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Week 5 Waiver Wire: Finding Replacements For Nick Chubb and Austin Ekeler

Two more stud running backs went down in Week 4 and now fantasy football players need to hit their waiver wire to fill the void in Week 5.

Week 5 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire

Week 5 will be another busy week on the waiver wire as Week 4 was another rough week in the NFL for fantasy football players who invested their first- or second-round picks on running backs. Nick Chubb and Austin Ekeler both left their games early after suffering what appeared to be serious injuries. At one point, Chris Carson was evaluated for a concussion but was able to return. Wide receivers Mike Evans and DeVante Parker also left the field but both pass-catchers returned to produce solid stats.

But for those that did lose Chubb or Ekeler, the waiver wire can be your saving grace. Case in point: Christian McCaffrey went down in Week 1 and now Mike Davis has two straight weeks of more than 20 points in the PPR format.

So who should fantasy football players look to pick up off this week’s waiver wire? Let’s get to it.


Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers: Coach Anthony Lynn may be changing his opinion about an earlier statement in which he said Tyrod Taylor would reclaim the starting role once healthy. The rookie first-round passer looked great in Week 4, completing 20-of-25 passes for three touchdowns and 290 yards. While his yardage was the lowest of the season, his three touchdowns is a career-high.

Teddy Bridgewater, Carolina Panthers: The Panthers passer had his best fantasy performance since joining Carolina during the team’s 31-21 win over the Cardinals. Bridgewater not only threw for two touchdowns but also ran in a score while rushing for 32 yards. His 276 yards in Week 4 marked the third time this season he exceeded 250 yards. Carolina plays an Atlanta defense that is struggling immensely against the pass.

Other QBs to consider: Ryan Fitzpatrick-Miami Dolphins

QBs on a BYE in Week 5: Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford

Running Backs

D’Ernest Johnson, Cleveland Browns: Nick Chubb injured his knee when a Cowboys defender rolled into the side of his leg, which opened the door for Johnson to split time in the Cleveland backfield with Kareem Hunt. Johnson led the Browns with 95 yards on the ground and had two more carries than Kareem Hunt. While Hunt was the one to get in the endzone (twice), Johnson was the one moving the chains for Cleveland. He’s likely going to be the top add on this week’s waiver wire given the Browns proclivity to run the ball regardless of who is in their backfield.

Joshua Kelley, Justin Jackson, Los Angeles Chargers: When Austin Ekeler went down in the first quarter, Justin Jackson and rookie Joshua Kelley formed a running back by committee in the Los Angeles backfield. Neither had a good game from a fantasy perspective. Kelley had just seven yards on nine carries and Jackson picked up nine yards on six attempts. Their receiving ability is inferior compared to Ekeler but both backs combined for five catches. While we wait for more news regarding Ekeler’s injury, fantasy managers should take a look at the Los Angeles duo as their backs typically are involved in all facets of their offensive attack.

Reggie Bonnafon, Carolina Panthers: While Mike Davis is getting all the attention, Bonnafon put together a solid showing in Week 4. The second-year back rushed for 53 yards off 10 carries and found the end zone on one of his two catches. With Christian McCaffrey expected to miss a few more games, Bonnafon could carve out a decent role as a borderline flex option when the matchup calls for it (like in Week 5 against the Falcons).

Malcolm Brown, Los Angeles Rams: After scoring two touchdowns in Week 1, Brown fell out of favor as second-year back Darrell Henderson shined in Weeks 1 and 2. But the tables looked to shift back to a split in Week 4 as Brown handled nine carries for 37 yards, while Henderson had eight for 22. But the real difference was Brown's involvement in the passing game. Brown caught five passes while Henderson only caught one. Something to keep monitoring for sure.

Other RBs to consider: Ke’Shawn Vaughn-Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Dontrell Hilliard-Cleveland Browns

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RBs on a BYE in Week 5: Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams, Adrian Peterson, D’Andre Swift

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Wide Receivers

Tim Patrick, Denver Broncos: With Courtland Sutton out and Noah Fant getting injured in the game, Tim Patrick balled out in primetime action on Thursday night. The Broncos third-year wide receiver put forth the best single-game performance of his career, catching six passes for 113 yards and a touchdown. Fant is expected to miss Week 5 and Sutton is done for the season, making Patrick a decent target for wide receiver needy fantasy teams.

Tre’Quan Smith, New Orleans Saints: Despite catching 13 passes for 128 yards in Weeks 2 and 3, Smith is still readily available in fantasy football leagues. That won’t be the case heading into Week 5 as the Saints playmaker caught two touchdowns during the team’s 35-29 win over the Lions. Even with Michael Thomas expected back sooner than later, Smith should remain a contributing factor to the New Orleans’ passing attack.

Tee Higgins, Cincinnati Bengals: The Bengals rookie has outproduced veteran A.J. Green in each of the last three games and seems to have a nice rapport with fellow rookie Joe Burrow. Higgins has six or more catches in each of the last three weeks and hit a new career high in yards (77) in Week 4.

Laviska Shenault, Jacksonville Jaguars: The physical rookie hauled in five catches for 86 yards in Week 4, which nearly matched his yardage total from the previous three games. Shenault offers good upside, but as we saw previously to Week 4 also has a relatively low floor.

Other WRs to consider: Preston Williams-Miami Dolphins, Scott Miller-Tampa Bay Buccaneers, David Moore-Seattle Seahawks

WRs on a BYE in Week 5: Davante Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones, Danny Amendola

Tight Ends:

Dalton Schultz, Dallas Cowboys: 24 targets in the last three games shows quarterback Dak Prescott is involving his third-year tight end in the passing attack despite the ample amount of other weapons. Schultz scored in Week 4, the second time he hit paydirt this season. He may have suffered an injury late in the game; Sports Illustrated is keeping an eye on that news.

Other TEs to consider: Drew Sample-Cincinnati Bengals, Ian Thomas-Carolina Panthers

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