By Alex Gregory
After a disastrous week for many, the waiver wire, like last week, will play a huge role in the future of your season. Key players like the all-world Odell Beckham Jr. and surprise star Charles Clay joined the likes of David Johnson, Dalvin Cook and Allen Robinson on the long-term injury list. Others, like Travis Kelce, Rob Gronkowski, Devante Parker and Bilal Powell need to be carefully monitored leading up to Sunday. This should be another highly active week and one that’s going to require checking-in on Sunday morning in some cases. Get your bids in.
Aaron Jones (RB, Packers) — Jones is a repeat from last week’s list, but if he’s still available he is an absolute must-add as he looked brilliant Sunday night against the Cowboys. With TY Montgomery battling a rib cage injury (and generally disappointing on the ground) and Jamaal Williams being a total non-factor, Jones could emerge as a serious league-changing player. He passes the stats test (19 rushes for 125 yards and a TD, plus a reception), eye test (explosive, succinct and physical), and common sense test (starting RB on a top-3 offense).
Jerick McKinnon (RB, Vikings) — McKinnon was terrific Monday night and looks in line to receive the bulk of the RB share for now. That said, Latavius Murray will likely see continued use in goal-line situations, the Vikings offense is looking like it could be a disaster moving forward and McKinnon has been fairly injury prone over the years. In other words, don’t expect career-best performances on a weekly basis.
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Evan Engram (TE, Giants) — After his total no show in Week 5, there’s a good chance the rookie TE is available in your league and considering the Giants healthy WRs consist of fourth option Roger Lewis at the moment, now’s the time to pounce on Engram. Engram has the size and speed to line up at receiver and he’ll probably essentially become one starting in Week 6. There’s simply very little left for Eli Manning to target. With players dropping like flies and bye weeks kicking into full gear, Engram is a top 10 fantasy TE through the remainder of the season and could eventually become a viable flex option if he starts getting more targets in the redzone with Brandon Marshall and Odell Beckham Jr. done for the year.
Sterling Shepard (WR, Giants) — Speaking of the battered Giants, Shepard himself is listed as day-to-day and may miss next week’s game. Regardless, he’s the only starting caliber WR left on the roster and should benefit more than anyone from the Giants’ rough weekend. He might be a better trade target than waiver add depending on your league.
Elijah McGuire (RB, Jets) — McGuire has had a nice couple of weeks and should see a significant workload in Week 6 against an up and down Patriots defense. He’s likely not a great long-term prospect for 2017 but if Bilal Powell and Matt Forte, as expected, do not play, McGuire would certainly be a suitable bye week replacement.
Alfred Morris (RB, Cowboys) — If you have Zeke Elliott on your team, congratulations for rolling the dice and winning out following the initial appeals processes. Reports have surfaced that a decision on Elliott’s fate could come this week and with all the huge injuries piling up, Morris has the potential to slide in as a top-15 or top-20 back if Elliott receives unfavorable legal news. With the Cowboys on a bye, now’s probably the time to roster Morris if you have room, especially if Elliott’s already in place. Darren McFadden could also get a look, but unless the Cowboys are strategically resting McFadden, all indications are that Morris will be the lead back in a run-heavy offense.
Ravens D/ST — Another juicy matchup awaits the Ravens, who will follow up their double-digit point day against the Carr-less Raiders with a home game against rookie QB Mitch Trubisky and the Bears. The Ravens have had their ups and downs this year, but Trubisky showed his youth Monday night against the Vikings and the Bears offense has only scored 21 total points on the road against underwhelming Packers and Buccaneers defenses.
Washington D/ST — Washington’s defense has held up fairly well this year, tallying 12 sacks and seven turnovers in four games, and, more importantly, takes on the error-prone Brian Hoyer and an offense that seems to be trending toward not giving their best player (Carlos Hyde) the ball. If you take away their 39-point aberration of a performance against the Rams in Week 3, the 49ers have average 12.5 points a game and Brian Hoyer has as many TDs (4) as interceptions so far.
Meh Option Others Are High On
JuJu Smith-Schuster (WR, Pittsburgh) — Smith-Schuster came into the season looking like the 4th receiver and 6th option in an offense expected to be explosive without him. Instead, Pittsburgh’s offense has struggled and Smith-Schuster has been one of the few bright spots. Over the past two weeks, Smith-Schuster has gone for 7 catches on 10 targets for 105 yards. However, Martavis Bryant, who was out snapped by Smith-Schuster in Week 5, was recovering from an illness and the Steelers have always had trouble finding regular productivity behind Antonio Brown and LeVeon Bell, outside of boom or bust games from Bryant. Smith-Schuster might be worth a shot but expectations should be tempered with a tough upcoming schedule.