Best fantasy football waiver wire pickups for Week 5
Kenny Pickett took over in Pittsburgh, Latavius Murray showed up out of nowhere for the Saints, Michael Gallup made his triumphant return, Mike Boone registered his yearly appearance on fantasy radars, and, oh yeah, preseason darling Brian Robinson Jr. is due back just in time to coincide with Antonio Gibson losing touches in Washington. All are among our top Week 5 fantasy waiver wire pickups and free agent adds, and while they inspire various levels of excitement, they're potential difference-makers the rest of the way.
Our full free agent list features more players who made impacts in Week 4, including preseason sleepers George Pickens and Tyler Allgeier, underrated contributors Isaiah McKenzie, Josh Reynolds, and Corey Davis, and breakout TEs Tyler Conklin, Mo Alie-Cox, and Will Dissly. We also have a few QBs and handcuff RBs, and as always, we also have defense streamer recommendations for next week, which can be found at the end of the list. It's slim pickings for Week 5, so hopefully, you're already set at D/ST.
Robinson is definitely worth a high waiver claim if you're in one of the 46 percent of Yahoo leagues where he's available. However, the rest of this week's top pickups probably aren't worth more than mid- or low-tier waiver claims. Despite two key RBs getting hurt (Jonathan Taylor, Javonte Williams), there isn't an obvious, widely available handcuff worth bidding up. Boone will be probably claimed, but he's not worth a top-five slot. It's also unlikely you're desperate enough at QB to use a high claim on Pickett, and Alvin Kamara (ribs) could easily be back next week to crush Murray's value. The receivers are your typical assortment of inconsistent WR3 types, and there's a new crop of those every week.
UPDATE: Williams is out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL, raising Boone's value. It was also announced Monday that Cordarrelle Patterson (knee) will miss at least the next four games, making Caleb Huntley and Tyler Allgeier valuable waiver claims, too.
UPDATE 2: Latavius Murray was signed to the Broncos' practice squad on Monday, lowering the long-term value of Boone while also lowering Murray's short-term value. Mark Ingram's short-term value rises, though.
As we've seen the past few weeks, though, injuries tend to pop up closer to Sunday, so having a high waiver claim for a potential late-week waiver add is important. At the very least, preserving your spot near the top of the pecking order will eventually come in handy, so don't be in a rush to waste it on a mid-tier player. There might not be a ton of waiver movement this week, so the climb back up the waiver order will likely be slow. Focusing on free agents and trying to improve around the margins seems to be the play this week.
Top fantasy football waiver wire pickups for Week 5
Unless otherwise noted, only players owned in fewer than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues considered.
Brian Robinson Jr., RB, Commanders
Robinson is owned in 54 percent of Yahoo leagues, but that number will skyrocket now that he's fully expected to be activated in time for Week 5's game against Tennessee. Antonio Gibson has disappointed and seen his snap share dwindle, and considering Robinson was expected to start before getting shot in an attempted robbery just before Week 1, it seems likely that Robinson will immediately be the co-No. 1 RB, at the very least. He has the talent to completely dominate this committee right from the start, so grab him now if he's still available.
Tyler Allgeier, RB, Falcons
Allgeier made some waves in Week 2 before disappearing in Week 3, but he popped back in Week 4, rushing 10 times for 84 yards. Cordarrelle Patterson (knee) was "questionable" coming into the game, and sure enough, he saw less work than usual. Caleb Huntley was also heavily involved, though (10 carries for 56 yards and a TD), so it's not as if Allgeier would have all the value if Patterson went down, but clearly he'll have some value. Stash him now, especially if you own Patterson.
UPDATE: Patterson (knee) will miss at least the next four games, making Allgeier a valuable claim. We'd rank him slightly ahead of Caleb Huntley.
Caleb Huntley, RB, Falcons
Cordarrelle Patterson (knee) was "questionable" entering Week 4, and even though he played and did well, the Falcons divvied up carries much more equally between Patterson, Tyler Allgeier, and Huntley. Huntley picked up 56 yards and a TD on 10 carries, and while he was out-gained by Allgeier (84 yards on 10 carries), it's still a sign that Huntley will have value if something happens to Patterson. He's suddenly a must-own handcuff, at least until Damien Williams (ribs) gets back.
UPDATE: Patterson (knee) is out for at least the next four games, making Huntley a must-own player. We rank him slightly behind Allgeier in the waiver pecking order.
