2021 Fantasy Football Week 5 Waiver Wire: Damien Williams, Darnell Mooney, Sam Darnold Lead Waiver Wire Pickups

The Week 5 Waiver Wire looks much more appetizing than last week.

Welcome to the Fantasy Football Week 5 Waiver Wire: Start, Stash, Stream, where we break down the fantasy football free-agent landscape and give you the best picks for the short and long haul.

Let’s look back at Week 4 and see our future prospects for the Fantasy Football Week 5 Waiver Wire.

Note: Roster % based on Yahoo and should hover around 50% or less



  1. Damien Williams, RB Chicago Bears (9% rostered)
  2. Laviska Shenault, WR Jacksonville Jaguars (58%)
  3. Darnell Mooney, WR Chicago Bears (38%)
  4. Sam Darnold, QB Carolina Panthers (37%)
  5. JD McKissic, RB Washington Football Team (39%)
  6. Emmanuel Sanders, WR Buffalo Bills (58%)
  7. Latavius Murray, RB Baltimore Ravens (48%)
  8. Dawson Knox, TE Buffalo Bills (46%)
  9. Dalton Schultz, TE Dallas Cowboys (34%)

It was a scary sight late in Sunday’s game when David Montgomery went known with a knee injury. He looked to be in serious pain, but it appears that he avoided an ACL tear. Regardless, Damien Williams took over the rest of the game and looked solid in his role. He finished with 55 yards and a score on eight carries, going for 6.9 (nice) yards per carry. If Montgomery misses time (which seems likely), Williams slides right in as an RB2 on a run-heavy offense with few other backfield options.

Labeled as a potential breakout player this year, Laviska Shenault appears to be trending upwards toward those lofty preseason projections. He just went for six receptions and 99 yards on seven targets and added an 11-yard rush. But the bigger news for Shenault was the unfortunate DJ Chark injury that landed him on IR. This will propel Shenault into the WR2 role alongside Marvin Jones Jr. and earn him a larger chunk of the target share. Shenault is deadly in space and had mostly been getting low aDot numbers while relying on his YAC. But now will get some more downfield shots for a team that will be behind in most games.

Another guy who was a big preseason sleeper targetDarnell Mooney had his best game of the season with a 5-125-7 stat line. We’ve put out an APB for Allen Robinson, but it was Mooney who showed serious rapport with Justin Fields. Knowing the dumpster fire that is Matt Nagy though, Andy Dalton could be thrust under center at any given moment. But for the time being, Mooney looks like a fantasy starter with Fields under center.

Don’t look now, but Sam Darnold has put up over 25 fantasy points in back-to-back games and currently sits at QB5 overall. The Adam Game curse is VERY real. Darnold has been lighting it up giving DJ Moore a career season thus far four weeks in. The best part about Darnold fantasy-wise is his sneaky rushing upside at the goal line. He snuck in ANOTHER two touchdowns this week and currently LEADS THE LEAGUE with five rushing touchdowns.

Antonio Gibson managers won’t be happy about this, but JD McKissic isn’t going away anytime soon. McKissic is dominating third-down passing situations, along with being the preferred back in the two-minute offense. McKissic’s upside is high due to his pass-catching value and Gibson’s injury ailments. He’s even producing at a weekly Flex level.

Emmanuel Sanders is carving out a solid role in the Bills’ aerial assault, racking up over 6 targets in every game. As we’ve said before, this team loves throwing the ball and Sanders has had a solid fantasy floor thanks to his volume.

While likely due for some touchdown regression, Dawson Knox has been a red-zone beast this year with four touchdowns in as many games. He’s been a weapon at the goal line for a team and a QB that prefers to throw the ball between 30 and 40 times per game. We wish he could get more targets, but let’s ride the wave while he’s hot.

It feels gross typing this but Latavius Murray is the clear RB1 in a run-heavy Baltimore offense. Week 1 wonder Ty’Son Williams was an odd healthy scratch this week as Harbaugh has decided he’s good with Murray being the guy to lead his backfield. Murray rushed 18 times for 59 yards and a score.

