After the schedule shifted around a bit, we have our bye weeks for Week 6. The Chargers, Seahawks, Raiders, and Saints are on bye. That means no Chris Carson, Josh Jacobs, Alvin Kamara, or the Chargers running backs you likely picked up last week. This is all in addition to the plethora of names already out with injuries. Now if you have a chance to stash some names, I highly recommend doing so. As we get later into the year we will continue to see these injuries but there is also a handful of rookie running backs that have been deserving of more touches. There is a chance we see names like D’Andre Swift and J.K. Dobbins get more work as we get into the year more. However, they are still rostered in over 60% of leagues so I won’t get into them. If they are out there I recommend grabbing them.
Week 6 RB Waiver Wire Pickups
Alexander Mattison – Minnesota Vikings
Alexander has been one of the premier backups in the league since coming in and has always been on our radar because of Dalvin Cook’s injury history. The other part of it is he would jump into a full workload. Just look at last night. He saw 23 touches and put up over 120 yards from scrimmage, and that was essentially in the second half alone. Minnesota has always been high on this guy, and if Cook misses any time, Mattison is a premier pickup in the meantime. He also enjoys a friendly schedule of the next few weeks with Atlanta, Green Bay, and Detroit all in the bottom half against the run. Mattison has rushed for 4.7 yards per attempt over 144 career rushes and while he hasn’t been used much as a receiver, he has been at least efficient bringing in 18 of 21 targets.
There is still some uncertainty around Cook’s injury in terms of length of time. He will undergo an MRI to determine the severity of the injury. While he returned briefly after he left the game, he was ruled out. This could be just a one-two week absence, especially given the Minnesota bye week in Week 7, so I wouldn’t expect him back until after then.
Damien Harris – New England Patriots
With the Broncos-Patriots game moved back to Week 6, the two teams had a bye and we didn’t get to see how Damien Harris would follow up his 100-yard rushing performance against the Chiefs. With Sony Michel on the shelf for a bit, but isn’t expected to return until Week 9. Given the circumstances of this season, you might be looking for some quick fill-in options, and Harris is that, even in a crowded New England backfield. The positive is that they are committed to a heavy rushing attack, which bodes well for Harris getting touches. Over the next few weeks, he will see Denver, San Francisco, Buffalo, and the New York Jets. Not the worst schedule given the Bills and 49ers are dealing with a ton of injuries on the defensive side. Harris’ future is still fairly uncertain for a workload but we have to take some shots on guys. Given it is a temporary option in a crowded backfield, keep the FAAB bids small.
Chase Edmonds – Arizona Cardinals
Chase Edmonds was here last week and posted another strong performance. He has three double-digit fantasy point games this season, and two being over 15 points. His PPR potential is there because he already has 18 receptions over the first five weeks of the season. Edmonds has looked like the better back and we saw him start to eat away at Kenyan Drake’s snaps this past week against the Jets. This was something I touched on last week as potentially happening. Drake has not been a factor in the run game and despite having a lot of goal-line work, Kyler Murray is sucking up most of his value. Drake saw 50 snaps this past week and Edmonds saw 34. This is the highest for Edmonds this season. While I wouldn’t start Edmonds on a weekly basis because his volume is still fairly low, you might be forced to with some injuries. They have a favorable matchup with Dallas next week, and both Seattle and Miami follow.
Cam Akers – Los Angeles Rams
Missing time is never a good thing for anyone, but especially for rookies. He left the game against Philadelphia and missed games against Buffalo and New York. He returned against Washington and rushed for 61 yards on nine carries. It was still a split workload and this is a true three-headed committee. Akers is still the name I could see overtaking a Malcolm Brown and starting to split work with Darrell Henderson. As mentioned above this is one of those rookie stashes you can look at with a potential for more touches late in the year. Akers is one of the top backs from this rookie class and fell into a good scenario with the Rams offense clicking so far this season. I would rather take a shot on some of these names hoping for a workload bump or injury compared to rushing out to the waiver wire come Week 10 trying to pick up everyone alongside everyone else. For FAAB bids I would still keep it small.
Devonta Freeman – New York Giants
While Dallas has made a lot of running backs look good, Devonta Freeman was able to put up 16.7 PPR points on 19 touches. Now the workload was far and above what I was expecting over the last two games. The offensive line and matchups coming up against Washington, Philadelphia, and Tampa, are some tougher defenses. Although the NFC East matchups are still pretty favorable given running backs have seen a high volume against them. We weren’t sure what Freeman’s workload would be with Dion Lewis and Wayne Gallman, but he has established himself as the lead back. Freeman is still out there in 45% of leagues as many have been playing it safe I am sure, but this week will be a different story as I expect him to be one of the higher FAAB bids as his role is guaranteed for the rest of the season.
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