If you thought the 2022 fantasy season was hard to navigate in its first five weeks, just wait. The difficult things are just beginning. The byes are about to hit in Week 6, with four teams suddenly unavailable (Detroit, Houston, Las Vegas, Tennessee). Even the healthiest fantasy rosters will have to take a few steps this week. Below is a collection of approved mics, all of which are available in at least 50% of Yahoo leagues.
Running backs on the wire
Kenneth Walker III, Seattle Seahawks (46%)
After Rashaad Penny out with an ankle injury in Week 5, it didn’t take long for Walker to make his presence felt:
One decisive move and he was simply gone. Walker was legendaryly productive at Michigan State, rushing for 1,636 yards and 18 touchdowns last year while averaging 6.2 YPC and generally carrying his team’s offense. He earned his draft status in the second round. He wasn’t much of a receiving threat at the college level, but Seattle doesn’t typically ask early runners to be volume catchers. Walker is shaping up to be an old-school centerpiece and his sub-4.4 speed makes him a big-play threat on every touch. He played nearly every snap after Penny’s release on Sunday.
Penny’s injury will sideline him for the rest of the season, making Walker an obvious priority. Be aggressive with your waiver requests wherever available.
Offer: Empty the wallet.
Eno Benjamin, Arizona Cardinals (12%)
Benjamin is the healthiest back on the Cardinals roster right now after the two James Conner (ribs) and Darrel Williams (knee) was injured in the loss to Philadelphia. He had 53 yards on Sunday, including a tying TD in the fourth quarter. Benjamin is an elusive and competitive runner who plays taller than his stated height (5-foot-9, 207 pounds). He’s averaging 3.6 yards after contact per attempt this year and he’s caught a dozen passes for 97 yards. Next week, the Cardinals travel to Seattle to face the most generous defense in the NFL, so Benjamin is a near-bolt to make a splash.
Mike Boone, Denver Broncos (36%)
Boone will clearly play a role in Denver’s reformed RBBC after gaining 85 yards from scrimmage on 10 touches and catching all three of his targets on Thursday. Melvin Gordon may still lead the committee, but his ball safety issues have not gone away. Denver has a Monday night matchup with the Chargers on deck, so Boone will face a friendly run defense that has allowed an outrageous 5.8 YPC on the season. It clearly belongs in the flex discussion.
No one asked for more primetime Broncos football, but it happens whether you like it or not. Denver is a committed team (because what choice do they have?) and Boone should receive a significant share of backfield touches.
Additional RBs to consider: Deon Jackson (he ran well Thursday night against Denver, carrying 13 times for 62 yards, plus he had four catches; Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines are both injured right now, so Jackson might be needed this week vs. Jacksonville) Tevin Coleman (he moved from the practice squad to the end zone last week, but he’s not a threat to Jeff Wilson), Rachel White (the rookie delivered a quiet 42 scrimmage yards against Atlanta, but he established himself as the clear liner in the Bucs’ backfield), Joshua Kelley (he massively over-slammed and over-hit Sony Michel Sunday, producing 82 total yards). Jerick McKinnon (has totaled 72 yards against the Raiders, including the Chiefs’ header in rushing despite one fewer rush than Clyde Edwards-Helaire).
Quarterbacks to prioritize
Geno Smith, Seattle Seahawks (36% registered)
Another week, another multi-touchdown game for Geno Smith, a player who entered this season (and the previous eight seasons) as an afterthought in fantasy. Smith has been excellent, throwing nine touchdown passes and just two picks in five games while completing 75.2% of his attempts. When you’re the guy who can throw DK Metcalf and Tyler Locketgood things will happen – things like this…
…and like that…
Without a doubt, Smith is playing the best football of his NFL career. He finished with 268 passing yards and three points in Sunday’s loss and we can expect a string of similar stat lines in the coming weeks. Arizona is next, which shouldn’t scare off any fantasy manager. For those looking far ahead, deep into the season, please note that Smith will face the Jets in Championship Week. It’s an all-time Revenge Game setup, folks.
