The average NFL game lasts about three hours. That’s a lot of time to spend on the couch, but there are some people who would rather watch football than play it themselves. This is where fantasy football comes in.
The fantasy football rankings are the last thing that you want to do before your fantasy football draft. They can help provide insight into how teams will perform in the upcoming season.
We’ll uncover fantasy football waiver-wire selections especially for those of you searching for streaming possibilities in deeper formats each week of the NFL season (including IDP leagues). These are players that are available (or close to becoming available) in the majority of ESPN Fantasy leagues and have intriguing matches in the week ahead, making them worthy of consideration for your lineups.
While there is some overlap with Field Yates’ Monday pickup column, a key difference is that the choices discussed in this column are just for this week’s matchup, not for the players’ overall worth for the rest of the season.
Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold (46.8 percent rostered; vs. Vikings)
In the Panthers’ defeat to the Eagles last week, Darnold was terrible. He kept the ball for too long, didn’t read the Philadelphia defense effectively, was inconsistent in the pocket, and completely missed open receivers. So Darnold has one less-than-stellar game under his belt? There’s no reason to be concerned.
He averaged 27 fantasy points per game from Weeks 1-4. Darnold will have a better chance to bounce back this week against the Vikings at home, thanks to the return of running back Christian McCaffrey. This week, Darnold may be considered a QB2 with potential against a Vikings defense that has allowed the 16th most yards per game (368.8).
Jacksonville Jaguars’ Trevor Lawrence (42.6 percent ; vs. Dolphins)
Lawrence has quietly improved with each game this season, even though the Jaguars are winless and coach Urban Meyer is making headlines for all the wrong reasons. His 273 throwing yards last week were his highest since Week 1. (332). Lawrence is also being utilized as a runner more often. Over the last three games, he’s had 21 rushing attempts. The Jaguars’ defense has given up the seventh-most fantasy points per game (109.62). Lawrence will continue to be cast in neutral-to-negative game scripts, which will further add to his fantasy appeal. This week, he’ll be on the streaming radar against a Dolphins defense that has given up the sixth most points per game to quarterbacks (22.03).
Washington Football Team’s Taylor Heinicke (12.6 percent ; vs. Chiefs)
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Cordarrelle Patterson was successfully traded in more than 13,000 leagues (18,045).
Kyle Pitts’ trades were accepted 13% of the time after his Week 5 breakthrough (fourth-highest acceptance rate).
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Are you trying to go past Allen Robinson II? Best wishes. During the previous week, 113,439 transactions involving him were refused (second most).
Is it possible to pass the Buc? Mike Evans (13.1 percent) and Chris Godwin (13.1 percent) are the top two receivers in terms of recent acceptance rates (12.8 percent ).
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Last week’s performance against the Saints proves without a shadow of a doubt that Heinicke cannot be counted on to start every week. Heinicke, a matchup-based streamer, passed for 290 yards and three touchdowns against the Falcons the last time I suggested him in this column. In Week 6, Heinicke will face the Chiefs in another vulnerable mismatch.
On a per-game basis, no other team allows more points to quarterbacks than Kansas City (28). Heinicke’s running ability is also underrated, as he has 22 rushing attempts and an average of 5.17 yards per attempt in four starts. The Chiefs’ defense (141 running yards per game) is the fourth-worst in the league. Kansas City provides the ideal chance for a comeback.
Kansas City Chiefs’ Darrel Williams (7.6 percent ; vs. Washington Football Team)
Clyde Edwards-Helaire will be out for a few weeks due to an MCL injury. Sun-Tzu said, “In the middle of turmoil, there is also opportunity,” which applies to Williams’ position. On Sunday Night Football, he led the Chiefs with 37 snaps and five rushing attempts against the Bills, and he is anticipated to be Kansas City’s starting running back, with Jerick McKinnon serving as a receiver out of the backfield. Last season, when Edwards-Helaire was sidelined, Williams showed us what he’s capable of in the playoffs. On 31 touches in the Chiefs’ two postseason games, he accumulated 1,155 total yards and a touchdown. He’s a great plug-and-play RB2 against a Washington defense that has allowed the most points per game in fantasy this season (120.24).
