Waiver Why-Er: Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups and Situations to Watch in Week 5
We have made it to Week 5 of the NFL season. The 2022 fantasy football season is almost 25% finished but we still have work to do. Nobody wins a fantasy league after four weeks and nobody loses one either.
Our waiver wire pickups and situations to watch is celebrating some success. Romeo Doubs caught a touchdown from Aaron Rodgers for the Packers against the Patriots, and Will Dissly carried on his touchdown-scoring ways with another against the Lions on Sunday. Before we stop talking about last week and look to the future and next week’s matchups, we need to recap some of the injury news that will help us navigate into Week 5 and beyond.
Week 4 brought with it a couple of injuries that will alter the fantasy football landscape for the rest of the season. This season’s 12th-ranked running back, the Atlanta Falcons’ Cordarrelle Patterson, is set for a spell on IR. How the Falcons will handle their backfield isn’t yet known. Javonte Williams, the starting running back with the Denver Broncos, is gone for the year too with a torn ACL, and we aren’t sure how that backfield will shake out just yet either. He has the 24th most rushing attempts in the NFL this season, and they will have to be dispersed to the players lower down the depth chart. Miami Dolphins starting QB Tua Tagovailoa is also out injured with a nasty-looking head injury. Teddy Bridgewater will step into the breach and that will have an effect on Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle and both Dolphins’ running backs, Raheem Mostert and Chase Edmonds. The Indianapolis Colts might have lost Jonathan Taylor for their Thursday night game against the Denver Broncos, whose quarterback, Russell Wilson is also nursing a shoulder injury.
That’s not to say it’s all about absence, however, as the Washington Commanders welcome back Brian Robinson — a preseason star — after he was shot during the summer. He could eat into Antonio Gibson’s workload moving forward.
These injuries don’t happen in a vacuum and it will change both offensive and defensive game plans accordingly. It’s getting to the stage of the season where we have a really good grasp of what to expect from most players, but with injuries and performance fluctuations, there are still a lot of players on the waiver wire who can help you – depending on the depth of your league.
After the injuries at the weekend, we have more questions than answers at the moment but with help from the data, we can guide fantasy managers through the uncertainty. Don’t forget to keep up to date with our 2022 fantasy football rankings for updates throughout the week.
Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 5
Cordarelle Patterson is on injured reserve and the rookie Allgeier, who showed flashes even before the injury, figures to step up to take the bulk of his carries. He has 26 carries this season and is averaging 5.35 yards per carry. That’s first among all rookies with more than 10 attempts.
Dameon Pierce and Breece Hall have been the standout rookie running backs this season but there’s reason to think Allgeier could be as valuable in fantasy football once his volume increases. Patterson was carrying the ball 16 times a game and had nine on Sunday before the injury forced him off.
The other good news is that the Falcons are running the ball on 55% of their plays, second in the league behind only the Chicago Bears. There’s a reason for that too. Their 5.2 yards per attempt is tied for fourth in the league. They run it a lot and they run it well.
Marcus Mariota puts a ceiling on Falcons’ wide receiving corps but it opens a world of possibilities for the running backs.
Caleb Huntley is another player who will be affected by the injury to Patterson. This is for now a backup plan to Allgeier, but it’s entirely plausible that Huntley sees his touches sky rocket too. Huntley has carried the ball 11 times this season, all of them came on first (8) and second (3) down, and he was a significant factor Sunday after Patterson’s injury.
One of either Allgeier or Huntley is set for breakout and based off what we have seen, it’s more likely to be the former. But there’s hope for Huntley too.
Javonte Williams suffered a serious knee injury on Sunday afternoon and will miss the rest of the season, but this is hardly as simple as a next man up scenario with Melvin Gordon III, Mike Boone and now Latavius Murray in the mix after signing from the New Orleans Saints practice squad. Gordon had carried the ball a couple of times before the injury but fumbled on his first carry. It was his fourth fumble of the season in as many games.
That’s where Mike Boone comes in, and you’ll be excused for not knowing who he is. He’s a fifth-year running back who previously played three seasons with the Minnesota Vikings before signing with Denver last year. His previous high for carries in a season was 49 in 2019 when he rushed for 249 yards at 5.6 yard per carry. He has accumulated 13 targets in his five-year career.
Williams was targeted six times in three and a half games this season in the red zone. Denver’s problems in the red zone are well-documented this season with Nathaniel Hackett forced to bring in an assistant to help with his decision-making. The Broncos have rushed the ball 104 times, which is league average, but Williams’ 11.8 rushes a game and his 5.5 targets a game will at least in part trickle down to Boone and that will be a boon for his numbers.
Just as a matter of sheer volume, something we love in fantasy football, Boone is worth a speculative look. Even if Gordon is the lead back for now, his fumbles raise plenty of question marks for a team looking to keep their season on track. An additional part of the complication here is Boone’s pass-catching abilities are already being questioned. Given the shortcomings of each, perhaps the most optimistic outlook for Boone is for him to grow into more early-down work and Gordon to be more of a third-down factor. But then there’s Murray to consider. As we said above: speculative.
