Each week, I'm tasked with picking the top waiver wire targets for fantasy footballers. That article is a more cursory glance at the waiver wire, helping the countless fantasy players in more casual leagues on NFL.com figure out who is worth adding to their roster.
However, for those of you degenerates ... err I mean "die-hards" in more intense or competitive leagues, this is the column for you. As the season progresses, this is where I'll highlight the players you want to be a week early on, as opposed to trying to win them in a waiver-wire bidding war after they've started to produce. Many of these players will hopefully graduate to the main waiver wire column and already be on your roster. Of course, I can't promise anything. Fantasy is far from a guaranteed game, as we know all too well.
Anyway, let's see what else Week 5 has to offer on the waiver wire.
Deep waiver targets for Week 5:
Derek Anderson, QB, Carolina Panthers - 0.2 percent owned
Paxton Lynch, QB, Denver Broncos - 0.8 percent owned
Wendell Smallwood, RB, Philadelphia Eagles - 1.4 percent owned
James White, RB, New England Patriots - 3.2 percent owned
Zach Zenner, RB, Detroit Lions - 0.1 percent owned
George Winn, RB, Detroit Lions - 0.0 percent owned
Josh Ferguson, RB, Indianapolis Colts - 7.2 percent owned
Paul Perkins, RB, New York Giants - 6.0 percent owned
Bobby Rainey, RB, New York Giants - 0.1 percent owned
Jalen Richard, RB, Oakland Raiders - 7.5 percent owned
DeAndre Washington, RB, Oakland Raiders - 1.7 percent owned
Terron Ward, RB, Atlanta Falcons - 0.0 percent owned
Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Philadelphia Eagles - 26.5 percent owned
Dontrelle Inman, WR, San Diego Chargers - 0.1 percent owned
Eddie Royal, WR, Chicago Bears - 2.7 percent owned
Kenny Britt, WR, Los Angeles Rams - 3.3 percent owned
Brice Butler, WR, Dallas Cowboys - 0.5 percent owned
Cole Beasley, WR, Dallas Cowboys - 6.9 percent owned
Adam Humphries, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 1.7 percent owned
Seth Roberts, WR, Oakland Raiders - 0.4 percent owned
Cameron Brate, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 5.1 percent owned
Jacob Tamme, TE, Atlanta Falcons - 10.2 percent owned
Derek Anderson could start for the Panthers in Week 5 if Cam Newton remains in the concussion protocol. Considering the Panthers play the Buccaneers on Monday night, Anderson is definitely worth a look for Cam owners who want insurance and don't have another quarterback currently on their roster. The Bucs have allowed nine touchdown passes and made just one interception in 2016. Paxton Lynch filled in well for an injured Trevor Siemian in Week 4, throwing one touchdown pass and completing five of his seven attempts. Siemian injured his non-throwing shoulder, but if the team holds him out to recover Lynch could have matchup-based streaming appeal. Only the Raiders have conceded more passing yards than the Falcons, Lynch's Week 5 opponent.
Wendell Smallwood shined in Week 3, tying for the team lead in snaps with 24 while leading the backfield with 17 carries for 79 yards and a touchdown. The Eagles have hinted that they'll continue to use a committee even once Ryan Mathews returns to full health (which might be now after the bye week). Still, Smallwood needs to be added in more leagues. James White hasn't been much of a fantasy factor thus far in 2016, but with Tom Brady returning this week and the team likely to shift to a more pass-first approach, White should see his snaps and opportunities increase. He's no Dion Lewis, but he should absolutely be added this week (especially in PPR formats) before he starts producing with Brady under center.
Dwayne Washington, last week's waiver-wire hero, suffered an ankle injury early in Week 4, the severity of which is currently unknown. Draft Twitter darling Zach Zenner played on five snaps after Washington left, taking three carries for 12 yards. The game script didn't favor a traditional rushing attack as the Lions were playing from behind, so Zenner's opportunities were limited. Theo Riddick, despite the team's insistence he can be an every-down back, simply cannot make the most of his between-the-tackles carries (3.1 yards per carry average in 2016). He's electric out of the backfield and in space, but far from a traditional running back. That's why Zenner and even George Winn (currently on the Lions' practice squad) merit consideration this week. If Washington misses time with his ankle injury, the team will turn to one or both of these backs to be the early-down workhorse to complement Riddick. The Lions have a tough matchup against the Eagles on deck, though.
