Top Players to Add in Week 5
A good draft makes a good team, but leagues are won and lost on the waiver wire. Injuries happen, and stars emerge from the ashes. Successfully navigating the waters of the waiver wire will lead to a winning season. Here are my top five targets this week to help you navigate through the wire.
Not going to lie, this week is looking pretty slim on the waivers. But bye weeks are starting, so let’s find the diamonds in the rough aka some flex players to keep you afloat.
1. Jaleel McLaughlin, DEN – Going into the year, I had a ton of shares of Samaje Perine with the thought that Javonte Williams wouldn’t stay healthy. Turns out I was half right: Williams hasn’t been a pillar of health and strength, but the handcuff wasn’t Perine, it was Jaleel McLaughlin. McLaughlin and Perine both had similar rushing attempts (7 to 6), but the difference was the yards: 72 from McLaughlin compared to Perine’s 12. If Williams misses any extended time, I’m going hard after McLaughlin. At this point in the season, I don’t expect many other big performers to appear on waivers, especially running backs. If you need a spark, I’d look to McLaughlin as my number one waiver add.
2. Jaylen Warren, PIT – Technically, Jaylen Warren exceeds the 50% limit in both ESPN and Yahoo leagues, but he’s worth a look if he’s available in your leagues. Warren and Najee Harris had the exact same amount of snaps played in Week 4 (29), the first time Wareen and Harris have tied all season. Warren also dwarfs Najee’s targets, 22 to 8. So far Warren has more fantasy points this year than Najee (39.1 to 23.7), except Najee’s ADP was #26 overall compared to Warren’s #157. I don’t expect either to explode as Kyren Williams has, but for the “handcuff” to be outscoring the bell cow and still be available in ~43% of leagues is crazy to me.
3. Michael Gallup, DAL – Over the last two weeks, Michael Gallup has finished as WR27 and WR 33 (editor’s note, before MNF this week). Those aren’t flashy numbers but as we approach bye weeks those could be enough to get you through. Gallup has at least six targets in each of the last two weeks as the Cowboys’ offense has finally figured out the forward pass. His 17 targets on the season are tied for third-most on the team only behind CeeDee Lamb and Jake Ferguson, who I’ll talk more about below). I don’t expect Gallup to finish as a Top 10 WR any week, but I see enough volume and promise here for a very viable flex option.
4. Joshua Palmer, LAC – Last week I mentioned Johsua Palmer in my Others Receiving Votes section, but this week he’s cracked my Top 5 waiver adds. Palmer led the Chargers in targets (8) in Week 4 and his snap count percentage shot up from 61 percent in Week 3 to 86 percent in Week 4. This offense needs two talented wide receivers to function, and Keenan Allen can’t get all the targets. Downsides to Palmer include a bye coming up this week and Austin Ekeler‘s impending return in Week 6.
5. Jonnu Smith, ATL – The day has finally arrived, there’s a Tight End worth rostering in Atlanta. Except it’s not who you think. While Kyle Pitts is still droppable, I’m including Jonnu Smith in my Top 5 Waiver Adds this week. Smith has been out-snapped by Pitts over the last three games (146 to 135), but Smith edges out Pitts when it comes to the stats that matter. In the span of Week 2 to Week 4, Smith has more receptions (15 to 9), targets (20 to 18), and yards (179 to 77). Kyle Pitts is still rostered in 92 percent of ESPN and 95 percent of Yahoo leagues. I can’t think of any other situation in which the TE2 (in terms of catches, targets, and yards) is rostered more than the TE1. If you’re feeling bold, drop Kyle Pitts and pick up Jonnu Smith if rostering the most productive Falcons Tight End means something to you.
Others Receiving Votes
Allen Lazard, NYJ (26% ESPN, 22% Yahoo) – I don’t expect Zach Wilson to ball out like that every single week, but if he does I want some shares of this offense. Allen Lazard has always had solid hands and could be a staple in this offense if they find any sort of rhythm.
Braxton Berrios, MIA (2% ESPN, 2% Yahoo) – Much to my surprise, Braxton Berrios led all Dolphins in targets in Week 4. Could it be that Jaylen Waddle still has a lingering injury and the Buffalo Bills made a full-on effort to shut down Tyreek Hill? Perhaps, but the Dolphins have the kind of high-scoring offense I’m willing to grab any piece of in hopes it will pay off.
Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, TEN (1% ESPN, 1% Yahoo) – Nick Westbrook-Ikhine had zero targets in Week 3, not great. Even with putting up a cheerio in Week 3, Westbrook-Ikhine is second on the team in targets this season. He’s caught a touchdown in two games this season, I like the upside for a deep league flyer.
Last week I wasn’t loud enough for Jake Ferguson, DAL (24% ESPN, 53% Yahoo) as he’s still rostered in under a quarter of all ESPN leagues. Ferguson now has three straight top-12 finishes, including a top-4 finish in Week 4. He has seven targets in three of the four games this year. In the wasteland of tight end, Ferguson should be picked up.
C.J. Stroud, HOU (31% ESPN, 47% Yahoo) is becoming a set-and-forget QB1. He’ll be a staple of this column every week until he hits the 50% threshold in both ESPN and Yahoo.
The Houston Texans (2%) travel to Atlanta to face a Falcons team fresh from London. Desmond Ridder threw two interceptions last week, including a pick-six.
The Detroit Lions (4%) face off against Bryce Young and the Carolina Panthers. The Lions have scored 11 points and 17 points in their last two weeks.
The Miami Dolphins (11%) face the New York Giants, a team that has been stagnant on offense all season. The Dolphins have 10 points in two of their last three games.
(Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire)