Another week of fantasy football action and more injuries but we’ve continued to pile up the hits. Now, bye weeks hitting hard over the next few weeks, this is where fantasy football gets interesting. Whether you’re 4-1 or 1-4, there’s a lot of football left this year. Navigating the wire over the next 4-6 weeks may be the difference in you making the playoffs.
One thing to note about all of this week’s running backs is that Adam Schefter has reported that teams have been inquiring about the Ravens’ running backs. A team like the Giants or Chiefs could be looking to add via trade (deadline looms Nov. 2) or free agency.
Here are the players you should be considering during your weekly waiver wire run in fantasy football based on at least 60% availability. I also include adds for those in deeper league formats. If you have any questions or need any fantasy football waiver wire advice, feel free to hit me on Twitter @101chalk. You can also check out my Waiver Wire Rankings.
Devontae Booker – New York Giants
96% availability on ESPN
94% availability on Yahoo
Hopefully, it looked worse than it is really is. Barkley’s ankle was swollen pretty badly but early reports suggest that Barkley suffered a low-grade ankle sprain. Barkley previously recovered from a high-grade sprain after just four weeks so there’s hope he could be back soon.
Devontae Booker finds himself in fantasy football relevancy as a fill-in for an injured star. Booker posted 58 total yards, three receptions, and two touchdowns while filling in on Sunday. We have seen Booker produce in this type of role before so he’s a volume-based RB2 until Barkley returns. Minus the touchdowns (still they are unpredictable), I’d project Booker to put up around 70 total yards with a couple of receptions a game.
The question here is if Daniel Jones misses time during Barkley’s absence which takes the entire offense down a notch. Jones was carted off the field and taken to the locker room after suffering a hit to the head in the Giants’ loss to the Cowboys.
Darrel Williams – Kansas City Chiefs
96% availability on ESPN
94% availability on Yahoo
Williams almost made last week’s entry as a deep league stash and now makes it a (costly) must-add. Breakout favorite Clyde Edwards-Helaire suffered a knee injury and was quickly ruled out of the game on Sunday night. Williams was called in relief as the primary back and played efficiently.
Although he only had five carries, Williams averaged 5.4 yards per carry and also caught three out of five targets for 18 yards. Williams is a true dual-threat running back who can run and catch the ball. Until we have more news about Edwards-Helaire’s status, we have to assume that Williams is the starting RB for a Mahomes-led offense. That makes him an RB2/flex option in Week 6 and potentially beyond. I would add Williams regardless of Edwards-Helaire’s status for Week 6 as the veteran is a prime stash as a potential league winner.
Khalil Herbert – Chicago Bears
95% availability on ESPN
80% availability on Yahoo
With David Montgomery out, rookie Khalil Herbert had a strong fantasy football performance while sharing the workload with fill-in starter Damien Williams. It is clear that the veteran Williams is the starter until Montgomery returns but Herbert rushed for 75 yards and actually ended up out carrying Williams.
Despite what Nagy says, Justin Fields is the starting QB in Chicago and the team will prioritize running the ball to not only suit its quarterback’s strengths but also to protect their franchise cornerstone. Herbert isn’t startable right now but worth a stash in deep leagues in the event that Williams missed time or there’s any complications with Montgomery’s recovery. If you’re desperate at RB, then Herbert is another dart throw. It should be noted that Herbert lacks pass-catching upside, especially hurting him in PPR formats.
Kadarius Toney – New York Giants
87% availability on ESPN
83% availability on Yahoo
Kadarius Toney broke out in a major way on Sunday and had the fantasy football performance we’ve been waiting for. After catching six passes for 78 yards to get on radars last week, the rookie exploded with 10 receptions for 189 yards. Toney is a fast and shifty playmaker with unique route-running skills and the Giants are sorely lacking options on offense.
Kadarius Toney is so shifty. Put the ball in his hands. pic.twitter.com/ZE5cjk4Pi2
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) October 10, 2021
We have seen fellow rookie playmaker Rondale Moore blow up and Toney possesses the same type of game-breaking ability. On top of Barkley, Shepard, and Slayton nursing injuries, Kenny Golladay hyperextended his knee on Sunday. This would open up a tremendous opportunity for a featured role in the offense.
