By: Billy Finn
Week 5 is here and that means the fantasy football race for the playoffs is beginning to heat up. This season has already seen some rather big injuries. From players like Tony Romo, RG3 and Teddy Bridgewater to Danny Woodhead, Ameer Abdullah and Adrian Peterson, the injuries have seemed unending. Receivers? The list is too long to discuss here. Some didn’t make kickoff Week 1. In week 4, the wave continued with big name guys like rising star Kevin White of the Chicago Bears placed on the IR. Elsewhere, Carson Palmer and Cam Newton went down with concussions. Injuries have always been a part of the NFL. But, as players get bigger, faster and more powerful, the injuries are starting to change the game on a weekly basis more than ever.
If you or your team is in the midst of this challenge, do not worry. Because, I am here to give you some great options to pick up off the waiver wire in deeper leagues. In 10-team leagues and less, there are usually viable options on the waiver wire. 12-team leagues and larger require much greater diligence to find the “diamond in the rough.”
One of the players I would look at is a guy by the name of Paxton Lynch. Lynch was a first round pick this year. He is often not given the spotlight he deserves because he was drafted behind quarterbacks Jared Goff and Carson Wentz. Trevor Siemian, the first string quarterback in Denver was injured and left the field in a golf cart last weekend. Early indications are that he has a shoulder injury. Lynch replaced Siemian and he looked fantastic. This may be the break that Lynch needs to get his foot in the first string door. Lynch was given quite a few snaps against the Bucs in what ended up being a blowout after Siemian went down. But, in those snaps, favorable signs were easy to recognize. He looked to have figured out the offense. He was mistake free. He had crisp passes and even threw for his first career touchdown. With a lot of talent around him, Lynch should be a guy to keep your eyes out for.
At running back, look for a guy named Jordan Howard. Howard came into the season as the third string back on the Chicago Bears’ depth chart. He made the team by the skin of his teeth. He has now emerged as the lead workhorse in the Bears backfield after the top of the chart back – Jeremy Langford, you guessed it, suffered an injury two weeks ago. Howard possesses a big frame and is pretty fast on his feet. He is very useful around the goal line. I would expect him to receive many touches in the red zone this weekend when the Bears play the struggling Colts. When Langford does return from injury, I wouldn’t let go of Howard right away. John Fox has always been a coach that uses competition to get the best out of his players. Howard may be able to snag that number one spot away from Langford if Howard produces over the next couple of games.
Wide receiver is always a tough position to look for a “one guy” that stands out above the rest. There are just so many wide receivers out there. Really, any guy that gets a lot of targets is a good option when looking for a solid wide receiver three or a flex option. With that said, the guy I have picked up and have big hopes for is Quincy Enunwa, Enunwa is the slot receiver for the very pass-oriented New York Jets. Last week, Enunwa had seven targets. The week prior, he had an eye popping eleven targets. Enunwa is definitely a player with big game potential. And if you still are not convinced that he is a guy to look out for, he will likely see even more targets with the Jets’ recent loss of star receiver Eric Decker. As a result, this may result in even more targets for Enunwa. Enunwa is just waiting for a breakout game to show fantasy owners everywhere why he is a great player to have on their team.
That concludes my list of the three guys every needy team should grab off of the waiver wire before Sunday. If you don’t like these picks, then you should probably get into a league with fewer teams and more options or look at becoming the fantasy guru of your friends! The owner who works that waiver wire the best is usually found in the later rounds of the playoffs. I see big things for these three players and they should be solid replacements for your lost starters or the replacements needed now that the dreaded bye weeks are upon us.
Until next time,
(Featured Image: Nathan Rupert, Flickr)