Monday Night Football usually produces at least one notable performance that catches the eyes of fantasy football owners, and this week we got two, as Hunter Renfrow and Jared Cook each made cases to have permanent homes on rosters. Both will be among the top Week 5 fantasy waiver wire pickups and free agent adds, but neither will be the most coveted. That honor belongs to handcuff RBs Damien Williams and Samaje Perine and sleeper QB Trey Lance…we think. All three backups seemed poised to start in Week 5 and possibly beyond around mid-afternoon Monday, but after new reports surfaced about the health of starters David Montgomery, Joe Mixon, and Jimmy Garoppolo, we’re not so sure. Either way, these guys will, at the very least, be picked up after waivers clear around 4-5 a.m. ET on Wednesday mornings in ESPN and Yahoo leagues.
You can find more information about Williams and Lance in our full free agent list, as well as a host of intriguing depth pieces who might be worth grabbing this week. Whether you need a QB (Sam Darnold, Daniel Jones), RB (Kenny Gainwell, Michael Carter), WR (Jamison Crowder, Darnell Mooney, Randall Cobb, Curtis Samuel, DeVante Parker), or TE (Dawson Knox, Tyler Conklin, Dalton Schultz), we have something for you. We also have a ton of Week 5 streaming suggestions at TE and D/ST (plus one QB), which can be found at the end of this list. If you need a new kicker, you can check out our Week 5 kicker rankings or admit that reading about fantasy kicker pickups is not a way for anyone to live their lives and finally quit your league for one that doesn’t have a kicker spot next year.
MORE WEEK 5: Full waiver list
There could be as many as three players (Williams, Perine, Lance) worth top waiver claims this week. There could also be as few as zero. Because the Bears have said they won’t provide an update on Montgomery’s injury until after Wednesday’s practice, chances are you’ll have to bite the bullet on Williams (who’s dealing with a thigh bruise himself). We know Montgomery’s injury isn’t overly serious, but he still might miss multiple games. Mixon and Garoppolo don’t sound like they’ll miss more than one game, at the most, so Perine might still be worth it, but as difficult as it might be, you probably have to let someone else have Lance if you have a top-three claim. The relative value of all three of these guys comes down to your team needs and how much you believe in the backups.
Top fantasy football waiver wire pickups for Week 5
Unless otherwise noted, only players owned in fewer than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues considered.
Samaje Perine, RB, Bengals. It was originally reported on Monday that Joe Mixon was “week-to-week” with an ankle injury after last Thursday’s game against Jacksonville. Later in the day, Bengals coach Zac Taylor said Mixon is “day-to-day” and will practice to start the week. Obviously, that’s far better news for Mixon’s outlook, but chances are, we won’t know if he’s suiting up in Week 5 until much later in the week. You might remember Mixon was “week-to-week” for 10 weeks last year while missing the final 10 games because of a foot injury. It’s tough to know whether Perine is worth a top waiver claim or won’t even have value this coming week, but chances are, you’ll need to bid for him if you want him. It’s possible he’s the Bengals’ starting RB against Green Bay in Week 5 and maybe even Detroit in Week 6. He seems worth adding on the chance Mixon continues to struggle with injury.
Hunter Renfrow, WR, Raiders. Renfrow continues to operate as the Raiders top wide receiver, and maybe this is the week fantasy owners take notice. He caught six of a team-high eight targets for 45 yards and a score on Monday night, giving him at least five catches in every game this season and touchdowns in two straight contests. Renfrow doesn’t put up big yards, but clearly he has value in PPR leagues. He’s a worthwhile WR3 in most matchups, and he should continue to thrive in Week 5 against a below-average Bears defense.
MORE WEEK 5: Full waiver list
Jared Cook, TE, Chargers. Cook is owned in just 47 percent of Yahoo leagues despite the dearth of decent tight ends this year. That percentage will go up after he caught six-of-seven targets for 70 yards and a TD on Monday night. He’s been below average this year, but he’s had at least five targets in three-of-four games and plays in an explosive offense. He has plenty of upside going forward, though a Week 5 matchup against Cleveland won’t be a good spot to use him. He’s still worth adding, as he will be a top streamer in Week 6 against a Baltimore defense that entered last week tied for the most fantasy points allowed to TEs and gave up another TE score to Noah Fant.
Josh Gordon, WR, Chiefs. We’ve already said plenty about Gordon’s fantasy outlook, but here’s a reminder that’s worth taking on a flier on after signing with the Chiefs. Yes, Gordon’s best days are long behind him, but he couldn’t have gone to a better situation. He’ll be no better than a third option for the NFL’s scariest offense, but that could still yield some big games given the quarterback he’ll have throwing him the ball. At 30, he might not be completely washed up, so if he can stay on the field (a big “if”), Gordon could have value.
Rashod Bateman, WR, Ravens. In shallow leagues, Bateman is an afterthought, but in deep leagues, he’s worth a flier. The first-round pick out of Minnesota has missed the first four games because of a core injury, but there’s a good chance he returns in Week 5. The Ravens passing game has been productive this year, and while Bateman might take a while to get acclimated, he has plenty of upside. Grab him early in the week so you can stash him on your IR until you have to make another roster move. T.Y. Hilton (neck), Tre’Quan Smith (knee), and Michael Gallup (calf) are also eligible to come off the IR this week, so it doesn’t hurt to stash one if you need receiver depth.
For more waiver/free agent suggestions, including flex RBs Damien Williams and Kenny Gainwell, veteran WRs Jamison Crowder and Randall Cobb, and emerging TEs Dalton Schultz and Dawson Knox, check out our full Week 5 list.