That injury bug just won’t quit this year. However, it’s obviously opening the door for other players to make a name for themselves.
I’m now giving many more options for the waiver wire. The following players are owned in less than 60% of fantasy football leagues and could present a value to your rosters.
*Availability (% owned) and statistics based on Yahoo! PPR leagues.
Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals (47%) — The Red Rifle basically got off to the worst start imaginable, totaling approximately 6.00 fantasy points in the first two weeks. However, after the Bengals made a switch at offensive coordinator, they opened up the offense and Dalton is now averaging 28.31 FPPG the last two weeks.
Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills (45%) — Taylor isn’t uber productive but he is consistent, especially when considering his yardage on the ground. He averages 215.5 yards from scrimmage per game and has scored 5 TD’s compared to 1 TO.
Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans (35%) — This one had to be fairly obvious, right? Watson has officially been unleashed and is now a fantasy gem. He has increased his fantasy points each week, and Bill O’Brien has appeared to give Watson a longer leash each week. Watson exploded for a rookie-record 5 total TD’s last Sunday against the Tennessee Titans.
Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams (23%) — This does not appear to be a mirage. Goff has been a legitimate fantasy performer this season. He had an okay 30 points in the first two weeks, followed by a much better 51 points in Weeks 3 and 4. From the looks of it, Goff is starter material.
Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears (3%) — Trubisky has finally been named the starter in Chicago. He may not blow up like Watson, but he should be a little better than Mike Glennon. Trubisky doesn’t have a good wide receiver corps but he does has Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen to lean on. Trubisky is also more mobile than Glennon, so expect some high points this year coupled with some definite rookie outings.
Jacoby Brissett, Indianapolis Colts (3%) — Andrew Luck should be back within the next month, but Brissett has value while he’s on the field. Because he is mobile, Brissett has averaged 233.7 yards from scrimmage in his three starts and has scored 4 total TD’s, with 3 TO’s. His next two matchups are against the San Francisco 49ers and Titans, who allow 17.1 and 23.9 FPPG to QB’s, respectively. Both rank in the bottom third of the league.
*Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (83%) — I made an exception for Martin this week. He is already owned in 83% of leagues, but the remainder needs to snatch him up, as his three-game suspension is now over.
Wendell Smallwood, Philadelphia Eagles (59%) — With Darren Sproles missing for the rest of the year, Smallwood’s workload has increased significantly. In the last two weeks, has has 27 touches for 159 yards and 1 TD.
Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints (46%) — With how en vogue rookie RB’s are right now, it surprises me that Kamara is only owned in 46% of leagues. The Saints’ backfield is taking shape and Kamara is the clear No. 2 option behind Mark Ingram. He averages 8.8 touches per game for 57.5 yards, and he has scored twice.
Chris Johnson, Arizona Cardinals (36%) — Johnson is the leading man in Arizona’s backfield. He’s averaging 12 carries per game and even chipped in 3 catches last week.
Thomas Rawls, Seattle Seahawks (29%) — I really don’t like the Seattle backfield because someone’s always hurt and there’s a new standout every week, IF anyone does even stand out. Last week, Rawls was a healthy scratch but is expected to take back over as the starter with Chris Carson breaking his leg.
D’Onta Foreman, Houston Texans (28%) — Even though Houston’s RB1, Lamar Miller, had his biggest game of the year on Sunday, Foreman still saw 13 carries. Foreman’s workload has been getting better, so it’s still time to buy his stock.
Andre Ellington, Arizona Cardinals (24%) — While Johnson is the leading rusher for the Cardinals, Ellington has gotten more involved in the passing game. Since David Johnson went down in Week 1, Ellington has averaged 79.3 yards from scrimmage per game.
Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals (20%) — Bernard isn’t the most consistent runner but his contributions in the passing game make a difference. He’s averaging 55.8 yards from scrimmage per game and has scored twice.
Latavius Murray, Minnesota Vikings (19%) — With Dalvin Cook now lost for the year, Murray is the most sensible pickup to replace him. Murray is a between-the-tackles runner who can also cash in on the goal line.
