Fantasy Football Waiver Wire, Week 6: Expert Advice on Kenneth Walker, Taysom Hill, Eno Benjamin, More
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images. Pictured: Taysom Hill.
No matter how deep your league is, Week 5 offered plenty of injuries and potential breakout performances to make sure your waiver wire has intriguing names on it.
RB Eno Benjamin, Cardinals
Sean Koerner: Benjamin will be in the RB2 discussion this week if both James Conner (ribs) and Darrel Williams (knee) miss time due to the injuries they picked up in Week 5.
However, I wouldn’t go overboard on the waiver wire considering Conner and/or Williams may end up playing this week, leaving Benjamin as a RB3/Flex option, at best.
If you have a losing record, desperate at RB, and out of other options, then I would be a bit more aggressive rolling the dice on Benjamin
Chris Raybon: Benjamin will be a low-end RB1/high-end RB2 if Conner is unable to suit up.
Benjamin faces a Seahawks defense allowing the second-most rushing yards (130.8) and third-most receiving yards (55.6) per game to opposing backs.
The second-year back’s underlying metrics are strong. He is averaging 3.13 yards after contact per carry, which is 24th out of 60 qualified RBs and over a half-yard better than Conner (2.50), per PFF.
Benjamin is also second on the team in targets per route run (21%), behind only Marquise Brown (23%). If Conner is out but Williams is active, I would still expect a 2-to-1 split in favor of Benjamin, which is enough to put him in the top 15.
Mike Triplett: Benjamin could be a great Week 6 option if Conner is out of the lineup. He has proven to be effective as both a runner and a pass catcher — and he’ll be facing the NFL’s 32nd-ranked defense in Seattle.
But I don’t see great long-term potential in a backfield that will become crowded again when healthy. Rookie Keaontay Ingram could finally get a chance to become part of that mix this week, too.
WR Alec Pierce, Colts
Sean Koerner: The talented rookie has come on of late, posting three solid games in a row (3/61/0, 4/80/0 and 8/81/0).
Pierce has established himself as Matt Ryan’s No. 2 target, but that comes with limited upside as the veteran QB hasn’t been capable of providing Pierce with downfield targets (with only three of 20-plus yards on the season).
I view Pierce as a WR4 who should provide spike weeks going forward, but he will likely need Michael Pittman to miss time in order to provide consistent WR3 value. Either way, I’m a fan of stashing talented rookie WRs if you can afford the bench space.
Chris Raybon: Pierce is a WR4 with WR3 upside going forward. He ran a route on a season-high 75% of dropbacks last week and is being targeted on 20.2% of his routes — slightly higher than Pittman (19.9%).
I wouldn’t rush to start him in Week 6 because Jackonville has been stingy against opposing WRs, allowing the third-fewest receptions (9.8) and eighth-fewest receiving yards (137.0) per game.
Mike Triplett: I want to be high on Pierce because I love his game and his opportunity to be a clear WR2 in Indianapolis’ offense as both a downfield threat and a reliable big-bodied target.
But this passing game has been such a disappointment that we can’t even count on Michael Pittman for consistent production, and there doesn’t appear to be any immediate hope the offensive line will get better.
I like Pierce better in dynasty or keeper leagues — or if you have room to stash him on your bench for later this season. If you need a Week 6 fill-in, you should probably go with someone like Michael Gallup, Rondale Moore or Jakobi Meyers instead.
RB Kenneth Walker, Seahawks
Sean Koerner: It’s surprising that Walker is still available in over 50% of leagues, but he should be the top waiver priority this week with Penny out the rest of the season.
Walker is going to offer mid-range RB2 value the rest of the way and I would be extremely aggressive with my FAAB and absolutely use a No. 1 waiver claim — this is the very situation you save both for. Use them!
The only other likely available RBs who could offer that sort of upside are Alexander Mattison and Rachaad White, but both would need their team’s starter to miss an extended period of time. If you end up missing out on Walker, those would be the top two backs I recommend stashing.
Chris Raybon: Walker should be a low-end RB1/high-end RB2 for the rest of the season. He is averaging 6.3 yards per carry, which is 20th among 53 RBs with at least 20 rushing attempts.
Yards per carry can be a noisy stat, but it should hold up to some extent in this case, because Seattle’s offensive line is generating 2.34 yards before contact per carry for its halfbacks, second in the NFL. Walker is also being targeted on 23% of his routes, which far exceeds the rate of Penny (7%) and Deejay Dallas (16%), who figures to mix in on passing downs.
