Free Agent Forecast: Week 5

Free Agent Forecast: Week 5

Fantasy football roster management tips, strategy and advice

Free Agent Forecast: Week 5


Rockstar Rock Star Free Agent
Injury Injury Replacement
Grab & Stash Grab & Stash
1 Week Plug & Play 1 Week Plug & Play
Dumpster Dive Dumpster Dive
Free Agent Auction
Bid (FAAB) Scale
$ $0 – $5
$$ $6 – $15
$$$ $16 – $25
$$$$ $26 – $40
$$$$$ $41+
Based on $100 cap,
12-team league.

Given the diverse scoring systems and sizes of fantasy leagues, producing a weekly list of free agents that satisfies the masses can be challenging. For the most part, the column will hone in on players who are available in at least 35% of all fantasy leagues. If you play in a small league (8 teams), chances are there may be better players to pick up than you see listed here. If you play in a large league (16 teams), the majority of the players highlighted may already be on a squad; however, expect to find hidden gems, as well.


Carson Wentz, Eagles
Rock StarWentz continues to impress. He has five touchdowns and no interceptions on the year. The Eagles are averaging just under 31 points per game with the rookie under center. Philadelphia is coming off its bye but Wentz is a strong starting option again versus the Lions in Week 5. Owners not happy with their quarterback production should grab Wentz now. He’s still available in roughly 70 percent of fantasy leagues.
Availability: Owned in ~ 30% of leagues.
FAAB: $$
Forecast: Wentz is a low-end QB1.

Dak Prescott, Cowboys
Rock StarLike Wentz, Prescott is getting better every week. He threw for 245 yards and two scores against the 49ers. Those numbers are even more impressive considering the Dak was playing without his No. 1 receiver, Dez Bryant. Prescott could have also had another touchdown if Brice Butler hadn’t dropped a perfectly thrown back shoulder pass. In his last two games, Prescott has thrown for 493 yards and accounted for four scores. He’s yet to throw an interception this season. As good as Tony Romo has been for the Cowboys over the years, Prescott is making the decision to take him out of the lineup harder and harder with his impressive play. He’s worth adding for now even if Dallas turns back to Romo.
Availability: Owned in ~ 50% of leagues.
FAAB: $-$$
Forecast: Prescott is a weekly starter/streaming option.

On the Radar: Derek Anderson (1%), Paxton Lynch (1%)

Running Backs

Terrance West, Ravens
Rock StarWest got the start over Justin Forsett on Sunday and delivered with 113 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries against the Raiders. West will no doubt be a hot waiver wire target this week. Just keep your expectations realistic if you go after him. West has another favorable matchup this week against the Redskins but then faces the tough Giants, Jets and Steelers rush defenses with a bye mixed in there. Rookie Kenneth Dixon is also returning soon and he’ll be in the mix for touches. Dixon is only owned in 20 percent of leagues and is potentially the better long-term stash. West is worth adding if you need help at running back but don’t expect 20 fantasy points to be the norm.
Availability: Owned in ~ 40% of leagues.
FAAB: $-$$
Forecast: West is a Flex play when the matchup is favorable.

Bilal Powell, Jets
Rock StarMatt Forte had a big game against the Bills but since then he’s disappeared. Forte has rushed for just 92 yards on 29 carries in his last two games. He’s also starting to lose touches in the passing game to Powell. The Jets were behind Sunday but Powell was the more effective back. He caught six passes for 54 yards and added 26 yards rushing. Forte was seen being carted to the locker room. If he’s injured, Powell becomes a weekly starter but even if Forte is fine, Powell’s role in the offense is growing. Now is the time to get him.
Availability: Owned in ~ 30% of leagues.
FAAB: $-$$
Forecast: Powell is an RB2/Flex play if Forte is injured.

Duke Johnson, Browns
1 Week Plug & PlayGrab & StashIsaiah Crowell has been the Browns lead back early in the season and that’s not likely to change. This doesn’t look like a Crowell game on paper though. With Tom Brady returning and the Browns starting a rookie quarterback against Bill Belichick, this one could get ugly. Johnson plays on passing downs. The Browns are likely to be behind and passing a lot on Sunday. Johnson gained 84 total yards and caught six passes against the Redskins. Look for a similar stat line this week.
Availability: Owned in ~ 65% of leagues.
FAAB: $-$$
Forecast: Johnson is a Flex option this week.

