Week 5 Waiver Wire: Can't-Miss Fantasy Football Pickups
The Week 5 waiver wire should read something like this in a number of leagues, regardless of format: "Team X dropped receiver X, added HARTLINE, BRIAN (Dolphins)."
Hartline, who is owned in almost 75 percent of ESPN leagues this season, went off for over 250 yards and a score Sunday in the Dolphins' overtime loss to the Arizona Cardinals. His name will be a hot one for teams in need of receiver help this week.
Hartline isn't the only hot name, however. In the following slides, we break down the top waiver wire pickups for Week 5.
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Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bills
With Fitzpatrick, you have take the good (12 touchdown passes) with the bad (seven interceptions, one lost fumble). But generally the good has outweighed the bad from a fantasy sense. Fitzpatrick has averaged over 20 points the last three weeks (ESPN standard leagues), but he's still owned in less than 50 percent of ESPN leagues.
Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins
There are going to be predictable valleys and peaks for Tannehill, but Sunday's 431-yard performance against a tough Arizona Cardinals defense shows that the peaks can be fantasy relevant.
Of course, Tannehill is still nothing more than a QB2 is almost all leagues, and you'll have to be very careful when or if you give him a start. But as a backup, there's potential here. You won't have to race out to get him either; Tannehill is owned in just over three percent of ESPN leagues.
Kevin Kolb, Cardinals
Three straight games with a final fantasy total over 15 points has cemented Kolb's status as a legitimate QB2 across all standard-sized formats. The Cardinals have a gauntlet schedule remaining—maybe one of the toughest in football—but Kolb is worth a look if you're in need at backup quarterback.
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Jackie Battle, Chargers
The Chargers gave Battle almost 20 touches (15 rushes, four catches) despite a healthy Ryan Mathews available. No one can be sure how many times that will happen this season, but it's an interesting development for Battle's fantasy value.
He turned those expanded touches into 81 total yards and two scores Sunday, including a goal line touch. There's value as long as the Chargers give him touches, and you can find him in 91 percent of ESPN leagues.
Brandon Bolden, Patriots
You'd be lying to yourself if you predicted that Bolden (owned in 0.3 percent of ESPN leagues) would get 16 carries Sunday against the Bills. But 16 carries he got, and Bolden turned the workload into 148 total yards (137 rushing) and one score. Bolden also received a goal line carry against the Ravens last week that resulted in a short score.
Still, attempting to decifer the Patriots' running back splits needs a Bill Belichick Rosetta Stone that currently does not exist. Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen and Danny Woodhead also steal looks in the New England backfield.
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Brian Hartline, Dolphins
Don't look know, but Hartline (owned in 26.7 percent of ESPN leagues) is on pace for 100 catches and over 1,800 yards as the Dolphins clear No. 1 receiver. He also has a developing chemistry with Ryan Tannehill, who looked his way a staggering 19 times Sunday in Arizona. Hartline ended with 12 catches for 253 yards and a touchdown.
Like Tannehill, Hartline will likely have peaks and valleys that coincide directly with Tannehill's performance on a given week. But if the top of the peak is 19 targets, 253 yards and a touchdown, Hartline should be owned in every format by the start of Week 5.
Andre Roberts, Cardinals
A fourth of Robert's 16 catches this season have gone for touchdowns, including two Sunday against the Dolphins. He's now established himself as the clear No. 2 receiver behind Larry Fitzgerald in Arizona.
The catches may not come in bunches, but Roberts makes the most of his opportunities. Four scores in fours weeks in worthy of being owned in more than the 1.8 percent of ESPN leagues that he is right now.
James Jones, Packers
Veterans of the waiver wire are likely wary of Jones, who frequently has a big day fantasy-wise only to follow it up with a clunker the next week. But Jones has now been productive in three of four weeks, and Greg Jennings (groin) is likely to miss a week or two. Maybe it's his year in the Packers offense to break out in a big way.
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Scott Chandler, Bills
A third of Chandler's 12 total catches in 2012 have gone for touchdowns. For those of you not fluent in fractions, that's four scores in four weeks for the Bills tight end. Considering Fitzpatrick is throwing touchdowns at a high rate, Chandler's scoring binge could very well continue.
And if you don't have one of the top-tier tight ends, a cluster of touchdown catches is all you can really ask for at the position fantasy-wise. Chandler is there for the taking in almost 70 percent of ESPN leagues.
Greg Olsen, Panthers
Olsen started slow but has come on strong the past two weeks. He's hauled in 13 passes for nearly 200 yards and a score as Cam Newton has looked his way at a higher rate. As it stands now through four weeks, Olsen is on pace for 80 catches and over 1,000 yards. He might be worth a look in deeper leagues, and you can find him in almost 85 percent of ESPN leagues.
Defense/Special Teams, Kicker
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The Vikings have played suffocating defense the last two weeks, and the special teams delivered two returns for touchdowns against the Lions. WIth Percy Harvin as a kick returner, Minnesota will always be a threat for a special teams touchdown. 38 combined points the last two weeks means you need to jump on these guys fast (owned in 4.3 percent of ESPN leagues).
Greg Zuerlein, Rams
How is the Rams rookie kicker still available in over 80 percent of ESPN leagues? He's in the top-5 for highest scoring kickers in fantasy football, and he booted two field goals over 58 yards Sunday against Seattle. Get him. Now.
Phil Dawson, Browns
Reliable Phil Dawson has three weeks with 10 or more points, including 16 Thursday against Baltimore. The Browns are going to rely on him to score points in more than a few games this season. And Dawson has looked strong on longer kicks this season.