Injuries struck hard in Week 5, sending players like Ryan Williams, Cedric Benson, Alshon Jeffrey, Bernard Scott and maybe even Danny Amendola to the waiver wire in many leagues this week. Who will you grab to replace them? Let’s look at six options right now.
1. Alex Green, RB, Packers
Benson’s injury was of the Lisfranc variety, and it’s going to keep him out for a minimum of eight weeks. However, there’s a very real chance we don’t see him again this season, as this particular injury tends to linger. Green leads a trio of players that could step into expanded roles for the rest of the season, along with James Starks and John Kuhn. Green was the one active this past week, racking up 55 yards on nine carries. That’s good enough to make him the front runner for lead-back duties, but those in deep leagues shouldn’t forget about Starks.
2. Christian Ponder, QB, Vikings
Through five weeks, Ponder has completed 69 percent of his passes for 1,082 yards, six TDs and only two picks. While the yardage and touchdown totals are suppressing his fantasy value a bit, he’s clearly a quarterback coming into his own for the 4-1 Vikings. He threw his first two interceptions of the season in Week 5 against the Titans but also racked up 258 passing yards, two passing touchdowns and 31 rushing yards. Considering what he can add with his legs, this is a quality QB2 to have on the roster. He has a fantastic matchup against the Redskins this week, so you Drew Brees owners should be grabbing him if you don’t have a quality backup already.
3. Brandon Gibson, WR, Rams
Amendola’s injury likely means that Chris Givens is going to get a lot more playing time, but his skill set as a deep threat isn’t going to provide him with anywhere near the targets Amendola had. What will likely happen is those targets will shift to Gibson, who has 13 catches on 23 targets in the first give weeks and two TDs to go along with 184 yards. He’s not an automatic WR3 like Amendola, but he’s well worth carrying on the bench and employing in good matchups. Deep leagues could roll with Givens and hope for some long TDs over the next few weeks as well.
4. Brandon Myers, TE, Raiders
Myers had his first bad game in Week 4, catching just one pass for 22 yards. In the first three weeks, he managed to rack up 206 yards on 15 catches, but because he hasn’t reached the end zone (and because he’s coming off a Week 5 bye), he’s available in most leagues. He has more receiving yards than Brandon Pettigrew, Scott Chandler, Martellus Bennett, Jermichael Finley, Dennis Pitta, Jacob Tamme, Heath Miller and Kyle Rudolph, and if he starts scoring TDs, he’ll flirt with TE1 status. He’s had plenty of time to recover from a concussion suffered in Week 3, so that one-catch performance in his last game could wind up being an outlier.
5. William Powell, RB, Cardinals
Some are predicting LaRod Stephens-Howling will take over as the starter, and that may well be the case, but the coaching staff isn’t going to rely on the 5′7″, 185-pound Stephens-Howling as anything more than a 10-touch-per-game weapon. If the Cardinals are salting away a lead or playing ball control, look for them to go with either Powell or Alfonso Smith. I prefer Powell of the two as he’s the one that’s gotten more work over the first few weeks. However, he likely suffered a concussion in Thursday night’s game, so there’s a chance he won’t play this week. He’s still my pick to emerge while the team waits for Beanie Wells to heal.
6. Josh Gordon, WR, Browns
We pegged Gordon as a Week 5 sleeper, and all he did was catch two long TDs to finish the game with over 20 fantasy points (82 yards, two TDs). He benefited from injuries to Mohamed Massaquoi and Travis Benjamin, but when you have Massaquoi and Benjamin ahead of you on the depth chart, you’re not what we would call “blocked.” Gordon should continue to see time as a deep threat, something the Browns will need in their pedestrian offense. You could find worse wild cards in deeper leagues, and he may even be worth a play this week against the Bengals depending on your byes and injuries.
R.J. White is the head editor at the Cafe and contributes to CBSSports.com's MLB Rumors blog. He has previously written for FanHouse, Razzball and FanDuel. Catch up with him in the forums under the name daullaz. Follow him on Twitter; don't follow him in real life.
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