Fantasy Waiver Wire: 15 players to consider

My apologies for not posting our top waiver wire pickups on Tuesday, but I had to fly back to New York for a quick 36-hour stretch that concluded Tuesday night (more on this in the coming weeks). Now that I’m back in the saddle, expect the fantasy coverage to increase for the remainder of the week.

TOP WAIVER WIRE ACQUISITIONS FOR WEEK 5

Matt Hasselbeck, QB, Tennessee Titans: He currently ranks 9th in scoring among fantasy quarterbacks, has thrown for 250+ yards in three of four games this season and is completing an impressive 66.7% of his passes for the surprising 3-1 Titans.

Analysis: Hass makes for a solid QB2 with the ability to step in as a starter. However, the loss of Kenny Britt is still a concern here.

Ryan Torain, RB, Washington Redskins: Torain is a major injury risk and will continue to battle Tim Hightower and Roy Helu for snaps, but after his Week 4 stat line (19-135-1), you can bet the guy is going to see more touches moving forward.

Analysis: The Redskins are on the bye in Week 5, but return to play a terrible Philadelphia run defense in a Week 6 where Torain could put up some serious numbers.

Jacoby Jones, WR, Houston Texans: With Pro Bowler Andre Johnson on the shelf for the next 2-3 weeks, it’s time for Jones to step up and earn that $10.5 million the Texans gave him this past summer.

Analysis: His targets should certainly increase moving forward, but Jones has never been a consistent fantasy producer. Consider him a WR3 with WR2 potential until Johnson returns.

Isaac Redman, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers: The three-year veteran posted 52 total yards on seven touches against the Texans in Week 4 in place of the injured Rashard Mendenhall. Early reports indicate Redman could be in line for a serious workload this Sunday vs. Tennessee.

Analysis: His long-term upside is limited, but Redman could make for a nice situational start in Week 5 vs. Tennessee. Consider him an RB2/flex option.

Stevan Ridley, RB, New England Patriots: In his first legitimate action this season, the rookie from LSU carried the ball 10 times for 97 yards and a touchdown against the Oakland Raiders. His stock is on the rise.

Analysis: The Patriots will continue to use a multitude of running backs depending on their opponent for the week, but Ridley is a must-own after what he did to the Raiders in Week 4. Expect him to be used more frequently moving forward.

Victor Cruz, WR, New York Giants: He’s been on this list before, but after another impressive performance (6-98-0 at Arizona), Cruz is moving up the depth chart in New York. He’s now a must-own in all leagues with ten or more teams.

Analysis: There’s a good chance Cruz could wind up replacing Mario Manningham as the No. 2 in New York, so he’s definitely worth a roster sport moving forward. After what he’s done the last two weeks (9-208-2), the Giants would be stupid not to play him more.

Jermaine Gresham, TE, Cincinnati Bengals: His numbers will fluctuate from week to week due to having an inconsistent rookie quarterback running the offense, but Gresham has posted 50 or more receiving yards in three of four games this season and currently ranks 11th in fantasy scoring among tight ends.

Analysis: He’ll post some duds, but Gresham has been targeted seven or more times in three of four games this year. He’s quickly becoming quarterback Andy Dalton’s security blanket.

Kevin Walter, WR, Houston Texans: Same thing we said about Jacoby Jones applies here. With Andre Johnson out of commission for the next 2-3 weeks, look for Walter to see an increase in targets.

Analysis: Consider Walter a decent WR3 for the next few weeks, but keep in mind he’s never been a consistent fantasy producer.

Cincinnati Bengals, D/ST: They currently rank 11th in fantasy scoring among D/STs and first in the NFL in total defense (275.5 yds/gm).

Analysis: A Week 5 showdown against rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert and the Jacksonville Jaguars looks like a great situation in which to start the Bengals D/ST.

Colt McCoy, QB, Cleveland Browns: McCoy has thrown for over 200 yards in every game this season and gets a crack at an Oakland Raiders defense in Week 6 that is currently surrendering an average of 24.0 fantasy points per week to opposing quarterbacks (6th-most in NFL).

Analysis: We’re still concerned about the lack of weapons surrounding the former Texas standout, but McCoy currently ranks 16th in scoring among fantasy quarterbacks. Consider him a decent QB2 option moving forward. NOTE: McCoy and the Browns are on the bye in Week 5.

Willis McGahee, RB, Denver Broncos: Broncos head coach John Fox told reporters this week that McGahee is now the No. 1 running back in Denver. The 29-year-old from Miami has rushed for over 100 yards in two of his past three games and is currently a top-20 fantasy running back.

Analysis: Knowshon Moreno owners can’t like this one bit, but the fact remains that McGahee is producing and Moreno is not. The Broncos play host to the San Diego Chargers in Week 5.

Curtis Painter, QB, Indianapolis Colts: It probably sounds crazy, but Painter threw for 281 yards and two touchdowns in Monday night’s loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That performance will certainly earn him more playing time.

Analysis: Painter is only recommended for owners in deeper leagues in desperate need of QB help. Despite the solid yardage totals on Monday night, he completed just 43.3% of his passes. The upside here is limited, however garbage time numbers should be in effect.

Aaron Hernandez, TE, New England Patriots: Did his previous owner dump him due to the knee injury suffered in Week 2 against the Chargers? If so, make a move immediately as the athletic tight end is expected to return to action for New England’s Week 5 showdown with the New York Jets.

Analysis: It’s probably a stretch to think Hernandez is available, but it’s certainly worth checking out. This guy is a big-time producer.

David Garrard, QB, Free Agent: With Dolphins quarterback Chad Henne possibly out for the season (shoulder), don’t be surprised if Garrard ends up signing with the Fish in the near future. Remember, Brandon Marshall is talented enough to make just about any quarterback look good.

Analysis: Garrard’s an intriguing option if he signs soon, considering the Dolphins are on the bye in Week 5.

Jared Cook, TE, Tennessee Titans: FINALLY! Cook made fantasy waves in Week 4 with his 80-yard touchdown reception against the Cleveland Browns. It’s no surprise he posted a season-high six targets in the Titans’ first game without Kenny Britt.

Analysis: Hasselbeck needs to involve Cook more in the offense now that the team’s top receiver is out for the season. Consider Cook a TE1 in very deep leagues and a TE2 in leagues with 12 or fewer teams.

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