James Starks will be a solid fill-in if Eddie Lacy misses any time because of an ankle injury
After dealing with four teams on a bye, Week 6 gives fantasy owners a bit of a reprieve. Only the Minnesota Vikings and Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be off in Week 6, so fantasy owners can likely look to the waiver wire to replace any injured players or for any talent that other owners may have dropped before Week 5. Here are some players that fantasy owners should look to fill out their lineups.
Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans (47 percent owned)
It depends on the league's scoring, but Mariota finished in at least the top three of all quarterbacks in Week 5. He only threw for 163 yards, but he had three touchdown passes and ran one in for a score himself. He also added another 60 yards on the ground. Mariota faces Cleveland in Week 6, a team that has allowed quarterbacks to throw at least two TDs in every game this season. He's a high QB2 for Week 6 with potential to finish in the QB1 range.
Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs (18 percent owned)
Smith has always been more of a game manager, which makes him a decent real-life quarterback, but a sub-par fantasy option. However, fantasy owners that are in need of a quarterback will likely be able to pick up Smith, who travels to Oakland in Week 6. Oakland has given up the third-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. On Sunday, Philip Rivers threw for 359 yards and four touchdowns. While Smith likely won't throw for four touchdowns, it is a good matchup and he's coming off a bye. He's a QB2 fill-in.
Bilal Powell, New York Jets (35 percent owned)
Powell is proving that he's more than a Matt Forte handcuff as he carves out a role in the passing game for himself. He's had six receptions in each of the past three games. Powell had the second-most targets on the team (eight) in Sunday’s loss to Pittsburgh. While he was only given four carries, his value is in PPR leagues. Forte owners should roster him as a handcuff, but in PPR leagues, Powell should be owned as a RB3.
Jacquizz Rodgers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (20 percent owned)
With both Doug Martin and Charles Sims sidelined, Rodgers was the lead running back for the Buccaneers Monday night against Carolina. He took the job and looked really good, rushing for 101 yards (on a whopping 30 carries) and adding five receptions for 28 yards (on six targets). However, Tampa Bay is on bye this week and Martin is on track to return in Week 7. At worst, Rodgers will serve as Martin’s backup/handcuff with Sims going on injured reserve. Rodgers may even have a role in the offense if Martin is still limited by the hamstring injury. Rogers is worth an add in deeper PPR leagues, especially for Martin owners.
James Starks, Green Bay Packers (9 percent owned)
When Eddie Lacy went down in the third quarter of Sunday night's game, Starks took over the rest of the way. He actually ended up with one more carry than Lacy (12 to 11) but only had 33 rushing yards to Lacy's 81. Starks did add three receptions for 19 yards on six targets. If Lacy were to miss any time, Starks would be the next man up. It appears Lacy's ankle injury isn't serious, but until practice reports come in this week, it's hard to say if he'll suit up for Week 6.
Devontae Booker, Denver Broncos (9 percent owned)
In Week 5, C.J. Anderson had 11 carries for 41 yards; Booker had six for 23 yards. It's not clear why Booker was in the game as much as he was, but he should be owned, especially as an Anderson handcuff. The rookie added four receptions for 36 yards in Week 5 as well. Booker has been involved in all five games this season, and his usage has slowly been increasing. He's not a must-own (other than as Anderson’s handcuff), but someone to keep an eye on.
Bobby Rainey, New York Giants (5 percent owned)
On Sunday night, Rainey had the most rushing yards (22 yards) and the most receptions (six for 52 yards). Even when Rashad Jennings comes back, Rainey will still take on the Shane Vereen role. He's the passing down back and a RB3 in PPR formats. He'll be inconsistent, but he should be able to put up enough fantasy points each week to put him on the fantasy radar. The Giants face the Ravens in Week 6, which is a tough matchup, but Rainey is worth owning in PPR formats.
