It’s all about the wide receivers on the Week 5 waiver wire.
Really, this past weekend’s action had plenty of breakout players. One problem—the widely available information saw breakout stars such as Duke Johnson Jr. (49.5 ownership percentage) and Todd Gurley (89.4), among many others, already sitting on plenty of rosters.
Despite this, there are many names owners should keep an eye on and consider adding who are available in most leagues. Let’s run through these top options below, based on production, situation, upcoming schedule and more.
Week 5 Waiver-Wire Pickup Targets
Blake Bortles, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars (19.7 percent owned)
Look, it doesn’t always matter how a quarterback gets his production, it’s just that he gets it.
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles defines this notion well. He scored 18 points this past weekend against the Indianapolis Colts and posted 20 in Week 2, hinting at his usefulness as a week-to-week streamer.
The fact is simple: Bortles has already attempted 85 passes in four games after throwing just 280 passes in 14 games last year. These Jaguars figure to be playing from behind quite often, meaning plenty of chances for the sophomore to post solid fantasy outings.
Bortles looks like a better player this year, as he should. The weapons around him seem more potent, too, thanks to the emergence of young wideouts Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns, as well as the presence of rookie T.J. Yeldon in the backfield.
Given Bortles‘ encouraging upswing and the fact that two of his next three opponents rank among the five worst teams against quarterbacks before Monday, he’s a strong pickup candidate in all leagues.
Tavon Austin, WR, St. Louis Rams (10.9 percent owned)
Yes, it’s borderline impossible to trust St. Louis Rams wideout Tavon Austin based on two years of his coaching staff having no idea how to use him in the offense.
These things can change, though.
Austin led all scorers at wideout before Monday’s game with 23 points thanks to six grabs for 96 yards and two scores. Granted, he totaled seven points between the two prior games, but Sunday was a sign owners need to take him in a more serious manner.
Based on video provided by the NFL, it seems the offense wants to work Austin in more often:
It’s encouraging that the Rams and new quarterback Nick Foles are even looking Austin’s way. He’s a game-breaking threat when actually given the ball, which is something it seems St. Louis has finally figured out.
The Rams are all over the place in terms of consistency, hence the .500 record. With Gurley demanding attention from the backfield, Austin should have plenty of room to contribute this year.
Next up is the Green Bay Packers, an encounter where Austin should see plenty of chances as the Rams attempt to keep up on the road.
Allen Hurns, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars (11.3 percent owned)
Two slots behind Austin at wideout before Monday was the aforementioned Hurns.
While some may consider Hurns the second wideout on the depth chart in Jacksonville, he’s now tallied at least 60 yards in all four games and scored in each of the past two.
Those past two performances saw him score 13 and 17 points, strong flex production at the least. With Jacksonville touting more weapons than usual and Bortles looking improved—not to mention the playing-from-behind note—Hurns might wind up this consistent all season.
Hurns doesn’t have the greatest upcoming schedule, but throwing from behind can make up for such a hiccup, especially in points-per-reception leagues. He’s worth picking up and considering each week.
Gary Barnidge, TE, Cleveland Browns (11.0 percent owned)
So it happened: Cleveland didn’t pretend like Gary Barnidge‘s 16-point outburst versus the Oakland Raiders in Week 3 was a gaffe against the league’s most generous defense to the position.
Instead, the Browns seemed to open their eyes to the possibilities of Barnidge being a contributor, helping him post another 13 points in Week 4 thanks to six catches for 75 yards and a score.
This is notable because Barnidge is a blocker first and foremost. ESPN.com’s Dustin Fox put things into perspective:
In other words, it’s quite clear the Browns plan on going to the Barnidge often this year.
In turn, this creates a pretty interesting bailout scenario for fantasy owners, as players don’t usually have their breakout campaign at the age of 30.
Barnidge might be doing just that. Owners will want to grab him up on the chance he represents consistency at an otherwise erratic position.
Read more Fantasy Football news on NerdyFootball.com