Wendell Smallwood, Eagles
1 Week Plug & PlayGrab & StashNot quite sure why Smallwood is only owned in just 10 percent of leagues. Perhaps it’s because owners think his 79-yard one-touchdown game against the Steelers was a fluke or the fact the Eagles were on a bye. Doug Pederson said he’ll continue to rotate backs going forward and Ryan Mathews is already dealing with a lingering ankle injury. Smallwood has a good matchup this week against a Lions defense that just got run over by fellow rookie Jordan Howard. Even if you don’t want to roll the dice on Smallwood this week, he’s a great pickup for the second half of the season.
Availability: Owned in ~ 10% of leagues.
FAAB: $-$$
Forecast: Smallwood is a Flex option in deeper leagues and a strong stash for the rest of the year.

DeAndre Washington, Raiders
Grab & StashLatavius Murray is still the lead back in Oakland but Washington is an impressive rookie who could start to eat into his touches over the second half of the season. The Raiders backfield is a headache right now. Murray, Washington and Jalen Richard are all seeing touches. Washington isn’t a player that can be trusted at the moment but should something happen to Murray, he has the talent to emerge as an every-week fantasy asset. He’s a valuable bench stash for those thinking long-term.
Availability: Owned in ~ 15% of leagues.
Forecast: Washington would be a weekly fantasy starter if something happens to Murray.

On the Radar: Fozzy Whittaker (30%), Bilal Powell (30%), C.J. Spiller (7%), Zach Zenner (1%)

Wide Receivers

Quincy Enunwa, Jets
Rock StarEric Decker is out indefinitely with a shoulder injury. Enunwa took over as the Jets No. 2 receiver against the Seahawks. He caught six passes for 60 yards. Seattle is as tough a matchup as Enunwa will face all season and he still put up a solid stat line. Enunwa has recorded double-digit scoring games in three of the first four weeks in PPR formats. There’s a chance Decker could miss the rest of the season with his shoulder injury. Enunwa is a must-add in all formats right now.
Availability: Owned in ~ 40% of leagues.
FAAB: $$-$$$
Forecast: Enunwa is a WR3 with Decker out.

Robert Woods, Bills
Rock StarSammy Watkins was placed on IR. He’s out until Week 12 and possibly the rest of the season. Woods is an extremely average receiver on a team that doesn’t throw the ball a lot but someone on the Bills has to catch passes. On Sunday Woods caught seven balls for 89 yards on 10 targets. He has 13 receptions on 18 targets in his last two games. Woods isn’t going to be a fantasy superstar but he’s a No. 1 receiver on an NFL team seeing 8-10 targets a game. That’s something.
Availability: Owned in ~ 10% of leagues.
FAAB: $-$$
Forecast: Woods is a WR3/4 in PPR leagues.

Brice Butler, Cowboys
Injury ReplacementTerrance Williams scored a touchdown against the 49ers but he struggles as the No. 1 receiver against better defenses like the team Dallas faces this week: Cincinnati. Butler led the Cowboys in targets on Sunday with nine. He finished with five receptions for 41 yards and a score. He could have had another touchdown but he couldn’t hold onto a perfectly thrown pass by Prescott in the end zone. There’s no guarantee Bryant will back this week. Williams has had opportunities in the past and failed. Butler may not do any better but he’s worth a shot in deeper leagues.
Availability: Owned in ~ 1% of leagues.
Forecast: Butler is a WR4 if Bryant doesn’t play against the Bengals.

