As injuries continue to mount and bye weeks make their introduction to the 2021 season, finding reliable short-term and long-term options for your lineup vacancies will be the key to making your league’s playoffs and possibly bringing home that elusive title. It is a gut punch when a player you had high hopes for gets hurt or consistently fails to put up starter-caliber numbers, but the only way you will get over it is by continuing to grind out wins while hunting for better options along the way. Most fantasy football regular seasons at their core are just a series of one-week matchups, so the mantra should always be to win the week and start your process over once the result goes final. The streaming radar is always changing and has altered most significantly at RB and TE recently, with a few players featured this week who could have a legitimate impact on your team’s bottom line for more than just Week 6.
* Players marked with an asterisk below can also be found in the priority waiver wire adds article referenced at the end. If anyone featured below is at risk of not playing or is relegated to a bench role late in the week, I will do my best to keep you all updated on Twitter (@BrandonMillerFB). All players below are under 65%-rostered as of 10/13/21.
* Darrel Williams (RB, Kansas City Chiefs)
This is one of two “check if available” players this week whose rostered percentage is currently lacking on one of the popular fantasy platforms. For Williams, ESPN (51%) gamers still have a chance to get this potential multi-week fill-in who plays on a Chiefs offense averaging four scoring opportunities per game (T-7th). As long as Jerick McKinnon does not eat into Williams’ workload too much, he could realistically be a weekly RB2/RB3 candidate, making him a priority add-and-start while monitoring exactly how the backfield split unfolds. Whether or not you are the team in your league that recently lost Clyde Edwards-Helaire to IR, Williams should either be in your lineup vs Washington or on your bench; do not leave him out there for someone else in your league to poach next week.
* Devontae Booker (RB, New York Giants)
Booker is somewhat of a “copy & paste” version of Darrel Williams; he has potentially multi-week opportunity spike ahead due to injury (Saquon Barkley), has been a serviceable backup but never a true starter, and is expected to lead the backfield in carries, including goal-line. He is slightly more available (under 65%-rostered as of 10/13/21) than Williams is currently, which is likely a reflection of the overall rest of season sentiment on the Chiefs vs Giants offenses. It would not surprise me if Booker is even better than Williams for however long their team’s respective starters are out due to his lack of competition for backfield touches and the recent emergence of Daniel Jones. Both RBs could quickly go from priority waiver adds > priority streamers > regular starters over 65%-rostered, so get them on your roster now and enjoy the ride while they are starting.
Other names to consider (in order): Tony Pollard (64% ESPN), Alexander Mattison, Latavius Murray, Alex Collins, Nyheim Hines, Kenneth Gainwell, J.D. McKissic, Khalil Herbert, AJ Dillon, David Johnson, Mark Ingram, Malcolm Brown, Sony Michel, Ronald Jones II, Jerick McKinnon, Giovani Bernard, Kenyan Drake, Brandon Bolden, Jeremy McNichols, Ty’Son Williams, Samaje Perine, Rhamondre Stevenson.
* Kadarius Toney (WR, New York Giants)
From one Giant to another, Kadarius Toney has now put down two impressive performances in a row (Week 5: 10 catches, 13 targets, 189 yards, one carry, seven rushing yards). Although that target boost has coincided with the Giants losing multiple pass-catchers in their offense due to injury, Toney’s raw talent is undeniable and should be utilized by a 1-4 team aiming to establish its young core of playmakers. The Rams defense has underperformed overall this season, but could quickly turn things around and cause fits for Giants at all levels of the field, so I would not expect another boom performance from Toney like last week. However, I feel good about him continuing to thrive while the volume is there and think he will be more than “just a guy” for fantasy purposes even when New York’s banged-up WR corps gets healthier. Consider him a back-end WR3 this week with WR2 potential if he finds paydirt.
Henry Ruggs III (WR, Las Vegas Raiders)
Since several of the other streamer WRs in this range have already been discussed in recent weeks, I will use this opportunity to present another “check if available” player, Henry Ruggs III. Similar to Williams (above), there is a large gap in rostered percentage among different fantasy sites; in Ruggs’ case, ESPN (76%) has held steady while Yahoo has trailed behind at 55% (10/13/21). While I do not think Ruggs has quite found his ceiling yet in year two, the progress is palpable as I see him proving to be more than just a “small, fast, downfield specialist” type that often goes over-drafted and “busts” in the NFL. Behind Darren Waller, there is not a true slam-dunk weekly option among Raiders receivers, even if several have the ability to produce useful fantasy totals. Despite Ruggs collecting five targets or less in two-of-five games so far, he is currently 22nd overall in receiving yards (348), ahead of notables like CeeDee Lamb, Antonio Brown, Amari Cooper, DeAndre Hopkins, and Adam Thielen. Ruggs’ ability to strike from anywhere on the field gives him the potential to win you weeks even with limited targets, so the advice would be to add now, follow the targets, and play him whenever you need to boost the ceiling of your team’s projection.
