Fantasy Football Week 6: Top Waiver-Wire Pickups at Each Offensive Position
And then there was one.
The Cleveland Browns are now the NFL's only winless team after the New Orleans Saints pulled off an exciting comeback Sunday night against the Chargers.
What does this mean for your fantasy team? More than you may think.
Two Browns made their cases for fantasy consideration in Week 5, despite an ugly loss to the Giants. Cleveland is wildly inconsistent, fielding an offense mired with rookie inexperience, but you may find some solid fantasy production within.
Elsewhere in the league, Drew Brees broke yet another record. Hold your surprise until the end of the slideshow, but if you drafted Brees this year, congratulations.
If you drafted Chris Johnson, you're probably hiding in shame, and I offer you condolences. Get rid of him at all costs. CJ2K is handcuffed by poor offensive line play, and it's looking at this point like cutting your losses is the best choice for the former star.
Stars both former and future may have hobbled your fantasy team in Week 5. Robert Griffin III left the game against the Falcons with a concussion, leaving many of you wondering why you even bothered to look at my quarterback rankings. My apologies—injuries happen, but that doesn't make your loss sting any less.
As injuries and inconsistency pile up, fantasy owners everywhere search the waiver wire for solutions. Some of these guys still may be available in your league, and even in some shallow formats, they could help you salvage your fantasy season. Read on.
Weeden hasn't experienced the same success as his rookie counterparts, but he has put up some useful fantasy numbers this season. He has been maddening at times, and his decision-making has left Browns fans wondering if he could be just another failed experiment.
Give him time.
Weeden has a big arm and has taken far too much abuse for being a nearly 29-year-old rookie. There is a big learning curve in the NFL, and Weeden will get it figured out.
If you're hurting at quarterback, Weeden could be a serviceable option. He has pair of 300-yard games under his belt and may have an emerging top talent in Josh Gordon at wide receiver. Gordon caught two touchdown passes Sunday, and with Weeden sure to look his way more often as the season progresses, the Browns offense should improve from week to week.
Weeden is not a top fantasy option, and probably won't post many top-10 games this year, but if you play in a deep league with limited options, Weeden is one of your better options.
Production Prediction: 25-for-42, 307 yards, two touchdowns
Ponder hasn't put up huge fantasy numbers this season, but he's thrown only two interceptions, and he’s led the Vikings to a 4-1 record this season.
Percy Harvin and Adrian Peterson have shouldered much of the big-play responsibility, but Ponder hasn't made many mistakes and should continue being a viable fantasy option in deeper leagues. Washington has been terrible against the pass this year, and if you're looking for a bye-week fill-in, Ponder could be your best fantasy option this week.
Production Prediction: 22-for-33, 235 yards, two touchdowns
Freeman had his best game of the season against the Redskins in Week 4, throwing for 299 yards and a touchdown.
The Bucs are coming off their bye week and face a friendly matchup against the Chiefs this week. As Freeman and Vincent Jackson continue developing chemistry in the passing game, the Bucs offense will gain traction, and Freeman should continue improving.
Freeman isn't a top-15 option most weeks, but will be a solid fantasy fill-in this week against the Chiefs.
Production Prediction: 20-for-36, 260 yards, two touchdowns
The 49ers aren't just a defensive team with a competent offense. San Francisco exploded for 45 points and more than 600 yards on Sunday, and it isn't done yet.
The Niners are the best team in the NFC, and they have a lot of weapons on offense. Hunter is averaging 5.4 yards per carry this season, and although he hasn't had a lot of attempts, he's made the most of them.
Frank Gore has been good this year, but age and wear will eventually catch up to him. Hunter is a solid bye-week play, and after his Week 5 performance, he's also likely to get more opportunities this season.
Production Prediction: 12 touches, 75 total yards
Brace yourself—the world really may be coming to an end.
The New England Patriots can run the ball, and they're doing it as well as any team in the league this year.
Stevan Ridley has seen the bulk of the carries this year, but Bolden is getting his piece of the pie. He's had 30 carries for 191 yards in the Pats' last two games, including a touchdown scamper in Week 4 against the Bills.
Stash Bolden on your bench and consider him a viable option to fill in on bye weeks. If Ridley ends up on the injury report, Bolden could be a huge asset.
Production Prediction: 16 touches, 81 total yards
Mendenhall is owned in a lot of leagues at this point. The former first-round fantasy pick went down with an ACL tear late last season, but he's back, and he looks good.
The Steelers have struggled running the ball this season, but with Mendenhall back, the offense will take on a whole new look. The Steelers likely will be cautious with Mendenhall early, but he should see his workload increase from week to week.
If he's still available in your league, pick him up and plug him in. Tennessee is allowing 144.2 yards on the ground this season.
Production Prediction: 18 touches, 92 total yards, one touchdown
Wilson was a popular pick in many fantasy drafts, but quickly fell to the bowels of Tom Coughlin's depth chart after fumbling in the team's Week 1 game.
Andre Brown stepped in when Ahmad Bradshaw went down, but Brown was injured against Cleveland, and Bradshaw went off for 200 yards on his own. Wilson managed to find the end zone on one of his few opportunities, though, and could see an increased workload as the season goes on.