Sammie Coates, Pittsburgh Steelers (38 percent owned)
Coates has six receptions in the past two games, and had a monster game Sunday. He had 139 yards and two touchdowns, although he could have had more had it not been for a few drops. Coates isn't going to put up Antonio Brown-esque numbers each week, but he will have weeks of fantasy brilliance. However, picking out those weeks is going to be tough. Coates is more of the Martavis Bryant role; he's good for a long ball, but there will be games where he puts up a 2/20/0 stat line. In Week 6, the Steelers face the Dolphins, making Coates is WR3 in a good matchup.
Chris Hogan, New England Patriots (25 percent owned)
Hogan ended Week 5 as the leading receiver for the Patriots, although it was only on four receptions. A 63-yard catch helped pad his yardage total. Tom Brady loves to throw the ball, and pass catchers are valuable in the Patriots’ offense. With Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett also competing for targets, Hogan is worth owning over Danny Amendola, but starting him is risky. Hogan is a WR3 because of the offense, but may have disappointing games.
Jeremy Kerley, San Francisco 49ers (9 percent owned)
Kerley played Thursday night, so fantasy owners may not remember his eight catches for 102 yards and a touchdown. He was the 49ers’ leading receiver by far and had more than twice as many targets than anyone else. However, the hesitation in picking up Kerley is that it is likely that Blaine Gabbert will not be the quarterback for the 49ers for much longer. If Colin Kaepernick starts in Week 6, Kerley may still have value, but it's too early to tell how much. He's a speculative add, but may end up with WR3 value.
Cameron Meredith, Chicago Bears (4 percent owned)
With Eddie Royal banged up and Alshon Jeffery struggling, Meredith stepped up in Week 5 to the tune of nine receptions for 130 yards and a touchdown on 12 targets. It's hard to predict the role that Meredith will have in this offense moving forward, but he's worth an add in deeper leagues. Royal has never been able to stay healthy, and Jeffery is still clearly hampered by some nagging injury. Brian Hoyer has found chemistry with tight end Zach Miller and Meredith as well. He's a risky start in fantasy, but he is worthy of being on rosters after Week 5 to see if this trend continues.
Breshad Perriman, Baltimore Ravens (2 percent owned)
His career began with injury, but Perriman has been able to play in all five games so far this year. He hasn't really gotten an opportunity to break out yet this season, playing behind Steve Smith Sr. He hasn't had more than five targets yet, but Smith did go down with an ankle injury in Week 5. Reports are that it is not a season-ending injury but it is possible that he will miss Week 6. Perriman is a risk/reward WR that might have a great game with this opportunity. The Ravens face the Giants in Week 6, a team that just allowed more than 100 yards to Randall Cobb and a touchdown to Jordy Nelson.
Jesse James, Pittsburgh Steelers (23 percent owned)
With three touchdowns in five games, James is a touchdown-dependent tight end. He doesn't have more than six receptions in a game, and he hasn't had more than 50 receiving yards this season. The Steelers will involve him in the offense, but with plenty of other pass catchers, James is a low TE2 for fantasy owners that are willing to cross their fingers each Sunday and hope he gets in the end zone.
Charles Clay, Buffalo Bills (12 percent owned)
After Sammy Watkins was placed on IR, more of an effort was made to get Clay involved in the offense. He's had five receptions in each of the past two games for a total of 120 yards. He's not going to have huge weeks, but he's showing that he can at least be a solid TE2 for fantasy owners. The Bills host the San Francisco 49ers in Week 6, a team that has already given up 100-yard games and touchdowns to Jimmy Graham and Greg Olsen this season.
Defense/Special Teams (DST)
Detroit Lions (5 percent owned)
The Lions face the Los Angeles Rams in Week 6. The Rams aren't exactly known for their prolific offense, and Case Keenum has turned the ball over a time or two. The Lions just beat Carson Wentz and the previously undefeated Eagles. They also picked off Wentz for the first time in his NFL career. Depending on the scoring of your league, teams facing the Rams have scored in double-digit fantasy points in three out of the past five weeks. The Lions DST is a decent streaming option for Minnesota owners.
— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. She also writes for SoCalledFantasyExperts.com among other sites. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.