Looking toward week 5 – Waiver Quick Picks

Week 5 Quick Picks


We aren’t yet completely done with week 4 but fantasy owners looking for a good waiver claim can’t get a jump on the competition too soon.


In week 5 these teams are on bye and some prominent players drop off the board:

Minnesota – A. Peterson, G. Jennings, J. Simpson, K. Rudolph, B. Walsh

Pittsburgh – L. Bell, B. Roethlisberger, A. Brown, E. Sanders, H. Miller

Tampa Bay – D. Martin, M. Williams, V. Jackson

Washington – P. Garcon, A. Morris, RGIII


The heavy bye weeks are coming up soon and now is the time to start planning.

So here are some of my favorite pickups:

LeVeon Bell – this is an obvious point by now but Bell is not yet 100% owned and if you’ve got a top waiver claim or a bunch of FAB to drop, grab him immediately going into his bye week. If you had Bell on your bench last night, don’t feel too bad about it. The risk associated with a rookie coming off an injury was enough to justify caution. Actually, don’t feel bad at all since you’ve got a shiny new weekly starter. In last night’s game Bell played pretty much every down except a handful for Dwyer and Jones. Obviously Mike Tomlin is in win now mode and had to see what Bell can do for the Pitt offense. After one game Bell has the only 2 rushing TDs and is now second on the team in both rushing yards and attempts. Even though he had 8 attempts that ended up with fewer than 2 yards (one of those was a goal line TD that he converted) the rest of his attempts notched gains of 6, 8 (TD number 2), 11,3,4,5,4, and 9. He also caught 4 passes for 27 yards and saw his largest gain of the night go for 19 yards on a 3rd quarter pass, which is great news in PPR leagues. The Steelers have to establish a consistent run game through Bell to take some of the pressure off of Big Ben and Tomlin will certainly call Bell up for goal line situations. The Steeler offensive line is still shaky due to injury so there is a good chance that Bell will continue to notch a lot of short gains in between a few good bursts but ultimately Bell looks like he’s going to get a lot of work in the weeks to come and will hopefully come out even stronger after the bye.

Danny Woodhead – If Phillip Rivers is going to keep up this level of play, Woodhead should be owned in all PPR leagues and deep leagues. Woodhead’s first target of the night (and only target of the first quarter) came lined up as a receiver on a seam route that was fairly defended by a much larger LB in Bruce Carter but Woodhead pulled in a well-placed 26 yard pass from Rivers for the score. In the 3rd quarter Woodhead had another TD, this time on a wheel route out of the backfield, again defended by Carter. Woodhead is fast and elusive and on both scores benefited from extra defensive attention on a resurgent Antonio Gates. What Woodhead is not, is an every down lead back, mostly checking in on passing plays – though Mike McCoy calls a couple of rushing attempts for Woodhead in every game (19 total for and efficient 90 yards) just to keep the defense honest. In a timeshare with lead runner Ryan Mathews, Woodhead received all 5 of his carries (his first two going for 9 and 3-yards to set up his own 13-yard TD catch) in the 3rd quarter, had most of his targets in the 2nd quarter and basically disappeared in the 4th. If his current use continues at the same rate, Woodhead seems good for 80 total yards and 5 catches on a weekly basis with surprise TDs peppered in. Were Mathews to go down, I expect that Woodhead might see a slight bump in carries but would likely continue to split time with Ronnie Brown. In a best case scenario Rivers can maintain accuracy and arm strength through the season and uses Woodhead in a Darren Sproles type role, something Mike McCoy is hopefully bringing back to San Diego.

