Every week throughout the NFL season, we identify six players to target on fantasy waiver wires, plus a lightly owned D/ST. All are available in a majority of Yahoo leagues. Add as needed.
Sammie Coates, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers, 36% owned
So far, Coates has demonstrated remarkable proficiency in two areas this season:
1) He’s a big-play specialist with six gains of 40-plus yards, including a 72-yard touchdown reception against the Jets on Sunday, and…
2) He drops footballs as if they were covered in flaming oil.
Honestly, Coates is an odd player — probably not for everyone. He’s coming off one of the worst great days in fantasy history, as he roasted the Jets defense for six catches, 139 yards and two touchdowns while also dropping four passes. He’s a rough watch, no question, but he’s still averaging 84.2 yards per game. Pittsburgh has another friendly matchup ahead at Miami, so there’s no reason to think Coates can’t help the fantasy community in Week 6. He’s guaranteed to face favorable coverage situations all year, as long as opposing defenses remain focused on Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell.
FAAB bid: $15
Jeremy Kerley, WR, San Francisco 49ers, 8%
With five games now in the books, Kerley leads the Niners in every receiving stat that matters. He’s caught 26 balls for 305 yards on 46 targets, and he’s crossed the goal-line in back-to-back weeks. No other San Francisco skill player has more than 13 catches or 135 receiving yards. Kerley is an undersized veteran receiver without exceptional speed, but he’s a technician with a talent for separating from coverage. Under normal circumstances we might sweat the looming quarterback change, but not when the incumbent is Blaine Gabbert.
FAAB bid: $6
Chris Hogan, WR, New England Patriots, 25%
Several off-the-radar receivers delivered big games in Week 5 (see below), but Hogan should be the priority add, as he’s tied to an elite passing offense. He snagged four balls on five targets for 114 yards against Cleveland, displaying terrific timing and rapport with his Hall of Fame quarterback. Hogan and Tom Brady were a thing during the preseason you might recall, and they’ve clearly picked up where they left off. Snaps haven’t been a problem for Hogan, so don’t sweat his opportunities. He has a clear path to significant targets in an offense that averaged 29.1 points per game last season. With Brady back at the controls, no one should be surprised if Hogan produces WR3 numbers moving forward.
FAAB bid: $8
Devontae Booker, RB, Denver Broncos, 9%
At the moment, there’s nothing special in Booker’s year-to-date stats; he’s averaging 4.0 yards per carry and hasn’t yet found the end-zone. But his share of the backfield snaps in Denver has steadily risen — it was 10 percent in the opener and nearly 40 percent in Week 5 — and C.J. Anderson isn’t exactly delivering many wow plays (3.5 YPC). Booker gained a season-high 59 scrimmage yards on 10 touches against Atlanta, and he’s playing his way into a significant committee role.
FAAB bid: $9
Jalen Richard, RB, Oakland Raiders, 21%
Richard was out-snapped by DeAndre Washington in the win over San Diego, but each player received the same number of touches (14). More importantly, Richard led the Raiders in rushing on Sunday while out-gaining Washington by 45 scrimmage yards. Let’s not assume that Latavius Murray (turf toe) will return for the matchup with KC next Sunday; he was unable to practice last week, and he’s dealing with an injury that severely limits running back performance. Richard has made the most of his limited touches to this point, averaging 7.0 YPC on his 25 rush attempts and catching 11 balls for 105 yards. He’s at least as interesting as Washington in the near term and a reasonable flex option in Week 6, facing a Chiefs defense that allows 4.5 YPC.
FAAB bid: $9
Alex Smith, QB, Kansas City Chiefs, 18%
A thoroughly boring name, no doubt, but Smith is coming out of a bye with a stellar matchup on deck. Oakland’s defense ranks dead-last in the league in passing yards allowed (330.6 YPG) and next-to-last in yards per attempt (8.8). Smith certainly has his flaws, but he’s adequate enough to take advantage of a user-friendly D. If you’ve been streaming or platooning QBs throughout the season, Smith is actually a viable option over the next month. Check the upcoming schedule: at Oakland, New Orleans, at Indianapolis, Jacksonville, at Carolina, Tampa Bay. Five of those six teams currently rank among the bottom-six in the NFL in yards per attempt allowed.
FAAB bid: $4
Tennessee Titans, 5%
Tennessee’s defense has been stunningly credible through five games, ranking tenth in the league in both points (20.2) and total yards (320.6). The Titans get a home date with Cleveland in Week 6, which means they’ll face an injured version of Cody Kessler (ribs), Charlie Whitehurst (knee) or perhaps Josh McCown (shoulder). It’s tough to imagine the Browns putting up a significant point total, or avoiding giveaways. No need to hold Tennessee’s D beyond next Sunday, but they can help for a week.
FAAB bid: $1
Additional adds to consider: Cameron Meredith, WR, Chicago Bears, 3% (vs. Jax); Adam Thielen, WR, Minnesota Vikings, 2% (bye); James Starks, RB, Green Bay Packers, 9% (vs. Dal); Matt Asiata, RB, Minnesota Vikings, 16% (bye); Brian Hoyer, QB, Chicago Bears, 18% (vs. Jax)