Just when it seemed like the injury wasteland couldn’t get much worse after last week, it did. We saw the entire Giants’ WR corps decimated, with Odell Beckham Jr.’s fractured ankle highlighting this week’s mayhem. Others among the wounded are Charles Clay, DeVante Parker, Bilal Powell, Orleans Darkwa (who we’ll get to in a moment), Carlos Hyde, and J.J. Watt also hurt his knee on Sunday night just to keep things rolling. If guys like Aaron Jones, Andre Ellington, Sterling Shepard (even though he’s also hurt) or Evan Engram are available, you should scoop them up first. Teams on a bye include Buffalo, Cincinnati, Dallas, and Seattle.
Below are my Week 6 waiver wire pickups, or free agents to consider adding to your fantasy football teams. I provide information on players that are owned in roughly 35% of Yahoo leagues or less, so that you can make an educated decision about who to add to your squad. Now let’s look around the league at many names who are worth mentioning as Week 6 approaches.
Quarterbacks - Week 6 Waiver Wire
Sam Bradford (QB, MIN) - 17% owned (1% FAAB)
As of Sunday night, it looks like Sammy Biscuits is ready to play on Monday night against the Bears to finish off Week 5. Of course, he’s missed the last three games with a knee injury after a dynamite Week 1 against the Saints and his offense looks a bit different now. He won’t be able to lean on the ground game as much (most likely) and will need to do more lifting himself, which should put him in a terrific spot in Week 6 at home against the Packers. Week 7 against the Ravens isn’t great, but then Week 8 against the Browns should make for a top-10 matchup.
Jacoby Brissett (QB, IND) - 12% owned (1% FAAB)
Brissett topped 300 yards for the first time this Sunday, picking apart the 49ers for 314 yards on just 22 completions (34 attempts) while adding 14 rushing yards and a ground TD to his box score. It looks like he and T.Y. Hilton have finally hit a groove, though facing the Browns and 49ers in two of their last three games certainly goes a long way. It’s clear that we’re playing matchups with Brissett, but that party should continue in Week 6 versus the Titans next Monday night.
Josh McCown (QB, NE) - 4% owned (1% FAAB)
Perhaps McCown is already scooped up in any of the deeper leagues where he’d be a feasible play against a vulnerable Patriots secondary in Week 6 thanks to his Week 5 spot against Cleveland, but he’s still worth mentioning. Just because Jameis Winston didn’t shred the Pats doesn’t take away from the fact that most QBs have thus far. McCown isn’t taking too many chances -- he just completed 23-of-30 passes for 194 yards and two scores (with a pick) against the Browns -- but he’ll also need to be more aggressive to keep up with New England, I’d imagine. He gets Miami and Atlanta in the weeks after the Pats as well, for those in 2QB leagues looking to ride plus matchups.
*Those looking ahead to Week 7 should note that Blake Bortles faces the Colts then, though his ground game and defense may completely dominate and leave him with 10 pass attempts. Anywhere that Jacksonville was dropped due to facing the Steelers, I'd throw a couple of bucks at them.
Running Backs - Week 6 Waiver Wire
Wayne Gallman (RB, NYG) - 39% owned (10% FAAB)
Gallman’s stock has been quite the roller coaster over the last 24 hours. At first, he looked like he was headed for starting duties in Week 5 before late reports that Orleans Darkwa was running with the first team before the game. This led to an early TD from Darkwa, who looked fantastic, as the two were supposed to split duties throughout the game. Of course, Darkwa -- who is just 3 percent owned and also should be picked up (8% FAAB) given the lack of a passing game for NYG right now -- went down with calf injury and left Gallman to finish up the game. The rookie would rip off 57 ground yards on 11 totes and add 25 receiving yards on five catches, and is once again my lean with Darkwa’s health questionable for a terrible Week 6 spot against the Broncos. I also like Gallman’s passing-game work more than Darkwa’s and Shane Vereen (14% owned, 3% FAAB in PPR) is more likely to line up at wide receiver at this point.
