Fantasy Football: Waiver Wire Week Five

Adding a waiver wire wonder or free agent always comes with a price. On a basic level, you have to make difficult decisions as to who gets cut from your team. And in FAAB leagues, waiver adds have a literal price. Perhaps you paid $10 out of your $100 budget after Week 1 to add Devery Henderson. Then when Marques Colston appeared be recovering weeks ahead of schedule, you paid another $10 to drop Henderson for Torrey Smith.

And now I’m asking you to spend another $10 to drop Smith for Antonio Brown?!? Yes. Yes I am. That is the nature of waiver wire adds: they’re speculative lottery-tickets. If you dropped some cheddar on Henderson, too bad; cut bait and grab the next high upside guy. If you dropped a few bucks on Cam Newton after Week 1, Congrats! You’ve got an every week starting QB for the rest of the season! My point is two-fold: (1) You have to be active on the waiver wire.

And (2) you cannot be afraid to release players, even if you just paid to add them. So, before I tell you everyone you should consider adding, it only makes sense to tell you who you should consider dropping.

Drops: These guys all have potential, so I’m not saying you should drop them. I am telling you that you could drop any of these guys to make room for new prospects: Austin Collie, Sam Bradford, Emmanuel Sanders, Brent Celek, Braylon Edwards, Roy Williams, Devery Henderson, Scott Chandler, and Chester Taylor. I wouldn’t blame you for letting go of Danny Amendola or any Raiders or Rams receiver if you really need the space.

You know I still like Jacoby Ford’s potential, but in 10 team leagues, there’s a very good chance that if you cut him to make room for Stevan Ridley, Ford will not be picked up right away so you can swoop him back up later. The same probably goes for Torrey Smith who followed up an incredible 3 TD performance with 1 catch for 1 yard. And now he’s on a bye, and then Lee Evans should be back. Smith did have 6 targets though, so I’m certainly holding on to him in deeper leagues. On to the fun part, this week’s adds:

Stevan Ridley (Owned in 15% of Yahoo leagues)

Patriots RB Stevan Ridley found the endzone this week.

Hopefully you added him for $2 when we told you to last week, because now you might have to pay $20 for him. Ridley rushed for 97 yards and a score. We were far too dismissive of his preseason hype, because hey, it was just the preseason.

But he looked electric on Sunday. Danny Woodhead left the game early with an ankle injury, providing just the opportunity Ridley needed. BenJarvus Green-Ellis looked good too, so I certainly don’t expect Ridley to become the main guy. But The Talented Mr. Ridley has earned himself a role in this mix. On this offense and with his talent, Ridley may only need 10 or 12 touches to make him a viable flex option.

Ryan Torain (21%)
They always say it and I should have listened: Mike Shanahan is the number one enemy of fantasy footballers. He has screwed us Hightower-owners. It turns out that Hightower was dinged up a little in practice throughout last week. He started the game but sustained a shoulder injury, which made the decision to employ Ryan Torain easy for Shanahan. The injury was not debilitating because Hightower returned for a few carries in the second half.

When you add Roy Helu as a change of pace back into the mix, it’s just a big freakin’ headache. The Skins have a bye in Week 5, which is good for Hightower who can heal without letting Torain run away with the job, but if I have to start one Skins back in Week 6, it has to be Torain. He looked powerful with 135 yards and a TD. Still, in part due to Torain’s propensity to get injured, I would not trade Hightower for Torain, meaning I still think he has more longterm value.

Antonio Brown (27%)
Like Ridley, we hope you picked up Brown last week, but he’s still probably available and cheap because he’s yet to score or breakout. Better yet, we hope you drafted him when we wrote about him back in August, where we picked him over the more fashionable sleeper, Emmanuel Sanders. Brown had just 5 catches for 67 yards (and 8 rushing yards), but he made some incredibly athletic catches and was targeted 10 times.

At the quarter mark of the season, Brown has more targets than any other Steeler, including Mike Wallace. On Sunday, Brown’s 10 targets crushed Hines Ward’s 4 and Emmanuel Sanders’ 2. If Big Ben misses time, Brown’s production probably won’t catch up to his potential yet, but he’s well worth the add.

Isaac Redman (7%)
Rashard Mendenhall left Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury, and Redman ran for 40 yards, plus a 12 yard catch. While Mendenhall has been disappointing all season, Redman holds a 4.9 YPC, so the Steelers may not be in a huge hurry to rush Mendenhall back in there.

It turns out Mendenhall’s injury is likely not too serious, which is why I’m not going to break the bank for Redman. Remember when Steven Jackson was going to miss time, leaving the backfield all alone for Cadillac Williams? You probably didn’t even start him in the one week where he was a featureback against the Giants, and if you did, he let you down anyway. Redman is a little more talented, but the situation could be similarly underwhelming.

With WR Kenny Britt gone, TE Jared Cook found the endzone and racked up a lot of yards on Sunday.

Jared Cook (29%)
Cook was another one of our Deeeep Sleepers in August. We constantly encouraged readers to wait on TEs and grab Greg Olsen or Jared Cook at the end. That’s finally looking like a good call! Cook had 93 yards and a score, helping to fill the void in production that Kenny Britt’s absence created.

Because Cook did this on only 2 catches, you may conclude it was a fluke, but his 6 targets led all Titans. If you lost Gates for example, Cook could be just the stopgap you’re looking for.

Matt Hasselbeck (40%)
Admittedly, I’m a little late on the Hasselbeck train, but judging by the fact that he’s still available in 60% of leagues, it’s probably not too late for you. I just had a hard time believing Hasselbeck could produce after losing his best receiver, Kenny Britt (and after 3 seasons of crappiness).

Old Matt somehow got it done again with 3 TDs. Through 4 weeks, he has posted consistently solid fantasy production with 19, 21, 21, and 21 points. I’m not super excited about starting him against Pittsburgh next week, but with the bye weeks upon us, I might have to.

Michael Crabtree (40%)
I watched the Niners-Eagles game in its entirety, but I still didn’t believe the 49ers won this game when I looked at the box score again this morning. Did Alex Smith look surprisingly competent?!? Michael Crabtree’s 5 catches for 68 yards did not blow anyone’s mind, but his 9 targets led the Niners.

He would have had an impressive TD catch last week, but he just barely stepped out of bounds. With Braylon Edwards still sidelined, I think the fantasy death of Michael Crabtree has been overstated. I’ll be swooping him up to see if the Stormin’ Mormon, Alex Smith, can actually support two viable receivers in Crabtree and Vernon Davis.

Jermaine Gresham (27%)
Gresham hauled in 4 catches for 70 yards and a TD, which looks good on paper, but looked even better if you saw Gresham in action. The young QB, Andy Dalton, should continue to lean on Gresham. If you’re struggling for a TE, I’d put Gresham just behind Cook.

Not Buying It: Laurent Robinson (2%)
Robinson will be a popular add after 7 catches for a whopping 116 yards. But the Cowboys have a bye in Week 5 and then Miles Austin should return at 100%. With Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, and Jason Witten commanding targets, there’s just no room for this guy.

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