Top 10 waiver wire pickups for Week 5
Kevin Kolb (ARI): Kolb is barely owned in any Yahoo! leagues at 12%, but he's quietly been one of the biggest reasons for Arizona's 4-0 start. While everyone likes to credit their stout defense, Kolb has increased his fantasy output in each game this season - 10.54, 19.10, 27.48, and 38.96 by my league's scoring. Kolb took full advantage of opening day starter John Skelton's injury, and Skelton now finds himself buried on the bench thanks to Kolb's solid play. He's definitely worth an add as a bye week fill-in or matchup play.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (BUF): Fitzpatrick is another player who's quietly been posting good fantasy numbers all season. Even his far and away worst performance of the year Week 1 against the Jets, Fitzpatrick put up 195 yards and three touchdowns. He went off for 350 and four touchdowns this past Sunday against the Patriots. His interceptions cripple the Bills, but they're only -2 points for most fantasy teams. If you're in need of a quarterback and can't snag Kolb, Fitzpatrick is probably the best available in your league.
Matt Hasselbeck (TEN): Jake Locker is expected to miss next week's game against the Vikings, so veteran Matt Hasselbeck will step in. Hasselbeck posted 193 yards and two touchdowns against the Texans' 2nd ranked pass defense after Locker left the game with a separated non-throwing shoulder. Hasselbeck will be set to improve on those numbers after a full week of practice with the first team, the hopeful return of Kenny Britt, and an opponent ranked 14th against the pass with only one interception (the Vikings). Hasselbeck isn't a long term solution, but if you've got Stafford or Romo on bye this week, Hasselbeck is a solid fill-in.
Rashard Mendenhall (PIT): Mendenhall has been practicing for weeks now, but has yet to be active for a game. Drafted in most league's, his absence from the field has resulted in a lot of owners bailing on him, as he's now available in 33% of Yahoo! leagues. He's expected to make his season debut this week against the Eagles, and if he's healthy enough, he'll immediately take the bulk of the work for the Steelers' 31st ranked rushing attack. I would not advise playing him against the Eagles' stout run defense, but now is a good time to grab Mendenhall, monitor his workload/progress, and potentially use him as a solid flex/RB2 in future weeks.
Brandon Bolden (NE): The Patriots went into the Bills game with the intention of pounding the ball down the throat of the defense, and that is exactly what they did. To many people's surprise, however, they did it frequently with undrafted rookie Brandon Bolden. Bolden ripped off 137 yards and a touchdown on only 16 carries, good for 8.6 yards per attempt. Stevan Ridley also managed 106 yards and two touchdowns, so don't think Bolden has claimed any sort of featured role in the Patriots' backfield, but he has definitely earned touches in the future and could prove to be a viable flex option against poor run defenses.
Brian Hartline (MIA): Through four weeks, Hartline has two exceptional games, and two duds. His first great game came against a miserable Raiders secondary, but his most recent outburst was against the Cardinals' very solid defensive backfield. One dud came against the Texans' 2nd ranked pass defense, and the other against Darrelle Revis and the Jets. With 25 catches for 455 yards through four games, Hartline is worth starting as long as he's not going up against an elite secondary.
Andre Roberts (ARI): Roberts has been wildly inconsistent so far this year, but I believe Sunday's six catch, 118 yard, two touchdown performance was his coming out party. With defenses blanketing Larry Fitzgerald, Roberts constantly faces one-on-one coverage, and he's already found the endzone four times through four games. Head coach Ken Whisenhunt had high praise for Roberts after Sunday's game, saying, "It's easy to have faith in a player when they work as hard as Andre has worked. This year, it's looking like the ball is starting to find him." It sounds like Whisenhunt is expecting the ball to keep going Roberts' way, and while he won't put up lines of 6/118/2 consistently, he's worthy of adding to your roster.
Domenik Hixon (NYG): I had Ramses Barden on my waiver wire list last week, but I admittedly swung and missed on that one. Hixon retained his bigger role after returning from injury against the Eagles on Sunday and completely outplayed Barden. Barden was dropping passes and costing his team the game with boneheaded pass interference penalties while Hixon piled up a team leading 114 yards on six catches. With Hakeem Nicks' knee not getting any better, Hixon could be in for a big role for a while.
Scott Chandler (BUF): Chandler is certainly no stud tight end, but he does find the endzone. He had six touchdowns in only nine starts last season, and now has four touchdowns through four games this year. Ryan Fitzpatrick obviously trusts him and looks to him first in the red-zone, so he should continue to be a scoring machine. If you need a tight end to fill in due to a bye week or injury, it's not a bad idea to start Chandler and hope he gets in the endzone.
Minnesota: The Vikings have had trouble forcing turnovers so far this year, but they're averaging three sacks a game and are ranked 7th in scoring defense. In addition, Percy Harvin is always a threat to take a kick back to the house for those of you who are in D/ST leagues. They face off against the Titans this week, who's offense has improved, but is still inconsistent - I'm not sold on Chris Johnson being back after one good performance. This isn't an incredible fantasy play, but there really aren't many good defensive matchups left on the waiver wire this week.