This time last week, the NFL and its fans were on edge because of the Tennessee Titans and Minnesota Vikings. Both teams had just played each other and the Titans had a few players test positive for COVID-19. This had implications for the Titans and their next opponent, the Pittsburgh Steelers. In the end, just a few days before game day, it was announced that both teams would have to postpone the game to Week 7 and adjust their bye weeks accordingly. On the surface level, it appeared this was all handled and that the NFL will adapt, should any other cases arise in the future. Yet while fantasy football was far from a priority, fantasy owners were not happy in terms of lineups and the waiver wire.
In their minds, this couldn’t have been more of a reality check. Just days before the now-postponed matchup that included popular players like JuJu Smith-Schuster, Derrick Henry, and Ben Roethlisberger, owners were left scrambling for replacements. If anything, this shows that the importance of the waiver wire because of the implications and randomness that COVID-19 can have on any team. Pair that with serious injuries to running backs Austin Ekler and Nick Chubb, the waiver wire will be even more active this week. Let’s see what players you should look to add this week.
Robert Tonyan TE, Green Bay Packers
No one had a better Monday Night (Aaron Rodgers did what he’s expected to do ) than Robert Tonyan. In what Packer fans are coining BIG BOB TONYAN SZN, the tight end from Indiana State caught three touchdowns on Monday night. Now, this may be a once-in-a-lifetime game for Tonyan, but not so fast. With the many injuries to the receiving corps, Rodgers needs a consistent target. Tonyan can be the tight end that the Packers have long been searching for.
The run game with Aaron Jones has been one of the best in Rodgers’ career and it looks like the tight end may be another new weapon for Rodgers. It looks like he will be highly sought after in the waiver wire and has long-standing value even when the receivers gets healthy.
Now here’s the tricky part, the Packers have a bye in Week 5. As of yesterday morning, Tonyan was only owned in 7.9 % of ESPN leagues. If there is a spot you can create to stash Tonyan for one week, he can pay dividends down the road.
Justin Jackson RB, Los Angeles Chargers
As mentioned earlier, teams will scour the waiver wire to replace Austin Ekler. The direct replacement would be Joshua Kelly. With Kelly being a popular add a few weeks ago, Justin Jackson will be next up and more widely available. Kelly is available in 44% of leagues and Jackson in 8%. Jackson is not a bad consolation prize as he will be utilized in passing downs for rookie quarterback Justin Herbert. If running back is a need, Jackson can fill in with Ekler on the mend.
D’Ernest Johnson RB, Cleveland Browns
In the same fashion as the previously mentioned player, Chubb owners who didn’t double down with Kareem Hunt are scrambling. D’Ernest Johnson came into Sunday’s game and complimented Hunt with a 95-yard game. With Chubb out at least six weeks, Johnson can play an important role in this run-first offense that Cleveland hangs their hat on. Right now Johnson is virtually available in all leagues and will be scooped up during the waiver wire process. Look to target him as a player to help down the stretch or even a trade piece.
Hunter Renfrow WR, Las Vegas Raiders
Photo Credit: Raiders.com
Renfrow has been a player who has been improving every game since his rookie year last season. This year, the Raiders have injuries galore to their receiving group. Renfrow has eased the pain for quarterback Derek Carr – since the start of the season he has 16 catches for 199 yards and a touchdown. Carr loves targeting him when Darren Waller is heavily covered like in the New England game. Renfrow is officially the Raiders’ #1 wideout in terms of productivity and should see plenty of targets on Sunday against the Chiefs. Renfrow is owned in 36% of ESPN leagues, so there’s a slight chance he may be rostered already.
Laviska Shenault WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
As Minshew Mania is still alive and well in Jacksonville, Laviska Shenault will be a big beneficiary. The Colorado product has been making noticeable strides. His worst game was a few weeks ago against the Dolphins when fellow wide receiver DJ Chark was injured. That injury was noticed even by the poor performance by Gardner Minshew. With Chark back, the Jaguars are able to move Shenault all over and let him perform like last week’s 86-yard game. Only owned in 27% of leagues, Shenault proves to be a great stash player that can help down the line.