Week 5 fantasy football waiver wire review

The Bills front office and fantasy football owners have a lot in common heading into Week 5 #RBProblems.

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Opening Kickoff

With four kickers on BYES in Week 5 – Franks, Walsh, Folk, and Gano –  anybody want to guess Cairo Santos’ post-waiver wire ownership percentage? He of the seven field goal – 27 fantasy point performance against the Bengals is owned in 4.3 percent of fantasy leagues on FOXSports.com.

Considering Santos tallied only eight fantasy points in Week 2-3 combined, I’ll set the O/U at 33 percent with a decent matchup against the Bears.

Free agent running back Trent Richardson worked out for the Buffalo Bills on Tuesday; so did Boom Herron and Alfonso Smith. LeSean McCoy’s hamstring is torn and rookie Karlos Williams is going through concussion protocol following the Bills’ Week 4 loss to the Giants. So, for the moment, Anthony “Boobie” Dixon is the offense’s RB1. (Update: Bills signed Herron)

So, as hard as it is to believe, fantasy football owners may actually have a stronger waiver wire running back pool.

For context of just how frustrating projecting running back production has been through the first four weeks, here are the top five scorers from each (PPR):

Ronnie Hillman – Available 69 percent of leagues

C.J. Anderson owners may want to look away.

Through the final nine games of the 2014 season (including one postseason game), Anderson averaged 24 touches per game in John Fox/Adam Gase offense. Through the first four games of 2015, under Gary Kubiak / pistol offense, CJA has averaged 12 touches / game. Hillman has averaged 10, but only this week do we get word out of Broncos’ camp that both Anderson and Hillman will share the workload moving forward.

No kidding?

A quick history lesson reminds us that before Hillman’s 2014 foot injury, he was a productive fantasy running back. Through a five week stretch – first week of October through first week of November 2014 – Hillman averaged 20 touches and 97 yards per game with four touchdowns.

Duke Johnson – Available 72 percent of leagues

If you embrace the idea that the Cleveland Browns are a passion project, you’ll have no issue burning a waiver claim on the rookie running back.

Coming off his best game where he caught a team-high nine passes on a team-high 10 targets for a team-high 85 receiving yards with a score, Johnson becomes an immediate FLEX option in PPR leagues. Why? Well, Josh McCown actually helps move the chains for the Browns offense and looking at the other potential widely available free agent running backs, Johnson’s fantasy ceiling is among the highest based on the Browns’ desperate need for offensive production.

Note: Isaiah Crowell is averaging nearly four yards per rush this season and caught three passes of his own for 62 yards against the Chargers. So, don’t take this waiver wire target to mean Johnson supplanted Crowell on the depth chart.

Shane Vereen – Available 52 percent of leagues

The pass-catching running back should be owned in more than 60 percent of PPR leagues. I’m fully aware that after catching 12 passes in the first two games, Vereen only saw three targets against the Redskins and none in Week 4 against the Bills, but patience is your virtue with this roster add. Ben McAdoo’s offense will rely on a pass-catching running back more times than not. Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams don’t really fit that mold and is the reason why the Giants went out and signed Vereen. Two games is two games, but you don’t want to bury Vereen for the season based on that small of a sample size. Plus, Eli Manning will need to look for alternatives to Odell Beckham.

Chris Thompson – Available 98 percent of leagues

Second week in a row for Thompson on this list. Has 18 touches for 163 yards (9.0 YPT) with a touchdown over the past two games. If you owned Lance Dunbar, make the move for Thompson.

Best of the Rest: Charles Sims and Roy Helu

John Brown – Available in 48 percent of leagues

In this space last week, we focused on opportunity as a vehicle to prioritize waiver wire claims. Take a look at John Brown who has seen roughly seven targets per week from Carson Palmer. With Larry Fitzgerald’s hot start to the season, Michael Floyd and Brown will continue to see more work as the season plays out.

Allen Hurns – Available in 94 percent of leagues

Hurns has been “Steady Eddie” through the first four weeks with a breakout performance against the Colts. He averaged about three-four receptions on five targets for 65 yards average through the first three weeks. He saw a career-high 15 targets, caught a career-high 11 football from Blake Bortles for a career-high 116 yards against the Colts. He’s got a delicious matchup against the Buccaneers in Week 5.

Leonard Hankerson – Available in 94 percent of leagues

Pour one out for Roddy White. He did his job. Hankerson now steps up as the WR2 in Atlanta  with 15 receptions on 24 targets for 225 yards with two touchdowns over the last three games.

Best of the Rest: Kamar Aiken vs. CLE, Jamison Crowder vs. ATL, Jaelen Strong vs. IND

Owen Daniels – available in 42 percent of leagues and Virgil Green – available in 99 percent of leagues – face the Oakland Raiders in Week 5. The Raiders allow 18.7 fantasy points to opposing tight ends. Daniels sees more targets week-to-week, but Green in very deep leagues does have some value as he’s scored a touchdown this season.


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