After Week 5 ended a day later than it usually does, the waiver wire leading into Week 6 will be impactful.
Fantasy leagues in which Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool remains available will see a rush on the rookie, while Eagles WR Travis Fulgham — under the waiver wire radar a week ago — will also see an increase in ownership.
For all the hype about Claypool and Fulgham, both take a backseat to Vikings running back Alexander Mattison in waiver wire priority. Mattison is a strong RB1 entering Week 6 as he plays the role of understudy for an injured Dalvin Cook.
Perhaps the most intriguing waiver wire pickup will be Cowboys QB Andy Dalton. The replacement for the injured Dak Prescott will greatly alter the fantasy value of WRs Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb and TE Dalton Schultz, each of whom had thrived in Dallas’ league-leading passing game.
ALEXANDER MATTISON, RB, Vikings: Dalvin Cook (groin) could miss the Week 6 matchup against the Falcons. That opens the door for Mattison to take the bulk of Minnesota’s running back carries. Coming off a 112-yard outing in relief of Cook in Sunday’s loss at the Seahawks, Mattison will move into RB1 status in all formats. Mattison averages 5 yards per carry and is an exceptional receiver out of the backfield, traits that could carry beyond the Vikings’ Week 7 bye if Cook’s injury lingers.
CHASE CLAYPOOL, WR, Steelers: The 76% snap count against the Texans in Week 4 was a sign that the Steelers were about to make the rookie from Notre Dame an integral part of their offense. Few fantasy lineups benefited from Claypool’s breakout in Sunday’s win over the Eagles (seven catches, 110 yards, three touchdowns along with a rushing score), but if he happens to be available in waiver wires, that’s an oversight that will be changed.
Even if Diontae Johnson (back) returns for the Week 6 showdown against the Browns, Claypool is a must-add to a fantasy lineup. No other Steelers receiver besides Claypool had more than five targets against the Eagles and while the Browns’ pass defense will be more challenging, it’s safe to say that Claypool is now no worse than a WR2 in a Pittsburgh offense that remains potent with the resurgent Ben Roethlisberger under center.
TRAVIS FULGHAM, WR, Eagles: As long as WRs Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson and rookie Jalen Reagor are sidelined, it appears Fulgham has become the go-to target for Carson Wentz. Fulgham had 10 catches for 152 yards and a touchdown on 13 targets in Sunday’s loss to the Steelers, a huge workload for a receiver who was on the Philadelphia practice squad two weeks ago. With a 75% catch rate and touchdowns in each of his first two games, Fulgham — similar to Claypool — will go from waiver wire to must-start in most formats, especially in PPR leagues. Those seeking to add Fulgham to their lineup will have to considerably temper expectations as the Eagles welcome a rugged Ravens defense to Philly in Week 6.
CHASE EDMONDS, RB, Cardinals: Kenyan Drake had a 19-8 edge over Edmonds in chances during Sunday’s win over the Jets, but Edmonds turned those opportunities into 92 yards from scrimmage that included a 36-yard touchdown run. The Cardinals will have to find a way to get Edmonds more involved in the offense, especially in their Monday night matchup at the Cowboys to close out Week 6. He’s a flex option who could be one to two games away from turning the Arizona RB situation into a timeshare.
ANDY DALTON, QB, Cowboys: Dalton has 133 starts and 204 touchdown passes, so it’s hard to envision the Cowboys offense suddenly becoming bland. He was 9 of 11 for 111 yards in relief of the injured Dak Prescott and will have plenty of talented teammates to help. That said, Dallas appeared to be leaning toward a more balanced attack on Sunday before Prescott’s season-ending injury, so the biggest beneficiary will likely be RB Ezekiel Elliott, who should also see an uptick in targets. Dalton was tight end friendly when he had quality talent such as Tyler Eifert in Cincinnati, which means Schultz should remain an outer edge TE1. Definitely an option in two-QB leagues, Dalton is a good streaming option for now. Don’t be in a rush to consider him a weekly starter, at least not yet.
PRESTON WILLIAMS, WR, Dolphins: If Miami is simply going to let QB Ryan Fitzpatrick throw all the time, then Williams becomes a must-add. Williams caught four passes for 106 yards and a touchdown on five targets in Sunday’s rout at the 49ers and becomes an under-the-radar play as defenses focus on WR DeVante Parker and TE Mike Gesicki. His 19.6 yards per catch is sixth best in the NFL and it appears the ACL injury that ended his 2019 season eight games into his rookie season is a distant memory. Williams is a red zone threat who will also win his share of 50/50 balls. He’s a solid consolation if Claypool and Fulgham are out of reach.
RYAN FITZPATRICK, QB, Dolphins: The streaky veteran is trending in the right direction, and with a matchup against the Jets defense, Fitzpatrick will have strong stream appeal for Week 6. He’s averaging 288.5 passing yards in his past four games with multiple TD passes in three of those games. Fantasy owners who are dealing with either injury (Prescott) or ineffective play (Carson Wentz) may want to look in the direction of Fitzpatrick and ride the hot hand for a week or two.
MECOLE HARDMAN, WR, Chiefs: Sammy Watkins (hamstring) is expected to miss some time, meaning that Hardman will have a chance to see his production increase. Hardman has just 17 targets this season, but has 13 catches for 194 yards and two scores. He’ll have to compete with Demarcus Robinson to get the attention of Patrick Mahomes, yet Hardman has the upside and downfield speed that would allow him to rack up numbers even on a limited number of targets.
This column was provided to The Associated Press by SportsGrid Inc., www.sportsgrid.com
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