Fantasy Football: Week-Ahead Stash Candidates for Week 5

Fantasy football is all about being a step ahead of your competition, and this weekly column aims to help you achieve just that.

The following offers suggestions for players to pick up now (who are currently under 50% rostered) so that that you won’t need to use a high waiver claim or spend a significant amount of free agent acquisition budget (FAB) on them next week.

Justin Jackson, Running Back, Los Angeles Chargers

ESPN Roster Percentage: 44.7%

Justin Jackson suddenly has a great opportunity for touches after Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler was placed on injured reserve with a hamstring injury. Rookie Joshua Kelley is likely to see the bulk of work, as he was just behind Ekeler in snaps and touches -- with Jackson being a distant third.

Los Angeles has the third-highest run rate in one-score games in the league, per Sharp Football Stats, and Ekeler and Kelley had the second-most carries of any running back tandem through the first four weeks of the season, so Jackson should still get solid work as the 1B back in a run-heavy offense.

The Chargers will face the New Orleans Saints this week, a defense that ranks 18th in FanDuel points allowed to running backs on the season. But starting in Week 6, Los Angeles will face the Jets, Dolphins, Jaguars and Raiders -- all of which rank in the top nine for most points allowed to running backs.

With bye weeks starting and injuries piling up, Jackson could prove to be a valuable fantasy option during Los Angeles’ stretch of friendly matchups.

Christian Kirk, WR, Arizona Cardinals

ESPN Roster Percentage: 43.1%

The Arizona Cardinals' offense is basically the Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins show. Murray and Hopkins each rank top seven in FanDuel points at their respective positions, while no other Cardinal ranks in the top 30.

Murray may or may not start spreading the ball around more as the season continues, but the best shot of that happening is in the next few weeks. Arizona will play the Jets this weekend, a defense that ranks 19th in FanDuel points allowed to wide receivers, but they will then play the Dallas Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks in back-to-back weeks.

Dallas and Seattle are the two teams allowing the most FanDuel points to receivers this year, with Dallas allowing the most touchdowns in the league and Seattle allowing the most targets, receptions and yards. If there’s ever a time for Christian Kirk -- who ranks second on the Cards in targets per game -- to go off, it’ll be in Week 6 and Week 7, so snag him now while you can.

Eric Ebron, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers

ESPN Roster Percentage: 32.9%

After an offseason of hype, Eric Ebron has had a slow start to the season and has grabbed just nine receptions through three games. But Ebron’s usage has steadily increased, as his snaps played has risen from 40 to 50 to 60 in three games, and his targets have risen from two to five to seven.

Pittsburgh’s Week 4 game was canceled due to Tennessee's positive COVID-19 test results, but the Steelers will suit up again this week against the Philadelphia Eagles and next week against the Cleveland Browns. The Eagles and Browns each rank bottom-six in receptions, yards, touchdowns and FanDuel points allowed to tight ends this season.

If Ebron’s usage and production continue to increase, he could have a breakout game against Philadelphia this week and then be a top add for a lot of people next week, especially those who will need to find a replacement for Darren Waller during Waller's bye in Week 6. Ebron should be added to rosters now before this potential blow-up spot.

Los Angeles Chargers Defense

Roster Percentage: 31.6%

Jets, Dolphins, Jaguars, Raiders. As we mentioned above with Jackson, that's the Chargers' schedule after they play the Saints this weekend.

It’s not as cupcake of a schedule for the Bolts' D as it sounds, as those teams rank 32nd, 13th, 22nd and 19th in FanDuel points allowed to opposing defenses. But the Chargers D/ST is worth picking up now for the Week 6 matchup against the Jets, and the following three games are very manageable games for a talented Los Angeles defense that ranks sixth in our Defensive Net Expected Points (NEP) per play and eighth in pressure rate.

The Chargers' D isn’t worth playing this week against New Orleans but should be rostered now ahead of its favorable upcoming four-week stretch, especially the Week 6 date with Gang Green.