The fourth week of the 2016 regular season is just about coming to a close with only the Monday Night Football game remaining. Most fantasy football leagues will run their waiver wires late Tuesday or early Wednesday, but we are here to help you get a jump on the best options to consider.
We will be ranking the top five players likely to be available in your league at each of the four major positions. Some weeks there might not be five good options available, but we’ll scour for the best we can find. Additionally, throughout the week, we will update each of these articles as ownership percentages change (via Yahoo!) and news arrives.
Waiver wire running back rankings, Week 5
1. Terrance West, Baltimore Ravens (28 percent owned) - now 62 percent owned
With Justin Forsett a healthy scratch, West showed what he could do with the starting role. West ran for 113 yards and a touchdown in the Ravens’ Week 4 loss to the Raiders, proving that he is the deserving starter. With Kenneth Dixon still returning/recovering from his preseason injury and the Ravens facing a beatable Washington defense in Week 5, West is a starting running back available in most leagues.
2. James White, New England Patriots (27 percent owned) - now 37 percent owned
White plays the role of New England’s pass-catching back, so his value is due to increase as Tom Brady returns from
injury suspension in Week 5. Even without Brady, White ran for 12 yards and caught five passes for 50 yards in Week 4. The usage of White should increase in coming weeks, and he has a favorable matchup against the Browns in Week 5. He should be picked up in all PPR leagues and could also be played in standard leagues depending on the matchup.
3. Fozzy Whittaker, Carolina Panthers (24 percent owned) - now 27 percent owned
With Jonathan Stewart most likely out at least another week, Whittaker remains a presence in the Panthers’ backfield. According to the depth chart, Cameron Artis-Payne is the starter for Carolina, but Whittaker was the one to produce points for owners in Week 4. Whittaker only rushed three times for six yards, but added nine catches for 86 yards through the air. The Panthers face a strong Tampa run defense in Week 5, meaning Carolina will most likely be attacking through the air, which is Whittaker’s specialty.
4. Bilal Powell, New York Jets (22 percent owned) - now 32 percent owned
Powell didn’t see much action in the first two weeks of the season. However, he has played a more active role on the Jets’ offense since then. In Week 4, the Jets running back rushed for 26 yards and added six catches for 54 yards as well. With Matt Forte set to receive X-rays after the game, Powell will most likely start to shoulder more of the offense. Even if Forte is healthy, Powell has been more efficient in recent weeks and with the number of targets he received, he is a good PPR acquisition. If Forte is injured, then Powell is a must-add.
5. John Kuhn, New Orleans Saints (zero percent owned) - still zero percent owned
Kuhn defined what the term "vulture" means in Week 4 as he rushed three times for five yards and two scores while catching two passes for seven yards and another touchdown. His value is touchdown dependent, and his production will be inconsistent at best in future weeks. However, it’s hard to omit a top 10 running back who is zero percent owned, even if it’s only for a week.
Others to consider depending on developing injuries:
Zach Zenner, Detroit Lions (zero percent owned)
The Detroit backfield continues to be plagued by injury as Ameer Abdullah was placed on IR last week, and now Dwayne Washington’s status is in question after he limped off the field in Week 4. Theo Riddick isn’t known as an every down back, so if Washington is sidelined, Zenner would be worthy of a pick up based on his likely volume of work alone.