We can’t ignore a player who is sixth at his position in fantasy football and averaging 12.3 points per game in PPR leagues. He’s rostered in just 55% of leagues on ESPN. He is seventh in the league in targets among tight ends with 26. For players with more than 20 targets, Everett ranks fifth in burn percentage, and the only players ahead of him are the elite of the elite (Mark Andrews and Travis Kelce) plus Darren Waller and David Njoku.
It’s tight at the top of the Chargers’ target share list and Everett is right at the sweet spot between targets, average depth of target and red zone targets.
Mike Williams leads the way for the Chargers with five red zone targets, but Austin Ekeler and Everett have four and the tight end also has two touchdowns. This is very much an equal opportunity receiving corps right now. There’s enough passes to go around too. Justin Herbert is throwing the ball on 63% of Chargers offensive plays.
Donald Parham’s return should affect Everett’s value but we’re not sure when that will be. Keenan Allen is also nursing a hamstring injury that has kept him out multiple weeks. They’re worth keeping an eye on, but Everett has done enough in four weeks this season to convince us he’s worth a roster spot at a position with very little fantasy depth. Pay attention to the updates in our projections throughout the week because they’ll fluctuate as more clarity comes around Chargers Week 5 personnel.
The Pittsburgh Steelers finally made the move everyone had been waiting for by benching Mitch Trubisky for Kenny Pickett.
George Pickens is rostered in just over a third of fantasy leagues (37.7% ESPN, 40.0% Yahoo) with fantasy managers waiting for the moment Mike Tomlin would call Kenny Pickett’s number. It has been called, and there’s at least the possibility for a stuttering Steelers offense to improve with the rookie QB under center.
There are a couple of tiers in this year’s rookie WR class and Pickens falls just outside the top. There’s Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave and Drake London and then a second tier that is slowly rising. It includes Romeo Doubs, Jahan Dotson and Pickens.
Pickens is Dotson without the touchdowns. But that could be about to change. Pickens is on the rise as he saw his highest amount of targets (8) and had his most receptions (6) of the season last Sunday against the New York Jets. It was the first time in his four-game career that he has gone over 100 yards. It was the first time he had gone for over 36 yards actually.
Pickens is behind just Diontae Johnson for targets among Steelers wide receivers with Chase Claypool is third. Pat Freiermuth saw his fantasy value increase against the Jets, and the high tide that comes with Pickett’s move to starting QB should rise all boats.
Pickens’ 16.7-yard average depth of target leads the Steelers’ top three wide receivers, as does his 0.45 missed and broken tackles per touch. We aren’t fully sure yet how Pickett will change things for the Steelers, but George Pickens will be at the center of it.
Geno Smith is cooking. And one of his go-to ingredients is Will Dissly in the end zone. In three of four games, Dissly has found the end zone this season and while his targets remain on the low side, his production in fantasy football has him ranked as the TE10. We have him slightly lower than that, but bye weeks are coming and the red zone production can catapult him into starting territory at a thin position. He is still only rostered in 1.6% of ESPN leagues.
You don’t get to play the Lions every week and the Seahawks won’t be scoring 48 points like they did last Sunday, but that makes Dissly even more valuable. The production in the end zone didn’t just come against the Lions. It has been there all season and in tighter games when trips to the red zone are harder to come by, they’ll need him.
As we see from the graphic below, it’s Tyler Lockett, DK Metcalf an everyone else for the Seahawks in a receiving capacity. Rashaad Penny had a monster Sunday on the ground, but Smith is not targeting his running backs out of the backfield. As long as Dissly keeps popping up in the end zone, he’s worth a look.
Leonard Fournette has been far from effective this season and Rachaad White has slowly started eating into the veteran running back’s playing time. Against the Kansas City Chiefs, White carried the ball just six times but that was double Fournette’s rushing attempts — he only had three and went for -3 yards. That shift might become more pronounced moving forward.
Fournette’s 0.19 missed/broken tackles this season is 39th in the league for running backs with more than 20 carries. White doesn’t have a lot of targets (9), but his burn yards (62) are second among rookie running backs behind the impressive Breece Hall.
The Detroit Lions are the most explosive offense in the league due to sheer volume. They have scored the most points in the NFL after four weeks (140) and have the most yards and yards per play. Their list of huge plays is almost as long as their injury report.
D’Andre Swift is battling multiple ailments, and D.J. Chark and Amon-Ra St. Brown were also out in Week 4. They are operating a very smooth next man up policy and didn’t slow down last weekend despite the injuries.
Josh Reynolds has seen his workload increase in the last two weeks because of those injuries with 10 and eight targets. He has two touchdowns, and one of those came back in Week 2 when everyone was healthy-ish.
Jared Goff has thrown the ball 13 times in the red zone this season. That’s the fifth highest number in the league. Reynolds has seen six of those attempts come his way. With the Lions still banged up and no signs of their defense improving, they may be involved in a lot of high-scoring games. It might boil Dan Campbell’s blood, but fantasy football owners should see opportunity.