The bye weeks officially begin, although a couple of teams have already taken theirs prematurely due to COVID. Hopefully, no other games are delayed but we know to always be prepared for unexpected changes to the schedule.
The waiver wire will be more important in 2020 than any previous season, especially after waivers clear in most leagues. Use the players suggested here for your early-week claims but keep the rest in mind for later in the week if necessary and check our NFL news feed for the latest injury updates.
As always, the options listed at each position below are listed in order of priority to help you plan your claims accordingly. Players listed will be approximately 40% rostered or lower in Yahoo leagues. For a deeper look at each position, check out our separate weekly waiver wire columns at QB, RB, WR, and TE.Editor's Note: Love the strategy of season-long fantasy sports? Live for the short term gratification of DFS? Try Weekly Fantasy Sports on OwnersBox - a new weekly DFS platform. Sign up today for a FREE $50 Deposit Match. Sign Up Now!
Quarterbacks - Waiver Wire Options
Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers - 16% rostered
What a start to a career Herbert is having. Despite taking the L to Tom Brady (no shame there), Herbert fell 10 yards shy of throwing for 300 or more in each of his first three starts. Instead, he settled for 290 yards along with three touchdowns. This came without Mike Williams and Austin Ekeler, who was carted off the field in the first half. If Ekeler is out for an extended period of time, the rookie QB may have to shoulder even more of the load. Herbert should be added in all 12+ team leagues and can be streamed for those needing to replace Cam Newton, Aaron Rodgers, or Matthew Stafford in Week 5.
Teddy Bridgewater, Carolina Panthers - 19% rostered
This Panthers offense is doing just fine without Christian McCaffrey, as it turns out. They've won consecutive games, scoring 21 and 31 points respectively. Bridgewater isn't putting up huge numbers on a weekly basis but he is coming off his best fantasy day as a Panther. He threw for 276 yards with two TD and one INT, also running for 32 yards and a touchdown. The reason to add Teddy B this week isn't so much his productivity in Week 4 but his matchup in Week 5 against the Falcons. Until further notice, stream any QB playing in Atlanta. The Falcons are allowing a league-worst 13 passing touchdowns and 37.5 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks.
Philip Rivers, Indianapolis Colts - 21% rostered
Week 4 was a terrible matchup against the Bears and proved to be unfavorable for Rivers' statline; he finished with 190 passing yards and one TD. In Week 5, Rivers gets to face the Cleveland Browns, who rank as the third-worst pass defense in the league, allowing 331 passing yards and three TD per game. It's not a guarantee Rivers can reach those totals but it should be a safe floor as far as streaming options go.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Miami Dolphins - 36% rostered
The Seahawks' porous defense early this season along with a projected game script that should have favored the passing game didn't result in the fantasy game many predicted. The Dolphins kept the game close until the very end and the Hawks defended the pass well. In the previous two games, Fitzpatrick went for two TD with zero INT but it was flipped this game, as Seattle picked him off twice and he failed to reach the end zone, at least through the air. A rushing touchdown saved his fantasy day but it was far from a top-10 QB day. A road game with the Niners keeps him outside streaming range so only add him in two-QB or Superflex leagues.
Brett Rypien, Denver Broncos - 2% rostered
This will not be a glowing endorsement of the undrafted rookie just because he led his team to victory Thursday night. It was against the freaking Jets. It also doesn't matter that he's the nephew of former Super Bowl MVP Mark Rypien. He was a solid starter for five seasons but finished with a 115-88 TD-INT rate so it's not like we're talking about the Son of Jorel. Rypien was efficient early but finished with three interceptions. Again, this came against the Jets who had one INT coming into this game which came off Nick Mullens. Rypien also won't be the starter too long as Drew Lock will return in a couple of weeks. Rypien can be added in Superflex or two-QB leagues simply because he is a starting QB for the moment but don't throw him into your lineup against the Patriots for any reason.
