Five weeks of the NFL season has flown by, and we're entering Week 6 with six teams on bye weeks and a slew of key injuries. This is a crucial week in the fantasy season because 1-4 teams will decide if they are contenders or pretenders. Without further adieu, let's dive in to the potential waiver claims of the week.
Free Agents to Target Key
Acquire: Players you should target to add to your team immediately.
Look to Acquire: Players you should consider adding if you have a need at the position, are looking to build depth or have the available roster space to block other owners from capitalizing on building the talent on their team.
Watch List: Players you should keep an eye on based off current trends or developing situations.
Kurt Warner, Arizona Cardinals - Warner is now the man under center in Arizona due to quarterback Matt Leinart's (broken collarbone) injury. Leinart could be out at least four weeks. Warner has looked good in relief the last three weeks. He is 43-for-69 (62.3 percent) with 580 yards, four touchdowns and an interception. He also dove into the end zone for a rushing touchdown last week. He has a ton of weapons, but remember, Warner has a tendency to get sacked (and injured). Pick him up if you have the room as he's available in 97 percent of casual leagues and 83 percent of competitive leagues.
Quarterbacks: One-Week Plays
Brian Griese, Chicago Bears - Griese had a much better game in Week 5 in the Bears' win over the Green Bay Packers. Griese was 15-for-25 (60 percent) with 214 yards, two scores and an interception. The Bears face a good Minnesota Vikings defense in Week 6 that is a little susceptible to the pass. They are allowing 314.3 passing yards per game to quarterbacks over the last month, which is last in the league. They are also giving up 1.67 touchdowns per game to the position. Clearly teams are attacking through the air against what is one of the best rushing defenses in the league. Griese is available in 94 percent of casual leagues and 53 percent of competitive leagues.
Quarterbacks: Watch List
Derek Anderson, Cleveland Browns - Anderson hasn't been the most accurate, with a 52.2 completion percentage, but he has two touchdown passes in each of the last two games. He makes mistakes in bunches, though, as he has thrown six interceptions in the last three games. If you take away his five-touchdown game in Week 2, he has averaged 231 passing yards, 1.5 touchdowns and 1.75 interceptions per game. If you're in leagues that don't subtract points for turnovers, Anderson may be a decent fill-in for a bye week. He is available in 33 percent of casual leagues and 17 percent of competitive leagues.
Running Backs: Acquire
DeShawn Wynn / Vernand Morency, Green Bay Packers - Wynn had a good game in Week 5 with 13 carries for 78 yards and a touchdown. However, 44 of those yards came on one play. If you subtract that run, he averaged just 2.8 yards per carry against a good Bears defense. Morency also looked great as he had 43 rushing yards on nine attempts, coupled with seven receptions for 48 yards. Both of these backs should be picked up. Wynn is available in 90 percent of casual leagues and 56 percent of competitive leagues. Morency is available in 95 percent of casual leagues and 46 percent of competitive leagues.
Dominic Rhodes, Oakland Raiders - Rhodes is set to make his season debut in Week 6 after serving a four-game suspension and having a bye week last week. Starting running back LaMont Jordan (back) is iffy for Week 6, and Justin Fargas, who would probably start if Jordan can't go, has shown he can't be a steady performer in his five-year career. Rhodes was a favorite to win the job originally. Pick up Rhodes and stash him away for now. He's available in 91 percent of casual leagues and 35 percent of competitive leagues.
Brian Leonard, St. Louis Rams - Leonard had a great game in Week 5 against a Cardinals defense that hadn't allowed a 100-yard rusher in a long time. He rushed 18 times for 102 yards and had five catches for 33 yards. With running back Steven Jackson (groin) possibly out another week or two, Leonard should be picked up. He's available in 79 percent of casual leagues and 31 percent of competitive leagues.
Earnest Graham, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - The Bucs lost running backs Cadillac Williams (knee) and Michael Pittman (ankle) for extensive periods in consecutive weeks, and Graham is set to become the team's feature back for now. He had just six carries for 11 yards in Week 5 after strong showings the previous two weeks. He has three touchdowns and a 4.1-yards-per-carry average on the young season and should be scooped up immediately in most formats. Graham is available in 60 percent of casual leagues and 11 percent of competitive leagues.
NEW - Ron Dayne, Houston Texans - Starting running back Ahman Green (knee) should return in Week 6, but Dayne has been splitting the carries with Green. Dayne has 62 rushes on the season already, but he has just 179 yards (2.9 yards per carry) and one touchdown. Either way, Dayne needs to be owned, because he has been utilized 13.75 times (23 percent) per game over the last four weeks. He has received 2.75 looks per game inside the red zone, which is 30 percent of the team's red zone offense. He's available in 94 percent of casual leagues and 29 percent of competitive leagues.