Chris Hogan, Patriots
1 Week Plug & PlayGrab & StashHogan put up a goose egg on Sunday. He has one catch for three yards in his last two games. So why would anyone in their right mind want to pick him up? Two words: Tom Brady. Business is about to pick up for Hogan. There are a lot of mouths to feed in New England but Brady and Hogan had good chemistry in the preseason. Hogan is buried on many waiver wires because he’s been MIA the last two weeks. If Brady were there for the first four games, Hogan would be owned in double the leagues by now. He’s a smart add this week.
Availability: Owned in ~ 30% of leagues.
FAAB: $-$$
Forecast: Hogan is a WR4 with Brady back and a sneaky Flex play this week vs. the Browns.  

Sammie Coates, Steelers
1 Week Plug & PlayGrab & StashCoates has emerged as the No. 2 receiver in Pittsburgh behind Antonio Brown. Against the Chiefs, Coates caught six passes for 79 yards on eight targets. His eight targets led the team. One negative is Coates didn’t score in a game where Ben Roethlisberger threw five touchdown passes but Coates has clearly passed Markus Wheaton in the receiver pecking order. Coates gets a suddenly pathetic Jets pass defense on Sunday. He’s a solid streaming option.
Availability: Owned in ~ 10% of leagues.
Forecast: Coates will put up over 70 yards receiving again this week against the Jets.

Eddie Royal, Bears
1 Week Plug & PlayGrab & StashRoyal caught seven passes for 111 yards and a touchdown on seven targets against the Lions. That’s not a normal stat line for Royal but he could be in line for an uptick in targets given the Bears current situation at receiver. Alshon Jeffery hasn’t looked healthy the last couple of weeks while dealing with a knee injury. Kevin White left Sunday’s game with an ankle injury. Royal has had hot stretches in the past and fallen off. Don’t go nuts here but Royal is worth a look in deeper leagues if White’s ankle is an issue.
Availability: Owned in ~ 8% of leagues.
Forecast: Royal is a starting option if White is out vs. the Colts.

Cole Beasley, Cowboys
1 Week Plug & PlayGrab & StashLet’s just assume Beasley is going to be in the column every week so we don’t have to write about him anymore. Still available in almost 60 percent of fantasy leagues, Beasley continues to get looks from Prescott. Beasley didn’t have a big game on Sunday (3/66) but he’s been targeted 29 times in four games. The Bengals do a good job of taking away an offenses top receiver and forcing quarterbacks to go to their secondary options. Even if Dez Bryant plays this week, expect Beasley to be heavily targeted on Sunday. Beasley is allergic to the end zone but he’s scored double-digit fantasy points in PPR formats in three of four games this year.
Availability: Owned in ~ 40% of leagues.
Forecast: Beasley is a WR3/4 this week in PPR formats, depending on Bryant’s status.

Michael Thomas, Saints
Grab & StashThomas makes the list for the second straight week. Willie Snead returned against the Chargers but Thomas was still a big part of the offense. He caught four passes for 44 yards and a touchdown on nine targets. Thomas has been targeted 20 times and scored twice in the last two games. Drew Brees spreads the ball around and Thomas still has to fight for targets with Snead and Brandin Cooks. However, the rookie is establishing himself in the offense. Thomas will have some big weeks ahead.
Availability: Owned in ~ 50% of leagues.
FAAB: $$
Forecast: Thomas is a WR4 on the rise.

On the Radar: Nelson Agholor (30%), Dontrelle Inman (1%), Jeremy Kerley (3%), Brian Quick (1%), Seth Roberts (1%), Terrance Williams (10%)

Tight Ends

Zach Ertz, Eagles
Rock StarErtz was dropped in a bunch of leagues after he suffered a rib injury. The Eagles are coming off their bye and Ertz is expected to return against the Lions. Detroit has given up six touchdown passes to opposing tight ends and allows the most fantasy points to the position. Ertz is a Top 5 fantasy tight end when healthy. He was targeted seven times in the first game by Wentz before his injury. Owners aren’t going to find a better tight end on the waiver wire if Ertz is available. He should be owned in all leagues.
Availability: Owned in ~ 60% of leagues.
FAAB: $$-$$$
Forecast: Ertz is a weekly TE1.

