Now that Week 5 is over, fantasy managers need to take a hard look at their team. The bye weeks are here: the Falcons, Saints, Jets, and 49ers are off in Week 6 and plenty more players are injured (and also likely out).
Fantasy managers who have read this column in the past few weeks know that the first thing they should do is make sure they have the backup to their running back. Each week it seems another top running back gets injured and their backup is on the waiver wire. Damien Williams did an admirable job filling in for David Montgomery (if he is still unowned in your league, pick him up!). Keep an eye on your backups, get rid of the dead weight on your team, and look at the waiver wire.
Teams on bye: Atlanta, New Orleans, New York Jets, San Francisco
Taylor Heinicke, QB, Washington Football Team (16 percent rostered)
While Heinicke hasn’t been great in every game (in Week 5, he had 248 yards and two interceptions), this past Sunday was the first game in which he didn’t throw a touchdown. Heinicke faces the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 6, who have been terrible on defense. This past Sunday night, Josh Allen did whatever he wanted against the Chiefs (315 passing yards, 3 TDs, 59 rushing yards, TD). Heinicke isn't Allen, but he should be a solid QB2 option this week.
Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Denver Broncos (18 percent rostered)
After leaving the Week 4 loss to Baltimore with a concussion there was concern that Bridgewater wouldn't be cleared to play. He cleared protocol and started against Pittsburgh and almost led the Broncos to a come-from-behind win. He finished the game with 288 passing yards, two touchdowns and an interception. It was this third game in which he had two TD tosses. Bridgewater would make for a fine fill-in for those in need of one this week.
Darrel Williams, RB, Kansas City Chiefs (17 percent rostered)
In Week 5, Clyde Edwards-Helaire suffered a knee injury that forced him to leave the game. Williams stepped in and had 27 rushing yards and three receptions for 18 yards. The early reports have CEH missing a few weeks with the injury, which means Williams will be the primary back. The Chiefs also have Jerick McKinnon (rostered in 1 percent of leagues) who will be a factor on passing downs. Williams should be a roster add in all formats; McKinnon only in deeper leagues.
Khalil Herbert, RB, Chicago Bears (19 percent rostered)
When David Montgomery went down in Week 4, fantasy managers rushed to the waiver wire to pick up Damien Williams. This was a good move, as Williams had 64 rushing yards and a touchdown, adding two receptions for 20 yards. However, Herbert surprisingly played a decent amount as well: 18 carries for 75 yards. If Herbert is going to see that many carries, he also should be rostered while Montgomery is out.
Devontae Booker, RB, New York Giants (7 percent rostered)
The Giants don’t have a bye until Week 10, so even though Saquon Barkley injured his ankle, he isn’t going to have a bye week to help him heal. The injury was labeled week-to-week, but those that saw how swollen that ankle became only minutes realize that it's a pretty safe bet that he’s not playing in Week 6. Booker will be a must-add, but fantasy managers must know that this may only be a temporary fill-in. In Barkley’s absence, Booker had 42 rushing yards and a touchdown, along with three receptions for 16 yards and another score.
Kadarius Toney, WR, New York Giants (16 percent rostered)
Toney had a breakout game of sorts in Week 5. He did get into a physical altercation and tweak his ankle, which are two reasons that fantasy managers may be hesitant to immediately pick him up. However, in Week 5 he had 13 targets. He caught 10 of them for 189 yards. With Sterling Shephard and Darius Slayton out, Toney had to step up and he did – even with Mike Glennon at quarterback. Keep an eye on Toney's status, but he seems to have made his way onto the fantasy radar.
Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, Detroit Lions (3 percent rostered)
With the news that Quintez Cephus broke his collarbone in Week 5, someone else will have to step up. It appears that will be St. Brown, who had eight targets in Week 5. He caught seven of them for 65 yards. St. Brown may become a favorite target for Jared Goff now that Cephus is out. It will be tough to trust St. Brown in most standard formats, but in PPR leagues and deeper leagues, he should be added.
Michael Gallup, WR, Dallas Cowboys (46 percent rostered)
Gallup is still on IR, but he was dropped in a number of leagues once he strained his calf in Week 1. Initially, he was expected to miss 3-5 weeks. Gallup is right in the middle of that time frame, and while he may not be active in Week 6 (because the Cowboys have a bye in Week 7), he is someone who can certainly make a difference on your roster in Week 8 and beyond. If you have room on your team and he is available, grab him.
Hunter Henry, TE, New England Patriots (46 percent rostered)
With touchdowns in the past two games, Henry has made his way onto the fantasy radar. While it wasn’t clear how the Patriots – and Mac Jones – would distribute the targets between Henry and Jonnu Smith, it seems that Henry is the better play for fantasy. He had a season-high six receptions for 75 yards in Week 5 (compared to Smith’s two for 27). Hunter is a TE2 with the potential for some TE1 performances.
Dan Arnold, TE, Jacksonville Jaguars (4 percent rostered)
In Week 5, Arnold had eight targets. He caught six of them for 64 yards, his highest so far this season. Those numbers were actually the best for any Jaguar pass catcher in Week 5, but that should tell you more about the offense than Arnold. The Jaguars face the Dolphins in Week 6 in London, and Arnold should be in the TE2 consideration.
Defense/Special Teams (DST)
Cincinnati Bengals (9 percent rostered)
The Bengals face the Lions in Week 6, and Jared Goff has not exactly been lighting up the scoreboard. He’s been sacked four times in each of the past two weeks. The Lions haven’t scored more than 20 points since Week 1. He has three interceptions on the season. While the Bengals' defense hasn’t been great at times, this is a good streaming option 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.