2020 NFL Fantasy Football Week 5 Waiver Wire Pickups

NFL Week 5 Fantasy Football BYE WEEK, waiver wire and injury help is here!

The following teams have BYE WEEKS in week 5 (this week):
Detroit Lions
Green Bay Packers

RUNNING BACKS (RB): Josh Kelley, Damien Harris, D’Ernest Johnson, Phillip Lindsay, JD McKissic, Devonta Freeman, Ke’shawn Vaughn

WIDE RECEIVERS (WR): Tim Patrick, Tee Higgins,  Golden Tate, Scotty Miller, Cole Beasley, Isaiah Ford, Laviska Shenault, Brandon Aiyuk

TIGHT ENDS (TE): Dalton Schultz, Mo Alie-Cox, Robert Tonyan

QUARTERBACKS (QB): Justin Herbert, Dwayne Haskins, Gardner Minshew, Teddy Bridgewater

DEFENSE / SPECIAL TEAMS (D/ST): Kansas City Chiefs, Arizona Cardinals, Dallas Cowboys, 
RUNNING BACKS (RB)

Josh Kelley, RB, Los Angeles Chargers (currently owned in 56.2% of all ESPN leagues):
Kelley has been a bit of a did over the last couple of weeks since climbing the depth chart and taking 23 carries in week 2.  He’ll be back in the spotlight now with Austin Ekeler now hobbled by a knee and hamstring injury and a 4-6 week timetable for return.  During that time he’ll face the Jets, Jags, and Dolphins who have all struggled against good backs.  Grab him if he’s available.  Justin Jackson should get an increased workload as well, but Kelley figures to be the lead back while Ekeler is out.  For more about Josh Kelley’s college career, check out our Running Back Rookies and Redshirts entry here.

Damien Harris, RB, New England Patriots (currently owned in 15.4% of all ESPN leagues):
Harris was activated from Injured Reserve and Michel was added.  Harris supposedly takes over as the Patriots’ lead back for the foreseeable future while Michel rehabs his quad and Cam recovers from Covid.  This means most of the Patriots carries are now vacated and Harris has a big chance to make a fantasy impact.  He carried the ball 17 times for an even 100 yards.  He’ll face a Denver defense that’s struggled against good backs, and then a bye week in week 6. He’ll have the 49ers, Bills, and Jets after the bye, and is worth picking up as long as Michel and Cam are sidelined, so he could be a fantasy contributor week 5 and beyond.

D’Ernest Johnson, RB, Cleveland Browns (currently owned in 0% of all ESPN leagues):
Nick Chubb left Sunday’s contest against the Cowboys with a sprained MCL.  He was placed on IR and is expected to be out for roughly 6 weeks.  Although Kareem Hunt contributed 11 carries for 71 yards and a pair of scores, it was D’Ernest Johnson that led all Browns running backs with 95 yards on just 13 carries and over 7 yards per carry!  The 5’10”, 208lb back out of South Florida is a physical downhill runner who can power through contact.  Now in his second year, he’ll come in to occasionally spell Kareem Hunt and he actually had 2 more carries than hunt on Sunday.  Unfortunately Johnson’s performance may have been helped by a Cowboys defensive unit that has surrendered 130 yards and a touchdown per game to opposing running backs.  He could find it more challenging to run against the Colts and Steelers who have arguably the two best defenses in the league.  

Phillip Lindsay, RB, Denver Broncos (currently owned in 61% of all ESPN leagues):
Phillip Lindsay is in this week’s column because some impatient owners may have dropped him.  The loss of Sutton, Hamler, and Fant either for the season or for a few weeks mean the Broncos will be looking for playmakers to just catch the ball.  They’ll also need to move the ball downfield quickly against teams with high flying offenses like the Chiefs and Falcons.  Denver’s schedule isn’t particularly friendly, but the absence of some of Denver’s playmakers mean Lindsay will get touches.  

JD McKissic, RB, Washington Football Team (currently owned in 6.4% of all ESPN leagues):
McKissic has been quiet since arriving in Washington, but it looks like he’s found a role catching passes out of the backfield from his young quarterback.  Steven Sims Jr and Logan Thomas have either been hurt or struggled to get on the same page as Haskins and it looks like McKissic is getting some of their targets.  He hauled in 7 of his 8 targets for 40 yards and could have a similar change of pace and pass catching role to what he had in Detroit.  He’s worth adding in ppr formats.  

