Another week of fantasy football has come and gone, and another round of injuries has hit fantasy football like a plague. Wouldn't it be great if there was a vitamin we could take that would keep our rosters healthy and intact for just a few weeks? Well, that isn't the case and injuries are a very real part of not just the NFL, but fantasy football since we use those same NFL players.
This week will surely be a busy one for the waiver wire because of the lengthy injury report around the NFL. So, it is important for us to go over injuries and the replacement players you should be targeting off the waiver wire.
Week 5 injuries
Zac Stacy – Word is that Stacy is dealing with a strained calf, and is expected to be active for Week 6. Those in deeper leagues could grab Benny Cunningham as a handcuff just in case, but it sounds like Stacy will miss a few days of practice then be active on Sunday.
Rashad Jennings – Jennings was diagnosed with a sprained MCL, and the Giants are calling him week to week. Andre Williams is a must-add in all formats and has RB2 appeal immediately.
Calvin Johnson - Megatron aggravated his ankle injury and Coach Jim Caldwell is already saying he will "strongly" consider holding him out for Week 6. I'd go ahead and consider him out and look at grabbing Giants WR Odell Beckham off the waiver wire.
Montee Ball – Ball suffered a groin injury that will keep him out "for a while." Ronnie Hillman is worth picking up in all formats and is a strong flex play with RB2 upside playing alongside Peyton Manning and company.
Jake Locker – Locker hurt the thumb on his throwing hand, but the X-rays were negative for breaks. You have to wonder how long it will be before the Titans turn the offense over to rookie Zach Mettenberger with Locker in a contract year and injury prone, and Charlie Whitehurst a 32-year-old journeyman QB with no upside. I personally think WRs Kendall Wright and Justin Hunter will gain value if the switch happens.
Reggie Bush – Bush left the game with an ankle injury, but has been quick to downplay the injury by saying he is "day-to-day." Unless something happens to change things, I expect him to start against the Vikings this week.
Jimmy Graham – The word is Graham "sprained" his shoulder. The Saints have a bye in Week 6, so Graham should be all systems go for Week 7.
Donald Brown – Brown suffered a concussion and will have to go through the NFL concussion protocol before he can play. The problem for Brown is that Branden Oliver came in and looked pretty impressive totaling 182 total yards and 2 TDs. No matter what, I think Oliver is going to cut in into (or eat up) Brown's touches until Ryan Mathews gets back.
Cardinals DE Calais Campbell will miss 3-4 weeks with an MCL sprain. Patrick Peterson also limped off the field Sunday with an apparent foot injury. Campbell's injury is a huge blow for the Cardinals defense, and even if Peterson plays in Week 6, he is likely to be less than 100 percent. The Cardinals have a soft schedule in Weeks 6 and 7 against the Redskins and Raiders, but I'd still consider them a risky streaming defense with their injuries.
Just as a side note, while Bishop Sankey is someone I would encourage you to stash, he is NOT someone you should be considering starting in the RB2 or flex spot.
Waiver Wire priority: #1 – Andre Williams, #2 – Ronnie Hillman, #3 – Branden Oliver, #4 Odell Beckham, #5 – Benny Cunningham.
Food for thought: there were 10 plagues that hit Egypt in the Bible; 10 injuries worth noting happened in fantasy football this week. Could it be a sign or just a strange coincidence? Shoot me an email* *and give me your best theory on this and I will feature your answer on Thursday.
Austin Davis – Rams: I've got to admit that Davis is starting to get my attention in my 2QB leagues with the numbers he is putting up on a Rams team that I wouldn't consider overly talented. His 375 passing yards and 3 touchdowns propelled him to a #2 QB ranking on NFL.com this week. He would be a better waiver wire option if he didn't play the 49ers in Weeks 6 and 9, the Seahawks in Week 7, and the Chiefs in Week 8.
Brian Hoyer – Browns: I wouldn't add Hoyer if was desperate for a QB, but he did manage to pull a rabbit out of his hat this week against a porous Titans defense as he racked up 292 passing yards and 3 touchdowns. It was by far his best game of the season and just 2.0 percent of NFL.com owners had the chance to enjoy his success since that is how many people own him. With his WR corps, I wouldn't bet on him doing that again before Josh Gordon returns.
Branden Oliver – Chargers: As I said earlier, Oliver came in for Brown and finished with 114 rushing yards, 4 receptions for 68 receiving, and 2 touchdowns. Oliver is the only healthy RB the Chargers have at the moment, and the only one who seems capable of moving the chains. I'd give some serious consideration to Oliver if you have a need for RB help in Week 6 with the Saints and Chiefs on a bye.
Stevan Ridley – Patriots: It is pretty hard to play Ridley in fantasy football because his stats are as erratic as any RB with regular playing time. This week he was able to turn his 27 carries into 113 yards and a touchdown. The thing that just frustrates fantasy owners is Ridley had just 5 carries last week which probably caused them to bench him this week.
Justin Hunter – Titans: If you remember, Hunter was one of my WR sleepers for this season and it looks like he has finally found his stride within the offense. Hunter was targeted 5 times and hauled in 3 of them for 99 yards and a touchdown. Moreover, Hunter played in 68 of the Titans' 70 total offensive snaps, meaning the coaching staff seems to have finally found my pre-season rankings and saw him on my sleeper list!