Bradshaw is prone to injuries, especially when he totes the rock as much as he did against the Browns. Wilson is a talented back, and if he can hold onto the football, he will find his way back into Coughlin's good graces and near the top of the depth chart.
Wilson will get his touches out of the backfield in Week 6 against a stout Niners defense.
Production Prediction: Five touches, 32 total yards, one touchdown
Greg Little came down with a case of the drops against the Ravens in Week 4, and Browns fans were calling for his head.
Many believed Gordon would be the beneficiary of Little's inconsistency.
They were right.
Gordon hauled in two touchdown passes from Brandon Weeden against the Giants and showed why the Browns gave up next year's second-round pick to acquire him in the supplemental draft.
Gordon has a lot of talent, and he's improved considerably since the preseason. If Weeden continues to air it out as much as he has this year, Gordon could become a solid fantasy option for the rest of the season.
Weeden threw for 322 yards and two touchdowns against the Bengals earlier this season, and with Gordon playing a larger role in the offense, he could see more targets in Week 6.
Production Prediction: Four catches, 80 yards, one touchdown
In an offense as potent as Green Bay's, nearly every receiver is going to get his share of targets.
With Greg Jennings sidelined, Cobb is a very useful fantasy option. He has big-play capability and was one of Aaron Rodgers' favorite targets in Week 5. Cobb caught four passes for 82 yards and a touchdown against the Colts, and it's likely he will have more similar performances throughout the season.
The Packers utilize Cobb much like the Vikings do with Percy Harvin. Given time, Cobb could be a similar impact player on an already powerful offense.
The Packers play Houston in Week 6, which boasts one of the best defenses in the league. It may take a big play or two from Rodgers and Cobb to propel the Packers to a win.
Production Prediction: Five catches, 87 yards, one touchdown
With Danny Amendola sidelined for the foreseeable future, Givens becomes a solid pickup in deeper formats.
Givens only had two catches in the last two weeks, but each went for 50-plus yards. He is Sam Bradford's developing big-play threat and could continue seeing looks down the field with Amendola out.
Givens isn't a great option in smaller leagues, but he could help fill in for injured players in deeper formats. The Dolphins have allowed 282 yards per game to opposing quarterbacks, which makes Bradford and Givens a potential top-15 duo this week.
Production Prediction: Four catches, 72 yards
Seattle's offense isn't anything special, and Tate's upside is limited because of that fact.
However, Tate has caught two touchdown passes (three if you really want to count his game-winner against the Packers). Russell Wilson has struggled, but with Marshawn Lynch producing, Seattle's passing game probably won't get any worse.
Tate is one of Wilson's most talented targets, and he's a viable option in some leagues, especially if you're desperate for a bye-week fill-in. Seattle hosts a New England team in Week 6 that has allowed 292 passing yards per game to opposing offenses.
Production Prediction: Four catches, 67 yards, one touchdown
It's amazing in how many leagues Rudolph is still available. Unless you have a couple elite tight ends on your roster, Rudolph is a great pickup.
Rudolph is one of Christian Ponder's favorite red-zone targets. He's caught four touchdown passes this season and is averaging 11.7 yards per reception. He posted his best yardage total of the season in Week 5 against the Jaguars, and could continue to see his targets and yardage increase as the season progresses.
Rudolph is a solid back-up tight end and flex play on bye weeks. Use him against favorable matchups, especially this week against the Redskins.
Production Prediction: Five catches, 68 yards, one touchdown
If Chandler was still available in your league after his two-touchdown performance against the Patriots in Week 4, he's probably available now, and you should consider adding him to your roster.
Chandler has four touchdown catches this year, and although he doesn't have more than four catches in any game this year, Chandler is a viable option in deeper formats. Buffalo's defense has been atrocious in its three losses this season, and if the Bills continue giving up oodles of points, they will continue airing it out early and often.
Production Prediction: Three catches, 72 yards
Andrew Luck finally is getting Allen involved in the offense. He has nine catches in the Colts' last two games, including a touchdown reception against the Packers in Week 5.
Although Coby Fleener is ahead of Allen on the depth chart, Allen could be a good option in leagues 12 teams and deeper. He's only averaging 6.3 yards per catch, but as long as Luck continues to look his way in the red zone, Allen will find the end zone much more regularly this season.
Production Prediction: Five catches, 42 yards, one touchdown
How "Young G.Z." is still available in some fantasy leagues is beyond me.
Zuerlein has been outstanding this season and not just because he's had a lot of attempts. He has been perfect this year and has connected on all five attempts from 50-plus yards.
Zuerlein has a chance to be the top fantasy kicker this season, and unless you already have a top-five kicker, add G.Z. and plug him in.
Tucker is 11-for-12 this season, including six makes from beyond 40 yards.
Although the Ravens sputtered offensively against the Chiefs, Baltimore has an impressive offense, and Tucker should continue to get a lot of opportunities.
Baltimore plays Dallas in Week 6, and Tucker should get plenty more opportunities to build on his impressive stats this season.