Waiver Wire Pickups: Chase Edmonds, Henry Ruggs, More Week 5 Targets
Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images. Pictured: Chase Edmonds.
We learned just how important the waiver wire is in Week 4, when several positive COVID-19 tests sent fantasy owners scrambling to their benches.
Tennessee and Pittsburgh were forced to their bye week, while New England and Kansas City had their game postponed to Monday night.
The waiver wire is your best friend, and the choices slowly get more limited as the season progresses.
Let’s take a look at who should earn your top waiver spots and highest percentage of FAAB in Week 5.
Note: We’ve limited their recommendations to players owned in less than 50% of Yahoo leagues. All data as of Monday.
Week 5 Waiver Wire Pickups
Malcolm Brown, Rams
Brown was the more productive running back for the Rams in Week 4, finishing with five receptions and 56 total yards.
We expected Darrell Henderson to continue to lead the Los Angeles backfield after his 114 rushing yard performance at Buffalo. However, it appeared head coach Sean McVay trusted Brown more in pass protection, and the Giants blitzed throughout the game.
it’s hard to trust any Los Angeles running back moving forward. I wouldn’t put a claim or use FAAB on Brown unless absolutely desperate. The Rams travel to Washington next week before battling the 49ers on Sunday Night Football in Week 6.
Chase Edmonds, Cardinals
If Chase Edmonds is still on your waiver wire, it’s time to make that claim.
Starting running back Kenyan Drake left Sunday’s loss in the fourth quarter and did not return.
Regardless of the severity, Drake continued to underperform in a fantastic matchup. He managed just 35 rushing yards on 13 carries against a Carolina defense that was allowing the second-most fantasy points to opposing running backs. Meanwhile, Edmonds tallied five receptions, 40 total yards, and a touchdown.
Arizona has two great upcoming matchups against the Jets and Cowboys. Even if Drake is active next week, look for Edmonds to see increased opportunities moving forward.
Justin Jackson, Chargers
Another week, another injury to a top running back.
Early reports indicate that Austin Ekeler suffered a hyperextended knee and hamstring injury in the Chargers’ 38-31 loss at Tampa Bay. He is expected to miss several weeks.
Rookie Joshua Kelley is set to take the majority of work, but Los Angeles always uses more than one running back. Jackson played nine second-half snaps to Kelley’s 14, per Pro Football Focus.
The Chargers have a very favorable upcoming schedule with the Jets, Dolphins, Jaguars, and Raiders on the schedule after next week’s trip to New Orleans.
Jackson is worth a stash if you lost Ekeler and should be startable as a Flex play in the aforementioned matchups.
D’Ernest Johnson, Browns
The biggest question coming out of Week 5: Who is D’Ernest Johnson?
The second-year undrafted free agent from USF received a surprising opportunity when Nick Chubb left the game with a knee injury. Johnson tallied 95 rushing yards with an impressive 7.3 yards per carry in Cleveland’s 49-38 win over Dallas.
Rumors are that Chubb avoided serious injury but is likely to miss at least a week. While we expected Kareem Hunt to get the majority of touches (he did score two rushing touchdowns), Johnson certainly gained enough carries for waiver consideration.
However, with upcoming games against strong run defenses in Indianapolis and Pittsburgh, Johnson is only worth a pickup if Chubb misses extensive time.
Henry Ruggs, Raiders
Fantasy owners have grown tired of Ruggs’ hamstring injury to heal, so his ownership dropped below the 50% mark in Yahoo leagues.
Regardless, he is an explosive playmaker on a Las Vegas team in need of offense.
In Sunday’s 30-23 loss to the Bills, the top wideouts for Las Vegas were Hunter Renfrow, Nelson Agholor, and Zay Jones.
When Ruggs returns, he will immediately see opportunities. Las Vegas plays the Chiefs in Week 5 and then has its bye week before facing the Buccaneers, Browns, and Chargers.
If Ruggs is still available heading into Week 7, try to find a spot on your bench for the rookie with 4.27 speed.
Hunter Renfrow, Raiders
As the slot receiver in the Las Vegas offense, Renfrow’s weekly ceiling is capped.
While he has seen 17 targets over the past two weeks due to injuries, he has only produced 131 yards.
With Ruggs possibly to return in Week 5, Renfrow is only a WR4/5 play in deeper leagues.
Tee Higgins, Bengals
Higgins was again the second-most productive Cincinnati receiving option behind Tyler Boyd. Veteran A.J. Green left the Bengals’ 33-25 win over the Jaguars in the second half with an injury. It’s possible we are seeing a clear changing of the guard.
