The Week 5 waiver wire is more interesting than most weeks with critical players set to return from injury or suspension and provide a major impact in fantasy football.
When in the market for a gem in order to find an advantage, owners need to look no further than the following players.
While they have yet to make a serious impact, their situation dictates that big things are on the way, which translates to at least a smart stash on the bench in the hopes they can become a starter down the line.
Here are a few players ready to make a big impact in Week 5 and beyond. Owners must move fast before they disappear from the open market.
Note: Waiver-wire players are players owned in less than 50 percent of leagues. Percentage owned in parentheses. Based on NFL.com standard leagues.
Rashad Jennings, RB, Oakland Raiders (0.3 percent owned)
Newsflash—Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden is hurt yet again (he's never played a full season).
With McFadden out an unknown period of time and fullback Marcel Reece out as well, primary backup Rashad Jennings has a chance to shine.
Jennings totaled 116 total yards on 23 touches last week in the wake of injuries to the men in front of him despite starting quarterback Terrelle Pryor missing the game for precautionary reasons.
Pryor is expected back next week, per Sports Illustrated's Jim Trotter:
Allen said team wanted to exercise extreme caution with Pryor, so held him out. Feels good about him playing next week.— Jim Trotter (@SI_JimTrotter) September 29, 2013
This translates to even wider lanes for Jennings, as Pryor himself is also a threat on the ground. Jennings will see at least 20 total touches and McFadden's injury habits of the past suggest we'll be seeing plenty of Jennings from this point forward.
Heath Miller, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers (18.1 percent owned)
Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Heath Miller continues to improve as he works his way back from injury, yet owners continue to doubt his status, as suggested by his owned percentage.
Miller returned from injury in Week 3 and caught just three balls, but turned things around in Week 4 with six receptions for 70 yards.
Even better is the fact Miller saw the field on 75 of the Steelers' 79 offensive snaps.
This is Miller, one of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's favorite targets over the years who has gained at least 500 yards every season since 2007 and scored five or more touchdowns in five of his eight seasons in the NFL entering 2013.
Miller is back at the perfect time with the Steelers reeling at 0-4 and the offense doing a horrendous job supporting Roethlisberger.
It's the perfect storm for fantasy owners, as Miller should not only be scooped up off the wire, but inserted into most starting lineups.
Justin Blackmon, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars (45.5 percent owned)
Yes, the following is a suggestion to add a Jacksonville Jaguars player not named Cecil Shorts. No, it isn't crazy.
Justin Blackmon is a No. 1 receiver in the utmost sense and has returned to the team after serving a four-game suspension. Any No. 1 receiver is worth a roster spot and Blackmon is no exception.
Of course, Blackmon's production hinges on quarterback play. Last year with Blaine Gabbert under center through the first half of the season, Blackmon caught 23 passes for 225 yards and a score. The second half saw Blackmon make 41 catches for 640 yards and four touchdowns with Chad Henne as the signal-caller.
Per ESPN's Michael DiRocco, the Jaguars are sticking with Gabbert despite a 179-yard, three-interception outing last week. That's horrific news for Blackmon, but at some point Henne will be under center this year.
Until that happens, Blackmon is worth a stash on the bench in all leagues. His upside is unlimited, especially with the right quarterback under center.
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