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Through The Wire - Week 6

By Antonio D'Arcangelis | 10/12/20 | Updated: 10/13/20

Targeting weekly waiver picks is a completely subjective business, but this column hopes to point out some obvious and not-so-obvious selections to help your team from week to week while you strive to collect fantasy wins, reach your league playoffs, and win the elusive title that your friends say is out of your grasp. While I’m a big proponent of making trades to bolster your roster, the waiver wire can be an almost limitless resource when it comes to discovering fantasy value in strange places. Each week, I’ll highlight some of the popular (and not-so-popular) players who can help your squad and may still be available in your league. I’ll also provide a brief update on the players I covered the previous week.

Feedback is always welcome, appreciated and encouraged. I’ll get to as many e-mails as I can.

Andy Dalton


Matthew Stafford, DET – Normally, a fantasy QB with Stafford’s résumé wouldn’t be available in almost 40 percent of ESPN leagues, but with the roster complications resulting from COVID during his Week 5 bye, he’s out there in plenty of formats and makes sense as a replacement for Dak Prescott. He gets favorable matchups the next two weeks (@JAC, @ATL) and his offensive weapons should be healthy.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, MIA – Nobody really wants to admit that Fitzpatrick has been a more-than-serviceable fantasy QB this season, and that he’s currently in the Top 10 for fantasy points per game at the position – but here we are. Week 5 saw Fitzpatrick complete 22 of 28 passes for 350-3-0, adding 16 rushing yards on three carries in a 43-17 rout of the embattled 49ers. He’s owned in fewer than 20% of ESPN leagues and faces the Jets in Week 6 before a Week 7 bye.

Justin Herbert, LAC – UPDATE: Herbert had a monster stat line on MNF, throwing for 264-4-0 and showing off some impressive athleticism on a handful of difficult passes, including a gorgeous 17-yard strike to Keenan Allen in the game’s opening quarter. He’s just 35-50 percent owned in fantasy leagues and gets a nice schedule following their bye in Week 6. This guy looks like he’s for real.

Andy Dalton, DAL – Another possibility to replace Prescott is Dalton himself, who we’ve covered ad nauseum in this column for the past nine seasons. Before his disastrous 2019 campaign, Dalton had accounted for at least 20 (combined passing and rushing) TDs in eight straight seasons, though fumbles and INTs were always part of that conversation as well. In Dallas, he inherits an offensive line weakened by injuries to most of the starters but a full complement of offensive weapons. He’s no Dak, but he’s got four weeks of potentially high-scoring games on the docket before the Cowboys’ Week 10 bye and the job is most definitely his.

Kyle Allen, WAS – Allen got rattled pretty good (a sideline hit by Jalen Ramsey) in his 2020 starting debut and was apparently kept out of the rest of the game out of an “abundance of caution,” according to coaches. Comeback story aside, Alex Smith struggled against the Rams, getting sacked six times and facing constant pressure throughout the second half. Allen will resume signal calling for Washington in Week 6, and he’s got a pair of favorable division matchups (@NYG, DAL) before his Week 8 bye.

Other QBs to consider: Kirk Cousins, Nick Foles


Teddy Bridgewater, CAR – Bridgewater helped season-long and DFS owners alike with his 313-2-0 (27-for-37 passing) day in a win over the Falcons. Next week will be tougher (CHI), but weeks 7-9 (@NO, ATL, @KC) portend higher-scoring games and lots of good fantasy numbers.

Carson Wentz, PHI – Wentz is still working with a depleted corps of WRs and finished Week 5 with 258-2-2, adding 11 rushing yards. Current and prospective fantasy owners shouldn’t consider him an option in Week 6 against the Ravens but can look forward to dates with the Giants and Cowboys the following two weeks.

Gardner Minshew, JAC – Minshew completed 31 of 49 passes for 301-2-0 in Week 5 against the Texans, chipping in 18 rushing yards on four carries. He’s a relatively unpredictable fantasy performer with a favorable Week 6 matchup against the Lions, but he’s available in about 30-45 percent of fantasy leagues.

