Breakdowns

Week 5 Waiver Wire Pickups

I’ve been banging the drum on both Sam Darnold and Daniel Jones here for the last few weeks. Hopefully you got on the train, as they were the QB2 and QB7 this week, respectively. While they still technically qualify for the parameters of this column, I’ll be officially retiring them this week. Consider this the last you’ll read on the subject in this column. Unless you have one of the top 6 or so QBs currently — you should snag one of Darnold or Jones. There will be no other QBs in this week’s column, as these two are the clear best options, and at least one should be available.

As always, all rostership levels are based on Yahoo leagues. Your mileage may vary depending on your provider and league settings.

Kenneth Gainwell, RB Philadelphia Eagles (29% Rostered)

Gainwell has been one of the better handcuff backs already this year, but he’s starting to provide some value on his own. Miles Sanders is still the starter, but Gainwell is closing the gap. Gainwell also may have the more valuable role — particularly in PPR leagues. He’s out-targeted Sanders 18 to 12 on the season, and 12 to seven over the last two weeks. His four red zone targets in Week 4 was particularly encouraging.

Gainwell is still only borderline usable as long as Sanders remains heathy. He can fill in for you in a pinch. Bye weeks are coming up after all. Like many of the backs featured in this piece, if the starter in front of him goes down he’s immediately a great value. If you need a running back to fill in, or can spare the roster spot, pick up Gainwell.

Darrell Williams, RB Kansas City Chiefs (10% rostered)

Williams is sneaking in to relevance the last couple weeks. His snap rate has increased every game, to a season high 36 percent in Week 4. He’s matched starter Clyde Edwards-Helaire with 5 targets over the past two weeks as well. Williams would have a lot more value if Mahomes threw to his backs more, but getting 50 percent of the running back targets is still solid. This is a thinner pick, but most of the viable running backs are going to be claimed by now. I’d try to avoid using Williams with Edwards-Helaire active, but he’s another solid stash in case of an injury ahead of him.

Tim Patrick, WR Denver Broncos (44% rostered)

With  KJ Hamler done for the year and Jerry Jeudy recovering from a serious high ankle sprain, there isn’t a lot of target competition for Patrick. Right now he’s at worst the 3rd option in Denver behind Courtland Sutton and Noah Fant. He’s seen at least four targets in every game this season, with at least five since the Jeudy injury. Prior to QB Teddy Bridgewater going out, Patrick had also caught all but one of his targets this year. Patrick is obviously less appealing with the shaky Drew Lock at quarterback, but Bridgewater should be out one more week at most. He’s not incredibly exciting, but Patrick can provide some valuable points in a pinch.

Michael Gallup, WR Dallas Cowboys (47% rostered)

Similar to the Curtis Samuel pick from last week, Gallup is nearing a return and we should be early on him. I wouldn’t sacrifice somebody you’re big on to get to him, but if you can spare the roster spot go get Gallup. The Cowboys have one of the league’s best offenses, capable of supporting three viable fantasy options. As soon as he’s healthy, Gallup is a low-end every week starter. If and when either Cooper or Lamb miss time with an injury, Gallup becomes a top option. We saw Amari miss time with hamstring issues last week, the odds of them both staying healthy all year is fairly slim.

Devante Parker, WR Miami Dolphins (38% rostered)

Parker is super under-looked by the field at the moment. He’s averaging eight targets per game so far this year. He’s been pretty inefficient with them — a 53 percent catch rate isn’t ideal. Still, fantasy football is a volume game. His worst game so far this year was four catches for 42 yards. Nothing to write home about, but it beats hoping for one or two catches from a fill-in wideout. I expect him to be slightly better when Tua Tagovailoa comes back as well, so if you can get him for free he’s worth the flier.

Josh Gordon, WR Kansas City Chiefs (32% rostered)

It’s wide receiver week in the waiver column. Gordon is under-owned by 68 percent right now, with rumors out of Kansas City that he may play as soon as next week. As I said last week, the range of outcomes on Gordon is extremely wide. The most likely scenario is a few catches here and there, but nothing life changing. In that range though, is a top 15 or or so WR performance from the time he’s active. For a cost of nothing, that’s an extremely high expected value. There’s no reason to not pick Gordon up immediately.

Dalton Schultz, TE Dallas Cowboys (34% rostered)

Schultz has seemed to pull away from Blake Jarwin to become Dallas’ main tight end. He’s also the TE4 in half-PPR scoring through four games. He’s scored three touchdowns the past two weeks, which is clearly unsustainable. Even so, seeing 15 targets in those games is very encouraging. There’s a risk that his target share thinks a bit when Gallup (see above) returns, so I don’t think we should be going out of our way to get to Schultz. If you need a tight end in a pinch, he’s your guy.

Dawson Knox, TE Buffalo Bills (47% rostered)

Knox obviously won’t get eight targets — or score twice — in many other games this year. That’s what he did in a route of the Texans though. Moving forward, his 4/49/1 performance in Week 3 seems to be a more realistic expectation. He’s seeing five targets a game on average, and most of the available tight ends are in the one or two range. Personally, I draft Kelce in the first round every year (at least the last three in a row) so I don’t have to worry about it, but he’s the best option under 50 percent.

If Knox and Schultz are gone in your league and you need a tight end, look towards Evan Engram. He’s seen six targets in both healthy games this year.

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