Week 5 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Advice

Fantasy football waiver wire advice for Week 5 of the 2017 season.

The parameters and assumptions of this weekly waiver wire advice column can be found in the preseason introduction. Let’s review my previous recommendations, and then see what we can scrounge up for Week 5 waiver wire advice.

Season to Date Waiver Wire Recap

Last week, I posted an update to all the waiver wire recommendations for the season to date. Some quick updates to that list:

  • Charles Sims didn’t establish anything in the first three games, and now Doug Martin is back. He’s a safe drop.
  • Kendall Wright had a good game, but I’m fine leaving him on waivers unless you’re truly desperate.
  • For those in need at RB, if you don’t have better options, hold Shane Vereen for one more week in case the Paul Perkins injury is significant. But if Vereen can’t get a decent workload without Perkins, or if Perkins returns next week, then go ahead and drop Vereen.
  • I think Rashard Higgins is not going to be a thing. If you’ve got a better option or bigger need for the roster space, go ahead and drop.

Week 4 Waiver Wire Recap

Most of last week’s recommendations fared well.

  • Tarik Cohen had his worst game so far and still got nearly nine PPR points.
  • Javorius Allen got outworked and outproduced by Alex Collins. Welp.
  • Wendell Smallwood was overshadowed by LeGarrette Blount, but that’s okay. Smallwood is a definite hold and a solid acquisition target.
  • Paul Richardson came through, sort of, with nine PPR points, but was out-targeted by Tyler Lockett and Amara Darboh. He’s a tough hold.
  • Sterling Shepard posted a solid 5 for 54 receiving line, but that amounted to less than 10 percent of the Giants air yards. He was also more than doubled up in targets by Odell Beckham, Brandon Marshall, and Evan Engram. Still, if the Giants have that much work to go around, he’s worth a hold.
  • Devin Funchess scored two TDs en route to 26 PPR points. Kelvin Benjamin also had a great game, but Funchess should stay on your roster.
  • Jamaal Charles looked great but didn’t get much work. With a bye coming up, it might be hard to hold him. I think he’s worth a roster spot if you can spare it.
  • Will Fuller scored twice. Hopefully, you got him last week.
  • Ryan Griffin disappointed on the stat sheet, but did earn five targets and was in the top 10 in air yards for tight ends. You probably don’t need to hold him, but don’t write him off as a potential streaming option down the road.
  • Evan Engram posted 12 PPR points on 11 targets. He seems to be bucking the rookie-TE syndrome and is worth holding.
  • Austin Seferian-Jenkins only mustered 8.6 PPR points but was second on the Jets in terms of receiving yardage. Like Griffin, you probably don’t need to hold him, but keep him on the streaming speed dial.
  • Elijah McGuire had a big run and a big PPR day and will be among the popular pickups this week. Worth holding, but probably only worth a small bid, since at best he’s in a two way committee on a bad team. At worst, Matt Forte returns and McGuire returns to the bench.


Percent of ESPN leagues where the player is available is in parentheses. Players are listed in the order I prefer them, but that may not apply to your league settings. Hit me up in the comments or on the Message Boards for more specific advice.

Latavius Murray (81%)

Now that Dalvin Cook is out for the season, Murray becomes the clear No. 1 waiver add this week. Here’s why:

  • Cook’s attempts, market share of rushing attempts, and expected points are all top 10 this season.1
  • Cook’s receptions, receiving yards, and receiving expected points are all in the top 25 for running backs.

That’s a hugely valuable workload that’s up for grabs. Many people think Murray isn’t a great running back, but the facts are:

  • He handled huge workloads (from a market share perspective) in Oakland over the past two season.
  • Minnesota gave him a sizable free agent contract before the draft. In other words, they didn’t pick him up off the post-draft scrap heap.
  • Last year, Murray was one of just 22 RBs to have a workload valued at over 10 total fantasy points/game and positive efficiency. Maybe he’s not great, but he’s not terrible, and he now has that most valuable thing — opportunity.

There are some lingering concerns about Murray’s ankle, but that should help keep his price down. There may also be some concern about Jerick McKinnon (available in 99 percent of ESPN leagues). He’ll undoubtedly see an uptick in usage too, but based on last year, I’m not worried that he’s a threat to run away with the job.

Finally, Murray has a favorable upcoming schedule (Chicago, Green Bay, Baltimore). If you need an RB, make a big bid.

