By Rahul Lal
Let’s be honest, by this point in the season, pickings are slim on the waiver wire. Most fantasy owners have to play the angle of staying up-to-date with injuries and making sure to grab a guy who could step up in weeks to come. This past weekend, we saw injuries to some starters like Derek Carr, Chris Carson, Ty Montgomery and Dalvin Cook. Each of these guys are typically starters and, while Montgomery could still wind up playing, it’s important to have a back-up plan incase he isn’t 100 percent. The waiver wire is equally as important as bye weeks begin in Week Five so make sure to plan ahead to stay in front of your league.
Teams on bye: Atlanta, Denver, New Orleans, Washington
Below are a few of our favorite waiver wire pickups for Week 5, and they are separated by the three categories of Add Now, Worth A Look, and finally Deep League Add.
Deshaun Watson (Houston Texans, QB)
Confidence Level: Add Now
If you have Matt Ryan, Drew Brees, Kirk Cousins or are struggling to find a quarterback to fill in for a guy like Derek Carr – look no further. The Texans rookie began the year on the bench (for some reason) but has gotten significantly better with each game played this season. In his last two games against the New England Patriots and the Tennessee Titans, Watson has thrown for 584 yards, six touchdowns and even added over 60 yards on the ground with a score. All of a sudden, Watson is one of the most dangerous quarterbacks in the league for fantasy purposes and, while he has a tough matchup with Kansas City, should be a guy who can find multiple ways to get you fantasy points. Add him now, keep him for the long-term potential.
Latavius Murray (Minnesota Vikings, RB)
Confidence Level: Add Now
This is tough – Murray was signed to a $15 million contract over three years this past season and was expected to be the feature back in Minnesota. Dalvin Cook took advantage of Murray missing time in training camp and wound up turning himself into an every-week RB1. With Cook being the latest victim of an ACL injury, Murray seems to be the guy in Minnesota and could get about 85 percent of the work Cook had. By default, finding a running back with this much of a workload makes Murray an add now type of player. Don’t forget, he’s playing behind a pretty solid offensive line – his only competition is Jerick McKinnon who is built more for a pass-catching back (Chris Thompson, C.J. Prosise role).
Side note: I don’t trust picking up any backs in Seattle after the Chris Carson injury because it just seems too unpredictable at the moment.
Evan Engram (New York Giants, TE)
Confidence Level: Worth a Look
This is the second time I’ve written about Engram. In four games, he’s hauled in 19 receptions for 200 yards. What’s even more impressive for the rookie is that he’s garnered 30 targets in those four games including 11 this past weekend in Tampa Bay. With Odell Beckham Jr. back in the offense looking like himself, Eli Manning is able to pass all over the field and they’re throwing a lot given their poor rushing attack. This is a Giants team that is going to throw a ton this season, and Engram is way more than just a redzone target like he was initially expected to be – Cameron Brate, O.J. Howard and Ed Dickson are all good options that may be available but your window on Engram will close very soon.
Alex Collins (Baltimore Ravens, RB) and Elijah McGuire (New York Jets, RB)
Confidence Level: Deep League Add
Collins has been the most effective back in Baltimore the last two games picking up 82 yards each week on nine rushes. Right now, Terrance West seems to be hobbled and Buck Allen is probably most valuable as a pass-catcher. Collins is a good add for deep leagues as he could usurp the early down work from West in the next few weeks and turn into a flex level player. McGuire is stuck behind Matt Forte and Bilal Powell. Forte missed Week 4 with turf toe and his status is still up in the air for Week 5, and while Powell finally had a breakout game, McGuire was not-so-quietly the more effective rusher picking up 93 yards on only 10 carries and 38 yards in the passing game. McGuire is a bit of a stash, especially if Forte is on track to return, but the Jets will have to continue to find ways to incorporate him given their lack of playmakers in the passing game. Forte has proven to be a little more brittle late in his career and simply seemed to run out of gas in the second half of last season, so it isn’t impossible to think McGuire could pick up a lot of early down work as the season progresses.