C.J. Prosise, Seattle Seahawks (16%) — Last week, Prosise missed the game with an ankle injury but is expected to return this week. J.D. McKissic played in Prosise’s role and did very well, racking up 65 yards and 2 TD’s on just 5 touches. If Prosise regains his normal role, those will be his touches going forward.
Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers (11%) — With both Ty Montgomery and Jamaal Williams injured and sidelined for Week 5, Jones will get the start. He ran for 49 yards and 1 TD in his first career action last week and has the full confidence of his QB, Aaron Rodgers.
Wayne Gallman, New York Giants (4%) — Gallman was a sleeper of mine entering fantasy drafts but he didn’t get much opportunity until Paul Perkins got hurt on Sunday. Gallman then got 13 touches for 50 yards and 1 TD. It’s something to build off of and should get him more looks moving forward.
J.D. McKissic, Seattle Seahawks (4%) — Pete Carroll tends to ride the hot hand, so if McKissic’s performance against the Colts is any indicator, he’ll stay in the lineup to some degree. At worst, he’s a deep-league stash for when the other Seahawk RB’s get hurt again.
Jerick McKinnon, Minnesota Vikings (4%) — I don’t love the annual flock to McKinnon, because he never comes through. However, Murray’s not going to get all of the touches. McKinnon will get his opportunities.
Elijah McGuire, New York Jets (3%) — Even though Bilal Powell had a huge game on Sunday, McGuire wasn’t far behind. McGuire had 12 touches for 131 yards and 1 TD. Over the last three weeks, he’s been getting much more involved, coinciding with Matt Forte’s lack of availability.
Marqise Lee (55%) and Allen Hurns (51%), Jacksonville Jaguars — We’re definitely seeing that replacing Allen Robinson is a tandem effort between Lee and Hurns. Both have seen 13 targets in the last three weeks, and both are averaging 4.3 catches per game in that span. Lee has 15 more yards than Hurns since Week 1 (159), but Hurns has 2 TD’s to Lee’s 0.
Sterling Shepard, New York Giants (55%) — In an inconsistent passing game, Shepard has been consistent. He’s being targeted 6.8 times per game and is averaging 13.0 FPPG.
Danny Amendola, New England Patriots (50%) — You never know what Amendola is going to give you, week to week, but he is undoubtedly one of Tom Brady’s favorite targets. With Julian Edelman out all year, Amendola has averaged 6.3 targets per game.
Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams (44%) — Kupp was only targeted twice in Week 3, but he averaged 6.3 targets per game in Weeks 1, 2 and 4. He is third on the team in targets behind Todd Gurley (25) and Robert Woods (22). Sammy Watkins will likely get a little more involved, but I don’t expect it to affect Kupp’s role much, if at all. Kupp has also scored twice.
Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks (42%) — Lockett is beginning to look more like he did in 2015 rather than the injured shell of himself that he was in 2016. In two of the last three weeks, he has had over 60 receiving yards.
John Brown, Arizona Cardinals (39%) — Brown is healthy enough to play now, which means he should be getting picked up. His only issue is health, as he is a playmaker when he’s actually on the field. Carson Palmer has targeted Brown 16 times in the two games that Brown has played.
Will Fuller, Houston Texans (32%) — After missing the first few weeks with a broken collarbone, Fuller made his season debut on Sunday to the tune of 4 catches (6 targets) for 35 yards and 2 TD’s.
Paul Richardson, Seattle Seahawks (28%) — Richardson doesn’t catch a lot of passes but he does get targets (5.5 avg) and makes big plays. Four of his 11 catches have gone for 20+ yards.
Devin Funchess, Carolina Panthers (26%) — Funchess finally had a breakout game on Sunday but he’s actually been doing well for a few weeks now. He’s averaged 5.0 catches (8.3 targets) for 65.3 yards since Week 2 and scored twice against the Patriots on Sunday.
