Waiver Wire Watch: Week 5
Editor’s Note: We’re happy that 4for4 Contributor Pat Fitzmaurice (formerly of Pro Football Weekly) is back on the Waiver Wire Watch this year. He will continue to work in conjunction with Senior Editor John Paulsen to compile this list of the top pickups each week.
Here is a look at the top waiver wire pickups for Week 5. To be eligible for discussion, the player must be owned in 50% or fewer Yahoo leagues, though we’ll stretch the rules a bit for the RB position, which is usually very thin. We’ll also include suggested bid prices (with a $100 budget) for those leagues that use Free Agent Acquisition Budgets. Of course, player value depends on league characteristics and team needs. Players are listed by position in order of importance. For extremely shallow or extremely deep leagues, be sure to review our Rest-of-Season Rankings (updated every Tuesday) to get an idea of how to value players not on this list.
While sidelined with a hamstring injury, the ownership rate for the much-maligned Cutler dipped to 25% in Yahoo leagues. His return on Sunday was a reminder that Cutler can be a pretty decent fantasy contributor if he isn’t facing a strong defense and if there isn’t too much on the line. He completed 28-of-43 passes for 281 yards with two TDs and one INT in a win over the Raiders. Cutler was able to take advantage of the Raiders’ suspect pass defense, and he’ll be facing bad defenses the next two weeks in Kansas City and Detroit. Owners with a hole to fill at QB in either of the next two weeks might want to consider firing up Smokin’ Jay.
A matchup with the Bears might make Smith a popular choice among QB streamers this week. Smith has piled up yardage in his last two games, throwing for 290 yards in a Week 3 loss to the Packers and putting up 386 yards in a Week 4 loss to the Bengals. The problem is that Smith has thrown only one TD pass since Week 1. Smith has a good chance to end his TD drought against a Bears defense that’s allowed 10 TD passes in four games.
Bortles has completed 54.4% of his throws this season and is averaging 6.38 yards per attempt – rather pedestrian numbers. On the other hand, he’s posted a 5-to-1 TD-INT ratio over his last three games and has thrown for at least 242 yards in every game during that stretch. With solid matchups against Tampa Bay and Houston the next two weeks, Bortles is worth a look if you’re dealing with a QB bye issue.
Winston’s rookie season hasn’t been pretty to watch, but fantasy footballers are willing to do without aesthetics as long as the numbers are there. Winston has thrown seven interceptions in four games and is completing only 54.9% of his passes, but he’s averaging 241.3 yards and 1.5 TD passes per game. Two things you’re going to get out of a fantasy investment in Winston: (1) an easy schedule; (2) a lot of Tampa Bay deficits, which should lead to a lot of Winston passing attempts. With the Buccaneers trailing throughout a 37-23 loss to the Panthers on Sunday, Winston attempted 43 passes, completing 26 of them for 287 yards, two TDs and, um, four INTs. Winston draws a decent matchup against the Jaguars this week, then has three attractive matchups coming up after a Week 6 bye
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