Whether you need a bye week fill-in for a player on the Chicago Bears, Buffalo Bills, Indianapolis Colts, and Oakland Raiders, or an insurance policy for Wayne Gallman, David Johnson, or Christian McCaffrey, check out some of the waiver wire candidates below who are owned in fewer than 50% of fantasy football leagues who you should consider adding:
Players are ranked by ownership percentages on Yahoo.
— Gardner Minshew II, Jacksonville Jaguars (24% owned): Minshew had a great game for fantasy in the Jaguars’ Week 5 loss to the Panthers. He attempted 44 passes and had 26 completions for 374 yards and two touchdowns and an additional seven rushes for 42 yards. While still in QB2 territory, he could creep up into the low-end QB1 status in a good matchup as he learns and adjusts to this offense. Pick him up this week to replace Josh Allen or Jacoby Brissett.
— Teddy Bridgewater, New Orleans Saints (9%): After a very conservative approach in his first three starts, Bridgewater had a stellar performance against the Buccaneers in Week 5. He completed 26 passes on 34 attempts for 314 yards, four touchdowns, and one interception. He is a good bye week fill-in, and has potential rest-of-season value with Drew Brees’ return uncertain and surrounded by a bevy of offensive weapons.
— Ito Smith, Atlanta Falcons (14% owned): Smith is the number two running back behind Devonta Freeman for a Falcons team that will be forced to score a lot of points to compensate for their defensive ineptitude. Smith had five rushes for 19 yards and six catches for 45 yards in Sunday’s game against the Texans and has another great matchup in Week 6 in Arizona. He is also worth rostering as a handcuff if Freeman were to go down with an injury, especially in PPR leagues.
— Jay Ajayi, free agent (5%): NFL Network reported recently that Ajayi informed all teams that he has recovered from ACL surgery and is ready for game action. The 26-year old former Pro Bowl running back should eventually find a new home given his talent and many teams’ lack of depth at the position. There has been speculation that Ajayi could end up with Giants, Lions, or Packers and he could be productive for fantasy in any one of those offenses. Consider stashing him if you have the roster space.
— Chase Edmonds, Arizona Cardinals (3%): Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury said on Monday that “there’s always a chance” David Johnson will not be available Sunday due to a back injury. Continue to monitor Johnson’s health throughout the week. Edmonds, Johnson’s handcuff, would see an increase in workload if Johnson can’t play. The Cardinals have a favorable Week 6 matchup against the Falcons, who have not put up much of a fight defensively this season.
— Jon Hilliman, New York Giants (< 1%): Gallman suffered a concussion during Sunday’s game against the Vikings after dealing with an unrelated neck injury the week prior. Saquon Barkley, who suffered a high ankle sprain in Week 3, probably won’t play in Week 6 against the Patriots, and if both Barkley and Gallman are a no-go, Hilliman would start Thursday night. Even in a tough matchup, volume alone would vault Hilliman into fantasy consideration, if only for a short time until Barkley returns.
— Reggie Bonnafon, Carolina Panthers (< 1%): It is easy to forget that the Panthers even have a running back not named Christian McCaffrey. Bonnafon had five rushes, 80 yards and a touchdown during Sunday’s game against the Jaguars while McCaffrey was sidelined with cramps. The Panthers could start to use him more in goal line work, or just to give McCaffrey a break from time to time. If anything, he is valuable as a handcuff for CMC.
— Mohamed Sanu, Atlanta Falcons (41% owned): Sanu caught all five of his targets on Sunday for 42 yards and scored his first touchdown of the season. He has quietly had a nice season behind Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, and should continue to be targeted in this pass-happy offense. He has a nice Week 6 matchup against the Cardinals and is a WR3/flex option with upside.
— Diontae Johnson, Pittsburgh Steelers (34%): Going into the season, it looked like James Washington was the heir-apparent to the No. 2 receiver spot in Pittsburgh, but it has been Johnson who has filled JuJu Smith-Schuster’s old role instead. Johnson had the second most targets on Sunday and caught five passes for 27 yards. His stock has taken a hit with quarterback Mason Rudolph’s return uncertain, but may face less competition after Washington suffered a shoulder injury.
— Auden Tate, Cincinnati Bengals (22%): Tate has been targeted at least six times in each of the last three games and is expected to have a bigger role now that Bengals receiver John Ross III is on injured reserve with a shoulder injury. Tate caught three of six passes for 26 yards and scored a touchdown on Sunday against the Cardinals despite two early drops. With A.J. Green already ruled out for Week 6 and the Bengals 12-point underdogs, he could be a flex play against a soft Ravens defense in a game in which Cincinnati is expected to be trailing often.
— Keke Coutee, Houston Texans (17%): Coutee caught three passes on four targets for 72 yards out of the slot with Kenny Stills inactive due to a hamstring injury. He could continue to see a bigger role in this offense if Stills were to miss more time.
— Byron Pringle, Kansas City Chiefs (1%): The Chiefs sole Week 5 touchdown went to Pringle by way of a 27-yard catch from Patrick Mahomes. With Tyreek Hill out and Sammy Watkins sidelined for the majority of the game, Pringle led the team in receiving and caught six of nine passes for 103 yards. It is a fantasy roulette game trying to guess which Kansas City receivers make it into the end zone each week, at least until Tyreek Hill returns. Pringle is a deep league add only.
— Darius Slayton, New York Giants (< 1%): Sterling Shepard is back in the concussion protocol after displaying symptoms on Monday morning. This is Shepard’s second concussion this year and he is out for the foreseeable future, starting with Thursday night’s matchup with the Patriots. While the Giants Week 6 matchup is far from ideal, Slayton is an interesting waiver add following a nice Week 5 in which he caught four of five targets for 62 yards and a touchdown. He handled coverage from Xavier Rhodes, flashing his sub-4.4 speed, and should see more targets with Shepard sidelined and tight end Evan Engram compromised with a knee injury.
— Chris Herndon, New York Jets (29% owned): Herndon returns from suspension this week and is still only 29% owned. He has value beyond just a bye week fill-in, especially with quarterback Sam Darnold hopefully returning to the team soon.
— Gerald Everett, Los Angeles Rams (9%): Everett had a breakout game in Week 6 against the Seahawks, leading the team in receiving with seven catches on 11 targets for 136 yards and a touchdown. He is emerging as a TE2 option, especially with coach Sean McVay calling more two-tight end sets.
— Carolina Panthers D/ST (45% owned): The Panthers defense has recorded 20 sacks, four interceptions, four forced fumbles, and a touchdown this year. They have kept this team competitive in games, especially with Cam Newton out and Kyle Allen being used conservatively. Keep in mind they have a Week 7 bye, but are a decent streaming option in London nonetheless against a turnover-prone Buccaneers team.
— Green Bay Packers D/ST (30%): Green Bay’s defense was dropped by a lot of owners after a terrible outing against the Eagles in Week 4. They righted the ship in Dallas last week, picking up three sacks and three interceptions. They are a good streaming option against the Lions in Week 6.