Week 5 Waiver Wire: Players Likely Available That You Should Consider Adding

Kevin Hanson@EDSFootballAnalyst IIIOctober 4, 2011

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 02:  Stevan Ridley #22 of the New England Patriots in action against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on October 2, 2011 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Man, that was quick. One-quarter of the NFL regular season is already over.

While a team that is 0-4 or 1-3 is unlikely to make the (real) postseason, it's not as dire of a situation for fantasy owners that find themselves in a similar situation in their league(s).

Perhaps all you need is a little bit of luck and a tweak to the roster to turn things around.

Every week, we run through a list of potential additions to your fantasy roster. We have a couple of rules for a player to appear on this list: 1. He is owned in 50 percent or less of Yahoo! leagues, and 2. He wasn't on this list last week.

The idea is that these guys are actually available or there is a reasonable chance that they are available in your league, and we don't want to give you the same recycled names from the previous week.

If it weren't for the rules, one name that would definitely appear on this list (again) is Patriots running back Stevan Ridley, who is owned in only 17 percent of Yahoo! leagues as of Tuesday morning. The LSU product made a name for himself early in the preseason and now he's doing the same in the regular season.

The worry with Ridley is the number of opportunities he may get with BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead also in the backfield and Bill Belichick, a slightly less frustrating version of Mike Shanahan, running things in New England.

That said, Ridley is certainly making the most of the opportunities (snaps) that he is getting. For a second week in a row, he led the Pats in rushing and this week he finished with 100 yards from scrimmage (97 rushing on 10 carries and three receiving on one reception) with a score.

Here are some potential additions this week with their Yahoo! league ownership percentage in parenthesis:

QB Matt Hasselbeck, Titans (owned in 40 percent of Yahoo! leagues)

With the loss of Kenny Britt for the season, I listed Nate Washington and Jared Cook as options to add last week, as I expected both of those guys to see more opportunities in the passing game. While Hasselbeck threw for a season-low 220 yards on a season-low 10 completions, he threw a season-high three touchdowns in Week 4. Hasselbeck, who has never thrown for 4,000 yards in a season, is on pace for 4,608 yards and 32 touchdowns this season. Next week's matchup is a little tougher as the Titans face the Steelers, who, despite their unexpected inability to stop the run, have allowed a league-low 157.5 passing yards per game.

RB Ryan Torain, Redskins (22 percent)

 The Redskins have their bye in Week 5 and it's anyone's guess what coach Shanahan will do as it relates to workloads for his running backs going forward. That said, there were rumblings that Shanahan was considering a switch from Tim Hightower to Torain, and that's what happened this week. Assuming that Torain is the guy—at least for their next game—he has an extremely favorable matchup against the Eagles, who have allowed the third-most rushing yards and 5.3 yards per carry this season.

RB Isaac Redman, Steelers (eight percent)

 Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall left Sunday's game with a hamstring injury and his status for Week 5 is unknown. If Mendenhall misses time, Redman is likely to get more work than Mewelde Moore.

WR Antonio Brown, Steelers (27 percent)

 Brown, who led the NFL in receiving (230 yards) in the preseason, had some buzz going into the season. After an unproductive Week 1, Brown has strung together three solid performances. In those three games, Brown has at least four receptions and 67 yards each week. In addition, he has scored twice.

WR Titus Young, Lions (seven percent)

 With Calvin Johnson facing double teams (which hasn't slowed him down), there are plenty of opportunities for the Lions' other receivers to make plays in the team's pass-happy offense. In his past three games, Titus Young has averaged more than 60 yards per game and has more targets (20) than Nate Burleson (15). As a high draft pick, Young has plenty of upside and may potentially serve as a solid bye-week replacement.

WR Laurent Robinson, Cowboys (two percent)

 After having three receptions for 49 yards in his debut with the Cowboys on Monday night, Laurent Robinson exploded for seven catches and 116 yards only six days later. The Cowboys have a bye this week and will likely get back star receiver Miles Austin in Week 6. That said, Robinson is worth a look in deeper leagues and if (or when) either Austin or Bryant gets hurt again, Robinson will be the guy to take advantage.

WR Victor Cruz, Giants (35 percent)

 Not only did he have the most controversial play of the weekend, Victor Cruz has back-to-back strong games. In those two games, Cruz has nine receptions for 208 yards and two scores. With Mario Manningham back in the lineup, it was Cruz that was on the field in two-receiver sets (with Manningham on the bench) in the second half of Sunday's game. It's not necessarily a permanent move, but one thing seems certain: Cruz will continue to be more involved in the Giants offense.

WR Jabar Gaffney, Redskins (20 percent)

 While he hasn't been spectacular, he has certainly been steady. Gaffney is one of only seven receivers (10 players) to have finished with at least 50 receiving yards in every game this season. The Redskins have a bye in Week 5, but he's someone that could provide solid production as a bye-week replacement.

TE Jermaine Gresham, Bengals (28 percent)

 In two leagues, I have Jason Witten, who is on bye this week. My plan for the league in which I don't have Rob Gronkowski as his backup is to add Gresham, who is currently available. Gresham had four catches for 70 yards and a touchdown in the Bengals' "upset" win over the Bills. For Gresham, it was his third 50-yard performance in three weeks.

If you're looking for Week 5 rankings, our rankings will be updated on Wednesday at The Tip Drill, our fantasy section.

Feel free to post questions on players not on this list in our free fantasy football forum and, if interested, our free Week 5 fantasy football contest is "live."

[Related: As one of the "featured pros," this week at FantasyPros.com I was asked to participate in a ranking of waiver-wire options. For some consensus rankings on options, click here.]

Good luck in Week 5!


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