Fantasy Football Waiver Wire, Week 5: Expert Advice on George Pickens, Tyler Allgeier, Mike Boone, More

Fantasy Football Waiver Wire, Week 5: Expert Advice on George Pickens, Tyler Allgeier, Mike Boone, More article feature image

Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images. Pictured: Tyler Allgeier

No matter how deep your league is, Week 4 offered plenty of injuries and potential breakout performances to make sure your waiver wire has intriguing names on it.

Our three expert fantasy football analysts break down key names you'll be either bidding on or considering with your top waiver claim.

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George Pickens
Tyler Allgeier/Caleb Huntley
Mike Boone
Kenny Pickett
Isiah Pacheco

WR George Pickens, Steelers

Sean Koerner: Pickens is a must-add now that Pickett has taken over as the Steelers’ QB. Pickett seems much more willing to target Pickens downfield and could unlock the WR3-plus upside Pickens possesses.

As long as all Steelers’ pass-catchers are healthy, Pickens could be limited to being a weekly boom/bust WR4, though he is a Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, or Pat Freiermuth injury away from being an every-week WR3 with upside for more.

Samantha Previte: Pickens made it into last week’s waiver wire article after his highlight-reel catch against the Browns.

You have even more reason to pick him up now on the heels of his breakout game, which was due in part to the Steelers’ quarterback switch from Mitch Trubisky to Pickett. The rookie reeled in 6-of-8 targets for a team-high 102 yards.

Pickens was a great draft pick by Pittsburgh and now offers even more upside with Pickett under center. The Georgia product could be a star in the making and has even higher value in keeper formats.

I will note the Steelers’ upcoming schedule is brutal, so Pickens may be more of a bench stash as opposed to an immediate play.

Chris Raybon: Pickens should be added in all formats.

With Pickett at quarterback, he should be a top-50 fantasy WR going forward. The rookie was already an every-down player, he just needed a quarterback willing to throw the ball downfield, as his aDOT is 18.5.

Pickett’s aDOt was 13.2 in his first appearance – more than a three-yard uptick from Mitch Trubisky (10.1).

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RBs Tyler Allgeier/Caleb Huntley, Falcons

Sean Koerner: I have Allgeier ranked as my RB35 and Huntley my RB44.

Allgeier shared rushing duties with Huntley and operated as the main pass-catching back when Patterson went down. Allgeier is kind of like a discount James Conner, so view him that way — just without the massive TD upside. The downside for him is Marcus Mariota hasn’t been targeting RBs in the passing game.

Huntley was more of the short-yardage/goal-line back. That could be a problem on a team that won’t score many TDs, especially this week in Tampa Bay.

Samantha Previte: The Falcons leaned heavily on their run game after Mariota threw a pick in the third quarter on Sunday.

Mariota tallied just seven completions on 19 attempts for 139 yards, zero touchdowns, one interception and five rushes for three yards while Atlanta’s running backs accounted for most of the team’s total offense in the 23-20 win over the Browns. Allgeier had 10 carries for 84 yards and Huntley saw 10 carries for 56 yards and a touchdown. Allgeier also tacked on one catch for 20 yards.

Both running backs had better fantasy days than Kyle Pitts and Drake London combined, which is a massive indictment on the Falcons’ passing game. We may see Desmond Ridder soon with Mariota struggling through the air.

Until then, I expect the team to continue to lean on the run game heavily. Allgeier would be my preferred add over Huntley in terms of priority, though both could end up having value with Patterson on injured reserve.

Chris Raybon: The Falcons’ backfield will likely be a committee with Patterson on IR.

Allgeier, a rookie fifth-round pick out of BYU, should be expected to lead the committee. He played a backfield-leading 24 snaps against the Browns, turning 11 touches into 104 yards. Patterson played between 59% and 65% of the snaps in Weeks 1-3, and I expect Allgeier to begin seeing a similar snap rate.

Huntley, a 2021 undrafted free agent out of Ball State, is next up. Allgeier played 31-37% of the snaps in Weeks 2-3, which is likely the type of workload Huntley will assume.

Arthur Smith is clearly comfortable with putting the rock in Huntley’s hands, as he has received a touch on 11-of-15 offensive snaps he has played this year (73%). Inside the 10-yard line in Week 4, Huntley handled three carries (and converted one into a TD) while Allgeier had none.

Avery Williams is a converted cornerback who will be the No. 3 back and play 5-15% of the snaps. Williams has seen 73% of his snaps come on passing downs, so his usage could spike when the Falcons find themselves in negative game scripts.

On a Falcons team that wants to run the ball, both Allgeier and Huntley should be rostered. Allgeier should be treated as a RB3/FLEX, with Huntley as a RB4/5.

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RB Mike Boone, Broncos

Sean Koerner: I wouldn’t go overboard trying to obtain Boone. He may offer some short term value if Gordon’s fumble issues prevent him from seeing many touches over the next couple of weeks. But this could be a murky two-way committee, maybe even a three-way committee after the Broncos recently added Murray.

The one positive about investing in this situation is that Williams’ injury is a season-ending one, meaning either Gordon or Boone could potentially have RB2 value the rest of the season. This backfield has a tough matchup this week and my initial ranks are:

  • Gordon RB33
  • Boone RB35
  • Murray RB67

Samantha Previte: With Williams out for the season, next up on Denver’s RB depth chart are Gordon, Boone, Devine Ozigbo and Murray, who the Broncos poached from the Saints’ practice squad on Monday.

Gordon is the obvious beneficiary of Williams’ absence, though ball security has been a major pain point all season.

