The Week 5 fantasy waiver wire is going to be an interesting one in many leagues. Only a handful of players really stand out as worth a claim (T.J. Yeldon will be the top pickup if he’s available, with Mike Davis and Nyheim Hines also possibly worth a claim), but there are undoubtedly some nervous owners in need of tight end or defense help, be it because of injuries, bye weeks, or bad matchups. Most owners will try to wait until after 4-5 a.m. ET on Wednesday when waivers clear in the majority of Yahoo and ESPN fantasy leagues, hoping to snag someone as a free agent add instead of losing waiver position, but if you’re one of the owners who just lost Tyler Eifert or O.J. Howard (and possibly Rob Gronkowski and Travis Kelce for this week), well, drastic times can call for drastic measures.
And it’s not as if it’s only those four TEs who might be out this week. We all know Delanie Walker, Greg Olsen, and Evan Engram — three of our preseason top-eight TEs — are on the shelf, and both Trey Burton and Howard’s replacement, Cameron Brate, are on bye. It’s very possible Gronk and Kelce will play this week, especially with Kelce walking off the field under his own power late in Monday night’s game, but things are still rough in the tight end world. Heck, even Will Dissly got hurt last week. Dissly! That’s why we beefed up the streamer suggestions in our full free agent list.
Fortunately, quite a few ho-hum TEs have favorable matchups in Week 5, including Ricky Seals-Jones (@ SF), Austin Seferian-Jenkins (vs. KC), Austin Hooper (@ PIT), Rhett Ellison (@ CAR), and Mike Gesicki (@ CIN). Tyler Kroft is also back in the mix as a potential every-week play like he was last season when Eifert was out. No, you’re not going to feel good about starting any of them — and they’re not worth a waiver claim — but there’s a decent chance your opponent isn’t going to feel good about his or her TE either.
Top fantasy football waiver wire pickups for Week 5
Unless otherwise noted, only players owned in fewer than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues considered.
T.J. Yeldon, RB, Jaguars. With news that Leonard Fournette (hamstring) is expected to miss at least two games, Yeldon is a must-add in the 51 percent of Yahoo leagues where he’s available. He’s a safe starter in next week’s game against the Chiefs, and he follows up that matchup with games against the Cowboys and Texans, both of whom have limited yards per carry this year but not overall production for RBs. Yeldon is also an effective receiver, so he’s a legit RB2 for the foreseeable future.
MORE WEEK 5: Full waiver wire list
Mike Davis, RB, Seahawks. Davis was the surprise workhorse for the Seahawks last week against Arizona, but with Chris Carson (hip) expected to return in Week 5, Davis’s role is uncertain going forward. He was mostly a non-factor in Seattle’s first three games when Carson was healthy (16 touches, 103 total yards), so it’s possible that will again be the case. Of course, this is the Seattle backfield we’re talking about, so nobody knows anything. Davis could take over even if Carson is healthy, or Carson could be on IR by next week. At this point, Davis probably isn’t worth a waiver claim, but he should definitely be on a roster.
Nyheim Hines, RB, Colts. Indy’s running game is brutal, and it’s unlikely Marlon Mack can save it. Enter Hines, who racked up 67 yards on two TDs on nine catches (11 targets) last week. He’s now scored three touchdowns this season and received at least nine targets in two of four games. Consistency will be a worry, but Hines is definitely worth owning in PPR leagues as a potential flex.
Ronald Jones II, RB, Buccaneers. Jones saw his first regular season action in Week 4, and even though he failed to impress with only 29 yards on 10 carries, he still received three more carries than Peyton Barber, who’s averaged just 3.0 yards per carry on the season. Tampa is set to undergo some changes after their Week 5 bye, with Jameis Winston taking over under center. It’s possible Jones starts at running back, and despite Tampa’s running woes, he could have some long-term value.
Keke Coutee, WR, Texans. With Will Fuller (hamstring) exiting early in Week 2, Coutee flashed major upside, catching 11 of 15 targets for 109 yards. Fuller will likely be a game-time decision heading into Sunday night’s matchup against the Cowboys, so if nothing else, Coutee is worth having around as a high-upside WR handcuff.
Check out our full waiver list for additional pickups, including potential breakout receivers, D/ST streamers, backup QBs to stash for bye weeks, and more.