With that said, Toney was also carted off to the locker room to have an x-ray on his leg after being ejected, although there’s nothing to indicate anything significant. As with Booker, much of Toney’s short-term value hinges on the health of Daniel Jones. The Giants’ offense (obviously) looked horrible with Mike Glennon under center.
Mecole Hardman – Kansas City Chiefs
58% availability on ESPN
57% availability on Yahoo
Hardman technically doesn’t qualify but he’s close so he’s a must-add in most fantasy football formats. In a primetime showdown against the Bills, Hardman turned 12 targets into nine receptions for 76 yards. We need to take this performance with a grain of salt since we have seen this from Hardman before. He will flash with a nice outing and then disappear for weeks at a time.
Teams will undoubtedly test the Chiefs’ other offensive weapons outside of Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce so it will be interesting to see if Hardman can finally post consistent numbers as the third passing option. The speedster is known for making splash plays but he’s also inconsistent and struggles with drops. Even if you are able to pick him up off waivers, he’s not an immediate start. I would wait until waivers clear to see if he’s available if you need wide receiver depth. Hardman is an add, but proceed with skepticism.
Van Jefferson – Los Angeles Rams
89% availability on ESPN
90% availability on Yahoo
Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods may command the lions’ share of the targets but we can’t ignore Van Jefferson. The sophomore isn’t making waves this season but he’s an injury away from having a much bigger role in the Rams’ offense. That’s a fantasy football points factory. Jefferson is still the WR3 on the team (ahead of D-Jax) and possesses the precise route running is needed in McVay’s nuanced offensive scheme. Jefferson is also a consideration for flex plays in deep PPR leagues.
Dan Arnold – Jacksonville Jaguars
98% availability on ESPN
96% availability on Yahoo
Arnold makes it back as a second-timer after debuting back in Week 3, as a member of the Panthers. Now with the Jaguars, Arnold actually finds himself in an arguably better situation. Yes, he is in Jacksonville, but Arnold is paired with Trevor Lawrence. Arnold led the team with 6 receptions for 64 yards and also tied for the team lead with eight targets.
The former wide receiver has the size and athleticism to create mismatches and Arnold should be able to take advantage of the opportunity left with DJ Chark out for the year with a broken ankle. While Marvin Jones has been the top wide receiver, both he and Laviska Shenault have been up and down.
Arnold led the team in targets and receiving in his first outing with his new team. Arnold is at least a TE2 with upside in PPR fantasy football leagues. If you missed on Dalton Schultz and Dawson Knox, Arnold is your next ticket.
69% availability on ESPN
69% availability on Yahoo
Due to the history of burning fantasy managers, we’ll list out the reasons to be bullish on Evan Engram. Engram’s stat line in Week 5 wasn’t spectacular (4 targets, 4 receptions, 55 yards), but he didn’t record a drop and he averaged 13.8 yards per catch.
The oft-injured tight end is also healthy while most of his teammates are facing multi-game absences. This will create an opportunity for a featured role on offense. In addition, the Giants are deploying Engram as a move-TE, which is his natural position, while using Kyle Rudolph as the inline blocker.
But none of the above are anything new to fantasy football managers.
Again, we will need to monitor the status of Daniel Jones this week which significantly impacts the viability of Engram and any other Giants skill player. Engram will likely hold some PPR value even if Glennon starts as a checkdown safety option for the backup quarterback.
David Njoku – Cleveland Browns
98% availability on ESPN
97% availability on Yahoo
Njoku exploded with seven receptions, 149 yards, and a touchdown on Sunday against the Chargers. The highlight of the day was a 71-yard reception where Njoku put his entire skill set on full display. Mayfield has been known to target his tight ends but it has been crowded at the position in Cleveland in the past.
With that said, Njoku is only 25 but has already been in the league for four years, learning the tight end position with the same team. Hooper has been leading the team in snaps, but Njoku has been seeing at least 60% of the snaps over the past three weeks. Njoku has also led the team in receiving three out of five weeks this season.
This could finally be the fantasy football breakout that sets Njoku loose as the primary tight end in Cleveland. The former first round pick has elite speed and athleticism and should be squarely on fantasy radars through these bye weeks, even though it’s been hard to trust him after all of these years.