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Brian Westerholt/Associated Press
Things start to pick up on the fantasy football waiver wire after Week 4.
A full month’s worth of games helps fantasy managers to see trends in usage and target shares and to single out ideal waiver-wire additions.
Add in the need to replace injured players, including Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb, and there should be a flurry of activity at running back and wide receiver in both standard or points-per-reception (PPR) leagues.
Managers have plenty of options on the Week 5 wire, whether they are seeking an upgrade, a handicap or need to fill a slot for a bye. The following players are available in at least 50 percent of Yahoo leagues, with the point totals listed for half-point PPR.
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Jason Behnken/Associated Press
It’s hard to imagine how the Los Angeles Chargers could put Tyrod Taylor back under center.
The Chargers spent a top-10 pick on Justin Herbert, who was just 10 yards short of becoming the second rookie to ever throw for 300 yards in three consecutive games (a feat Joe Burrow just accomplished). Keep in mind Herbert was thrown into the fire after Taylor was sidelined by a punctured lung prior to Week 2.
Herbert has completed 72 percent of passes for 931 yards and five touchdowns to three interceptions, totaling at least 23.24 points in two of his three starts. He recorded 24 points in Week 4 on the road against Tampa Bay without wideout Mike Williams. Running back Austin Ekeler also left the game in the first half with a hamstring injury.
Herbert should be an interesting second option at the position as he heads for a potential shootout against the New Orleans Saints in Week 5 on Monday Night Football before playing bad New York Jets, Miami Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars teams over the following three weeks.
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Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press
Don’t be the fantasy manager left asking, “Who?” when D’Ernest Johnson breaks out while the Cleveland Browns await the return of the injured Nick Chubb.
Johnson, who had just five NFL carries to his name before Sunday, turned 13 carries into 95 yards (7.3 yards-per-attempt average) and 9.5 points.
While Kareem Hunt is rostered in 96 percent of Yahoo leagues, keep in mind that Johnson saw two more carries than him, while neither saw a target.
Adding Johnson is a forward-thinking move. Chubb is expected to miss multiple weeks, and Hunt was limited in practice this past week with a groin injury. Even though the Dallas Cowboys defense has struggled against the run in 2020, Johnson’s numbers should catch your attention. He has the talent to make something happen even if he only sniffs eight-to-10 touches per game.
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Jason Behnken/Associated Press
After the injury to Austin Ekeler, the knee-jerk reaction might be to look to Joshua Kelley, who is already rostered in 55 percent of leagues.
But Justin Jackson is a sleeper.
He only had six carries for nine yards in Week 4 (3.1 points), but he’s averaged 4.8 yards per carry over his career, caught 24 passes over the last two seasons and played just nine fewer snaps than Kelley this past weekend, according to Nathan Jahnke of Pro Football Focus.
And Kelley didn’t exactly have a great performance Sunday. He rushed just nine times for seven yards and fumbled inside of the 20-yard line, setting up a score for the Bucs. Jackson will play a friendly schedule in the coming weeks and should at worst split touches evenly in a committee approach for the Chargers.
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Brian Westerholt/Associated Press
The Carolina Panthers have plenty of snaps available at running back as Christian McCaffrey rehabs his ankle, and Reggie Bonnafon looks pretty appealing.
While Mike Davis is already rostered in 88 percent of Yahoo leagues and had 16 carries for 84 yards and a touchdown in Week 4 against the Arizona Cardinals, Bonnafon recorded 10 carries for 53 yards, averaging 5.3 yards per attempt as well. He caught both of his targets and scored a touchdown, finishing with 14.1 points.
Bonnafon was promoted from the practice squad after McCaffrey’s injury, but his performance might be a sign of things to come.
All bets are off when McCaffrey returns, of course, but Bonnafon is a solid depth add and has serious upside if the Panthers use a committee approach in the meantime.
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Adam Hunger/Associated Press
It doesn’t seem to matter who is under center for the Denver Broncos. Tim Patrick is a factor.
Quarterbacks Jeff Driskel and Brett Rypien don’t necessarily inspire a tone of confidence, but Patrick has looked like a No. 1 wideout at times.
In Week 3, he caught all four of his targets for 43 yards and a score, posting 12.3 points. He followed that up with six grabs on seven looks, recording 113 yards and a score for 20.3 points.
Wideout KJ Hamler left Denver’s Week 4 game with a hamstring issue after missing most of training camp with an injury, so it seems Patrick has a chance to be one of Denver’s top targets regardless of opponent.
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Chris O’Meara/Associated Press
It’s getting harder and harder to ignore Tampa Bay Buccaneers wideout Scotty Miller.
Miller had a mini-breakout in Week 1, posting 73 yards and 10.4 points. He disappeared in Week 2 but was one of Tom Brady’s favorite targets in Weeks 3 and 4, recording 83 yards apiece and scoring 9.8 and 16.8 fantasy points, respectively, with his first touchdown of the season.
Mike Evans is obviously the No. 1 wide receiver, but he’s been dealing with a minor ankle injury. Chris Godwin remains week-to-week, and tight end O.J. Howard suffered what is potentially a season-ending Achilles injury, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
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Isaac Brekken/Associated Press
Hunter Renfrow looks like he could serve as a high-volume option for Derek Carr and the Las Vegas Raiders until the health of the wideout unit improves.
With Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards sidelined in Week 4, Renfrow caught five of his eight targets for 57 yards, finishing with 8.2 points. The previous week, he caught six of nine for 84 yards and the score for 17.4 points.
Granted, Carr has been spreading the ball around, targeting 12 different pass-catchers this year, but Renfrow is second on the team in targets behind tight end Darren Waller.
Keep in mind the Raiders will play the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 5 before their bye and then take on Tampa Bay in Week 7. Both of those contests could turn into shootouts.
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Aaron Doster/Associated Press
Consistency has been the name of the game with Jacksonville Jaguars wideout Laviska Shenault Jr., though it wouldn’t be surprising to see him have a breakout game sooner rather than later.
It’s surprising for a rookie who didn’t have the benefit of a preseason to be so consistent. He’s put up at least 33 yards in all four games, scoring at least 8.7 points in three of them. He found the end zone in Week 1 and totaled 12.2 points, while he caught five of his passes in Week 4 for 86 yards and 11.6 points.
It’s time to rethink preconceived notions about the pecking order in Jacksonville. DJ Chark Jr. is still ahead of Shenault, but Keelan Cole and Chris Conley (one start each) haven’t been bigger factors.
The Jaguars have given Shenault nine carries as well over four appearances (three starts), and it’s clear he’ll be part of the plan going forward.