It looks like we managed to avoid any major injuries in Week 5, but it turned out to be a big week for breakout receivers. Here are some names that stand out on the waiver wire heading into Week 6.
10. James Starks — RB, Green Bay Packers
The biggest name to go down this week was Eddie Lacy. After torching the Giants for 81 yards on his first 11 carries, Lacy left the game with an ankle injury and didn’t return. Despite having the ankle wrapped postgame, Lacy downplayed the injury and said he doesn’t expect to miss any time. If he does, Starks becomes a must-add. He wasn’t nearly as efficient as Lacy on Sunday night, but the Packers’ starting RB is always worth rostering in my opinion.
9. Cordarrelle Patterson — WR, Minnesota Vikings
A couple of names on Minnesota’s WR depth chart were beginning to separate themselves, but made it clear that they’ll be a big part of the offense going forward during Stefon Diggs’ Week 5 absence. Patterson has emerged as one of those guys. The former first-rounder has surpassed Charles Johnson and has seen six targets in back-to-back weeks. His big play ability always makes him a threat if he’s getting snaps as he is now.
8. Adam Thielen — WR, Minnesota Vikings
Thielen has come out of nowhere to become the Vikings clear-cut No. 2 WR behind Diggs. He’s been consistently playing the second most snaps, but hasn’t seen many targets with Diggs in the mix. Thielen hauled in 7-of-8 targets for 121 yards and a touchdown while Diggs was sidelined in Week 5, though. Perhaps the success will give Sam Bradford more confidence in targeting Thielen going forward, even when Diggs is lined up opposite him.
7. Brian Hoyer — QB, Chicago Bears
Hoyer continues to keep the Bears’ offense moving better than Jay Cutler did at any point this season, and it’s becoming likely he’ll remain the starter. Hoyer’s now turned in three straight games with 300+ yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions (topping out with 397 yards in Week 5). He’s making the most of what he has in Chicago, which has made him potentially the best bye week/injury replacement you’ll find right now.
6. Hunter Henry — TE, San Diego Chargers
Time to buy in on Henry. Even with Antonio Gates on the field in Week 5, Hunter turned in his third solid performance in a row — gaining 72, 61 and 74 yards over the last three weeks respectively (scoring touchdowns in his last two). With 16 targets over the last three weeks, Henry has clearly earned the trust of Philip Rivers in a depleted Chargers’ offense.
5. Jeremy Kerley — WR, San Francisco 49ers
Carlos Hyde was just about the only sure thing we could predict when it came to the 49ers’ offense. But Kerley has also emerged in Chip Kelly’s offense to the point that he’s become a viable fantasy option. Kerley’s seen a whopping 45 targets through five games, becoming Blaine Gabbert’s top option despite signing just days before the season began. He’s now scored in back-to-back games, putting forward his best effort on Thursday night — catching 8-of-13 passes for 102 yards and a TD.
4. Sammie Coates — WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
Coates still makes a lot of mistakes, which costs him posting bigger numbers, but he’s obviously slotting into Martavis Bryant’s role during his season-long suspension. With Big Ben throwing to him, Coates has still been able to manage 50+ yards in each game this season despite some drops and blown routes. After seeing eight targets in Week 4, Coates was even more involved in Week 5 — turning 11 targets into six monster catches for 139 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He won’t be consistent, but I think Coates has more of these performances in the tank this season.
3. Cameron Meredith — WR, Chicago Bears
Hoyer’s favorite target had actually been Kevin White, who went on IR this past week. With the rest of the WR core playing beat up, Meredith slotted right into White’s role, and it resulted in immediate production. Meredith saw a team high 12 targets, catching nine for 130 yards and a touchdown. As long as Hoyer is the starting QB and White is sidelined — which should be a while — Meredith will be a really solid fantasy option.
2. DeAndre Washington — RB, Oakland Raiders
Washington was one of my waiver wire adds last week, simply because Latavius Murray had been seeing a reduced role and the rookie had been performing well as the primary backup. Murray wound up missing Week 5 with a turf toe injury, which is good news for Washington’s value. The problem is that this looks like a RBBC with Jalen Richard and FB Jamize Olawale (both of whom scored more fantasy points in Week 5) in Murray’s absence. As the season goes on, Washington appears the most likely to be the featured RB if Murray misses more time/continues to underperform, although Richard is probably a solid add this week as well.
1. Martellus Bennett — TE, New England Patriots
Bennett is still available in a handful of leagues, and if he’s free in your’s you need to go scoop him up immediately. Tom Brady’s return meant an obvious upgrade in value to every New England pass catcher, but Brady made a clear effort to consistently target Bennett in the red zone — resulting in three touchdowns. Even more encouraging was Gronk still managed to catch five passes for 109 yards, meaning the TE duo can co-exist and put together big games in the same week.
Find me on Twitter @julianedlow
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is jedlow) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.