Travis Benjamin – Browns: I tried my hardest to ignore Benjamin for the winners list, but his pair of touchdowns propelled him to a No. 6 ranking on NFL.com. He also reeled in 4 passes for 48 yards, but we all know touchdowns are gold in fantasy football and Benjamin scored two of them. He is nothing more than WR depth for the Browns and shouldn't even be owned in the 0.3 percent of NFL.com leagues in which he currently is owned. Continue to ignore him.
Antonio Gates – Chargers: Every time you want to count Gates out, he comes back and makes you hate yourself for doubting him. Last week he managed just 30 yards on 3 catches, but this week he bounced back with 4 receptions, 60 yards and 2 TDs, stats good enough for a top-3 ranking for TEs on NFL.com. I do think the days of 100 yards receiving are behind Gates, but he is still a huge red zone target at 6'4" and has the trust and confidence of both his QB and the coaching staff. Gates is an every week low-end TE1 starter until proven otherwise.
Green Bay Packers defense: The second I found out Teddy Bridgewater wasn't going to start and QB Christian Ponder would be under center, I ran to the waiver wire in my church ESPN league and grabbed the Packers defense. Oh yes, God was on my side! The Packers allowed just 10 offensive points on Thursday night, while adding 6 sacks, 1 interception, 1 recovered fumble, and 1 defensive touchdown. Those stats powered them to a No. 1 ranking for defenses on NFL.com with 22.00 points.
Matthew Stafford – Lions: Stafford is usually a top 5-7 QB when you get the cheat-sheet rankings from websites and for good reason since he has the #1 WR in the NFL to throw to. The problem is when that WR goes down, the Lions have proven time and time again to not be able to adapt and overcome. This week Stafford managed to throw for just 221 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT, which ranked him No. 25 for QBs on NFL.com.
Nick Foles – Eagles: Most people probably expected Foles to do better than what he did this week because of Coach Chip Kelley's highly-touted offense. But that isn't what happened at all as Foles finished with a modest 207 yards passing, 2 TDs, 1 INT, and 1 lost fumble. All told, Foles finished just barely inside the QB2 rankings and a fantasy football disappointment for the second straight week.
Chris Johnson – Jets: I'm almost sick of saying it, but why do you still own CJ2K? Johnson had a season-high 68 yards in Week 1, and hasn't rushed for more than 44 yards in a game since. This week he finished with just 7 carries, gaining 24 yards and losing one fumble. His ownership on NFL.com is 91.3 percent, which is about 91.3 percent higher than it should be!
Bernard Pierce – Ravens: Pierce is owned in 69.1 percent of NFL.com leagues because when Ray Rice was released the thought was that Pierce would be the go-to RB due to his age (23) versus Justin Forsett's age (28). Well, what has happened is the Ravens have also thrown Lorenzo Taliaferro into the mix for carries and Forsett is producing and Pierce is not. Pierce finished this week with 30 yards on 4 carries, and he's just a handcuff just in case of an injury to Forsett.
Pierre Garcon – Redskins: Anyone who owns a player on the Redskins has to be pulling their hair out by the roots at this point as the offense scores a TD or two per game, but fails to move the ball enough to put up the stats necessary to make them a fantasy football asset. Garcon managed just 2 reception and 23 yards (18 of which came with 0:14 left in garbage time) on Monday night against a stout Seahawks secondary.
Michael Floyd – Cardinals: I could have put in Calvin Johnson here, but I try to keep injury induced bombs off the list. Floyd instead was the victim of yet another injury to a Cardinals QB as Drew Stanton suffered a concussion. Floyd managed 7 yards on his 1 reception this week, and I wouldn't come within a country mile of either him or Larry Fitzgerald if Carson Palmer isn't back in time for Week 6. Stanton isn't a quality QB you can count on and 3rd-stringer Logan Thomas isn't even close to Stanton.
Larry Donnell – Giants: After racking up 3 touchdowns in Week 4, Donnell was quiet as a church mouse in Week 5 as he finished with one target and zero receptions. As the old saying goes, this is how the cookie crumbles for fantasy owners! Tight end is an all-or-nothing position in fantasy football, and this week just goes to show you that there are no guarantees when it comes to their stats or usage.
Cincinnati Bengals defense: Who would have thought that the Patriots would find their offensive mojo against a hard-hitting defense like the Bengals? That is just what they did this week as they pulled up their bootstraps and put up 37 points against the Bengals D, and allowed just a single sack in the game. All told the Bengals lost their fantasy owners 3.00 points on NFL.com, and finished as the worst defense in fantasy football this week. It's a sad day when you could have not played a defense and been better off!
So how did I do, you ask? Well, I missed on 7 players (Tom Brady, Andy Dalton, Larry Donnell, Kelvin Benjamin, Steve Smith, Terrance Williams, and the Panthers D), but was still right on 10 other players. I'd prefer to see my accuracy far higher than that, but that is what happens when you try and predict what is going to happen with 106 men on a football field and both sides are trying to win! Remember to find me on Twitter (Fantasyguy23) or Facebook with any questions about trades or waiver wire add/drops, or email me and I will get back to you!