Charles Clay (50%)

Through four games, Clay is eighth in targets, fifth in receptions, and third in receiving yards at the TE position. Now Jordan Matthews is out for a month, so Clay’s already sizable workload could increase even more. There’s really no reason he should be available in this many leagues. A small bid should work, and if not, there’s a good chance he gets dropped after next week (he has a bye in Week 6), so you might get another crack at him.

Wendell Smallwood (85%)

He earned 10 attempts and six targets. True, Blount had more carries. But it’s those six targets that make Smallwood so appealing. He also punched in a TD after Blount failed to do so on several tries. Smallwood should be a popular add this week, so hopefully, you got him last week. If not, he’s worth a medium-sized bid, but if you want to take a gamble, consider this. The Eagles have three unfavorable matchups (for RBs) coming up: Arizona, Carolina, and Washington. There’s a good chance that whoever gets Smallwood now might be disappointed in the next few weeks. That presents a potential future opportunity to get Smallwood for less than he’ll cost right now. He makes a good trade target for the super tasty playoff schedule. In Weeks 14 – 16, the Eagles face the LA Rams, NY Giants, and Oakland Raiders.

Will Fuller (92%)

If you need a WR more than an RB, I have no problem moving Fuller up the list. He had almost the same amount of air yards as DeAndre Hopkins in Week 4, and I think that continues. Last year Fuller averaged 102 air yards per game versus 112 for Hopkins. Fuller was always expected to be a starter this year, and of course, we’ve been big fans of his potential. He’s also got two WR-favorable matchups on tap, according to the Buy Low Machine, and a quarterback that looks decent. Make a big bid.

Devin Funchess (88%)

He won’t have games that big every week, but earning more targets (9) than both Benjamin and Ed Dickson (four each) is a great sign. His matchup next week (Detroit) looks tough, but I am still on board the Funchess train. A small to moderate bid should do it.

Jaron Brown (97%)

Brown has earned a steady stream of targets (11, 6, and 12) in the past three games and finally had a big stat line to go with it. I’m not sure what happens if John Brown stays healthy, but for now Jaron Brown needs to be owned. That’s especially true with the Eagles poor pass defense up next, followed by the also-generous Buccaneers. Don’t break the bank but worth a small to moderate bid.

Andre Ellington (96%)

Ellington has back-to-back double-digit PPR games and a favorable matchup next week. Chris Johnson will continue to get work, but Ellington is the better option in Arizona right now.

Alex Collins (100%) & Javorius Allen (70%)

Sigh. Okay, if you really need RB help, then move these guys up this list. Baltimore does have a couple of favorable upcoming matchups. But I’m old enough to remember when Terrance West was the No. 1 back in Baltimore. Then it was Javorius Allen. Now…it’s Alex Collins? I guess it could be, but nothing about the way Baltimore has handled their RB corps makes me feel confident. Collins had the nice stat line this week, but Allen still got six targets to Collins’ two — and Collins fumbled, which John Harbaugh made sure to point out after the game. I’m holding Allen where I have him and I’m probably not targeting Collins personally, because of the poor offense and unpredictable usage. Feel free to punish me in the comments next week when Collins goes for 120 yards and pair of TDs. If Allen is unowned (or dropped) in your league, I prefer picking him up very cheaply instead of paying up for Collins.

Wayne Gallman (99%)

He was a top-25 RB in Week 4, and there are things to like about his prospect profile, including the No. 1 Workhorse Score in a class loaded with much bigger names. We don’t know yet how bad Paul Perkins injury is, and that matters. If Perkins is good to go for Week 5, then Gallman may not even be worth picking up. But if Perkins looks like he’ll miss time, or if the Giants sound like they realize Perkins has played poorly and want to get Gallman involved, then he’s worth a small to moderate bid. Like Smallwood, you could play a version of waiver wire lottery with Gallman too. The Giants have a decent matchup next week (Chargers), but then face a tough Denver defense and Seattle (tough by reputation) before their bye week. In other words, if you’re not desperate right now for an RB, you might just pass on Gallman altogether, and circle back during his bye week to get him on the cheap.

Others to Consider

  • Marqise Lee (56%) and Allen Hurns (86%) are still widely available. They’re both risky, given Jacksonville’s run-heavy nature and Blake Bortles, well, Bortlesing. Lee has the market share, Hurns has a knack for garbage time points.
  • Aaron Jones looked good last week, and he’s a very good prospect. But Ty Montgomery may not miss time and Jamaal Williams’ injury doesn’t sound serious.
  • Jamaal Charles (70%) continues to look good. On a bye in Week 5, he could be a free add. Denver has two good matchups after the bye.


  1. Pending MNF.  (back)