Chicago Bears’ Khalil Herbert (4.7 percent ; vs. Packers)
Herbert had 18 running attempts against the Raiders last week, compared to Damien Williams’ 16, and he also played more snaps. With starting quarterback Justin Fields, the Bears’ run-heavy system should provide ample touches for both. Herbert played collegiately at Kansas and Virginia Tech, for those unfamiliar with his name. Herbert ran for 2,918 yards and 22 touchdowns on 475 tries in 46 collegiate games, with 34 catches for 297 yards and another touchdown. In terms of film, Herbert has good balance, play speed, and a good sense of running lanes. In Week 6, Herbert is a good RB3 or flex option against the Packers.
Receiver with a Wide Range
Philadelphia Eagles’ Quez Watkins (2.2 percent ; vs. Buccaneers)
As the season goes, Watkins’ snap count continues to rise. For a total of 267 yards, he has caught 13 of 17 targets. Jalen Reagor, on the other hand, has only caught 17 of 25 targets for 140 yards. Last week, Watkins missed out on a score against the Panthers when Jalen Hurts’ ball was intercepted by a wide-open Watkins on a free play. With his blistering speed, he may have a career day against a Buccaneers team that allows the second most points to wide receivers.
Arizona Cardinals’ Rondale Moore (37.3 percent ; vs. at Browns)
Moore was outstanding in the Cardinals’ victory against the 49ers in Week 5. He showed off his catching prowess, play speed, and tackle-breaking prowess. Moore was used not just as a runner but also as a receiver, and it’s worth noting that Moore ran more routes than Christian Kirk in a game for the first time this season. He’s a great flex or WR3 option, particularly if you’re looking for some potential.
Baltimore Ravens’ Rashod Bateman (12.8 percent ; vs. Chargers)
Bateman’s comeback is on the horizon, and it couldn’t come at a better moment for the Ravens’ offense. Lamar Jackson, the quarterback, continues to improve as a passer. He is the only player in NFL history to throw for 400 yards, four touchdowns, zero interceptions, and 50 running yards in a single game, according to ESPN Stats & Info. Another receiving option for the Ravens might be useful. Mark Andrews, a tight end, and Marquise Brown, a wide receiver, combined for 23 targets. Bateman’s flexibility allows them to play both on the perimeter and in the slot. He has 147 catches, 2,395 receiving yards (sixth in school history), and 19 touchdowns in his 31-game college career at Minnesota (fifth). In Bateman’s first regular-season game, you should consider starting him.
Miami Dolphins’ Mike Gesicki (45.7 percent rostered; at Jaguars)
Over the Dolphins’ last three games, Gesicki has accumulated 25 targets. He has the same number of targets each snap as Darren Waller. Despite the fact that Gesicki has only played 60.8 percent of Miami’s offensive plays, he has been heavily engaged in the Dolphins’ passing game. The Jaguars’ defense has allowed the ninth most points per game to tight ends, thus this usage pattern is expected to continue against them. If your fantasy team needs a streamer, Gesicki is a TE1 you shouldn’t overlook.
New England Patriots’ Hunter Henry (35.7 percent rostered; vs. Cowboys)
Over the last two games, Henry has caught 10 of 13 targets for 107 yards and two touchdowns, and quarterback Mac Jones has a passer rating of 110.4 when targeting him. Henry is beginning to heat up, and he should be given more targets. As the season continues, Henry and Jones’ bond should only become stronger. He’s a TE1 against a Dallas Cowboys defense that has given up the tenth-most points per game to tight ends entering Week 6.
