Week 4 is wrapping up and chaos continues to roll on. Backfields continue to turn over and the new realities the NFL reveals constantly remind us not to cling to our conceived notions. It's a reminder that pain is always present in the joy that is fantasy football. Now we must look forward to options to assist in beefing up our fake teams to move forward, whether it be long-term replacements or a streamer just to get by.
It's just those sort of symptoms that the Deep Dive is prescribed to help alleviate. NFL Fantasy's editorial overlord Alex Gelhar dutifully attacks the waiver wire to give you the top adds for the coming week in hopes of bolstering your roster. However, in this arena, we'll look at options to help those of you looking to go a little bit further down the rabbit hole, whether you play in a deeper format or are at the mercy of your incredibly sharp league-mates who scour the waiver wire relentlessly. A player can only qualify for the deep dive if they're owned in less than 10 percent of NFL.com leagues. With that, here are 11 players you can consider adding before Week 5 either as deep FLEX plays or simply as bench stashes.
Jacoby Brissett predictably fell back to the pack after his three-total touchdown day against the
Browns in Week 3. Going into Seattle is no soft-landing spot for a young quarterback. Despite some nice moments, Brissett finished with two turnovers and fewer than 10 fantasy points. Nevertheless, the fact that Brissett showed usable fantasy upside two weeks ago puts him back on the streaming radar in a nice Week 5 spot against the
49ers in Indianapolis. San Francisco allowed a combined 649 yards to
Jared Goff and
Carson Palmer in back-to-back weeks. Brissett is doing two things we're looking for in quarterback streamers: chucking it deep and running. He's averaging 9.1 intended air yards on his passes this season and taken off 10 times through his three starts.
Let your league mates thirst after Latavius Murray on the waiver wire thanks to his double-digit touchdown pedigree. You go chase Jerick McKinnon as the savvier move, instead. Not only is Murray still not 100 percent recovered from an offseason surgery, but there's little reason to believe he'd clearly be the more valuable fantasy back in Dalvin Cook's absence. Of course, he'll be the goal line hammer but McKinnon will certainly be the passing down back, a role we've seen him post usable fantasy numbers in before. Over the last five games of 2016, McKinnon posted catch totals of five, six, nine, five and three. The Vikings used him as an extension of the running game in this manner amid offensive line issues, concerns they by and large have solved. Throwing to the running backs is still a priority in Minnesota, as Cook and McKinnon have a combined 28 targets on the year. The talented former Day 2 pick projects for a better floor than Murray with passing-game usage and comes with a non-zero chance he takes over the feature job once again.
Arizona can't run the ball. And they know it. The Cardinals currently sport an NFL-high 69.9 passing play percentage, the highest rate in the NFL. With a stable of running backs unable to provide a consistent threat on the ground, they've turned back to satellite back Andre Ellington's skills as a receiver to provide an extension of the running game. Ellington has 14 catches on 22 targets over his last two games. Despite playing less than 50 percent of the team's snaps in Weeks 1 and 2, Ellington is currently the RB27 in PPR formats. That's nothing to turn your nose up at.
The Jets hit Matt Forte with the " week-to-week" description prior to missing Week 4, so we shouldn't be surprised if he sits out at least another week. In his absence, Bilal Powell was obviously the lead back but rookie Elijah McGuire also stepped up to play 19 snaps. He showed some explosive ability with a 69-yard rushing touchdown, along with snaring his two targets for 38 yards. The Jets are 2-2 and no longer need to come with a "full-avoid" label for fantasy gamers, provided Josh McCown stays at the helm.
The Giants are easily the most depressing rush offense in the NFL this year. Much like the Cardinals, they also know it. New York ranks just behind Arizona in passing play percentage with a rate 8.3 percent higher than their 2016 finish. They desperately need to try something else and that might just be giving Wayne Gallman some work. Gallman played on 38.8 percent of the team's snaps and totaled 11 carries and two catches after Paul Perkins left early with a rib injury and Orleans Darkwa was inactive. Best of all, Gallman saw four touches inside the 10-yard line. He didn't look great or anything, but who cares? Fantasy football is a game based on sadness in the pursuit of opportunity that breeds the counting stats which matter for fantasy. Gallman has a shot at seizing those chances in an offense that's finally finding its groove with 47 points in their last two games. Perkins and Darkwa could be back from their injuries soon, but Gallman is worth a speculative add.
Chris Carson's injury opens up opportunity in the Seattle backfield. Players like
Thomas Rawls are likely to be the priorities with their early-down profiles but
J.D. McKissic made his chances count Sunday night. He took one of his four carries for a 30-yard score and made an outstanding grab on his lone catch of the night for a touchdown. The scat back has a wide receiver background and the
Seahawks clearly want a passing-game back in the fold after drafting
C.J. Prosise (another former receiver). Prosise likely retains this role when he returns from injury but on a team that embraces competition like Seattle, we can't rule anything out.
Brice Butler didn't truly see a promotion as a result of his heroic Week 3 effort against the
Cardinals where he hauled in two catches for 90 yards and a dazzling touchdown despite running just three routes. He was only on the field for 16 pass plays in Week 4, which is in line with his season average (13.5), whereas that
Cardinals game was the true outlier. Still, Butler snagged another touchdown in Week 4, this one coming from inside the red zone. It's worth wondering if the
Cowboys ever offer him a true bump in playing time if he continues to make plays.
The Bills lost Jordan Matthews to a thumb injury on Sunday and he will miss "at least a month" after surgery. Andre Holmes has been the No. 3 receiver throughout the season and will likely bump up to the starting lineup in two-receiver sets with Matthews out. Passing volume is in short supply in Buffalo, so the upside here isn't plentiful. However, the Bills are looking for answers beyond Charles Clay in their passing game with Zay Jones underwhelming (four catches on 17 targets) and Holmes is the only wideout on the roster who profiles as a true X-receiver.
The rookie receiver continues his upward climb. JuJu Smith-Schuster has taken 71.1 and 19.7 percent of the team's snaps in his last two games. He's lined up in the slot on over 60 percent of his plays in both games and with Eli Rogers a healthy scratch in Week 4, it appears he's won that job. The USC product hauled in a red zone target for a touchdown on Sunday, giving him two on the season. The Steelers offense is not yet firing on all cylinders but if it ever does, we'll certainly care about a potential No. 3 receiver there.
With the Bears making the move to Mitchell Trubisky as their starting quarterback, the distribution in the offense may well change. In some instances, we see young quarterbacks rely on their middle of the field pass-catchers. That would bring Zach Miller into focus at tight end. While he's not a full-time player, he is a consistent presence when the team goes to the air. Miller is averaging 10.8 running plays per game to 29.3 passing plays. He's not much of help when the run-heavy Bears need a blocker but he does offer solid pass-catching ability.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins has yet to return much statistical bang for those hoping he turns out to be a strong sleeper at the moribund tight end position through two games. The usage should still give us hope, however. He has 10 targets through two games and was a 70-plus percent snap share player in both contests. If he's ever going to turn that into production, Week 5 is as good a time as ever. The
Jets face the
Browns, who allowed 22 catches for 216 yards and four touchdowns to the all-star cast of
Jack Doyle and
Tyler Kroft this year.