Week 5 Fantasy Football: Waiver-Wire Targets Who Deserve a Start

Mike Moraitis@@michaelmoraitisAnalyst IOctober 1, 2013

NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 29: Wide receiver Nate Washington #85 of the Tennessee Titans high fives fans after scoring a touchdown against the New York Jets at LP Field on September 29, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

There will be four teams with a bye in Week 5, so there will be plenty of owners looking to fill voids left by players who have the week off.

While that puts owners in a tough position should their bench be a bit short, there are some players on the waiver wire who have proven to have the ability to make an impact in the past few weeks.

Wide receiver Nate Washington of the Tennessee Titans, running back LeGarrette Blount of the New England Patriots and the Cleveland Browns defense/special teams have all been valuable but largely unowned assets in recent weeks.

Let's break down each of these waiver-wire options and why they will each make an impact in Week 5.


Nate Washington, WR, Tennessee Titans

Availability: Owned in 17.2 percent of ESPN leagues

NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 09:  Nate Washington #85 of the Tennessee Titans celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the New England Patriots during their season opener at LP Field on September 9, 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breed
Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Washington is quickly emerging as a top receiver in fantasy this season after two stellar games in a row. One week after compiling 131 yards against the San Diego Chargers in Week 3, Washington followed that up in Week 4 with 105 yards and two scores against a tougher New York Jets defense.

With fellow receiver Kenny Britt falling out of favor in Tennessee, Washington has become one of the top targets for the Titans through the air. Not only does he lead the team in receiving yards (332), but Washington is also tied for most targets (30) and receiving touchdowns (two), and is second in receptions (19).

There are two concerns for the Titans in Week 5 with one of them being the injury to starting quarterback Jake Locker, who is expected to miss at least a month with a hip injury, per Jim Wyatt of USA Today Sports. Despite that, it must be noted that backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick did connect with Washington for a 77-yard strike in the fourth quarter of the Titans' win over the Jets, so these two are not strangers to one another.

The Titans' Week 5 opponent will be the Kansas City Chiefs, which is a team that is rock solid against the pass with a No. 2 ranking this season. Still, Washington remains the team's No. 1 target and if anyone will see regular looks against the Chiefs, it's him. Not to mention, the Jets had a well-respected defense coming into Week 4 and the Titans still shredded it for 38 points.


LeGarrette Blount, RB, New England Patriots

Availability: Owned in 2.3 percent of ESPN leagues

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 29:    LeGarrette Blount #29 and  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots run a play against the Atlanta Falcons during the game at Georgia Dome on September 29, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

After running the ball 31 times for 132 yards as a team against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 4, it's abundantly clear the Pats will be trying to establish the run week to week.

Blount looked solid once again for New England against Atlanta with nine carries for 64 yards to the tune of 7.1 yards per carry with one score. Granted, the bulk of his yardage came on one 47-yard scamper, but it was that explosive play that proved Blount can make things happen on the ground.

That performance will only serve to earn Blount more trust in the offense as the Pats continue to go with a "running back by committee" approach. While that might be a concern, Blount is second on the team in carries (34), and is the only back to get into the end zone in 2013-14.

With Stevan Ridley continuing to post pedestrian numbers (3.7 yards per carry), Blount stands a great chance of assuming No. 1 back duties and is a solid bet to start at running back for owners with few other options at the position available in bigger leagues.


Cleveland Browns D/ST

Availability: Owned in 4.9 percent of ESPN leagues

Don't look now, but the Browns have one of the best defenses in football. After shutting down the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 4 by allowing just six points, you don't have much reason to question the legitimacy of Cleveland's defensive unit.

In the win over the Bengals, the Browns recovered a fumble and picked off a pass. Adding to their production, the Browns sacked quarterback Andy Dalton twice.

Overall, the Browns are tied for No. 8 in the league in points allowed per game (17.5) and are tied for No. 6 in the AFC in takeaways (seven). In the sack department, the Browns are tied for third in the league (14), so they have a plethora of ways to score points in fantasy.

The Browns' Week 5 opponent will be the Buffalo Bills, who sport a rookie quarterback in EJ Manuel. The rookie QB hasn't seen many defenses like the Browns this season and heads the league's No. 28 pass attack. Sure, the Bills can run the ball with the No. 2 attack in the NFL, but the Browns have been particularly stingy against the run with a No. 4 ranking.