Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups After Week 5
Injuries are unavoidable. They happen every year to some of the best players in the league. Even though they can suck the life right out of your team, you deal with them and move on because, hey, this is fantasy football, not fantasy badminton.
Week 5 gave us another crop of injuries to thin out an already depleted league even more, so with four more teams on a bye this week, what do you do? Hopefully you stashed a little depth on your squad that you can just plug right in there...but what if you didn't?
This is where the all-important waiver wire comes in handy and why you need to know exactly which players to pick up and why.
RB Alex Green: Green Bay Packers
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Green saw his first major action of the season when Cedric Benson went down with a foot injury early in the second quarter. He looked pretty capable, too, carrying the ball nine times for 55 yards and one reception for another eight.
It is not exactly known how bad the injury is for Benson. There are reports that have him possibly out for the season with a Lisfranc injury, but it would appear that Green is ready to step in as the starter regardless.
Green has dynamic ability for a 225-pound back and showed it on a 41-yard run in the fourth quarter of a pressure-filled game.
If/when Green gets the chance to start, he could be a decent flex option as he also has value in the passing game. Either way, he is definitely going to see more attempts going forward and is worth a look.
RB Rashard Mendenhall: Pittsburgh Steelers
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Mendenhall sure proved he's back and ready to play football with his 101 total yards performance with a TD this past Sunday.
He looked pretty quick and even had a little bit of burst going through the line that we did not see out of him last season when he was healthy. The added bonus of two receptions out of the backfield (which was never his forte) shows he just might be ready to become a three-down back for the Steelers as well.
Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer both showed they weren't ready for the lead role in this offense and Mendenhall just took it back with authority this week.
Grab him if he's still available.
RB William Powell: Arizona Cardinals
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With Beanie Wells out until at least Week 12, Powell has acted as the primary backup to Ryan Williams and now could be in line for the starting gig.
Ryan Williams' injured left shoulder was thought to be just a minor injury, but it is now reported that Williams needs surgery and will be out for the remainder of the season.
The Cardinals have Alfonso Smith waiting in the wings as well, but he's never been any better than a so-so third-stringer, so you can bet the Cards will give the first shot at major carries to Powell. LaRod Stephens-Howling will get some playing time as well, but being one of the smallest players in the NFL, he tires easily and can't carry the load.
By the way, Powell led all rushers in the preseason with 249 yards on 42 carries (5.9 yards per attempt) while also leading in touchdowns with three.
RB Jamie Harper: Tennessee Titans
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Harper is a long-shot flyer if you are in a deep league. Nevertheless, because Javon Ringer went down with what looked to be a serious injury after being carted off the field, Harper is certainly worth a look—especially considering what we have seen out of Chris Johnson all season, which has been, to say the least, complete ineffectiveness.
Harper may get to see some chances soon here, but as I said, he might only be worth looking at in the deepest of leagues.
Still, with Ringer now expected to be out for four to six weeks with a torn MCL, you never know.
QB Kirk Cousins: Washington Redskins
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Kirk entered the game for RGIII after he was knocked out on a hard hit along the sideline by Sean Weatherspoon. Griffin was almost immediately diagnosed with a concussion and also received stitches from the hit.
Cousins came in and promptly hit Santana Moss on a huge 77-yard TD pass, but was relatively ineffective after that play, throwing two INTs with the Redskins in comeback mode.
The injury to RGIII is being called a mild concussion at this point and the Redskins hope to have him back next week, but he'll still have to pass the baseline concussion tests before he will be allowed to play.
If RGIII is unable to go, Cousins is an option in deep or two-QB leagues, but might have a tough time against the Vikings next week anyway.
WR Rueben Randle: New York Giants
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Randle had a very nice game on Sunday in the shadow of Victor Cruz and his three TD grabs. In fact, he ended up leading the Giants in both receptions and yards with six catches for 82 yards while being targeted nine times during the game.
The unfortunate truth of it is that the Giants receiving corps is continually banged up, so in accordance with the situation, Randle has steadily made his way up the depth chart as the others continue to miss more and more practices and game time.
After his performance this past week, Randle might have gained the trust of the coaching staff and more importantly, gained the trust of Eli Manning.
His talent is undeniable, so pick him up now if he's available...especially if you have Hakeem Nicks on your team.
WR Josh Gordon: Cleveland Browns
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Gordon made his presence known in Week 5 with TD receptions of 62 and 20 yards. They may have been the only two catches on the day for the rookie, but he at least took advantage of his first real opportunity this season and just might have secured himself a permanent role in the offense.
Gordon has a ton of ability, but will likely be a feast or famine type of a player with such a raw set of skills at this point.
He should continue to see more opportunities going forward. Since the Browns will be down more often than not this season, there will be a need for big plays on offense and Gordon just might be able to thrive in such a role.
WRs Chris Givens and Brian Quick: St. Louis Rams
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Danny Amendola is going to be out for at least six to seven weeks with a separated clavicle so both Givens and Quick have an opportunity to step in and see a lot more targets.
Givens seems to be ahead of Quick on the depth chart right now and just had a huge 51-yard TD grab last week, so he might be the more immediate grab off the waiver wire. Quick, however, was the more highly-touted draft pick so the Rams might want to get him a lot more involved sooner rather than later.
Either way, neither of these guys will take over for Amendola in the slot, so...
WR Steve Smith: St. Louis Rams
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Givens and Quick should certainly see an uptick in targets, as will Austin Pettis, but Steve Smith is the one likely to replace Amendola in the slot and could quickly become Bradford's new favorite target.
It shouldn't be forgotten how much of an offseason/preseason darling Smith was heading into Week 1 and now that Amendola is out of the picture, he could very well begin again where he left off a little over a month ago.
In PPR leagues, Smith could be the receiver to grab on the Rams squad.
TE Dwayne Allen: Indianapolis Colts
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For some reason, Allen has become the tight end Andrew Luck targets in the red zone, not his college teammate, Coby Fleener.
Dwayne had a touchdown again this past Sunday, making it the second one the rookie has put up in the last three games. He's also outdone Fleener in both catches and yards in that span and though Allen may not normally get you a ton of yards, his value in TD leagues certainly is worth the waiver wire look.
RB Jahvid Best: Detroit Lions and WR Vincent Brown: San Diego Chargers
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DON'T FORGET ABOUT THESE TWO GUYS!
Both Best and Brown are going to be available very soon as Best can be activated after Week 6 and Brown after Week 8. Even better is that both are tentatively expected to be ready to go immediately.
They each have a ton of skill and could be huge factors in their offenses once they return, especially being on explosive teams like the Lions and Chargers.
Best will supposedly be used in some sort of Darren Sproles type of role, which actually might be perfect for his particular set of skills.
Brown, on the other hand, was supposed to take on a rather large role in the San Diego offense before his injury. Since Robert Meachem hasn't lived up to the hype as the team's WR2 (despite his nice game against the decrepit Saints defense), he could very well be a prominent factor from the moment he returns.
If you have the ability to grab and stash either one on your bench, then I'd recommend doing it now before they both become high-demand players two weeks from now.
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