Other names to consider (in order): Jaylen Waddle (64% Yahoo), Tim Patrick, Darnell Mooney, Rondale Moore, Hunter Renfrow, Cole Beasley (62% Yahoo), Christian Kirk, Robby Anderson, A.J. Green, Mecole Hardman, Van Jefferson, Nelson Agholor, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Jalen Reagor, Zach Pascal, K.J. Osborn, Randall Cobb, Terrace Marshall Jr, Bryan Edwards, DeSean Jackson, Sammy Watkins, Josh Gordon, DeVante Parker.
* Hunter Henry (TE, New England Patriots)
As mentioned basically every week this season, the back end of the TE1 picture is a bit blurry, though recently we have seen some names graduate from the streaming tier into hopeful every-week starters like Dawson Knox, Dalton Schultz, and Mike Gesicki. There is a pack of others (see below) who have flashed production and have the potential to finish as top-12 options on any given week, but are not yet at the level of being considered season-long holds for now. Hunter Henry may be the next in line of that first group, as I view him as someone you could potentially add now and end up starting all season if you have been playing TE roulette each week. After collecting just seven total targets in New England’s first two games, Henry has seen six, five, and eight in the last three; scoring in each of the last two. With James White (hip) on the shelf for the remainder of the season, Henry is expected to be one of the Patriots’ primary pass-catchers and is a solid add for anyone sick of being outmatched at the TE position every week.
Other names to consider (in order): Zach Ertz, Jared Cook, Ricky Seals-Jones, Tyler Conklin, Evan Engram, Dan Arnold, Robert Tonyan, Jonnu Smith, David Njoku, Mo Alie-Cox, Austin Hooper, Cameron Brate, Cole Kmet, C.J. Uzomah, Pat Freiermuth, Anthony Firkser, Jack Doyle, Blake Jarwin, Will Dissly, Gerald Everett, Donald Parham Jr.
Accountability is everything, so here’s a quick look back at last week’s recommendations
Damien Williams (RB, Chicago Bears): Williams performed his way out of eligibility for this article as expected, rushing 16 times for 64 yards and a score along with two catches for 20 yards. Hopefully, you were able to scoop him up in your league if he was available since he could be a weekly RB2 with RB1-upside while David Montgomery is out.
Kenneth Gainwell (RB, Philadelphia Eagles): Gainwell was not able to get anything going in a game where the Eagles hardly ran the ball (22 total attempts), finishing with two carries for 16 yards and one catch for eight yards. Last week I mentioned that he is more of a deep-league option or bench stash for now and I will stand by that even after the lackluster performance.
Jamison Crowder (WR, New York Jets): Week 5 was essentially Crowder’s floor: six targets, four catches, 24 yards. Most weeks, the targets should be slightly higher and the yardage 50-60+. The silver lining is that nobody will probably pick him up this week since the Jets have a bye, so feel free to take a breather on Crowder if you need the roster space and break glass in case of emergency next time you need him.
Darnell Mooney (WR, Chicago Bears): Mooney caught three of five targets for 35 yards in Sunday’s 20-9 win over the Raiders. Although that stat line is nothing to brag to your friends about, he did still lead the team in receiving yards and tied for the lead in targets, so you could argue the Bears just did not throw it or have to throw it. The Bears offense will probably be inconsistent all year, but I think Mooney has shown enough to warrant weekly consideration in your lineup as a WR3/Flex.
Dalton Schultz (TE, Dallas Cowboys): For as much as I whine about how terrible and unpredictable TE streaming is, there have been a number of players graduate from streaming candidates to every-week starters early in the season (see this week’s TE section). Schultz will hope to make some TE-needy team very happy the rest of the season as he has now played his way out of streaming eligibility (six catches, eight targets, 79 yards).
Make sure to check out AJ Passman’s priority waiver wire adds article every Tuesday for more insights on who you should be submitting claims for heading into each Wednesday. Good luck in Week 6!
(Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire)