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Top 6 Fantasy Football Waiver Pickups for Week 5

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Jay Cutler and the Bears are riding high on the Midway, but is he right for your fantasy team?

Ah, Week 4 was a great week, wasn't it? We saw just how good Peyton Manning and the Broncos can be, and we also saw just how atrociously awful Blaine Gabbert and the Jaguars can be. Did you pick up Danny Woodhead like we told you last week? Good man!

But hey, enough patting yourself on the back. You gotta turn the page, son! It's time to focus on Week 5, and the six must have waiver pickups for your team.


Alshon Jeffrey

Once a sexy sleeper pick recommended by discerning draft experts everywhere, Alshon Jeffrey has been quietly disappointing through the early season. Well, until this week, that is!

A complete non-factor in last year's Bears offense, Jeffrey has put up 19 targets over the past two games and has clearly entrenched himself as the WR2 in the solid Bears offense. His statistical comparables look good too: Torry Holt 2008, Terry Glenn 2002, and Deion Branch 2006 all make appearances.

Much like DeAndre Hopkins in Houston, Jeffrey is thriving off the attention paid to Brandon Marshall and the effectiveness of Matt Forte, giving him considerable upside for dynasty leagues and very real startability in a deep and PPR formats. You can expect 8-10 targets and 5-7 catches most weeks from here, putting him firmly in the WR3/WR4 category - play him in a shootouts and in bye-week pinches with confidence.

Rashad Jennings

(Note: All RB recommendations in this article are under the assumption that neither Danny Woodhead nor Roy Helu are available. If either are, stop reading this article and go add them. Do it even faster than that if you're PPR.)

This isn't the first time that Rashad Jennings has showed up in waiver articles; in fact, this is fairly close to a carbon copy of his routine in Jacksonville. He's not fast, he's not elusive, he's not a grinder nor is he a great blocker. What he is however is someone who finds ways to get yards, is active in the receiving game, and is in-line for a lot of touches in the right situation. Not only that, but he's put up a 61% success rate on rushes throughout his career; it's somewhat surprising that he's been so buried on depth charts.

There are two things worth noting about this recommendation, though. The first is that Darren McFadden's injury status is still of some debate. The second, perhaps more germane, is that Oakland is an unpredictable monster. If you can stomach both of those notes, consider Jennings as an intriguing option in deeper leagues. It's a safe bet that your league is fairly slim at RB however, and any RB with the potential of 20-plus touches is worth close consideration.

Jay Cutler

Consider this to be less a recommendation of Jay Cutler, and more a condemnation of what was previously thought to be the middle class of QBs. Eli Manning has been atrocious. Ben Roethlisberger puts up numbers (and turnovers!) in garbage time like the new Carson Palmer, whereas Carson Palmer itself is yet another brick in Larry Fitzgerald's wall. So where do you turn when you need a solid, consistent backup? Assuming Alex Smith isn't available - I can't believe I just typed that - it's time to say hello to Jay. The fundamentals are there: he's #9 in our PNEP metrics, well-ahead of more name-brand starts like Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson, and Tony Romo.

It feels very odd to be leading with Cutler - mostly due to his years of average play - but in a league with very few decent backups available, he's a great option for a bench stash and emergency play due to byes and matchups. We know that Forte and Brandon Marshall are elite, and we also know that Alshon Jeffrey is slowly putting it together as a legit WR2 option. Throw in a decent Martellus Bennett and a favorable schedule and Jay just might be vital cog for your team.

LeGarrette Blount

Not a lot of depth available on the RB waivers, is there?

Let's get the cold water out of the way first, shall we? His statline is massively inflated by a singular play. New England is a passing team that is going to get Gronk back soon, thus limiting what is already a limited segment of plays due to the RBBC with Ridley and Bolden. Further, Blount is as involved in the passing game as I am, so he's of almost negative value to your bench in a PPR league, but with all of that said..

..we like LeGarrette Blount. And by that, I mean his metrics are very good - he adds 0.13 points per rush more to his team's offense that the average RB in the same situation. Yeah, it's a small sample size, but that efficiency is what's driving his usage: fourteen carries last week, nine this week, and perhaps more if Bolden is injured.

Jerome Simpson

I'm torn here. I absolutely do not think for a second that Jerome Simpson can replicate his Week 4 performance this season. I think that the Steelers defense is much, much worse than people realize. Not only that, Simpson had the largesse of incompetent tackling and horrific angles multiplying what should have been average gains into huge plays.

But you can't really argue with what he's done, can you? Just like Alshon Jeffrey, he's had 19 targets over the past two weeks but unlike Alshon, he's got no real WR1 to dominate targets. His situation is surely better with Cassel at the helm - mostly because Christian Ponder is terrible, costing his team 0.12 points every time he throws the ball - so if you want to give him a shot and potentially trade him at his peak (assuming he's got another big week in him, a big if) to an absolute sucker, more power to you.

Heath Miller

Not going to spend a ton of time on this one, because you know exactly what Heath Miller will bring to the table by now. He's a third-down security blanket unrivaled by anyone not named Witten, and if the Steelers are going to be playing defense like they did in Week 4, Ben is going to have to wing the ball all over the field to keep up. The fact that they still play Jerricho Cotchery should tell the general level of talent on the Steelers offense right now, so you have to think that eventually defenses will think to double down on Antonio Brown, leaving Heath some room in the middle to work.

Coby Fleener is probably my #2 here, but I'm leaning towards Miller. Both are good pickups.


Quick Hits

Justin Blackmon: Not yet. Too rusty, team is too awful.

Nate Washington: He's tantalized us before, but if Locker is out for a long period of time, Fitzpatrick will step in and check down like Alex Smith without his contacts in.

Garrett Graham: Not even the top TE on his team. Fluke. Don't buy it. If you have to go TE, take Heath or Coby Fleener.

Brian Hoyer: I'm loving what they're doing, but he's got no roster value. Take a stable QB like Cutler or Alex Smith instead.

Robert Woods: Not buying until I see more consistency out of E.J. Manuel, but definitely an add in dynasty formats. The talent is clearly there, though.


The Last Word

Maybe next week: Nate Washington, Robert Woods, Roy Helu Jr., Terrence Williams, Austin Pettis

Better luck tomorrow: Sean McGrath, Dexter McCluster, Chris Polk, Jeff Maehl, Keenan Allen, Timothy Wright

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In This Article

Heath Miller
TE, Pittsburgh Steelers

Jay Cutler
QB, Chicago Bears

Jerome Simpson
WR, Minnesota Vikings

LeGarrette Blount
RB, New England Patriots

Nate Washington
WR, Tennessee Titans

Rashad Jennings
RB, Oakland Raiders

Justin Blackmon
WR, Jacksonville Jaguars

Alshon Jeffery
WR, Chicago Bears

Brian Hoyer
QB, Cleveland Browns

Garrett Graham
TE, Houston Texans

Robert Woods
WR, Buffalo Bills

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