As Week 4 of the NFL begins to come to a close, the Week 5 Waiver Wire Pickups article is still picking up steam with several players who might could patch the holes your team has been sustaining over the course of the season. Before I go on, is it safe to say that if you go up against the owner who is playing Peyton Manning, we should just count it as an automatic loss? I'm starting to think so.
As always, this waiver wire list will be updated throughout the day on Monday and Tuesday.
Alex Smith - Chiefs (ESPN Owned 45.6%/Yahoo Owned 3%)
The 2 interceptions weren't good, but Smith is still coming off his best statistical game of the 2013 season after passing for 288 yards and 3 scores against the Giants. Smith is doing what he's supposed to do. Secure the ball and not making any turnovers, which he had been doing before he threw his first picks of the season. He's not a QB1, but he's worth a roster spot as a QB2 with middle-of-the-road upside.
Matt Cassel - Vikings (ESPN Owned .7%/Yahoo Owned 51%)
After seeing what Christian Ponder couldn't do this year, is it really that much of a surprise that Cassel was an improvement? Yes his career has been hit-and-miss, but anything was better than Ponder. Cassel went 16-of-25 passing for 248 yards and two touchdowns Sunday. He not only beat the Steelers, but he made Greg Jennings (3/92/2) look like the Jennings of old. It's safe to say Ponder won't be coming back when the Vikes come out of their Week 5 bye. However, like he's always been, Cassel is a QB2 at best.
Brian Hoyer - Browns (ESPN Owned 1.2%/Yahoo Owned 6%)
Bye bye Brandon Weeden. After making a big debut in Week 4, Hoyer threw for 269 yards and two touchdowns in the win over the Bengals. The Browns are going to throw a lot because their running game has yet to truly find it's footing, which makes Hoyer a QB2 and a starter in two-quarterback leagues.
Rashad Jennings - Raiders (ESPN Owned .9%/Yahoo Owned 4%)
Darren McFadden simply can't stay healthy anymore. We've seen evidence of that when he went down in the first quarter against the Redskins with a hamstring injury. Marcel Reese also went down in the first quarter with a knee injury, which left Jennings as the main ball carrier in what turned out to be a productive day in the loss to the Redskins. Jennings tallied 45 rushing yards off 15 carries and also caught 8 passes for a team-high 71 yards. There is no word on the severity of either McFadden's or Reece's injury, so Jennings could be this week's top pickup as the Raiders go up against the Chargers.
Tashard Choice - Bills (ESPN Owned 0%/Yahoo Owned 0%)
Ordinarily you wouldn't see such a name on my list. However, Fred Jackson got dealt a knee injury against the Ravens. CJ Spiller (Aren't you loving the year this kid is having?) has already admitted his ankle injury might make it tough for him to be ready by Thursday when the Bills play the Browns. If you own both Bills running backs, Choice should be squarely on your radar.
Danny Woodhead - Chargers (ESPN Owned 16.5%/Yahoo Owned 40%)
PPR owners take notice!!! Since Woodhead's abysmal debut back in Week One, he's quietly put up reputable PPR points over the last 3 weeks. In that span, he's caught 20 passes for 146 yards and notched his first 2 touchdowns of the season Sunday against the Cowboys. Woodhead isn't that much of a factor in non-PPR leagues due to the presence of Ryan Mathews, but he's slowly turning into a quality flex option for us owners who get points for catches. There is clearly trust there from Philip Rivers.
Roy Helu - Redskins (ESPN Owned 42.8%/Yahoo Owned 12%)
After a rib injury knocked out Alfred Morris in the third quarter against the Raiders, Helu racked up the yardage in the second half. He totaled 84 yards, caught 2 receptions and rushed for a score that sealed the win. Luckily for Morris owners, the team has a Week 5 bye. But because the team uses Morris so much in the run game, his body could be breaking down a bit. The injury isn't said to be too severe, but Helu should still be handcuffed just in case Morris can't make it a go when the Redskins play the Cowboys in Week 6.
