Damien Williams highlights Week 5 waiver wires

Welcome to the Week 5 edition of Waiver Wired for the 2021 season. With a handful of injuries already cratering our best-laid plans, we’ll sift through every position to find immediate production while also prepping for the beginning of byes in Week 6.

As a refresher, The Drop List consists of players who are rostered in at least 50 percent of Yahoo leagues and are no longer must-have assets, recommended additions are available in over 50 percent of Yahoo leagues, the Watch List contains in-depth notes on fringe waiver adds, and Deep Cuts includes player notes on those rostered in five percent or fewer of Yahoo leagues.

The Drop List

QB: Baker Mayfield

RB: David Montgomery, Myles Gaskin, A.J. Dillon, Ronald Jones

WR: Mecole Hardman, D.J. Chark

TE: Robert Tonyan

Eyeing a reported “4-5” week absence, Montgomery is fully expected to sit through Chicago’s Week 10 bye and (perhaps) return in time for Week 11 against Baltimore. You know your league settings better than I do, which makes this a case-by-case argument, but it seems like a worthless endeavor to roster an injured player through Week 11 with the fantasy playoffs beginning around that time. If you have the space on deeper benches, by all means. In shallower leagues, though, I would drop Montgomery outright for Damien Williams (see below)…Gaskin, fully healthy at kick-off, most recently recorded two-year lows in snaps (23%), carries (2), and targets (0) in any game he’s been active for in that time. With the Dolphins averaging a league-low 4.0 yards per play, there’s no need to shed a positive light on any of Miami’s backfield…Eight of Dillon’s 15 carries on Sunday came in the fourth quarter with a comfortable 27-10 lead over the Steelers. I personally would not drop Dillon, a league-winning contingency option, in deeper leagues, but his role exclusively as a backup with zero standalone value didn’t change unless the schedule makers allow Green Bay to play the Steelers every week…Hardman has run just seven more routes the Demarcus Robinson (113-106) on the year, having yet to finish inside the top-34 at his position. Arguably every option listed below is a better short- and long-term stash moving forward…There’s no need to keep Tonyan rostered with so many top-10 options (seeing significantly more targets) on waiver wires. I would rank Dalton Schultz and Dawson Knox, for example, well over Tonyan for the rest of the season.

Overall Top 5

1. Kenneth Gainwell
2. Damien Williams
Samaje Perine
4. Dalton Schultz
5. Dawson Knox

High-Stakes Top 5

1. Damien Williams
2. Samaje Perine
3. Randall Cobb
4. Alex Collins
5. Ricky Seals-Jones

For those looking to roster the best available player(s) regardless of position, the rankings above take into account every factor from the positional lists minus players’ actual positions for both recreational and high-stakes (FFPC, NFFC, etc.) formats, the latter which have far fewer viable players available with every passing week. These are listed in the precise order I would prioritize waiver claims in those leagues ahead of Week 5. Adjust accordingly for what you need on your roster — touches, high-upside bench stashes, targets, one-week spot-starters, etc.

Contingency Top 10

1. Alexander Mattison
2. A.J. Dillon
3. Damien Williams
4. Chuba Hubbard
5. Jermar Jefferson
Darrel Williams
7. Samaje Perine
8. Justin Jackson
9. Jeremy McNichols
10. Wayne Gallman

For those looking to stash the best available backup(s) with minimum standalone value, the rankings above were designed to help prioritize direct backups in the event a player in front of them were absent. These are listed in the precise order I would stash them ahead of Week 5. Presumed targets, touches, environment, remaining schedule, etc. are included in the process.


1. Sam Darnold
2. Daniel Jones
3. Trey Lance
4. Taylor Heinicke

Running Backs

1. Kenneth Gainwell
2. Damien Williams
3. Samaje Perine
4. J.D. McKissic

5. Latavius Murray
6. Alex Collins

Wide Receivers

1. Darnell Mooney
2. Randall Cobb
3. Hunter Renfrow
4. Curtis Samuel
5. A.J. Green
6. Van Jefferson

Tight Ends

1. Dalton Schultz
2. Dawson Knox
3. Zach Ertz
4. Ricky Seals-Jones

Defense/Special Teams

Los Angeles Rams rostered in 95 percent of Yahoo leagues. No. 1 D/ST stash if available.