Recommended waiver offer, assuming a budget of $100: $11
Carson Wentz, Washington commanders (46%)
If you’re a somewhat recklessly aggressive coach, we’d like to draw your attention to the fact that Washington will face Chicago this week on Thursday night. (The Bears actually play prime-time games each of the next two weeks. Enjoy it, America.) Wentz just completed a 359-yard effort — his third 300-yard game this season — and his receiving corps is full of talent. Sometimes fantasy forces us to make unfortunate choices; if you’ve never been to Wentz before, here’s another chance to experience its passing delights.
Please note that fantasy managers bear all risks associated with Wentz. Neither Yahoo nor its business partners make any warranties associated with this quarterback.
Also on the approved QB roster: Jimmy Garoppolo (his high and low in any given week are remarkably similar; he’s good for 200 yards and something like a score or two in most situations).
Priority adds to wide receiver and tight end
Jakobi Meyers, New England Patriots (49%)
Meyers returned from his knee injury with a huge performance against Detroit, scoring seven of eight targets for 111 yards and a score. He just finished a season of 866 yards and averaging 9.0 targets per game so far this year. Even with a third-string QB in charge of New England’s offense, in a game in which his team gained less than 200 yards through the air, Meyers was formidable. It’s understandable that he was dropped in shallow leagues while injured, but he has to be on someone’s list next week, especially in PPR formats.
Alec Pierce, Indianapolis Colts (9%)
In an otherwise dreadful Thursday night game, Pierce’s talent stood out. He caught eight of his nine targets – a miraculous feat, considering the overall quality of matt ryan‘s performance – and finished with 81 receiving yards. Pierce has also played 59% of the team’s offensive snaps and has completed just one less course than Michael Pittman Jr.. It seems fair to say that the second-round rookie has fully arrived.
Pierce has a size (6-3), wheels (4.4) and elite jumping ability (40.5 inches vertical), so he basically has an athletic build built into a lab. Obviously, we’d rather see him attached to a better offense, but, hey, he probably wouldn’t be a candidate for the mic column if team context wasn’t a concern. Pierce is clearly number one. 2 reception options at Indy; in the future, there will be no shortage of goals and profound opportunities. If you’re playing in a 10-team league, you probably don’t need to play with Colts that aren’t Jonathan Taylor or Pitman. But in deeper formats, Pierce is very much on the fantasy radar.
Taysom Hill, New Orleans (31%)
It looks like Hill scored more fantasy points in Week 5 than every other tight end totaled all season, but that’s probably not true. Either way, he was a juggernaut on Sunday against Seattle, the league’s softest defense.
The man scored three times on the ground, in addition he managed another touchdown. If you streamed Hill, it was a legendary move. It’s kind of crazy that we have a massive season going for a tight end that hardly ever sees a target, but here we are. Hill has almost certainly just produced his greatest fantasy performance of the season, but it’s also clear that he will remain a scoring threat any week, any game.
The tight end has been a minefield of one position, so we totally understand the temptation to just park Hill in your lineup and worry about other things. New Orleans doesn’t have its bye until Week 14, which is tough on these guys but friendly for fantasy purposes.
Other receivers to add: Rondale Moore (he recovered just in time to DeAndre Hopkins to come back and take a huge slice of the targets), Josh Reynolds (heads for a pass so he can’t help you next week, but that will also make him an easy addition; he’s seen 28 targets in his last three games, converting them to 269 yards), Darius Slayton (he’s probably the sanest and most capable Giants receiver right now as the team heads to a home game against Baltimore), Wan’ Dale Robinson (the electric rookie has finally returned to training, so he should be back in the receiving mix for New York soon), Khalil Chakir (worth a flyer in the deep leagues after his 3-75-1 performance, but Isaiah McKenziethe likely return of would destroy his Week 6 potential).
List-worthy tight wings: Hayden Hurst (with Higgins t-shirt sidelined Sunday night, Hurst shot seven targets and found the end zone for the second week in a row), Evan Engram (delivered a season-high 69 yards and six catches on 10 targets in an otherwise lousy game for Jacksonville).
If you stream D/ST
New England Patriots (42%)
The Pats just ruled out a team that entered Week 5 as the NFL’s most productive offense, so this group isn’t too shabby. New England has also generated multiple takeaways in each of its last four games. The upcoming schedule looks full of sacks and turnovers, with the Browns, Bears, Jets and Colts next. This D is not just a week-long placeholder.