Brian Hoyer – In my mind, two weeks of decent quarterbacking makes Hoyer a worthy pick up. His passer rating rose from 68.5 to 103.9 against a tough Cincinnati defense and the Browns have now won two games in a row. Presumably because the Browns like to win, Hoyer has already been given the start for week 5. He’s got two stud weapons in Jordan Cameron and Josh Gordon, a competent RB in Willis McGahee and a clever coaching staff that likes to throw. There are some grains of salt to consider with Hoyer. First, Cincinnati was missing a bunch of their starting defensive backs on the road. Second, the Browns are on a short week (which is probably a major reason why Hoyer is starting) and third, the Bills are also missing a chunk of key defensive backs but that really didn’t seem to matter against the Ravens on Sunday. On a short week Hoyer is a risky start since he might meet a janky Bills secondary or he might run into the same unit that picked Joe Flacco off five times. In the long term, Hoyer has a couple good matchups with the Packers, Ravens and Jaguars but also runs into the Chiefs, Jets, Steelers and Bears. Due to a small sample size, I still think Hoyer will be best played in favorable matchups and deserves a pickup in 2QB leagues or if you’re like me, a sad Eli Manning owner looking for relief.

Robert Woods – Woods has played on pretty much every snap in his first four games and his offensive impact has slowly increased week by week. He now leads the Bills in targets after getting 10 (only caught 2) in week 3 and 8 (caught 4) in week 4. Woods burned CB Corey Graham for a deep 42-yard TD in the second quarter and almost had another TD in the 3rd but didn’t exhibit enough possession for the referees. Rookie QB E.J. Manuel isn’t the most accurate dude so a good number of the passes going to Woods are uncatchable, but the steady flow of targets is certainly valuable as a top outside receiver in Buffalo and Woods has done well so far with what he’s been given. Unfortunately the Bills have a short week against a tough Cleveland defense and these Thursday games tend to produce stunted offensives. Woods will probably get some of the Joe Haden experience throughout the game, though Stevie Johnson will probably see the vast majority of that void and Woods might actually see increased targets against Buster Skrine or Chris Owens. I don’t expect Woods to put up double digit points every week but I’d rather have him for depth than other low end WR fliers like Rod Streater, Harry Douglas, Jeremy Kerley or Kenny Stills.

Marlon Brown – The Ravens really want Joe Flacco to earn that contract and are thus dedicated to the pass. The clear top Raven receiver is Torrey Smith with roughly 40 targets but the next two down the list are the aging Dallas Clark and our man Marlon Brown with 23. The snap counts between him and the next WR aren’t even close and this has paid off so far with 3 TDs in 4 games but only 150 yards on 14 catches. On Sunday the 6’5 receiver got matched up against 5’10 corner Justin Rogers and pulled in two catches for 19 yards to convert a 2nd and 18 into a first down and a third grab came later for a TD. Brown can exploit his size in CB mismatches and I like the sheer volume of targets bound to come his way through the year.

Heath Miller – Miller played about half the time in his week 3 return but played nearly all of them in week 4, blocking well and also catching 6 passes on 8 targets for 70 yards. The return of Miller and Bell might open up a struggling Pittsburgh offense and if Miller is back to form, Big Ben will naturally gravitate back to one of his favorite targets from 2012. I like Miller as a rotational TE for now but might rise to weekly status with additional proof that his knee is healthy. Miller might be a sneaky claim this week since the Steelers are on bye but he returns to face a stiff Jets defense before two easier matchups against the Ravens and Raiders.


Other guys:

Kendall Hunter – I mostly like Hunter for his handcuff value since I believe he’d become a true lead back if Frank Gore missed time. Gore is still the main man in San Fran but Hunter is the first guy off the pine and saw a season high snap count against St. Louis. Most of Hunter’s yardage against the Rams came on a nice 29-yard TD run well after the game was out of reach. Hunter looked quick and has evidentially healed well from his late 2012 Achilles tear. For those in deep leagues, he’s had a TD in each of the last two games, one in the first quarter against the Colts and the second in garbage time against the Rams. I don’t think the TDs will show up very often but Hunter will probably see 5-10 carries a game and has increased value in games that are potential blowouts.

