Waiver Wire Pickups: Week 5 (Fantasy Football)

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So, you think you have what it takes to win your fantasy football championship, huh? Every team in your league dreams of how their season will culminate, all craving to be the ones hoisting the trophy at the end, basking in all of the sweet glory. But the reality is, only one team can claim that esteemed honor. Winning your league’s championship demands more than just wishful thinking. It demands the grind of blood, sweat, and tears. It calls for timely trades, spotting those invaluable waiver wire acquisitions, and just a sprinkle of luck along the way. It matters little whether you are currently reigning at the top of your league or holding on for dear life at the bottom. What truly counts is the relentless drive to improve each week, offering your team the optimal shot at victory. So, do you reckon you’ve got what it takes? I believe in you, but let me be your guiding light on this quest to the promised land.

Starting this upcoming week, the dreaded bye weeks will be upon us. While this time off is much needed for players in the midst of a grueling season, it does leave a few gaps in your lineups. Week 5 sees a total of four teams on bye, including the Los Angeles Chargers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Seattle Seahawks, and Cleveland Browns. It is our hope that these highlighted waiver wire gems can aid you in securing a victory despite the absence of key players from your typical starting lineup. Without further ado, I present to you the most auspicious pickups for Week 5.

Running Backs

Team Player Roster % Matchups
DEN Jaleel McLaughlin 2% NYJ / @KC / GB
BAL Justice Hill 47% @PIT / TEN / DET
DEN Samaje Perine 53% NYJ / @KC / GB
CAR Chuba Hubbard 32% @DET / @MIA / BYE
PIT Jaylen Warren 62% BAL / BYE / @LAR
CHI Roschon Johnson 61% @WAS / MIN / LV
JAX Tank Bigsby 37% BUF / IND / @NO
BUF Latavius Murray 11% JAX / NYG / @NE
NYG Matt Breida 35% @MIA / @BUF / WAS
SF Jordan Mason 2% DAL / @CLE / @MIN

Jaleel McLaughlin, RB, Denver Broncos – In the aftermath of Javonte Williams‘ hip injury, which forced him to exit Sunday’s exhilarating victory against the Chicago Bears, the unheralded Jaleel McLaughlin emerged as an unexpected hero for his team. Seizing the moment of his increased opportunities, the Youngstown State prospect showcased his talent by turning seven carries into an impressive 72 rushing yards. Adding to his impact, he contributed three catches for 32 receiving yards and a touchdown. While it is reassuring that Williams didn’t suffer a major injury during the game, we should not completely overlook McLaughlin’s remarkable performance. It is quite plausible that he may earn more opportunities within this offense, especially given his ability to make big plays compared to fellow backup, Samaje Perine. Should Williams’ injury sideline him in upcoming games, McLaughlin emerges as a dynamic player capable of making the most of his limited chances. Recommended FAAB: 0-15%.

Chuba Hubbard, RB, Carolina Panthers – Heading into Week 4, Chuba Hubbard garnered significant attention as a potential waiver wire target. Much of this interest stemmed from the speculation that Carolina’s primary running back, Miles Sanders, might sit out due to a groin injury. However, Sanders was inevitably deemed active for Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings. Despite Sanders’ presence, Hubbard still managed to make an impact, participating in 54% of the offensive snaps and rushing the ball 14 times for 41 yards. He also demonstrated his receiving abilities, catching both of his targets for an additional 12 yards. While Hubbard’s fantasy production in this game was modest, it marked his highest workload of the season thus far. With Sanders in the lineup, evaluating Hubbard as more than an insurance policy is a bit challenging. Nonetheless, he does hold some value until Sanders fully recovers from his hampering injury. Given the scarcity of running back depth this year, Hubbard stands as a promising speculative addition, potentially earning an expanded role as the season progresses. Recommended FAAB: 0-15%.

Latavius Murray, RB, Buffalo Bills – In his tenth professional season, Latavius Murray has continued to somehow secure another valuable role and maintain productivity despite his increased age. He has carved out the role as the primary backup to James Cook, a position brimming with underrated opportunities in the high-powered offense of the Buffalo Bills. In a statement victory against the Miami Dolphins, Murray showcased his talent, gaining 32 rushing yards from four carries and adding 24 receiving yards by catching both of his targets. Notably, he also found the end zone in the two games leading up to this standout performance. Although he will be vying for playing time with both Cook and Damien Harris, it is evident that the team places trust in Murray and values his presence on the field. For those in need of a desperate starting option at the position, few widely available running backs offer as much weekly touchdown potential as the veteran running back. Recommended FAAB: 0-0%.