Raheem Mostert, RB, Dolphins
Mostert jumped well above 50-percent ownership after his Week 2 breakout, but a Week 3 disappointment dropped him right to 50-percent. Expect that to jump back up after he dominated carries (15 to five) over Chase Edmonds in Week 4. Edmonds once again scored, but Mostert out-gained him by 63 rushing yards and had just two fewer receiving yards on the same amount of catches (2) and targets (3). Mostert will eventually find the end zone, and he's an easy flex start next week against the Jets.
Mike Boone, RB, Broncos
Javonte Williams exited early in the second half due to a knee injury, and it was Boone, not Melvin Gordon, who handled the bulk of the RB snaps the rest of the way. Gordon fumbled in the first half -- his fourth fumble of the season -- which is likely why he was barely involved. Boone finished the game with just 29 total yards on four touches (three carries, one reception) and had a bad drop late in the fourth quarter, but considering the Broncos have a quick turnaround for a Thursday night matchup against Indianapolis, there's a chance Boone leads the backfield again. He has to be picked up despite all the uncertainty.
UPDATE: Williams will miss the remainder of the season due to a torn ACL.
UPDATE 2: With Latavius Murray now on Denver's practice squad, Boone's long-term value takes a potential hit. It's still possible he's the 1A or 1B back in this committee, but Murray's presence certainly casts some doubt on that.
Mark Ingram II, RB, Saints
With Alvin Kamara (ribs) a surprise scratch in Week 4, Ingram started and totaled 43 yards on 13 touches (10 carries, three catches). However, Latavius Murray, who was called up from the practice squad this morning, looked like the superior back, rushing for 57 yards and a score on 11 carries. If the injury-prone Kamara continues to have health issues, Ingram will be involved, but after watching the split and performances today, it's going to be tough to trust Ingram most weeks. That said, the byes are starting soon, so he might carry some low-end flex value in favorable matchups like next week's date with Seattle.
UPDATE: We were ready to write off Ingram after Murray outshined him, but with Murray now on Denver's practice squad, Ingram is once again "next man up" behind an already-injured Kamara. That gives him plenty of potential value, both for Week 5 and beyond.
Latavius Murray, RB, Broncos
Mark Ingram got the start in place of Alvin Kamara (ribs), but it was Murray who looked like the far superior back, rushing a team-leading 11 times for 57 yards and a TD. Ingram had 10 carries for 30 yards. Murray doesn't have much value if Kamara is healthy, but given Kamara's injury history, Murray has to be on the handcuff radar. He'll continue to split carries with Ingram if Kamara is out, and, if that's the case, he'll have some flex upside in favorable matchups like next week's date with Seattle.
UPDATE: With Murray now on Denver's practice squad, he loses short-term value but could gain long-term value. Overall, he's not as valuable as he looked when he was Alvin Kamara's handcuff, as he'll now join a three-man committee and fight for carries with Mike Boone and Melvin Gordon. He's still worth picking up because of the uncertainty of the Broncos' situation.
Kenny Pickett, QB, Steelers
Pickett was called into action after halftime in Week 4, performing well (10-for-13, 120 yards, six carries, 15 rushing yards, two rushing TDs) and generally looking more competent than Mitchell Trubisky. He did throw three INTs, but two came on tipped balls that weren't entirely his fault and the third was on a Hail Mary. Given Pittsburgh's receiving weapons, Pickett should have upside most weeks even if he's running for his life behind a shaky O-line. You don't want to start him next week against Buffalo, but Pickett is definitely worth adding in deep leagues or if you have QB issues.
George Pickens, WR, Steelers
Pickens was the talk of the fantasy world in the preseason, but it took until Week 4 before we really saw him produce. Pickens caught six passes (eight passes) for a team-leading 102 yards against the Jets, and it might not be a coincidence his rise came the same week Kenny Pickett took over at QB after halftime. Pickens is worth stashing in case Pickett's presence ignites him, but keep him on your bench next week against Buffalo.
Josh Reynolds, WR, Lions
With Amon-Ra St. Brown (ankle) and DJ Chark (ankle) out, Reynolds stepped up as Detroit's WR1, catching seven-of-eight targets for 81 yards and a TD. Much of it came late in the second half when Detroit was trailing, but Reynolds has now impressed three weeks in a row. He might remain the WR2 even when Chark is healthy, and with the Lions playing a lot of high-scoring games, he's worth adding in deeper leagues. If St. Brown, Chark, and D'Andre Swift (shoulder) are all out again, Reynolds will have flex value despite a tough matchup against New England.
