As fantasy football managers scouring the waiver wire with Week 5 on the horizon, players like Cincinnati Bengals RB Samaje Perine have become an intriguing name. Injuries on the depth chart could force him into a more prominent role. As waiver wire claims continue to be submitted for Week 5, should Perine be amongst the players targeted in fantasy football this week?
Joe Mixon suffers an ankle injury in Week 4
The unfortunate reality of the fantasy season is, as the weeks roll on, so do the injuries. Joe Mixon, who had 16 carries for 67 yards and a touchdown on Thursday night, injured his ankle late in the game.
All this does is add fuel to the fire of the “injury-prone” narrative that has surrounded Mixon in recent years. Mixon has played in 16 games only once (2019) and missed 10 games last season due to a foot injury.
According to Bengals head coach Zac Taylor, Mixon is considered “day-to-day.” In his Monday press conference, Taylor said Mixon is “trending in the right direction.”
Initially, ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter reported Mixon’s low-grade ankle sprain as a “week-to-week” injury. Taylor, however, refuted the report, stating it’s too early in the week to classify the injury.
“For a running back like Joe with an ankle [injury], early in the week, especially Wednesday, potentially going into Thursday to keep him off of it. Don’t read anything into that if he’s limited early in the week when you guys are out at practice. I know he wants to play and will do everything he can to put himself in that position.”
Mixon currently ranks third in the NFL in rushing yards with 353 on 83 carries (4.3 ypc) and has 2 touchdowns.
Samaje Perine set for the lead role should Mixon miss time
Should Mixon miss time in the coming weeks, Perine would be next in line for backfield work on the Bengals’ offense. Perine is the only Cincinnati RB not named Mixon to record a carry in 2021.
Appearing in all four games, Perine has 9 carries for 28 yards while adding 3 receptions on 4 targets for 30 yards. Of those carries, 7 came in Week 4, with 5 coming at the end of the game after Mixon was injured.
Last season, Perine played in all 16 games (one start) and rushed 63 times for 301 yards and 3 touchdowns. He’s played in 48 games (nine starts) over his career and rushed 260 times for 980 yards and 4 scores. Additionally, he’s caught 39 passes for 283 yards and a touchdown.
In years past, this would have been time for Giovani Bernard to step up. However, with him now in Tampa Bay, Perine is first in line for touches.
Rookie Chris Evans could see extra reps in coming games
A sixth-round pick out of Michigan, Chris Evans has played on just 9 offensive snaps this season, recording receptions on all 3 targets for 40 yards.
Positive reports were coming out from the team, with Evans impressing many in the organization during rookie camp. His success in the preseason also helped to cement his role on the roster. In the Bengals’ three preseason games, Evans had 132 yards and a TD on 24 carries while adding 5 receptions for 62 yards.
Perine has never been massively involved in the passing game. Since his 22-reception season in his rookie year (2017), Perine has topped out at 11 over the next three seasons. Therefore, Evans could be used as the Bengals’ passing back should Mixon’s ankle force him to miss time. Evans could be an interesting addition in deeper fantasy leagues.
Should fantasy football managers target Samaje Perine with Week 5 waiver wire claims?
Should Mixon’s injury keep him out of their Week 5 matchup against the Packers, it’s worth taking a flier on Perine. However, just because a player sees reps, it does not mean they instantly become fantasy-relevant.
For one, the matchup is not fantastic. The Packers are 16th in fantasy points allowed to RBs at 23.35 per game. Green Bay has also put forward back-to-back games as the team we expected to compete for an NFC Championship title.
Odds are, this game could get out of hand quickly. In terms of 3-1 teams, the Bengals are arguably the weakest, having recorded their wins against teams with a combined 4-12 record. Should this happen, the first thing to go will be the rushing game. With Perine not a vital part of the passing attack, his value and production would go by the wayside.
Perine is worth the waiver wire claim, but I would not blow all of your FAAB on him. You could try to maneuver a trade to the current Mixon manager should they lose out on their claim. Perine’s value is the highest to that manager and would have fleeting value to the rest of the league.