Zach Miller, Bears
1 Week Plug & PlayGrab & StashMiller has come on after a slow start to the year. He’s scored three times in the last two games. The thing is if you play in a competitive league, the pickings are starting to get slim at tight end on the waiver wire. Miller gets red zone looks and he can be used when the matchup is favorable. It’s favorable this week. Miller gets the Colts.
Availability: Owned in ~ 50% of leagues.
FAAB: $-$$
Forecast: Miller is a TE1 this week against the Colts.

Hunter Henry, Chargers
1 Week Plug & PlayGrab & StashHenry has put up two productive games while filling in for Antonio Gates. Against the Saints he caught four passes for 61 yards and a touchdown on seven targets. He’s been targeted 12 times in his two starts. Gates could be out again this week and the Raiders allow the 10th most points to tight ends. Henry will be a strong streaming option is Gates misses another game.
Availability: Owned in ~ 30% of leagues.
FAAB: $- $$
Forecast: Henry is a streaming option if Gates is out again.

Cameron Brate, Buccaneers
1 Week Plug & PlayGrab & StashWe’re mentioning Brate for the second straight week and it’s the same analysis. With Austin Seferian-Jenkins gone, Brate is dominating the tight end targets. The Buccaneers thought it would be a good idea to hire Mike Smith as their defensive coordinator, so they now have the worst defense in football. Jameis Winston is averaging 46 pass attempts through four games. Brate has been targeted 18 times in the last two games. He’ll continue to be a big part of the Buccaneers offense. Brate has a good matchup this week against a Panthers defense that ranks in the Top 10 at allowing fantasy points to tight ends. Give him a look.
Availability: Owned in ~ 8% of leagues.
Forecast: Brate is an emerging TE1.

On the Radar: Charles Clay (15%)


Caleb Sturgis, Eagles
1 Week Plug & PlayLike the rest of the Eagles team, fantasy owners have been slow to come around on Sturgis. He’s been a solid fantasy kicking option through three games, connecting on 7-of-8 field goal attempts. The Eagles are averaging over 30 points per game, so Sturgis is getting scoring opportunities in Philadelphia’s offense. He’s scored at least nine fantasy points in every game in most scoring systems. Sturgis should have another strong fantasy day against a Lions team that ranks just outside the Top 10 at allowing points to opposing kickers.
Availability: Owned in ~ 3% of leagues.
Forecast: Sturgis is a streaming option this week if you need a kicker.

On the Radar: Matt Bryant (20%)

Defense/Specials Teams

Buffalo Bills
Rock StarThe Bills defense dominated for the second week in a row. After suffocating the Cardinals, Buffalo’s defense recorded sacks, recovered a fumble and shut out the Patriots at home for the first time since 1993. The Bills defense has played three good games and one bad one so far this season. They get the Rams, 49ers and Dolphins coming up. Rex Ryan’s unit is one of the top fantasy defenses again.
Availability: Owned in ~ 30% of leagues.
FAAB: $-$$
Forecast: The Bills are a top fantasy defense over the next month.

Los Angeles Rams
Rock StarThe Rams are the surprise of the NFL at 3-1 and their defense is a big reason why. LA’s defense put on a clinic against the Cardinals, allowing 13 points, recording three sacks, three interceptions and recovering two fumbles. The Rams defense has been a strong fantasy start over the last three weeks and that’s not likely to change with the Bills and Lions on deck. One other note, the Rams get a Seahawks team they traditionally play well against in Week 15 and the 49ers in Week 16 during fantasy playoffs.
Availability: Owned in ~ 30% of leagues.
FAAB: $-$$
Forecast: The Rams are a starting fantasy defense/top streaming option for the rest of the year.  

Philadelphia Eagles
Rock StarThe Eagles were only owned in 20 percent of leagues before its demolition of the Steelers. The Eagles defense allowed three points, registered four sacks, an interception and a fumble recovery against Pittsburgh but surprisingly it’s still available in over half of fantasy leagues coming out of the bye. The Eagles get the Lions, Redskins, Vikings and Cowboys in the next month. This defense is for real.
Availability: Owned in ~ 40% of leagues.
FAAB: $$
Forecast: The Eagles are a top fantasy defense.  

On the Radar: Steelers (20%)


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