Week 5 was light on the injuries until Dak Prescott broke his ankle and needed immediate surgery. COVID postponements continue to be a difficult thing to navigate both for managers and commissioners. Alas, we must press on. The rookie WR class is really showing out and a number of them will be big parts of championship lineups.
I group the adds by position and then within the position, rank them in order of preference. The sherpa will only advise players who are rostered in less than 50% of ESPN leagues.
NEW FEATURES – I have made the FAAB suggestion a percentage of whatever your budget is instead of raw dollars. I also separated the quarterback section into suggestions for single and multi-QB formats.
This went to press before both the New Orleans/Los Angeles and Tennessee/Buffalo games.
Single QB – As bye weeks approach, there are some useful adds on the wire
Justin Herbert (5-10%) – He really should have been added already but it appears over half the managers in ESPN have another chance to add the impressive rookie. For fantasy, the upcoming schedule is excellent: @NO, NYJ, @MIA, JAC, LV. Once the Saints are out of the way, he should be a QB1 for any league until the Chargers’ bye.
Andy Dalton (5-10%) – Dalton will jump into the spotlight for his home town Cowboys in the wake of Dak Prescott’s devastating injury. The team context is the same that made Prescott a fantasy stud in the early season. Dalton will have oodles of taken around him and is tied to a pathetic defense. The points should continue to come in buckets.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (1%) – Miami’s “bridge to Tua” has been pretty useful for our little game. With three 300 yard games so far this season, he isn’t just chucking it around aimlessly, he’s also completing almost 70% of his passes. Miami will want to see what they have in Tua especially with a high likelihood they will possess a top 5 pick from the Texans. They need to know if they have their franchise QB or if they should spend a high pick on one.
Superflex / 2QB – Andy Dalton is here to save your season
Andy Dalton (50+%) – See above, this is a home run add.
Kyle Allen (15-20%) – If he slipped through the cracks in your league, he’s the priority add in Washington. He looked pretty good before injuring his arm during week 5, completing 9 of 13 passes and running in for a score. He was cleared to return but stayed out of the game. Head coach Ron Rivera said he’s still the team’s starter if healthy.
C.J. Beathard (10-15%) – Beathard came in to relieve an ineffective Jimmy Garoppolo in week 5, and if JGQ aggravated his ankle, he may miss more time. Kyle Shanahan can make lemonade out of any QB so assuming Beathard starts a few weeks, he’s a worthy add in multi-QB formats.
Alex Smith (5-10%) – It was inspiring to see Smith take snaps for the first time since 2018 but the performance wasn’t very helpful for fantasy. Kyle Allen was apparently cleared to return but Smith still stayed in the game. He’s worth a look, but it seems that he did not take Allen’s job.
RB – One potential league winner headlines an otherwise lackluster group
Alexander Mattison (20-25%) – Dalvin Cook went down with what appeared to be a groin strain in the second quarter, but returned to the field in the second half. However, he did not see any additional carries as Mattison took over as a workhorse against the Seahawks. To his credit, Mattison looked great in relief and was used in the Cook role as both a runner and receiver. The bid amount is going to be dictated by any injury updates you can find before your waiver run. Mattison is a top 15 RB for any game Cook misses.
Chase Edmonds (20-25%) – In PPR formats, Edmonds is carving out a James White role for the Cardinals. He’s caught 5 balls and seen 6 targets in each of the last 2 games and scored twice. In week 5 he played 45% of the snaps, up from about 35% previously and this was in a game the Cardinals controlled. So we can’t blame the extra snaps on comeback mode. Edmonds is FLEX worthy in PPR right now and with Kenyan Drake underwhelming every week, he may see even more work.
Damien Harris (15-20%) – Harris had quite a 2020 debut in week 4 taking 17 carries for 100 yards. His backfield mate Sony Michel never saw more than 10 carries in the first 3 weeks before being sent to the IR. I’d expect he’s earned more work going forward. As we all know, the Patriots offense is a chameleon and can go run heavy or pass heavy depending on the opponent. You may be able to sneak him on your roster with New England’s bye. He’s probably a FLEX as long as Michel is on IR.
Jamaal Williams (1%) – Now that the bye is out of the way, Williams is a decent bench stash. He can be expected to see about 10 touches each week and would be a major asset should Aaron Jones miss any time.