The Colts have worked Josh Ferguson in regularly thus far in 2016, but he saw by far his most work in Week 4 against the Jaguars. With the Colts running a hurry-up offense for pretty much the entire second half, Ferguson saw an increase in opportunities. Eight of his 10 targets came in the fourth quarter as the Colts sped up their offense trying to come back and beat the Jaguars in London. He's still not producing a ton of yardage for fantasy purposes (just 33 yards on seven catches in Week 4 -- both season highs), but he's worth an add in deeper leagues. It's entirely possible the Colts start running a faster-paced offense more regularly with Ferguson taking on a bigger role in that approach. We've yet to see how the Giants backfield will look sans Shane Vereen as of the publication of this column (they play Monday night), but Bobby Rainey and Paul Perkins are still both worth monitoring in deeper leagues. Meanwhile, Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington continue to steal snaps and touches from Latavius Murray, but no one is running away with this backfield yet. They're both great stash candidates in case either takes control in Oakland. Terron Ward is a super-deep option and an insurance add for Tevin Coleman owners this week. Coleman has a sickle-cell trait that can cause physical stress in severe heat or areas with low oxygen, like Denver's home stadium in the high altitude. Ward is currently on the practice squad, so the Falcons would have to make roster moves to add him prior to the game. Again, he's a super deep add right now, but a name to monitor if Coleman ends up sitting out. The team would likely ride Devonta Freeman as more of a featured back if that were the case, but Ward could see some work as well.
Dorial Green-Beckham is coming off his bye and will be facing a defense that has allowed the second-most passing touchdowns (12) in the league through four weeks. He'll be a low-end flex in deeper leagues this week and is available in over 70 percent of NFL.com leagues. Dontrelle Inman saw more targets in Week 4 (11) than he had in the previous three weeks combined (10), but his 7-120-1 stat line cannot be ignored. The Chargers wide receivers are a bit of a mixed bag right now as no leader has fully emerged in the wake of Keenan Allen's injury. However, Inman has led the Bolts' wideouts in snaps played in each of the last three weeks, so it's not as if his production and market share of the targets was entirely flukey in Week 4. The Chargers face a suspect Raiders secondary in Week 5, making Inman a high-risk, high-reward flex play as we have no idea if his targets will hold up week to week.
Believe it or not, Eddie Royal is now officially on the fantasy radar. He's had at least four receptions and 50-plus yards in three of his four games so far and put up a massive 7-111-1 stat line against the Lions on Sunday. With Kevin White set for an MRI to examine his injured ankle, Royal's target percentage could climb in the coming weeks if White is limited or has to miss time. The Bears face the Colts this week and Royal will be an excellent flex option, especially in PPR formats. While many will want to rush out and add Brian Quick after he scored three touchdowns in two weeks, the savvier, safer move at this juncture is actually to roster Kenny Britt. Quick has yet to play on more than 63 percent of the offensive snaps in a game in 2016, while Britt has played on 98, 84, 83 and 78 percent of the snaps through the first four weeks. He also owns a 21.2 percent share of Case Keenum's targets, while Quick has seen just 11.6 percent. While Britt hasn't found the end zone yet, he's posted four catches and 67-plus yards in three of the Rams' four games. Keep Quick on the wire for now and add Britt. He'll find the end zone soon enough.
Brice Butler will only be fantasy viable as long as Dez Bryant is out of the lineup. Butler played just 77 offensive snaps in Weeks 1 to 3 (36 percent), but was on the field for 62 in Week 4 (82 percent), actually leading all Cowboys wideouts in playing time. Cole Beasley and Adam Humphries had down weeks, though Humphries' came as a result of a dreadful matchup (vs. Denver). Both will remain safe-floor plays in PPR on a weekly basis. Lastly, it appears all Seth Roberts does is catch touchdowns. He's received just 12.4 percent of Derek Carr's targets but accounts for 33.3 percent of his passing touchdowns, thanks in part to receiving a team-high five red-zone targets. He's a touchdown-dependent play but has found te end zone in three of four weeks. He might be able to make it four of five with the Chargers' top corners locking down Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree in Week 5. Start him at your own peril, though.
Cameron Brate has slid right into the No. 1 tight end role for the Buccaneers after Austin Seferian-Jenkins' release, seeing 18 targets over the last two weeks. Brate is a great red-zone target given his size but suffered in Week 4 as his offense was barely in the red zone. He'll be a low-end TE1 moving forward given Jameis Winston's preference to targeting him in the passing attack, especially near the end zone. Brate plays the Panthers in Week 5 who gave up two touchdowns to tight ends last week, and average 12.35 fantasy points to the position per game through four weeks. Jacob Tamme was one of those tight ends to score against the Panthers in Week 4 and has seen his role in the Atlanta offense grow in 2016. So far he's seen 15.7 percent of Matt Ryan's targets as opposed to 6.9 percent at this point in 2015. Tamme has a tough matchup in Week 5 traveling to Denver, but he's attached to one of the league's best offenses right now and is worth adding in all formats.