Devonta Freeman, RB, New York Giants (currently owned in 55.7% of all ESPN leagues): 
Freeman has struggled since he signed with the Giants after they lost Saquon for the year.  However, he was forced to play the stout fronts of the 49ers and Rams.  His schedule eases up a bit moving forward, with two matchups against Washington who are surrendering nearly 100 yards and a touchdown to opposing backfields, and the Eagles who are giving up nearly 80 yards and a touchdown.  The key thing to watch is the availability of Fletcher Cox, who looks like he may have suffered a knee injury in last week’s win against the 49ers.  The Giants also have the Bengals and Seahawks after their week 11 bye, which could help fantasy owners into the playoffs.  Freeman could start making a fantasy difference against a Cowboys defense that’s giving up an average of 130 yards and a touchdown on the ground to opposing running backs.  

Ke’shawn Vaughn, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (currently owned in 5.3% of all ESPN leagues):
Vaughn finally saw significant time on the field with Fournette and Shady both injured last week.  He carried the ball 3 times for just 4 yards, but he contributed in the passing game by catching hauling in 2 passes for 22 yards and one of Brady’s five touchdown passes.  If Fournette and Shady both remain sidelined, Vaughn could continue to get opportunities to showcase his talents.  He’s been hyped and is arguably a better back than Ronald Jones.  He’s a deep league add but owners should only start him after he posts significant stats.  For more about Ke’shawn Vaughn’s college career, check out our Running Back Rookies and Redshirts entry here.

WIDE RECEIVERS (WR)

Tim Patrick, WR, Denver Broncos (currently owned in 0.5% of all ESPN leagues):
Perhaps one of the biggest surprises in week 4 was the reemergence of wide receiver Tim Patrick.  Courtland Sutton is out for the year, and KJ Hamler and Noah Fant left the game with hamstring and ankle injuries, respectively.  The Broncos needed someone else to step up and Tim Patrick answered the call.  He had just 6 catches for 53 yards in weeks 1 and 2, but he exploded for 10 catches, 156 yards and a pair of touchdowns in his last 2 games.  Denver is missing key pieces on defense which means Patrick’s QB will need to toss it to keep up.  He has some decent matchups coming up against the Dolphins, Chiefs, Falcons and Raiders with a week 8 bye mixed in, but his production is tied to the health of Fant, Hamler, and possibly change of pace back Phillip Lindsay.

Tee Higgins, WR, Cincinnati Bengals (currently owned in 25.7% of all ESPN leagues):
Higgins remained a big part of the Bengals passing attack against an inept Jaguars coverage unit.  This game was more like an offensive scrimmage for the rookie wideout as he contributed 4 catches for 77 yards to help his QB Joe Burrow to his first NFL win.  He’s caught 9 passes for 117 yards and 2 scores in his last 2 games and he’s arguably the most talented of the Bengals’ receiving options.  He’ll face a couple of tough coverage units in the next couple of weeks in the Ravens and Colts.  Things ease up a bit after that with matchups against the Browns and Titans follows by a bye week.  He’s worth rostering in all formats, especially in keeper and dynasty leagues.  For more about Tee Higgins’ college career, check our Rookies and Redshirts Wide Receivers entry here.

Golden Tate, WR, New York Giants (currently owned in 51.6% of all ESPN leagues):
With Sterling Shepard and Saquon Barkley lost for the year, the Giants will really need Daniel Jones and the passing game to step up if they want to have any hope of competing.  Golden Tate is part of that equation and he’s been targeted an average of 6 times in the last 3 games.  As the possession receiver and Big Blue’s dink and dunk passing game, Tate has snagged 14 of his 18 targets for just 103 yards this year, which has given him little value in anything other than deep ppr leagues.  That could change though with some soft divisional matchups.  They have the Eagles and Washington twice, and the coverage units of the Cowboys, Bengals, and Seahawks who have all struggled to either generate pressure, cover receivers, or both.  Tate might be under the radar now, but he could help lead fantasy managers to the playoffs in the coming weeks if he can stay healthy.

Scotty Miller, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (currently owned in 11.3% of all ESPN leagues):
Miller’s fantasy production has been dependent on the availability of Chris Godwin.  With Godwin out, OJ Howard lost for the year, and even Shady McCoy hobbled with an ankle injury, Miller could continue to see his role increase as Tom Brady’s new slot receiver.  He got in the endzone for the first time this season as Beady finally hit his stride throwing 5 touchdowns to 5 different receiving options including Miller.  He’ll face a tough Bears defense this week which could mean that Brady could be forced to check down to Miller early an often.  An increase in Miller’s targets gives him a solid PPR floor, but his role as a possession receiver might cap his upside.  Nevertheless, he’s worth adding in most formats.

