To win a fantasy championship, you need to be active on the waiver wire.  You need to know which players are truly waiver wire gems and which ones are a flash in the pan that you should pass on.  There are a few fundamental questions you should ask yourself before making moves:

  • What are my positional needs?

If you already have 6 RBs on your roster, you probably don’t need to pick up another.  Be aware of your depth.  Look at your players’ upcoming bye weeks so you know how your lineup will shake out in those crucial weeks.

  • What do I need from this player addition?

Obviously, we need that player to perform, but you need to understand if you have a short term or long term need.  If you just need a bye week replacement at QB, Brian Hoyer may be better for Week 6.  If your QB goes down for the year and need someone more steady, you may want to look at Alex Smith.

  • Do I have any dead weight?

If you have players on your roster that aren’t performing, and you don’t expect them to turn it around, then cut them.  Take a flyer on a high potential player, someone coming back from injury in a few weeks, or a backup RB in case of injury.

Here is what I see on the Waiver Wire landscape going into Week 6…

Waiver Wire – Buy or Pass

Buy

Sammie Coates – Coates is usually good for a big play or two, but has problems with drops dating back to college.  He’s a decent add on a potent Steelers passing attack, but he’s not a PPR machine.

Chris Hogan – Now that Tom Brady is back, the whole offense gets an upgrade.  He won’t have big games every week, but in that passing attack you can never count one out.

Jacquizz Rodgers – He went over 100 yards without Doug Martin active and looks to get work whenever Martin is out.  I expect Rodgers to fill Sims role as the receiving back even when Martin plays.

Jeremy Kerley – I’ve never been a Kerley fan, but he’s getting utilized in San Francisco.  Kerley (8-102-1 on 14 targets) has scored in 2 straight games and seems to have decent chemistry with Blaine Gabbert.  The only problem is the 49ers are toying with the idea of bringing Colin Kaepernick back as the starter.

James Starks – Lacy went down with an ankle injury but it’s not believed to be serious.  If you’re a Lacy owner, this should be your reminder that you need to roster Starks no matter what.  When Lacy doesn’t play, Starks always gets the full workload.

Eddie Royal – Alshon Jeffery is struggling and Royal is benefiting.  Royal’s worth a look in PPR leagues.

Tyrell Williams – I like Williams if you need a steady WR4.  He’s had at least 60 yards in 4 of 5 games and 5+ catches in 3 of 5.

Brian Hoyer – Hoyer has been great in his short stint as the starter and Cutler may not get his job back.  I don’t trust Hoyer as my starter for the year, but I like Hoyer if you need a fill-in for a week or two.

Donte Moncrief – He was supposed to be the 2nd receiver on a potent Colts offense, but suffered shoulder injury in Week 2 with the initial prognosis of 4-6 weeks.  He’s now 3 weeks in and could be nearing a return shortly.  If you’re in need at WR and he’s unowned, keep him on your radar because you won’t want to miss out on his production come Week 8 through the fantasy playoffs.

Justin Forsett / Dwayne Washington – The Detroit Lions have Theo Riddick, but they don’t really want to use him as an every down back.  You can take a flyer on Washington hoping that he comes back from injury and takes the lead RB job.  The Lions also just signed veteran Justin Forsett which is intriguing.

Quincy Enunwa – Like Tyrell Williams, he’s a steady WR4.  He’s had at least 50 yards in 4 of 5 games and is averaging nearly 8 targets per game.

Tavon Austin – Austin has big play ability, but the Rams offense is a mess.  He’s seen at least 8 targets in 4 of 5 games and chipped in 20+ yards rushing in 2 of 5.  He’s not a great option, but you could do worse to round out your bench.

Pass

Cameron Meredith – He’ll have a decent game or two, but I’m not wasting my time.  Of everyone on the pass list, he at least has a shot to be decent.

Dontrelle Inman – Week 4’s “one week wonder” fell back to earth with 1 catch in Week 5.

Adam Thielen – And for the surprise of the week, Adam Thielen (7-127-1 on 8 targets) led the Vikings in receiving with Stefon Diggs absent.  Thielen isn’t worth your time; Diggs will be back soon enough.

Oakland RBs (Excluding L. Murray) – In Latavius Murray’s absence, the workload was split and nobody stepped up.  DeAndre Washington (9-23), Jalen Richard (8-31), and Jamize Olawale (6-22-1).  There’s too much uncertainty in this backfield outside of Murray.

