Key NFL Injuries and Waiver Wire Week 5 Pickups
Finally a quiet week for injuries. Overall, Sunday’s games performed well. However, constant COVID scares and awaited test results caused concern for many. The wide receiver position wins first place for Week 5’s Waiver Wire valued pickups.
*All players in this article are available in over 50% of ESPN leagues.
WAIVER WIRE: QUARTERBACKS
Key Injuries: Nick Mullins (Benched)
Gardner Minshew | Jacksonville Jaguars | Rostered 45%
As expected Gardner Minshew dropped below the 50% threshold. Last week’s performance was forgettable. He recorded a measly 251 passing yards, zero touchdowns, and 2 lost turnovers. I expected his numbers to go down with the absence of his star receiver. However, he performed very well this week. Gardner Minshew produced 351 yards through the air, 2 touchdowns, and sprinkled in a few rushing yards too. The biggest proponent to picking him up on the waiver wire has to be his upcoming schedule. The majority of his games are against bottom-half defenses that allow the most points to the quarterback position. Don’t trust last week’s performance. He has returned to proper form.
Kirk Cousins | Minnesota Vikings | Rostered 15%
The emergence of Justin Jefferson and the Vikings schedule makes Kirk Cousins an interesting waiver wire pickup this week. Stefon Diggs used to stretch the field in order to open up the defense. Now the threat of Justin Jefferson’s speed and excellent route running loom’s over defenses. They notice. Cousins’ deep throws increase in value with Jefferson on the field. However, the presence of Jefferson alone does not warrant the pickup. The Vikings schedule, along with his new toy, encourages me to take the chance. Atlanta and Seattle allow the most points to the quarterback position this year. He should produce his best game for the next two weeks.
Daniel Jones | New York Giants | Rostered 28%
Recommending Daniel Jones as a pickup just feels wrong. It brings me absolutely no joy. The man displays an underwhelming performance week in and week out. I mean, he has not produced a touchdown since week one. That alone should scare fantasy managers away. However, playing against the Steelers, Bears, 49ers (before the injuries), and the Rams is no easy task. The next few weeks are much more favorable for Daniel Jones and his production should increase as well.
WAIVER WIRE: RUNNINGBACKS
Key Injuries: Austin Ekeler (Hamstring), Nick Chubb (Knee), Kenyan Drake (Chest)
Chase Edmonds | Arizona Cardinals | Rostered 25%
Sometimes opportunity is all you need. Kenyan Drake exited Sunday’s game in the fourth quarter with a chest injury and performed under expectations even before his removal. It appears Drake’s injury is nothing substantial, but neither has his ability on the field. Chase Edmonds’ total touches may increase. Again, sometimes the opportunity is all you need.
Brian Hill | Atlanta Falcons | Rostered 12%
Brian Hill falls behind Todd Gurley, but how already produced. Now the Falcons face Green Bay (2nd), Carolina (3rd), Minnesota (11th), Detroit (5th), and Carolina (3rd) again. All teams who allow the significant points to the running back position. Brian Hill is flex worthy with bye weeks coming up and a starter if Gurley misses any time.
Rex Burkhead | New England Patriots | Rostered 43%
To be honest, I don’t know what to do with Rex Burkhead and the Patriots backfield. We know they have never been kind to fantasy managers. However, somebody has to produce…right?
Damien Harris | New England Patriots | Rostered 15%
[Insert Rex Burkhead paragraph here] The only hope I have in Damien Harris rests on preseason expectations. Harris impressed during camp and his emergence led to talk of a starting role. So…do with it as you will.
WAIVER WIRE: WIDE-RECEIVERS
Key Injuries: No Notable WR Injuries
Laviska Shenault | Jacksonville Jaguars | Rostered 27%
Consistent play and talent set Laviska Shenault apart from other rookies. Though last week was not his best performance, he continues to produce in all facets of the game. However, Shanault lacks touchdowns but if healthy, the touchdowns will come.
Tee Higgins | Cincinnati Bengals | Rostered 25%
The threat of AJ Green returning to form continues its downward spiral. The connection between Tee Higgins and Joe Burrow continues to grow. Garnering 24 targets over the last three weeks, Higgins continues his part in the offense. Though he did not continue his Week 3 touchdown rate, he managed 19.4 yards per catch for 77 yards. His efficiency in addition to opportunity makes him worth having on your team.
Scotty Miller | Tampa Bay Buccaneers | Rostered 11%
Scotty Miller seems like the ever-present receiver Tom Brady needs. Injuries continue to plague the Buccaneer’s receiving core. Hamstring issues sidelined Chris Godwin week 4 and possibly week 5. Mike Evans landed roughly on his ankle but managed to return in the fourth quarter. Tom Brady needs someone to throw to on Thursday.
Tim Patrick | Denver Broncos | Rostered <1%
Injuries seem to be a common factor among the waiver wire selections. Tim Patrick benefits because of injuries to the Broncos passing game. Last week Tim Patrick saw 6 of 7 targets for 113 and a touchdown. As long as the Broncos passing game needs bodies, Patrick should be a pickup.
WAIVER WIRE: TIGHT ENDS
Key Injuries: OJ Howard (Achillies), Jordan Akins (Concussion), Tyler Eifert (Concussion)
Dalton Shultz | Dallas Cowboys | Rostered 32%
How long do I need to write about Dalton Shultz! I want every piece of the Dallas passing game possible! Dallas’s weak defense forces Dak Prescott to throw the ball. He averages 50 throws a game! Dalton Shultz is averaging 8 of those throw per game since taking over full time. This is the week Shultz earns your respect.
Drew Sample | Cincinnati Bengals | Rostered 3%
Drew sample continues his role is the passing game. Firstly, he played above 85% of the snaps for a team that moves at a fast pace. Secondly, he earned 3 of 5 receptions for 47 yards, a solid stat line for a tight end. Moreover, add a touchdown to his performance and you are looking at 15 points in PPR formats.
LAST THOUGHTS ON THE WAIVER WIRE
In conclusion, the possibility of COVID looms over every game. In light of COVID, make preparations and stock your bench with talent. Good luck this week. Come back next week for week 6 waiver wire suggestions.
Follow Jeff Roberts on Twitter @FantasyRoberts for more.