Running Backs

Myles Gaskin, MIA – Don’t send me hate mail because I’m including Gaskin, who’s owned in fewer than 80 percent of ESPN leagues but has been a Top 40 fantasy back this season – because it’s clear some people don’t get it. The Dolphins may not be “for real” in the traditional sense (although a 43-17 win over the 49ers shows they can beat up on a defense missing its best players) but they’ve been productive offensively in 2020. Gaskin has bene at the center of that, with 61 touches over the last three games – a number that should keep piling up with more opportunities in the red zone. Week 5 saw Gaskin tote it 16 times for 57 yards and a TD, adding 34 receiving yards on five catches (five targets). He should be owned in ALL 10+ formats, not 80 percent of them.

D’Andre Swift, DET – The last time we saw Swift (70-75 percent owned) he was rushing four times for 22 yards (adding 4-30-1 through the air) in last Sunday’s 35-29 loss to the Saints. Now he’s got a Week 6 date with Jacksonville and seems to be getting more chances to contribute as the Lions develop him. The extra week of prep should help Swift reach the next level a little more quickly, and I can guarantee there’s a few leagues where he’s sitting on the wire because of injuries, bye weeks and COVID snafus.

Devonta Freeman, NYG – Freeman (despite being just 62.5 percent owned in ESPN leagues) is probably the guy poised to assume the largest workload of the backs we’ve covered. He carried the ball 17 times for 60 yards and a TD (2-27-0 on three targets) in Sunday’s 37-34 loss to the Cowboys, a game the Giants easily could have won. Things are bad in New Jersey, but Freeman’s three-week development into a veteran presence the running game can feature is a huge step forward for his fantasy prospects and the team.

Justin Jackson, LAC – I’ll update after Monday night’s game, but with Ekeler out for the next 4-6 weeks, he’ll be in the mix for a significant workload alongside Joshua Kelley.

UPDATE: Jackson rushed 15 times for 71 yards and caught 5-23-0 on six targets. He’s likely going to be the back to own for the Chargers with Ekeler on the shelf, though we could see RB guru Anthony Lynn use a hot hand approach if either he or Joshua Kelley struggles with blocking assignments and/or fumbles.

Cam Akers, LAR – Akers (50-65 percent owned) who was nursing a rib injury leading up to his Week 5 activation, carried nine times for 61 yards in the Rams’ 30-10 victory over the Washington Football Team on Sunday, could see an uptick in touches in a Week 6 road matchup in San Fran. Darrell Henderson may have logged the best fantasy numbers on Sunday, but Akers stood out as the Rams’ most efficient runner in YPC. He showed off some of his moves and speed in a 46-yard run, and the 49ers are really hurting on both sides of the ball. He’s in a high-risk, high-reward spot as a flex play.

Alexander Mattison, MIN – Mattison (40-50 percent owned) stepped in for an injured Dalvin Cook (groin) over most of the second half Sunday night, finishing with 20 carries for 112 yards and 3-24-0 receiving. Cook is slated to have an MRI on Monday, but Mattison should be owned in all formats regardless. The Week 7 bye should help Cook in some regard, so I’d consider the previous three backs better long-term additions.

UPDATE: Cook isn’t expected to play in Week 6 against the Falcons, opening the door for Mattison to have a monster performance.

Devontae Booker, LV – There aren’t a lot of low-owned RBs available in most formats outside what we’re covering above and below (in the updates), but Booker, owned in fewer than 1 percent of leagues, showed me on a single 43-yard gain against the Chiefs that he’s worth considering. Josh Jacobs is a beast of a runner who gets an awful lot of work, and Booker is a perfect handcuff who might be able to give us 75-80 percent of that if Jacobs went down. He finished Week 5 with 62 yards on seven rushes and caught his only target for 5 yards in Sunday’s big win over the Chiefs.

Other RBs to consider: J.D. McKissic, Chris Thompson, Tony Pollard


Kareem Hunt/D’Ernest Johnson, CLE – Hunt had a monster day with 20 carries for 72 yards (3-21-1 receiving on four targets), while Johnson (25-35 percent owned) had eight carries for 32 yards and caught his lone target for four yards in Sunday’s 32-23 win over the Colts. Hunt is a must-play RB2 regardless of matchup while Johnson may only be an option in Week 7 when we look at the upcoming schedule.

Antonio Gibson, WAS – Gibson was a popular waiver wire add last week and saw his ownership skyrocket up to almost 90 percent as he rewarded owners with 27 rushing yards and 5-24-0 (on five targets) in the Washington Football Team's 30-10 loss to the Rams on Sunday. Not exactly what we’ve been looking for, but things should be better with Allen at QB.

