Week 5 Waiver Wire: Top Pickups at Every Position
Unless you were on a fishing trip with Mike Pereira or just decided to get into football this week, you know about Brian Hartline's brilliant 253-yard, one-touchdown Miami Dolphins game against the Arizona Cardinals.
Week 3's big fantasy pickups—Mikel Leshoure and Kyle Rudolph—were duds in Week 4. Leshoure was predictable against a Minnesota Vikings defense that has allowed few fantasy points to opposing running backs in the 2012 NFL season. In contrast, Hartline will get a poor Cincinnati Bengals defense on Sunday of Week 5.
Who else should you be targeting for your Week 5 squad? Click through to find out.
Josh Freeman (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
Despite the Washington Redskins' porous defense in Week 4, Freeman was stuck on a low fantasy score at halftime of Sunday's game. He wound up with a respectable line, but it could have been better considering his matchup.
He gets two more shots at big fantasy days in coming weeks against the weak Kansas City Chiefs and New Orleans Saints defenses.
Christian Ponder (Minnesota Vikings)
One week after torching the vaunted San Francisco 49ers, Ponder was stymied by a Detroit Lions defense that had previously been annihilated by Jake Locker and the Tennessee Titans. Go figure.
It helped that the Vikings had a lead right out of the gate on a Percy Harvin touchdown return and then extended that lead with another special teams touchdown. They really did not have to do much on offense as the Lions had another mysteriously woeful offensive performance.
Ponder is liable to have some big games.
Ryan Tannehill (Miami Dolphins)
Tannehill broke Dan Marino's team rookie record and came one yard shy of tying Cam Newton's all-time rookie record with 431 yards passing in Week 4. Indeed, had he not been crushed while releasing his final pass of the game—a gut-wrenching interception that led to the game-winning field goal for the Arizona Cardinals—he would be alone atop the rookie mountain.
This was rather impressive, considering the Cardinals have a good defense and Tannehill was on the road. Is this a sign of things to come?
It will be interesting to see how he fares against a porous Cincinnati Bengals pass defense this week.
Others to Consider
Ryan Fitzpatrick (Buffalo Bills)
He was a decent pickup in Week 4 if you needed a bye-week fill-in, but he gets games against the 49ers and Cardinals next. Start at your own risk.
Matt Hasselbeck (Tennessee Titans)
Jake Locker could be out for a week or two with a shoulder injury, meaning Old Man Hass has the reins for the time being.
Brandon Bolden (New England Patriots)
Week 4 marked two consecutive weeks in which Bolden scored a touchdown.
The problem with Bolden is that he resides in a Bill Belichick backfield behind the clear starter, Stevan Ridley. He has made the most of his opportunities, but starting him in any sort of standard-sized league would be a ballsy throw of the dice.
He is best picked up as Ridley insurance, but if you want to stash him on a deep bench, that would not be a bad idea.
Ronnie Hillman (Denver Broncos)
Last week, I mentioned that Hillman had finally ascended the depth chart in Denver.
His statistical output might not reflect it—he got 10 carries for just 31 yards and two catches for 32 yards—but he was clearly the No. 2 behind Willis McGahee. Unfortunately, Lance Ball happened to be on the field when Peyton Manning decided to throw a touchdown to his running back, otherwise it might have been a rather nice day for the rookie.
Bilal Powell (New York Jets)
The New York offense is stuck in molasses, and the Houston Texans do not figure to help them out.
That means Powell's short-term value takes a hit, but the Jets must do something to try to spark the offense. Powell is a better running back than Shonn Greene, and head coach Rex Ryan has to know that somewhere deep inside that enigmatic brain of his.
Right now he is more of a stash if you have the room for it, but he could pay off in the second half of the season if Greene continues to play his way out of a starting gig.
Others to Consider
Rashard Mendenhall (Pittsburgh Steelers)
There is little talk about Mendenhall's return from injury, but he has been practicing, and this would be the perfect time to get him integrated into the offense. He has always been a bit overrated, but the Steelers could use a consistent running back.
Jackie Battle (San Diego Chargers)
Sure, Battle had a huge game as the Chargers tried to send a message to Ryan Mathews, but that very well could have been Battle's 15 minutes of fantasy fame this season. He is better served as a Mathews handcuff than anything.
Brian Hartline/Davone Bess (Miami Dolphins)
You already know why you should pick Hartline up if he happens to be available. He should be the top waiver priority in all leagues.
Bess, however, has been a bit more under the radar. The perennial sleeper has been playing well for the Dolphins, and he quietly had 123 yards receiving against the Cardinals. He is a quality No. 2 receiver who should get a good number of targets on a weekly basis, making him a sneaky pickup if you need some depth at receiver.
T.Y. Hilton/Donnie Avery (Indianapolis Colts)
Being that Week 4 was a bye week for the Colts, this duo might have been ignored by your fellow league mates.
Once again, Austin Collie is out for the season with a torn patellar tendon, permanently opening the door for Hilton and Avery to produce in that offense opposite Reggie Wayne. If you like upside, go with Hilton, but Avery is the safer pick.
Ramses Barden/Domenik Hixon (New York Giants)
Week 3 was the Ramses Barden show. Week 4 was Hixon's turn.
Hakeem Nicks has a balky knee to compound his foot issue, which means he could be out for any length of time going forward. It also means he could be back in Week 5, but he has been a surprise midweek scratch for two weeks in a row.
That makes Hixon and Barden the No. 2 and No. 3 receivers, respectively, for Eli Manning until Nicks returns. If you need someone to fill in for an injured or bye-week player, one of these guys should serve you well. The only issue is that neither has scored a touchdown with Nicks out.
Jerome Simpson (Minnesota Vikings)
It was not the triumphant return to the lineup that Simpson and anyone who took a chance on him might have hoped for in Week 4, but four catches for 50 yards on a relatively quiet offensive day all around was not bad for the talented receiver.
Simpson drew a couple of pass interference flags that helped move the offense. His presence on the field will be problematic for opposing defenses. He is the new No. 2 receiver on that team and should have a few big weeks in store this season.
Others to Consider
Andrew Hawkins (Cincinnati Bengals)
As I mentioned last week, Hawkins was a bit of a risk. He responded to waiver wire claims with a three-catch, 36-yard performance. He could go super nova in Week 5 against a Dolphins defense that likes to give up big plays when otherwise containing an offense, making him a worthwhile fill-in this week. Hawkins is far from a consistent performer, however.
James Jones (Green Bay Packers)
It is feast or famine for Jones, and in Week 4 he gave anyone bold enough to start him another feast. With the litany of options in Green Bay, he will always be a risky proposition.
Scott Chandler (Buffalo Bills)
Consider this: Chandler had four touchdowns at this point in 2011. He scored just twice more the rest of the season.
He should fare a bit better going forward, but considering that a whopping one-third of his catches have gone for touchdowns, expecting his spree to continue would be a bit foolish.
Heath Miller (Pittsburgh Steelers)
If he is still available in your league, jump on him now. He is a threat to go all Dennis Pitta, Kyle Rudolph or Martellus Bennett on you, but he has been a big part of the Steelers offense thus far. Ben Roethlisberger looks to him often, and that gives him weekly value.