Alright, fantasy owners. I can see what you are thinking—five weeks into the 2013-14 NFL season, and you may be wondering what happened to your franchise. Your team seemed so promising on draft day.
Between then and now, you should have had enough time to determine whether or not so-and-so would step it up, or whether your mid-round pick would avoid "bust" status. After five weeks, it appears that your fantasy season may be coming to an end.
Not so fast.
Unlike the New York Giants or Atlanta Falcons, your postseason hopes are not totally lost. There is still a chance that some midseason waiver acquisitions could turn everything around before it is too late.
Let us take a look at six players that could make all the difference.
Keenan Allen—WR San Diego Chargers
For teams looking at an upgrade for their wide receivers, Keenan Allen should be the No. 1 target if no one else has swooped him up already.
According to CBS Fantasy Sports, Allen began Week 5 on only 9 percent of fantasy rosters, yet he has jumped up to 75 percent after some lofty stats over the previous two weeks.
In Weeks 3 and 4, Allen posted an impressive 11 catches for 195 yards and one touchdown.
He is a lock to be the No. 2 receiver opposite Vincent Brown, so look for Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers to target him often from this point forward.
Allen will match up against a middle-of-the-pack Indianapolis Colts pass defense in Week 6 then should be unleashed against the lackluster Jaguars in Week 7.
If nobody in your league has grabbed this guy yet, get on him quickly, as his stock should continue on the rise.
Willis McGahee—RB Cleveland Browns
Just like the Cleveland Browns, running back Willis McGahee has been a pleasant surprise this season.
After the 2012-13 season, it looked like McGahee's stock was on the decline, yet he has rediscovered his youth in Cleveland and fantasy owners should take interest.
According to ESPN Fantasy Football, McGahee was owned by only 22.1 percent of owners in Week 5. That number has jumped up to 55.1 percent heading into Week 6. His stock is rising and you should take note.
McGahee's resurgence and forthcoming potential is illustrated by CBS Sports' Marty Gitlin who states:
The three CBSSports.com senior Fantasy writers are almost unanimous in their appraisal of McGahee for Week 6, ranking him between 23rd and 28th among all NFL backs. And though he is best suited to be a second back in smaller leagues and flex play in bigger ones, he is a particularly good option against a suspect Detroit run defense.
Running backs, especially effective ones, can be at a premium in fantasy football. Thus, adding McGahee to your roster may provide you an upgrade over a lackluster back.
Despite the Browns utilizing more passing schemes these days, McGahee should see plenty of carries, and the numbers state that he can still produce at his age.
Garrett Graham—TE Houston Texans
Let us assume that you are one of those owners who grabbed Patriots tight end Robert Gronkowski hoping for big numbers out of the two-time Pro Bowler.
With his status still in question, you may be wondering where the production may come from a relatively thin position.
Houston's Garrett Graham could be your answer.
CBS Sports had Graham listed on only 30 percent of fantasy rosters before Week 5, and ESPN teams had him in a mere 3.3 percent. Those percentages have now jumped to 83 percent and 28.4 percent respectively.
If he is still available, do not hesitate.
With the Texans relying heavily on their tight ends to bolster their passing scheme, Graham is expected to play a big role. Fellow tight end Owen Daniels is expected to miss eight weeks, and Graham is likely the guy to take his stead.
Graham could prove to be a difference maker in your fantasy league especially considering Houston's situation.
As far as your fantasy team is concerned, he could be a lifesaver.
Austin Pettis—WR St. Louis Rams
If your fantasy team is thin at the wide receiver position and there are not a ton of waiver-wire options available, you may want to look at Rams receiver Austin Pettis.
He is owned in only 7.4 percent of ESPN leagues, perhaps because of the fact that St. Louis' passing game has not exactly been stellar thus far.
Yet Pettis continues to be a nice red-zone surprise into 2013, and fantasy owners should take note.
Pettis currently has 22 receptions for 222 yards and four touchdowns thus far, and while his receiving yards may not generate the same numbers compared to elite receivers, the fact that the Rams are utilizing him in the red zone is something to consider.
Examining these specific matchups may give you a good indication whether to sit Pettis or start him. Judging by his numbers up to this point however, you could do much worse than adding him to your roster.
Terrelle Pryor—QB Oakland Raiders
Much like the prospects for the 2013 Raiders' season, not much was expected from third-year quarterback Terrelle Pryor.
Four starts into the year however, fantasy owners may want to think differently.
If your team was one that was hoping for big years out of Robert Griffin III or Colin Kaepernick, Pryor may be a solid holdover option until both of those guys get back on track. After four games, Pryor has posted a 68.3 completion percentage and has thrown for 845 yards. His four touchdowns against two interceptions also bodes well.
Factoring in his running capabilities also provides fantasy value. Pryor has rushed for 229 yards thus far which can offset his relative lack of yards through the air.
The fact that he is relatively available in many fantasy league hosts also favors prospective owners.
New Orleans Saints Defense/Special Teams
Remember back in 2012 when the Saints defense was 31st in the league in points allowed? Now, they are ranked fifth in the same category. What a difference a year can make.
Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan has done tremendous work here.
This unit probably received little-to-no attention on draft day, yet they have made tremendous strides in getting back on track. In fact, they are a primary reason behind New Orleans' 5-0 start.
While they have given up a total of 1,652 yards to this point, one has to examine that this team can generate turnovers—seven interceptions and six forced fumbles. The defense has also recorded 15 sacks, averaging three per game.
Those numbers will help any fantasy owner looking to get a little more out of their defense/special teams unit.
New Orleans will take on the Patriots in Week 6. New England is without a solid receiving corps and that could play into the hands of the Saints despite what quarterback Tom Brady can do. Gronkowski could miss another week although wide receiver Danny Amendola could return.
Monitor this situation closely. If neither player makes an appearance, pick up this defense.
After a Week 7 bye, the Saints will benefit from a low-scoring Bills team before taking on a turnover-prone Jets team in Week 9.
That sounds like a good investment.
Rest assured, your fantasy season is not lost. These waiver-wire grabs may be critical to turning your 2013-14 fantasy season around.
These picks may not be all that lofty or heralded, but they should be productive enough to get your team back on track or at least hold you over until things turn around.
In the meantime, get to your computer, tablet or cell phone, and grab these guys before it is too late.
All statistics, records and accolades courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com unless otherwise indicated.
Peter Panacy is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him @PeterMcShots on Twitter.
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