By Alex Gregory
Week 4 really unleashed the injury bug on some crucial fantasy football players for the meat of the season, and with bye weeks starting, it’s time to get creative. Now’s the time to start looking a week or two in advance to fill holes and pick on teams that give up a lot of points, like the Saints, Patriots and Titans.
As a quick aside, injuries are as much a part of the sport as talent, a litigious New York home office and baffling officiating. In other words, players who get injured a lot, tend to get injured a lot. I know; sounds dumb. My point being, this is all part of the equation when evaluating talent and, unfortunately, there’s no such thing as freak Dalvin Cook injury. With that in mind, let’s try to fill some roster gaps.
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Key Week 5 Waiver Wire Pickups
Thomas Rawls (RB, Seahawks) — This is an educated guess, based on recent history, that Rawls has the talent to overtake Eddie Lacy. Pete Carroll also noted Monday morning that the Seahawks were fortunate to have him. Of course, this is also the same Carroll who made Rawls a healthy scratch, so if you’ve got room on your roster, Eddie Lacy might be worth a flyer, as the Seahawks have always favored a workhouse back and Lacy might just end up being that guy. Keep in mind, Christine Michael was a featured player for a chunk of the season before being totally out of a job. I lean 60/40 in favor of Rawls, but would be okay with wasting a roster spot on Lacy even if there’s a chance he becomes a featured back.
Latavius Murray (RB, Vikings) — Latavius Murray, when healthy, has been a productive rusher over the last several years when given an opportunity. As long as your expectations aren’t too high, Murray could prove to be a valuable bye week replacement or stretch flex option for those in need. Much of his value depends on how productive the offense (and team) is as a whole, seeing as his ability to punch in TDs and grind out 3-4 yards at a time in the fourth quarter are his strongest traits. I.e., you’re marrying yourself to a pretty mediocre QB with either Keenum or Bradford but a starting RB still offers promise, no matter the team.
Wayne Gallman (RB, Giants) — Why not, right? While Gallman certainly didn’t blow the doors off, he looked downright competent on Sunday, which is more than can be said of the disappointing Paul Perkins and underwhelming Orleans Darkwa. 11 rushes for 42 yards and 2 catches for 8 yards and a TD is just enough to make me interested in investing in anyone other than Paul Perkins. I’m not expecting the Giants to be this bad all year and you may as well buy low on the offense and hope for the best. Someone’s going to need to carry the ball for this team and Gallman looks like he could be the guy.
Geronimo Allison (WR, Packers) — Rarely does a 4th WR add anything to your team, but Jerome Allison not only looks like a productive and talented player, but he also happens to play alongside a group of injury-prone colleagues at WR and an all-world, generational talent at QB. Allison could at any given week be a 2nd or 3rd WR with the Packers and immediately offers WR2 upside if any of the Cobb, Nelson, Adams triumvirate misses time.
Aaron Jones (RB, Packers) — Jones is an absolute must-own for any Ty Montgomery owners this week and should be strongly considered for anyone in need of RBs the next few weeks. Montgomery thinks he’ll be playing this week, but an intact rib cage seems useful for an NFL RB, so don’t be surprised if he sits for a week or two while his fractured ribs (multiple) heal before taking the field again.
Jaron Brown (WR, Cardinals) — Brown has averaged nearly 10 targets a game the past three weeks and the Eagles have struggled mightily on the outside. This is a nice bye-week filler and he has the potential to carve out a larger role moving forward with his size and reliability.
Players (TEs) I Just Can’t Quit
Martellus Bennett (TE, Packers)/Evan Engram (TE, Giants) — I still expect bigger things to come from Bennett and Aaron Rodgers said as much Tuesday morning. Eventually he’s going to get in the endzone and break through for a long gain to make his totals much more palatable. There’s simply too much size and talent for him not to be a factor and with an underwhelming and injured TE class. Same goes with Engram, who’s seen his production and attention rise every week. I’d still prefer either of them over someone like Austin Hooper or Tyler Kroft.
Popular Meh Picks
Alvin Kamara (RB, Saints) — Kamara might be worthwhile when Peterson is mercifully sent to pasture, but until then, you’re not likely to find him catching 10 balls a game with Ingram still heavily involved in the passing game and his carries, especially on the goal line just aren’t there.
Ravens/Eagles/Steelers (D/ST) — I’m all in on these three teams this week. An already struggling and Carr-less Raiders offense against Baltimore is certainly an option. A gaffe-prone Cardinals offense against the Eagles, who should get Fletcher Cox back, makes sense. The Steelers are usually much better on offense at home, which should lead to more Bortles passing, which should lead to bad things anywhere outside of the United Kingdom. All three are worth a shot and health closer to Sunday might dictate your final answer.
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