair of touchdowns. The quarterback play is spotty and they won’t always play the Jets. In fact, next week they have an awful road matchup against the Patriots. But Patrick is a nice big target for inexperienced quarterbacks to utilize especially in the red zone. FAAB Bid: 5%
Dalton Schultz (DAL) Schultz has essentially turned into what we thought Blake Jarwin was going to be. And with the Cowboys defense being as bad as it is, Dak Prescott will be throwing plenty as he has 162 pass attempts in his last three games. He’s on pace for 804 pass attempts over the course of a 16-game season. That will regress, but this offense is still going to throw a ton and regardless of target share, Schultz is a startable tight end each week now. He has 24 targets in his last three games with two touchdowns in that span. With the passing volume here, Schultz can comfortably share the work with Amari Cooper , Ezekiel Elliott , CeeDee Lamb, and Michael Gallup and still be utilized each week. FAAB Bid: 12-13%
Robert Tonyan (GB) I don’t know who the hell this guy is. He played at Indiana State, he went undrafted and was signed by the Lions, but he has landed with the Packers and Aaron Rodgers really likes him. Tonyan now has four touchdowns in his last three games and Aaron Rodgerscontinues to look his way without Davante Adams . Regression may be in store when Adams comes back, but Tonyan has proven his worth to Aaron Rodgers in the short-term and you can only hope he remains involved in the passing game going forward. The downside is that the Packers are on Bye next week and you can't get use out of him yet. FAAB Bid: 7-8%
Eric Ebron (PIT) Ebron’s an okay streamer next week against Philadelphia. Through four games the Eagles have allowed five touchdowns to tight ends. George Kittle ’s coming off a huge Sunday night performance against this defense and Tyler Higbee had a huge game against them as well. Ebron’s nowhere near the caliber of player those two are, but Ebron’s target share steadily increased over the first three games. The Steelers are coming off an un-scheduled Bye week so they’re well rested and playing at home. He’s not an awful streamer if Schultz or Tonyan are unavailable in your league. FAAB Bid: 3-4%
Arizona Cardinals – The Cardinals are currently available in about half of ESPN leagues and they get the privilege of facing the Jets next week. It’s another road game for Arizona and they looked awful in Carolina last week. They couldn’t stop Carolina’s offense and the Panthers possessed the ball for over 37 minutes. But against the Jets, any defense is in play. It sounds like the Jets will have to start Joe Flacco , who lacks the scrambling upside that Darnold has. However, the Cardinals have only forced three turnovers in four games, but they had 11 sacks in their first three games. I’m not expecting an otherworldly performance from Arizona, but six or seven points are on the table here.
Kansas City Chiefs – I’m still on the fence regarding the Chiefs defense. They aren’t good, but they aren’t awful. They’re the epitome of a streamer. They have a home game in Week 5 against the Raiders. Mike Pennel is back and while he didn’t make a huge impact in Week 3 against the Ravens, they came up huge with some crucial turnovers against the Patriots (sans Cam Newton ). It’s not the sexiest matchup as the Raiders are hit-or-miss. But they’re a streamable defense in some 12-team leagues.
Cleveland Browns – Call me crazy, but I think I prefer the Browns over the Chiefs? This section isn’t listed in terms of preference, it’s based on availability. The Browns pass rush has a tough test next week against the Colts offensive line, easily one of the best in the league. Through four games the Browns have forced ten turnovers and 11 sacks. They do allow points, but Indianapolis hasn’t been a very explosive offense to start the year. They don’t throw it a lot, and they’ll try to dominate time of possession. The Browns are shaping up to be a pretty strong fantasy option this week as long as they don’t invite the Colts into a shootout.