Andre Ellington – I suppose Ellington is worth a stash at the bottom of a bench in case the Arians administration decides to shake up their game plan. Rashard Mendenhall had a bad game on Sunday and Bruce Arians publicly acknowledged that as a problem. In limited snaps on mostly passing plays, Ellington has averaged 6.2 yards per carry on 11 carries and 8.6 yards per reception on 9 catches (he does have 4 drops) and had receiving TD against the Lions in week 2.  Don’t expect Ellington to suddenly run away with the Arizona job. Alfonso Smith has actually received more carries than Ellington (though the majority of them in the first week and none in the past game) and both Stepfan Taylor and Ryan Williams are still waiting in the wings to muddle up any competition. Ellington gets a bump in PPR since Arians like to call his number for passing downs.


List of young players to keep an eye on, presented without comment:

Ace Sanders

Markus Wheaton

Justin Hunter

Corderrelle Patterson

Jeff Demps

Rob Housler

Terrence Williams




  1. andy

    October 1, 2013 at 13:30

    So I have to choose between Woodhead and Woods. I have the #2 waiver priority

    RBs – Rice. Morris. McFadden. Lacy
    WRs – Green. Colston. Brown. Royal

    We start 3 wrs and 2 rb with a flex. No PPR

    • Ben Richard

      October 1, 2013 at 18:59

      I do think you could use some WR depth but for a spot start just this week I’d grab Woodhead against the Raiders over Woods on a short week at Cleveland. In the long term the Bolts play some soft defenses through the next month where the Bills face a fairly tough schedule. You could see if Brandon Gibson is available as a WR grab.

  2. Jonny

    October 1, 2013 at 20:08

    I am 1-3 and quicky gave up on Ridley and Mathews. I got the the 2nd waiver and looking for more “depth”

    QB: Matt Ryan
    RB: Doug Martin, Le’Veon Bell, Bilal Powell, Benard Pierce.
    WR: Brandon Marshall, Julian Edelman, Randall Cobb, Danny Armendola, Tavon Austin.
    TE: Julius Thomas, Kyle Rudolph
    D/ST: Chiefs, 49ers

    Who can help me out now? And who should I drop?Looking to add Woodhead, Kendrell Thompkins and maybe scooping up Percy Harving before someone else comes up on him.

    2 rb’s, 2 wr’s and flex

    • Ben Richard

      October 1, 2013 at 21:01

      That’s a tough one since I think your team is actually pretty well stocked and you may have just had some bad luck. Rudolph is the only obvious drop and Austin would be my next choice. I wouldn’t quite give up on Ridley yet since the Pats offense has been in a weird place for the first month and they will run more smoothly with the return of Gronk and Amendola. Mathews is what he is and will probably continue to get 15 carries a game for 60ish yards and the occasional TD. You definitely need a fill in starter since Bell and Martin are both on bye so Woodhead is a decent grab there. Thompkins should be on someone’s roster but you would be carrying three Pats receivers which I do not advise. You could consider dropping Edelman for Thompkins (unless you’re in a PPR). If you want a crazy change you could try and trade Doug Martin. I still really like Martin but I am concerned about the chaos in Tampa and I prefer players in stable situations with good quarterbacks.

  3. Nicholas

    October 1, 2013 at 21:48

    Here’s my bench:

    WR Sidney Rice
    RB Bryce Brown
    RB Bernard Pierce
    QB Matt Schaub
    WR Reuben Randle
    WR Kendall Wright
    TE Coby Fleener

    How can I build more depth in my bench? I’m 2-2 and I’m a first year rookie, but I don’t want to come in last place. Thank you so much for your help!

    My Starters are:

    QB Matt Stafford
    RB Trent Richardson
    RB LeSean McCoy
    WR Larry Fitzgerald
    WR Dwayne Bowe
    TE Greg Olsen
    FLEX Darren McFadden [RB]
    D/ST Colts
    K Dan Bailey

    • Ben Richard

      October 1, 2013 at 23:01

      Agree with KJ on all points. A lot of designated to return IR guys like Harvin will become good grabs come week 6/7.

      To add:
      I think you could use some additional WR strength. I think you could cut Matt Schaub but I’m a 1 QB kinda guy. Depending on how Fitzmagic plays for Tennessee, Kendall Wright might also become droppable in a stagnant offense.

  4. Zach

    October 1, 2013 at 22:07

    Would you drop Brandon Bolden in a PPR for – R. Jennings or M. Goodson?

