Top 10 waiver wire pickups for Week 6
Alex Smith (SF): Smith has only put up one dud fantasy performance so far this season, and it was when the 49ers slaughtered the Jets and had no reason to pass the football. As long as he's not facing a completely inept offense, Smith should remain a low-risk fantasy play. He likely won't light up the scoreboard like he did on Sunday very often, but he's been a more consistent fantasy option than guys like Tony Romo and Joe Flacco.
Christian Ponder (MIN): Ponder was on my waiver wire list two weeks ago, and he followed up with a poor game against the Lions. However, he bounced back against the Titans with 258 yards and two touchdowns. He now has three very good games and two bad games on the season. Heading to Washington next week to face the league's 31st ranked pass defense, I'd say he's more likely to have another one of those very good games.
Kirk Cousins (WAS): Robert Griffin III suffered a concussion on Sunday, and though head coach Mike Shanahan says RG3 is "feeling good," that's not necessarily enough to pass the tests required for him to play in Week 6. Cousins threw for 111 yards and a touchdown after Griffin was sidelined, and though he threw two interceptions, he's likely to be better this week when he's not being thrown into the fire.
Rashard Mendenhall is owned in most, but not all leagues. If he's available, he's far better than the following options.
Alex Green (GB): Cedric Benson is out a minimum of eight weeks with a Lisfranc injury, which could hold him out the whole season should it require surgery. Though it was reported that the Packers would consider starting James Starks in his place, Starks has been inactive through the first five weeks and the organization has been open about their frustration with him. Alex Green ran nine times for 55 yards (6.1 per carry) after Benson left Sunday's game. Even if Starks does start, he'll be on a very short leash with Alex Green heavily in the mix. If you can't get Green, Starks does have some upside as well.
William Powell (ARI): The only reason this isn't a must-have running back is because of how terrible the Cardinals offensive line is. Starting running back Ryan Williams is out for the season with a shoulder injury, and Powell now figures to get most of Williams' workload. Powell was also the no-huddle running back even before Williams got hurt. If the Cardinals' offensive line can step up their game, Powell could be a good pickup, but they haven't been able to open holes for any runner so far this year.
Devery Henderson (NO): With Lance Moore out for Sunday night's game against the Chargers, Henderson figured to be given a bigger role. He made the most of that increased role with eight catches (on ten targets) with 123 yards and a touchdown - he also caught Drew Brees' record breaking touchdown pass. Moore is still week-to-week, so Henderson should continue to get a lot of looks from Brees.
Jordan Norwood (CLE): Norwood had no catches through the first three weeks of the season, but his role has improved in each of the past two weeks. He had four catches for 56 yards against the Ravens in Week 4, then caught all nine of his targets for 81 yards on Sunday against the Giants. It seems the Browns may be using him to replace drop-machine Greg Little, who had no catches on two targets against the Giants.
Reuben Randle (NYG): The Giants' receiving core is a huge headache for fantasy owners. No one knows when Hakeem Nicks is going to come back. Ramses Barden looked like a solid option while Domenik Hixon was hurt, then he blew the game against the Eagles and got a concussion. Well, with Nicks and Barden both injured, Reuben Randle led the Giants in catches with six, targets with nine, and yards with 82. If Nicks misses more time, Randle could be a solid PPR option, though Barden may come back and cut into his snaps. It's sort of a crapshoot, but I'd say Randle remains the number three receiver while Nicks is gone, even if Barden does return.
Jared Cook (TEN): There's really very little in the way of tight ends on the waiver wire these days, but Jared Cook is a solid option if you need an injury replacement or bye week fill-in. He did nothing for almost the entire game Sunday before heating up late, grabbing five catches and a touchdown. Don't go out of your way to get this guy, but if you have no one to play at tight end, he's worth a pickup.
Atlanta: I hate to say it as a Raider fan, but Atlanta has a great defensive matchup against Oakland this week. The Raiders have one good offensive game to their name on the season, and they have been terrible on the road. With the second most turnovers in the league, this is a very tasty matchup for the Falcons as they host Carson Palmer and the Raiders.