1. Arizona Cardinals
2. Dallas Cowboys
3. Las Vegas Raiders



1. Sam Darnold, Panthers — Rostered in 38 percent of Yahoo leagues (Suggested 4-6% FAAB Bid)

With back-to-back performances in the top-five at his position, Darnold is finally getting the recognition he deserved all along as a matchup-based option against a soft projected schedule. His league-high in rushing scores (5) are no fluke either, being handed the keys with a speed option and RPO in the red zone against Dallas. With Carolina’s schedule opening up even further given the (surprising) letdowns of the Football Team’s (bottom-four in Expected Points Added per play) and Giants’ (27th) defenses, Darnold should be viewed as a low-end QB1 with rushing upside through the fantasy regular season. I would be more than comfortable dropping Ryan Tannehill, Derek Carr, and Matt Ryan for him for the rest of the year.

2. Daniel Jones, Giants — Rostered in 31 percent of Yahoo Leagues (1-2%)

The QB6 in fantasy points per game with 27 carries (third among quarterbacks) through four starts, Jones’ most recent 400-yard blowup as the overall QB7 in Week 4 encouragingly happened with his fewest scrambles to date (4). Dallas’ defense on paper, while fearsome, remains more than susceptible in allowing the league’s third-most yards per play (6.4) and second-most passing yards, continuing to live off double-digit turnovers as a friendlier matchup for fantasy than perceived.

3. Trey Lance, 49ers — Rostered in 31 percent of Yahoo leagues (18-20%)

Unfortunately, we won’t learn more about Jimmy Garoppolo’s calf contusion and outlook until Wednesday’s re-evaluation. But Lance showed why he should be stashed ahead of his first career start — whenever that may be — scoring 20.3 fantasy points as the overall QB13 in just 30 minutes of action. With San Francisco’s bye right around the corner in Week 6, the logical outcome is Lance getting the nod for Sunday’s divisional showdown against Arizona and genuinely ranking as a better option than Matt Ryan, Derek Carr, Kirk Cousins, Ryan Tannehill, and even Russell Wilson for at least one game; coach Kyle Shanahan is still expected to take the decision down to the wire with Friday’s injury report eventually unveiling all. Needless to say, if there’s room to hide Lance on your bench, now’s the time to do so. This ranking is strictly for his outlook in Week 5.

4. Taylor Heinicke, Washington — Rostered in 10 percent of Yahoo leagues (1-2%)

It’s not a voluminous matchup for Heinicke since New Orleans is concertedly hoarding the ball with the league’s second-most seconds per play (31.9s), but he’s bucked all obstacles to this point in finishing as the overall QB12, QB9, and QB5 in three starts for Ryan Fitzpatrick. With 5.7 scrambles per game and the ability to prolong plays, Heinicke should at least be weighed as a high-floor option in slower-paced affairs (and confident spot-starter in any above-average matchups moving forward).

Watch List: Zach Wilson


1. Kenneth Gainwell, Eagles – Rostered in 30 percent of Yahoo leagues (8-10%)

The old man asked his wife, “Is it quicker to row or sail across the channel?” She responded, “Rowing will seem quicker at first, but the wind and current will eventually get us there faster once nature takes its course.” To that point, Damien Williams and Samaje Perine offer more production immediately as short-term additions but Gainwell, having out-targeted Miles Sanders 18-14 with two top-22 PPR finishes at his position, is the player to bet on long-term. With 13 touches to Sanders’ 15 the past two games, that sailboat could hit shore sooner than perceived — especially if Philadelphia’s defense continues to lie down and rank near-bottom in most advanced metrics.

Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team PPR leagues

2. Damien Williams, Bears – Rostered in 10 percent of Yahoo leagues (20-25%)

Williams handled six consecutive touches in the final quarter for David Montgomery (knee) before suffering a thigh bruise himself and ceding the final drive to rookie Khalil Herbert. Fortunately, Williams will reportedly “be OK” and be available to practice mid-week. Presumably handling every touch over Herbert, who even failed to run a single route in his interim spot, for the “4-5 weeks” Montgomery is sidelined, Williams’ touches in that time take precedence over Perine’s since D-Mont’s absence is expected to extend beyond Joe Mixon’s (low-ankle sprain). Williams’ ceiling is mushed since Chicago has averaged just 20.3 pass attempts over their last three games, but his outlook as a true bell-cow in the meantime is greater than Perine’s with sixth-rounder Chris Evans lurking. I would drop Montgomery outright for Williams in 10-team leagues since Chicago’s Week 10 bye logically leave the former unavailable until Week 11 at best.

