As another NFL week is close to wrapping up, let's take a look at the top Week Five Waiver Wire Pickups for this week. After weeks and weeks of hearsay and recuperation, Steelers RB Rashard Mendenhall is finally expected to make his debut this upcoming week against the Eagles. Both Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman failed to grab the starting job and run with it, so Mendy's return should add a much-needed boost to a Steelers team desperate for a running game.
Before we take a look at this week's waiver-wire options, I want owners to remember that this list will be updated throughout Monday and Tuesday. Also, as the weeks go on, the pickings for the WW will be slimmer and slimmer unless we start seeing some major injuries.
Ryan Fitzpatrick - Bills (ESPN Owned - 46.5%)
Fitzpatrick may have thrown 4 picks against the Patriots, but he countered that with 4 scores and 350 yards. Fitzpatrick will always be hit-and-miss. Just ask those who had him last year. He started out hot, but then faltered down the stretch. Still, he is still worthy of being your QB2 and could start if you are in a bye-week pinch as the weeks go on. He'll never be good enough to be a QB1 outside of 16 team leagues or higher.
Matt Hasselbeck - Titans (ESPN Owned - 1.4%)
Jake Locker took a big hit against Texans S Glover Quin and is believed to have a separated shoulder in his non-throwing arm. Coming in for relief, Hasselbeck had great control over the offense and was able to score two passing touchdowns, but also threw two picks, one that resulted in defensive score.. His presence also finally got Chris Johnson to break out of his shell. With it looking like Locker could miss several games, Hasselbeck makes for a decent pick up if your backup option is terrible. Just remember that he is now more of a game manager than game changer. He really doesn't offer a ton of upside, but he could help give a boost to the other skill players around him.
Kevin Kolb - Cardinals (ESPN Owned - 7.8%)
Could this be the year that the Cardinals have been waiting for when they traded for Kolb from the Eagles? After beating his old team in a surprise victory last week and the Patriots in Week 2, Kolb led Arizona to another victory by throwing for 324 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions in the overtime win against the Dolphins. The Cardinals have some quarterback-friendly games with the Rams and Buffalo up next, so Kolb makes for an excellent alternative if you need someone. As long as he keeps winning games, he'll stay on the field.
Rashard Mendenhall - Steelers (ESPN Owned - 63.5%)
With Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman averaging a pitiful 2.5 yards per carry through 4 games, Mendenhall should easily insert himself back into the starting lineup when the Steelers play the Eagles in Week 5. He is owned in a majority of leagues, but I am sure there are several owners who picked him up during the draft, but had to dump him for guys who were actually playing. The Eagles give up a mere 12 points a game to fantasy backs, so Mendy's return won't be easy. But considering it's hard to find a legit starting running back at this time of year, I'd pick him up and stash him for when the Steelers get an easier matchup.
Jackie Battle - Chargers (ESPN Owned - 9.0%)
Kurt texted me yesterday and asked me if Ryan Mathews was hurt because Battle was racking up the points early against the Chiefs. After fumbling last week, it seems the Chargers were punishing Mathews by not only giving Battle the carries, but also naming him the starter. After Battle ran in for a score and caught another, we could see more of him in the future if Mathews' fumbling problems continue to be an issue. Mathews did wind up touching the ball 16 times. I don't see Battle being an every-week option. But if Mathews puts the ball on the ground again, we could see his name pop up in the future. Battle is good insurance for Mathews owners right now.
Brian Hartline - Dolphins (ESPN Owned - 26.7%)
If Hartline didn't prove to everyone that he is Ryan Tannehill's go-to guy before Week 4, he did after. In the overtime loss to the Cardinals, Hartline caught 12 passes for, this isn't a typo, 254 yards and a touchdown. Tannehill also showed trust in Hartline when he was being covered. I had my doubts about Hartline in the past, but he has now pushed himself into an every-week WR3 role. He now has 2 100+ yard games in the last 4 outings.
Domenik Hixon - Giants (ESPN Owned - .5%)
After missing time with a concussion, Hixon got the start against the Eagles Sunday night and put on a spectacular show, catching 6 passes for 114 yards. There is a chance that Hakeem Nicks could miss Week 5 against the Browns due to a foot and knee injury, which hasn't improved since last week. It appears that Ramses Barden's Week 3 breakout against the Panthers will turn out to be a one-hit wonder as long as Hixon is healthy. Hixon could be worth a pickup for at least one week, maybe more if Nicks' injuries prove more severe than we know right now. But he has a much higher ceiling, I am sure, over some guys who you are wavering over as your WR3. Joe Haden figures to line up across from Victor Cruz.
Jerome Simpson - Vikings (ESPN Owned - 7.9%)
Getting the start after missing the first three weeks of the season due to a suspension, Simpson led the Vikings in receiving yards with 50 off 4 catches. I don't know what happened with the Vikings passing game as Christian Ponder and the entire offense seemed off kilter in what was supposed to be an excellent matchup against the Lions. But regardless, Simpson is still worth owning in all leagues. He showed the chemistry he had with Ponder back in the offseason. Hopefully the Vikings right the ship against the Titans.
Leonard Hankerson - Redskins (ESPN Owned - 56.3%)
Hankerson made the most of his promotion to the starting lineup, catching 7 passes (11 targets) for 57 yards against the Buccaneers. Hankerson showed no fear going over the middle and got plenty of separation on slant routes. He is a must-have pick up option going forward as he has clearly earned the trust from RG3.
James Jones - Packers (ESPN Owned - 21.6%)
With Greg Jennings playing less than 10o% due to a groin injury, Jones has stepped up and totaled 10 catches for 111 yards and 2 scores in the last two games. He will always be on of those guys who drops a sure thing. But for now, he is looking like a viable WR3 in an upcoming meeting against the Colts.
Andre Roberts - Cardinals (ESPN Owned - 1.8%)
As Kevin Kolb continues to feel comfortable in the Arizona offense, Roberts continues to shine. After catching 3 passes for 55 yards against the Eagles, Roberts caught 6 passes for 118 yards and a score and 2 touchdowns against Miami. Larry Fitzgerald continues to be the main focus for defenses, so Roberts has seen a lot of one-on-one coverage. He is a WR3 worth looking at.
Kendall Wright - Titans (ESPN Owned - 10.6%)
With Kenny Britt out of the lineup, Wright caught four passes for 46 yards and a touchdown against the Texans. Keep in mind Wright is only an option if Britt's ankle injury keeps him out Week 5. If Britt plays, Wright isn't worth picking up as a part-time player.
Scott Chandler - Bills (ESPN Owned - 31.7%)
Chandler DID start to look like a possible TE2 option or a starter in two tight end leagues. But right after I emailed everyone, he got knocked out by Patriots LB Brandon Spikes and never returned to the game. Chandler finished off with 4 catches for 62 yards and 2 scores. The entire Bills offense lit it up yesterday. But it's hard not to ignore Chandler scores in 3-out-of 4 games this season. If he ends up with a concussion, I'd be wary about picking him up.
Marcedes Lewis - Bills (ESPN Owned - 10.7%)
I'm only adding Lewis for the simple fact that he had a big game yesterday after being a virtual miss the last two weeks. Lewis scored for the first time since Week One. But as someone who is asked to mostly block, I don't see him as a bonafide option going forward.