Week 5 – Aerial Attack

Tom Brady / Martellus Bennett – Welcome back Tom Brady!  He looked in midseason form on Sunday going 28/40 for 406 yards and 3 TDs with no picks.  Brady loved his TEs in this one as Rob Gronkowski (5-109 on 7 targets) went over 100 yards and Martellus Bennett (6-67-3 on 8 targets) scored 3 TDs.  Chris Hogan (4-114 on 5 targets) also went over 100 yards.

Ben Roethlisberger / Sammie Coates – The weather is getting colder in Pittsburgh so Big Ben pulled out his Coates in this one.  Ben was 34/47 for 380 yards with 4 TDs.  Sammie Coates (6-139-2 on 11 targets) dropped a ton of crucial passes but managed to catch 2 TDs.  He better work on his drops if he wants Roethelisberger to continue to look his way.

Derek Carr / Amari Cooper – Carr (25/40, 317 yards with 2 TDs / 1 Int) went over 300 yards against the Chargers and finally found his #1 WR for a solid game.  This was Amari Cooper’s (6-138-1 on 12 targets) best game of the year with his 1st TD and topping 100 yards for only the 2nd time.  Michael Crabtree (3-47-1 on 7 targets) also scored again.  I said last week to buy low on this guy; this week may be your last chance.

Brian Hoyer / Cameron Meredith – And just like last week, of course everyone expected this…  This time it was Cameron Meredith (9-130-1 on 12 targets), not Eddie Royal (7-43 on 9 targets) who shined for his QB.  Brian Hoyer may have won the QB job outright, even when Jay Cutler comes back from his thumb injury.  Hoyer was 33/43 for 397 yards with 2 TDs and no picks.  Hoyer has thrown for over 300 yards with 2 TDs and no Ints in his last three games!  He has a juicy matchup against Jacksonville this week, but then they are @GB and home against Min before his Week 9 bye.

Philip Rivers / Travis Benjamin / Tyrell Williams – Philip Rivers (21/30 for 359 yards with 4 TDs / 2 Ints) continues to impress and had his 3rd straight 300 yard game and has thrown 4 TDs in 2 of his last 4 games.  Travis Benjamin (7-117-0 on 11 targets) and Tyrell Williams (5-117-1 on 6 targets) both had 117 yards receiving with Williams also snagging a TD.  Rivers will spread the ball around and remain a QB1 for this year.  As for the WRs, you never know which one will put up stats.  Dontrelle Inman (1-3 on 3 targets) disappeared after last week’s 100 yard performance.

Andrew Luck / T.Y. Hilton – Andrew Luck abused the Chicago Bears secondary for 322 yards and 2 TDs.  T.Y. Hilton (10-171-1 on 11 targets) has scored in 3 straight games and received at least 10 targets in each game this year.

Brandon Marshall – Marshall (8-114-1) saw a whopping 15 targets against a subpar Steelers defense and scored a TD.  He’s now scored in back-to-back games and has seen his targets increase each week.  The recent spike is due to Eric Decker being sidelined, but he’s seen at least 8 targets in every game.

Greg Olsen – Greg Olsen (9-181-0 on 13 targets) helped Derek Anderson in the passing attack this week with Cam Newton out.  Olsen is without question a top 3 TE.

Larry Fitzgerald – With Drew Stanton under center, I didn’t expect a big game from Fitzgerald (6-81-2 on 8 targets) and boy was I wrong.  Fitz scored twice and now has 5 on the season.  On the downside, he’s yet to top 100 yards receiving.

Week 5 – Ground Breakers

David Johnson – On Thursday, David Johnson (27-157-2 and 3-28 on 6 targets) showed why he was such a high draft pick.  This was his first 100 yard game, but he does have 5 TDs on the season.

Ezekiel Elliott – This guy seems to be on this list every week!  Elliott (15-134-2 and 3-37) had another big game and now leads the NFL in carries and rushing yards.

Le’Veon Bell – Bell (20-66-0 and 9-88 on 11 targets) had a tough time in the running game, but showed up as a receiver.  Bell gets one of the biggest workloads in the leagues so he’ll always put up stats one way or another.

LeSean McCoy – McCoy (18-150-0 and 2-8) had a big game against a tough Rams defense.  The Bills are now hitting their stride; they have San Francisco at home and are at Miami the next two weeks.

Theo Riddick – Riddick (11-49 and 6-33-2 on 6 targets) was mediocre but did catch 2 TDs and led the team in carries.  Riddick is the only back making a fantasy impact right now, but Zack Zenner (7-9) did steal some carries.