After Week 1 where Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb were peppered with targets, Dak has spread the ball around more and since then, Dalton Schultz has been a huge benefactor. Schultz has seen over six targets in all but one game this year and has cemented himself as Prescott’s third option with Michael Gallup sidelined. Schultz is also getting it done in the red zone which helps his value immensely.


  1. Kenneth Gainwell, RB Philadelphia Eagles (29% rostered)
  2. Van Jefferson, WR Los Angeles Rams (5%)
  3. AJ Green, WR Arizona Cardinals (24%)
  4. DeVante Parker, WR Miami Dolphins (38%)
  5. Jeremy McNichols, RB Tennessee Titans (2%)
  6. Jamison Crowder, WR New York Jets (20%)
  7. Michael Carter, RB New York Jets (51%)
  8. Rashod Bateman, WR Baltimore Ravens (25%)
  9. Kadarius Toney, WR New York Giants (3%)
  10. Jeff Wilson Jr., RB San Francisco 49ers (20%)
  11. CJ Uzomah, TE Cincinnati Bengals (2%)
  12. Alex Collins, RB Seattle Seahawks (2%)
  13. Rhamondre Stevenson, RB New England Patriots (12%)
  14. Josh Gordon, WR Kansas City Chiefs (32%)

Miles Sanders might be on the hot seat as rookie scatback Kenneth Gainwell continues to build momentum. He only carried the ball three times for 31 yards (plus a score), but that easily beat out Sanders’ 13 yards of rushing on only six carries. Add in Gainwell’s six catches for 58 yards on eight targets and you have a sleeping fantasy sleeper here waiting to break out.

While Robert Woods slowly creeps into fantasy irrelevance alongside Allen Robinson, Van Jefferson is slowly coming into the light for the Rams offense. He finished with 6-90-1 against the Cardinals, and while nobody will be passing Cooper Kupp on the depth chart, Jefferson is working his way onto fantasy radars in this high octane offense.

Don’t look now but AJ Green has double-digit performances in three straight games now. This Cardinals offense is something special, and Kyler Murray is working the ball around to everyone. Green has been super consistent with six targets in every game and his receiving numbers have improved each week.

The QB play in Miami is uninspiring, but DeVante Parker continues to be targeted seven to nine times per game. If Parker can keep afloat until Tua Tagovailoa returns, we might have a rock-solid WR3 who’s available in 62 percent of leagues.

Derrick Henry is being used at a historic pace right now, and I don’t know how long that can be sustained. If anyone can do it, it’s him. But, the Titans have utilized Jeremy McNichols more often and especially in the passing game. Think of McNichols as a PPR handcuff currently sitting behind The Hulk.

Talk about a debut for Jets receiver Jamison Crowder. He’s never been a sexy upside guy, but Crowder has had a historically high floor in fantasy thanks to his high target volume and reception numbers. A 7-61-1 line on nine targets is an excellent start for a struggling offense that lacks playmakers. Even when Elijah Moore returns from injury, Crowder should maintain his role as Zach Wilson’s veteran security blanket.

Michael Carter led all Jets running backs in rushes with 13 last game despite a very uninspiring 2.9 ypc — although he did punch in a touchdown. He’s been trending up in terms of usage, so if he can put up more consistent numbers, he could sneak into Flex or RB3 territory. It would also be nice to see him more active in the passing game.

First-round wideout Rashod Bateman returned to practice last week and should be promoted to the 53-man roster in the near future. Bateman provides a reliable, chain-moving element to the Ravens’ receiver core and should be one of, if not the top target, for Lamar Jackson. Stash him in your IR spot and reap the benefits once he’s activated.

