Free-agent finds for Week 5

Updated: October 1, 2013, 4:00 PM ET
By Christopher Harris | ESPN.com

Waiver-wire news changes fast and furious throughout the week, as injuries and depth-chart shenanigans overtake us. So be sure to follow me on Twitter, @CHarrisESPN, and I'll keep you updated as news warrants. Let's get to Week 5's best fantasy roster additions:

(Week 5 byes: Minnesota Vikings, Pittsburgh Steelers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Washington Redskins)

Standard ESPN league finds

[+] EnlargeOakland's Rashad Jennings
Cary Edmondson/USA TODAY SportsRashad Jennings rushed for 45 yards and had 71 yards receiving in place of Darren McFadden.

Rashad Jennings, RB, Oakland Raiders (owned in 0.9 percent of ESPN leagues): For the second straight year, Jennings finds himself the target of desperate fantasy owners. Last season, Jennings seemed the logical inheritor once Maurice Jones-Drew got hurt, and indeed he started six games for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Unfortunately, he played badly, including a 2.8 yards-per-carry mark and shoulder and concussion problems. Sunday, he ran acceptably well after Darren McFadden and Marcel Reece left the Raiders' game because of injury; Reece is likely out for multiple weeks with a knee problem, while DMC has a pulled hamstring. As of this writing, it's unknown whether McFadden will return for Week 5, but given his injury history, it's easy to imagine he won't. Jennings is a big kid with some straight-ahead pop, and while he's nobody's long-term solution as a RB, he should probably be added in all leagues.

Tashard Choice, RB, Buffalo Bills (0.0 percent): Here's another milquetoast repeat offender. Because C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson have proven to be brittle, Choice has become a waiver-wire pickup in each of the past three seasons. Has he done anything with his scant opportunities? Um, no. But the Bills play Thursday night, and both Spiller and Jackson suffered injuries in Week 4. Spiller's ankle problem is reportedly more serious than Jackson's knee issue, but neither has been ruled out yet. Choice is simply addable if you've been waiting around for Spiller to finally perform, but I have little faith that he'd get much done against a good Cleveland Browns defense even if he gets the start.

Roy Helu, RB, Washington Redskins (43.1 percent): Helu is a better player than either Jennings or Choice, but he's also least likely to get playing time once his team gets back on the field again. Alfred Morris injured his ribs in Week 4, but the Redskins are on bye this week, and Morris reportedly should be fine to play in Week 6. However, I'll use the occasion of Helu's 84 yards on 15 touches Sunday to mention that if you're a Morris owner and you haven't handcuffed him to Helu, you're asking for trouble. More than the potential replacements in Oakland or Buffalo, Helu actually could do some every-down damage if the starter did stay hurt long term.

Danny Woodhead, RB, San Diego Chargers (17.0 percent): I'm promoting Woodhead here from the "deep" list, where he's resided since Week 1, to this "standard" one. I got a note in my Twitter feed Monday morning telling me that I was crazy for undervaluing Woodhead, because he's "basically the same as Darren Sproles." Come on. I mean, it's great that Woody scored two receiving TDs Sunday, on his way to 20 ESPN standard-league fantasy points. But he'd scored 12 fantasy points the first three weeks combined. In 56 career regular-season games, he's exceeded 100 total yards three times. (And that's saying something, considering 46 of those games took place with the New England Patriots.) None of this is to say Woodhead is a bad player. He's not. But the Chargers' backfield is a three-headed mess with Ryan Mathews and Ronnie Brown also involved. I think Woody is addable, especially if your team is in a PPR league. But don't chase points until you see a couple of more weeks of production in a row.

Andre Ellington, RB, Arizona Cardinals (1.8 percent): This is the guy I'm really interested in as a long-term add this week. He's another promotion from the "deep" to the "standard" list. Rashard Mendenhall did dominate snaps for the Cards in their comeback win Sunday, but he was pretty dreadful. He dropped a pass, lost a fumble one snap after recovering his own fumble, ran out of bounds while his team was trying to run the clock, plus nearly fumbled on that same play. Ellington, a Super-Deep Sleeper of mine this summer, had only seven touches in Week 4 but produced 51 yards and also submitted a highlight-reel ankle break of Darrelle Revis. Ellington is slender and doesn't have insane breakaway speed, but his quicks are terrific and he's not tiny. I question whether any Cardinals RB will produce fantasy glory behind a struggling offensive line, but I won't be surprised if Ellington sees his playing time go the way of Giovani Bernard's. I'd stash him in all leagues.

[+] EnlargeJoe Haden, A.J.Green
Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty ImagesJoe Haden has been tremendous in coverage for a Browns defense that has also been stout against the run.

Cleveland Browns defense (4.3 percent): I've been trying to sell the ESPN universe on the Browns' D since I was so impressed with them Week 1 against the Miami Dolphins, but as you can tell by their ownership numbers, not that many folks have listened. The pass rush still needs to get going consistently (especially with Jabaal Sheard sidelined by a knee sprain), but the run D is among the league's best and Joe Haden has just been terrific. Thursday night, they get a home game against the Buffalo Bills and their rookie QB. This is your Week 5 streaming special, but honestly, I can see holding onto this unit for a good long while.