Others to consider: Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings (29% rostered)
Running Backs - Waiver Wire Options
D'Ernest Johnson, Cleveland Browns - 1% rostered
Johnson should be the most-added running back this week now that it appears Nick Chubb will miss six weeks due to an MCL injury. Kareem Hunt instantly becomes a top-10 fantasy RB, if not higher. Johnson is the biggest beneficiary, though. He goes from complete non-factor to must-add in a Browns offense that has been very effective running the ball. Proof lies in the fact Johnson collected 95 yards on 13 carries in relief of Chubb in Week 4. The matchup with Indianapolis and their top-ranked defense is terrible timing for those looking for an instant replacement for Chubb or Ekeler but this could be a long-term add worth investing in.
Damien Harris, New England Patriots - 26% rostered
Seeing as how this is a Pats RB and we've been down this road before, let's try to temper our excitement. Harris looked great in the preseason and then flashed on Monday night in his first game off the IR list. Harris put up a c-note by going for 100 rushing yards on just 17 carries in Kansas City. This might be more impressive considering Cam Newton was out, the team was shuffling between backup QBs who couldn't move the ball and they were losing throughout the game. Positive game script or a weak opponent have nothing to do with his performance. The only downside is that this is technically a five-man backfield with Sony Michel, James White, Rex Burkhead, and J.J. Taylor already in the mix and showing various forms of effectiveness at some point. Harris is a must-add where available but he can't be trusted as a weekly RB2 just yet.
Chase Edmonds, Arizona Cardinals - 34% rostered
Normally, Edmonds would be reserved for the "insurance policy" section along with Mattison, Williams, and others without standalone value. This week, however, non-Drake owners in deep PPR leagues might want to take a look. Kenyan Drake had his worst performance in what should have been a smash spot versus Carolina. The Panthers' defense still ranks fourth-worst against running backs but Drake managed just 35 yards on 13 carries and wasn't targeted at all. He's averaging 3.8 yards per carry and has a total of five receptions for 20 yards total in four games. Aside from his bust-worthy performance, Drake left in the fourth quarter of Week 4 with a chest injury. It has been reported that he simply had the wind knocked out of him, but it could still create an excuse for increased playing time for Edmonds, who has been more efficient with his sparse touches. He caught five of six targets for 24 yards and a TD against Carolina and should be involved enough in the passing game to retain a high floor.
Justin Jackson, Los Angeles Chargers - 6% rostered
Austin Ekeler's Grade 2 hamstring injury will keep him shelved for several weeks, so Jackson gets his shot to contribute. He's done nothing when on the field for limited time, carrying eight times for 13 yards. This doesn't jive with his career 5.1 yards per carry average, so it could be that a preseason quad injury is still hampering him. He's not a high-end pickup since Joshua Kelley has looked better and will be the lead back but desperate times call for desperate waiver wire additions.
Anthony McFarland Jr., Pittsburgh Steelers - 2% rostered
Don't forget about the Steelers' rookie who may take over the RB2 role ahead of Benny Snell Jr. Pittsburgh had their bye week earlier than expected due to COVID running rampant on their original Week 4 opponent Tennessee. They are scheduled to face the Eagles in Week 5. McFarland is an insurance policy for James Conner and deep-league stash only.
Ke'Shawn Vaughn, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 6% rostered
A small segment of the fantasy population cheered loudly when Vaughn took the field and then scored his first NFL touchdown. The rest of us will quickly point out it took three injuries to Bucs running backs for him to take an offensive snap and he only saw five touches (three carries for four yards, two catches for 22 yards). He didn't look special and won't be a factor unless Leonard Fournette and LeSean McCoy both miss the next game. His mention here does not equal an endorsement but
Others to consider: Alexander Mattison, Minnesota Vikings (37% rostered); Brian Hill, Atlanta Falcons (27% rostered); Duke Johnson, Houston Texans (18% rostered); Frank Gore, New York Jets (17% rostered); Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals (18% rostered)
Wide Receivers - Waiver Wire Options
Scotty Miller, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 16% rostered
The Scooter is back. After a letdown in Week 2, Miller has gone for 83 yards in consecutive games and scored his first touchdown in Week 4. Chris Godwin won't play in Week 5 and O.J. Howard is gone for the season with an Achilles injury. Miller seems assured of a high target share, especially if Mike Evans' ankle flares up during the game.