Willis McGahee - Browns (ESPN Owned 2.6%/Yahoo Owned 1%)
McGahee still isn't where I'd like him to be as an every-week option, but he's getting there. After being non existent in Week 3, McGahee carried the ball 15 times for 46 yards against the Bengals. He could be a strong flex play against the Bills this upcoming weekend. While he is still in a rotation, he is still the best running back the Browns have.
Mike Goodson - Jets (ESPN Owned 2.6%/Yahoo Owned 1%)
From Week 2 on, Bilal Powell has put up moderately successful fantasy numbers. So with Goodson now back off suspension, I don't know what changes will be made. Chris Ivory is still nursing a hamstring injury, so Goodson should easily outplay Alex Green for snaps as the No. 2 back. As long as Powell continues to put up consistent numbers, I don't see much of a change. But with a dearth of running backs totally sucking it up this year, having someone who has Goodson's talents isn't a bad thing on your squad. He's a nice stash-and-wait option should the Jets want to see what he can do, or if Powell suffers an injury.
Robert Woods - Bills (ESPN Owned 4.6%/Yahoo Owned 12%)
Woods has been up-and-down this season, but much of that is due to E.J. Manuel still learning the ropes. On Sunday, Woods came though big with 4 catches for 80 yards and a score against the Ravens. With Stevie Johnson expected to be shadowed by Joe Haden in the Thursday night matchup, Woods could be in for another quality game for Week 5.
Alshon Jeffery - Bears (ESPN Owned 83.2%/Yahoo Owned 46%)
As with the case with a lot of players, Jeffery's owned percentage is much higher in ESPN leagues. Jeffery had his breakout game against the Lions, catching 5 for 107 yards and a score. This is his second strong PPR performance after catching 7 passes for 51 yards in Week 3. Jeffery is climbing in the WR3 ranks.
Nate Washington - Titans (ESPN Owned 16.5%/Yahoo Owned 12%)
I'd be more livelier in listing Washington as a pickup this week. But with Jake Locker expected to miss the next 4-8 weeks with a hip injury, the entire Titans offense becomes a downgrade. Washington caught 4 passes for 105 yards and two touchdowns Sunday. But due to noodle arm Ryan Fitzpatrick, he might not be worth what you think he is.
Jerome Simpson - Vikings (ESPN Owned 3%/Yahoo Owned 10%)
Simpson had extreme waiver wire power after Week One when he went off for 7 catches for 140 yards. Unfortunately, he couldn't come close to those numbers in Week 2 and 3 , which made most of us consider his Week 1 performance a major fluke. Now that Christian Ponder is out, maybe Simpson can gain some of that value back. Against the Steelers, Simpson caught another 7 catches for 124 yards. Cordarrelle Patterson still has yet to make a dent in Simpson's snap count, so Simpson should be considered a low-end WR3 as long as Cassel keeps the job.
Justin Blackmon - Jaguars (ESPN Owned 13.7%/Yahoo Owned 43%)
Having served his four-game suspension to start the season, Blackmon can finally practice with the team this week and will take over as a three-down receiver opposite Cecil Shorts. But the true question is whether or not Blackmon is even worth the pickup. He had big games last year, but it was in the second half of the season when Chad Henne was the starter. I just don't see a lot of upside here as long as Blaine Gabbert keeps the starting job. And there has been zero mention of a quarterback change.
Heath Miller - Steelers (ESPN Owned 24.4%/Yahoo Owned 44%)
Coming off a knee injury, Miller's fantasy value is starting to pick up steam. After a 3-catch performance in Week 3, Miller went full blast against the Vikings, catching 6 passes for 70 yards. It's clear he will be back on the TE1 radar sooner rather than later. He isn't a game changer, but the Steelers offense relies heavily on the tight end. Especially around the goal line.
Coby Fleener - Colts (ESPN Owned 19.9%/Yahoo Owned 32%)
Fleener isn't going to be your every-week starter. His numbers are just too inconsistent. But playing for an offensive coordinator who wants to get his tight ends involved in the passing game, Fleener is still worthy of a look in the right matchup. Against Jacksonville, Fleener caught 5 passes for 77 yards and a touchdown. Just keep in mind he only tallied 13 yards in Week 3 against the 49ers.