Kendall Wright, Chicago Bears (13%) — The Bears don’t have much at WR, so Trubisky will need to lean on any quality one he can find. Wright fits the bill. He’s had two solid games so far, totaling 11 catches (14 targets) for 120 yards and 1 TD in Weeks 2 and 4. With how much Trubisky looked for Ryan Switzer at UNC, it makes since for him to hook up frequently with Wright in Chicago.
Josh Doctson, Washington Redskins (11%) — Doctson is a very popular sleeper pick like the Dolphins’ DeVante Parker has been the last couple of years. All we’ve been waiting for is for Doctson to be healthy enough to play, and he has the last two weeks. In Week 3, he had a 52-yard catch for a touchdown, and 2 catches (3 targets) for 27 yards in Week 4. He’s a stash for now until he becomes consistent.
Jaron Brown, Arizona Cardinals (8%) — Jaron Brown has shown up in different ways for Arizona in the absence of John Brown, and it even continued last week with John Brown back in the lineup. In the last three weeks, Jaron Brown has averaged 4.7 catches (9.7 targets) for 68.3 yards, but he has only scored once. Last week, he caught 8 balls for 105 yards.
Mike Williams, Los Angeles Chargers (7%) — Williams has been practicing and the Chargers will continue to work him in gradually. He’s expected to start playing in the next couple of weeks.
Terrance Williams, Dallas Cowboys (5%) — If you need a WR that’s at least going to get you a little something every week, Williams is a good option. He averages a legit 4.3 catches (5.5 targets) for 41.5 yards per game. He has yet to score but that could come at any time.
JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers (2%) — Smith-Schuster hasn’t become a high-volume producer yet, but he fits right along in that Steelers offense with Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant. In the last two weeks, JJSS has 5 catches (10 targets) for 86 yards and 1 TD. I like him as a long-term stash.
Adam Humphries, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1%) — With the offseason additions of DeSean Jackson, O.J. Howard and Chris Godwin, I expected Humphries to slide down the totem pole drastically. However, that hasn’t been the case. Jameis Winston has targeted him 6.7 times per game, and Humphries is averaging 4.7 catches for 52.0 YPG.
Jared Cook, Oakland Raiders (55%) — Cook has always been an underachiever but it’s a wonder what happens when you give him a good QB. He did okay in 10 games with Rodgers in Green Bay last year and is off to a good start with Derek Carr in Oakland this year (16 catches (25 targets) for 170 yards and 1 TD). Carr will miss anywhere from 2-6 games with a fracture in his back, so we’ll see how that affects Cook’s numbers.
Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (51%) — Like with Humphries, Tampa’s offseason additions exaggerated Brate’s impending demise. Winston and Brate’s chemistry hasn’t gone away, as Brate has been targeted 4.3 times per week and is averaging 3.3 catches for 45.7 yards, and he has scored twice.
Evan Engram, New York Giants (47%) — Engram has been productive every game this year. Considering he was a sleeper pick before fantasy drafts, it’s surprising that he’s only owned in 47% of leagues. He is averaging 4.8 catches (7.5 targets) for 50.0 yards per game, and has scored once.
Benjamin Watson, Baltimore Ravens (24%) — Yes, he’s old, but if you like productive PPR TE’s, then what’s the hold up? He’s averaging a legit 12.2 FPPG in the last three weeks.
Vernon Davis, Washington Redskins (16%) — It doesn’t matter if Jordan Reed plays; Davis is still a factor for Kirk Cousins. In the last two weeks, Davis has 7 catches (8 targets) for 147 yards and 1 TD.
Zach Miller, Chicago Bears (10%) — A young QB in Trubisky will likely look for his TE often, and Miller is a decent one. Miller hasn’t scored yet but he’s got three 40-yard games so far this year.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, New York Jets (7%) — Seferian-Jenkins has been active for two games and had looked good in both. So far, he is averaging 4.5 catches (5.0 targets) for 38.5 yards. The Jets don’t have many good receiving options, so Jenkins’ numbers should continue to improve.
Tyler Kroft, Cincinnati Bengals (1%) — Kroft has stepped up in Tyler Eifert’s absence, averaging 4.5 catches (5.5 targets) for 48.0 yards and 1.0 touchdown in the last two games.
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