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Erickson: Fantasy football waiver wire targets ahead of NFL Week 5

Another week of NFL action is in the books after Covid-19 and more injuries have impacted the road ahead for fantasy football rosters. 

There are plenty of players whose availability is up in the air, so potential replacements are going to be needed ASAP for: Cam Newton, Austin Ekeler, O.J. Howard, LeSean McCoy, Nick Chubb, Tyler Eifert, Noah Fant, Cole Beasley and Jordan Akins

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To make matters worse, Week 5 also starts the beginning of the dreaded bye weeks. The Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers are off this week, so teams relying on players like Aaron Jones, Kenny Golladay, Matthew Stafford and Aaron Rodgers need to make pivots. And for those of you who are more forward-thinking, this is a great time to plan ahead knowing that the Las Vegas Raiders, Seattle Seahawks, New Orleans Saints and New England Patriots are off in Week 6. 

For the waiver wire targets for Week 5, the list of players includes anyone rostered in approximately 50% of Yahoo leagues or less, with deep league options at every position as well. I’ll also share my thoughts on FAB (Free Agent Budget) bids and how much to spend on each player accordingly.

QUARTERBACKS

Teddy Bridgewater, Carolina Panthers – 18% Rostered, 10% of FAB

Teddy Bridgewater had his best game to date in Week 4, posting his first 30-plus fantasy point outing of the year. He threw for 276 passing yards, two passing touchdowns and added 32 rushing yards with a rushing score. 

Bridgewater has thrown for at least 235 yards in each of his four games this season, which has vaulted him inside the top-six among quarterbacks in total passing yards (1,148). One could argue because of how many yards he has passed for that he has some positive touchdown regression coming his way.

Every other quarterback who has thrown for at least 1,000 yards this season has thrown at least six touchdown passes Bridgewater only has four. 

Look for Bridgewater’s success to only continue in Week 5 when he draws one of the best matchups a quarterback could ask for in the Atlanta Falcons. They have allowed the most fantasy points to quarterbacks through the first three weeks of the season. 

A big part of the Falcons’ defensive struggles is that they have failed to apply pressure to opposing QBs. They rank 19th in pressure rate (27.8%) on the defensive side of the ball, while the Panthers have been great a protecting Bridgewater — he has seen pressure at the fourth-lowest clip this season (22.3%).

All four of Bridgewater’s touchdown passes and 88% of his passing yards have come from a clean pocket this season. 

Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings – 29% Rostered, 5% of FAB

The Vikings enjoyed a positive game script in Week 4 versus the Houston Texans because their defense was able to hold the Texans to a sluggish start. This led to a season-low in passing attempts for quarterback Kirk Cousins (22), but I don’t anticipate that repeating itself in Week 5.

The Vikings will head to Seattle for Sunday Night Football, and I doubt Minnesota will have the luxury of being able to run the ball and play defense as effectively as they did in Week 4. Seattle has allowed an average of 50 passing attempts per game versus 15.5 rushing attempts from opposing running backs. 

The passing volume for Cousins will inevitably increase, which should justify him as a low-end QB1 option in Week 5. The Vikings are currently seven-point road dogs. 

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