Week 5 of the 2015 NFL season kicked off with a Thursday night matchup between the Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans. It wasn’t a particularly important game for most fantasy football owners, which means a lot of the action in your leagues probably is yet to come.
Bye weeks are in full swing, so some of your best players will need to be temporarily replaced. Here are some of the best last-minute waiver wire pickups for that purpose.
Kirk Cousins, QB, Washington Redskins: Before you ask, no, I’m not crazy. Cousins actually has been pretty good over the last two weeks.
Those numbers aren’t bad, and you could do a lot worse in two-quarterback fantasy leagues when your starters have a bye week and there aren’t a lot of quality replacements available. Cousins also has a good matchup in Week 5 against the Atlanta Falcons, who have the fourth-worst pass defense that’s allowing 305 yards per game with just five total sacks.
Thomas Rawls, RB, Seattle Seahawks: Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch was a limited participant in Thursday’s practice. He missed Week 4 with an injury, and if he’s limited or doesn’t even play on Sunday, Rawls is a smart start. After rushing for 104 yards in Week 3 against the Chicago Bears, Rawls came back down to Earth with 46 yards versus the Detroit Lions last week. He doesn’t have a great matchup against a stingy Cincinnati Bengals defense this week, but the Seahawks have been committed to the run all season.
Duke Johnson, RB, Cleveland Browns: Johnson plays against a Baltimore Ravens defense in Week 5 that’s given up 104.8 rush yards per game. Isaiah Crowell is the No. 1 running back in Cleveland right now, but Johnson did receive eight of the 21 carries by Browns backs in Week 4. He’s worth a pickup and a start in deep leagues with more than 12 teams and/or multiple flex spots.
Rueben Randle, WR, New York Giants: Randle has been inconsistent this season, but if you need a bye week replacement, he’s worth the risk. He has big play potential, and defenses will focus most of their attention on Odell Beckham Jr. Randle has found the endzone in each of the last two games as well. He also has a great matchup against a San Francisco 49ers defense that ranks 21st against the pass and is allowing opposing quarterbacks to complete 69.9 percent of their attempts.
Gary Barnidge, TE, Cleveland Browns: Barnidge has tallied six receptions, at least 75 receiving yards and one receiving touchdown in each of the last two weeks. He’s become an integral part of the Browns passing attack and should be started in most leagues.
Antonio Gates, TE, San Diego Chargers: Gates will make his season debut in Week 5 after sitting out the first four games because of a suspension. He’s still going to be the No. 1 target for Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers. Gates had 12 touchdowns last season, and he should continue to be a threat in the red zone with his impressive size and catching ability.
Thumbnail photo via Robert Hanashiro/USA TODAY Sports Images
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