    In a 12 person PPR league (VERY COMPETITIVE – only nubs on waivers are left), and everyone makes the playoffs.

    My team is
    QB: T. Brady/S. Bradford,
    RB: TRich, MJD, K Moreno, S. Vereen, Le’Veon Bell, Bilal Powell, Brandon Bolden,
    WR: Amendola, Colston, K. Thompkins, P. Harvin, C. Givens
    TE: Jordan Cameron/Heath Miller
    Flex is WR/TE/RB
    DEF: Jet’s – dropping for Titans (like their playoff schedule)

    Thanks for your input. Someone told me to hold onto Bolden and don’t drop him for either Jennings or Goodson, my worry is that Goodson with such a high YPC take over Powell’s roll, since the Jets were not a huge fan of Powell from the get-go. Also, I dropped Ivory last week for Bolden, so I could also go pick him back up and drop Bolden.

    Other options on waivers is Blount (bleh) and a Robert Woods (ehh…). Mainly when playing Waivers, I look more for upside, because everyone makes the playoffs… Looking for the homerun diamond in the rough. So is everyone, but some just chase points or are okay with a 70 yards and no TD… in my league, that won’t help you win any real games.

    Last question: Would you trade Le’Veon Bell and TRich for A. Foster?

    • Ben Richard

      October 1, 2013 at 22:53

      This is an interesting league format. How long do the playoffs run and who plays who?

      Since you’ve got Vereen, Bolden is definitely droppable as nothing but a stopgap in NE and will lose any meaningful value when Vereen returns in good time for the playoffs.

      I have a bad feeling that Ivory will be inactive frequently this season and that the surprisingly effective Powell will keep his job even if Goodson returns. I suppose I’d take Goodson over Jennings though since Jennings was put into this same position last year when MJD went down and sorely disappointed as a starter. Goodson also has some pass catching ability and might do well in a PPR – though it’s a total gamble if the Jets will field him as long as Powell keeps producing.

      To answer your last question I would not take that 2 for 1 but I’d reconsider a trade if there was serviceable WR thrown in.

      • Zach

        October 1, 2013 at 23:04

        Top 4 teams get a bi-week and the playoffs begin week 13. They normally begin week 12, but this year teams are having a bi-week so we can’t do that. It just seeds based on record. Also, if you are in the top 4 teams you get a good chunk of money back, so it does help to do well during the season, plus based on how things seed, you have a better chance of advancing in the playoffs.

        He has Crabtree, who I also did not mention, and he is included in my trade offer (he should hopefully be back by playoffs, worse case is he is a keeper next year). You can keep two players drafted round 5 and up or that are picked up off waivers the following year for the last two picks of the draft. Any keepers you have that you don’t keep you can trade to other teams for draft picks. I’m stacked at keepers, but always welcome more because of that.

        I’m really regretting taking TRich. I bought into the hype and it has burned me, especially with MJD sucking so bad. I just look at TRich’s YPC and it’s so bad, I just don’t know why anyone is still ranking him in the top 10 RB on a weekly basis… especially in PPR. I figured that if he would have done anything, it would of been against a horrible Jags D and he still was not great – average at best and that’s only because he got into the end-zone. I think with Bradshaw healthy and in the mix, it will only get worse and this is the last chance I can sell him for anything. You have him ranked pretty high, why?

        Is it possible that Turner who has a pretty good past with RB’s (granted Mathews is a bust, but LT was not) saw that he is not all that and they got what they could out of him before he tanked – similar to fantasy?… Just loosing faith in him. Luckily Vereen and Harvin should help me in the playoffs.

        Thanks for your time – I dig the site, def going to continue to check out your stuff.

  5. Jonny

    October 3, 2013 at 17:43

    Thanks for the advice man. I was able to get Thompkins and now I find myself trying to trade Edelman for a RB. I also put in a waiver for Andre Ellington. He has lots of upside and has been getting better throughout the weeks.

    • Ben Richard

      October 3, 2013 at 19:11

      Agree with all those actions

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