Week 5 was a doozy. Hopefully, you read my column last week and took advantage of some names I threw your way. Namely Kadarius Toney, Damien Williams, Tim Patrick (again), and Marquez Callaway. I can’t promise to deliver such epic production week in and week out, but I can promise you I’ll do my best! Week 6 marks the beginning of BYE week season. It’s a tricky time to navigate. You’re probably running out of roster spots between injuries and BYE weeks. The time has come to make some tough decisions.

My general rule of thumb is one week at a time. I know it sounds cliché, but if you get too far ahead of yourself, you can go from first to worst fast. I’ve seen it play out so many times before. Team A enters BYE weeks undefeated and by Week 12 is fighting for a playoff spot. Often, it’s because they’re stashing a defense for a matchup that is week’s down the road or holding onto a high-upside player on IR while starting a RB4 when they could have used that roster spot to pick somebody up and start them who was maybe more RB2/Flex quality. Every. Week. Matters. Win this week. Worry about next week, next week. You’d be surprised how many things just happen to work out in your favor when you’re not so busy planning for future weeks.

Another huge waiver week is upon us. Perhaps the biggest yet, with BYE weeks now in the mix. Let’s discuss…

A reminder on how this works… For this feature, I will be focusing exclusively on players rostered in less than 50% of both ESPN and Yahoo leagues.

If your league has a standard waiver system, then simply follow the order of my picks to determine your waiver priority. If your league has a FAAB system, I will assign each waiver pick a % of your FAAB budget I would be comfortable committing. You may see some repeat names from previous weeks, that would be because these individuals still are not rostered in 50% of fantasy leagues and these are my TOP 5 waiver adds. That won’t change just because I want to give you some fresh names.