Joshua Kelley, LAC – UPDATE: Kelley was largely ineffective on his touches Monday night, rushing for just 29 yards on 11 carries, adding a 9-yard catch on his lone target. The Chargers are on a bye in Week 6 ahead of a matchup with the Panthers, but Jackson appears to be the primary back to own, as Kelly might just have been a change-of-pace placeholder until Jackson was healthy.

Damien Harris, NE – The Pats game was postponed until Week 6. I’m wary of all New England players right now.

Reggie Bonnafon, CAR – Bonnafon (high-ankle sprain) was inactive for Sunday’s Mike Davis show.

Chase Edmonds, ARI – I’m glad I recommended Edmonds (35-50 percent owned) this week, as he may have helped a few season-long and DFS players to victory behind his best game of 2020: 36 rushing yards and a TD with 5-56-0 on six targets in Sunday’s 30-10 win over the Jets.

Jamaal Williams, GB – The Packers were on a Week 5 bye.

Wide Receivers / Tight Ends

Chase Claypool, PIT – We’ll start out with the obvious rookie PIT receiver who had the monster day in Week 5 (7-110-3 receiving on 11 targets and three carries for 6 yards and another score). I was chatting about Claypool (8-10 percent owned) with a Steelers fan buddy on Friday night and am regretting leaving him out of my DFS lineups. That kind of upside is rare, and he’s averaging over 20 yards per catch this season. Add him.

Darius Slayton, NYG – He’s a high-upside WR3 and he’s owned in just 70-80 percent of leagues. I don’t get it. Add him if he’s available, because Devonta Freeman or not, the Giants have to throw the ball a lot.

Brandin Cooks, HOU – With the Bill O’Brien era finally over, Cooks responded with 8-161-1 on 12 targets in a Week 5 against the Jaguars. He’s a must-add WR who could help turn this around in Houston.

Henry Ruggs III, LV – Another uncomplicated recommendation. The explosive Ruggs (knee) is healthy and had 2-118-1 in the Raiders’ 40-32 win on Sunday. He’s owned in about half of fantasy leagues but is looking like a must-add in 12-team leagues for his upside.

Mike Williams, LAC – UPDATE: Big Play Mike (30-40 percent owned) was active on MNF and caught five of his eight targets for 109 yards and two TDs in the devastating loss to the Saints. The physical, athletic former Clemson Tiger will be a viable WR3/flex play in Week 7 against the Jaguars following the Chargers Week 6 bye, and he’d likely get an uptick in targets if Keenan Allen (back) is unable to suit up.

Tee Higgins, CLE – In a game without much good happening for the Bengals, Higgins (just 3-45 percent owned) hauled in 4-62-0 on eight targets. He’s getting quality looks and A.J. Green (hamstring) is injured again, so he’ll be getting more over the next three games (@IND, CLE, TEN) before the Week 9 bye.

Christian Kirk, ARI – We saw the value of a healthy Kirk (owned in just 40-50 percent of fantasy leagues) in this offense on Sunday, and he’s a great second receiving option in Arizona after Nuk. I’m making a waiver bid in one ESPN league this week to acquire him for the matchup with Dallas in Week 6.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling, GB – Don’t forget about his guy, owned in just 25 percent of ESPN leagues and coming off his bye.

Other WRs/TEs to consider: Mecole Hardman, Laviska Shenault, Preston Williams, TE Logan Thomas, Randall Cobb, Darnell Mooney


Tim Patrick, DEN – Patrick and the Broncos are not playing the Patriots until Week 6, but he remains a worthwhile waiver add.

TE Robert Tonyan, GB – The Packers were on a Week 5 bye but Tonyan could be a solid TE2 or low-end TE1 moving forward.

Scotty Miller, TB – Miller (hip/groin) did not see a target in Thursday night's 20-19 loss to the Bears. Stay tuned to see how he does in prep for Green Bay in Week 6.

TE Austin Hooper, CLE – Hooper saw 10 targets in Sunday's 32-23 win over Indianapolis, hauling in 5-57-0. He’s worth a look given the tough middle tier at TE.

Damiere Byrd, NE – Another PPD and more Patriots uncertainty. Hard pass moving forward in season-long, but I’ll continue to find spots in DFS GPPs.

Zach Pascal, IND – Just 2-15-0 on two targets. Awful. I’m off him at the moment.