Friday - Oct 23, 2020

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On Second Thought – Week 5

Mistakes, mistakes, mistakes.  Week 5 was full of them.  NFL kickers put up the 2nd most misses in a single week over the last 5 years, the games were downright sloppy throughout, and the Monday night matchup in Seattle ended with yet another blown call that went in the favor of the Emerald City locals, (boy that must be getting old to fans of teams not named the Seahawks).

In most fantasy leagues the mistakes were obvious, as fantasy scores were down across the board.  In one league, I posted the highest score of the week by any team and yet I scored 100 points less than I scored in week 3.  I did the same in another league where I score 60 points less than the previous.  It was a very down week to say the least.

If you found yourself on the losing end of some fantasy mistakes this week don’t worry, you weren’t the only one.  I witnessed an owner start Arian Foster over Danny Woodhead in a PPR league and the same owner started Mr. Foster over Chris Ivory in a second league.  Ok, yes, that owner was me but I won in both those league so let’s just not get to excited, okay?  The point is, mistakes were made.

For every unlucky fantasy owner in a given week there is an equally lucky one and I’d like to believe that it all balances out in the end, but it doesn’t.  I don’t mean to be a downer but let’s just be honest.  Life never promised you ‘fair.’  Life never even promised you remotely ‘even ground.’  If you want something, you’ve got to take it and that includes a little bit of luck.  See, luck favors the prepared, if you do your homework and use your waiver wire position sparingly you will find yourself getting “lucky” more often than not.

With all the injuries right now and bye weeks for owners of Panthers, Dolphins, Jets and Vikings there will be a serious need for all four positions this week from the waiver wire.  Let’s see if we can shake a little luck out of the waiver tree.

Owners of Cam Newton, Ryan Tannehill and Teddy Bridgewater might be needing some Week 5 relief in the quarterback slot.  A name that has been thrown around a lot this week has been Josh McCown.  McCown has had two good weeks in a row throwing for about 350 yards and 2 touchdowns in each.  He seems like a no-brainer to grab and play if you are needing an injury or bye week replacement, after all, he’s got great recent numbers and seems to be getting a firm hold on the starting position but on second thought, have you looked at his schedule?

McCown played the Raiders and the Chargers in the last two weeks.  These are by no means defensive juggernauts. In his next 5 weeks he faces Baltimore in Baltimore, Denver, St. Louis, Arizona and Cincinnati.  That is a nasty, nasty five game streak.  Consider yourself warned to stay away from McCown.

If you were considering McCown, you may want to consider Nick Foles instead.  Foles seemed to get some of his mojo back this past week throwing for 3 touchdowns against a very tough Arizona defense.  His receivers and running backs seem to be figuring out the offense as well with Tavon Austin and Todd Gurley both having very nice weeks. It always helps when you have some players around you to help out.

Foles goes to Green Bay this next week and even though I do not like his chance of winning in real life, I like his chances of putting up great fantasy numbers while playing from behind all day.  After next week, he has his bye week and then comes out of it playing Cleveland and San Francisco both at home.

Foles is available in 88% of leagues and with a schedule like that coming up and a receiving corps and backfield that seems to be gelling, this could be a very good time to pick up Foles.

Kirk Cousins is another solid option that is available in 94% of leagues with a nice schedule over the next three weeks.  The first week, he is going up against Atlanta, like Foles playing Green Bay, this will probably end in a loss with lots of points racked up while trying to catch up.  Then he faces the Jets, definitely a tough matchup, but he gets to follow that up with a cupcake game against Tampa Bay.

Cousins, like Foles, is starting to feel a rapport with his receivers and plentiful backfield.  Pierre Garcon and Jordan Reed seem to be there for him whenever he needs them.  He has thrown for about 300 yards and a touchdown in each of his last two games.

His backfield carousel of Alfred Morris, Matt Jones and Chris Thompson are all capable of taking pressure off of him and with 2-of-3 games coming up being nice matchups Cousins will be a sneaky good play for savvy owners willing to roll the dice.

Running backs typically are much more tricky to predict, but I feel that this week’s choices are fairly straight forward.  First, let’s talk about the man of the hour Thomas Rawls.  He has been picked up at a record pace this last week and continues to be into this week.  My advice, pump the brakes on Rawls.

Take it from someone who lives in the Pacific Northwest.  Rawls may be good someday but it will not be this year.  Beast Mode will be back this next week and will play out the rest of the season.  Rawls is nothing more than a handcuff for a player who rarely gets hurt and just got a week off.  If you want a running back that is playing right now and is going to give you production, look no further than Cleveland, Ohio and Duke Johnson Jr.

Duke was a trendy pick early this year but was dropped by many owners shortly after the season started.  He is now available in 50% of leagues and looks to be cementing down a solid timeshare for the Browns and is the 3rd-down back and check down for McCown.  He has played more snaps than Isaiah Crowell the last few weeks and has caught 15 passes for over 100 yards and a touchdown.

He is a good bye week or flex fill-in and must-own in PPR leagues.  As the year goes on, it seems that he may cut in to Crowell’s touches even more as well.  With a very tough next five games on the slat, there should be lots of 3rd down and passing down opportunities for Johnson to put up some very nice fantasy numbers.

Ronnie Hillman is another back whose numbers seem to be coming up at the right time.  He is coming off a week where he ran for 103 yards and a touchdown in a system with Peyton Manning looking for a back that is smart, who can block for him and release for a check down if things don’t go right.  Enter Hillman.

With touchdowns scored two weeks in a row, Manning needing to checkdown more than he ever has in his whole career, on a team that is 4-0 and still going to put up points, Hillman could be a real waiver wire steal by season’s end.  Remember C.J. Anderson was a waiver wire steal last year in Denver and Knowshon Moreno the year before.  With availability in over 53% of leagues, this year just might be the year of Ronnie Hillman, don’t miss out.

Willie Snead has really caught my attention lately catching 15 passes on 20 targets in his last three games with a touchdown and now Drew Brees is back and getting healthier.  He also seems like someone you’d want to run out and grab off waivers but on second thought, you could do much better.

Snead has in fact caught 15 balls in the last 3 games but those catches have only gone for 177 yards and 1 touchdown.  He seems to have a good rapport with Brees but haven’t we seen this before with Kenny Stills , Jimmy Graham, Marques Colston and Brandin Cooks?  We have, and the latter two are still on the team.  It is the problem with Saints WRs. There are too many mouths to feed so the production is inconsistent.  I would rather take a player off waivers who seems to be getting lots of looks such as Allen Hurns.

Hurns has not had a game this year with less than 60 yards receiving, he has TD in each of his last two games and last week got targeted 15 times for 11 receptions.  Yes, you read that correctly, he got targeted as many time last week as Snead has had catches in the last three weeks.

With those 11 catches he amassed 116 yards and a TD and is a no-brainer in all formats but a must-have in PPR.  Go out and get him with he is still available in 88% of leagues because this will most likely be the last week you will be able to get him.

About Rick Olson

Rick joined FantasySharks,com as a staff writer in 2013, though he fell in love with fantasy football in 1988 with the first league he played in. In his articles he tries to feature players off the radar or deeper than most since, in his experience, by the time a player is a waiver wire "must have" they are not usually available in most leagues.