15 Fantasy Football Transactions for Week 5
You ever decide to go see a movie on a whim, only to realize that the movies playing at your local theater are absolute trash?
That's sort of what you're going to be experiencing with this week's waiver wire. You might have the top priority -- you may be excited to catch a movie -- but, unfortunately, there's not a whole lot of must-have players out there.
That doesn't mean there aren't players to buy and sell this week, though.
Buy DeAndre Hopkins
When you drafted DeAndre Hopkins in the middle of the first round this year, you weren't planning on him ranking outside the top-20 at the position through four weeks. The worst part, too, is that his fantasy total is really being anchored by a monster Week 1 performance -- outside of that game, Hopkins hasn't ranked higher than WR38 in weekly PPR scoring.
Buying now is an obvious move. He's seen at least 20% of Houston's targets in each of his four games, and he's sitting pretty with a 29% target share on the season. The Texans struggled on Sunday, sure, but they also faced Jalen Ramsey and the Jaguars in Week 2 and then Casey Hayward and the Chargers in Week 3. With a Week 5 game against Atlanta, expect Hopkins to get right back on track.
Buy Odell Beckham
Odell Beckham is in a similar spot as Hopkins. You took him early in your draft, but outside of one monster game, he's been hurting your fantasy roster. But, like Hopkins, the peripherals are still there for OBJ. His lowest single-game target share was 22.6%, which has only been hit by 21 wideouts across the entire season. That's Beckham's floor. And the Cleveland offense underperformed versus their expectations entering the season prior to Week 4. When an offense isn't moving the ball effectively, the pieces in that offense will suffer.
Hopkins is the better buy -- he's the one I'd rather have on my fantasy team -- but Beckham should still be a WR1 this season as long as he's healthy. Volume always wins in fantasy football.
Sell Will Dissly
The emergence of Will Dissly has been fun to watch, since fantasy football is in serious need of usable tight ends. And, in truth, Dissly can easily finish as a TE1 this season given the lack of pass-catching options in the Seattle offense and the fact that the Seahawks shipped tight end Nick Vannett to Pittsburgh last week.
With that being said, he's unlikely to keep up this pace.
Dissly did see almost 30% of Seattle's targets on Sunday, but it was in a very exploitable matchup. The Cardinals, their opponent, have been by far the worst team in football at stopping tight ends. Prior to that point, Dissly was hovering the 15% target share range. And that's a fine number for a tight end, but it's also not 30%.
He's also overperformed in the touchdown column to start the year. Touchdowns and yards show a strong correlation -- the higher the yardage total, the more touchdowns a player is likely to have -- and based on the tight end yards-per-touchdown rate over the last five years, Dissly's 181 receiving yards this season should have netted him about 1.4 touchdowns. Instead, he's seen four, making him one of the biggest regression candidates in fantasy football.
If you can sell him for a usable running back or wide receiver piece, now's the time to do it. He shouldn't be a bad tight end to have rostered this season, but it's also a pretty good time to try and trade him away for something meaningful.
Add Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines
Marlon Mack tweaked his ankle against the Raiders on Sunday, leaving the backfield to Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines. The former had a snap share of 20.5% in the contest, while the pass-catching Hines saw the field on almost 45% of the team's snaps thanks to a negative game script. With a game upcoming against Kansas City, Hines is the preferred option off the waiver wire if Mack is still iffy by the time you've got to enter your claims. The Colts are 9.5-point underdogs, so Hines, who caught over 60 passes last year, would see more snaps in an unfavorable script.
Sell Jordan Howard
Based on his rushing and receiving yardage totals this season, Jordan Howard should have about a touchdown and a half. That, at least, is what the averages across the last five years dictate. Instead, he's got four, giving him one of the largest differentials in "should have" touchdowns versus actual ones in the NFL.
This was heavily aided by a three-touchdown outburst against the Packers on Thursday night. In that game, Howard did see an uptick in snaps (he played over 50% of them), but it was the first time he'd seen more than one-third of Philadelphia's snaps this season. His performance will likely allow him to see the field more often, but with Miles Sanders and Darren Sproles sharing the backfield with him, his ceiling is still capped.
Maybe you want to wait to sell because Howard does have a nice matchup in Week 5 against the Jets, but that's also something to bring up when negotiating a trade. The bigger picture still shows a player who's in a split backfield with touchdown regression coming.
Buy Kerryon Johnson
In the two games since C.J. Anderson was cut by Detroit, Kerryon Johnson has seen 80.0% and 78.8% of the Lions' running back rushes. With Anderson across the first two weeks, those numbers were 57.1% and 50.0%.
That's led to more volume on the ground. Johnson has seen at least 20 attempts in each of the team's last two games, and without the big-bodied Anderson, Johnson's also been the clear-cut goal-line guy, carrying the rock five times from within the opponent's five-yard line. Johnson's 6.7% target share is still too low for him to be a full-blown bell-cow back, but the secondary numbers are pointing in the right direction.
The reason to buy now is two-fold. First, Detroit's next game is against Green Bay, a team that's been one of the worst against running backs to start the year. Second, though, is that Johnson has a bye this week. If you're a 4-0 or 3-1 team right now and the manager with Johnson is struggling, you can use the bye week to your advantage when negotiating. They need a win, whereas you can take the hit.
Add Chris Herndon
Because the Jets had their bye, Chris Herndon isn't eligible to return from his four-game suspension until Week 6. And hopefully that coincides with Sam Darnold's comeback from mono in order to give a little juice to this New York offense.