Jerick McKinnon (RB, MIN) - 24% owned (8% FAAB in PPR)
I want to assume that this ownership level means that 24 percent of Yahoo leagues are PPR formats, but we’ll mention him here just in case some of you missed the boat. With Dalvin Cook down for the season, McKinnon stands to be Minnesota’s passing-down back as Latavius Murray attempts to step into Cook’s between-the-tackles shoes. McK had been dealing with an ankle injury from Week 4 but should be ready to rumble on Monday night against the Bears. And if Murray isn’t fit to handle the bulk of the work (or just sucks) then McKinnon will likely get additional work rather than simply see Stevan Ridley step into the role. After all, Jerick handled the bellcow duties last year. There’s upside beyond the simple PPR transaction.
Matt Breida (RB, SF) - 6% owned (3% FAAB)
We need to be easy here because Breida’s “breakout” came against the Colts, rushing the ball 10 times for 49 yards and catching three-of-five targets for 22 additional yards. Carlos Hyde is dealing with a hip issue but, according to head coach Kyle Shanahan, this was more of a “hot-hand” approach for the team rather than a “protect Hyde” move. Hyde isn’t going to disappear and it’s much more likely these two cannibalize each other’s fantasy value, but Breida is much more than a handcuff right now. Consider him more on D’Onta Foreman’s level moving forward into dates with the NFC East (@WAS, DAL, @PHI).
Elijah McGuire (RB, NYJ) - 17% owned (1% FAAB)
After dismantling the Jaguars in Week 4, McGuire entered a dream scenario with the second half against the Browns all to himself after Bilal Powell left the game. Unfortunately, McGuire couldn’t get anything going -- he would rush for 20 yards on 11 carries with two catches for 10 yards in all on Sunday -- but does now stand as the healthy running back on this team going into a Week 6 home matchup with the Patriots. Matt Forte is unlikely to return to a large workload if he can return at all this week (that’s a big if) and Powell may be limited, with the worst-case scenario between those two being the timeshare that everyone had projected for this game against Cleveland. Just reset your expectations for the same time next week.
Marlon Mack (RB, IND) - 7% owned (1% FAAB)
The other defense we need to pump the brakes on when it comes to allowing breakouts is the Colts’ opponent, those 49ers! Still, Mack showed everyone just how much burst he really has, regularly getting the edge on rushes and earning some respect when contact was made en route to 91 ground yards and two touchdowns on just nine carries. Frank Gore isn’t going anywhere and Robert Turbin will continue to mix in, but Mack is the most talented RB on that roster right now and should be viewed as such by deep-league speculators. If Gore got hurt or something, then Mack would become a solid start in most formats.
Wide Receivers - Week 6 Waiver Wire
Roger Lewis (WR, NYG) - 1% owned (4% FAAB)
Odell Beckham Jr. is going to miss a significant amount of time with a fractured ankle. Brandon Marshall’s own ankle injury looked to be quite severe -- requiring being carted off -- and will likely miss several weeks. Dwayne Harris also needed to be carted off thanks to a fracture in his foot. Sterling Shepard is a great pickup for those who can afford to potentially wait a week or two with a “week-to-week” ankle injury, as he came out relatively unscathed considering the decimation of his fellow receivers. This leaves Lewis as the next man up for the worst schedule portion one could hope for -- at Denver, vs. Seattle and then a bye. Still, the youngster ended up catching one of his two targets for a 29-yard score and volume does rule the day. Look out for folks like Tavarres King and preseason-favorite Travis Rudolph to get called up into the fold as well, if you need even more depth to pick from.
Mike Wallace (WR, BAL) - 33% owned (3% FAAB)
Wallace was a forgotten man after three weeks of the 2017 season thanks to catching just one measly ball in each of his first three games. He's now posted lines of 6-55-1 and 3-133-0 in his last two contests, though, and has effectively reminded us all that he can still play. Whether Joe Flacco can still consistently deliver the ball is another issue entirely, but this is a surprisingly slow turnaround for Wallace's stock given his track record. Jeremy Maclin should draw the No. 1 bracket coverage from Chicago next week and then Minnesota's Xavier Rhodes the week after that, leaving Wallace as Baltimore's best receiving bet for the next couple of weeks. Not bad given the recent momentum!
Marqise Lee (WR, JAX) - 37% owned (2% FAAB)
It’s going to be annoying to own Jacksonville receivers this season -- even more than the simple “Blake Bortles isn’t good” narrative. They simply have a great ground game and defense to lean on. That said, Lee’s two catches on four targets for 49 yards was still the best look out of the receiving group for a controlled Week 5 romping of the Steelers. I would expect his weekly target average to settle around seven when the season is all said and done, with more lines akin to 5-60-0 rather than these little two-catch types. The Rams and Colts are on the docket before Jacksonville’s Week 8 bye, but it seems that Lee’s ownership has dropped enough to allow for some sneaky scoops while Allen Hurns’ has remained at 50 percent.
