Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Fantasy Football 2011: Week 5 Waiver Wire

We've reached the point in the NFL season where bye weeks are now in play and fantasy line-ups need adjustment. This week: the Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins, St. Louis Rams, Baltimore Ravens and Washington Redskins have byes - which means no Ray Rice, no Tony Romo and no Dez Bryant. Also, it's likely injuries will impact your line-up this week, especially if you own Houston Texans WR Andre Johnson, who's out 2-3 weeks with a hamstring injury.

The waiver wire is getting pretty thin and finding an every week starter becomes more difficult with each passing week. However, there are some bye week fill-ins worth taking a look at and some guys who could have an impact later in the season.

Ryan Torain, RB, Washington Redskins
Even though the Redskins are off in Week 5, Torain is worth picking up. Torain had 19 carries for 135 yards against the St. Louis Rams on Sunday and looked like best runner in Washington. Torain is worth adding in all league formats, and especially for owners who have Tim Hightower or Roy Helu. But be warned about Torian, he plays for Mike Shanahan. Shanahan has a tendency to keep fantasy owners guessing more than opposing defenses on who will get the most carries from week-to-week. Regardless, add Torain - he's the best of the running free agents.

Stevan Ridley, RB, New England Patriots
After a solid preseason, Ridley got drafted in many leagues as a late-round sleeper. However, after three less than impressive games (where he barely touched the ball), he has a chance to play bigger role in New England's high-powered offense. With Danny Woodhead injured, Ridley took advantage of his first extended playing time of the season and rushed for 97 yards on ten carries and scored his first-career NFL touchdown. BenJarvus Green-Ellis still figures to be the main ball carrier for the Patriots, but Ridley certainly showed what he can do. With that said, Bill Belichick is just like Shanahan in that he keeps fantasy owners guessing on who will get the ball from week-to-week. Ridley is still worth a roster spot, but not a starting spot.

Jacoby Jones, WR, Houston Texans
With Andre Johnson out 2-3 weeks with a hamstring injury, Jones looks to be the most likely candidate to replace him. While it would be crazy to think Jones will match Johnson's offensive production, I think Jones is still a very good addition. If you recall last season when Johnson was out with an injury, Jones had 10 catches for 185 yards in the two games. Jones is a good fill-in WR if you need a bye week replacement, but don't plan on having him on your roster once Johnson is healthy and playing again.

Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
It's becoming more clear each week that Brown is emerging as the Steelers number two WR. He has outplayed Emmanuel Sanders and he has younger legs than Hines Ward. On Sunday vs. Houston, Brown led the Steelers in targets (he also led the Steelers in targets in week 3). Brown had huge preseason so he may not be available in your league. But if he is, he's the WR with the most upside going forward.

Tim Tebow, QB, Denver Broncos (pictured)
Maybe it was the pro-Tebow billboards that swayed me, but it might be time to add Tebow to your fantasy roster. His struggles have been well documented and he may not be a very good NFL quarterback, but he's already proven that he can be a fantasy football stud. In the final three games of last season, Tebow finished with 15, 17 and 21 fantasy points (standard scoring). His ability to run and throw makes him just as valuable as (dare I say) Michael Vick and Cam Newton. Go get him now before it's too late.

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