Week five of the 2023 NFL season is over and nothing makes sense. You start Gus Edwards and Justice Hill scores. You start Justice Hill, Gus Edwards score. But the only thing that doesn’t score is your fantasy team. Before you give up on your fantasy season, remember that the waiver wire exists to save you from the cruel and unforgiving fantasy football gods. I’m going to provide you with the best options available. If I don’t mention someone whom you think I should be talking about, just know there are many reasons why I overlooked them. Maybe they are owned in most leagues. Maybe they are so bad I don’t even consider them. Maybe it’s because your opinions cannot be trusted. After all, you are here. So let us examine our best week six waiver wire players for our championship run…
Week Six Waiver Wire QBs
Sam Howell, Washington Commanders (38% rostered)
I’ll be honest. I’ve been telling you for weeks to get on guys like C.J. Stroud. If you didn’t listen, you’re stuck with Sam Howell. In week five, Howell had 388 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception. It was a solid top-five QB performance acquired solely in garbage time. But we are at the stage of the fantasy season where we need to start invoking what I call the Blake Bortles rule. You don’t have to be good at football to be good at fantasy football. Bortles was a QB1 in fantasy two years in a row, all in garage time. Sam Howell has the most dropbacks of any quarterback in football and the fourth most pass attempts. If you need a quarterback, this is probably the best you are going to do.
Week Six Waiver Wire RBs
Emari Demercado, Arizona Cardinals (1% rostered)
With James Conner looking to miss multiple weeks, Emari Demercardo has to be the number one waiver priority for week six. Once Conner went out, Demercardo had 11 touches for 67 all-purpose yards and 1 touchdown. The running back situation is so desperate in Arizona that they’ve just signed Tony Jones Jr. In week five, Demercado had a 77.2% snap count and James Conner has been a solid RB2 this season. If you need running back help, get Emari Demercardo.
Roschon Johnson/D’Onta Foreman, Chicago Bears (30%/5% rostered)
With Khalil Herbert having an ankle injury that will cost him at least a week, there is an opportunity to get a spot starter for a couple of games in a Chicago Bears backfield with an offense that looks competent. The Bears also have a very soft schedule moving forward. The issue is which guy to grab because Roschon Johnson also got hurt Thursday night and is currently in the concussion protocol. The problem with grabbing Roschon is that he might not be available next week if he doesn’t clear. The problem with picking up D’Onta Foreman is that if Roschon does clear by Sunday, Foreman’s value is minimized. I think with the extra few days, I take my chances with Roschon. He also has the most long-term value. But if you need someone to start right away, Foreman might be the better play.
Tyjae Spears, Tennessee Titans (19% rostered)
I’ve noticed a lot of people suddenly talking about grabbing Tyjae Spears after his week five performance of 11 touches for 69 all-purpose yards and 1 touchdown. The issue I have is why now? For the entire season, Spears has been in an even split with Derrick Henry. His usage hasn’t changed. The only difference is that Spears made it into the endzone. If you believe the Tennessee Titans will be able to score a lot for the rest of the season, get Tyjae Spears. If you don’t, just realize that his fantasy numbers are more likely to look like the previous four weeks.
Justice Hill, Baltimore Ravens (18% rostered)
Justice Hill is an interesting name because if you have ever tried to rely on Justice in fantasy, it sure doesn’t feel like he is aptly named. In week five, Hill had 11 touches for 43 yards and 1 touchdown. He was by far the best fantasy performer on the Ravens, but that was not a high bar to clear. The problem is everyone was starting Gus Edwards this week. And when we start Justice Hill next week, Edwards will get the red zone touches. If you need a running back, I get why you will grab Justice Hill. Just realize you will hate every minute he spends on your roster.
Week Six Waiver Wire WRs
K.J. Osborn, Minnesota Vikings (33% rostered)
All you have to do is look at Jordan Addison’s receiving splits to know that the Minnesota Vikings love K.J. Osborn. It is baffling why they keep insisting Osborn run a majority of their routes. But with Justin Jefferson nursing a hamstring injury, K.J. Osborn could be an incredible spot start option for week six. Especially if Jefferson misses time. In week five, Osborn had 5 catches for 49 yards and led the Vikings in routes run. The Chicago Bears are an incredibly soft opponent. If you need someone for a week, you could do worse than K.J. Osborn. This is assuming that JJ doesn’t play. If he does, let someone else take Osborn.
EDIT: With Justin Jefferson set to be on I.R. for the next four weeks, you need to get all the K.J. Osborn shares you can. The Vikings have a top-five pass rate in football and Osborn will lead the team in targets.
Josh Downs, Indianapolis Colts (7% rostered)
Josh Downs had a monster week five and there are reasons to believe it is not a fluke. His 6 catches for 97 yards led all Colts receivers. Perhaps more important, Downs was second on the team in targets. The reason Downs doesn’t feel like a fluke is he is running a route on 72.5% of team dropbacks and is 3rd in routes run. Most importantly of all, he has consistently been finding that usage all year. Downs has the traits of a rookie who breaks out in the second half and wins your fantasy leagues and week five might have been his coming-out party.
Rashee Rice, Kansas City Cheifs (23% rostered)
On the other hand, Rashee Rice is a player that the fantasy community is trying to manifest into reality. I get it. Skyy Moore didn’t work out for you, but maybe this second-round rookie is the guy to win Patrick Mahomes over. In week five, Rice had 4 catches for 33 yards and 1 touchdown. The problem I have with Rice is he only ran 8 routes in week 5 and had a snap count of 30%. On the season, Rice is only running a route on 28.7% of team dropbacks. In week five, he only ran a route on 18.6% of dropbacks. Without the touchdown and Patrick Mahomes as his quarterback, we aren’t talking about Rashee Rice. He might be good down the road, but he needs to see the field consistently for me to believe it. Josh Downs is already what people want Rashee Rice to be.
Josh Reynolds, Detroit Lions (28% rostered)
I keep trying to find reasons not to want Josh Reynolds and every week he makes it harder. Even with his week three performance of 0 points, Reynolds is the WR21 on the season. Only Amon-Ra Saint Brown and Sam LaPorta are running more routes than Josh Reynolds. He is running a route on 65.5% of team dropbacks for the number four scoring offense in football. Oh yeah, and in week five Reynolds had 4 catches for 76 yards and 1 touchdown. Josh Reynolds should be rostered in all formats until he proves he shouldn’t be.
Curtis Samuel, Washington Commanders (11% rostered)
In week five, Curtis Samuel had 6 catches for 65 yards and 1 touchdown. The problem is it is hard to get excited for Samuel. While he is getting usage now, Howell seems to favor throwing to tight ends more than he does wide receivers. While Samuel is 3rd in routes run on the team, his target share doesn’t fill me with confidence. Samuel feels like a floor play with a very low floor. I think there are better options than investing in a Washington Commanders offense.
Week Six Waiver Wire TEs
Logan Thomas, Washington Commanders (9% rostered)
In week four, Logan Thomas had 11 targets, 9 catches, 77 yards and 1 touchdown. Logan Thomas is an interesting tight end to look at. Thomas is 11th in routes run among all tight ends, despite playing one less game. Thomas is averaging 4 targets a game. While I would never burn a waiver on him, I think he is someone you should keep an eye on if you need a streaming option.