Fantasy Football Waiver Wire: Week 5 Targets to Pursue
With Week 4 of the 2012 NFL season finally in the books, it's time for fantasy football owners to take that knowledge and start working the waiver wire.
While the hurt of last week's loss or the glory of victory may still be lurking within, it doesn't behoove any owner to dwell in the past. Each week of the season becomes markedly more important as injuries pile up and the breakout stars come fewer and farther between.
There are four teams (Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, Oakland Raiders, Tampa Bay Buccaneers) on bye this week, so that means the waiver period is more important than ever. Owners will desperately be on the market not only to replace injured stars, but also to find great matchups for one-week stopgaps.
For that reason, here's a look at the best targets to pursue before your Week 5 matchup.
Brian Hartline (WR, Miami Dolphins)
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Playing against an Arizona Cardinals defense that was essentially daring the Dolphins to go deep, quarterback Ryan Tannehill did just that and connected with Hartline 12 times for 253 yards and a touchdown on Sunday.
We all should rationally understand that Week 4 will likely serve as Hartline's greatest career game and temper out expectations before they fall off the rails.
Nevertheless, he's by far the No. 1 waiver pickup this week.
While 253 yards was undoubtedly a fluke, Hartline's status as Miami's top receiver certainly is not. The fourth-year former Ohio State star also broke out in Week 2 against the Oakland Raiders, catching nine passes for 111 yards and has been targeted a whopping 48 times thus far.
The problem lies with Tannehill's consistency. You're never going to know which week Hartline will thrive because Tannehill's excellence has come in such random spurts.
He's undoubtedly a must-own in all formats, but Hartline is more of a deep league WR No. 2 or a standard league flex play than someone who will break out the rest of the season.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB, Buffalo Bills)
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Considering the surprising dearth of breakout quarterbacks this season, Fitzpatrick is likely the best option available. The Buffalo signal-caller has been dreadful to watch for most of 2012, completing just 57.6 percent of his passes and throwing seven interceptions, but Fitzpatrick has quietly been a fantastic fantasy quarterback in 2012.
Coming into Week 5, he is leading the NFL with 12 touchdowns and had a marvelous fantasy day against the New England Patriots on Sunday, throwing for 350 yards and four touchdowns (and four interceptions).
As long as you avoid actually watching Fitzpatrick play, a peek at his final point total will almost surely bring joy to your Week 5 totals.
Andre Roberts (WR, Arizona Cardinals)
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Despite everyone pegging first-round pick Michael Floyd to fit in as Arizona's No. 2 receiver this season, it's been Roberts who has emerged thus far.
Roberts' stats (15 REC, 229 YDS, 4 TD's) don't stand out as anything spectacular, but the third-year receiver has shown a penchant for the deep ball. While teams put Larry Fitzgerald in bracket coverage or double cover him on every play, Roberts has been able to break free for a team-leading 15.3 yards per reception (minimum of two receptions).
What's more, he's regularly getting into the end zone. Even in his worst day of the season, where he caught just one pass for two yards against the New England Patriots, that reception was for a touchdown.
Over the course of the season, touchdowns are wholly unpredictable, especially with a quarterback like Kevin Kolb throwing the passes. Nonetheless, Roberts has doubled every other Arizona receiver's scores in 2012 and should be a solid flex play for the remainder of the season.
Greg Olsen (TE, Carolina Panthers)
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For fantasy owners who do not own Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham or Tony Gonzalez, the tight end position is undoubtedly a weekly frustration spot.
Just when a player is seemingly on the verge of emerging as an elite threat, he puts up a goose-egg and you're back to the drawing board (yes, I'm looking at you, Dennis Pitta).
If you're in such a situation, jumping on Olsen should be priority No. 1 this week. Although he's an easy target because he got in the end zone Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons, Olsen has value outside of touchdowns unlike many of his counterparts.
The 29-year-old has six or more receptions in three of four games this season and is actually fourth among tight ends in total receiving yards with 256 (ahead of names like Graham and Owen Daniels).
Even better, Olsen is readily available in leagues with just a 16.7 ownership percentage in ESPN standard leagues.
A consistent fixture on a high-powered passing attack is just about everything you can ask for in a tight end, and Olsen has it. Look for him to stick as an every-week start if you can somehow nab him on the wire this week.
Bilal Powell (RB, New York Jets)
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Whether anyone wants to admit it or not, change is coming to the Jets' offense sooner rather than later.
Most people would assume I'm talking about Tim Tebow, and while that may be the case as well, the New York offense's first change looks to be with Powell.
After seeing his carries increase in Weeks 2 and 3, the second-year back actually saw a marked decrease to just three attempts against the San Francisco 49ers.
However, that does not tell the whole story. Powell was in the lineup for 32 snaps on Sunday compared to just 18 for Shonn Greene. While some of that certainly has to do with the former Louisville star's status as the third-down back (the Jets were down almost the entire game last week), it also signals an increasing distrust of Greene.
The starter has averaged a paltry 2.8 yards per carry thus far, and while Powell's 3.8 yards per carry average is no shining beacon of light, it is at least better.
By no means would you start Powell or any Jets offensive player this week. Nevertheless, he's worth a flier in almost any format and could emerge later in the season.