Recommendation: Should be rostered in 10-team leagues

3. Samaje Perine, Bengals – Rostered in 3 percent of Yahoo leagues (15-20%)

Mixon sprained his ankle during the final drive of Thursday’s win and gave way to Perine for four touches to close the game. There’s little evidence the latter would be deployed as a workhorse if Mixon, currently considered week-to-week, were ruled out, but Perine has notably out-touched Evans 12-3 on the year and run 21 routes to the rookie’s nine. Cincinnati also reassured Perine with a two-year, $3.3 million contract in March. With the Packers and Lions on deck, Perine’s short-term outlook is one to chase as a direct replacement for Mixon. I would feel more than comfortable rostering both on the same team since it’s an either-or situation where the two will never provide value together.

Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues

4. J.D. McKissic, Washington — Rostered in 39 percent of Yahoo leagues (Suggested 15-20% FAAB Bid)

McKissic has leveraged the team’s No. 28 pass defense DVOA and increased 12.1% target share into two top-14 PPR finishes (including one top-seven) since Taylor Heinicke took over in Week 2. Although pin-pointing his spike weeks are a tall order, Washington’s 30.5 opponent points per game leave the team no choice but to continue deploying McKissic for a backfield-high 16.5 routes per contest.

Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team PPR leagues

5. Latavius Murray, Ravens – Rostered in 48 percent of Yahoo leagues (6-8%)

Baltimore surprisingly healthy-scratched Ty’Son Williams on Sunday, allowing Le’Veon Bell and Devonta Freeman to be active behind Murray. It was still the latter who recorded a season-high 18 carries and the highest rate of touches (78.2%) any of Baltimore’s runners had handled this year, out-touching Bell and Freeman by a combined 18-5. Murray doesn’t offer a ceiling in his age-31 season, averaging 3.4 yards per carry on 44 rushes to date, but his volume is enough to warrant a touch-based floor for as long as Williams rides the pine.

Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues

6. Alex Collins, Seahawks – Rostered in 2 percent of Yahoo leagues (2-4%)

Chris Carson wasn’t on Seattle’s injury report at any time throughout the week and yet out-snapped Alex Collins 25-22, handling just 52% (14) of the team’s backfield touches compared to Collins’ season-high 44% (12) share. Simply put, Collins was removed from the Contingency Top 10 since he apparently offers standalone value in a committee until proven otherwise.

Recommendation: Both should be rostered in deep 12-team leagues

Watch List: Peyton Barber, Brandon Bolden, Darrel Williams, Justin Jackson

Deep Cuts: Wayne Gallman, Rodney Smith


1. Darnell Mooney, Bears – Rostered in 38 percent of Yahoo leagues (Suggested 8-10% FAAB Bid)

Justin Fields’ fourth-highest rate (17.3%) of throws 20-plus yards downfield has helped unlock Mooney for team-highs in targets (11, 30.5%) and air yards (73.5 per game) over the last two games. Chicago has only attempted 20 and 17 passes in that stint, ultimately limiting Mooney’s ceiling in any matchup, but his role as a nine-route runner remains unchallenged by anyone on the roster. Be wary in bidding since Andy Dalton is expected to start (and plummet Mooney’s outlook) the moment he’s healthy.

Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues

2. Randall Cobb, Packers – Rostered in 7 percent of Yahoo leagues (8-10%)

In Green Bay’s first game without Marquez Valdes-Scantling (hamstring, IR), Cobb ran the third-most routes (25) behind Davante Adams (39) and Allen Lazard (37) but leveraged his season-high in snaps (46%) for six targets and, more importantly, two touchdowns. With the ​​Bengals, Bears, Football Team, Cardinals, and Chiefs on deck, the veteran slot wideout allows access to a handful of favorable matchups just in time for spot-starts during byes from Week 6 on.

Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues

3. Hunter Renfrow, Raiders – Rostered in 27 percent of Yahoo leagues (5-8%)

Even in running the fourth-most routes (38, 66.6%) on his own team Monday night, Renfrow continued his streak of six targets and five catches in every game as the WR26 in average fantasy points through Week 4. There are infinite wideouts with significantly higher ceilings available on shallow waiver wires, but Renfrow’s weekly floor should be considered as an asset as the bye weeks approach.

Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team PPR leagues

4. Curtis Samuel, Washington – Rostered in 40 percent of Yahoo leagues (4-6%)

Samuel was eased onto the field for his regular-season debut with Washington, registering 25-of-67 offensive snaps with four targets (12%) on just 16 routes. It’s slightly discouraging OC Scott Turner utilized Samuel (4.7 yards per target) so close to the line of scrimmage — he did so with 4.2 YPT when Samuel overlapped with Turner for Carolina’s last four games in 2019, too — but his sudden opportunity is too great to ignore while Dyami Brown (knee), Cam Sims (hamstring), and Logan Thomas (hamstring, week-to-week) mend. Samuel should at least provide a high floor in the short-term.

Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues

5. A.J. Green, Bengals – Rostered in 25 percent of Yahoo leagues (4-6%)

As DeAndre Hopkins has battled through a rib injury and, at times, Jalen Ramsey’s coverage the past three games, Green has quietly led the team with more air yards (210) than downfield threat Christian Kirk (209) and as many targets as Chase Edmonds (18) for the team lead. With just 14 fewer routes than Hopkins on the year and back-to-back finishes as the overall WR22 and WR17, Green has proved he can provide relief for lineups in softer matchups — what the 49ers, Texans, and Packers offer in three of Arizona’s next four games.

Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues

6. Van Jefferson, Rams – Rostered in 5 percent of Yahoo leagues (4-6%)

While coach Sean McVay has picked his spots to dust off DeSean Jackson, Jefferson has been a mainstay with 4.5 targets per game and a route on 83% of Matthew Stafford’s — the overall QB8 in fantasy points per game thus far — dropbacks. Seattle’s defense, having allowed the fourth-most completed air yards in the league through Week 4, meshes perfectly with how Jefferson is being deployed.

Recommendation: Should be rostered in 12-team leagues

Watch List: DeVante Parker, Sammy Watkins, Jamison Crowder, Elijah Moore, Rashod Bateman, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, Josh Reynolds, Michael Gallup

Deep Leagues: Kadarius Toney, Kalif Raymond, Allen Lazard, Deonte Harris


1. Dalton Schultz, Cowboys — Rostered in 35 percent of Yahoo leagues (Suggested 8-10% FAAB Bid)

The overall TE1 and TE4 in Dallas’ last two games, Schultz most recently separated from Blake Jarwin with 23 routes (on Dak Prescott’s 29 dropbacks) to Jarwin’s 10 against Carolina. With a 22.5% target share sans Michael Gallup since Week 2, Schultz should be considered a top-five tight end moving forward. I have him ranked ahead of Kyle Pitts (among others) for the rest of the season.

2. Dawson Knox, Bills — Rostered in 48 percent of Yahoo leagues (8-10%)

With a 15.7% target share and route on 79% of Josh Allen’s dropbacks the past three games, Knox’s four touchdowns in that span are the result of his elite on-field usage rather than box score luck. With a plethora of injuries already affecting the impact of serviceable options, Knox’s role for the league’s second-fastest offense in neutral game script qualifies him as a viable FLEX play outside of his obvious onesie slot.

3. Zach Ertz, Eagles — Rostered in 26 percent of Yahoo leagues (1-2%)

Dallas Goedert has run more routes than Ertz (69-61) over the last two games but it’s the veteran who has stockpiled 15 targets (17.2%) and a team-high four red zone opportunities from Jalen Hurts in that stint. Philadelphia’s upcoming stretch against the Panthers, Buccaneers, Lions, and Raiders features two funnel defenses currently ranked inside the top-five in fantasy points per game allowed to enemy tight ends (while Detroit’s defense offers little pushback).

4. Ricky Seals-Jones, Cardinals — Rostered in 0 percent of Yahoo leagues (1%)

The nation’s former No. 2 overall recruit behind Derrick Henry in 2013, Seals-Jones stepped in for Logan Thomas (hamstring, week-to-week) on Sunday and logged a career-high 93% of Washington’s offensive snaps, running a route on 83% of Taylor Heinicke’s dropbacks. RSJ at least offers the size (6’5/243) and speed (4.69 40) as an agile athlete to emerge as a viable receiving threat for however long Dyami Brown (knee), Cam Sims (hamstring), and Thomas are sidelined.

Watch List: Mo Alie-Cox, Dan Arnold, Cam Brate

Deep Leagues: C.J. Uzomah, Maxx Williams


1. Arizona Cardinals – Rostered in 33 percent of Yahoo leagues

2. Dallas Cowboys – Rostered in 23 percent of Yahoo leagues

3. Las Vegas Raiders – Rostered in 13 percent of Yahoo leagues

Watch List:


Only a fool wouldn’t pass the ball to Michael Jordan in his prime, so it only makes sense that I pull each week’s kicker streamers from Denny Carter’s column and #adjust them accordingly. For in-depth analysis, you can read his entire piece here:

Coming soon…

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