Indianapolis Colts’ Mo Alie-Cox (0.3 percent rostered; vs. Texans)
Alie-Cox is the Colts’ first-string tight end, ahead of Jack Doyle. He has grabbed six of nine targets for 92 yards and two touchdowns in the last two games. Playing Alie-Cox against a Texans defense that has allowed the most points per game to his position (20.8) is a safe bet.
Special teams and defense
The Indianapolis Colts are a professional football team based in Indianapolis (43.7 percent rostered; vs. Texans)
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After their defensive collapse against the Ravens on Monday Night Football, you may be surprised to see the Colts as a suggestion. The Colts will be determined to make a defensive comeback against the Texans. Davis Mills passed for 312 yards and three touchdowns, but two things should not be overlooked. Mills, for starters, is a rookie coaching a Texans squad that lacks playmakers. Second, Houston has surrendered 10 sacks, 6 interceptions, and a paltry 10 points per game. This is an excellent formula for achieving streaming success.
Packers of Green Bay (20.1 percent rostered; at Bears)
The Bears’ offense is now a mess. As an offensive team, they rank lowest in total yards per game (240) and score just 16.8 points per game, which is at the bottom of the league. In addition, Justin Fields’ throw attempts have been restricted by the Bears. In four straight games, he has had no more than 24 pass attempts. The Bears’ offensive line has allowed 18 sacks this season. Against Chicago’s subpar offense, the Packers are in a strong position at home.
Bengals of Cincinnati (17.1 percent rostered; at Lions)
Last week, the Bengals’ defense was unable to contain Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams. Cincinnati, on the other hand, should have a better chance against Jared Goff and the Lions attack. Detroit has scored 19.6 points per game while averaging 339.6 total yards. In all statistical categories, the Lions are towards the bottom of the league. Look no farther than the Bengals if you’re looking for a D/ST replacement.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Ryan Succop (32.2 percent , at Eagles)
In the Buccaneers’ victory against the Dolphins last week, Succop only attempted one field goal, which he made, and he converted all six extra point tries. This is significant since he had missed shots in each of the previous three games. The Buccaneers offense is a monster, averaging 431.4 total yards per game. Succop seems to be on the mend, and he should have plenty of chances against the Eagles.
Cincinnati Bengals’ Evan McPherson (10 percent ; at Lions)
McPherson is part of a Bengals offense that has scored 24 points or more in three of their last four games. Against the Lions defense, Cincinnati’s offense should have little problem gaining yards. No other club enables kickers to score more fantasy points per game than Detroit.
Carolina Panthers’ Zane Gonzalez (0.3 percent ; vs. Vikings)
Darnold and the Panthers will try to rebound against the Vikings at home. Last week, Gonzalez converted all three of his field goal tries and added an extra point against the Eagles. He’ll have a fantastic chance to repeat that performance against the Vikings, who are tied with the Texans for the fourth-worst kicker defense in the league.
Defensive players on their own (IDP)
Line of Defense
Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Shaquil Barrett (39.7 percent ; vs. Eagles)
Barrett has 18 tackles, 3.5 sacks, and an interception in his resume. He has made a significant contribution to the Buccaneers defense. Barrett will have plenty of chances to show off his pass-rushing talents against an Eagles team that averages 36.6 pass attempts per game, which ranks 12th in the league.
Arizona Cardinals’ Isaiah Simmons (40.8 percent , at Browns)
On the Cardinals, Simmons has been the most consistent tackler. After being chosen eighth overall in the 2020 NFL draft by Arizona, he’s living up to the expectations. Against a Browns offense that relies heavily on Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, he should be busy.
Back on defense
Buffalo Bills’ Taron Johnson (19.6 percent , at Titans)
After being humiliated by the Chiefs throughout the regular season and playoffs last year, Johnson was able to exact vengeance. With 12 tackles versus Kansas City, he led the Bills. Johnson has emerged as one of Buffalo’s most significant defensive players. Against the Titans, he’s in an excellent position and on the streaming radar.
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