There are moments in life that stick with you. For instance, I will always remember where I was when I received a text from my friend that Jamaal Charles — the key cog in my fantasy football roster for the past two years and this year as well — went down with a noncontact injury in a game against the Chicago Bears. I was in a meeting in a peer’s Village A apartment, and upon learning the news, I let out a loud groan and sunk into the cushions of the couch. I couldn’t pay attention to the rest of the meeting. The noncontact injury turned out to be the worst-case scenario for Charles, the Kansas City Chiefs and Charles’ fantasy football owners as he was diagnosed with a torn ACL in his right knee. Charles will be out for the remainder of the year.
If you are also a Charles owner, or simply would like to bother his former owner in your league, target Abilene Christian product Charcandrick West (not Knile Davis, the well-known former backup of Charles) on your league’s waiver wire. West received most of the carries after Charles went down on Sunday and Coach Andy Reid has compared him favorably to Charles. While Knile Davis could still get some work, the best bet is that West will lead the Chiefs backfield as they take on the Minnesota Vikings this week.
Whether your squad is suffering from other injuries (Alshon Jeffery, I’m looking at you), underperforming stars (thanks, C.J. Anderson, although if you read my pre-season columns, hopefully you didn’t target him in your draft) or is simply riddled with players on bye weeks, the waiver wire can be your best friend. I will highlight some players that are currently owned in less than 25 percent of NFL.com fantasy football leagues that can pay huge dividends in Week 6 and beyond for your roster.
At quarterback, Jacksonville Jaguar Blake Bortles has put up sneaky QB1 numbers through the first five weeks of the regular season. Currently owned in 17.8 percent of leagues, Bortles, while an erratic passer, has benefited from throwing to an emerging receiver corps that includes Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns and now Julius Thomas. Target Bortles if you have been currently using Tyrod Taylor, who will miss Week 6 due to injury, or if you have become disheartened by poor play from the likes of Peyton Manning. Bortles has a juicy matchup against a vulnerable Texans secondary in Week 6.
At running back, if you miss out on West, one other player to target is Thomas Rawls of the Seattle Seahawks. Owned in 20.1 percent of leagues, Rawls has been Beast Mode Lite in the absence of Marshawn Lynch, rumbling for 169 yards and a touchdown against a solid Cincinnati Bengals defense during Week 5. While Lynch is rumored to return in Week 6, Rawls has entered the hallowed territory of handcuffs worth owning in fantasy. Even if Lynch returns, it is important to note he only averaged 3.4 yards per carry in the three games he played in this year. With Rawls showing his tremendous value in Lynch’s absence, he could be knocking on the door of stealing carries from Lynch and would be a certified RB1 if Lynch re-injures himself. That level of potential deserves to be on your bench.
Finally, there is a plethora of tempting wide receiver pickups this week. Rookie Willie Snead, owned in 12.5 percent of leagues, highlights this group after totaling 17 targets, 12 catches and 230 yards over the past two weeks. With the New Orleans Saints offense showing life in Week 5 with a big game from Brandin Cooks, Snead’s strong rapport with Drew Brees should be noted. If he’s out there in your league, pick him up. Atlanta Falcon Leonard Hankerson, who had a down game in Week 5 due to a rib injury but who remains a critical element in Matt Ryan’s offense, is another wide receiver to keep an eye on. In addition, Chicago Bear Marquess Wilson, who holds fantasy appeal as long as Alshon Jeffery remains sidelined, and local Washington Redskins player Jamison Crowder are also potential contributors. With 15 catches over the past two weeks, Crowder is emerging as a favorite target of quarterback Kirk Cousins and a true WR3 in point-per-reception leagues even when DeSean Jackson and Jordan Reed return from injury.
Until next time, fantasy lovers, play on.
Joe Lanzilla is a senior in the School of Foreign Service. Fantasy Football Corner appears every other Friday.
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