Other solid waiver adds, about whom I've written in previous weeks: Johnathan Franklin, RB, Packers (6.8 percent); Willis McGahee, RB, Browns (24.1 percent); Pierre Thomas, RB, Saints (15.0 percent); Jason Snelling, RB, Falcons (38.5 percent); Justin Blackmon, WR, Jaguars (13.2 percent); Kendall Wright, WR, Titans (44.7 percent); Marlon Brown, WR, Ravens (9.1 percent); Heath Miller, TE, Steelers (24.0 percent); Coby Fleener, TE, Colts (20.1 percent).

Deeper league finds

Mike Goodson, RB, New York Jets (2.6 percent): Goodson's four-game suspension has ended, and he's ready to assume a potentially significant role in the Jets' backfield, especially since Chris Ivory is (surprise!) out indefinitely with his injured hamstring. Bilal Powell has posted back-to-back 100-plus-total-yard games, and has scored double-digit fantasy points in three straight, so I don't believe we're immediately going to see a straight platoon between him and Goodson. But in theory, Goodson would make a nice, fairly explosive complement to Powell's average skills. He should certainly be a speculative add in all deeper leagues, and frankly if you're desperate in a 10-teamer, I don't hate using a bench spot on Goodson. However, his biggest problem as an NFL player is that he's been as brittle as Ivory.

[+] EnlargeTerrance Williams
Denny Medley/USA TODAY SportsFive of Terrance Williams' seven receptions versus San Diego resulted in first downs.

Terrance Williams, WR, Dallas Cowboys (0.8 percent): The hamstring injury that kept Miles Austin out of Week 4 reportedly isn't expected to be a long-term problem, and the Cowboys think he's got a chance to play this week. That's the only thing that keeps Williams from being a standard-league add. Then again, who among us believes that Austin won't get hurt again at some point this season? Williams is an athletic rookie in the Austin mode, and on Sunday he caught seven of eight targets for 77 yards. Unfortunately, he also lost track of where he was on the field and stretched for the goal line while still outside the 2, leading to a crushing lost fumble. His only real path to fantasy relevance is continued poor health for Austin.

Brian Hoyer, QB, Cleveland Browns (1.3 percent): Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals, Hoyer didn't make the bevy of spectacular plays that hallmarked his unexpected road win against the Vikings, but he probably played better. Certainly, he made fewer out-of-control throws, while continuing his aggressive ways. Hoyer has proven he's not afraid to jam passes in to his best receivers, and he's not a pure dink-and-dunker. If you're casting around for a new option in a two-QB league, you could probably do worse.

Chris Ogbonnaya, RB, Browns (1.3 percent): Obie is a Swiss army knife of a player whom the Browns use all over the place, including as a fullback in some formations. Alongside Willis McGahee and Bobby Rainey, Ogbonnaya probably won't see many carries, but he's been the team's prime receiver out of the backfield, having caught nine passes and a TD over the past two games since Trent Richardson left town. The only way you should be interested in him, however, is in a very deep PPR league in which you've got a high degree of desperation.

Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Detroit Lions (36.7 percent): Stop me if you've heard this before: Brandon Pettigrew came out of nowhere to have a big week! After catching five passes in his first three games, Pettigrew grabbed seven Sunday, for 54 yards. It'll take more than one quasi-strong game for me to consider trusting this guy outside a really deep league. Unlike many of the new breed of TEs, Pettigrew doesn't make plays down the field.

Khiry Robinson, RB, New Orleans Saints (0.1 percent): For the second straight game, the Saints used Robinson to close out the fourth quarter of a blowout Monday night, and the kid proved he's got decent chops. Robinson is another of my Super-Deep Sleepers and just like all Saints RBs is unlikely to contribute consistently in the run game. But disappointing Mark Ingram remains on the shelf with a bad toe, and for as long as he's out, Robinson figures to see some action as the team's power option. I recall Chris Ivory briefly becoming a factor in that role.

Other solid waiver adds for deep-leaguers, about whom I've written in previous weeks: Alex Smith, QB, Chiefs (45.6 percent); Terrelle Pryor, QB, Raiders (22.9 percent); E.J. Manuel, QB, Bills (24.0 percent); Daniel Thomas, RB, Dolphins (9.3 percent); Bobby Rainey, RB, Browns (1.1 percent); LeGarrette Blount, RB, Patriots (2.5 percent); Kendall Hunter, RB, 49ers (5.9 percent); Brandon Bolden, RB, Patriots (8.1 percent); Robert Woods, WR, Bills (5.0 percent); Nate Washington, WR, Titans (17.8 percent); Jerome Simpson, WR, Vikings (3.0 percent); Santonio Holmes, WR, Jets (34.8 percent); Donnie Avery, WR, Chiefs (12.5 percent); Brandon LaFell, WR, Panthers (3.4 percent); Kenny Stills, WR, Saints (1.0 percent); Charles Clay, TE, Dolphins (17.1 percent).

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