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Life is easy if you have Todd Gurley or Alvin Kamara. Sadly, statistics say that only 8.3% of all fantasy owners in a typical 12-team league will own one of these players. That number drops further the more teams in your league. Lucky for you, we're here to help. The running back scene can be sketchy on waivers but there are always players that can fill your weekly flex void or serve as valuable backups. This also serves as a reminder that other positions matter too (even defense).

In this weekly waiver wire series, we provide a comprehensive list of fantasy-viable players that are owned in approximately 35% or fewer fantasy leagues, so that you can make an educated decision about who to add to your squad that might actually be available.

Let’s look around the league at the players worth adding or bidding on as we move on to Week 5 of the 2018 NFL season. Be sure to also check out our other waiver wire articles, including FAAB auction bidding recommendations, for even more in-depth analysis an all positions heading into Week 5.

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Quarterbacks - Waiver Wire Options

Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders - 35% owned

This was the type of game Carr owners and Raiders fans were waiting for. Carr led a furious comeback in the second half, resulting in an overtime victory for coach Jon Gruden's first win in almost a decade. For Carr, 437 yards and four touchdowns made him a nice tournament play for those who took a chance in a home game versus the Browns. He's averaging 343 yards per game and has kept a relatively high floor in that respect. There is still downside, as Carr threw two picks and leads the NFL with seven INT over four games. This offense seems to be coming around gradually and the Chargers defense is not going to be an impediment as long as Joey Bosa remains out.

Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans33% owned

It's been tough sledding for Mariota all season. He lost his most reliable pass-catcher for the season in Week 1 when Delanie Walker went down. He missed Week 2 with a shoulder injury that may still be bothering him. After Week 3, after he barely threw for 100 yards and didn't lead his team to a single touchdown, his second-leading receiver, Rishard Matthews, effectively asked off the team. Prospects weren't good for the third-year QB coming into this week, but he showed a ton of moxie by throwing for 344 yards and two TDs, leading his team to a dramatic overtime victory over the defending Super Bowl champs. It's fair to still be skeptical of his fantasy value but a matchup with the Bills is on deck next week, making Mariota the top QB streamer widely available.

Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars32% owned

It looks like you can just start Bortles in even-numbered weeks and you'll be fine at QB. Bortles has fluctuated widly from week to week, as shown below:

Week 1: 176 yards, 1 TD
Week 2: 376 yards, four TD
Week 3: 155 yards, zero TD
Week 4: 388 yards, two TD

What will he do next week in Kansas City? Who knows? Leonard Fournette's status is never clear, even when he does start. If Fournette is a no-go, it's safe to say Bortles is a worthy streamer against the Chiefs' leaky secondary.

Mitch Trubisky, Chicago Bears15% owned

Before we get carried away with his six-TD game, bear in mind that Chicago has a bye in Week 5 so he would be stash only. Trubisky's eye-opening stat line has to be the biggest breakout game of the year, considering he had played 15 NFL games and only once thrown more than one TD pass (two back in Week 2) and had a total of nine passing TD in 15 games. The tricky part will be deciding whether this is a sign of things to come or just a product of a horrible Tampa Bay defense.

Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers11% owned

Those looking for a QB for Week 5 can move on. The Bucs are entering their bye week and it hasn't even been determined that Winston will be the starter following it. But he will be. And the Bucs play the Falcons, who have been a sieve on defense since losing Keanu Neal and Deion Jones in Week 1. Winston is a smart stash for those with roster space and an unstable QB situation.

 

Running Backs - Waiver Wire Options

Ronald Jones II, Tampa Buccaneers24% owned

Nobody is saying you should pickup Jones right now, just that you could. He saw his first action of the season but didn't look much better than his miserable preseason, totaling 29 yards on 10 carries with one reception for minus one yard. Entering the bye week, one would imagine the Bucs will find a way to work Jones into the mix and make him more effective. The question remains whether he is mentally ready to be a lead back in the NFL. He is still just a bench stash for those with a roster space to burn but at least his value is higher than earlier when he was inactive for three weeks.

Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns 19% owned

What interest could we have in someone who is the RB3 on the Browns and only carried the ball three times this week? What if I told you two of those carries went for touchdowns and he went for 105 yards, raising his season average to 14.6 yards per carry. Don't you love tiny sample sizes? Chubb hasn't toted the rock more than three times in a game and just isn't a fantasy asset as long as Carlos Hyde is running the way he is. He is a better player than Jones but he won't get as much action and that matters more right now.

Nyheim Hines, Indianapolis Colts14% owned

Just ignore the rushing stats and look at the receiving numbers. Nine catches for 63 yards and two touchdowns in Week 4 prove that Hines is the most valuable RB in Indy. Jordan Wilkins hasn't been effective as a runner and Marlon Mack just can't stay healthy, so Hines should keep retaining value in PPR leagues.

Mike Davis, Seattle Seahawks2% owned

Just when you thought you had the Seahawks backfield figured out, an injury to Chris Carson opened the door for Davis to shine. He did just that, running for 101 yards and two scores in Week 4. Now the buzzkill...Carson may return next week to resume lead-back duties. Plus, the Cardinals have been lousy against the run all year so this may be more a case of favorable matchup combined with unexpectedly high usage. Davis still makes for a good stash in deep leagues or for Carson owners in case he gets the call again but don't overpay for one big performance.

Others to consider: Ty Montgomery, Green Bay Packers (18% owned); Frank Gore, Miami Dolphins (8% owned); Jalen Richard, Oakland Raiders (7% owned); Ito Smith, Atlanta Falcons (4% owned)

 

Wide Receivers - Waiver Wire Options

Dede Westbrook, Jacksonville Jaguars 17% owned

As Bortles goes, so do his receivers. Westbrook put together his second fantasy-relevant game of the year, racking up 130 yards on nine receptions. He was targeted 13 times, which is impressive enough, but consider that the next-highest total was Donte Moncrief with five while Keelan Cole saw just three passes his way. A matchup with the Chiefs makes him a tempting add for Week 5.

Mohamed Sanu, Atlanta Falcons14% owned

Sanu's ownership has dropped since the season started, taking a huge dip after Calvin Ridley's explosive Week 3. That appears to have been a premature move. The Falcons are on fire, bringing back memories of 2016. The emergence of Ridley could help draw attention away from Sanu, who saw three more targets (9-6) and doubled Ridley's yardage (111-54) in this matchup. He lacks the explosive speed of Ridley and the big play ability of Julio Jones but Sanu is a serviceable flex play any given week given his place in a dynamic offense.

Cameron Meredith, New Orleans Saints10% owned

It's been the most modest of starts for Meredith, who was inactive for the first two games and caught just one pass in Week 3. His snap count went up again in Week 4 and his reception total to three for 32 yards. Not much but then again Michael Thomas wound up with just one more catch and 15 more yards. Don't be surprised to see Meredith keep cutting into Ted Ginn's targets and find a role as the third receiving option on a team that will never stop loving to pass the ball down the field.

Taylor Gabriel, Chicago Bears5% owned

Few analysts could have predicted this kind of output from Gabriel (although I can think of one). With Anthony Miller out, Gabriel was given more opportunities to make plays. He did so, catching all seven of his targets for 104 yards and two scores. Gabriel now has 29 targets in four games, good for an average of seven. You may not have been paying attention to him, but he has been involved in this offense since Week 1 and won't be a sneaky add any longer.

Taywan Taylor, Tennessee Titans3% owned

Now that Rishard Matthews is gone, Taylor inherits the WR2 job on a team without its top tight end. He responded with seven catches for 77 yards in a tough matchup with the Eagles. His scoring upside is limited, so target him only in full PPR leagues as a safe but unexciting flex option.

Keke Coutee, Houston Texans1% owned

11 catches for 109 yards after would definitely qualify as a breakout after the rookie missed the first three games of the season with a hamstring injury. It's an impressive debut and could just be the beginning. Bruce Ellington is on IR and there isn't much depth at WR behind DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller. A fourth-round pick in April, Coutee was sharp all preseason and could become a mainstay in the WR3/flex spot for PPR owners.

