NFL Fantasy Football Waiver Wire, Week 5: Ryan Torain In Line For Carries

H&S Torain

This week's fantasy football waiver wire gems include four players that weren't even starters when the season began, but who have been surprisingly productive for surprising teams.

This post is sponsored by Head & Shoulders



If you're looking to address bullet wounds on your fantasy football team this week, we don't have any good advice for you. If, however, you're satisfied with putting a band-aid on said bullet wound, you're in luck - as always, there are a few good spot starters that are probably on your league's waiver wire that should be able to get you by for a week or two.

Add, Or Consider Adding

Raiders quarterback Bruce Gradkowski: Already performing like a solid fantasy backup, Gradkowski - if he can stay healthy - should be able to keep a few fantasy teams afloat over the next few weeks as a solid bye week starter. Oakland has a sound running game, a very good tight end in Zach Miller, and some speedy talent at wideout, so Gradkowski isn't hurting for support. His schedule isn't particularly easy, but that means he'll throw a lot in the games he doesn't get soft matchups. A threat with his arm and his legs, Gradkowski is a must-own in most league formats, and you'll be pleasantly surprised with some of his performances.

Redskins running back Ryan Torain: Health has always been Torain's biggest issue, but he looks to have resurrected his career under Mike Shanahan in Washington. In a Week 4 win over Philadelphia, Torain replaced the banged up Clinton Portis and carried 18 times for 70 yards with a touchdown. Portis' groin injury could keep him out for Week 5, and as Portis is perpetually dinged in some fashion, Torain is worth owning, even with his own injury issues. If he gets feature back carries, he's capable of putting up excellent numbers in Shanahan's system.

Broncos wide receiver Brandon Lloyd: Kyle Orton is throwing like he thinks he's Peyton Manning or something. It's helped that Denver, missing running back Knowshon Moreno, has had such a horrid rushing attack that Orton and the passing game is their only viable option. Lloyd has been the beneficiary, emerging as Orton's go-to target while catching 25 passes for 454 yards (and one score) through the first four games of the season. He's not a huge touchdown threat, but he's a busy, productive receiver in a pass-happy offense, and is worth owning - and likely starting - in all fantasy leagues.

Rams tight end Daniel Fells: Right now, Fells isn't producing particularly well; he's had three grabs for minimal yardage in each of St. Louis' last two games. There is, however, upside here. Rookie quarterback Sam Bradford is performing beyond his years, and at some point, opponents are going to start concentrating heavily on Bradford's favorite receiving target, Mark Clayton. When that happens, Fells has a chance for a lot of underneath targets, as well as a fair few red zone targets. Don't pick him up as a spot starter, but in time, he could be a pretty dependable backup option.

Drop, Or Consider Dropping

Cardinals quarterback Derek Anderson: So much for taking advantage of a pretty terrific situation. Despite a stable offensive system, envious receiving talent, and an underrated rushing attack, Anderson has been benched twice in four weeks, and it's looking like undrafted rookie Max Hall will be getting the starting nod going forward. Even if Anderson miraculously holds onto his job for another week, he's not worth owning at this point.

Packers running back Brandon Jackson: When starter Ryan Grant suffered a season-ending injury in Week 1, most assumed that Jackson would be in line for feature back work in one of the league's most explosive offenses. After carrying 18 times in Grant's place in the season-opener against Philly, however, Jackson has logged just 27 carries in the past three games, and only gained 74 yards on those carries. John Kuhn, meanwhile, is stealing touches, and will continue to do so as Green Bay's offense becomes tremendously pass-happy. Jackson should put up decent yardage totals on occasion, as he's a solid receiver, but he's only worth hanging on to in very deep leagues at this point.

Saints wide receiver Robert Meachem: The Saints aren't exactly lighting the world on fire offensively, and Lance Moore's healthy return to the lineup has relegated Meachem to also-ran status. Unless there's an injury to Moore, Marques Colston or Devery Henderson, Meachem's role will be severely limited in an offense that can be frustratingly conservative in its passing philosophy.

Browns tight end Benjamin Watson: With Seneca Wallace throwing the ball in Cleveland, Watson has put up some nice numbers over the past three weeks, gaining 169 yards and scoring a touchdown in those contests. His consistent numbers are likely to dwindle, however, when Jake Delhomme returns to the starting lineup - and that should happen as soon as Week 5. Unless you're super thin at tight end (and even in that scenario, he's likely only a backup), steer clear.

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