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Working the Wire: Week 5

By Josh Tinelli | 10/3/23 |

Each week I’ll provide you with a rundown by position of key waiver wire adds. We’ll evaluate not just breakouts based on past performance, but also who could deliver this week based on a soft matchup. Stats will be provided based on a 12-team PPR league, with players less than 75% (preferably less than 50%) ownership being considered.

Week 5 Byes: Cleveland, LA Chargers, Seattle, Tampa Bay


C.J. Stroud, HOU @ ATL

Stroud threw for another 2 TDs (three straight games) and over 300 yards against a tough Steelers pass rush. The Falcons are a mid-level defense against QBs, only allowing one QB (Jordan Love) to throw more than 1 TD in a game. Stroud is the best QB largely still available as we head into the bye weeks.

Sam Howell, WAS vs CHI

Howell went 290-1-0 passing while rushing 6-40-0 against an Eagles defense that is bottom 10 against QBs. Howell gets the 2nd-worst defense against QBs in the Bears in Week 5, who have allowed 10 passing TDs in four games. In his other two games against bottom-10 defenses, Howell through the ball 80 times, passing for 589 yards and 3 TDs. His ceiling isnít the highest, but like Stroud, he can be serviceable if youíre sitting Herbert, Geno or Watson.

Other QBs to consider: Ryan Tannehill TEN (@ IND), Matthew Stafford LAR (vs PHI)

Last weekís waiver adds:

Matthew Stafford, LAR @ IND: Stafford threw for over 300 yards for the third time in four games, but unfortunately, he hasnít thrown for more than 1 TD in any game. This has resulted in a low ceiling, mediocre floor. He still has a couple nice matchups coming up against the Eagles and Cardinals, and with Kupp set to return he could start to throw for more. But, thereís likely higher upside options available.

Andy Dalton, CAR vs MIN: Bryce Young came back and delivered 204-2-0 against the Vikings. As the No.1 overall pick Young will be the starter for as long as he is healthy, but Dalton has shown his effectiveness in spot start duty.

Running Backs

Jaleel McLaughlin

Jaleel McLaughlin, DEN vs NYJ

McLaughlin came in after Javonte Williams left with a hip injury and promptly went 7-72-0 on the ground and 3-3-32-1 through the air. Itís unknown at this time how long Javonte will be out, but McLaughlin seemed to be a clear favorite over Samaje Perine once Williams was ruled out, and he didnít disappoint with his opportunity. Up next is a mid-level Jets defense against RBs that has only allowed 1 rushing TD, but they are averaging 6 receptions to RBs per game; Russell Wilson is targeting RBs the 3rd-most in the NFL, so McLaughlin should still be a strong option in PPR leagues.

Gus Edwards, BAL @ PIT

Edwards is the early-down back for the Ravens seeing double-digit carries in the last three games since J.K. Dobbins went down. There wasnít a lot of room to run last week against the Browns, where Edwards rushed for 15-48-0 and went 3-2-1-0 receiving (yes you read that right), but the Steelers are allowing 126 rushing yards per game to RBs and have given up 2 rushing TDs, so Edwards could see one of his better games of the year.

Other RBs to consider: Antonio Gibson WAS (vs CHI)

Last weekís waiver adds:

Devon Achane, MIA @ BUF: Achane did it again against a stingy Bills RB defense. He delivered 8-101-2 rushing and 5-3-19-0 receiving, while out-snapping Raheem Mostert 39-28. Heís no longer available in your league, but if he is, go get him.

Roschon Johnson, CHI vs DEN: Johnson is the clear No.2 RB in this backfield, although he has a clear role as a passing down back. Unfortunately (and surprisingly), the Bears got up early on the Broncos, so Roschon took a backseat to Khalil Herbert and put up only 5-13-0 rushing and 1-1-2-0 receiving.

Wide Receivers / Tight Ends

Michael Wilson, ARI vs CIN

Wilson tied for the team lead in receptions against the Cowboys, delivering a 7-7-76-2 line. He seems to have taken over the WR2 role from Rondale Moore. Wilson could be a sneaky start in Week 5 against the Bengals, who are a top-10 defense against WRs but have allowed the WR2 to score a TD the last three weeks.

