Pick ‘Em Up: Week 5 Fantasy Football Waiver Claims

By Ryan Weisse

As we push further into the season, two things tend to happen: The waiver wire becomes much more important and also becomes much more barren. This is starting to become apparent as we cross the quarter-pole of the 2020 season. The players I have listed below, usually available in more than 50% of Yahoo leagues, are speculative adds at best and could end up only being a one-week fill-in for your fantasy lineups. As we dive into who you should add to your fantasy squad in Week 5, I caution against using much FAAB or a high waiver priority for any of these players. But all hope is not lost, a thin waiver wire makes for a good trade market. If you have depth, this may be the time to trade it away, and if you’re in need, this may be the week to land some underperforming talent. If you’re not desperate, this is the first week that I might suggest letting waivers run and waiting until most of these guys are free agents before you Pick ‘Em Up!

PRO TIP: Always look at last week’s bye week teams for good players that may have been dropped out of desperation. Week 4 was Pittsburgh and Tennessee.

Quarterbacks

Justin Herbert (84% Available)
If not for the puzzling stubbornness of Anthony Lynn, Herbert would be a must-add on the level of Joe Burrow. He was a QB1 in Week 4 despite not having Mike Williams and after losing Austin Ekeler early in the game. He finished the game with 290 yards, 3 TDs, and 1 INT against a tough Tampa Bay defense. On the season, his per-game fantasy points put him in the top-10 QB range. It’s all positive…except that his coach insists that the team will be handed back over to Tyrod Taylor when he is healthy. As long as Herbert is the starter, he will be a weekly streaming option and worth a spot on your fantasy team.

Teddy Bridgewater (81% Available)
Teddy Two-Gloves is outplaying most expectations and is looking like a viable fantasy QB. He is the QB17 on the season but a lot of that is due to his Week 2 dud against the Buccaneers.  In his three good games, he has thrown at least one TD in each game and only one total INT. He’s also looked surprisingly spry, rushing for 70 yards on 12 carries. To make matters oh so much better, he has a date with the Falcons and their non-existent defense in Week 5.

Running Backs

Damien Harris (69% Available)
Harris stepped in for an injured Sony Michel and looked good in his first action. He ended the night with 17 carries and 100 yards against a not terrible Chiefs defense. Michel should miss some time but Harris was already a training camp darling and will defientely see his fair share. There’s no telling how much volume that will lead to in this crowded backfield but Harris is one of a very small bunch of relevant RBs you can find on waivers.

Phillip Lindsay (51% Available)
While Lindsay is available in just over 50% of leagues, I still wouldn’t spend much, if any, FAAB on him. The Broncos certainly need weapons on offense but Melvin Gordon has used Lindsay’s time away to take a firm hold on his place atop this backfield. Lindsay should still see moderate usage upon his return and is a proven fantasy commodity. The only reason his available in so many leagues is the fact that he’s missed the last two weeks with his toe injury. He should be back for Week 5 and is worth an add if you are in RB trouble.

Joshua Kelley (46% Available)
Had to dive a bit below 50% to find any RB worth your time but Kelley is a must-add with Austin Ekeler suffering an injury in Week 4. He was actually on this list last week but the matchup with a tough Tampa Bay run defense seems to have scared people off. Don’t let his Week 4 fool you, Tampa Bay is great against the run. Kelley is better than that stat line and is in line for a ton of volume if Ekeler misses time.

Zack Moss (34% Available)
Again, far below 50% but worth a peek in your league. A lot of managers may have dropped him, like Lindsay, for missing the last two weeks. This Bills offense is looking great and Devin Singletary has looked far from special with the backfield to himself. Moss should be back for Week 5 and will immediately see decent volume in this high-powered offense.

Wide Receivers

Tee Higgins (67% Available)
This may be your last chance to acquire Higgins if you hesitated after Week 3. While not as gaudy as his previous week, Higgins gave us four receptions for 77 yards on seven targets in Week 4. He has made AJ Green an afterthought and is taking the big-man role that we thought would belong to Drew Sample early on. Higgins will be the #2 target on this offense for the rest of the season and you are watching his buy-low window close. Check your waivers now and Pick ‘Im Up!

Curtis Samuel (78% Available)
Samuel’s usage has been pedestrian but steady so far in 2020. He has seen a little work in the running game with CMC hurt and is averaging about four targets per game. He’s still playing about 50% of the snaps for this team and has a dream matchup with Atlanta in Week 5. I can’t promise you’ll be able to use him every week, but he seems like a good Flex play this week.

Mike Williams (60% Available)
Another player only here because he is hurt. Williams was targeted 13 times between the first two games before a Week 3 injury. He missed Week 4…when Justin Herbert threw 3 TDs to random guys filling his role in the offense. His ceiling is very much tied to Herbert, a problem we’ve already talked about, but he is certainly worth an add as your WR4.

Laviska Shenault (76% Available)
Get used to hearing the term “Swiss Army Knife” when people talk about Laviska. He is used everywhere in this offense and is going to have a huge game sometime soon. He is a proven TD scorer from his time in college and has played at least 50% of the snaps in every game so far this season. He’s averaging about four touches and 60 yards per game and, once he starts finding the endzone, is going to start be a weekly Flex option in fantasy football.

Tight Ends

Robert Tonyan (70% Available)
Tonyan was a late addition to my Stream of the Week article and man, did he deliver. Not 1, not 2, but 3 TDs on Monday night with Lazard and Adams out. Adams will be back but Lazard is going to miss significant time. They won’t all be 3 TD games but Tonyan is going to be involved in this offense for the foreseeable future. HOWEVER, he is on bye in Week 5, so you will need to choose to either eat that to keep him away from your league-mates or gamble on landing him in Week 6.

Mo Alie-Cox (67% Available)
Week 4 was quieter than it should have been as Philip Rivers targeted all three of his TEs in the game but it was Alie-Cox that snagged a TD. Mo did play the 3rd most snaps, but he is in the game when it matters: in the red zone. He was only targeted twice in the game but both were inside the 20 and one led to his aforementioned TD. With a Week 5 matchup against Cleveland, one of the worst teams against the TE in fantasy, the MAC truck will be a great streaming option again this week.

Dalton Schultz (48% Available)
Schultz just misses the 50% prerequisite but is another guy worth checking your waivers for if you are in TE trouble. He has seen 28 targets in four games and is the TE5 before the Monday night games have been played. Managers are avoiding him because he is basically the 5th option in this offense but the Cowboys are averaging 50 pass attempts per game…there is plenty of work to go around. Unless you have Kelce, Kittle, Andrews, Ertz, or Waller, you probably need a TE and you can do far worse than Dalton Schultz.