If Budda Baker was cut in your league after his injury, now is the time to pick him up. Baker is eligible to return from IR after week six and is anxious to get back on the field. For those who picked up K’Von Wallace and have benefited from his solid production, don’t be in too big of a hurry to let him go. Wallace will get at least one more start for Baker and could then slide over to cover for Jalen Thompson for a few games. Thompson left the game against Cincinnati with a hamstring injury that could keep him on the sideline for a while.
For this week, we could see Wallace and Andre Chachere at the safety positions. Chachere was seeing action as the fifth DB in nickel packages and is listed as the backup to Thompson on the team’s depth chart.
After playing virtually every snap over the first four games, Kei’Trel Clark was bumped down the pecking order by Antonio Hamilton in week five. Clark saw less than half of the action, while Hamilton played 80% and would have seen nearly 100% of the snaps had he not been banged up a couple of times. He returned after having his knee looked at and then was checked out for a possible concussion later in the game.
Josh Woods returned to action and got the start at linebacker. His numbers were modest at 3-2, but he was on the field for nearly 85% of the plays. The team’s depth chart lists Woods as a starter so he should continue in the role even when Krys Barnes returns from his finger injury.
Jeff Okudah worked his way back to a full-time role in week five. His 5-1 in the win over Houston was respectable and Okudah has been a decent option in the past for those of us in leagues starting two corners. Washington has been a plus matchup for corners thus far.
Nate Landman’s numbers were nothing to speak of in week five at 3-4, but it was his first game with 100% participation. Considering that Kaden Ellis put up marginal numbers against Houston as well (4-2), the matchup and game script were probably more to blame for the marginal production than the players. That should not be an issue this week against the Commanders.
There are not many Atlanta linemen or edge guys on rosters in IDP leagues, so if you need a streamer to cover week six, take a look at Bud Dupree, Calais Campbell, or, in tackle-required leagues, Grady Jarrett or David Onyemata this week. Washington is allowing 5.8 sacks per game, including 3.2 to the edge positions and 1.2 to interior linemen.
Marcus Williams returned to action against the Steelers, which should have been a plus for Kyle Hamilton. After a pair of big games, Hamilton’s numbers slumped to three solo stops (two for loss) against the Steelers. If Hamilton is your guy, there is no reason for concern. The poor numbers came mostly because the Pittsburgh offense was not good in this game. That said, the Titans have been a below-average matchup for defensive backs as well.
Marlon Humphry returned in week five, posting four solo stops on a 56% play-share. He should see a bigger workload this week and is a worthy addition in corner-required formats.
The Bills lost more than a game in week five. Matt Milano suffered a broken leg that will end his season. Dorian Williams entered the game at the position initially but struggled and was replaced by Tyrel Dodson. Dodson looked much better, finishing at 4-1 with a fumble recovery and a pass defended. Nothing is certain here, but from what we saw over three-plus quarters of action, Dodson could be a solid waiver target.
Milano was the biggest but not the only injury Buffalo suffered. Da’Quan Jones is also heading for surgery with a torn pectoral. Jordan Phillips will be his replacement and could also be a decent pickup for those in leagues starting two tackles.
A.J. Epenesa got the start for Greg Rosseau and had a great game. He was a one-man wrecking crew with four combined tackles, a pair of sacks, a forced fumble, and a recovery. Rosseau’s availability for week six is in question, so Epenesa could be in line for another start - just in time to face the Giants. New York has allowed seven or more sacks in three of their five games, including 18 in their last two outings. If Rosseau is out, Epenesa and Leonard Floyd are must-starts.
Von Miller returned to action in week five but on a very limited basis, seeing 20 snaps. He could play a little more this week, but we should not expect a full workload for a while as he is eased back in.
Sam Franklin has racked up over 40 fantasy points in his two starts as the replacement for Xavier Woods. That will have a lot of managers looking to pick him up. Buyer beware of this, though. He was only 2-2 in week four, with the rest of his points compliments of a pick-six. Panthers free safeties rarely give us good tackle totals, so his 7-1 versus the Lions might have been a fluke.
Jeremy Chinn was on the field for all of 18 snaps against Detroit. I’ve seen nothing early in the week to suggest there is an injury. This is the second time this season he’s seen such a minimal workload in a game, making it hard to trust him as more than a bye-week flier at this point.
Tremaine Edmunds was down and walked off with a slight limp. He did not return to the game, but there is speculation that he could have had the outcome still been in question. Keep an eye on his practice status this week. If Edmunds were to miss a game, Jack Sanborn would make a good stream option.
It is hard to say if we should read anything into this, but the Bengals might be looking to get rookie safety Jordan Battle more involved. Battle saw 22 snaps against the Cardinals, all at the expense of Nick Scott. The snap numbers were similar in week two, but that was because Scott was out of the game being looked at for a concussion. There does not seem to be an injury involved this time.
Chidobe Awuzie was a scratch for week five after showing up on the injury report late in the week with a back issue. Rookie D.J. Turner got the start and made a good showing on the field. Turner was mediocre in the box score.
The Browns had a lot of defenders banged up heading into their bye week. Most significantly, Myles Garrett came out of week four with a sore foot. Since they were on a bye, there was not much news coming out of Cleveland last week. If Garrett is your guy, check on his status when we get some practice reports.
There is also some consideration to be given to the matchup when it comes to Cleveland’s pass rushers. San Francisco has allowed eight sacks on the season but only five in the last four games. Even if the foot is good, Garrett could have a slow week.
The Cowboys took a beating from San Francisco on the scoreboard, but it is the injuries added to the insult that hurt even worse. Earlier in the year, we were wondering what Damone Clark would look like if he had a bigger share of the playing time. With Leighton Vander Esch suffering another neck injury, we are going to find out. This is not the first neck injury for Vander Esch, who missed most of 2019 and 2020 with the first one, which included surgery. Right now, we are hearing everything from "He could return later this year." to "He is an IR candidate." All we know for certain is that he will miss some time, and with his history, we can expect extreme caution from the team. Damone Clark has been highly productive on a per-snap basis and should be at the top of the linebacker waiver list this week.
The injury to Vander Esch creates a big problem for the Cowboys. Their current depth chart shows just three players at the linebacker position. Vander Esch, Clark, and Micah Parsons. They don’t even have another off-ball linebacker on the 53-man roster. Dallas features three starting safeties, so it would make sense that Donovan Wilson would get more time as a box safety at linebacker depth. The problem there is that Wilson also left the game with an injury. He limped off late in the game after turning his ankle. Look for safety Marquese Bell to have a big role in week six and possibly beyond.
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