The tight end landscape is a perpetual mess, so it's worth snagging Herndon -- who's out there in 83% of Yahoo! leagues -- this week. Last season, as a rookie, only 10 tight ends had more top-12 performances than Herndon had, and he's just 1 of 28 first-year tight ends in NFL history to have 500 or more receiving yards. He's worth the flier.
Hold Calvin Ridley
Fantasy managers are probably a little confused with what to do with Calvin Ridley, and the right answer seems to be to just hold onto him. You can't trade him after another down performance, but you also shouldn't go after him because the peripheral numbers aren't really there. Through four games, Ridley has seen more than 13.3% of Atlanta's targets in just one game, and he's been consistently out-snapped by teammate Mohamed Sanu.
Well, we shouldn't expect him to out-snap Sanu all of a sudden, but maybe the lack of volume is due to a hip injury that he's been dealing with. Whatever it is, if you've got Ridley, you can't do much but hope things turn around. It would only make sense for Atlanta to feature him more. Or, at least, that's what would seem to make sense.
Buy Julian Edelman
You should always buy underappreciated volume in fantasy football, and that's generally what you get with Julian Edelman. The only game this season where he's seen a sub-20% target share was against Miami, and that game featured wide receiver Antonio Brown for the Patriots.
Upcoming for New England are plus matchups against Washington and both New York teams. After a down performance for the Patriots offense against Buffalo, that's exactly what's needed to bounce back. And that's exactly what makes Edelman an easy trade target this week, especially in PPR formats.
Sell Chris Carson
After dealing with fumbling issues throughout the first three weeks of the season, Chris Carson was mistake-free in Week 4, leading to a big 22-carry, 104-yard day on the ground. He added 4 catches for 41 yards through the air, too.
Now, keep in mind, that game on Sunday was also against Arizona, one of the weaker defenses in football. And it was without Rashaad Penny, who played almost a third of the team's snaps the last time we saw him on the field, which was back in Week 2 against Pittsburgh. In that win over the Steelers, the percentage of running back rushes that went Carson's way was just 55.6%, when in Week 4, it was 88.0%.
In other words, it was almost a perfect environment for Carson to shine.
But the fumbling concern is still there. The competition concern -- Penny should be back this week -- is there as well. So if you can sell Carson after this strong performance, it's not a bad call.
Add Benjamin Watson
Chris Herndon's not the only tight end who's been dealing with a suspension to start the year. Benjamin Watson is, too.
Watson's set to return in Week 5 for New England, giving the Patriots a much-needed boost at the position. After four games, New England tight ends have seen a league-low 3.5% target share. Even if some of that has to do with offensive scheme, we can't ignore that it could have to do with talent, too. Watson could be a reliable pass-catcher in a high-end offense -- that's worthy of a waiver wire add in most leagues.
Buy Marquise Brown
I try to shy away from mentioning the same players for multiple weeks in this column, but exceptions always need to be made. And Marquise Brown is an exception.
He's a big-play waiting to happen, and every number points to a monster game happening. He's seen at least 19% of Baltimore's targets in every game played this year, totaling up to a 25% target share. That's a great number for any wide receiver, let alone a rookie one who was dealing with an injury all offseason.
So, to bring it all together, Brown's in an offense that's targeting him at a high rate, and those targets are coming down the field. Process says to buy into that.
Sell A.J. Brown
Am I a believer in A.J. Brown? Without question. He was probably the most well-rounded wide receiver prospect in the 2019 draft class, and my prospect model loved him as well.
Am I a believer in his current situation? There are questions.
Marcus Mariota looked good in Week 4, but it was also against an Atlanta defense that just lost safety Keanu Neal. And even if Mariota continues to look great, it's tough to bank on Brown's usage. His highest snap share of the season is just 50%, and his target share is under 16%.
Brown's probably the best pass-catcher on that team, but with Delanie Walker, Corey Davis, and Adam Humphries fighting for targets in a lower-volume offense, he's still more of a dynasty buy than a redraft one.
Add Jaylen Samuels, Sell James Conner
The Steelers featured a more creative offense in Week 4 against Cincinnati, where they consistently put both James Conner and Jaylen Samuels on the field at the same time. Conner ended up missing a few plays because of an injury, but he was on the field for 64.4% of Pittsburgh's snaps, while Samuels played 45.8% of them. Because of Samuels' versatility, though, both players ended up with 10 carries and 8 receptions.
This is probably the perfect time to trade away Conner as a result. The Bengals have one of the worst defenses in the NFL, and only the Dolphins have surrendered more fantasy points to opposing running backs. Conner's value in fantasy football entering the season was that he looked to be the team's workhorse back, but that's no longer the case with the Steelers needing to take pressure off of Mason Rudolph.
And Samuels should be added. He's available in 70% of Yahoo! leagues, making him a top waiver wire option for most of you reading this.
Add the Carolina Panthers Defense
The Panthers have had advantageous matchups for their defensive line over the last two weeks but, even still, they currently are tops in the league in sack rate, or the number of sacks a defense has divided by the number of pass attempts (and sacks) the defense has faced. Meanwhile, Jacksonville, their opponent this week, ranks just outside the top-10 in sack rate offensively. Meaning, they've allowed sacks at a fairly high rate. With this game being played in Charlotte and the Panthers listed as 3.5-point favorites in a low over/under game, Carolina, rostered in 15% of Yahoo! leagues, is an obvious streaming choice.