Injuries to multiple Giants starting receivers flung the door wide open for first-rounder Kadarius Toney. The rookie responded with six receptions and 78 yards on nine targets and created a formidable duo with Kenny Golladay. Toney is super talented, and the Giants drafted him to be a dangerous weapon after the catch for Daniel Jones. We’d expect Sterling Shepard to return soon, but Toney should still have a weekly role.

Around and around we go with Shanahanigans. With Elijah Mitchell banged up and Trey Sermon looking blah as the starter, Jeff Wilson Jr. should return in a few weeks off PUP to bring stability to the position. It’ll probably be a three-headed mess, but Shanahan trusts Wilson and he could end up being the lead dog after the dust settles.

With Tee Higgins sidelined the last few weeks, tight end CJ Uzomah has stepped up big time, most notably this past week on Thursday night. Uzomah was a beast going for 5-95-2 and looking like a Mack truck in the open field. With Joe Mixon hobbled a bit by injury, Burrow and the passing game shouldered a more significant load and Uzomah stepped right in as the third receiving option. Higgins’ return hurts Uzomah a lot, but he may have done enough to earn more looks — especially in the red zone.

In a confusing turn of events, Alex Collins led the Seahawks with 44 rushing yards and a score against the 49ers. Carson out-carried Collins 13 to 10, but Collins’ touches are a bit confusing. Carson is another injury-prone running back, so stashing Collins could pay benefits if he ends up as the team’s starter down the line.

After a fumble in Week 1 that should have been overturned, preseason rookie sensation Rhamondre Stevenson has found himself in the Bill Belichick doghouse. He looked poised for a decent role after Sony Michel was traded, but he has remained inactive. Damien Harris fumbled away a Week 1 victory, James White is done for the year, JJ Taylor fumbled one of his two touches against the Bucs, and now the plodding Brandon Bolden is seeing way too many snaps. Rhamondre should be getting another chance soon and if the preseason was any indication, he could be worth something.

How could we have a waiver wire article and not include a reinstated Josh Gordon?! Although the physical specimen hasn’t made a meaningful play in about eight years, he’s impossible to quit. Now we throw him in a Chiefs offense with Patrick Mahomes as the potential WR2? Forget about it. The cast of characters that include Demarcus Robinson, Mecole Hardman, and Byron Pringle combined for five targets on 59 routes run in Week 4. Pathetic. Feed us some Josh Gordon!


  1. Trey Lance, QB San Francisco 49ers (31% rostered)
  2. Samaje Perine, RB Cincinnati Bengals (3%)
  3. Matt Ryan, QB Atlanta Falcons (53%)
  4. Taylor Heinicke, QB Washington Football Team (10%)
  5. Minnesota Vikings D/ST (16%)
  6. Dallas Cowboys D/ST (22%)

A Jimmy Garoppolo injury forced rookie Trey Lance into the ballgame and he responded with 157 passing yards, two scores, and 41 yards on the ground. Lance’s Konami skillset and versatility have so much upside in fantasy (and real-life), and now he’s likely to start the next game or two.

Should Joe Mixon miss time (he’s “week-to-week”), Samaje Perine would step in as the Bengals likely RB1. Although Perine is a big-time plodder, the Bengals offense has performed well and Mixon was getting a ton of volume as the RB1 in Cincinnati.

Fresh off a 29 point outing, Matt Ryan has plenty of receiving weapons at his disposal, especially when his two running backs seem to do better catching the ball out of the backfield than actually running the football. The Falcons face the Jets this week in London so who knows what whacky shenanigans will occur across the pond, but it’s a nice matchup for Ryan.

This guy simply makes winning real-life and fantasy football plays. Taylor Heinicke has scored over 20 points in three straight games and now gets the Saints who were just carved up by Daniel Jones and co. The kid gets it done in the face of adversity time and time again.

Minnesota gets the struggling Lions offense and turnover-prone Jared Goff and home.

The improving Dallas Cowboys defense welcomes the limited Giants offense to Jerry World next week and ball-hawk rookie Trevon Diggs looks to continue his interception streak against Daniel Jones.


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