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Fantasy Sports

Fantasy Football: Week 5 Waiver Wire Pickups

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Fantasy Football: Waiver Wire Pickups For Week 5

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Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The first month of the 2013 NFL season is nearly done, with Monday night’s matchup between the Miami Dolphins and New Orleans Saints coming, and fantasy football owners may have a solid read on how their season will go now. But regardless of record, 4-0, 0-4 or anything in between, making solid waiver wire additions is still crucial for all fantasy owners at this stage of the season.

Week 5 is the first bye week of the season with four teams idle, as the Minnesota Vikings, Pittsburgh Steelers, Washington Redskins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are off. So if you’re facing the owner in your league that has Adrian Peterson, your odds of getting a win just went up. Apart of Peterson being unavailable, plenty of other viable fantasy starters across every position (Doug Martin, Alfred Morris, Robert Griffin III, Ben Roethslisberger, Antonio Brown, Vincent Jackson) are off this week.

As always with my weekly waiver wire recommendations, I have focused on players who are available in over half of Yahoo! leagues right now. Bye weeks are now a concern, starting last week and going through Week 12, so I have also attempted to hone in on players (or team defenses) that can have a lasting impact for fantasy owners when their roster depth will be tested the most.

Roster size, and particularly scoring format, needs to be taken into account with any potential waiver wire addition, but that should go without saying for any savvy fantasy owner.

Without further ado, here are my “Waiver Wire Pickups” for Week 5.

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Geno Smith, QB, New York Jets

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Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Smith threw for 289 yards against the Tennessee Titans in Week 4 along with one touchdown, but also accounted for four turnovers including multiple interceptions for the third straight game. That said, a favorable situation is coming for Week 5 against the Atlanta Falcons, who entered Week 4 in the bottom half of the league against opposing quarterbacks (19.7 fantasy points per game, ESPN scoring) and Tom Brady of the New England Patriots topped 300 yards against them on Sunday night. I expect Smith to be throwing the ball plenty in that game, and if he can turn around a downward trend in his rushing production fantasy owners who need a bye week or injury fill-in should be happy with the results. Smith’s value takes a hit in leagues that penalize for turnovers, but he is still worth considering as a QB2 in 12 and 14-team leagues.

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Brian Hoyer, QB, Cleveland Browns

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Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Hoyer threw for 269 yards and two touchdowns against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, and he now has 589 passing yards and five touchdowns (with three interceptions) in two starts this season and will get another start in a favorable Week 5 matchup with the Buffalo Bills. Buffalo came into Week 4 allowing 18.3 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks (ESPN scoring) and they allowed 347 passing yards to Joe Flacco of the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday. After that three of Hoyer’s next four matchups (Detroit Lions in Week 6, Green Bay Packers in Week 7 and Baltimore Ravens in Week 9) look favorable, so under the assumption he keeps the starting job beyond this week he looks like a viable bye week fill-in.

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Danny Woodhead, RB, San Diego Chargers

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Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Woodhead had five carries for 32 yards, five catches for 54 yards and two receiving touchdowns against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 4, and he now has 22 receptions (20 over the last three games) this season. Ryan Mathews will remain the lead running back for the Chargers (19 carries and four catches on Sunday)as long as he stays healthy, which puts a ceiling on Woodhead’s fantasy value. But owners in PPR leagues can surely find a lot of value here, especially as bye weeks get rolling.

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Rashad Jennings, RB, Oakland Raiders

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Jennings had 15 carries for 45 yards and eight receptions for 71 yards on Sunday against the Washington Redskins, as he saw significant action with Darren McFadden (hamstring) and Marcel Reece (knee) sidelined. McFadden and Reece look likely to miss at least Week 5 against the San Diego Chargers right now, and perhaps longer in both cases, making Jennings a viable addition as the Raider’s de facto No. 1 option in the backfield. Just be sure to get clarification on the health of McFadden and Reece before adding him.

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Justin Blackmon, Jacksonville Jaguars

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Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

Blackmon’s four-game suspension to start the season is now over, and there’s no reason he won’t step right into a starting role as long as his conditioning is up to par. He had 64 receptions for 865 yards and five touchdowns as a rookie last season, and was particularly productive (41 catches for 640 yards and four touchdowns over the final eight games) when Chad Henne saw most of the action under center for the Jaguars. As long as head coach Gus Bradley insists on sticking with Blaine Gabbert that will hamper Blackmon, but he is still worth adding in 12-team leagues with the promise of nice upside when Henne inevitably takes over.

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Coby Fleener, TE, Indianapolis Colts

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Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Fleener had five catches for 77 yards and a touchdown on Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars, and he now has a touchdown in two of his last three games with at least four catches and 69 yards in both contests. A Week 5 matchup against the Seattle Seahawks is not incredibly favorable, but they did allow 11 receptions for 141 yards and a touchdown to the Houston Texans’ tight ends (Owen Daniels and Garrett Graham) on Sunday. Fleener is not likely to suddenly become an every week fantasy starter, but he does have value as a possible bye week fill-in.

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Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Detroit Lions

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Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Pettigrew had seven receptions for 54 yards against the Chicago Bears on Sunday, which was more than he had in both categories (five catches for 38 yards) over the first three games of the season. With wide receiver Nate Burleson (broken arm) out indefinitely, there’s good reason to think Pettigrew will remain a prominent part of the Lions’ offense going forward. He was surely dropped in a lot of leagues during his dismal start, but Pettigrew is a solid TE2 in standard scoring leagues with slightly more value in PPR formats.

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Dan Carpenter, K, Buffalo Bills

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Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Carpenter went 3-for-3 on field goal attempts against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, and he is now 10-for-11 on field goals over the last three weeks with at least 11 points (ESPN scoring) in all three games. Over the next few weeks the only particularly tough matchup for Carpenter will come in Week 8 against the New Orleans Saints, who entered Week 4 having allowed just two field goal attempts so far this season. Carpenter is not necessarily a sure-fire top tier fantasy option, but as long as he continues to get ample opportunities he is a viable bye week fill-in at minimum with Buffalo’s bye not coming until Week 12.

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Cleveland Browns Defense

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Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

The Browns held the Cincinnati Bengals to 266 yards of offense and six points on Sunday, and they have now posted at least seven fantasy points (ESPN standard scoring) in all four games this season. Week 5 brings a matchup with the Buffalo Bills, who have turned the ball over multiple times in three of four games and running backs C.J. Spiller (ankle) and Fred Jackson (knee) enter a short week banged up. Things will get tougher in Week 6 and 7 against the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers, but Week 9 (Kansas City Chiefs) and Week 10 (Baltimore Ravens) don’t seem especially daunting right now. Cleveland’s defense is currently available in over 90 percent of Yahoo! leagues.