NEW - Kevin Jones, Detroit Lions - Not everyone knows this, but Jones is now the Lions' feature back. After missing the first two games due to a foot injury, Jones is ready to take the reins as the main back. He has rushed 24 times for 91 yards (3.8 yards per carry) and two touchdowns. He has caught five passes for 39 yards as well. Detroit is on a bye this week, but pick up Jones now. He will continue to see larger workloads in the upcoming weeks. He's free to grab in 60 percent of casual leagues and 12 percent of competitive leagues.
Running Backs: Watch List
Kenneth Darby, Tampa
Bay Buccaneers - The 24-year-old rookie was active for his first game
in Week 5 but did not get a carry. Darby will likely become the team's No. 2
running back now that Pittman (ankle) is out for at least six weeks due to injury.
Darby is a 5-foot-10, 213-pound back out of Alabama and is someone you want
to watch for now. He's available in virtually all leagues.
NEW - Maurice
Morris, Seattle Seahawks - Starting
running back Shaun Alexander (wrist) should begin
losing carries to Morris in order to keep the former MVP healthy and productive.
The team lost Pro Bowl fullback Mack Strong (neck),
who was instrumental in Alexander's record-breaking season two years ago and
has retired. That's not a good thing for Morris either. Morris has only played
in two games due to injury, and he has only rushed for 2.7 yards per carry.
Keep your eye on him as the weeks progress. Wide Receivers: Watch List
Wide Receivers: Acquire
Jerry Porter, Oakland Raiders - Porter has just seven catches on the season, but three of them have gone for touchdowns. Before the bye week, new starting quarterback Daunte Culpepper hit Porter for two touchdowns. That momentum could carry over for the near future. There are questions about the Raiders' backfield, and Culpepper may be relied upon to throw more. This means Porter should be seeing more balls come his way. He's a strong play against the San Diego Chargers this week, and he's available in 33 percent of casual leagues and 30 percent of competitive leagues.
Andre' Davis, Houston Texans - Davis has had three strong performances in the last three weeks. He has recorded 13 catches for 266 yards and a touchdown, and he has earned himself playing time even after receivers Andre Johnson (knee) and Jacoby Jones (shoulder) return from injuries. Davis has a 40-yard catch in each of his three games and should be picked up if you have room. He's available in 82 percent of casual leagues and 31 percent of competitive leagues.
Wide Receivers: Look to Acquire
Dennis Northcutt, Jacksonville Jaguars - Northcutt quietly continues to be the Jags' best receiver. He had his best game of the season in Week 5 with four receptions for 73 yards and a touchdown. He has 15 catches for 242 yards and that touchdown in four games this year. If you have space, see if you can sneak him on your roster. He's available in nearly all casual leagues and 90 percent of competitive leagues.
Ike Hilliard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Hilliard is the team's unheralded No. 2 receiver and has had good games the last two weeks. He caught 15 passes for 172 yards in those games but hasn't scored this season. Look to acquire Hilliard as he's in no danger of losing his starting spot. He's available in nearly all casual leagues and 95 percent of competitive leagues.
Wide Receivers: Watch List
Drew Bennett, St. Louis Rams - The Rams' big offseason acquisition finally reached the end zone in Week 5. He has eight receptions for 94 yards and a touchdown in four games. Bennett is nothing more than a player to watch right now. His value can decrease if receiver Isaac Bruce (hamstring) returns in Week 6. Bennett is available in 79 percent of casual leagues and 68 percent of competitive leagues.
Sidney Rice, Minnesota Vikings - Before their Week 5 bye, Rice had his best game of his young career with six catches for 75 yards and a touchdown. Our sources say he has the best hands on the team, and he could use that game as a springboard the rest of the way. Rice is available in virtually all casual leagues and 92 percent of competitive leagues.
NEW - Robert Ferguson, Minnesota
Vikings - Ferguson should enjoy the expected return of quarterback Tarvaris
Jackson (groin) to the lineup this week. The young signal caller relied
upon Ferguson considerably in their one game together (Week 3). Ferguson was
targeted nine times but only three total times in the two games Jackson has
missed since. Ferguson is looking for more ways to get involved in the offense,
so you should give him a week or two of observation before looking to pick him
NEW - Lance
Moore, New Orleans Saints - Moore
is slated to begin seeing more action in the struggling offense thanks to receiver
Devery Henderson's drop issues. More has caught
12 passes for 132 yards over the last three weeks and could be a nice sleeper
if the team can get their offense in synch. Keep your eyes on Moore to see if
he becomes a fantasy factor.
