Fantasy managers have another week where they have to deal with injuries, especially to running backs. Dalvin Cook returned, but he did not put up RB1 numbers. Christian McCaffrey remains out and Elijah Mitchell sat out another game. On the field, Joe Mixon and David Montgomery both limped off, putting their Week 5 availability in doubt. Look at your roster: you need to own the backup to your stud running back. You never know what is going to happen and each week that is proven again and again. After that, check out the rest of the waiver wire list.
Trey Lance, QB, San Francisco 49ers (31 percent rostered)
When Jimmy Garoppolo went down with a calf injury, Lance stepped in. He threw for 157 yards and two touchdowns and added another 41 yards on the ground. The 49ers clearly don’t want Lance as the starter (although looking at Garoppolo’s numbers, it’s unclear why not) and they will put Garoppolo back when he’s healthy. For fantasy managers looking for someone to play in Week 5, if Garoppolo can't play it will be Lance, who is a QB2 with upside.
Sam Darnold, QB, Carolina Panthers (38 percent rostered)
It’s crazy to think that the player with the most rushing touchdowns thus far is… Darnold. With no Christian McCaffrey, Darnold took it upon himself to run the ball into the end zone twice in Week 4 (to be fair, he had two rushing touchdowns in Week 3 as well). He added two touchdown passes as well. Darnold has thrown for more than 300 yards in the past three games (he had 279 in Week 1). He is slowly working his way into the QB1 conversation. For now, he’s a locked-in QB2 knocking on the door if he keeps running the ball in himself.
Damien Williams, RB, Chicago Bears (9 percent rostered)
The good news is that it doesn't appear that David Montgomery suffered a season-ending knee injury. But reports Tuesday morning said he is expected to miss 4-5 weeks with a knee sprain. Williams will take over as the Bears' No. 1 running back and should see an increased workload. This past Sunday, Williams had eight carries for 55 yards and a touchdown. He added two receptions for 15 yards. He's dealing with a thigh bruise but should be able to play on Sunday. Williams should be the top waiver wire priority this week.
J.D. McKissic, RB, Washington Football Team (39 percent rostered)
It’s not clear if Antonio Gibson is injured or not, but McKissic was in the game when it mattered in Week 4. He caught five passes for 44 yards and a game-winning touchdown. He only added 15 rushing yards, but he’s always had more value in PPR formats. Gibson was questionable heading into the game with a shin injury, so perhaps that flared up during the game. Either way, McKissic has a role in this offense, regardless of Gibson’s status.
Latavius Murray, RB, Baltimore Ravens (48 percent rostered)
In Week 4, Murray had 18 carries for 59 yards and a touchdown. For fantasy managers that grabbed Ty’son Williams early in the year, he may just be waiver wire fodder at this point. He was a healthy scratch for Week 4. Murray seems to be the running back that the Ravens wish to use, at least he was for this week. This isn’t a great spot for any running back as Le’Veon Bell is in the mix as well, but Murray will likely be an RB3 throughout the year.
Samaje Perine, RB, Cincinnati Bengals (3 percent rostered)
Joe Mixon went down with an ankle injury in Week 4, and the next man up is Perine. While it doesn’t seem that Mixon’s injury is that serious, those that rostered him in 2020 remember how they hoped his foot injury would resolve… and it seemingly never did. In Week 4, Perine only had three carries for seven yards and one reception for 15 yards, but if Mixon were to miss any time (which it seems like he will), Perine will be the running back. Mixon owners, in particular, should be sure to roster Perine.
Van Jefferson, WR, Los Angeles Rams (5 percent rostered)
With Matthew Stafford able to get the ball downfield, Jefferson has some fantasy value. He’s going to have games like Week 2 (1/14/0 stat line) and he’s going to have games like Week 4 (6/90/1 stat line). Stafford has been looking for him and Jefferson has eaten into Robert Woods’ workload. He’s not a must-add, but for leagues that start three or more wide receivers, Jefferson should be on your radar.
Darnell Mooney, WR, Chicago Bears (38 percent rostered)
After catching one pass for nine yards in Week 3, Mooney exploded with Justin Fields at the helm in Week 4. He had five receptions for 125 yards (which is more yards than he had in the first three games of the season combined). It’s hard to trust Mooney as he seems to have more of a connection with Fields than with Andy Dalton, but Fields also was at quarterback in Week 3, so fantasy managers should just add Mooney for now and see how the offense works itself out.
Curtis Samuel, WR, Washington Football Team (40 percent rostered)
After spending the first three weeks of the season on the IR, Samuel returned in Week 4. He was targeted four times and caught all four for 19 yards. However, with Dyami Brown and Logan Thomas both leaving the game injured, Samuel’s arrow is pointing up. He’s not going to be a big-play guy, but he can be a poor man’s Cooper Kupp and should be rostered in PPR formats.
Dawson Knox, TE, Buffalo Bills (47 percent rostered)
Knox did not start the year as a TE1, but he’s certainly making a case to be one as the season goes on. Josh Allen looks for Knox in the end zone, and he has four touchdown catches in the past two games. While the touchdown ratio may not continue, the fact that he’s being targeted in the red zone bodes well for his fantasy value. Knox should be added as the tight end position is tough to fill each week.
Dalton Schultz, TE, Dallas Cowboys (34 percent rostered)
Heading into the season, it was a toss-up between Schultz and Blake Jarwin to see which tight end would emerge as the one to roster. Schultz seems to be winning that battle and is a TE1 most weeks. He had eight targets in Week 4. He caught six of them for 58 yards and a touchdown. He had 80 yards and two touchdowns in Week 3. If Schultz is available in your league, add him as a TE1.
Defense/Special Teams (DST)
Minnesota Vikings (16 percent rostered)
The Vikings face the Detroit Lions in Week 5, and Jared Goff isn’t exactly putting up huge numbers. With five turnovers on the year, the Lions are giving up fantasy points to opposing defenses. They also haven’t scored more than 20 points since Week 1. While the Vikings' defense isn’t exactly elite, they did hold the Cleveland Browns to 14 points in Week 4. The Vikings are likely available in your league and are a good streaming DST this week.
— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.