Cole Beasley, WR, Buffalo Bills (currently owned in 20.2% of all ESPN leagues): 
Cole Beasley falls into the category of possession receivers as well.  While he rarely finds paydirt, it’s a pretty good bet that he’ll get a good amount of targets or find the endzone.  He averaged 5 catches a game through the first 3 games, and he finally got into the endzone last week against the Raiders.  Although Josh Allen is known for heaving it downfield, he will check it down to Beasley since defenses are stretched trying to defend the deep threat and Beasley consistently knows how to find holes in coverage and get open.  Beasley should be rostered in PPR formats.  

Isaiah Ford, WR, Miami Dolphins (currently owned in 0.5% of all ESPN leagues):
Ford was targeted a monstrous 10 times in last week’s matchup against the Seahawks, yet he’s available in virtually all ESPN leagues.  He only converted 4 of those targets into 48 yards, but such a large target share cannot go ignored.  He’s been targeted 26 times through the first 4 games, but 19 of those targets came from 2 games.  The production hasn’t followed his increase in workload either.  Nevertheless, he’s worth rostering in deep leagues and keeping an eye on in all formats.  It looks like he’s taken over the WR2 role from Preston Williams and could thrive especially in the back half of the season when his schedule includes matchups with the Cardinals, Jets, and Bengals.  Even this week’s schedule against an injured 49ers team looks decent.  Still, prospective owners should be cautious about getting Ford into the lineup until his production matches his workload. 

Laviska Shenault, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars (currently owned in 27.3% of all ESPN leagues):
Shenault has shown a rapport with Gardner Minshew early on and should continue to be involved with Jacksonville’s short to intermediate game.  His explosive playmaking ability means he can use his size and speed to rack up yards after the catch. The Jaguars like to move him around the field and get the ball in his hands any way they can.  He hasn’t topped more than 6 targets in any of his games, but he consistently garners 4-6 targets per game.  He caught 5 of his 6 targets for 86 yards against a porous Bengals coverage unit and has some decent matchups coming up against the Texans twice and the Lions. 

Brandon Aiyuk, WR, San Francisco 49ers (currently owned in 26.1% of all ESPN leagues):
The 49ers will do everything they can to get the ball in their explosive rookie’s hands, whether it’s running him on sweeps, checking it down, or heaving it deep.  He’s scored touchdowns two weeks in a row now and his latest endeavor into the endzone involved hurdling over an Eagle on a play worthy of ESPN’s top 10. The return of George Kittle and Deebo Samuel could both help and hurt Aiyuk because while it means defenders are zeroing in on stopping the other 2, it means less targets for him.  Nevertheless, Kyle Shanahan’s play calling is creative enough to use Aiyuk’s strengths and he’ll definitely have a role in the 49ers offense moving forward, especially if their defense struggles and Jimmy G needs to push the ball downfield to keep up with opposing offenses.  For more about Brandon Aiyuk’s college career, check out our Wide Receivers Rookies and Redshirts entry here.

TIGHT ENDS (TE): 

Dalton Schultz, TE, Dallas Cowboys (currently owned in 33.7% of all ESPN leagues):
As long as Dallas’ defense continues to struggle, they’ll look for more and more playmakers to catch the ball.  The Cowboys will probably continue to fall behind early which means they’ll have more targets to spread around.  Schultz has been targeted an average of 8 times a game in his last 3 games.  He’s hauled in 17 of his 24 targets for 208 yards and 2 touchdowns during that time.  He’ll have the Giants, Cardinals, Washington, and Eagles before the Steelers and a bye week.  After the bye week, he’ll have the Vikings, Washington, Ravens, Bengals, 49ers, and Eagles to close out the fantasy year.  He has one of the easiest schedules down the stretch and should continue to garner plenty of targets if Dak needs to keep throwing it to keep up with his opponents.  He should be added in all formats.

Mo Alie-Cox, TE, Indianapolis Colts (currently owned in 21.7% of all ESPN leagues):
Mo Alie-Cox’s fantasy value is currently very, very touchdown-dependent.  He’s scored touchdowns in 2 games in a row now, but he’s caught just 4 passes for 63 yards during that time.  The Colts are lacking playmakers after losing Michael Pittman and Parris Campbell for the year and the Colts seem to be keeping Doyle in to block.  He’ll have the Browns, Bengals, and Lions with a bye week mixed in for the next 4 weeks.  