Michael Gallup, WR, Cowboys
Gallup showed no ill effects of the knee injury that delayed his season debut until Week 4. He caught just two-of-three targets for 24 yards and a score against the Commanders, but he still looked comfortable in the new-look offense. His matchup next week against the Rams is just as favorable on paper, so don't hesitate to grab Gallup and get him in your lineups as a boom-or-bust flex as he competes for targets with Noah Brown.
Isaiah McKenzie, WR, Bills
McKenzie caught four-of-six targets for 21 yards and a score against the Ravens in Week 4. He's now scored in three-of-four weeks, and he out-targeted Gabriel Davis for the second-straight game in which they were both active. McKenzie is involved enough in the Bills' high-powered offense to think that he can have value most weeks. The only worry is that he exited Week 4 late due to a head injury, but he's still worth grabbing ahead of another favorable matchup against the Steelers in Week 5.
Tyler Conklin, TE, Jets
Conklin impressed again in Week 4, and while his three-catch, five-target, 52-yard game isn't going to win any weeks, it's still solid for a TE who's available in 58 percent of Yahoo leagues. With a favorable matchup against Miami on tap in Week 5, Conklin should be owned and started in most 12-team leagues.
Phillip Lindsay, RB, Colts
Head coach Frank Reich said Monday that if Jonathan Taylor (ankle) can't go on Thursday night against Denver, Phillip Lindsay would factor into the team's game plan. Lindsay has been on the practice squad this year, but we've seen him have success in the past. It's unclear if he would get enough touches to pay off as a shallow-league flex, but Nyheim Hines (61-percent ownedin Yahoo leagues) isn't exactly a "featured back," so it's possible Lindsay has some deep-league value. Moreover, if Taylor is forced to miss multiple games, Lindsay could emerge as the back to own in Indy.
DeVante Parker, WR, Patriots
Parker followed up his huge Week 3 with a moderately productive Week 4, catching both of his targets for 24 yards and a score. Considering rookie Bailey Zappe was pressed into action after Brian Hoyer's concussion, that's not bad. Even if Zappe is at QB and Jakobi Meyers (knee) returns in Week 5, Parker still has flex upside against Detroit's poor pass defense.
Corey Davis, WR, Jets
We know, we know -- between Garrett Wilson, Elijah Moore, and Tyler Conklin, there are only so many passes to go around in New York. Davis is the old and boring vet, but he's coming off a five-catch, seven-target, 74-yard, one-TD effort in Week 4. More important, it marks the third time this season he's been over 13.6 PPR points in a game this season. That's pretty good, and he's actually been the most consistent pass-catcher on the team. Don't ignore him, especially with a favorable matchup against Miami coming up in Week 5.
Noah Brown, WR, Cowboys
Brown didn't skip a beat despite the return of Michael Gallup, catching three-of-six targets for 61 yards. There's a lot of competition for targets in Dallas -- and you never know how Brown will mesh with Dak Prescott (thumb) when he returns -- but at the very least, Brown looks like he can replicate what Cedrick Wilson Jr. did in Dallas last year (602 yards, six TDs). That has value during the bye weeks, and if Brown truly is the WR2, he'll be an every-week starter. Grab him now ahead of a favorable matchup against the Rams even though he's "questionable" due to a neck injury.
Hayden Hurst, TE, Bengals
Hurst caught just three-of-four targets for 27 yards on Thursday night, but he found the end zone for the first time all season. He's now had at least 7.4 PPR points in three-of-four games this year, and given the sorry state of the TE position, that's enough to put him in the low-end TE1 conversation most weeks. He should continue playing well in a highly favorable matchup next week against the Ravens.
Mo Alie-Cox, TE, Colts
It feels like it's been a different TE for the Colts every week, so counting on Big MAC on a weekly basis is probably foolish. Nonetheless, after a six-catch, 85-yard, two-TD effort against Tennessee in Week 4, it's tough not to take notice. The fact that a TE seems to step up every week for Indy (two TDs for Jelani Woods in Week 3, 62 yards for Kylen Granson in Week 4), says a lot about the role of that position in the offense, so if Alie-Cox can start dominating snaps, he has major upside. He's worth a stash if your TE spot is a mess, though next week against Denver could be rough.
