One thing that’s important about monitoring the waiver wire each week is to know what you need. Early on in the season, it’s hard to know exactly what you need given the small sample size of data we have under our belt.
We overreact after just one week of the season (can you blame us? We waited eight months to play fantasy football again!), do so again after two weeks and perhaps once more after three weeks. That isn’t to say we are spared the overreacting after four weeks, but we do typically have a better feel for what our roster needs and how to accomplish fine-tuning it.
Do we really need a quarterback upgrade? Can our tight end actually be trusted? Dang, Dalvin Cook really is that dude! We’ve learned a lot now that we are one quarter of the way through the season, and I would contend that that knowledge allows us to scour the waiver wire with a sharper lens.
Whether you’re 4-0 or 0-4, deep at receiver or pressed for depth, needing to swing for the fences or just planning ahead, you likely have a pretty good feel for what you really need.
With that, here’s the Week 5 ESPN Fantasy waiver-wire adds.
Note: All players on this list are available in more than 50% of leagues.
No need to overthink this one much: Davis is a unique talent whose production has been stunted by inconsistent quarterback play. I understand why people dropped him after three weeks as he has not yet risen to the level that many (myself included) had hoped for on a weekly basis. But with his overall ability, he’s a player who should be rostered in all leagues and available during bye weeks — or if Marcus Mariota can carry over the sharp play we saw in Week 4.
Davante Adams‘ toe injury doesn’t sound significant right now, but we’re still waiting to see whether he will be available in Week 5. Should he not be, Allison is primed to slot into a co-top receiver role with Marquez Valdes-Scantling for the Packers. Allison is a talented dude who found the end zone in Week 4.
Here’s a fun fact: Brissett has multiple passing touchdowns in each game so far this season and has at least 16 fantasy points in each of them as well. He has shown to have a worthwhile rapport with T.Y. Hilton but still found the end zone three times in Hilton’s absence Sunday. With a Week 5 matchup against the Chiefs ahead, expect Brissett to be a coveted streaming option.
We’re back! Another week of finding Jones in this column, despite the fact that Peyton Barber remains the starter in Tampa Bay. The reason Jones should be added is simple: His ability has flashed way more this season than it did as a rookie. He has 70 or more rushing yards in three games already and found the end zone in Week 4. Get him at least on your bench because if he ever solidifies a workhorse role, there’s value there. As colleague Mike Clay noted Sunday night, Week 4 marked the first time Jones has ever out-snapped Barber in a game.
Jameis Winston, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (44.8%)
I’ll say it: I counted out Winston too early this season and doubted that he could get back on track after a slow start through two weeks. He has been awesome the past two weeks and was a force in Week 4, slicing up the excellent Rams secondary. If you’re looking for a streaming option in Week 5, why not ride the hot hand of Winston, who you know has incredible weapons? Great to see Bruce Arians, Byron Leftwich and the Tampa Bay staff get this offense going.
Good things come to those who get work in a Kansas City offense. Williams scored twice on his eight rushing carries, finishing the game for the Chiefs with the go-ahead score. Given that Damien Williams has not even practiced over the past two weeks, it seems at least plausible he will miss more time. Darrel Williams can be a flex play given the scoring potential in this offense.
The Steelers retooled their offense in Week 4, catering to the development of Mason Rudolph and incorporating Samuels, a legit playmaker they bypassed using enough earlier in the season. Not only did he handle direct snaps as a wildcat quarterback, Samuels fetched eight passes. The offense may need to evolve into a more vertically threatening one in time, but for now, Samuels has potential flex upside if his workload can stay near double digits per game.
The Chargers’ rash of injuries among pass-catchers is hard to believe, but Inman stepped up when needed in Week 4 with five catches on seven targets and 76 yards. He’s a familiar player in the system and a deeper-league consideration given that his role should persist while the Chargers await the return of Mike Williams to the lineup.
Benjamin Watson, TE, New England Patriots (2.2%)
Now eligible to return from a suspension, Watson figures to play a starting role for the Patriots at the tight end spot. The Patriots have been far more reliant upon three-receiver sets so far this season than last, but some of that could be traced to Matt LaCosse’s injury (ankle) and Watson’s absence. Watson is worth the add for an offense that should be very good most weeks.
While Beasley has yet to find the end zone this season, he continues to rack up catches, as he’s on pace for 96 for the season after four games. He has scored in double digits in three straight games, proving to be a reliable flex option in deeper leagues. The Bills have been excited about his role since signing him in free agency and the early returns have been solid.
Diontae Johnson, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers (6.2%)
In two games since Johnson declared himself a starter, he’s seen six targets apiece and scored in each affair. The Steelers’ passing game lulled the Bengals early in Week 4 before opening things up with Johnson on a deep touchdown pass. I suspect Mason Rudolph’s confidence will only grow by the week, which should include continued work for Johnson in a steady role. He’s a deeper-league add.