Tight Ends: Acquire
NEW - Owen Daniels, Houston Texans - Daniels has quietly posted good numbers this season - he just hasn't reached the end zone. He has at least five catches for 56 yards in each of the last four games, and he hit a season-high 96 yards last week. He's a strong play against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 6 and should be owned as a No. 2 tight end in most leagues. You can find him available in 31 percent of casual leagues and 32 percent of competitive leagues.
NEW - Randy McMichael, St. Louis Rams - McMichael owners have been burdened by a porous offensive line, which necessitated McMichael being used as a blocker much more than a receiver. However, quarterback Gus Frerotte has history with McMichael in Miami, and that was evident in McMichael's three-catch, 45-yard, one-touchdown performance last week. You can scoop him up in 39 percent of casual leagues and 54 percent of competitive leagues
Tight Ends: Watch List
Desmond Clark / Greg Olsen, Chicago Bears - Clark and Olsen caught touchdown passes in Week 5, and we told you in the Locker Room Buzz that the team wanted to get Olsen more involved in the offense. Clark caught three passes for 62 yards, and Olsen caught four passes for 57 yards. It's clear quarterback Brian Griese loves to utilize his tight ends, and these are two you should have on your radar. Clark is available in 55 percent of casual leagues and 44 percent of competitive leagues. Olsen is available in 79 percent of casual leagues and 63 percent of competitive leagues.
Alex Smith, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Smith accounted for both of Tampa's touchdowns in Week 5, and those were his only two catches of the game. On the season, he only has 13 catches for 118 yards with those two scores. So he's not a player you want to grab right now, but monitor his usage. He may be leaned on heavily in the red zone with the team's running back corps depleted. He's available in 99 percent of casual leagues and 96 percent of competitive leagues.
Place Kickers: Acquire
Jay Feely, Miami Dolphins - Feely is a great play this week against a dismal Cleveland Browns defense. He has been a beast this season, if that's possible for a place kicker, making all 11 of his field goal attempts. He nailed four last week and should have a good chance to score against a Cleveland team allowing 2.75 field goal attempts and 3.25 extra points per game over the last month. Pick him up if needed. Feely is available in 95 percent of casual leagues and 74 percent of competitive leagues.
Kris Brown, Houston Texans - Brown appeared in this report last week, and we hope you took heed. He kicked five field goals, and amazingly, three of them were from beyond 50 yards. Brown is averaging three field goal attempts per game over the last month, and he has connected on 13 of his 14 field goal tries this season. Brown is a weak play against the Jacksonville Jaguars this week, but he needs to be acquired if you have kicker issues. He's available in 94 percent of casual leagues and 60 percent of competitive leagues.
John Carney, Jacksonville Jaguars - Carney missed his first field goal attempt of the season last week, but he is still averaging more than two field goal attempts per game. He is 6-for-7 in field goal tries and has made all five extra points. They face the Texans in Week 6, and they are near the bottom of the league in field goal attempts allowed. Carney is available in 99 percent of casual leagues and 96
NEW - Morten Andersen, Atlanta Falcons - Andersen has averaged 3.33 field goal attempts per game over the last month. This average is second in the league over that stretch. He has connected on eight of his 10 attempts this season. He's a strong play against the Giants this week and is worthy of being acquired. He is available in 98 percent of casual leagues and 97 percent of competitive leagues.percent of competitive leagues. Pick him up if needed.
Defensive Team/Special Teams: Acquire
New York Giants - Two weeks ago the Giants sacked Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donavon McNabb 12 times. In Week 5 they forced three interceptions from New York Jets quarterback Chad Pennington. Clearly the defense has stepped it up after being torched the first couple of weeks. They will head to Atlanta to take on the lowly Falcons, who may have a quarterback quandary with Byron Leftwich coming in the Week 5 game for an ineffective Joey Harrington. Leftwich was atrocious, too, and the team hasnít been able to get it going on the ground. In Weeks 7 and 8 the Giants will take on the San Francisco 49ers and Miami Dolphins, respectively, who will likely have backup quarterbacks starting for them. The Giants defense is a good one to target for the next couple of weeks.
NEW - Washington Redskins - The Redskins held a high-powered Lions offense to three points in Week 5. They forced five turnovers and sacked the quarterback six times. Let's not forget cornerback Carlos Rogers returned a 61-yard interception for a touchdown. The Redskins face the mistake-prone Packers that have allowed 1.25 sacks, 0.75 interceptions and 1.25 fumbles per game over the last four weeks. The Redskins are a strong play, available in 94 percent of casual leagues and 80 percent of competitive leagues.
Dodson is a KFFL Contributor and has been with KFFL since 2002.