Waiver Wire Watch: Week 6 Targets
Week 5 is in the books, and with that, we should have enough information to know what our teams are. Good owners will spend some time Monday and Tuesday analyzing their rosters as objectively as possible, looking for what's working and what isn’t. Ask yourself: Do you have enough depth? Maybe too much? Should you cut bait on a player who isn’t performing? How crowded are the standings? Do you need to do something drastic? Is it time to load up for the playoffs?
- If you are a front-runner and have good depth, consider trading some of it away to upgrade a starter.
- 1-4? Make a Hail Mary trade where you assume a heap of risky upside. Alternatively, stack as many players from one NFL team as you can on your roster, especially if that offense has an easy schedule coming up. If they take off, you can sneak in and get a shot in the playoffs.
- 2-3 or 3-2 and stuck in the middle of the pack? Look at your competition and decide if you have to improve your roster to rise above, or if all you need is variance or injury luck to swing your way.
There are myriad things you can do at this stage to give yourself a shot, so don’t be complacent. Make trade offers, be hyper-aggressive on waivers and put yourself in the best position to win games before it’s too late.
Speaking of the waiver wire, let’s get to the reason you came here in the first place! But first, some housekeeping…
Throughout this series, we will be using PPR scoring, a $100 FAAB budget and a 50% threshold for player ownership. The intro to Week 1’s edition of Waiver Wire Watch (WWW) goes into far more detail about the details. As always, John Paulsen will edit this piece and reorder/adjust the prices as necessary.
- Jameis Winston, 18% owned ($8)
- Blake Bortles, 44% owned ($5)
- Baker Mayfield, 37% owned ($3)
- Mitch Trubisky, 23% owned ($1)
Mitch Trubisky, Chicago Bears
There is a strong element of risk/reward with Troobs, as his Week 4 six-touchdown, 43.5-point explosion is an extreme outlier in his short time as an NFL starter. That Chicago is facing a Dolphins’ defense that has picked off seven passes while holding four of five opposing quarterbacks to 13.6 or fewer fantasy points makes the risk even more tangible. Of course, those four quarterbacks were Sam Darnold, Derek Carr, Andy Dalton and a combo of Blaine Gabbert and Marcus Mariota, which isn’t exactly a murderer’s row. Throw all this in a blender with a dash of the Bears coming off a bye, and you have a range of outcomes from 10 to 30 points. How high is your tolerance for risk?
Still Worth a Look
Jameis Winston is coming off a bye week and into a juicy matchup against a Falcons’ defense that has allowed 24 PPG to quarterbacks this season. If you remove Nick Foles’ 2.6-point Week 1 stinker, that number bumps up to 29.6. Looking at Vegas’ opening odds, we see an astronomical total of 57.5 for the upcoming game. The Buccos are a 3.5-point dog, giving them an implied total of 27. Winston is a locked-in QB1 with 30-point upside in what is sure to be a shootout.
Even in games where he plays poorly, Blake Bortles continues to produce for fantasy owners. With a 20.6-point Week 5, he is averaging a robust 19.9 PPG, placing him as a low-end QB1 in this crazy year of quarterback scoring. (That number would have made him the second highest scoring signal caller last year.) Start him with confidence in all but the worst of matchups.
Despite a solid starting debut Week 4, Baker Mayfield saw a seven percent dip in ownership last week. Another good, if not flawless, game against a strong Ravens’ defense should reverse that trend. This week, Baker gets a home game against the Chargers, whose pass defense has allowed an average of 284 pass yards, 2.2 touchdowns and 19.6 fantasy points.
Missed the Cut
Derek Carr’s (44% owned) ownership jumped eight percent after a surprisingly productive Week 4. That’s a mistake. There are at least five quarterbacks with lower ownership percentages I’d prefer.
I recommended Marcus Mariota (39% owned) last week based on the assumption he is fully healthy. What I forgot to account for is how bad he has been since the start of the 2017 season. Averaging under 14 PPG over his last 19 outings, one must wonder if he is ever going to be the guy we want him to be. No matter how you feel about Mariota, Tennessee faces Baltimore this week, so he is an easy avoid.
After putting up 19.3 PPG this year, Joe Flacco (30% owned) finally had a let-down game last week. I’m not holding that against him so much as I’m concerned about Baltimore’s matchup against the Titans. Their defense is good enough to have kept Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson from going-off and put the screws to Ryan Tannehill, Blake Bortles and Josh Allen in a serious way. Flacco is closer in stature to the latter group than the former.
Despite a tough matchup against the Panthers, Eli Manning (22% owned) posted 19+ fantasy points for the second time in three weeks on Sunday. There is some Week 6 streaming appeal against an Eagles team that allowed over 30 fantasy points to Ryan Fitzpatrick and Marcus Mariota Weeks 2 and 4 respectively. A closer look shows that despite facing high-end quarterbacks they’ve given up a paltry 12.3 fantasy PPG in their other three matchups (Atlanta, Indianapolis and Minnesota). Eli may be an option Week 7 in Atlanta, but I’d stay away until then.
Case Keenum (20% owned) piled up counting stats Sunday but wasn’t impressive in any other way. Denver may have to throw it a ton again next week against the Rams, but their defense is much better than what the Jets offered, helping to keep Keenum as a back-end streamer only.
Ryan Tannehill (15% owned) rewarded my effusive praise the first three weeks of the season with two straight awful games. As if that wasn't enough to make me shy away, the Dolphins face off against a rested, dominant Chicago Bears’ defense Week 6. I’d rather listen to audio of a Rex Ryan bowel movement than start Tannehill this week.