Each week throughout the NFL season, we identify six players to target on waiver wires, plus a lightly owned D/ST. All are available in a majority of Yahoo leagues and approved for immediate use. Add as needed.
Matt Breida, RB, San Francisco 49ers, 7% owned
Breida was unexpectedly busy on Sunday, carrying 10 times for 49 yards and catching three balls for 22. Niners starter Carlos Hyde managed just 18 scrimmage yards on nine touches in the loss to Indy. Hyde has been dealing with a hip injury, but that issue was reportedly not the reason for Breida’s bump in usage…
Shanahan says he went with “hot hand” in RB Matt Breida, and his increase in snaps had nothing to do with Carlos Hyde’s hip injury. #49ers
— Rob Lowder (@Rob_Lowder) October 8, 2017
Breida is an un-drafted rookie out of Georgia Southern who posted freakish pro-day numbers, including 4.37 speed and a 42-inch vertical. He’s a 95th percentile SPARQ athlete. This is not your standard-issue handcuff. Breida has handled 19 carries over the past two weeks, carving out a non-trivial role in the Niners offense. He’s a viable flex as we enter the bye weeks.
Schedule, next three weeks: at Was, Dal, at Phi
FAAB bid: $12 of $100 budget
Marlon Mack, RB, Indianapolis Colts, 7%
Mack returned from a multi-week shoulder injury with a terrific performance against the Niners, carrying nine times for 91 yards and one score. He’s an inventive, tackle-breaking runner with big-play ability, an excellent complement to Frank Gore. He was a buzzy player throughout the preseason, producing highlights of the highest quality; expect him to have a significant supporting role for the Colts moving forward. Mack averaged 6.8 YPC in his final collegiate season at South Florida, reaching the end-zone 15 times and catching 28 passes. Indianapolis clearly isn’t looking to feed Gore more than 12-14 carries per game, so Mack has a weekly path to fantasy relevance.
Schedule, next three weeks: at Ten, Jac, at Cin
FAAB bid: $9
Wayne Gallman and Orleans Darkwa, RBs, New York Giants, 39% and 2%
Gallman was a popular add entering Week 5, coming off a game in which he delivered 50 total yards and a TD on 13 touches. He was equally impressive in a friendly matchup against the Chargers on Sunday, carrying the ball 11 times for 57 yards and snagging five passes for 25. We should note, however, that he was not an every-series runner for New York. Darkwa actually got the start for the Giants and he out-rushed Gallman, carrying eight times for 69 yards and one score. He very likely would have seen a more substantial workload, but he — like pretty much every other Giants skill player — suffered an injury on Sunday. Darkwa tweaked his calf on his early 23-yard touchdown run, playing only sparingly thereafter.
We don’t yet know the severity of Darkwa’s injury, but it seems unlikely to be a multi-week issue. He obviously ran well on Sunday, so no one should assume that Gallman will dominate this team’s rushing workload moving forward. Shane Vereen remains in the mix, too. And the team’s upcoming schedule is a minefield (at Denver, vs. Seattle, bye). And of course the Giants are terrible.
So there are a few issues here, no doubt. Don’t break the FAAB bank for any New York back, but Darkwa and Gallman each deserve a look.
Schedule, next three weeks: at Den, Sea, bye
FAAB bids: $5 and $12
Trevor Siemian, QB, Denver Broncos, 29%
Siemian isn’t necessarily the league’s toolsiest quarterback, but he’s managed to throw seven TD passes in his four games this season, plus he’s rushed for another score. He’s coming off a bye and facing a Giants defense that’s given up three passing touchdowns in back-to-back games. New York is cooked, obviously — a winless team that just lost its most dynamic player. If you’re dealing with bye-week or injury issues at QB, consider Siemiam as a one-week placeholder. He’s a good bet to produce multiple scores in prime time next Sunday.
Schedule, next three weeks: NYG, at LAC, at KC
FAAB bid: $8
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, New York Jets, 29%
Seferian-Jenkins was thoroughly hyped entering Week 5, following reports that he would be featured heavily against the Browns. He started slow on Sunday, but caught five balls in the second-half for the Jets, including the go-ahead score. ASJ has led his team in targets in two of his three games so far this season, and New York is about to face New England, the league’s most generous pass defense (323.0 pass YPG). Expect him to rank as a top-10 fantasy tight end in Week 6.
ASJ’s talent and physical tools have never really been in doubt, but poor off-field choices put his NFL career in jeopardy. His lifestyle changes were well-documented in the offseason, and he’s off to an excellent start in 2017. ASJ is only 25 years old, still an ascending player. Injuries have made a mess of the tight end position this year, making Seferian-Jenkins a priority fantasy add.
Schedule, next three weeks: NE, at Mia, Atl
FAAB bid: $9
Taylor Gabriel, WR, Atlanta Falcons, 17%
Gabriel flashed his big-play ability at several points last season, on his way to a 579-yard, six-touchdown season. He’s an undersized player (5-foot-8, 165) with exceptional speed and explosiveness, and he should have an expanded role in Week 6. Mohamed Sanu is expected to be sidelined for at least one week with a hamstring injury. Gabriel has drawn 18 targets over Atlanta’s first four games, ranking fourth on the team behind Julio Jones, Sanu and Tevin Coleman. Both he and Justin Hardy figure to see a bump in usage in the week ahead, and Atlanta’s upcoming schedule is full of friendly matchups.
Schedule, next three weeks: Mia, at NE, at NYJ
FAAB bid: $6
Washington has produced seven takeaways and 12 sacks over four games, and the team currently ranks seventh in the league at defending the run (3.9 YPC, 88.8 rush YPG). This is not a lifeless defense. The team is coming off a bye and preparing to face Brian Hoyer, a quarterback who’s thrown as many picks as TD passes (4) through five games. It’s not difficult to imagine a two-turnover, double-digit fantasy performance from Washington in Week 6. You’ll then kick this D to the curb next week, ahead of matchups with Philly and Dallas.
Schedule, next three weeks: SF, at Phi, Dal
FAAB bid: $3
Additional adds to consider: WR Kenny Stills (at Atl), WR Justin Hardy (vs. Mia), WR Jermaine Kearse (vs. NE), WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (at KC), RB Elijah McGuire (vs. NE), RB Alfred Morris (bye), RB Alex Collins (vs. Chi), QB Sam Bradford (vs. GB), TE George Kittle (at Was).