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Waiver Wizard 2019 Week 5
By Evan Tarracciano
Opposite Day - Apparently this is still a thing
Back in elementary school, likely due to our incredibly stupid sense of humor, my friends and I used to implement "opposite day" once a month. Pretty simple concept in the scheme of things - saying up meant down, right was left… you get the idea. For that entire day, nothing made sense. And it was glorious.
Without anyone knowing, the NFL decided to make opposite day an official thing on Sunday of this past week. Talented players that were ranked within the top five at their position fell short. Backups found the end zone. In short, nothing made sense.
Once or twice a season, we have weeks like this where the top-tier talent all seems to fail miserably at the same time, and many of the selections that analysis tout fall flat. Chalk this up to a freak occurrence? Karma? Opposite day? Call it what you will. If anyone can find the person who correctly projected Brandon Bolden to have more total touchdowns on the day than Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady, Alvin Kamara and Keenan Allen COMBINED, send their information my way. If there is a just and loving deity above, that won't happen again in 2019.
So, what to make of weeks like this? Other than knowing that they will occasionally happen (and subsequently screw over Fantasy teams in the process) there is little that owners can really do. My first and perhaps most obvious suggestion would be to not overreact. It is true that every week is critically important in such a short season, but becoming overly frustrated with the performances of Adam Thielen or DeAndre Hopkins isn't worth the escalated blood pressure. A quarter of the year into the season isn't the time to start selling top-tier talent at a discount, or to make rash lineup decisions. Months of research were done attempting to rank these players, one poor showing against an elite defense isn't the catalyst for change.
We all have those owners in our league who are now 1-3 or 0-4. They are in full blown panic mode. Essentially, they need to win out for the remainder of the season in order to stay competitive or perhaps clinch that final wildcard playoff spot. Reaching out to them and offering deals would be prudent. Use their emotions to your advantage. With that said, lets take a look around the league at the different positions and make suggestions to prepare your roster for Week 5.
QuarterbackDaniel Jones (New York Giants) - Jones didn't post the same gaudy numbers as in Week 3, largely in part due to the success on the ground of Wayne Gallman. That aside, Jones continued to complete nearly 75 percent of his passes, throwing a touchdown and also picking up more than 30 yards on the ground. Jones will face the most difficult challenge of his burgeoning career in Week 5 against the Minnesota Vikings, who only allow 219 passing yards per game (currently ninth best in the NFL). The Purple People Eaters front-4 is also capable of putting pressure on the quarterback each snap, and they will force Jones to make quick reads at the line of scrimmage.
Gardner Minshew (Jacksonville Jaguars) - The cult hero of Florida, Minshew's eclectic fashion sense coupled with his swagger have given him plenty of attention since Nick Foles was sidelined in Week 1. He's played well enough to keep the Jaguars within striking distance in the early going, but a large part of me finds him underwhelming. In three of the four contests he's played, Minshew has thrown for less than 215 passing yards, and he brings little rushing ability. He hasn't made a glaring or critical mistake in terms of turning the ball over, but his low ceiling still makes him a streaming option or bye-week level replacement for me right now.
Mason Rudolph (Pittsburgh Steelers) - Dink. Dunk. Dink. Dunk. Pass. Really there isn't much to see here in this offense, as the Steelers coaching staff has prohibited Rudolph from even making an attempt downfield of more than 10 yards. He's the definition of a game manager.
Jacoby Brissett (Indianapolis Colts) - On the other side, owners who are looking for a fantastic streaming option for Week 5 should strongly consider Brissett. He has thrown for at least two touchdowns in every game this year, and will look to throw over 45 attempts for the second week in a row against the Kansas City Chiefs. Expect a resurgence from Mahomes and Co. at Arrowhead Stadium after a disappointing performance against the Detroit Lions, causing the Colts to throw the ball. This game projects to be a shootout, and one of the most entertaining matchups this week.
Running BackDarrell Williams (Kansas City Chiefs) - I discussed Williams in a prior column, but I did want to bring his name up here as a "sell high" candidate. Williams approached 18 points in a PPR format last week, but only had 11 touches total. He did manage to find the end zone twice, yet his usage was nothing more than short-yardage in compliment of LeSean McCoy. His value is entirely dependent upon the health status of Damien Williams, and due to the short-term relevancy he has, I'd prefer to get him off my team before the ship sinks.
Jordan Wilkins (Indianapolis Colts) - Marlon Mack was removed during the fourth quarter of the team's 31-24 loss to the Oakland Raiders after suffering an ankle injury, making this the second time in four weeks that he's been banged up. Given that Mack was able to play through his prior injury despite limited practice reps we'd expect him to still be active in Week 5, but in case he experiences a setback, Wilkins is a name to keep in mind. Wilkins has impressed me whenever he's had the opportunity to handle the ball, and as mentioned before - this upcoming game will have plenty of points to be scored.
Rex Burkead (New England Patriots) - I can't begin to fathom how many times I've cautioned owners to avoid the Patriots at the running back position. Once again, this is a team that is game script dependant at nearly ALL positions on offense other than quarterback, so trusting anyone to put up points in a given week other than Tom Brady and Julian Edelman is foolish. Even with Burkhead active this past week he barely touched the ball, and now he will be in competition for targets with both Sony Michel and James White. If you already own Burkhead, I'd look for better options. If you are considering adding him, avoid doing so unless you are banking on an injury occurring or for White to go on paternity leave.
Wide ReceiverDiontae Johnson (Pittsburgh Steelers) - Johnson is sure to be one of the top pickups entering Week 5, and for good reason - he is truly electric once he has the ball in his hands. The Steelers No.2 wideout position has been Fantasy friendly throughout the course of history, and if Mason Rudolph were to be given the opportunity to throw passes longer than six yards away, Johnson would immediately vault to WR3 status for me. Even with the offense crippled at the moment he is still a FLEX option and solid addition, and Johnson appears to have vaulted over James Washington for both snaps and targets in this offense.
Golden Tate (New York Giants) - Now that Big Blue finally has a competent signal caller behind center, Tate is an immediate relevant option at wideout. He projects to be a perfect compliment to Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram, capable of generating plenty of yards after catch downfield. The Giants don't have much depth at the position, and Tate will make a much better target than Cody Latimer or Darrius Slayton. He's been a popular name on waiver wire columns even prior to this week - expect his ownership to rise over 75 percent shortly.
Keke Coutee (Houston Texans) - I've long been a believer in Coutee's talent, but his inability to stay on the field coupled with the coaching staff bringing in veteran Kenny Stills placed him off of the radar. Stills exited Week 4 with a hamstring injury that is expected to cause him to miss time, meaning that Coutee will fill in as the team's slot receiver. Quarterback Deshaun Watson has an obvious rapport with Coutee dating back to last season, and peppers him with targets when he starts. His ceiling isn't terribly high due to DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller still starting, but this is a situation to keep an eye on.
A.J. Brown (Tennessee Titans) - Brown has averaged an insane 22.3 YPC over his first four games, yet he only has 17 targets and 10 receptions. Capable of breaking a big play whenever his number is called, Brown has thusfar been horribly underutilized, especially considering the lack of offensive talent on this team. Should Marcus Mariota or Ryan Tannehill be forced into a situation where they need to pass due to game script, Brown is capable of putting up more monster numbers. I don't trust him as an immediate plug-and-play FLEX, but I'm fine spending a few dollars on him in FAAB and sitting him for a week or two if possible. The talent is there, the opportunity needs to arise.