Early Week 5 fantasy pickups: How to handle rash of injuries

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Injuries were a major theme in Week 4, including what looks to be a season-ending injury for Dalvin Cook and saw Chris Carson carted off after his ankle was twisted in ugly fashion. Byes also begin next week, so it’s time to take an early look at potential fantasy help on the waiver wire.

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Averaging six targets a week over the first three weeks of the season, Alvin Kamara continued to be a focal point for the New Orleans Saints passing game in Week 4. Catching all 10 of his targets for 71 yards and a score, the rookie was the team’s second most productive player through the air. He also averaged 5.0 YPC, earning an additional 25 rushing yards on 5 attempts. Still available in over 50 percent of Yahoo leagues, Kamara has a solid rest-of-season schedule and needs to be owned everywhere.

With the Minnesota Vikings backfield minus Cook,  Latavius Murray (available in 84% of leagues) and Jerick McKinnon (available in 97% of leagues) immediately become intriguing adds. Murray more fits the early-down mold, but McKinnon is an outstanding receiving back and can absolutely be effective in PPR formats. Cook has been fantastic so far this year, and this is obviously a huge loss for any fantasy team.

Carson had taken control of a murky Seattle backfield, but was carted off in the fourth quarter. Pete Carroll called the ankle injury significant. Seattle will turn to Eddie Lacy and Thomas Rawls, who was a healthy scratch. It’s a tough situation for fantasy owners and will be even more complicated once third-down back C.J. Prosise returns from injury. Lacy and Rawls have been dropped by fantasy players with the emergence of Carson and are owned in only 18% and 28% of leagues respectively.

For those in need of receiver help, Will Fuller proved to be a difference maker for the Houston Texans in his first game back from a broken collar bone. Despite taking few reps together, Deshaun Watson (a hot waiver add in his own right) and the speedy second-year receiver hooked up twice in the end zone. Fuller’s presence opened up the entire offense, taking the pressure off of DeAndre Hopkins as well as the running game. Owned in just 30 percent of Yahoo leagues, Fuller is a priority add heading into Week 5.

Charles Clay has been a top-seven fantasy producer two of the last three weeks. He continued to lead the Buffalo Bills’ passing attack in Week 4, converting 5 of 7 looks for 112 yards. Despite Buffalo’s run-heavy approach, Clay’s volume will keep him in the TE1 conversation, especially as byes ramp up this coming week. He’s owned in 66 percent of leagues but that number should be much higher.

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