WR – You people have got to start adding these great rookie receivers
Tee Higgins (25%) – Higgins is still sitting under 50% rostership in ESPN leagues, despite averaging 8 targets per game over the last 3 weeks. He had already usurped A.J. Green but now Green has a new hamstring injury. Your league mates who may have been timid to add him won’t be anymore with Green’ ailing. The 33rd overall pick logged a season high 81% of the snaps on Sunday. Higgins is a WR2/3 for the rest of the season and if you’re looking way ahead, Cincinnati gets Dallas and Houston in the fantasy playoffs.
Chase Claypool (20%) – Welcome to the party Chase. Holy smokes… this wasn’t his first good game but it was certainly his best. He was used all over the formation, catching 7 balls for 110 yards and 3 touchdowns. Oh yeah, he ran one in on a jet sweep too. I wasn’t high on him as a prospect but he looked every bit of the size/speed freak that he was billed as. Diontae Johnson left with a back injury but it does not appear to be very serious. The target tree is unclear going forward with everyone healthy but we can’t ignore this explosion. On Sunday, he evoked memories of Martavis Bryant. I would say Claypool is a premium bench piece or boom/bust WR3 at the moment.
Laviska Shenault (15%) – After a season high in yards (91) week 4, Shenault saw a season high in receptions (7) and targets (8) in week 5. His role is growing by the game and he has star potential. D.J. Chark also was nicked up in this one, so the targets could be funneled toward Shenault even more.
Brandon Aiyuk (10-15%) – The 49ers were a mess in week 5, probably sending Jimmy Garoppolo back into the fire too soon. Aiyuk still tied for the team lead in receiving. Unfortunately he didn’t score, but his role on the offense is secure and he is a fantastic talent. Despite George Kittle and Deebo Samuel being active, Aiyuk was on the field for 97% of the team’s snaps. Use this opportunity to scoop him on to your bench.
Preston Williams (10-15%) – And just like that, Preston is back in our good graces! He more than doubled his receiving yards on the season in week 5 totaling a 4-106-1 line. I am a big fan, and hope this is the breakout he needs to get back on track in Miami. I am cautiously optimistic because I believe in the talent, but he still only saw the field on 60% of Miami’s snaps. They were up 30-7 at the half, so hopefully that’s explained by the Dolphins running the ball most of the 3rd and 4th quarters.
Henry Ruggs (10%) – The volume has yet to manifest for Ruggs, but in his first active game since week 2 he showed us all why he’s so enticing. He came down with only 2 deep balls but totaled 118 yards and a score. Already a great bye week filler, Ruggs could push for more looks and then would be in the WR3 conversation.
Gabriel Davis (5-10%) – Davis has been flashing even with a healthy receiving corps, but on Thursday John Brown was seen limping fairly dramatically after a catch, then was listed with a knee injury. All Davis needs is a slight uptick in opportunity and I think he’ll be a startable WR3 for fantasy teams in this offense.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling (5%) – A 10% add last week, if he’s still around in your league I bet you can slide him in for 1-5% after the bye. Still should be good for 5-7 targets including 1-2 deep shots a game.
Travis Fulgham (3%) – An interesting name here, Fulgham never even led his own college team in receptions at Old Dominion. He did, however, have a 1000 yard season as a senior and was invited to the NFL combine. The 6th round pick of the Lions bounced around practice squads until signing with Philadelphia this season. Fast forward to week 5 where he went absolutely bonkers catching 10 of 13 targets for 151 yards and a score. Philly will get some receivers back over the next few weeks but for now Fulgham is on the radar in any format.
TE – a weekly starter emerged late last week
Robert Tonyan (10%) – Perhaps Green Bay has finally found a tight end to compliment Davante Adams. Tonyan has now seen 11 targets over the last 2 games and scored in his last 3, including a hat trick last Monday night. Even when Adams returns, I’d be happy to roll Tonyan as my fantasy TE going forward.
Cameron Brate (3%) – In his first game without O.J. Howard, Brate caught 5 of 6 targets for 44 yards. Tampa Bay was down a multitude of pass catchers so I am not confident the volume will continue. He can be started in a pinch as long as Chris Godwin remains sidelined.
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