Free Agency and Injury report week 5 2019

By Kyle Dvorchak
Kyle Dvorchak

Week 5 brought us a barrage of fantasy points and a number of bounce-back performances. What did it bring for waiver wire fodder though? Let's get to it.


Giants Thin at Running Back

Wayne Gallman suffered a concussion during Sunday's contest and has been ruled out for his game against the Patriots Thursday. Saquon Barkley had a chance to play but it appears as though he's still a week out from playing now. That leaves Jon Hilliman and Elijah Penny as the only healthy backs on the roster.

Jon Hilliman, the presumed starter, never produced much a the college level but he's going to get a week's worth of starter-level touches now. Because his tenure as the lead-back in New York will only last until Saquon or Gallman return, he's not a must-add in fantasy. However, he is the guy for anyone in need of a spot start at running back.


Sterling Shepard Back in Concussion Protocol

New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard is back in concussion protocol and is not expected to play this week. That will push Golden Tate to the No. 1 wide receiver and most of his volume should come out of the slot, which is typically more efficient for receivers in terms of yards and catches per target. Tate put up a dud last week but the injuries around will necessitate an uptick in usage.

Evan Engram should also see a large boost in targets. Engram leads the team in target share at 24% but Shepard sits right behind him at 23%. As the only receiving option on the team over 200 yards, Engram could be expected to carry the load as the team’s best pass-catcher.




The Greatest One-Week Rental at Running Back

David Johnson may not play in Week 6 after suffering a back injury. It is not expected to be serious but if it does cost him a week of play, Chase Edmonds will step in as the team’s lead back.

Edmonds hasn’t been the first back in the backfield in any game during his young career but he still has 32 career targets and 79 carries. Arizona has been getting him the ball frequently despite the presence of David Johnson. With Johnson out, Edmonds would be guaranteed to be a workhorse back for a week. Given Arizona’s high pace of play and Edmonds’ receiving ability, he’ll have one of the highest floors on the week.








Pittsburgh in Shambles

Pittsburgh's offensive unit is currently in shambles. They began the season without Antonio Brown and Juju Smith-Schuster has struggled in the new-look offense. Ben Roethlisberger underwent elbow surgery that put him on IR. Then, this week, Mason Rudolph took a scary hit that sent him to the hospital. James Washington also left and did not return with a shoulder injury.

Not many teams can handle going down to their third-string passer and sustain fantasy value. Pittsburgh has hardly been able to do so with Mason Rudolph under center. Devlin Hodges will take over for him assuming Rudolph is sidelined with a concussion.

Pittsburgh traded away Josh Dobbs in order to keep Devlin Hodges with the organization as their third-string passer. Still, he's third on the depth chart for a reason. This injury is a major downgrade for all Steelers pass-catchers. Although, Diontae Johnson is locked in as No. 2 wide receiver if Washington can't play next week. Johnson may be able to retain what little value he had prior to this week.

Jaylen Samuels could get more snaps as in the wildcat formation but counting on that for fantasy value would be hopeful at best.





Another Back Bites the Dust in New York

Wayne Gallman was ruled out against the Vikings after suffering a concussion. Jon Hilliman took over as the lead-back.

Hilliman was neither efficient nor prolific at the college level. He averaged 3.5 yards per carry and peaked at 638 yards. Nonetheless, he will be the starting running back for an NFL team if Gallman can't suit up and Saquon Barkley is more than a week out. Elijah Penny will back him up and isn't worth picking up.

Hilliman is worth a roster spot in fantasy and that's about it. Use a minimal amount of FAAB on him if you're in desperate need of a back.





Sammy Watkins Doesn't Return Versus Indianapolis

Sammy Watkins suffered a hamstring injury on Sunday night and was unable to return. In his absence, Byron Pringle led all Kansas City receivers in targets and Travis Kelce was thrown at 10 times.

Pringle's performance was an outlier even in a game without Tyreek Hill or Sammy Watkins. It's more likely that Travis Kelce is the largest beneficiary of this injury if Watkins does miss multiple weeks. Kelce is the only receiving option on this team with a history of production in the NFL. Demarcus Robinson, who saw six targets Sunday night, would likely assume the No. 1 receiver role without Watkins in the lineup.

If Hill is able to return in Week 6, he'll immediately assume the high-volume role he assumed last year. Mecole Hardman and Pringle will both see an uptick in snaps if Hill and Watkins are out next week.





Phillip Dorsett Exits Early

Dorsett exited the New England - Washington game early on and did not return. Washington had a brief lead but New England took control of the game shortly after and the game wasn't close. It's possible that Dorsett was held out because his services weren't needed.

If this isn't the case and he is sidelined for an extended period of time, Josh Gordon is the most likely to benefit from his absence. Gordon's 10.2 average depth of target is the closest to Dorsett's 12.7 aDOT on the team. Gordon hasn't done much this season but this could be his chance to get hot after a slow start.

Jakobi Meyers will step in as the No. 3 wide receiver. He won't see a consistent amount of volume but if he is getting a large number of snaps on the New England offense, he's worth a speculative add off the waiver wire.