Fantasy Football FAB Report: Week 5
Free agent budget waivers (FAB) are, without a doubt, the way to go. While some leagues are still sticking to the ancient ways of rolling list waivers (yuck) or waiver priority determined by the reverse order of standings (barf), many of the savvy ones are moving over to budgets. It makes sense -- why not give every manager an equal shot at every player. Do you really want to reward people for sucking at fantasy? Okay...rant over.
Every Tuesday evening, I (along with most managers in leagues with FAB waivers) spend countless hours trying to figure out how much to offer for the week's top available players -- which so happens to be exactly what this piece will cover.
Let's get to this week's top players and how much of my budget I'd be willing to offer to acquire them.
(The suggested offers are for 12-team, half-PPR leagues.)
Depending on your scoring and roster formats, how much you should spend at quarterback varies from league to league. If you're in a traditional, four-point-per-touchdown, one-quarterback league, there is rarely an occurrence where you should be spending a big chunk of your budget on the position. However, if you're in a Superflex or straight up two-quarterback league, that story changes entirely. With that in mind, let's look at this week's top streaming options.
The suggested salaries in this piece will be for standard scoring leagues.
Justin Herbert (16% rostered) - Those streaming quarterbacks should look to dish out a couple of extra bucks for the Los Angeles Chargers rookie. Herbert's averaging 310.3 passing yards through three contests and has scored multiple touchdowns in two of them. Herbert will get a tasty matchup in Week 5 in the New Orleans Saints. The Saints have surrendered the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing passers, and they rank sixth-worst in Adjusted Defensive Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per play. But wait, there's more! Following the upcoming matchup, Herbert gets to face the New York Jets (2nd-worst), Miami Dolphins (15th-worst), Jacksonville Jaguars (worst), and Las Vegas Raiders (8th-worst) in consecutive matchups. Herbert's a streamer worth paying up for.
Suggested offer: 5-8%
Gardner Minshew (46% rostered) - Minshewmania's dud in Week 3 could have managers down on him, hence the 46% rostership. To date, Minshew is fantasy's QB11 -- he's been a top-12 quarterback in three of his four games this season. Now, he faces a Houston Texans defense that ranks third-worst in Adjusted Passing NEP per play. Minshew will be a mid-level QB2 in Week 5, though he's a great streamer.
Suggested offer: 1-3%
Other options (no more than 1-2%): Teddy Bridgewater (19% rostered) has a date with the Atlanta Falcons in Week 5 -- need I say more? ... Jimmy Garoppolo (31% rostered) gets the Dolphins in Week 5. He's a fantastic streamer, though with his status uncertain, be prepared to have to turn elsewhere ... Daniel Jones (35% rostered) has [checks notes] zero touchdowns over his last three games, though that could change against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 5.
Unlike quarterback, running back is a premier position in almost every format. For that reason, this is a position you'll want to be generous with. Of course, some backs have more value in PPR (point-per-reception) leagues than they do in standard, so be sure to keep that in mind.
Justin Jackson (5% rostered) - While everyone rushes to add Joshua Kelley (55% rostered), you should be able to get Jackson for a more reasonable offer. Jackson made his debut in Week 3 and only played 11 snaps, though that jumped to 21 in Week 4. While Kelley is likely to get a large share of the workload, there's a good chance that Jackson sees a lot of work in Austin Ekeler's lengthy absence. He has flex appeal going forward.
Suggested offer: 10-13%
D'Ernest Johnson (2% rostered) - Chances are that Johnson is available in your league, and after he recorded 13 carries for 95 yards in Week 4, it's fair to wonder whether he's worth splurging on. With Nick Chubb expected to miss around five games, Johnson should have relevance for a while. Among the 26 backs with double-digit carries in Week 4, Johnson ranked fourth in Rushing NEP per play and fifth in Rushing Success Rate (i.e., the percentage of carries that lead to positive NEP for a team’s offense). It is worth noting that Kareem Hunt (second and first) ranked ahead of Johnson in both categories. Hunt was limited in practice throughout the week, and his 35% snap share from Week is bound to go way, way up. Hunt handled 20-plus touches 11 times through his first 27 career games, so he's more than capable of carrying the load. I'd expect Johnson to spell Hunt, rather than split time with the former Pro-Bowler.
Suggested offer: 6-8%
Chase Edmonds (35% rostered) - Among the 34 backs with more than 30 carries in 2020, Kenyan Drake ranks 23rd in Rushing NEP per play and 22nd in Rushing Success Rate. Meanwhile, Edmonds bests drake in both marks. Additionally, 52 backs have at least five receptions this season -- Drake ranks 50th in Reception NEP per target, Edmonds ranks 19th. If Drake continues to struggle, Edmonds, who has seen at least a 32% snap share through each of the first four games, could see an uptick in usage.
Suggested offer: 5-8%
Ke'Shawn Vaughn (6% rostered) - Vaughn was active for the first time in Week 4, and he totaled 26 yards, 2 receptions, and a score in his NFL debut. Head coach Bruce Arians is seemingly trying to emulate Bill Belichick with his running back usage, but Vaughn is worth a small offer in deeper leagues.
Suggested offer: 2%
While it may vary based on scoring (standard versus PPR), wideouts are generally valued at similar rates in most formats. However, leagues that require you to start at least three wideouts could see inflated offers at the position.
Scotty Miller (16% rostered) - Miller has garnered at least five targets in three of his four games this season, and he should continue to see looks with O. J. Howard and his 19 targets out for the year, and Chris Godwin likely out for the short turnaround in Week 5. Miller has now posted at least 73 receiving yards in three of his four contests, and he added a touchdown to boot in Week 4. Among the 76 wideouts with at least 15 targets, Miller ranks 26th in Reception NEP per target and 19th in Target Success Rate (i.e., the percentage of targets leading to increases in NEP). Miller's an excellent filler in your flex spot if you need the production.
Suggested offer: 5-7%
Tim Patrick (2% rostered) - Patrick has recorded 21 targets through four games, and he's posted 156 yards and 2 scores over his last two outings. Of the 76 receivers with at least 15 targets this season, Patrick currently ranks 12th in Reception NEP per reception and 20th in Reception NEP per reception. With Courtland Sutton out for the year and K.J. Hamler banged-up, Patrick should be worth an add -- don't go crazy though.
Suggested offer: 5%
Other options (no more than 3-5%): Laviska Shenault (24% rostered) is starting to see more volume, with six targets in each of the last two games. He's still stuck in a messy depth chart, so don't make any extravagant offers ... Alshon Jeffery (16% rostered) has gotten in a couple of limited practices, and given the state of the Philadelphia Eagles' receiving corps, he's worth a stash. Jeffery had at least 60 yards or a score in 12 of his last 23 games ... Hunter Renfrow (42% rostered) has totaled 17 targets in his last two contests -- he's a worthy streamer as long as Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards are out ... Greg Ward (19% rostered) didn't have a fantastic outing in Week 4, though he has received 18 targets in his last two outings.
Eric Ebron (27% rostered) - At a position that's about as deep as Adam Gase is creative, we'll take all the options we can get. Ebron has shown signs of becoming a (somewhat) reliable producer at tight end. Over his last two games, Ebron has garnered 12 targets, including 2 in the red zone. Remember, this is a guy who has already proven that he can be a weapon inside the opponent's 20.
Suggested offer: 4-5%
Jimmy Graham (49% rostered) - Graham predictably posted a dud in a tough matchup in Week 4, but it was encouraging that he still received 5 targets. It was the third time in four games that Graham saw at least five looks. A tight end getting targets is a tight end we're interested in.
Suggested offer: 2-4%