Wide Receivers

Team Player Roster % Matchups
DET Jameson Williams 53% CAR / @TB / @BAL
GB Romeo Doubs 62% @LV / BYE / @DEN
ARI Michael Wilson 6% CIN / @LAR / @SEA
LAC Joshua Palmer 70% BYE / DAL / @KC
LAC Quentin Johnston 67% BYE / DAL / @KC
GB Jayden Reed 38% @LV / BYE / @DEN
CIN Tyler Boyd 52% @ARI / SEA / BYE
DEN Marvin Mims Jr. 50% NYJ / @KC / GB
DAL Michael Gallup 23% @SF / @LAC / BYE
NYG Wan’Dale Robinson 12% @MIA / @BUF / WAS
WAS Curtis Samuel 13% CHI / @ATL / @NYG

Jameson Williams, WR, Detroit Lions The wait is finally over! Following a revision of their initial gambling policy requirements, the league has reduced Jameson Williams‘ suspension from six to four games. Williams, hampered by significant injuries and off-field issues, has seen limited playing time in his early professional career. Despite having just one catch to his name, it was a significant 41-yard touchdown, showcasing Williams’ tantalizing fantasy potential. His talent strongly suggests an immediate contribution in a significant role for the team. Upon transferring to the University of Alabama in 2021, Williams had a stellar season, boasting a remarkable 79 receptions, 1,572 receiving yards, and 15 receiving touchdowns. Despite entering the league with an ACL injury, he was widely regarded as the top wide receiver prospect in his historic class. While it may take some time for Williams to acclimate to the offense, he is a player deserving of high waiver wire priority. Due to this, he appears to be worth the gamble. If everything falls into place, he could very well be the missing piece that transforms this offense into one of the more formidable forces in the league. Recommended FAAB: 10-40%.

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Michael Wilson, WR, Arizona CardinalsMichael Wilson is an electrifying rookie talent, boasting the ideal combination of size, athleticism, and ample opportunity to truly flourish in his inaugural professional season. Although he had a subdued start to the year, Wilson made a resounding statement in Sunday’s loss to the Dallas Cowboys. He hauled in all seven of his targets in this outing, amassing an impressive 76 receiving yards along with securing two touchdowns. Despite playing second fiddle to Marquise Brown, Wilson stands out as the larger red zone threat, setting the stage for potentially explosive fantasy performances. However, before deeming him a consistently reliable option for your starting lineups, it is essential to observe Wilson’s ability to build upon this breakout performance. Given the negative game scripts that Arizona typically encounters, there appears to be an abundance of targets ripe for the taking by this talented rookie in the games ahead. Regard him as a speculative addition for now, with the potential to serve as a risky but high-upside bye-week replacement if necessary. Recommended FAAB: 5-15%.

Tyler Boyd, WR, Cincinnati Bengals – The Cincinnati Bengals have stumbled out of the gate this season, a far cry from their initial Super Bowl aspirations. Plagued by a disappointing 1-3 record, the team finds themselves searching for answers at the bottom of the AFC North. The health of their star quarterback, Joe Burrow, has been a major concern, impacting the performance of the offensive unit as a whole. To make matters even worse, they have now suffered another setback with an injury to Tee Higgins, who is expected to be sidelined due to a rib fracture. This unfortunate circumstance undoubtedly opens a window of opportunity for others on the team to step up. Outside of Ja’Marr Chase, Tyler Boyd appears prepared to fill an expanded role for the offense in the wake of the injury. Despite a quiet start to the season, the veteran wide receiver has demonstrated consistent reliability from the slot over several seasons. Given Burrow’s current limitations in driving the ball downfield, Boyd stands out as an appealing target, potentially compensating for this deficiency. While his performance in the recent loss to the Tennessee Titans was modest, garnering four catches on seven targets for 26 yards, history shows that he can excel in an expanded role. As several fantasy teams brace for upcoming bye weeks, Boyd emerges as an ideal option to potentially help bridge the gaps in your roster, especially in deeper leagues. Recommended FAAB: 0-10%.