  1. Darrel Williams (40% of FAAB budget) – Surprise, surprise, a running back headlines the list. The number one spot was a close toss up between Darrel Williams or Devontae Booker. Whether you’re a zero RB drafter, or a heavy-RB drafter, between injuries and BYE weeks, you’re probably facing some depth issues right now. Darrel Williams is the 1A answer, in my opinion. We do not know how long Clyde Edwards-Helaire will be out. The word on the street suggests 3-4 weeks but with a bye looming in Week 12, it might make sense to hold him out for the next 6 games and preserve their young star for the home stretch. Especially true if the Chiefs get hot, which I think they do. Regardless of how long, here’s the Chiefs remaining opponents till that Week 12 BYE; Washington, Tennessee, NYG, Green bay, Las Vegas, Dallas. You cannot ask for a better schedule for a RB. Darrel Williams is a three-down back who gets all the touches in the red-zone. Look for Jerrick McKinnon to get involved but make no mistake this is Darrel Williams backfield.
  2. Devontae Booker (35% of FAAB budget) – Tomay-to, Tomaa-to right? Not quite. I’ve got Devontae Booker a peg lower than Darrel Williams and here’s why; 1) Talent. I just think Williams is the better back. 2) Supporting Cast. The Giants are banged up everywhere from QB, to WR, to O-Line. If Kadarius Toney is out next week, Devontae Booker legitimately might be their best active weapon. That’s not a good thing. 3) High Leverage Opportunities. The volume will be there, but with the lack of supporting cast, how good will these opportunities really be? Fantasy points are scored in the red-zone, a place I don’t think the Giants will be visiting often. 4) Schedule. NYG next 3 games are against LAR, Carolina, and Kansas City. A brutal stretch for RBs. Now all of those are reasons why you shouldn’t take him so you’re probably asking yourself, “well then why should I take him?” Here’s why… Volume, volume, volume. Booker will get all the work he can handle. He’s the favorite to play as many downs as possible meaning he’s ripe not only for production in favorable gamescripts, but also unfavorable game scripts. Whether Daniel Jones or Mike Glennon under center, the Giants project to be playing from behind a bunch, meaning lots of dump offs to running backs. Additionally, we do not know if Saquon Barkley will even return this year. Certainly if the Giants lose their next three, like they’re expected to, the conversation about shutting Barkley down will gain steam.
  3. Kadarius Toney (30% of FAAB budget) – Hopefully you listened last week and jumped on Toney while he was cheap. I recommended up to 10% of your FAAB money. He went for $0 in all my leagues combined. He won’t be so cheap this time around. If you’re desperate at WR, go as big as you feel you need to here. He’s the real deal. But, buyer beware, he did get into some trouble last week and is banged up. A one game “team suspension” might be in his best interest both to preserve his health and send a message to the young, talented receiver. Either way, he’s the hold for the rest of the season. I’m having flashbacks of Justin Jefferson in 2020 on this one. I think we all would have liked to buy in on that when we had the opportunity. Now’s your final chance!
  4. Dan Arnold (10% of FAAB budget) – I was between Dan Arnold, David Njoku, and Ricky Seals-Jones for my honorary TE addition to this column, but I’m giving the slight edge to Arnold. He is clearly being featured in this quickly improving Jaguars offense and if you have a TE not named, Kelce, Waller, Andrews, Knox, Schultz, Hockensen, Andrews, or Fant, then either your TE is on a bye week, injured, or I think more highly of Dan Arnold than whoever you have in that position right now. TEs can be fool’s gold, but I’ve watched both Jag’s games since acquiring Arnold and it is clear they intend on featuring the young stud. If you want reassurance here, just know that I never bought the hype on Tyler Conklin, CJ Uzomah, Maxx Williams, Juwan Johnson, etc.., hence why they never made my column. I am however drinking the Kool-Aid on Arnold. Buy now while you can cheaply. As mentioned above, I’m also skeptically interested in Njoku and Ricky Seals-Jones. Njoku is more of an upside stash, somebody I’d consider if you’re currently rolling with guys like Gesicki, Higbee, Cook, whereas Seals-Jones is a short-term immediate contributor until Logan Thomas returns. A great option for Kittle & Pitts owners, while they navigate their injury and bye weeks respectively.
  5. Jeff Wilson Jr. (5% of FAAB budget) – Same advice as last week (see last week’s column). I know I preached intraweek focus regardless of record, but if you do have the open roster spot or IR availability, and are 4-1 or 5-0, Jeff Wilson is an excellent stash. Tough to say whether he immediately slides in as the RB1 in San Francisco, but historical precedent suggests it’s more likely than not. For that upside alone, he’s worth a roster spot if you can afford it.

BONUS PICK: Injuries and BYE weeks don’t just impact skill positions, they impact QBs as well. If you’re in need of a QB streamer for this week (Daniel Jones, Matt Ryan, Jameis Winston owners) or for multiple weeks (Russell Wilson and potentially Daniel Jones), here’s my definitive list of top available QBs ranked in the importance of immediate production first with second priority being long term viability:

  1. Carson Wentz – Juicy matchups for the next 5 weeks and showing noticeable improvement.
  2. Trevor Lawrence – Excellent matchup Week 6, followed by a BYE Week 7
  3. Trey Lance – On a BYE this week but hear me out… If you lost Russell Wilson, my perfect world would be you grab both Lawrence and Lance. If you do that, you’re next 4 scheduled matchups would be MIA, IND, SEA, ARI. By then, you hope to have Russ back. This is of course assuming Jimmy Garoppolo stays sidelined.
  4. Tua Tagovailoa – Weapons and schedule don’t make me nervous, but his availability does. If he stays healthy, he’ll help fill the void.
  5. Geno Smith – I can’t believe the words I’m about to type but dare I say Geno Smith looked… Good? He’s got as good of weapons as anybody. It might not be as pretty as you’re used to seeing from a Seattle QB, but he seems as sure a bet as anyone to throw for 250 yards and a couple TDs.

-Cory, Fox Fantasy Football Insider