Rashee Rice, KC @ MIN

Rice was 2nd on the team in targets for the 2nd game in a row, behind only Travis Kelce, going 5-3-32-0 against a Jets defense thatís top-10 against WRs. Next up is a juicy matchup versus the next-to-worst Vikings defense, who have given up 5 TDs to the position and are allowing an average of 18+ receptions to opposing WRs.

Update: Wan’Dale Robinson, NYG @ MIA

Robinson led the team in targets and receptions in a Monday Night tilt against the Seahawks, going 6-5-40-0 plus one carry for 7 yards rushing. Robinson is working his way back from a knee injury in 2022 but has seen solid work in both games played this year. In Week 5, the Giants play the Dolphins, who are bottom-10 against WRs (averaging 15+ receptions and 5 total TDs to WRs in 4 games) and who will force the Giants to throw to keep up with a potent Dolphins offense.

Zach Ertz, ARI vs CIN

Ertz tied for the team lead in targets while going 10-6-53-0 against the dominant 49ers defense. Ertz is still widely available in most leagues, despite being No.2 in tight end targets in the league, largely due to his low YPR and lack of touchdowns. But, for PPR leagues, Ertz has a solid floor, and in Week 5 he gets the Bengals defense, ranked 6th-worst against the position, and have allowed touchdowns to TEs in 3 out of 4 games this year.

Dalton Kincaid, BUF vs JAX

Kincaid seems to have supplanted Dawson Knox as the top TE target for Josh Allen, going 5-4-27-0 in Week 4 against the Dolphins. In Week 5, Kincaid goes up against the Jaguars in London, who have given up at least 4 receptions or a TD to the top TE from every opponent this year.

Other WRs/TEs to consider: Nelson Agholor BAL (@ PIT), Josh Downs IND (vs TEN), Nick Westbrook-Ikhine TEN (@ IND), Allen Lazard NYJ (vs PHI), Jonnu Smith, ATL (vs HOU), Dalton Schultz HOU (@ ATL)

Last weekís waiver adds:

D.J. Chark and Adam Thielen, CAR vs MIN: Thielen went 8-7-76-0 against the Vikings with Bryce Young back under center. Chark could only manage a 3-2-28-0 day with Terrace Marshall Jr. gobbling up 9 of 10 targets. Thielen appears to be the only proven commodity in this passing attack.

Josh Palmer and Quentin Johnston, LAC vs LV: Palmer caught 3-of-8 targets for 77 yards against the Raiders, while Johnston caught 1 pass for 18 yards. Palmer appears to be the biggest beneficiary of the Mike Williams injury. Heís still available in almost 40% of Yahoo leagues, and if you have a roster spot with the Chargers going on a bye, this is probably the last week to pick him up.

Romeo Doubs and Luke Musgrave, GB vs DET: Doubs had another monster showing with 13-9-95-0 receiving, with Christian Watson back on the field. It should be noted that Watson was on a pitch count coming back from a hamstring injury. Musgrave left in the first half due to a concussion, only getting 1 reception. Doubs is still available in nearly half of leagues, and we’ll have to see when Musgrave can bounce back from the concussion protocol.

Defense/ Special Teams

Lions vs CAR

Detroit has produced 12 sacks and 3 turnovers in their last two games, both wins. The Lions look to keep it rolling against the winless Panthers, who have allowed 5 turnovers and 11 sacks and averaged barely 13 points per game in three starts by rookie Bryce Young.

Texans @ ATL

Houston dominated the Steelers in Week 4, getting an interception and 3 sacks and allowing only 6 points. Next up they face the Falcons and the struggling Desmond Ridder, who have given up 11 sacks, 4 turnovers, and a defensive TD while scoring a combined 13 points in the last two games.

Update: Dolphins vs NYG

Miami got torched by the Bills in Week 4, but next up are the Giants, which have been the 2nd-most forgiving team to defenses in 2023. The Giants have allowed 23 sacks, 8 turnovers, and 2 defensive TDs in four games. Last week they allowed 11 sacks to a pedestrian Seahawks pass rush that had only 5 sacks in the previous three weeks combined.

Last week’s waiver adds:

Steelers @ HOU: Pittsburgh laid an egg against the Texans by giving up 30 points and not recording a single turnover or sack against rookie C.J. Stroud.

Buccaneers @ Saints: Tampa Bay had a nice day against the Saints, creating 3 turnovers and 3 sacks and holding them to only 9 points.