We are entering the middle grind of the fantasy football season. With the bye weeks in full force and the injuries continuing to pile up, the waiver wire is more important than ever in this stretch of the season.
Week 5 was another bad day for injuries, the worst of which happened to the New York Giants. Odell Beckham Jr. is done for the year with a broken ankle, while Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepared are probably out multiple weeks with sprained ankles. The Houston Texans lost both J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus to season-ending injuries, severely downgrading their D/ST unit. DeVante Parker also sprained his ankle and Travis Kelce is in the concussion protocol. It was a bad week.
On top of that, here are this week’s bye teams and the players that won’t be available to fantasy owners.
Buffalo Bills: QB Tyrod Taylor, LeSean McCoy, WR Zay Jones
Cincinnati Bengals: QB Andy Dalton, RBs Joe Mixon, Giovani Bernard, and Jeremy Hill, WRs A.J. Green and Brandon LaFell, TE Tyler Kroft
Dallas Cowboys: QB Dak Prescott, RB Ezekiel Elliott, WR Dez Bryant, TE Jason Witten
Seattle Seahawks: QB Russell Wilson, RBs Thomas Rawls and Eddie Lacy, WRs Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett
Once again, it figures to be a busy week on the waiver wire. Here are the top five options owned in 50 percent or less of Yahoo! leagues.
1. RB Wayne Gallman, New York Giants (39 percent)
The Giants’ running game has been a trash fire all season, so it felt like only a matter of time before they gave Gallman a look. The fourth-round rookie got his chance when Paul Perkins and Orleans Darkwa went out injured, taking 16 touches for 82 total yards. Gallman isn’t an otherworldy talent, but just seeing a Giants running back make plays was a sight for sore eyes. He’ll be a plugged-in RB2 if Darkwa and Perkins sit next week.
2. WR Nelson Agholor, Philadelphia Eagles (31 percent)
The 2015 first-round pick was terrible his first two seasons, and many people rightfully dismissed him as a draft bust. But he seems to be turning it around in his third year, developing chemistry with Carson Wentz and making big plays. Agholor had one of Sunday’s best highlight-reel plays, completely turning Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker inside out on a 72-yard touchdown catch. With the Eagles’ offense humming along, Agholor will be a WR3 play against the Carolina Panthers this week.
3. QB Sam Bradford, Minnesota Vikings (18 percent)
Bradford tore up the New Orleans Saints in Week 1, giving the Vikings’ offense new life, and then … disappeared. A mysterious knee injury kept him out for the next three games while the offense sputtered under Case Keenum, then lost Dalvin Cook to a torn ACL. But now Bradford is back, riding in on a white horse to save the season. Well, he probably isn’t, but Bradford will be on the QB2 radar once again when the Vikings play the Green Bay Packers.
4. WR Roger Lewis, New York Giants (2 percent)
I’ll be straight with you — I never heard of Lewis before Sunday. Yet here he is, suddenly thrust into a bigger role with Beckham, Marshall, Shepard, and Dwayne Harris all out. It’s possible Lewis simply isn’t good, but who else is Eli Manning going to throw to? The Giants will have a miserable time against the Denver Broncos and their No Fly Zone, but Lewis is in play as a WR5 desperation option.
5. WR Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams (47 percent)
The good news is that Jared Goff keeps feeding Kupp, who somehow has more targets (29) than Sammy Watkins (20) this season. The bad news is that Kupp doesn’t often take advantage of those targets, capping off as a short-yardage possession receiver. He had a perfect chance to be the hero in Week 5, but Goff’s game-winning touchdown pass bounced off his hands. Kupp is useful in PPR leagues, but he’ll be more of a WR4 against the Jacksonville Jaguars this week.
Honorable mentions: Alex Collins, John Brown, Marqise Lee, Jamaal Charles, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Elijah McGuire, Jacoby Brissett