Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Fantasy Football RB Waiver-Wire Options Heading Into Week 5

Every week, we examine players that may be available on your league's waiver wire that could help your team in the short and/or long term.

For a player to be listed, he must be owned in 50 percent (or less) of Yahoo! leagues. The goal is to provide recommendations of players that have a greater chance of being available on your league's waiver wire. Of course, your league's size and settings could significantly impact whether these players (or better options) are available in your particular league(s).

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With that said, here are some running back waiver-wire options that I like heading into Week 5 (Yahoo! ownership in parenthesis):

[Note: Players listed below are sorted by my preference to add.]

1. Latavius Murray, Minnesota Vikings (19 percent)

Signed to a relatively large contract (at least in terms of what free-agent running backs received), Murray will take over as lead back for rookie Dalvin Cook, who tore his ACL in Week 4. That said, he's clearly not an equal replacement of Cook.

Before tearing his ACL, Cook rushed for 354 yards on 74 carries (4.8 YPC) and a touchdown with 11 catches for 90 yards (8.2 Y/R). On the other hand, Murray averaged just 2.7 YPC (14 carries for 38 yards) and 4.0 Y/R (two catches for eight yards) on limited opportunities.

I'm not sure by how much his efficiency will improve going forward, but we at least know the opportunities will no longer be "limited." And volume is king.

2. Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints (46 percent)

The Saints have a bye in Week 5, so obviously Kamara won't help your fantasy team this week, but his role should only continue to expand as the season progresses. Of course, Kamara won't get 10 targets every week (like last week), but he has five-plus targets in all four games.

A must-add in PPR formats, the rookie has scored double-digit fantasy points (standard scoring) in each of the past two weeks and has double-digit touches in two of four games this season. Through four games, Kamara has 15 carries for 83 yards and a touchdown to go along with 20 catches for 147 yards and another touchdown on 28 targets.

Based on the average fantasy points allowed by their remaining opponents, Kamara and the Saints running backs have a top-five PPR schedule remaining.

3. Alex Collins, Baltimore Ravens (10 percent)

Efficient on a per-touch basis, Collins has averaged at least 6.0 yards per carry in all three of his games and he duplicated his 9/82 line from Week 3 in Week 4. On the season, the second-year back has 31 carries for 125 yards -- a massive 11.4 yards per carry.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport had said before Sunday's game that Collins would see his workload expand, but perhaps one reason he didn't (besides the lopsided score) was another lost fumble. It was the second time this season that he has lost a fumble and that's a quick way to lose a starting job.

"He won’t get any more opportunities [if he continues] -- the leash isn’t going to be long on that," [coach John] Harbaugh said. "When you come in here and drop the ball however many times he has dropped, I’m not going to tolerate it. I like him. He’s a good kid, and he makes plays, but he has to hold onto the football."

4. Wayne Gallman, New York Giants (4 percent)

Perhaps like calling a car the most luxurious Yugo, Gallman has clearly been the most productive Giants running back (when given the opportunity). The offensive line is obviously a mess and that won't help any running back look like Emmitt Smith, but Gallman has now played one game and he set a season high for Giants running backs in carries (11), touches (13), rushing yards (42) and fantasy points (11.0).

In fact, he has already scored more fantasy points than Paul Perkins has in four games combined (9.6 points). At a minimum, I'd be willing to drop Perkins for Gallman as I'd expect him to be most productive Giants running back for the rest of the season.

5. D'Onta Foreman, Houston Texans (28 percent)

With 12-plus carries in two of three games and double-digit touches in three straight, Foreman should be added in all 12-team leagues. The Texans rank third in the league in plays per game and are fifth in run-play percentage so Foreman will have the opportunity to approach double-digit touches even if Lamar Miller remains healthy and the starter. If Miller were to miss any time, however, Foreman would be in line for massive workloads.

6(a). Eddie Lacy, Seattle Seahawks (17 percent)

With Thomas Rawls a healthy scratch in Week 4, it appears that Lacy would be first in line to lead the backfield in opportunities with Chris Carson (leg) placed on IR on Monday. That said, my confidence level in Lacy is fairly low. Lacy finished with 11 carries for 52 yards in Week 4.

Seattle's offensive line leaves a lot to be desired and the team is better at home than on the road. In Week 5, they are 1.5-point underdogs to the Rams. The good news is that the Rams have allowed opposing running backs to average 4.96 yards per carry (113 carries for 560 yards) and a league-high six rushing touchdowns.

6(b). Thomas Rawls, Seattle Seahawks (28 percent)

See Lacy, Eddie.

While I have Lacy ranked ahead of Rawls, that's a fluid ranking and I wouldn't be surprised if communication from the Seahawks talk about Rawls being the "starter." Either way, Rawls should be active in Week 5 and there could be an opportunity for him to emerge (or re-emerge) as the team's lead back.

7. Andre Ellington, Arizona Cardinals (24 percent)

When David Johnson went down with injury, many thought Kerwynn Williams would get the edge in the backfield workload. Then, the Cardinals re-signed Chris Johnson, who has 11-plus carries in each of the past three games. But his production has been (and his upside is) limited.

The most productive of the team's running backs has been Ellington, who now has eight-plus fantasy points in back-to-back games. In PPR formats, he's even better with 22 targets in the past two games including 14 last week. If I were to add an Arizona running back, it'd definitely be Ellington.

8. Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers (11 percent)

Several days ago, it seemed likely that Jones would appear higher on this list as both Ty Montgomery (ribs) and Jamaal Williams (knee) suffered injuries in the team's Thursday Night Football victory over the Bears. In that game, Jones rushed 13 times for 49 yards and a touchdown. Early in the week, Jones may be the favorite to get the start in Week 5, but it's even possible that Montgomery won't miss Sunday's game in Dallas.

9. Elijah McGuire, New York Jets (2 percent)

With Matt Forte (toe) sidelined, the duo of Bilal Powell and McGuire erupted for a combined 321 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns. McGuire himself had 10 carries for 93 yards (including a 69-yard touchdown run) and two catches for 38 yards. It's unclear whether Forte will be back this week, but McGuire is at least worth a stash at this point.

10. Matt Breida, San Francisco 49ers (12 percent)

Through one-quarter of the season, Carlos Hyde is off to a great start. The fourth-year back is on pace for 1,284 rushing yards, 68 catches for 352 yards and eight touchdowns over a full 16-game season and is averaging a career-high 4.94 YPC this season. The concern with Hyde, of course, is that he has yet to play a full season and has missed at least three games in each of his first three NFL seasons. If Hyde were to miss time at any point this season, Breida would presumably be the lead back.

- More Fantasy Football Waiver-Wire Advice Heading Into Week 5

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