Week 5 waiver-wire pickups and fantasy targets

Wondering who to pick up this week? No matter your league size, Jeff Ratcliffe has some ideas and suggestions.

| 9 months ago
Redskins RB Matt Jones

(Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Week 5 waiver-wire pickups and fantasy targets

Here we go again. This week’s waiver wire run gives you another opportunity to fill in the gaps on your fantasy roster.

Remember, we cast a wide net every week in our waiver wire advice. Below you’ll see recommendations for shallow, regular and deep leagues. Players are listed in order of priority and the suggested auction budget percentage is in parentheses.

Keep in mind that some leagues may be more aggressive or conservative in terms of bidding, so know your league tendencies. Regardless of the size of your league, it’s suggested that you work your way down the list and prioritize the top players in your waiver claims for this week.

Shallow leagues (8-10 teams)


1. Kirk Cousins, Washington (7%) – After a sluggish start, Cousins has thrown for five scores over the last two weeks and seems to have revived his red-zone chemistry with Jordan Reed. Those looking to stream this week will want to dial up Cousins against a Ravens defense that just gave up four passing touchdowns to Derek Carr.

2. Joe Flacco, Baltimore (5%) – It wasn’t a pretty performance, but Flacco still managed to post top-10 fantasy numbers in Week 4. With Steve Smith looking like his old self and the Ravens boasting more competent run game, Flacco has the weapons to be a viable fantasy starter in another strong matchup this week against Washington.

Running back

1. Jordan Howard, Chicago (30%) – The times, they are a-changing in Chicago. With Jeremy Langford on the shelf with an ankle sprain, Howard made the most of his opportunity as the lead back, posting 111 yards on 23 carries to go along with three catches for 21 yards. Howard gets another strong matchup this week and very well could hold onto this job even when Langford returns.

2. Matt Jones, Washington (25%) – Jones was finally able to take advantage of volume in Week 4, as he racked up 24 touches and posted his first 100-yard rushing performance since Week 2 of last season. With no competition for touches in the Washington backfield, Jones will continue to see heavy workloads in positive game scripts.

3. Terrance West, Baltimore (20%) – The Ravens opted for West over Justin Forsett, who was a healthy scratch this past weekend, and West responded with 113 yards and a score on 21 carries. Kenneth Dixon is likely to return this week, but West appears to be locked in as the Ravens’ early-down runner going forward. He’s on the RB2 radar.

Wide Receiver

1. Michael Thomas, New Orleans (30%) – With Willie Snead banged up and Brandin Cooks blanketed by Jason Verrett, Thomas led the Saints in targets this past weekend. He’s scored in each of the last two games and is quickly emerging as a favorite red-zone option for Drew Brees. He’s still a WR4, but Thomas’ fantasy arrow continues to point up.

2. John Brown, Arizona (25%) – There’s a chance Brown was cut in your league following his slow start. But he got back on track in Week 4 with 10 catches on 14 targets for 144 yards. With Michael Floyd fading, Brown appears to have moved back into the No. 2 receiver role for the Cardinals and should be owned in all formats.

3. Quincy Enunwa, NY Jets (20%) – Eric Decker’s injury, which is potentially season-ending, has opened the door for Enunwa to play a larger role in the Jets’ offense. While his value is somewhat capped as the slot receiver, Enunwa will continue to see a healthy share of the targets going forward. He’s on the WR3 radar, especially in PPR.

4. Sammie Coates, Pittsburgh (20%) – Coates’ role in the Steelers offense continues to grow. This past week, he saw a team-high eight targets, including two over 20 yards downfield. While he’s still more of a WR4/5 option, Coates’ big-play upside makes him worth a roster spot in all formats.

Tight end

1. Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati (30%) – Eifert is set to return this week after missing the first month of the season with an ankle injury. If he’s available, Eifert should be owned in all formats. He immediately slots right back in as a TE1 option.

2. Jimmy Graham, Seattle (30%) – Looking like his old self, Graham has back-to-back 100-yard performances. He’s back to every-week TE1 status regardless of the matchup.

3. Martellus Bennett, New England (25%) – Speaking of 100-yard games, Bennett posted his second of the season in Week 4. With Rob Gronkowski being eased back in, Bennett will continue to offer weekly TE1 upside in the near future.

Regular leagues (12 teams)


1. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia (3%) – There’s a chance Wentz slipped through waivers last week. The rookie signal-caller is worth a look as a streamer this week against a Lions team that just gave up a 300-yard day to Brian Hoyer.

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| Director of Fantasy

Jeff Ratcliffe is the Director of Fantasy at Pro Football Focus. He produces all of our projections and is 2016's second-most-accurate ranker in the fantasy industry. Jeff also is the host of our show on SiriusXM fantasy sports radio and is one of the main hosts of our Fantasy Slant podcast.

  • emalpark

    Mind sharing a link to the noob filled league where Matt Jones would be available?

  • DEV00100000

    Ertz is available in my league and I need TE help. Also, worth dropping Golden Tate for Coates? I have Antonio.

    • Taylor

      Yes to both. If M Bennett is available, id grab him before Ertz. Wentz uses his TE a good bit though. Not entirely sure if they are going to ease Ertz back into action or not. Coates > Tate especially with Eli Rogers ruled out already for Wk 5.

      • DEV00100000

        Bennett not available. How much FAAB do you think is reasonable to spend on Ertz?

  • DJS

    Luck is my QB1, and since he is an injury waiting to happen – who would you suggest as a QB2 for the bye week at the minimum, or QB1 if Luck misses time eventually. Available is Dalton, Wentz, and Tannehill. 12 team, 1/2 pt PPR league, 9 starters/15 on roster

    • Allan

      I have Wentz as a backup for Cam but it’s crazy that Dalton’s still available.

      • enai D

        Yeah I have Luck (and the same concern- even if he doesn’t get hurt, he pretty clearly isn’t the sort of matchup proof #1 option I was hoping for), and I only WISH the waiver wire options in my league were as attractive as that.. And mine is a 10 team league. Seems like everyone else is carrying two QBs (sort of rare, for a pro league), and there’s even one guy with three (!!!).

    • DEV00100000

      I’d go with Dalton to be safe, but Wentz isn’t a bad choice either and seems like he will have the better matchup week 10.

  • Josh

    Given the chance in a WR/TE league, rank these guys in order: Steve Smith, Tyler Eiffert, Jimmy Graham for ROS. Thanks!

    • DEV00100000

      Graham, Smith, Eifert

  • DEV00100000

    Jeff, I have to say, you are really bad at responding to your readers. I use to run a website for the Chicago Blackhawks and I blogged frequently. I would take time to respond to the readers that took the time to not only read my article, but also comment on it. I had respect for them and put out thoughtful responses for the sake of the community. And that site was busy with hundreds of comments, not like the 3-4 comments on here. I think it’s pretty shitty for you to avoid commenting. Never once have I seen you reply. It’s bad. Engage in a discussion, that is never a bad thing, and the writing doesn’t have to stop when you hit the submit button.

  • Kyle Kilbury

    Should I drop Rawls and pick up Powell? If I have weak RBs with G. Bernard, M Jones and t.y. Yeldon