If you felt the 2022 fantasy season was difficult to navigate over its first five weeks, just wait. The tough stuff is actually just beginning. The byes are about to hit in Week 6, with four teams suddenly unavailable (Detroit, Houston, Las Vegas, Tennessee). Even the healthiest fantasy rosters are gonna have to make a few moves this week. Below you’ll find a collection of approved pickups, all of them available in at least 50 percent of Yahoo leagues.
Running backs on the wire
Kenneth Walker III, Seattle Seahawks (46%)
After Rashaad Penny exited with an ankle injury in Week 5, it didn’t take long for Walker to make his presence felt:
One decisive move and he was simply gone. Walker was legendarily productive at Michigan State, rushing for 1,636 yards and 18 touchdowns last year while averaging 6.2 YPC and generally carrying his team’s offense. He earned his second-round draft status. He wasn’t much of a receiving threat at the college level, but Seattle typically doesn’t ask early-down runners to be volume pass-catchers. Walker profiles as an old-school center back and his sub-4.4 speed makes him a big-play threat on every touch. He played nearly every snap after Penny’s exit on Sunday.
Penny’s injury is going to sideline him for the rest of the season, making Walker an obvious pickup priority. Get aggressive with your waiver claims wherever he’s available.
Offer: Empty the wallet.
Eno Benjamin, Arizona Cardinals (12%)
Benjamin is the healthiest back on the Cardinals’ roster at the moment after both James Conner (ribs) and Darrell Williams (knee) suffered injuries in the loss to Philadelphia. He accounted for 53 yards on Sunday, with a game-tying fourth quarter TD included. Benjamin is an elusive and competitive runner who plays bigger than his listed size (5-foot-9, 207 pounds). He’s averaged 3.6 yards after contact per attempt this year and he’s caught a dozen passes for 97 yards. Next week, the Cardinals are traveling to Seattle to face the NFL’s most generous defense, so Benjamin is a near-lock to make a fantasy splash.
Mike Boone, Denver Broncos (36%)
Boone is clearly going to have a role in Denver’s reformed RBBC after gaining 85 scrimmage yards on 10 touches and catching all three of his targets on Thursday. Melvin Gordon may still lead the committee, but his ball security issues haven’t disappeared. Denver has a Monday night matchup with the Chargers on deck, so Boone will be facing a user-friendly run defense that’s allowed a scandalous 5.8 YPC on the season. He clearly belongs in the flex discussion.
Nobody asked for more prime-time Broncos football, but it’s coming whether you want it or not. Denver is a run-committed team (because what choice do they have?) and Boone should receive a meaningful share of the backfield touches.
Additional RBs to consider: Deon Jackson (he ran well on Thursday night against Denver, carrying 13 times for 62 yards, plus he hauled in four catches; Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines are both dealing with injuries at the moment, so Jackson could be needed this week vs. Jacksonville). Tevin Coleman (He went from the practice squad to the end zone last week, but he’s no threat to Jeff Wilson), Rachel White (the rookie delivered a quiet 42 scrimmage yards against Atlanta, but he’s established himself as the clear understudy in the Bucs backfield), Joshua Kelley (he massively out-snapped and out-touched Sony Michel on Sunday, producing 82 total yards). Jerick McKinnon (totaled 72 yards against the Raiders, including leading the Chiefs in rushing despite one fewer carry than Clyde Edwards-Helaire).
Quarterbacks to prioritize
Geno Smith, Seattle Seahawks (36% rostered)
Another week, another multi-touchdown game for Geno Smith, a player who entered this season (and the previous eight seasons) as a complete afterthought in fantasy. Smith has been excellent, tossing nine touchdown passes and only two picks over five games while completing a ridiculous 75.2 percent of his attempts. When you’re the guy who gets to throw to DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockettgood things are gonna happen — things like this…
…and like this…
Without question, Smith is playing the best football of his NFL career. He finished with 268 passing yards and three scores in Sunday’s loss and we can expect a series of similar stat lines in the weeks ahead. Arizona is up next, which shouldn’t scare off any fantasy managers. For those looking far ahead, deep into the season, please note that Smith will face the Jets in Championship Week. That’s an all-time Revenge Game setup, folks.
