Just when your fantasy football team was starting to get some momentum, the NFL scheduled six teams (including the Broncos) for an early bye week in Week 4. That left owners diving for the waiver wire last week. Things should be less drastic in Week 5, as just two teams are on a bye: The Dolphins and Raiders are coming back from London, so they’ll both sit out Week 5.
Who should you be looking to add this week? We explore below.
Each week, we’ll share 8-12 players we think are worth a look in standard fantasy football leagues based on performance and upcoming matchups. Each of these players listed are owned in fewer than 30 percent of leagues on CBS Sports, ESPN and Yahoo! leagues.
Since they are barely owned in more than 30 percent of CBS leagues, you won’t see these rising players on the list: Roy Helu, Andre Williams, Lorenzo Taliaferro, Allen Robinson, Coby Fleener, Eric Ebron and Matt Prater.
Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota (Owned in 29 percent of CBSSports leagues, 10 percent of ESPN leagues and 14 percent of Yahoo! leagues) -- Last week, he was owned in just 12 percent of CBS leagues, and I even suggested owners of Peyton Manning or Russell Wilson should consider starting the rookie quarterback against the Falcons. While Bridgewater didn’t throw any touchdown passes (or interceptions), he did throw for 317 yards against Atlanta and ran for 27 more yards and a touchdown. He posted fantasy starter points, but he’s a better bench QB this week for a few reasons. His left ankle got rolled up on late in the game, and the Vikings travel to Green Bay (just 214 passing yards allowed per game) in a short week. Fantasy owners of Tom Brady or Cam Newton should pick up Bridgewater for the future, though.
Keeping an eye on: Tampa Bay’s Mike Glennon and N.Y. Jets’ Michael Vick.
Jerick McKinnon, Minnesota (20 percent, 0.8 percent and 18 percent) -- Another rookie Viking? I talked about McKinnon last week, too, but rest assured this will be the last time I mention him in this column -- as there’s no doubt he’ll be owned in more than 30 percent of leagues after the waiver run. Both McKinnon and Matt Asiata have done well as a thunder-and-lightning duo, but McKinnon’s 18 carries for 135 yards are too good for fantasy owners to ignore. The only thing missing for McKinnon is the touchdowns. He has game-breaking speed, so when he does score, they’ll likely be long touchdowns. McKinnon remains the best Vikings running back to own over the course of the season -- whereas Asiata might be the better option to start in Week 5.
Branden Oliver, San Diego (eight percent, 0.6 percent and three percent) – The Chargers lost Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead over the past few weeks, and Donald Brown has been relatively disappointing. The rookie out of Buffalo stands just 5-foot-8, but he’s adept in the passing game, making him a poor man’s Woodhead for now. He goes up against a Jets’ rushing defense that has allowed an NFL-stingiest 63 rushing yards per game, so temper expectations, but he can still make an impact through the air.
Darrin Reaves, Carolina (one percent, 0.1 percent and two percent) – This isn’t necessarily a nod to his skills as much it is a testament to the injured running backs corps in Carolina. DeAngelo Williams (ankle) joined Jonathan Stewart (knee), Mike Tolbert (leg) and Fozzy Whittaker (thigh) on the bench in the second half in Week 4. If Reaves starts in Week 5 against Chicago, he’s a sleeper flex option as the Bears’ rush defense is allowing 4.7 yards per carry. (Whittaker could also get the start, though, with newly signed Chris Ogbonnaya seeing touches, too.)
Keeping an eye on: Chicago’s Ka’Deem Carey, Jacksonville’s Denard Robinson and New Orleans’ Travaris Cadet.
Miles Austin, Cleveland (22 percent, 4.0 percent and 11 percent) – In his last two games before the Browns’ Week 4 bye, Austin was targeted 17 times, catching 12 passes for 95 yards and two touchdowns. The target volume and the fact he’s getting looks in the red zone have us buying the nine-year veteran.
Eddie Royal, San Diego (27 percent, 28.2 percent and 25 percent) -- Speaking of veterans we’ve all overlooked on the waiver wire, it’s becoming tough to ignore Royal, who has two touchdown catches in each of his past two games. He’s the Chargers’ second option in the passing game right now, but let’s not forget -- Royal caught five touchdown passes in the first two games last season before disappearing (he caught just two more in his next 11 games).
Jarius Wright, Minnesota (0 percent, 0.2 percent and one percent) -- How many times have we seen a backup wide receiver make an out-of-nowhere ascension up the fantasy ladder once the young backup quarterback becomes the starter? Wright and Bridgewater worked together on the second team over the summer, so it stands to reason their timing is on. This offense is still coming together, but 14-team leagues or teams with deep rosters should consider adding the former Arkansas wide receiver. He led the Vikings in targets (10), catches (eight) and receiving yards (132) in Week 4 -- after having zero targets in Week 3.
Marvin Jones, Cincinnati (25 percent, 0.9 percent and 15 percent) -- Jones returned to practice last week after missing about six weeks with a broken foot. No doubt he’ll need some time to get back into game shape, and Mohamed Sanu has played well across from A.J. Green, but Jones is the better talent, and there are already reports he could start getting red-zone targets right out of the gate.
Keeping an eye on: Arizona’s John Brown, Oakland’s Andre Holmes and Green Bay’s Davante Adams.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Tampa Bay (six percent, 0.5 percent and one percent) -- While we’re not huge fans of rookie tight ends in fantasy, this big fella will be filling a need for the Buccaneers, since fellow rookie Mike Evans is now sidelined for a few weeks with a groin injury. Seferian-Jenkins played all 71 offensive snaps in Week 4 for Tampa Bay.
Keeping an eye on: N.Y. Jets’ Jace Amaro.
Chandler Catanzaro, Arizona (10 percent, 2.0 percent and two percent) – Despite having a bye in Week 4, only two other kickers have made more field goals than Catanzaro’s nine. He’s also perfect on the year, with all nine field-goal attempts and three extra points.
Keeping an eye on: Detroit’s Alex Henery.
Eagles Defense (23 percent, 8.2 percent and 19 percent) – The Eagles DST returns home after a tough game against the 49ers, but they’ll host a Rams offense that doesn’t scare anyone (18.7 ppg). The Eagles have scored five touchdowns already on defense/special teams. Darren Sproles in the return game changes our previous view of this unit. Only three offenses are allowing more fantasy points per week to DSTs than the Rams (14.33).