With five weeks down, fantasy football managers will have another wrench thrown into the plans as bye weeks begin in Week 6. This is just another reason why the waiver wire is so vital throughout the season.
Teams on a bye in Week 6 include the Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, Tennessee Titans, and Las Vegas Raiders.
We’ll be taking a look at the top available players rostered in ESPN leagues, using the 75% rostered mark as the threshold. If you have any questions about prioritizing a certain player over another, don’t be afraid to hit me up on Twitter (@KevinHickey11). Your questions, comments, and roasts are always welcome!
Fantasy football waiver wire recommendations refer to 12-team league formats, unless specifically stated.
Check back for any updates throughout Monday and Tuesday as more injury news becomes available.
Priority Free Agents
1. RB Ken Walker III, Seattle Seahawks
Walker will get to show off why the Seahawks selected him in the second round of the 2022 NFL draft as starter Rashaad Penny could miss the rest of the season with a fractured tibia. Walker put that burst on display with a 69-yard touchdown run against the New Orleans Saints and has the potential to be a true workhorse back. It’s likely he sees mostly early-down work, though, so we shouldn’t expect CMC-like usage. But he’s now the starting running back on a team that wants to run the ball and is putting up points. Combine that with his draft capital, and it’s easy to see why Walker is the top add this week. He’s the kind of waiver-wire target to blow a whole lot of FAAB on as a potential league-winner.
2. RB Eno Benjamin, Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals backfield took some hits in Week 5 as both James Conner (ribs) and Darrel Williams (knee) exited the game early due to injuries. Should they miss a game, Benjamin would be in a prime spot for fantasy production. Benjamin was in the game more than Williams even when all three were healthy. When Conner exited, Benjamin took over as the starter and wound up leading the backfield in snaps (37) and routes run (25), according to Pro Football Focus. The Cardinals take on the Seattle Seahawks in Week 6, which makes Benjamin an immediate starting option if Conner and Williams are out. Considering the risk that they both play, we should be aggressive but smart about how much FAAB to use. But position scarcity and bye weeks could make Benjamin an RB2 if he’s the starter.
3. RB Raheem Mostert, Miami Dolphins
Sifting through the Miami backfield may be difficult, but we could be seeing some trends take place. Mostert hasn’t had the best production this season, but he has had favorable usage. Those two combined in Week 5 when Mostert took 18 carries for 113 rushing yards and a touchdown, while adding one reception on three targets for nine yards. He would’ve had another touchdown had he not stepped out at the 1-yard line. Mostert saw a season-high 78% running back rush share and 10% target share, while leading the backfield in snaps (46) and routes run (20). Mostert is the clear starting running back in this backfield and is start worthy moving forward.
3. WR Alec Pierce, Indianapolis Colts
Despite the poor effort from the Colts offense, the rookie wideout is emerging. He posted career-highs with eight receptions on nine targets for 81 yards against the Denver Broncos in Week 5, all of which led the team in the primetime win. Pierce is on the verge of a true breakout but is still third on depth chart behind Parris Campbell in both snaps and routes run. That won’t last long, though, and Pierce should be rostered so managers are ready for the takeover.
4. WR Romeo Doubs, Green Bay Packers:
The rookie wide receiver continues to be one of Aaron Rodgers’ most trusted targets. Though his 13% target share was his lowest since Week 2, Doubs played the second-most snaps and ran just three fewer routes than Allen Lazard in Week 5, per Pro Football Focus, so the usage is certainly there. Doubs should still be rostered and is even an upside flex play with two juicy matchups coming up.
5. RB Brian Robinson Jr., Washington Commanders
The rookie continued his fantastic story by making his season debut just a month after being shot in the leg as the victim of an attempted carjacking. Robinson will be eased into a role, but he’s already eating into early-down work. Though he only had nine carries in his debut, that led the team and was good for a 75% running back rush share. He played just two fewer snaps than Antonio Gibson and eight fewer than J.D. McKissic. A third-round pick from the 2022 NFL draft, Robinson could take over Gibson’s role as soon as Week 6, and even though this backfield is pretty messy, it’s the rookie who has the most upside.
6. TE David Njoku, Cleveland Browns
This will be the final week Njoku is featured in this article. He needs to be picked up and started every week. Njoku posted a 19% target share in Week 5, and he hasn’t posted a target share below that mark since Week 1. He’s incredibly involved in the offense, and the production is following. He caught all six of his targets for 88 yards against the Los Angeles Chargers. Njoku now has at least five receptions and 73 yards in each of his last three games. In a brutal tight end landscape, Njoku has emerged as a reliable starter.
7. WR Michael Gallup, Dallas Cowboys
Though Cooper Rush is keeping the Cowboys offense afloat as Dak Prescott works his way back from a thumb injury, it does limit the upside for the pass-catchers. With that said, Gallup should not be on any waiver wires. Despite playing the third-most snaps among Cowboys wide receivers in Week 5, Gallup ran the second-most routes, which were just two fewer than the leader in CeeDee Lamb. Gallup also posted a 31% target share on five targets, both of which also were the second-highest behind Lamb. The eventual return of Prescott and Gallup’s increasing usage makes him an intriguing buy-low candidate.
WR Jakobi Meyers, New England Patriots
After missing two games due to a knee injury, Meyers came back in style by posting the second-most fantasy points of his career in a single game. Meyers held a team-high 38% target share along with seven receptions for 111 yards and a touchdown. The offense may limit his upside to score touchdowns, but Meyers has always been a target hog, and he’s posting a 32% per-game target share this season.
