There’s no doubt Detroit’s Calvin Johnson is the best receiver in the NFL, more than capable of shredding every secondary in the league. When he’s healthy. Johnson spent much of the first half of the Lions 24-17 win over the New York Jets shuttling back and forth between the huddle and sideline due to a nagging ankle injury. He finished with two catches for 12 yards.
The injury kept him out of practice all week, and while it was a bad Week 4 for Johnson owners, there will be some valuable pass catchers available during Week 5’s waiver-wire claims that can provide some insurance. Not to discount running backs, but the top rushers that performed well during the first batch of Week 4’s games probably aren’t available in your league.
If Johnson continues to struggle, there’s no doubt that Reggie Bush, Golden Tate, and Joique Bell owners will see an uptick in production. But owners should take a look at some of the Lions other weapons that might be of use if Johnson remains ineffective. To be clear, Johnson’s never missed more than two games in a single season, but the best fantasy strategies always include contingency plans for your top scorers.
There’s former Oklahoma stud receiver Ryan Broyles, who was highly touted coming out of college, but several major injuries limited his early career. Or even rookie tight end Eric Ebron. But owners should really take a closer look at second-year receiver Jeremy Ross, who made an immediate impact when Johnson went down.
Several players could emerge in the handful of games remaining in Week 4 , but let’s delve into a few of the players owners should consider for Week 5‘s waiver-wire. Remember, always drop and add at your own discretion.
Jeremy Ross, WR, Detroit Lions
Ross’s previous career-high was five receptions in a single season. But he’s already surpassed that mark, and could be an excellent backup for Johnson owners. Ross’s 59-yard touchdown reception could be just the start of his production. Yes he was facing the Jets weaker secondary, but Ross has the speed to create separation for big chunks of yards. Detroit’s Week 5 matchup against the Bills won’t be pretty, but Ross might have some long-term value. First-round pick Ebron also scored his first NFL TD in Week 4, and figures to get an expanded role as the season wears on.
Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
There was tons of hype surrounding the first-round pick out of Texas A&M, and he picked up his first NFL touchdown and broke off a 40-yard reception against Pittsburgh in Week 4. He’s owned in only 63 percent of Yahoo! leagues, but that will change come Week 5’s waiver claims. He does, however, have better value in standard than PPR leagues.
Coby Fleener, TE, Indianapolis Colts
In Week 4, Andrew Luck hit his Stanford teammate for his second TD in as many games. Fleener’s never been very reliable for fantasy owners from week-to-week, but the Colts are really utilizing their tight ends, with Fleener and Dwayne Allen scoring five touchdowns through four games. Owning either Fleener or Allen is a must for the rest of the season.
Chris Ivory, RB, New York Jets
Amazingly, Ivory is only owned in only 70 percent of Yahoo! leagues, even though he was averaging 5.8 yards per carry thru three games. He took on Detroit’s No. 2 rushing defense in Week 4 and picked up 51 yards on the Jets first drive alone. Yet even with the game still close, the Jets for some reason stopped going to Ivory despite his production. With Geno Smith struggling under center, Ivory will likely get more touches and continue to lead the Jets offense. He should be added and started in Week 5 against San Diego.
Ryan Tannehill, QB, Miami Dolphins
Maybe its because Tannehill faced the Raiders in Week 4, or maybe he enjoyed playing in London, but whatever it was the third-year passer put up stellar numbers in Week 4. In two-quarterback leagues Tannehill could be a solid complement to your No. 1 passer. Over the next three weeks he’ll face Green Bay, Chicago, and Jacksonville, all with shaky defenses. If you bid for waiver claims, Tannehill could be added on the cheap.
Others to watch: Colts DST; Dion Sims, TE, Dolphins; Jerricho Cotchery, WR, Panthers; James Jones, WR, Raiders; Heath Miller, TE, Steelers; Brian Leonhardt, TE, Raiders; Louis Murphy, WR, Buccaneers