Week 5 was an ugly one as many teams across the NFL felt the wrath of the dreaded injury bug. Fans gripped their TV remotes tightly and as they switched from game-to-game players were dropping like flies. The New York Giants suffered possibly the biggest loss of any team, losing star wide receiver Odell Beckham for the year thanks to a fractured ankle. The Giants receiving corps continued to take a hit as Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard both suffered sprained ankles, while kick return specialist Dwayne Harris fractured his foot and is done for the year. Bilal Powell sat out the second half in Cleveland with a strained calf and his questionable status for Sunday’s tilt with the New England Patriots makes the New York Jets backfield even murkier. Buffalo Bills tight end, Charles Clay, left Sunday’s game in Cincinnati with an apparent knee injury that we later learned is a torn meniscus and sprained MCL — he underwent arthroscopic knee surgery and will miss several weeks. The Kansas City Chiefs extended their undefeated streak with a win in Houston on Sunday night, but star tight end Travis Kelce was removed from the game after a hit to the head late in the 2nd quarter, resulting in a concussion. Of course, he will need to pass the league’s concussion protocol in order to play this Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Finally, in that dreaded Sunday night game, the Houston Texans lost two key cogs in their defensive front seven. Whitney Mercilus suffered a torn pectoral on the opening drive and will sit out the remainder of the season, while J.J. Watt was carted off the field in the 2nd quarter with a tibial plateau fracture in his left leg, he too will miss the rest of the year. Plenty of injuries around the league in Week 5, but the aforementioned are the most notable to your fantasy outlook. Let’s have a look at some potential waiver wire pickups for Week 6 — hopefully we can stop some of that bleeding to your fantasy lineups.
Elijah McGuire, RB, New York Jets
McGuire out snapped his counterpart, Bilal Powell, 36-17 on Sunday and is in line for the start against a New England Patriots defense that has surrendered the second-most fantasy points to running backs this year. Powell was held out during the second half in Cleveland with a calf strain, so keep an eye out for his status during practice this week, but definitely a favorable matchup for McGuire as he is just 22.6% owned on ESPN.
Matt Breida, RB, San Francisco 49ers
Breida may not have been on your fantasy radar before Week 5, but consider that on Sunday he led Carlos Hyde in virtually every statistical category — carries, rushing yards, targets, receptions, receiving yards and offensive snaps. Week 6 presents a challenging matchup against a Washington Redskins defense that has allowed the 10th-fewest fantasy points to running backs all season, but there are some favorable matchups against the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants over the next month of the schedule. It remains to be seen if Sunday’s performance was simply an anomaly, but at just 15.8% owned on ESPN, the time might be right to scoop Breida off the waiver wire before a potential breakout game.
Nelson Agholor, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
Agholor hauled in his second touchdown of 50-plus yards on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals. His matchup on Thursday night with the Carolina Panthers might have some of you considering this a speculative add, but although they are middle of the pack for fantasy points against to wide receivers (14th-fewest), consider that the Panthers have surrendered the 10th-most catches to wideouts through Week 5. Agholor is just 29.1% owned in ESPN leagues, and could prove to be a valuable asset this week in PPR formats.
Zach Miller, TE, Chicago Bears
A tip ball at the goal line resulted in a touchdown for Miller on Monday night against a tough Minnesota Vikings defense. He’s just 20.2% owned in ESPN and projects to be a solid fantasy play this week against a Baltimore Ravens defense that has given up the sixth-most fantasy points to tight ends this season. Miller also ranks second on the Bears in targets (27) and receiving yards (182) through Week 5 and he could continue to build on those numbers as rookie QB Mitch Trubisky may trust in him more often.
By Jamie Zadow