Rashard Higgins, Cleveland Browns1% owned

We should be looking more closely at usage for Cleveland's receivers now that a QB change has been made. While Jarvis Landry is obviously the big dog and Antonio Callaway was targeted next most with nine looks, Higgins was the leading receiver in Week 4 in terms of yardage with 61. Callaway has been mistake-prone and has caught just 10 of his 24 targets this season. Higgins may prove more reliable and earn Baker Mayfield's trust as the season progresses. Keep him on your watch list based on next week's production.

Aldrick Robinson, Minnesota Vikings1% owned

The former 49er is starting his career as a Viking in the best possible way, with a touchdown on both of his catches on Thursday night after catching just one pass for nine yards in Week 3. He will be a boom-bust option at best, but Kirk Cousins will sling the ball to several receivers and Robinson could prove more reliable than Laquon Treadwell as the third wideout (imagine that).

Zach Pascal, Indianapolis Colts0% owned

Everyone, this is Zach. Zach say hi to everyone! In case you weren't aware, Pascal is an undrafted free agent out of Old Dominion that earned a roster spot after Deon Cain's season-ending injury. Pascal had just two receptions in the first three games but suddenly caught six of 10 targets for 56 yards and a touchdown against Houston. It's hard to imagine he will sustain much value as the fourth receiver but stranger things have happened.

Others worth consideration: Christian Kirk, Arizona Cardinals (12% owned); Albert Wilson, Miami Dolphins (11% owned); Ryan Grant, Indianapolis Colts (4% owned); Willie Snead, Baltimore Ravens (1% owned); Ryan Switzer, Pittsburgh Steelers (1% owned)

 

Tight Ends - Waiver Wire Options

Ricky Seals-Jones, Arizona Cardinals22% owned

The converted wideout came away with two catches for 52 yards against Seattle. He is capable of making big plays but won't see enough action to be more than a TE2 most weeks. Keep him in mind for upcoming bye weeks or as a streamer in favorable matchups. Next week might qualify, as the Cards will face the Niners.

Hayden Hurst, Baltimore Ravens3% owned

He still hasn't taken an NFL regular season snap but Week 5 could be the time. Hurst was selected for his pass-catching ability and the team will find ways to use him, as they do all their tight ends. The problem is that Baltimore seemingly has 20 different tight ends who catch passes. He could serve as a decent scoring threat with the way Baltimore's offense has been rolling so don't be afraid to stash him if you have the space.

Tyler Kroft, Cincinnati Bengals1% owned

A gruesome injury to Tyler Eifert now forces Kroft back into the TE1 role, just like last year. He served as a nice red zone target in 2017, catching seven TD passes. There won't be as much opportunity with Tyler Boyd emerging, though. Consider Kroft as a backup in standard leagues.

Nick Vannett, Seattle Seahawks0% owned

Bad news for Will Dissly could turn into good fortune for Vannett. Dissly appears to have a torn patella tendon, which will rule him out for the rest of the season. We've seen proof that the tight end can be valuable in this offense, so even though Vannett only caught one pass in Week 4, there could be better days ahead.

Geoff Swaim, Dallas Cowboys0% owned

None of the TEs in Dallas will replace Jason Witten but Swaim has been the closest. Not only did he score his first TD in Week 4, he tied for the team lead in targets. When digging among the depths of the tight end pool, Swaim can be considered after the likes of Kroft or Vannett.

Others worth consideration: Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles (14% owned); Antonio Gates, Los Angeles Chargers (5% owned)

 

Defenses - Waiver Wire Options

Carolina Panthers - 37% owned

Widely dropped due to their bye week, the Panthers are the most talented group that can potentially be picked up and started for the rest of the season. They are coming off a four-interception game in Week 3 and were a top-10 fantasy defense last year, so make them a priority add if you need a defense or need a bye-week replacement for Chicago.

Tennessee Titans - 14% owned

This is a squad that is more talented than it has shown statistically but a Week 5 tilt with the Bills could help. They've totaled 10 sacks in the last three games, so the turnovers could follow soon. Having Marcus Mariota continue to play at a high level will help quite a bit too.

Cincinnati Bengals - 10% owned

The Bengals were gashed by Atlanta for 36 points and nearly 500 total yards, making it two straight road contests where the defense failed miserably. This makes them seem like a must-avoid defense. They return home to face the Dolphins, however, and figure to bounce back fairly strong.

More Waiver Wire Adds and Pickups


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