JuJu Smith-Schuster (WR, PIT) - 5% owned (1% FAAB)
Even though he didn’t repeat last week’s trip to the end zone, Smith-Schuster has made it clear that he’s the No. 3 wideout for Big Ben and the Steelers. He caught four balls for 58 yards on six targets and has now averaged five targets over his last four weeks despite facing some plus defenses in Minnesota, Chicago, Baltimore and Jacksonville. It doesn’t get much easier against Kansas City, Cincinnati and Detroit before Pittsburgh’s Week 9 bye, but his second half and playoff schedule is rather enticing for folks who need a depth WR in a potent (albeit currently-struggling) offense.
Ricardo Louis (WR, CLE) - 1% owned (1% FAAB)
I had been skeptical of Louis’ outlook following a 5-64-0 line against the Bengals in Week 4 considering he had just flopped against the Colts (1-10-0 on six targets) in Week 3, but he’s now put together two useful weeks in a row here. Sure, the Jets secondary isn’t one to brag about beating, but hauling in five of his eight targets for 71 yards will play in PPR formats. The Browns aren’t going to leap out ahead of anyone and be able to stop passing in the third quarter like some other teams can, meaning Louis could have some decent deep-league PPR value with dates against the Texans and Titans due up next.
Brandon Tate (WR, BUF) - 0% owned (1% FAAB)
Tate hadn’t seen so much as a target prior to Week 5, but then managed to score a TD while notching 25 yards on two catches. This is only for those in very deep waters, but Zay Jones is doing his best Amari Cooper impersonation out there and with Charles Clay hurt, Tate is one of the few playmakers left who isn’t named LeSean McCoy. Buffalo will hope to get healthy over their Week 6 bye, but keep Tate’s name filed away just in case.
Tight Ends - Week 6 Waiver Wire
Austin Seferian-Jenkins (TE, NYJ) - 28% owned (2% FAAB)
Seferian-Jenkins turned in his finest game of the season in a predictable spot against the Browns on Sunday, catching six of his eight targets for 29 yards and a touchdown that illustrated his ridiculous size advantage over most defenders. Even though the yardage total isn’t astounding, he’s now averaging six targets per game with Josh McCown heading into a fantastic matchup with the Patriots at home next week.
Ed Dickson (TE, CAR) - 4% owned (1% FAAB)
Dickson wore his finest Invisibility Cloak in Detroit on Sunday, as he took advantage of nonexistent coverage to post 175 yards on just five catches. He’s averaging a hair under 30 yards per reception over his last two games, which definitely isn’t sustainable if you’ve seen him play or run. That said, perhaps this will show Cam Newton and the offense that he can indeed step in for Greg Olsen more than they originally thought heading into a home matchup with a beaten-up Eagles defense next week.
Tyler Higbee (TE, LAR) - 0% owned (1% FAAB)
Higbee had seen just seven combined targets for three catches and 21 yards over the Rams’ first three games of the season but has now averaged seven targets in each of his last two games. This latest effort saw him post a 4-98-0 line on the Seahawks, as it seems that Jared Goff may have figured things out with his tight end to give him a reliable option alongside Cooper Kupp. Sammy Watkins hasn’t seen any action recently and likely won’t get going against Jalen Ramsey or Patrick Peterson in the next few weeks, so Higbee could continue seeing enough looks to be fantasy-viable as a TE2.
Nick O’Leary (TE, BUF) - 0% owned (1% FAAB)
He’s no Charles Clay and obviously, Buffalo is heading into its bye, but O’Leary looked more than serviceable when Clay went down with a rather severe ankle injury early on. With Clay joining Jordan Matthews on the injury report, O’Leary would gather 54 yards on five catches (six targets) as one of the only real pass-catchers left on the squad. The Bills will likely shuffle things around with two weeks between games, but O’Leary showed himself more than capable of handling the TE duties for a date with the Bucs in Week 7 should Clay not be able to go.
Early Defensive Streaming Candidates
- WAS (v. SF) - 4% owned
- ATL (v. MIA) 21% owned
- LAC (@OAK) - 5% owned