Tight Ends

Team Player Roster % Matchups
DAL Jake Ferguson 51% @SF / @LAC / BYE
CHI Cole Kmet 57% @WAS / MIN / LV
LAR Tyler Higbee 61% PHI / ARI / PIT
WAS Logan Thomas 10% CHI / @ATL / @NYG
ARI Zach Ertz 36% CIN / @LAR / @SEA

Jake Ferguson, TE, Dallas Cowboys – It might sound like a broken record by now, but for those seeking a tight end with consistent targets and touchdown potential each week, Jake Ferguson is the name to remember. In a standout performance, Ferguson hauled in all seven of his targets for an impressive 75 receiving yards, showcasing his growing role. He has rapidly become Dak Prescott‘s go-to option when under pressure, which has historically been a role of significant value in fantasy football. Ferguson has now seen seven or more targets in three out of four games this season, and in recent weeks, he has been entrusted with a more impactful downfield role. Whether or not the matchup is favorable, he has proven to be a reliable weekly starter at the position, unless you have top-tier alternatives at your disposal. Recommended FAAB: 0-5%.

Cole Kmet, TE, Chicago Bears – After a sluggish start to the season, Cole Kmet had a remarkable performance in Week 4. Despite a heartbreaking loss to the Denver Broncos, Kmet secured seven receptions out of nine targets, accumulating an impressive 85 yards and two touchdowns. While acknowledging the standout nature of this performance, it is potentially more important to recognize that the team will not face the Denver Broncos every week. Nevertheless, this game showcased the best passing performance from Justin Fields so far this season, and possibly in his career. Consequently, all eyes will be on this offense during Thursday night’s faceoff against the Washington Commanders. For those seeking help at the tight end position this week, Kmet emerges as a promising option following such a stellar outing. Recommended FAAB: 0-0%.

Jonnu Smith, TE, Atlanta Falcons – You might have noticed that Jonnu Smith was not listed in the table above. This was not an accident. With that said, deciphering if Smith is a reliable fantasy asset or just a source of frustration for Kyle Pitts’ managers has become increasingly challenging. Yet, in recent weeks, he has showcased impressive performances that should not be completely ignored. During Atlanta’s loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in London, Smith made an impact by hauling in all six of his targets for a team-high 95 receiving yards. Notably, he has been on the field for the majority of offensive snaps and has received six or more targets in three consecutive games. While it is extremely premature to guarantee this level of usage and production will continue, keeping an eye on Smith is probably a smart move. With that said, we do not trust Atlanta’s passing offense AT ALL so it is recommended to let another team in your league take on the challenge and probable pain. Recommended FAAB: N/A.


Team Player Roster % Matchups
HOU C.J. Stroud 55% @ATL / NO / BYE
LAR Matthew Stafford 47% PHI / ARI / PIT
ARI Joshua Dobbs 9% CIN / @LAR / @SE
NYJ Zach Wilson 6% @DEN / PHI / BYE
WAS Sam Howell 20% CHI / @ATL / @NYG
PIT Mitch Trubisky 0% BAL / BYE / @LAR


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Team Roster % Matchups
Baltimore Ravens 81% @PIT / TEN / DET
Detroit Lions 12% CAR / @TB / @BAL
Washington Commanders 26% CHI / @ATL / @NYG
New Orleans Saints 82% @NE / @HOU / JAX
Green Bay Packers 26% @LV / BYE / @DEN
Houston Texans 4% @ATL / NO / BYE
Arizona Cardinals 2% CIN / @LAR / @SEA

Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed that deep dive into Week 5. Typically, my focus in these articles remains solely dedicated to fantasy football, but today I have some significant news to share. This upcoming Friday marks the day of my wedding, and shortly thereafter, I will embark on a two-week honeymoon. During this brief hiatus from football activities, the relentless grind to provide the best advice for your teams will not halt. Kurt Mullen from our incredible team will be stepping in to deliver these invaluable waiver wire insights. Guiding you on this journey has been an absolute honor thus far, and I eagerly anticipate resuming our quest after this short break. May the odds be in your favor, and may victory be yours until our paths cross again.


Don says:

Thank you for the reliably well-written & beneficial in-depth weekly analysis!

While I fully anticipate that your article will be left in capable hands during your absence, I eagerly await your return for rational & researched advice throughout the chaotic bye weeks!

Congratulations on your pending nuptials! Have an amazing honeymoon!!

Ramon Zamarron says:

Congrats Joe!

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