By: Justin Lynch
Waiver Receivers Shine
By week 5, the waiver wire starts to become shallow. But there are always injuries and one-week breakout performances, so let’s check in on this week’s crop of waiver standouts at the receiver position.
With Stefon Diggs out, Thielen caught seven of eight targets for 127 yards and a score. Primarily a tertiary option before this week, Thielen will go back to his minor role when Diggs comes back following the team’s bye next week. And though Thielen will likely have more games where he breaks out, he will be inconsistent and not worth a roster spot.
With Kevin White on IR, the Bears needed a secondary option to step up. In came Cameron Meredith. The unknown product out of Illinois State racked up 130 yards and a touchdown, catching nine of 12 targets. Eddie Royal was expected to see an increased workload with White out, but the Bears offense has always allowed for two outside receivers to shine. Fantasy wise, I can’t support adding him to your team unless you’re desperate. Sure, he had a good game. But the Colts are awful and I imagine they did not think twice about him leading up to the game. Now teams will at least acknowledge his presence and try to force the ball to Zach Miller and other short yardage options. He’s certainly someone to keep an eye, especially on a bad Bears that will be throwing, but don’t get your hopes up too high on Meredith.
Kerley has now posted back-to-back solid outings. Last week’s 6-88-1 was outdone by his 8-102-1 line this week. The Niners desperately need receiving options and Kerley is stepping up. He’s building rapport with Gabbert and looks to be the safety valve that bad quarterbacks need. The hope would be for him to develop into someone who will grab seven catches for 70-80 yards per week no matter what. People may be sleeping on him due to his two poor outings at Carolina and at Seattle, but other than that he’s been solid. He’s also casually third in the NFL in targets. With games vs. Buffalo, Tampa Bay, and New Orleans on the horizon, Kerley may be worth a look if you need a receiver.
Coates was a popular sleeper before the season, as Martavis Bryant’s suspension loomed over the Steelers receiving corps. He produced, but not at a level worthy of a roster spot through four weeks. This week, however, he brought in six receptions for 139 yards and two touchdowns. He was even targeted 11 times. But remember, this is the Jets defense that let up huge plays to Buffalo as well. Coates may have supplanted himself as the number two receiver, but starting him puts a lot of faith into his ability to catch a deep ball for a score. I wouldn’t hate taking a shot on him in waivers, but hold off on starting him for a few more weeks.
Players to Think About
Mathews can be frustrating, but his 16 PPR points this week marked his third strong output in four performances. He’s running well, and would have had even more points if a 30 yards rush wasn’t called back for holding. The Eagles have had enough of Darren Sproles running the football, and seem to be settling back in with Mathews as the primary back. At the same time, he hasn’t received over 11 carries since week 1, and was saved by a rare receiving score today. His value is 100% reliant on the individual, so if someone’s trying to dump him, scoop him up as he’s always a viable flex start. And if someone is all-in on Mathews, trade him for someone more consistent. What I would do is hold him for one more week, hope he plays well vs. Washington, and then dump him to someone who needs a running back before he hits the meat of his schedule.
I’m not entirely sure what there is to think about here. Hilton is a monster, back to his 2014 form, and the Colts are just bad enough that Luck is throwing all game. The only concern is Luck’s health. Luck is getting hit non stop and eventually he won’t get back up. We saw what happened last year when Luck went down, and I know Hilton owners do not want to relive that. I would not feel good about parting with Hilton, and you can’t really plan around Luck getting hurt, but listen if a good offer rolls in.
Gronk was back healthy this week, and Bennett still scored three touchdowns. Belichick and McDaniels love running two tight end sets, and Bennett’s ability to run after the catch makes him even more valuable. Of course, he won’t be scoring three touchdowns per week, and Patriots fantasy options are notoriously inconsistent (outside of Brady). Temper your expectations going forward, but know that teams will continue to focus on Gronk, and that may just keep opening things up for Bennett.