Hunter Renfrow, Las Vegas Raiders - 42% rostered
With Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards out, Renfrow again received the majority of the WR targets from Derek Carr. He caught five passes for 57 yards against Buffalo a week after catching six passes for 84 yards against New England. There's a good chance the Raiders will have to pass frequently in Kansas City next week, so Renfrow could have WR3 appeal in full PPR leagues.
Christian Kirk, Arizona Cardinals - 33% rostered
The signing of DeAndre Hopkins has severely eaten into Kirk's third-year breakout potential. He's been a forgotten man and then had a groin injury to deal with. His return in Week 4 resulted in a short touchdown but not much else, as he wound up with 19 yards. The remedy might be a matchup with the Jets, who just made Tim Patrick look like a star. Kirk isn't a surefire WR3 due to his volatile usage but the boom potential is certainly there.
Olamide Zaccheaus, Atlanta Falcons - 2% rostered
Julio Jones was supposed to be healthy enough to be a near full-go in Week 4. He wasn't. Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage should have benefited when he left the game early. They didn't. Instead, undrafted Olamide Zaccheaus made his presence felt in Atlanta's offense for a second straight week. This time, he caught eight passes for 86 yards, both team highs. The fact that Ridley came away with donuts on his statline shows that he might not be healthy either after being listed as questionable with a hamstring issue of his own. Zaccheaus belongs on the streaming radar even if Ridley and Jones suit up again, as was the case last week.
Tim Patrick, Denver Broncos - 1% rostered
If you watched Thursday night's stinkfest between the Broncos and Jets, you saw Tim Patrick do his best Courtland Sutton impression by catching six passes for 113 yards and a touchdown. Rookie KJ Hamler stood to be the breakout receiver in his stead but he left the game with a hamstring injury and may not play in the coming week. That would make Patrick a very tempting pickup except that he'll be facing the Patriots secondary in Week 5 instead of the Jets.
Jeff Smith, New York Jets - 0% rostered
No, that wasn't Devin Smith catching passes from Sam Darnold. It was 2019 undrafted free agent Jeff Smith out of Boston College. The barrage of injuries to the receiving corps led to an opportunity that Smith firmly seized in Week 4. He was targeted nine times and caught seven of those for 81 yards, working behind only Jamison Crowder. If that becomes a trend going forward, Smith could have sneaky value. His upside is certainly greater than Chris Hogan and it doesn't appear as if Breshad Perriman is returning soon. Smith was off the radar after missing the first three weeks with his own injury issue (shoulder) but his immediate impact and impressive measurables might be worth considering.
Gabriel Davis, Buffalo Bills - 2% rostered
The Bills' passing offense is officially good enough to support four wide receivers. That is not a misprint. Even with John Brown playing the whole game in his return from a calf injury, Davis caught an early touchdown and has looked sharp despite his rookie status. He serves more as an insurance policy than a streamer right now.
David Moore, Seattle Seahawks - 1% rostered
Anybody catching passes from Russell Wilson is bound to blow up at some point. Week 4 marks the second time Moore has reached the end zone this season and the third time he's caught exactly three passes. It's not much of a ceiling but the occasional game with 10+ fantasy points can serve as streaming material during bye weeks. The Seahawks play a burnable Vikings Defense next.
Tre'Quan Smith, New Orleans Saints - 27% rostered
Smith seems to do his best work when nobody expects it and then disappears when we think he's finally developing into a reliable receiver. The two-TD outburst in Detroit was nice but he will be hard to trust in Week 5 when facing the Chargers. The Saints have their bye the following week and Michael Thomas should return for the next contest, so Smith's appeal comes as a short-term streamer for desperate teams only.
Isaiah Ford, Miami Dolphins - 1% rostered
Preston Williams just hasn't come along as hoped, seeing no more than two receptions in a game this year. Ford was second on the team in targets (10) in Week 4, although he only came down with four of those for 48 yards. Ford could emerge as the WR2 before long. On a team that will have its share of days playing from behind, following the targets could result in productive Sundays on occasion.
