Buy Low Opportunities Heading into Week 5 (Fantasy Football)
Heading into Week 5, the running back position has never been more confusing, and the people who deployed a zero-RB strategy are feeling like they won the lottery. Everything about the NFL is slowly stabilizing, but since it’s the NFL, it’s never going to be stable. Injuries will continue to hit, and matchups will have a bigger impact than ever. Once we hit the bye weeks, all hell will break loose. If you’re trying to make a trade for depth, this is the time to do it. If you’re trying to make a trade for a stud, be careful giving away all of your depth. There are a lot of great buy-low candidates available right now, but focusing on a cornerstone player with elite usage is what I’m trying to do at this point in the year.
Jaylen Waddle – WR, Miami Dolphins
Waddle is not someone that I would normally call a “buy low”, given the fact that he’s a borderline WR1 in fantasy right now. You may be able to get him for a discount based on the health of his quarterback, and the performance of his teammate Tyreek Hill. Waddle is seen as a second option by a lot of casual fantasy players, and the news cycle around Tua’s head injury may have some of his managers more scared than they need to be. Teddy Bridgewater is a very quality backup quarterback, and the nature of the Dolphins scheme relies a lot less on downfield arm strength when it comes to Waddle’s specific role. His average depth of target ranks outside of the top 80 at the receiver position, and Teddy has always had a tendency to check down early. If Tua returns, Waddle will be fine. If Teddy plays for multiple weeks, Waddle will be fine. He won’t be cheap in a trade, but this may be the cheapest he will be all year.
I stayed FAR away from Najee this year, so I don’t feel the sting of disappointment in the same way that some fantasy managers do right now. Harris has yet to finish in the top 15 at his position on any given week, and I can guarantee you that his managers are fed up. The reason to be slightly optimistic is based on the change at the quarterback position in Pittsburgh. Kenny Pickett is going to be behind center going forward, and the Steelers offense should be more consistent and potentially more explosive. Najee ranks 7th in the league for the percentage of snaps played at his position, and his involvement in the passing game should be cleaner with Pickett’s improved accuracy. The offensive line is still a concern overall, but anytime we can chase elite volume combined with a potential improvement in offensive output, it’s worth the risk.
Drake London – WR, Atlanta Falcons
Kyle Pitts was not the only player to disappoint his fantasy managers this past week, as Drake London threw up a total dud of a game after three promising weeks as a bona fide WR2. The Falcons’ offense is confusing, but now that Cordarrelle Patterson is out for at least four weeks, Pitts and Drake are the only playmakers left on the field. London has seen 35% of his team’s air yards and played on nearly 80% of their snaps, which is elite usage for a rookie. His schedule looks a bit tough over the next three weeks as the Falcons draw Tampa Bay and San Francisco, but that’s an additional reason that Drake may come at a discount. After the two-week gauntlet, his schedule opens up big time and Patterson will still be on the IR. Art Smith will be forced into using both of his young playmakers in the passing game, and London is way too talented not to bounce back from a disappointing Week 4 performance.
If you read my column last week, then you’d know that I recommended Travis Etienne as a buy. I still like his outlook season-long, but Robinson isn’t going away. This recommendation is more tailored to the DFS players and sports betters that read this. Robinson’s role is fairly clear in the Jaguars offense, but there has been enough talk about Etienne that a window may have opened for Robinson’s explosion in Week 5. The Jags relied on him heavily in the first three weeks, but Etienne finally out-snapped him in Week 4. This may seem like a changing of the guard, but in reality, it was more based on the game script. The Jags lead the first three games and fed Robinson because of it. They trailed the Eagles throughout all four quarters in their most recent contest, so Etienne played more snaps as they chased the scoreboard. Simply put, Robinson is going to be the guy in favorable gamescripts, while Etienne will help them play catch-up in primary passing situations. Despite all the press about the snap counts, this isn’t a new development. Robinson only played 49% of snaps in Week one, and only played on 58% of snaps in Week three. He only saw 8 touches this past week, but again, this was a game script issue. The Jags Week five matchup is with the Texans, who are by far the worst team in the league against opposing running backs. The Jags will likely control the clock, and Robinson is all but guaranteed to lead the team in snaps and touches. I’d be fitting him into my DFS lineups and paying close attention to his rushing prop lines.
If Kyle Pitts is the most disappointing tight end in fantasy football, then Darren Waller may be the next guy on that list. Waller was taken in the top six rounds of every fantasy draft, but his last two weeks have been dreadful as he clocked in TE35 and TE38 finishes. There is a discussion about his age and his future, but fantasy managers should be far from worried about it. He’s still 6th in air yards at his position, 4th in team air yard percentage, and 4th in targets inside the red zone. Darren Waller is still Darren Waller, he’s just had a couple of down games in the new offensive scheme. He has been a security blanket for Derek Carr for too long to drop out of favor, even with DeVante Adams on the field with him. The Raiders get Kansas City in Week 5 who ranks 7th worst against the tight end position, and the projected passing volume could be the perfect scenario for a “get right” game for Waller. There may be fantasy managers that are treating him like he’s washed up, which means this is the perfect time to go get him on your team or into your DFS contests.