Week 5 of the NFL season culminates with a Monday night matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and Las Vegas Raiders. Unfortunately, the weekend’s action came with a development that has huge fantasy football implications. Seattle Seahawks RB Rashaad Penny suffered a fractured fibula on Sunday. The injury will require surgery that will force Penny to miss the remainder of the season.
Before leaving the game in the third quarter, Penny had rushed for 54 yards on eight attempts. The tears in his eyes spoke louder than words as he was carted to the locker room. Penny was coming off of an excellent performance in Week 4 against the Lions, where he rushed 17 times for 151 yards and two touchdowns. However, injuries haven’t exactly been kind to Penny. Entering the season, he had played in only 37 out of a possible 65 games for his career.
Kenneth Walker III (47.5% rostered in ESPN leagues) should be able to fill the void. He finished out Week 5 with eight rushing attempts for a career-high 88 yards and a touchdown. Walker played in 32 collegiate games (20 at Wake Forest, 12 at Michigan State), finishing with 3,069 yards and 36 touchdowns between the two schools. Walker certainly becomes the top waiver-wire pickup for this week, immediately jumping into the RB2 conversation.
If somebody else had already snatched up Walker, either as an insurance policy for Penny or simply as a bench stash, here are a few other RB options to consider grabbing:
Mike Boone, Denver Broncos (26.9%): On Thursday night, Boone finished with 85 total yards on 10 touches against the Colts. There was no doubt that Melvin Gordon III led the Broncos’ committee with 103 total yards and 18 touches. Boone, however, played on 30 snaps, compared to Gordon’s 41. With reports that Russell Wilson is battling a partially torn lat near his right shoulder, the Broncos could be forced to rely even more on the running game in the future.
Jaylen Warren, Pittsburgh Steelers (3.9%): Najee Harris, who was the RB5 in ESPN live drafts this summer, has been a disappointment so far this season. Harris has averaged just 16.4 touches and a dismal 10.3 fantasy points per game. Warren, on the other hand, played on 38 snaps against the Bills — one more than Harris, who was the only starter to be taken out of the game during the fourth quarter, even with the game against Buffalo no longer in reach. Harris dealt with a Lisfranc injury in training camp and a foot injury to start the season. He’s averaging a suboptimal 3.2 yards per rushing attempt. Fantasy managers should stash Warren now.
Liz Loza, Mike Clay and Daniel Dopp all don’t expect Najee Harris’ numbers to get better moving forward.
Eno Benjamin, Arizona Cardinals (6.8%): Benjamin was the “last back standing” on Sunday after James Conner (rib), Darrel Williams (knee), and Jonathan Ward (hamstring) all suffered injuries. He finished with 53 total yards and a touchdown on 11 touches against the Eagles. Benjamin has only accumulated 82 career touches as he plays in just his second NFL season, but his success in college says he’s capable of more. If both Conner and Williams remain sidelined, Benjamin would be on the RB2 radar against the Seahawks.
Quick Hits: J.D. McKissic (41.7%) provides fantasy managers with a high floor. He has averaged 8.2 touches and 10.0 fantasy points per game. With the start of bye weeks having arrived, McKissic could find himself in your starting lineup. … Atlanta’s backfield is crowded, but Tyler Allgeier (45.0%) still led the way in snaps (39), routes run (19) and touches (13).
Now let’s take a look at our recommended Week 6 ESPN Fantasy waiver wire adds at the other skill positions.
Carson Wentz, Washington Commanders (47.7%): Starting Wentz as your fantasy quarterback can make your stomach as queasy as eating sushi that you bought at a gas station. In three of his five games, he has scored 21-plus fantasy points. In the other two games, Wentz combined for only 16 fantasy points. Only the Jets (42.8) and Cardinals (43.8) average more passing attempts per game than the Commanders (42). Still, Wentz is a QB2 option for fantasy managers thanks to upcoming games against the Bears and Packers.
Geno Smith, Seattle Seahawks (32.2%): So far this season, Smith has way exceeded expectations, averaging 31.4 passing attempts and 19.6 fantasy points per game. He’s now had three consecutive games with multiple passing touchdowns — the longest streak of Smith’s career. Smith and the Seahawks offense will need to cook a lot, since the Seattle defense is giving up 430.0 yards and 30.8 points per game.
Justin Fields, Chicago Bears (27.0%): It’s safe to say that the Bears offense hasn’t exceeded expectations so far this season, ranking 31st overall with only 274.0 total yards per game. Against the Vikings on Sunday, Fields set a season-high in passing yards (208) and fantasy points (17.0) while avoiding any turnovers. Additionally, he has now rushed for 45-plus yards in three consecutive games. In this week’s matchup against the Commanders, Fields is on the streaming radar. Looking ahead, in Weeks 9-11 he will also face the Dolphins, Lions, and Falcons. That’s something to be aware of if you are planning for upcoming bye weeks.
