Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, and Washington are off this week. That means
, Le’Veon Bell,
will all leave holes in their teams’ fantasy lineups. You may be looking for a running back or flex guy this week, and it’s a critical juncture in the season.
It might be time for you to take a waiver wire gamble for a week. But are there really any guys available that are worth rostering at this point in the season? Let’s take a look.
Below, I’ll list a player with some upside for this week, their Week 5 matchup, and the percentage of leagues in which he is owned according to our friends at
The hope is that you don’t find yourself in a situation like this. The hope is that you dodge the bullet. But hope won’t help you come Sunday.
Let’s move on to this week’s targets, keeping in mind that these aren’t every week starters. Instead, these are guys that should only be used if you’re in some kind of roster emergency.
vs San Diego – 29%. Pryor is still available in way too many leagues. Remember, it doesn’t have to be pretty to be valuable in fantasy. Remember that
guy? Watching him play was like your drunk buddy walking up to the cops: it had a 49% chance of being incredible, a 50% chance of being awful and unwatchable, and a 1% chance that someone was getting tasered. Pryor is cut from the same cloth; it’s not always pretty, but he can generate stats. He also gets a favorable matchup with a Chargers defense that’s giving up points in bunches. He’s our No. 8 quarterback this week, projected for 205 yards and a touchdown through the air, and another 55 yards and a touchdown on the ground. That’d be pretty awesome, and yet, I think he can top those numbers.
vs San Diego – 31%. I mentioned San Diego’s poor defense, but they’ve been a bit better against the run. But with
likely to sit this one out, Jennings would be the primary beneficiary. Pryor’s mobility means that the Chargers will need to spy him this week, perhaps creating running lanes for the underrated Jennings. He ran for 45 yards last week, and added 71 yards receiving, even though those passes were from Matt Flynn
. Jennings is projected for 65 yards rushing and 25 yards receiving, and I think he reaches those numbers, but check back on Sunday to make sure McFadden isn’t playing before starting Jennings.
vs Jacksonville – 32%. Pead may finally be getting the chance to start in St. Louis, although the backfield depth chart is still unclear. Normally, starting a committee back wouldn’t be all that appealing, but if Pead is the starter, he’ll get a dream matchup against a Jaguars defense that has given up the most rushing yards in the league. Our four-point projection was prior to the starter confusion. I think Pead plays and plays well, topping our modest projection.
vs Carolina – 22%. Ellington may be more of a long-term pickup than a Week 5 play, but I think he still has value.
looks like he’s really laboring out there. It’s like he’s running in quicksand. That brings the rookie, Ellington, into the mix, giving him an opportunity to stake his claim in Arizona. The Carolina offense will key on
this week, meaning there may be some running lanes. We’ve projected just 25 yards rushing and another 15 receiving, and I think he can surpass those numbers. But again, this is a guy you may want to stash for a few weeks from now.
vs Kansas City – 46%. Washington is coming off a big game last week, catching four balls for 105 yards and a pair of scores.
will now be under center for the injured Jake Locker
, and there’s good news and bad news. The good: he has no problem chucking the ball around. The bad: he doesn’t have the arm strength that Locker does to hit Washington deep. I still think Washington can hit the 75 yards and a score we’ve projected.
@ Miami – 27%. Brown has been a pleasant surprise this season, as the rookie from Georgia has become one of Joe Flacco
’s most trusted targets, especially in the red zone. Brown now has three touchdowns in just four games. He’s missed some practice this week, so you need to track his progress to ensure he’s playing. But we’ve projected 40 yards and a score, and if he plays, I like him to hit those numbers.
@ Tennessee – 22%. In week 3, he caught seven balls for 141 yards. In week 4, he caught just two balls for 23 yards. He’s inconsistent, but we’re talking about bye-week fill-ins. I think Avery will continue to run short crossing routes, and Alex “Checkdown” Smith will continue to hit him. This is more of a hunch than anything this week, but I think Avery will make an impact this week.
Good luck in week 5.
Drew Magyar is a FantasySharks.com staff writer and member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He can be reached at