Will Dissly, TE, Seahawks
We were slow to react to Dissly being a key component in the Seattle offense, but after Week 4's 39 yards and TD -- his third through the first four weeks -- he can't be ignored. Dissley is playing about the same amount of snaps as Noah Fant, but he's clearly outproducing him. He's not a must-start yet, but he's worth adding in case he truly is one of this year's breakout TEs. He'll be a below-average play next week against New Orleans, but either way, he has some TD upside.
Mack Hollins, WR, Raiders
Hollins disappointed a bit in Week 4 (three catches, five targets, 33 yards), but with Hunter Renfrow (concussion) still not practicing, Hollins is worth adding ahead of a favorable Week 5 matchup against Kansas City. He should continue operating as Vegas' No. 2 wide receiver, and that means a decent amount of targets and the potential for big plays.
Jamal Agnew, WR, Jaguars
Agnew was a complete non-factor through the first three weeks, but with Zay Jones (ankle) out in Week 4, he suddenly became a key cog like he was at times last year. Agnew caught four-of-six targets for 50 yards and two scores, often lining up in the backfield and playing the role many thought Travis Etienne Jr. would occupy. Agnew is only for those in deep leagues, but given his versatility and explosiveness, he's at least worth putting on your watchlists. He has a chance for another decent game next week against Houston, who had trouble containing Austin Ekeler out of the backfield in Week 4.
Isiah Pacheco, RB, Chiefs
Pacheco seemingly took over as Kansas City's primary handcuff in Week 4, rushing 11 times for 63 yards. That's not enough to merit a waiver claim, but Clyde Edwards-Helaire is no picture of health (or production), so the speedy Pacheco could continue to emerge and steal touches. Grab him now ahead of a favorable matchup against the Raiders.
Rachaad White, RB, Buccaneers
The Buccaneers have said they want to get White more involved, and he looked ready on Sunday night against the Chiefs, turning eight touches into 53 total yards and a score. White currently has little value outside of deep PPR leagues (five catches, 50 yards in Week 4), but if anything were to happen to Leonard Fournette, he'd immediately become a must-start RB2.
Zach Wilson, QB, Jets
If we're going to give love to Kenny Pickett, it's only right we give some to Wilson, who performed fairly well in his 2022 debut. Wilson threw for 252 yards and a TD, rushed for 15 yards, and even caught a two-yard score against the Steelers. Obviously, the TD catch was fluky -- and his two INTs are still a concern -- but Wilson has an underrated cache of weapons and enough rushing ability to raise his floor most weeks. He gets a great matchup against Miami next week, so don't overlook him in deep leagues.
Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Dolphins
Bridgewater looked good in relief of Tua Tagovailoa (concussion) on Thursday, throwing for 193 yards and a TD. He figures to start in a favorable matchup in Week 5 against the Jets, and given Miami's stable of speedy playmakers, Bridgewater could easily post solid stats without doing much of the heavy lifting. Consider him a premium streamer if you need a QB.
Geno Smith, QB, Seahawks
Smith has taken advantage of favorable matchups against the Falcons and Lions the past two weeks, but we'll take any QB who can rack up 645 yards and five total TDs in favorable matchups like Smith has. Smith is firmly on the streaming radar, and although you probably don't want to use him next week in New Orleans, he at least has shown the ability to produce in good spots.
Miami Dolphins D/ST
The Dolphins' D/ST has been up and down this year (more "down" than "up," if we're being honest), but we know it’s talented and can show up in favorable matchups. Next week's matchup against the Jets certainly qualifies, especially since Miami will have extra time to prepare.
Indianapolis Colts D/ST
The Colts have been a big disappointment in the early going, but with a matchup against an underachieving Broncos’ offense in Week 5, Indy has a chance to really start to turn things around. This is more of a bet on talent than the matchup, but it doesn’t hurt that Denver has struggled against decent D/STs this year.
Tennessee Titans D/ST
Tennessee hasn’t shown us much this year, but in Week 5 it faces a Commanders’ offense that’s been one of the most generous to fantasy defenses all season. The Titans can work as a deep-league streamer if you need them.
Minnesota Vikings D/ST
We’re not thrilled about the Vikings being a week removed from a London game before facing the Bears in Week 5, but it’s a favorable matchup and they get them at home. Consider Minnesota a boom-or-bust streaming option.