Recommended waiver offer, assuming $100 budget: $11
Carson Wentz, Washington Commanders (46%)
If you’re a somewhat recklessly aggressive manager, we’d like to direct your attention to the fact that Washington faces Chicago this week on Thursday night. (The Bears are actually playing prime-time games in each of the next two weeks. Enjoy, America.) Wentz is coming off a 359-yard effort — his third 300-yard game this season — and his receiving corps is loaded with talent. . Sometimes fantasy forces us to make unfortunate choices; if you’ve never Wentz’d before, here’s yet another chance to experience his passing delights.
Please note that fantasy managers assume all risks associated with Wentz. Neither Yahoo nor its corporate partners make any guarantees associated with this quarterback.
Also on the approved list at QB: Jimmy Garoppolo (His ceiling and floor in any given week are remarkably similar; he’s good for 200-something yards and either one or two scores in most situations).
Priority adds at wide receiver and tight end
Jakobi Meyers, New England Patriots (49%)
Meyers returned from his knee injury with a huge performance against Detroit, hauling in seven of eight targets for 111 yards and one score. He’s coming off an 866-yard season and averaging 9.0 targets per game so far this year. Even with a third-string QB at the controls of New England’s offense, in a game in which his team gained fewer than 200 yards through the air, Meyers was terrific. It’s understandable if he was dropped in shallow leagues while injured, but he needs to be on someone’s roster next week, particularly in PPR formats.
Alec Pierce, Indianapolis Colts (9%)
In an otherwise dreadful Thursday night game, Pierce’s talent stood out. He caught eight of his nine targets — a miraculous achievement, considering the overall quality of Matt Ryan‘s performance — and finished with 81 receiving yards. Pierce also played 59 percent of the team’s offensive snaps and ran just one fewer route than Michael Pittman Jr. It seems fair to say the second-round rookie has fully arrived.
Pierce has size (6-3), wheels (4.4) and elite leaping ability (40.5-inch vertical), so he basically has a built-in-a-lab athletic profile. Clearly we’d prefer to see him attached to a better offense, but, hey, he probably wouldn’t be a candidate for the pickups column if team context wasn’t a worry. Pierce is the clear no. 2 receiving options in Indy; moving forward, he won’t lack for targets and deep chances. If you’re playing in a 10-team league, then you probably don’t need to mess around with Colts who aren’t Jonathan Taylor or Pittman. But in deeper formats, Pierce is very much on the fantasy radar.
Taysom Hill, New Orleans (31%)
It feels as if Hill scored more fantasy points in Week 5 than every other tight end has totaled for the entire season, but that’s probably wrong. In any case, he was a juggernaut on Sunday against Seattle, the league’s softest defense.
The man scored three times on the ground, plus he passed for another touchdown. If you streamed Hill, it was a legendary move. It’s kinda wild that we have a massive season in progress for a tight end who almost never sees a target, but here we are. Hill almost certainly just produced his biggest fantasy performance of the season, yet it’s also clear that he’ll remain a threat to score in any week, regardless of matchup.
Tight end has been a minefield of a position, so we fully understand the temptation to simply park Hill in your lineup and worry about other things. New Orleans doesn’t have its bye until Week 14, which is rough for those guys but friendly for fantasy purposes.
Other receivers to add: Rondale Moore (He reestablished himself just in time for DeAndre Hopkins to return and take a huge slice of the targets), Josh Reynolds (headed into a bye so he can’t help you next week, but that will also make him an easy add; he’s seen 28 targets over his last three games, converting them into 269 yards), Darius Slayton (he’s probably the healthiest and most competent Giants receiver right now as the team heads into a home matchup with Baltimore), Wan’ Dale Robinson (the electric rookie finally returned to practice, so he should reenter the receiving mix for New York soon), Khalil Shakir (worth a flier in deep leagues after his 3-75-1 performance, but Isaiah McKenzie‘s likely return would wreck his Week 6 potential).
Roster-worthy tight ends: Hayden Hurst (with Tee Higgins sidelined on Sunday night, Hurst drew seven targets and found the end zone for the second consecutive week), Evan Engram (delivered 69 yards and six catches on a season-high 10 targets, in an otherwise ugly game for Jacksonville).
If you’re streaming D/STs
New England Patriots (42%)
The Pats just shut out a team that had entered Week 5 as the NFL’s most productive offense, so this group isn’t too shabby. New England has also generated multiple takeaways in each of its last four games. The schedule ahead appears full of sacks and turnovers, with the Browns, Bears, Jets and Colts up next. This D isn’t merely a one-week placeholder.
Follow the Yahoo fantasy crew on Twitter: Andy Behrens, Dalton Del Don, Matt Harmon, Scott Pianowski, Dan Titus and Tank Williams.