Robert Tonyan, TE, Green Bay Packers (currently owned in 7.9% of all ESPN leagues):
***Please Note: the Green Bay Packers have a BYE WEEK this week, week 5***
The saying goes “one is an anomaly, two is a coincidence, three is a trend.”  Well, last week Robert Tonyan hauled in 3 touchdown passes in his third game in a row with at least one touchdown.  Granted, these touchdowns were scored while Davante Adams  was sidelined so it remains to be seen what Tonyan will do after Adams returns.  However, it looks like he’s the playmaker who has stepped up this year after the Packers lost Lazard for the season with a core injury.  He’s on the wires this week, but he’s worth adding in deeper formats where managers can afford to stash a player.  He could end the year as a top 5 tight end if he continues his current pace.

QUARTERBACKS (QB): 

Justin Herbert, QB, Los Angeles Chargers (currently owned in 11.7% of all ESPN leagues):
Herbert has the potential to become a real fantasy asset.  He’s averaged over 300 yards per game, he has at least 2 touchdowns in 2 of those 3 contests, and he threw 3 touchdowns last week against plenty of pressure from the Buccaneers.  Sure he’s had a pick in in each of those contests as well, but he’s still getting on the same page as his receivers and he has plenty of capable targets to throw to.  He’ll face a tough Saints defense this week, but he’ll try to build on his success in some friendly matchups against the Jets, Dolphins, Jaguars before another tough divisional matchup followed by a bye week.  

Gardner Minshew, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars (currently owned in 46.1% of all ESPN leagues):
Minshew Mania got back on track this week thanks to his top weapon, DJ Chark, getting back on the field.  Chark’s return helped Minshew post 351 yards for two touchdowns and a pick against a soft Cincinnati secondary.  He has some nice matchups coming up including two games against the Texans, a porous Lions secondary, a conference showdown with the Chargers and a bye week mixed into the next 5 weeks.  He should already be owned in all 2QB leagues, but managers could grab him, stream him, and use him as potential trade bait before his schedule gets tough down the stretch. 

Dwayne Haskins, QB, Washington Redskins (currently owned in 2.7% of all ESPN leagues):
Haskins is available in virtually all ESPN leagues.  He topped 300 passing yards for the first time last week against a tough Ravens defense and should continue to improve as his coaches continue to learn how to use him and the weapons around him.  After a potentially tough matchup against the Rams this week, he’ll have some very nice matchups including 2 against the Giants, 2 against the Cowboys, the Lions and the Bengals with a bye in week 8.  He’s a potential starter and a viable streaming option at the very least for those in 2QB leagues or decided to take a flier due to the depth at the position.

STREAMING OPTION

Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Carolina Panthers (currently owned in 9.8% of all ESPN leagues): 
Teddy B isn’t the sexiest NFL QB pick, but he is a viable fantasy starter.  He posted 276 and 2 scores through the air and used his feet to add 32 more and another touchdown against an average Arizona pass defense.  The Panthers have a good wideout tandem with Robby Anderson and DJ Moore and they face the Falcons who have arguably the worst coverage unit in the league, making Bridgewater a viable fantasy candidate and streaming starter this week.  

DEFENSE / SPECIAL TEAMS (D/ST): 

Kansas City Chiefs (currently owned in 28.6% of all ESPN leagues):
Word of caution here: don’t be fooled by the Chiefs’ defensive performance last week on Monday Night Football.  The were playing backups Brian Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham who are both completely different players than Cam Newton.  With that said, not even Josh McDaniels and the 5 different offenses that the Patriots run could outsmart an underrated defense led by Frank Clark and Tyrann Mathieu.  They managed to get pressure on the Patriots QB’s, did a decent job of keeping the Pats ground game in check, and they could have a decent schedule ahead of them that includes the Broncos, Jets, Panthers, and others.  Buyer beware: they’ve averaged just 1 turnover a game up until Monday night, and they just scored their first defensive touchdown of the season last week.

STREAMING OPTIONS

Arizona Cardinals (currently owned in 42.3% of all ESPN leagues):
Chandler Jones, Budda Baker, and Patrick Peterson lead a Cardinals unit that takes on a struggling Jets offense.  To date, the Jets have been in the bottom 5 in passing yards and scoring, and they’re bottom third in rushing.  The Jets inability to score makes the Cardinals defense a decent streaming option this week. 

Dallas Cowboys (currently owned in 20% of all ESPN leagues):
This streaming option is only for the truly desperate.  The only thing that’s worse than the Cowboys defense might be the Giants’ offense.  With that said, the Giants might just be bad enough to reward fantasy managers willing to take a chance on a woeful Dallas defensive unit.

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