Michael Gallup, Dallas Cowboys (51.0%): Dak Prescott is expected to return from thumb surgery in a couple of weeks, so Gallup could see a boost in both offensive snaps and fantasy production. Gallup played on 55% of the snaps and had five targets against the Rams, compared to Noah Brown who played on 76% but saw just two targets. As a reminder, in his 31 career games with six-plus targets, Gallup has averaged 69.2 receiving yards and 14.0 fantasy points.
George Pickens, Pittsburgh Steelers (50.6%): Pickens followed up his breakout performance in Week 4 with another superb outing against the Bills on Sunday. He played on 57 snaps and ran 48 routes. Yes, Diontae Johnson (70) and Chase Claypool (68) both played on more snaps, but they each ran a similar number of routes (52). For the second consecutive week, it was the rookie who led the Steelers in receptions and receiving yards. There’s no doubt that Pickens’ skill set is incredible and needs to be the focus of Pittsburgh’s passing game. Pickens has flex upside going forward.
Isaiah McKenzie, Buffalo Bills (26.3%): McKenzie didn’t play on Sunday due to a concussion, but it’s likely he’ll return against the Chiefs in Week 6. With Jamison Crowder (ankle) on IR, McKenzie will play a significant role in the Bills offense. Josh Allen‘s performance on Sunday against the Steelers reminded fantasy managers how lethal Buffalo’s offense can be. It was his second career game with at least 400 passing yards and four passing touchdowns. For the upcoming bye weeks, McKenzie is a great player to stash. He accumulated 15 targets over Weeks 3-4 and has found the end zone in three of his four games this season.
Rondale Moore, Arizona Cardinals (19.6%): Moore played a much bigger role on Sunday, catching 7-of-8 targets for 68 yards. Moore played on more snaps and ran more routes against the Eagles than A.J. Green. It certainly looks like Moore appears to be no worse than the No. 3 option in the passing game, after Marquise Brown and Zach Ertz. Now, DeAndre Hopkins can return in Week 7, which may ultimately reduce Moore’s target share, but the Cardinals’ pass-heavy offense still positions Moore for fantasy relevancy. For Week 6, a meeting with the Seahawks presents a favorable matchup.
Liz Loza breaks down why she likes Marquise Brown and Rondale Moore’s fantasy matchup vs. the Seahawks in Week 6.
Alec Pierce, Indianapolis Colts (8.6%): Pierce was the lone bright spot on the Colts offense last Thursday. He set career highs with eight receptions (on nine targets) and 81 yards. He appears to have great rapport with Matt Ryan. Pierce is on the flex radar against the Jaguars in Week 6. I think it’s only a matter of time before he takes over as a starter in 2-WR sets.
Quick Hits: Darius Slayton (0.2%) led the Giants with 79 receiving yards against the Packers. New York was without Kadarius Toney, Kenny Golladay, and Wan’Dale Robinson. The role Slayton plays in the offense when the team is fully healthy remains to be seen, which makes him only a deep-league target. … Dyami Brown (0.2%) caught 2-of-4 targets for 105 yards and two touchdowns against the Titans in place of Jahan Dotson. If Dotson is out again, Brown is a nice pickup in deeper leagues. … Nico Collins (11.9%) is also someone to keep on your radar in deeper formats. He led the Texans with 65 receiving yards on Sunday.
Irv Smith Jr., Minnesota Vikings (32.1%): Smith was third on the Vikings behind Justin Jefferson (13) and Adam Thielen (6) in targets on Sunday, helping him post a season high in receiving yards (42). Given how many routes Smith typically runs (23.2 per game), he’s on the verge of a monster fantasy performance.
Hayden Hurst, Cincinnati Bengals (24.2%): In three out of Hurst’s five games this season, he has been targeted seven-plus times. He’s averaging 9.5 fantasy points per game. He’s also scored a touchdown in two straight weeks, making him a great choice if you’re looking for TE streamer in Week 6 against the Saints.
Evan Engram, Jacksonville Jaguars (20.2%): On Sunday, Trevor Lawrence and the Jaguars offense struggled against the Texans. Engram did not. He caught 6-of-10 targets for 69 yards. In the two games this season where he has had eight-plus targets, he has scored at least 11 fantasy points. One of those game was against the Colts, whom the Jaguars will face again in Week 6.
Taysom Hill, New Orleans Saints (11.8%): Hill is now the TE4 for the season after becoming only the third player since 1970 to have 100 rushing yards, three rushing touchdowns and a passing touchdown in the same game. Hill was only started in 3.3% of ESPN leagues, which is not that surprising. Due to his inconsistent usage, Hill is difficult to routinely insert into starting lineups. However, since Chris Olave had to leave Sunday’s game due to a concussion, Hill may get some extra opportunities against the Bengals this week.
Source : ESPN