Mike Triplett: The second RB taken in this year’s draft should be worth the highest FAAB bids of this fantasy season to date. He’ll have a rare opportunity to be a true RB1 in an offense where both backs have averaged more than six yards per carry.
Walker is still a work in progress — head coach Pete Carroll pointed out recently that he’s still trying to get comfortable in the offense and ran the wrong way on one play. But the Seahawks are very high on Walker’s potential, and Carroll praised his pass-catching ability this past summer even though that wasn’t a big part of his game in college.
Those who cover the team expect Walker to get a major share of the workload, with veterans Dallas and Travis Homer (currently injured) in supporting roles.
TE Hayden Hurst, Bengals
Sean Koerner: I have been banging the table for Hurst all offseason and in-season. We are finally seeing him come into his own in this offense as he is essentially a more talented version of C.J. Uzomah.
With teams opting to go with two-high safeties against the Bengals to take away downfield throws, it will be critical for Joe Burrow to target Hurst underneath.
Hurst will be a TE1/2 option going forward. In weeks where either Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins or Tyler Boyd miss time, he might even enter the mid/low-end TE1 discussion.
Chris Raybon: Hurst will be on the TE1 borderline for the rest of the season. His route participation rate percentage tops out in the mid-80s, which is strong for the position.
He is also being targeted on 16% of his routes — not great, but more than No. 3 WR Tyler Boyd (11%).
Hurst is on the fringe in Week 6 due to a tough matchup against a Saints defense that is tied for both the fifth-fewest receptions (3.4) and receiving yards (31.2) per game to TEs.
Samantha Previte: Hurst had yet another nice fantasy day for during the Bengals’ 19-17 primetime loss to the Ravens on Sunday Night Football. Hurst, Baltimore’s first-round pick in 2018, caught 6-of-7 targets for a team-high 53 yards and a touchdown.
His role may have been expanded with Higgins clearly activated to be a decoy and nothing more. That said, it is his second game in a row finding the end zone and third game this year with at least seven targets.
I like Hurst as a Week 6 streamer for T.J. Hockenson or Darren Waller managers.
TE Taysom Hill, Saints
Sean Koerner: I have been saying Taysom Hill has the widest range of outcomes of any TE in fantasy football history and Week 5 showed us just how massive his ceiling is.
At this point, he needs to be treated as a TE1 option, period. Yes, there may be some weeks where he only puts up 1-2 points, but guess what? That’s the case with most TEs outside of the top five, and none of them offer 30-plus-point upside.
Are you really going to roll with a player like Evan Engram, who might be a “safer” bet to get 4-5 points every week over Hill? If you do not have a top-five TE, you should be pretty aggressive in trying to land Hill, although after last week, it might be impossible to get him at a reasonable price.
Chris Raybon: Hill will be a low-end TE1/high-end TE2 going forward. This is because of Hill’s versatility as far as his usage is concerned.
Hill has taken 24 of the 266 QB snaps in the four games he’s been active, or 9.0%. He is averaging 5.3 carries per game, which may be trending upward, as that figure stands at 7.0 over his past two contests. He is also averaging 3.5 pass routes per game.
His TD rate will regress to the mean, but he does lead the Saints in carry share inside the 10-yard line at 42.9% despite missing a game. He’s a player to start if you’re an underdog in your matchup and need upside, as he will undoubtedly have some ugly stat lines when he doesn’t score.
Mike Triplett: This is in my wheelhouse since my day job is covering the Saints for NewOrleans.Football. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make me an expert on when, exactly, Hill will have his sporadic breakouts (I regrettably went with Gerald Everett over him as a replacement for Kyle Pitts). But I won’t make that mistake again.
To me, the Taysom lottery ticket is worth playing once you get past the top 8-10 tight ends because everyone is touchdown-dependent beyond that point.
The argument against Hill is a good one: There simply isn’t enough volume to count on him on a weekly basis. He has only 21 carries, one pass attempt and one catch in four games played. However, he has produced six touchdowns already — and the Saints will keep using him in those high-leverage situations, even if they switch back to Jameis Winston at QB at some point.
Remember, the Saints just signed Hill to a four-year, $40 million extension late last season to be a versatile playmaker for their offense. They will continue to find ways to get him involved.