The Week 5 waiver wire doesn’t have a clear top option that fantasy football managers should drop the proverbial hammer on. However, there are still a couple of guys worth adding to rosters. As we enter the middle stages of the season, here are a couple of potential RB targets on the wire this week.
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Top RB Waiver Wire Targets in Week 5
Jaleel McLaughlin, Denver Broncos (1% Rostered)
This week’s top waiver wire pickup at the running back position goes to McLaughlin. Javonte Williams left early in the first half against the Bears with a hip issue. And instead of Samaje Perine taking over, it was the rookie undrafted free agent.
McLaughlin only touched the ball 10 times, but he was crazy efficient, racking up 104 total yards and a touchdown.
We don’t know how serious Williams’ injury is. And if he misses Week 5, it will be a committee between McLaughlin and Perine. However, McLaughlin proved himself to be a capable replacement, and he is absolutely worth rostering.
FAAB Recommendation: 18-30%
Chuba Hubbard, Carolina Panthers (25% Rostered)
Miles Sanders played through a groin injury on Sunday and remained the lead back. However, Chuba Hubbard still saw 14 carries and two receptions.
He’s certainly not one of the stronger waiver wire pickups, but it’s clear that if Sanders were to go down, Hubbard would be the next guy and thus startable in fantasy. With bye weeks coming up, he’s a decent bench stash.
FAAB Recommendation: 4-6%
Tyjae Spears, Tennessee Titans (25% Rostered)
Derrick Henry reminded everyone he’s still king this week. With that said, Tyjae Spears has displayed some nice burst. He carried the ball five times for an impressive 40 yards and added three receptions for 18 yards. He’s the clear RB2 in Tennessee.
Spears has some standalone RB4 value, with RB2 upside if Henry gets hurt. He’s worth stashing.
FAAB Recommendation: 3-5%
Which RBs Should You Roster in Fantasy Football?
Should You Roster Jaleel McLaughlin or Samaje Perine?
Watching the game, it certainly felt like McLaughlin was the lead back ahead of Perine. But the data indicates a different story.
Perine outsnapped McLaughlin 22-16. He ran three more routes, saw one fewer target, and had just one fewer carry. Overall, their usage was pretty similar. McLaughlin was just better.
We got good news on Williams’ hip injury after the game. He’s not expected to miss much time, if any at all. That makes both of these guys short-term options, at best.
If Williams does end up missing Week 5, I would expect Perine to start and this backfield to be a near-even split. Given McLaughlin’s superior performance thus far, he would be my preferred replacement. But with injuries mounting and bye weeks beginning, both are viable RB3s for needy fantasy managers.
Should You Roster Tyjae Spears or Tank Bigsby?
These are two players in nearly identical situations. Both Spears and Tank Bigsby are the clear handcuffs to established starters. They are unlikely to have any fantasy value as long as Henry and Travis Etienne are healthy.
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Given these two teams’ offenses, if both starters were to go down, I would prefer Bigsby. However, while their situations are nearly identical, they are not. A key distinguishing factor tips the scales in favor of one.
Etienne is 24 years old and averaging nearly an 80% snap share. Henry is 29 and has played under 50% of the snaps in two games so far. He’s only crested a 60% snap share once.
Furthermore, Spears has a defined role already as the team’s passing-down back. He is handling 3-5 carries a game, plus averaging 3.5 targets.
Spears has more standalone value (although still not startable) and is behind the starter who is more likely to get hurt/fade down the stretch. For those reasons, give me Spears.
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