Monday, October 4, 2021

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 rostered 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).

With that said, here are some running back waiver-wire options to consider heading into Week 5 (Yahoo! % rostered in parenthesis):

1. Kenneth Gainwell, Philadelphia Eagles (29%)

Gainwell set career highs with six catches, eight targets and 58 receiving yards against the Kansas City Chiefs and added three carries for 31 yards and a score. Gainwell was one of the better receiving backs in the draft and it was a bit surprising that he slipped to the fifth round. Through Sunday's games, Gainwell's 18 targets is tied for ninth-most among running backs.

Over the past two weeks, Gainwell and Miles Sanders are tied in opportunities (carries plus targets) at 16. Sanders (15 touches, 102 YFS) has a couple more touches than Gainwell (13, 123), but the rookie out of Memphis has more YFS and fantasy points over that span.

While I still have Sanders ranked higher than Gainwell in my rest-of-season running back rankings, the gap is narrowing.

2. Latavius Murray, Baltimore Ravens (47%)

It was reported that Murray would start, but it was still a bit of surprise that Ty'Son Williams was a scratch in Week 4. While Lamar Jackson is likely to lead the team in rushing again in 2021, Murray handled the vast majority of running back touches in Week 4.

Murray carried the ball 18 times for 59 yards and a touchdown. Le'Veon Bell, recently promoted from the practice squad, had four touches and Devonta Freeman had one touch. There is no guarantee that Murray will hold onto the lead-back role throughout the season, but the Ravens are one of the league's most run-heavy teams. That makes the 31-year-old a flex/RB3 option the rest of the way.

3. Samaje Perine, Cincinnati Bengals (2%)

Joe Mixon exited Thursday's win over the Jacksonville Jaguars with an ankle injury and even though the team is referring to it as a "minor" injury, it's possible that he misses time.

Assuming Mixon misses a game or two, it's likely that Perine leads the workload split with rookie Chris Evans, but it's unlikely that Perine handles a Mixon-esque workload. The Bengals will host the Green Bay Packers in Week 5 and visit the Detroit Lions in Week 6. Depending on how Week 5 goes, it'd be reasonable to envision Perine as being a top-24 back against the Lions if Mixon is still out.

4. Damien Williams, Chicago Bears (7%)

There is some concern about David Montgomery's knee, but early tests suggest that it's not a major injury for the third-year back. Depending on the results of his MRI on Monday, Williams' ranking on this list could be adjusted. That said, Williams is also dealing with with his own injury.

Montgomery had a big game (23/106/2) before departing with the knee injury, but Williams was highly productive as well. Williams rushed eight times for 55 yards and a touchdown and added two catches for 15 yards. The Bears will face the Las Vegas Raiders on the road next week.

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