With seven targets, four receptions, and 77 receiving yards following his two-touchdown Week 3 performance, Higgins is a must-add in all formats.
Tre’Quan Smith, Saints
Smith has alternated big performances in the past three weeks. In New Orleans’ 35-29 win at Detroit, Smith caught all four of his targets for 54 yards and two touchdowns.
It’s hard to trust Smith, but as long as Michael Thomas is out, he is in the WR3 conversation.
New Orleans hosts the Chargers in Week 5.
Laviska Shenault, Jaguars
The Jaguars’ dynamic rookie went off the radar after his third consecutive week of just over 30 receiving yards, but he put forth his best game of the season in Week 4.
Shenault was the team’s WR2 with five receptions and 86 receiving yards. He is an integral part of the Jacksonville offense and has two great upcoming matchups at Houston and home against Detroit. After this performance, he rates as a safe WR3 in both games.
Scotty Miller, Buccaneers
Miller was quiet for most of the game but caught fire in the fourth quarter to finish with a line of five receptions, 83 receiving yards, and a touchdown.
He’s tough to trust when both Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are active but should merit extra consideration given the likely season-ending injury to tight end O.J. Howard.
Miller is a WR4 with friendly matchups over the next month including the Raiders and Giants.
Alshon Jeffery, Eagles
Jeffery returns to the waiver column after the Eagles earned an impressive win at San Francisco.
Philadelphia’s schedule really opens up after upcoming games at Pittsburgh and at home against Baltimore.
He may be a few weeks away, but Jeffery is a solid WR3 as soon as he returns.
David Moore, Seahawks
The fourth-year receiver from East Central University always finds a way onto the waiver wire column at some point during the season.
Moore’s 4.48 speed allows for the occasional big-play connection with quarterback Russell Wilson. He totaled 95 receiving yards on three receptions, including a beautiful back of the end zone catch to seal Seattle’s 31-23 win at Miami.
Moore has two touchdown catches on the season, but he’s only running an average of 18 routes per game. He can’t be trusted on a weekly basis unless Tyler Lockett or D.K. Metcalf suffer an injury.
Tim Patrick, Broncos
He gets overshadowed by teammate Jerry Jeudy, but Tim Patrick has been Denver’s best wide receiver this season.
He led the Broncos with six receptions, 113 yards and one touchdown on Thursday night. Patrick has now caught a touchdown in two consecutive games.
At 6-foot-4 and 208 lbs with a 10.22 (87th percentile) Catch Radius, Patrick has the profile to win as an outside wide receiver in the NFL. However, due to Denver’s questionable quarterback play, he can only be trusted in certain matchups.
The Broncos travel to New England next week but then host the Dolphins and Chiefs before heading to Atlanta. Patrick is a WR3/Flex play in those favorable matchups only.
Darnell Mooney, Bears
The fifth-round pick from Tulane has ascended to the WR2 role in Chicago.
Mooney finished second on the team with nine targets, catching five passes for 52 receiving yards in the Bears’ loss to the Colts on Sunday.
With 4.38 speed and the loss of Tarik Cohen for the season, Mooney is an intriguing consideration as a WR4 in deeper leagues.
Mo Alie-Cox, Colts
Mo Alie-Cox has produced 100 receiving yards or a touchdown in three consecutive weeks.
He saw only two targets against the Bears but did catch one pass for 13 yards and a touchdown.
At the shallow fantasy tight end position, Cox should be considered a potential starter with favorable upcoming matchups against Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Detroit.
Logan Thomas, Washington
Thomas bombed against Baltimore with just one reception for eight yards. But he had seen at least seven targets in each of the prior three games.
I’m not giving up on Thomas and support him being rostered in all leagues. With home games against the Rams and Cowboys, as well as a road game at the Giants, Logan has opportunities to find that low-end TE1 area.
Greg Olsen, Seahawks
Olsen has started seeing consistent targets, with at least five in the past two games.
In Seattle’s 31-23 win at Miami, Olsen led the Seahawks with seven targets. He caught five passes for 35 yards.
Olsen is startable in two tight end formats and can be used next week at home against Minnesota if needed.
Drew Sample, Bengals
Sample totaled three receptions for 47 yards and just missed on an end-zone target in the Bengals’ Week 4 win over the Jaguars.
With C.J. Uzomah out for the season, Sample’s assured volume makes him viable as a deep-streaming option.