Waiver Wire Week 6: Top Pickups and Drops
The early fantasy football transaction trends ahead of Week 6 are driven by a few key factors.
Injuries to Saquon Barkley and Clyde Edwards-Helaire in Week 5 made their backups two of the most added players in the early waiver-wire rush.
The other two factors are intertwined. Fantasy players are rushing to the waiver wire to find bye-week replacements. The best Week 6 matchups on paper for defenses and a few offensive players have been the driving force behind those moves.
The top dropped players are easy to point out as well. JuJu Smith-Schuster's season-ending shoulder surgery made him useless for fantasy players in single-year leagues.
A handful of defenses and role players at wide receiver and tight end have also been cut in the last 48 hours ahead of Week 6. The full list of transaction trends in Yahoo leagues can be found here.
Top Pickup: Darrel Williams, RB, Kansas City
Darrel Williams has the opportunity to be Kansas City's feature running back.
According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Edwards-Helaire is out for a few weeks with a MCL sprain he suffered in Sunday night's loss to Buffalo.
Adding Williams is the easy call for anyone who drafted the injured 22-year-old, or someone who needs to fill their backfield for Week 6 and beyond. He could be used as a bye-week replacement for Alvin Kamara, Cordarrelle Patterson or one of the San Francisco running backs.
Kansas City faces an easier matchup in Week 6 against the Washington Football Team. Williams, 26, produced a pair of touchdowns in his last meeting with a NFC East team in Week 4 in Philadelphia.
The Chiefs could exploit the Washington defense, which has allowed the fifth-most passing yards through five weeks, mostly through the passing game.
Williams has seven receptions on 10 targets in the last three weeks. Those totals suggest he could be a nice addition for players in points-per-reception leagues.
Top Drop: JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Pittsburgh
The shoulder injury suffered by Smith-Schuster on Sunday rendered him obsolete for season-long fantasy players. His only current fantasy value comes in dynasty leagues where players will be more inclined to hold on to him for next season.
The Pittsburgh wide receiver has 15 catches for 129 yards and did not find the end zone in any of his team's five games. His injury should open up more targets right away for Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool, who both have over 300 receiving yards.
Look for some combination of James Washington, Pat Freiermuth and Eric Ebron to step up in Smith-Schuster's absence.
It might not be time to pick any of those three players up yet, but they are worth your attention ahead of the Week 6 clash with the Seattle Seahawks. If Washington or one of the two tight ends is targeted more by Ben Roethlisberger, they could turn into one of Week 7's top additions.
Top Pickup: Indianapolis Defense
The motivation behind the Indianapolis defense being a top pickup is matchup-related.
The Colts welcome the Houston Texans to Lucas Oil Stadium in Week 6, which will be their first home game since Week 2.
Indianapolis is in need of a bounce-back performance after Lamar Jackson led the Baltimore Ravens to 22 consecutive points and a victory on Monday night. The Colts were gashed for 523 rushing yards, but they still held the Ravens to under 100 rushing yards.
Darius Leonard and Co. should play well against the ground attack again in Week 6. They held their last two opponents under 100 ground yards.
Additionally, the Colts held Ryan Tannehill and Jacoby Brissett to under 200 passing yards in Weeks 3 and 4. That could be a sign for how they deal with Davis Mills.
The rookie Houston quarterback produced 312 passing yards and three touchdowns in Week 5, but that could end up as more of an outlier on his season-long resume.
The Stanford product was picked off four times and held to 89 passing yards in Week 4 against Buffalo.
The drop-off from Week 5 may not be that drastic, but we should expect some regression from Mills against a Colts defense motivated to get back on track.
Top Drop: New England Defense
The New England Patriots face one of the most drastic changes in opponents from Week 5 to Week 6.
On Sunday, they were viewed as one of the best defensive additions because of their matchup with the Texans. But they allowed 360 total yards and 22 points to a Houston offense that had nothing going for it entering Week 5.
In Week 6, the Patriots face the unenviable task of slowing down the Dallas Cowboys offense.
New England allowed 120 or more rushing yards in Weeks 2-4. That could be a red flag for fantasy players to drop the Patriots before they face up to Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard.
The Pats also let up their two highest passing yard totals in the last two weeks to two very different quarterbacks in Tom Brady and Davis Mills.
Dak Prescott is coming off his second 300-yard passing performance of the season, and he has three or more touchdown passes in four of his five games.
There's always the chance New England turns in a strong defensive outing, but the matchup looks less than ideal on paper.
Statistics obtained from Pro Football Reference.