Per Adam Schefter, the veteran back has fumbled five times in his past 44 carries over five games. Gordon’s fumble on Sunday was costly, as it led to a 68-yard scoop and score for the Raiders – it’s the third time one of his fumbles has led to a fumble-six (is this a thing?) in Denver’s past 12 games.

Nonetheless, Gordon is rostered almost everywhere, so most managers will have to turn their attention elsewhere.

Boone, Murray and Ozigbo are widely available. Boone tallied a season-high four touches for 29 yards on Sunday while Murray recorded 11 carries for 57 yards and a touchdown — with one catch for eight yards — against the Vikings in London.

Per Broncos insider Benjamin Allbright, he expects Ozigbo to be the RB3 on the short week for Thursday Night Football against the Colts, but expects it to be a split between Murray and Gordon — with Boone as the RB3 — after that.

As such, Murray would be my preferred add over Boone, though I expect both to see a significant uptick in work, as I seriously doubt Denver just hands the backfield over to Gordon alone.

Chris Raybon: How fast can a player get out of Nathaniel Hackett’s doghouse? Because Gordon was surely deep within it Sunday after fumbling for the fourth time this season.

Even with Williams going down, Gordon got out-snapped by Boone (19-10). The formerly seldom-used Boone also played 14 snaps in Week 3, a game in which Gordon fumbled twice.

Hackett refused to endorse Gordon after the game, and unless we get information indicating otherwise by Thursday, I think it’s fair expect Boone to lead the backfield.

Boone had his own issues in Week 4, dropping a fourth-down pass in the fourth quarter that would have kept the Broncos’ slim hopes alive. But he’s averaging 6.2 yards per touch to Gordon’s 4.2 this year, and coaches will always frown more upon fumbles than drops.

The Hackett doghouse is nothing to play with: Albert Okwuegbunam, who is clearly the Broncos’ most talented TE, played one snap in Week 4.

Gordon is their most talented runner after Williams, but he’s been fumble-sixed three times in his past 12 games. Ideally you would leave both Boone and Gordon glued to your bench Thursday, but if you need a desperation flex, Boone is the safer play.

Latavius Murray’s signing further complicates matters. He proved he is in game shape after handling 12 touches fresh off the practice squad for the Saints last week in London. It’s possible we see a three-way committee. I have all three ranked outside the top 40 RBs.

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QB Kenny Pickett, Steelers

Sean Koerner: Pickett is obviously a must add in 2QB/Superflex formats as he should start for the remainder of the season.

He has a ton of weapons to throw to and has sneaky rushing upside, so he could provide high-end QB2 value in certain matchups. I would lower expectations this week against the Bills as Pickett is more of a fringe QB2/3 in this matchup.

Samantha Previte: Pickett made it into my lookahead waiver wire column last Friday with the suspicion we may see his debut sooner rather than later.

Starting quarterback Mitch Trubisky was awful through the first two quarters of the team’s 24-20 loss to the Jets. Trubisky completed 7-of-13 attempts for 84 yards, zero touchdowns and one interception, which prompted the Steelers to hand the reins over to Pickett.

The 2022 first-round pick immediately injected life into Pittsburgh’s offense, though the stat line does not tell that story.

Pickett completed 10-of-13 attempts for 120 yards, zero touchdowns and three interceptions — one of which came on a Hail Mary on the final play of the game. He also rushed six times for 15 yards and two touchdowns.

His upcoming schedule isn’t great, but he is a good bench stash for Week 7 onward.

Chris Raybon: Pickett demonstrated excellent accuracy (76.9% completion rate) and rushing upside (six carries, two TDs). He’ll be throwing to a talented supporting cast, and most importantly, his 13.2 aDOT in his first appearance showed he is willing to throw down the field, which gives him a chance to post better passing numbers than Ben Roehtlisberger and Mitch Trubusky did over the last few years.

He’s QB17 in my initial projections, which puts him in the QB2 discussion in 2-QB leagues and the Week 4 streamer discussion in deeper 1-QB leagues.

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RB Isiah Pacheco, Chiefs

Sean Koerner: Pacheco saw an increase in usage thanks to what turned out to be a blowout against the Bucs. They ended up only winning by 10 points, but this game was out of reach early on.

Pacheco is a high-upside backup who probably should have already been a bench stash. I wouldn’t go overboard in trying to get him now that his asking price is quite high.

He’s not someone you can necessarily trust to start this week (opened as my RB53 this week), but he offers RB2 upside in the event that Edwards-Helaire misses time.

Samantha Previte: It was the Edwards-Helaire show early against the Bucs as the Year 3 back had two quick touchdowns on back-to-back drives. Pacheco was also heavily involved with 11 carries for 63 yards — his most significant involvement since Week 1.

The rookie seems talented enough to carve out a role that could be complementary to Edwards-Helaire, whose touchdown scoring seems a bit unsustainable.

For now, Pacheco is a stash candidate and at the very minimum, an insurance policy.

Chris Raybon: Pacheco is worth a speculative add in all leagues because the rookie’s role is expected to grow as the season progresses. He had his second multi-carry game of the year in Week 4, but he ran a route on only 12% of the dropbacks (a season high).

Pacheco will be no more than a RB4/5 for Week 5, but I expect him to eventually surpass Jerick McKinnon. Andy Reid is always unpredictable with his backfield usage, so it’s possible Pacheco has games in which he’s featured over Edwards-Helaire.

If Edwards-Helaire went down at some point, Pacheco is more likely than McKinnon to assume the lead back role.

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