Others to consider: Mecole Hardman, Kansas City Chiefs (36% rostered); Golden Tate, New York Giants (35% rostered); Tee Higgins, Cincinnati Bengals (33% rostered); Laviska Shenault Jr. (29% rostered); Greg Ward, Philadelphia Eagles (19% rostered); Cole Beasley, Buffalo Bills (25% rostered); Darnell Mooney, Chicago Bears (1% rostered)
Tight Ends - Waiver Wire Options
Robert Tonyan, Green Bay Packers - 25% rostered
The loss of Allen Lazard and consecutive games missed by Davante Adams provided a window of opportunity for another Packers receiver to emerge. It wasn't a wide receiver or second-year tight end Jace Sternberger who took advantage, but third-year UDFA out of Indiana State (yes, they have a football program) Robert Tonyan who smashed the window into pieces and climbed through the entryway. He scored three times on MNF along with six receptions for 98 yards. He now has five TD in the past three games with at least one score in each. Needless to say, this would be your top TE target on waivers except that Green Bay has a bye in Week 5 so he won't help the streaming crowd. If you can stash him as your backup, do so anyway.
Mo Alie-Cox, Indianapolis Colts - 33% rostered
MAC saw just two targets in Week 4, mainly due to the return of Trey Burton along with Jack Doyle at TE. This Indy offense is also making an effort to be more diverse, which means that it might be hard to trust any single option in the passing game. Case in point, 10 different players were targeted in the win over Chicago, with nine catching at least one pass and nobody catching more than three passes. MAC may not be a breakout performer in 2020 but he has scored an early touchdown in back-to-back games and appears to have Rivers' attention in the red zone. The Browns allow the fourth-most fantasy points to tight ends, so Alie-Cox is a strong streaming option this week.
Drew Sample, Cincinnati Bengals - 3% rostered
Sample nearly came down with a touchdown that instead resulted in an interception as Myles Jack took a jump ball out of his hands. It was a great defensive play more so than a blunder by Sample and it proves that he still has fantasy value with the way he's being used. Sample was viewed as a blocking TE coming out of college but he now has 15 targets over the past three games since C.J. Uzomah tore his Achilles. He also has no competition at his position on a team that is throwing the ball 44 times per game. There will be ups and downs but Sample's floor remains relatively high at a volatile position.
Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 0% rostered
Brate found the end zone for his only catch of the day in Week 4. The three-yard reception also happened to be his first-ever from Tom Brady. This would be meaningless if not for an injury that could keep O.J. Howard out for the rest of 2020 in what appears to be a torn Achilles. Brate will be touchdown-dependent as usual but the same can be said for most tight ends on the waiver wire.
Donald Parham Jr., Los Angeles Chargers - 0% rostered
Since I've already touted D'Ernest Johnson, let's continue the XFL ex-pat theme with one more. Parham caught his first and only NFL pass for a touchdown in Carolina, which has undoubtedly led to a lot of Google searches by intrigued fantasy managers. He's got a longer road to go toward regular fantasy relevance but Justin Herbert is the real deal and has shown he doesn't care what your name is - he'll throw it to you if you're open. With Mike Williams injured, why not utilize the 6'8" tight end with a catch radius in the 92nd percentile and burst score in the 94th percentile?
Team Defense - Waiver Wire Options
Arizona Cardinals Defense - 50% rostered
Streaming against the Jets didn't pay off big in Week 4 and may not again in Week 5. The Cards have a whopping three forced turnovers in four games. If there is one thing this defense does well it's sacking the quarterback. They didn't register a QB takedown in Week 4 but Sam Darnold has been sacked 12 times, an average of three per game, and barely has thrown more TD than INT in his career (39-32). Arizona is a relatively safe DST in leagues where turnovers aren't heavily weighted.
Dallas Cowboys Defense - 25% rostered
This defense is just bleeding points to the opposition, allowing 36 per game through the first quarter of the season. This comes on the heels of a 49-38 loss to Cleveland. There is a small handful of opponents that justify streaming the Dallas defense and the New York Giants happen to be one. Through four games, the Giants are scoring 11.75 points per game. Their season total of 47 is less than the Browns put up this week alone. Daniel Jones has a 2-5 TD-INT ratio and looks lost, so even this version of the Cowboy defense can be utilized if necessary.
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