WR George Pickens, Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers were dominated on the road as rookie Kenny Pickett threw 54 times. That resulted in Pickens seeing eight targets and a 16% target share, the latter of which was his lowest share since Week 2. However, Pickens turned those targets into six receptions for 83 yards. The rookie is still running the third-most routes, but he’s not far behind Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool. This also was the third week in a row he’s posted at least seven targets in a game. The breakout is coming soon.
RB Tyler Allgeier, Atlanta Falcons
With Cordarrelle Patterson out at least three more games, Allgeier will continue to be the starter. Despite the uninspiring performance for fantasy, Allgeier was the clear lead back. He led the Falcons in snaps (39), routes run (19), red-zone carries (three), and a season-high 54% running back rush share. He didn’t see any Week 5 targets, which is discouraging, but the fact that he ran more than double the routes of any other back likely makes his targetless game an outlier. The schedule coming up isn’t enticing at all, but the fifth-round pick out of BYU should be rostered because of his usage and with bye weeks starting up.
RB Mike Boone, Denver Broncos
As Javonte Williams is out for the season, it was Boone and Melvin Gordon sharing the workload in Week 5. Though Gordon was the clear lead back, Boone had a role as a pass-catcher. He ran just two fewer routes than Gordon and put together 87 total yards. Boone isn’t much more than a desperation flex play, but he holds enough value in PPR formats to be rostered.
RB Rachaad White, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Though Leonard Fournette had an explosive week, there was more encouraging usage for the rookie running back in Week 5. White is the clear backup to Fournette, seeing a season-high nine opportunities (targets plus carries) while running just four fewer routes than the starter. If anything, White is an extremely high-valued handcuff in case something happens to Fournette.
RB Gus Edwards, Baltimore Ravens
Edwards was designated to return from the PUP list before the Week 5 game, which means he should be activated before Oct. 26, after the team opened the 21-day practice window. Edwards should be stashed because the Ravens will continue to use a committee approach in the backfield, so he can provide flex-worthy production on the cheap.
RB J.D. McKissic, Washington Commanders
McKissic isn’t an exciting fantasy asset to roster, but he shouldn’t be ignored. With bye weeks and injuries piling up, he’s the type of fill-in option managers can use. McKissic led all Commanders running backs in snaps (26), routes run (22), and target share (19%). He hasn’t posted below a 10% target share since Week 1. However volatile, the Commanders offense can move the ball, and McKissic’s role as the third-down/two-minute back is safe while Antonio Gibson and Brian Robinson Jr. compete for early-down work.
WR Rondale Moore, Arizona Cardinals
The former second-round pick put up some intriguing usage in his second game of the season in Week 5. Moore posted a 21% target share en route to seven receptions for 68 yards. According to Pro Football Focus, he ran just three fewer routes than Marquise Brown. Moore is always a risky play, but he has plenty of upside as a flex option against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 6.
Streamers of the Week
QB Geno Smith, Seattle Seahawks vs. Arizona Cardinals
Smith is becoming an extremely reliable play for fantasy managers. He has posted weekly finishes of QB7, QB2, and QB3 over the last three weeks, respectively. The Cardinals are allowing the eighth-most fantasy points per game (23.3) to quarterbacks and have allowed three QB1 finishes this season.
QB Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers at Atlanta Falcons
Jimmy GQ finds himself in a solid matchup against a Falcons defense that’s allowed a QB1 finish in four of five weeks while currently allowing the 10th-most fantasy points per game (22.5) to quarterbacks.
TE Noah Fant, Seattle Seahawks vs. Arizona Cardinals
It’s rough out in the tight end landscape. Fant’s usage has been relatively underwhelming, but he draws a Cardinals defense allowing the second-most PPR points per game (19.5) to the position. Fant at least is running the most routes among Seahawks tight ends and just posted a 21% target share in Week 5. Will Dissly also qualifies as a potential streamer in deeper leagues.
TE Evan Engram, Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts
Engram’s production hasn’t matched his usage. He’s by far one of the most-used tight ends in the NFL from a routes-run perspective and just posted a 23% target share in Week 5. He faces a Colts defense that has allowed the sixth-most PPR points per game (15.8) and the second-most receiving touchdowns (four) to tight ends.
Jacksonville Jaguars D/ST at Indianapolis Colts
While we shouldn’t expect the Jaguars to shut out the Colts as they did in Week 2, there’s a chance Indy is without Jonathan Taylor again. The Colts offense is allowing opposing defenses to average the fourth-most fantasy points per game (6.4) and have allowed the most sacks (21) in the NFL. They’ve also yet to score more than 20 points in a game this season.
Carolina Panthers D/ST at Los Angeles Rams
It’s a pretty risky move in case this is the week the Rams figure things out. But Sean McVay’s offense is surprisingly averaging just 16.0 points per game while allowing the most fantasy points per game (8.4) to opposing defenses. Meanwhile, the Panthers have at least one sack in each game and one turnover in each of the last three games.
PK Will Lutz, New Orleans Saints vs. Cincinnati Bengals
It hasn’t been a typical year of success for Lutz, but the Bengals are allowing the second-most fantasy points per game (10.6) to the position. The Saints offense should see the return of quarterback Jameis Winston and wide receiver Michael Thomas in Week 6.
PK Dustin Hopkins, Los Angeles Chargers vs. Denver Broncos
Hopkins was out with a quad injury in Week 5, so that will need to be monitored. The Broncos have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points per game (8.8) to kickers this season. If Hopkins can’t play, Taylor Bertolet will replace him, and he was perfect on his three field-goal and three extra-point attempts in Week 5.