Injury Report (And Replacements)

Trevor Siemian (Shoulder) – Siemian is expected to return for the Broncos Week 6 game at San Diego on Thursday.  I don’t think I can start him this week, but he does have a juicy matchup.

Tony Romo (Back) – Romo is undergoing another MRI on his back and it’s possible that he returns after the Cowboy’s Week 7 bye.  There’s also talk that he may not even get the starting gig back, but Jerry Jones denies those rumors.

Cam Newton (Concussion) – Cam is questionable for Week 6 with a concussion.

Carson Palmer (Concussion) – As of now, Palmer is still listed as questionable for Week 6 with a concussion, but he’s expected to clear the NFL’s concussion protocol on Tuesday.

Eddie Lacy (Ankle) – Lacy was having a good game before he injured his ankle in the 3rd quarter; he’s questionable for Week 6 vs. Dallas.  The injury is not serious, but James Starks is always a must have for Lacy owners.

Jeremy Hill (Chest) – Hill reinjured his shoulder/chest and did not finish the game on Sunday.  He’s questionable for Week 6 at New England but initial reports are that he’s expected to play.  Bump up Giovani Bernard a few spots.

Latavius Murray (Turf Toe) – Murray missed Week 5’s game and the work was split between DeAndre Washington (9-23 and 5-29), Jalen Richard (8-31 and 6-66), and Jamize Olawale (6-22-1).  Murray is questionable for Week 6 vs. Kansas City but the team is hopeful he can play.

Doug Martin (Hamstring) / Charles Sims (IR – Knee) – Both Doug Martin and Charles Sims missed Monday night’s game against Carolina and Sims was placed on IR.  Jacquizz Rodgers (30-101-0 and 5-28 on 6 targets) led the way in Week 6.  Rodgers is the new Sims.

Rashad Jennings (Thumb) – Jennings is still questionable to play this week.  In his absence in Week 5, Orleans Darkwa got 7 carries, Bobby Rainey got 5, and Paul Perkins got 2.  Rainey also caught 6 balls and has become the new Shane Vereen.

Jonathan Stewart (Hamstring) – Questionable for Week 6.  In Week 5, Cameron Artis-Payne (18-85-2) and Fozzy Whittaker (5-45) shared the workload.

Arian Foster (Hamstring) – Questionable for Week 6.

Jeremy Langford (Ankle) – Langford has missed the past 2 weeks and may not have a job when he gets back.  Jordan Howard has back-to-back 100 yard games and has been giving the Bears a chance to win.

Thomas Rawls (Lower Leg) – Rawls is out for Week 6 vs. Atlanta.  Christine Michael will continue to fill in.

Randall Cobb (Neck) – Cobb took a nasty hit to his head/neck on Sunday.  He’s listed as questionable, but appears to be okay and expects to play Week 6 vs. Dallas.

Steve Smith (Ankle) – Smith left Sunday’s game with an ankle injury.  He’s questionable for week 6.

Dez Bryant (Knee) – Bryant is questionable for Week 6, but there’s a good possibility he sits this one out.  Dallas has a Week 7 bye and they do not want to rush back their star receiver.  Cole Beasley, Terrance Williams, and Brice Butler will need to fill in if he’s out again.

Eric Decker (Shoulder) – Decker is questionable for Week 6.  Quincy Enunwa would get the start opposite Brandon Marshall.

Stefon Diggs (Groin) – Diggs missed Week 5 but will hopefully be recovered from his groin injury after his Week 6 bye.

Mike Wallace (Undisclosed) – Wallace got crumpled on the last play of the game on Sunday.  He’s questionable for Week 6.

Terrance Williams (Shoulder) – It’s believed that Williams suffered a sprained AC joint.  He’s optimistic that he won’t miss any time, but we’ll have to see how he progresses at practice this week.

Gary Barnidge (Ankle) – Barnidge suffered an ankle injury, but it doesn’t appear to be serious.  He’s questionable for Week 6.

Tyler Eifert (Back) – Eifert is questionable to make his season debut in Week 6 at New England.

Words of Wisdom

When it comes to lineup decisions, play your studs.  You should only utilize matchups and surrounding circumstances when comparing two players on a similar tier.  I’m not starting Terrance West @NYG over Mark Ingram vs. Carolina.  West may still put up better stats at the end of the day, but you drafted Ingram for a reason.  I’d rather lose with my studs than take a chance on a lesser player having a good day because of matchup.

Week 6 is right around the corner with the San Diego Chargers hosting the Denver Broncos on Thursday.  It should be a good one!

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