In Week 5 the number of teams on byes will double with the Vikings, Dolphins, Jets, and Panthers all getting an early rest. That means owners will need subs for running backs Adrian Peterson and Chris Ivory, receivers Jarvis Landry and Brandon Marshall, and quarterback Cam Newton. A few more options other than the Jets and Panthers D/STs will also be necessary.
After four weeks the waiver-wire might seem a little bare to owners, but there are still some hidden jewels taking advantage of more opportunities thanks to injured stars or just outright playing better after three sub-par weeks.
With five more games remaining in Week 4, other players should emerge as potential waiver-wire pickups, but the first run of games gave owners at least five players to target for Week 5’s waiver wire and several others to monitor in the coming weeks.
Chris Thompson, RB, Washington Redskins
If anyone can figure out the Redskins running game please share with the rest of the owners in your league because no one can get a handle what they're doing. Thompson’s the newest rusher to look far sharper than Alfred Morris, and in the long run might be an answer for owners thin on running backs. Morris and Matt Jones dominated carries, but Thompson was effective against Philadelphia’s solid run D. His six carries in Week 4 doubled his total amount from all of last season, and Morris is either playing hurt or can no longer handle the extra pressure from defenses. Thompson's owned in just 1.9 percent of ESPN and 1 percent of Yahoo leagues.
Leonard Hankerson, WR, Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons offense is for real, and its time for owners to think about siphoning off some production from Julio Jones if they haven’t already. Hankerson has 25 targets over the last three weeks as Atlanta’s No. 2 receiver and he’s owned in just 17 percent of Yahoo and 13.4 percent of ESPN leagues.
Rueben Randle or Dwayne Harris, WR, New York Giants
With Victor Cruz down again with a calf injury, there’s a battle brewing for the Giants No. 2 receiver spot. Randle’s held the spot behind Odell Beckham Jr., but Harris showed his mettle as a slot receiver against an excellent Bills D and caught his first touchdown of the season and Randle his second. Randle’s the more established receiver, but the Giants need at least three solid receivers to run their offense with the running game struggling overall, so Harris could be a solid long-term play or Week 5 sub in deeper leagues. Randle’s owned in just 39 percent of Yahoo and 36.3 percent of ESPN leagues, but Harris is owned in 1 percent of either league format so he might be easier to snag in Week 5.
Allen Hurns, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
The second-year wide out was the Jags most targeted receiver against a leaky Colts secondary this week, and next up is a downtrodden Bucs pass defense that could be shredded by both Hurns and Allen Robinson in Week 5. He’s also now caught a touchdown pass in consecutive games for the first time in his short career. Hurns is owned in just 15 percent of Yahoo and 10.7 percent of ESPN leagues.
Others to monitor: Eddie Royal, WR, Bears; Blake Bortles, QB, Jaguars; Giants D/ST; Falcons D/ST; Nelson Agholor, WR, Eagles; Sam Bradford, QB, Eagles; Andre Williams, RB, Giants; Larry Donnell, TE, Giants; Brent Celek, TE, Eagles; Coby Fleener, TE, Colts