Best fantasy football waiver wire pickups for Week 6

By | October 12, 2020

The top Week 6 fantasy waiver wire pickups and free agent adds present a classic good news/bad news situation. The good is that there were very few serious injuries this week to RBs and WRs; the bad is that means there aren’t many backups or handcuffs ticketed for more playing time. (Update: We spoke too soon. Dalvin Cook suffered a groin injury Sunday night, and even though he returned for a play, his injury could regress next week, which would open the door for handcuff Alexander Mattison to start.) That means we’re relying on young, breakout WRs like Chase Claypool, Henry Ruggs, and Travis Fulgham to carry the day, and fortunately that trio all went over 100 yards and scored, with Claypool having the fantasy performance of the season with four touchdowns.

There was one huge injury on Sunday, as Dak Prescott suffered a severe ankle injury that will surely keep him out for the rest of the season. His replacement, Andy Dalton, makes our full free agent list, which als features several more receivers worth stashing (Laviska Shenault, Brandin Cooks, Preston Williams, Keelan Cole, Christian Kirk), as well as some of last week’s breakouts who are still too lightly owned (Damien Harris, Justin Jackson, Tim Patrick). We also have QB, TE, and D/ST streamer suggestions if you’re worrying about bye weeks, injuries, or more surprise postponements. You can find the streamer suggestions at the end of this list.

Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiverTight end | D/ST | Kicker

Even after Claypool’s monster performance, it’s tough to say if he’s worth using a high waiver claim on. If Diontae Johnson (back) is projected to miss time, that would enhance Claypool’s appeal, but otherwise, he’s still a rookie wide receiver who obviously just had his best game of the season. The Steelers have two other high-target wideouts and rarely throw downfield, so Claypool’s upside is pretty big-play dependent. Unless you really need WR help (or you had Prescott and need a starting QB), you’re better off saving your high waiver claim for a big RB injury. Chances are, Claypool will be claimed, though, so it might take a high one to get him if you really want him. Ruggs and maybe Shenault, depending on Chark’s status, could also be worth low claims, but unless any of last week’s holdovers (particularly Harris and Phillip Lindsay) are available, this is probably a week to save your claim and move up the waivers order. (Update: Mattison is worth using a top waiver claim on if Cook misses time.) — Matt Lutovsky

Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

Unless otherwise noted, only players owned in fewer than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues considered.

  • Dalvin Cook looked like he suffered a serious groin injury early in the second half against Seattle, but the All-World back returned for a play before sitting out the rest of the game. Mattison ran wild in his place, racking up 112 yards on 20 carries. It’s unclear if Cook will miss Week 6 (or beyond), but there’s a good chance Mattison will have value regardless. If Cook is out, Mattison will be a must-start against the Falcons. —Matt Lutovsky

  • Claypool was on fantasy radars after catching a long touchdown in Week 2, but many will believe he’s ascended to must-start status after his four-TD outburst in Week 5. We won’t go that far, but Claypool is sure to be the top pickup of the week after hauling in seven-of-11 targets for 110 yards and three scores while adding another six yards and a TD on three carries. Claypool was undoubtedly aided by Diontae Johnson (back) exiting early, but either way, it’s tough to imagine the Steelers not utilizing him more going forward. With elite athleticism and good speed, Claypool is the Steelers’ best downfield threat, and they’ve shown a willingness to use him on at least a couple gadget plays every game. For fantasy purposes, it doesn’t hurt that Pittsburgh is already through its bye, and matchups against Cleveland, Tennessee, and Dallas in three of the next four weeks look good, too. — ML

  • Ruggs caught just two passes (three targets) against the Chiefs in Week 5, but both were spectacular plays, one of which went for a 72-yard touchdown. Perhaps the biggest news is that Ruggs, who’s dealt with knee and hamstring injuries this year, made it through the game in one piece. The explosive rookie is unlikely to be consistent, but after Vegas’s Week 6 bye, he’ll have solid matchups against the Bucs, Browns, Chargers, Broncos, Chiefs, Falcons, and Jets. Grab him now. —ML

  • We weren’t sure what to make of Fulgham after he caught two-of-three targets for 57 yards and a TD in Week 4, but he looks legit after hauling in 10-of-13 looks for 152 yards and a score in Week 5 against Pittsburgh. The 6-2, 215-pound journeyman is no sure thing to continue getting playing time with DeSean Jackson (hamstring) and Alshon Jeffery (foot) due back soon, but given the respective injury histories of both players (and relative ineffectiveness over the past few seasons), Fulgham is still worth stashing. After a tough matchup against Baltimore next week, Philadelphia has the Cowboys, Giants, bye, Giants, Browns, and Seahawks. —ML

  • Dak Prescott’s season-ending ankle injury pushes Dalton into a starting role, and the veteran is more than capable of putting up solid stats given his supporting cast. Dalton led the Cowboys on a game-winning fourth-quarter drive, completing nine-fo-11 passes for 111 yards on the game. Going forward, he has three straight netural-to-favorable matchups (vs. Cardinals, @ Washington, @ Eagles), so it’s not a bad idea to stash him in case he really takes off. —ML

  • Harris racked up 100 yards on 17 carries in his first game of the 2020 season in Week 4. He will continue to be the starter as long as Sony Michel (quad) is on IR, after a surprise Week 5 bye, he won’t have a week off (barring injury) for the rest of the season. If your league is one of the 45 percent of Yahoo leagues where Harris is available, add him as a potential volume-based RB2, especially ahead of a solid matchup with a banged-up Broncos defense. —Jacob Camenker

  • Lindsay (toe) was nearly ready to return from a two-game absence in Week 4 against the Jets, but on the short week, the Broncos elected to hold him out. Lindsay is owned in just 52 percent of Yahoo leagues but could end up with as much as a 50-50 carry split with Melvin Gordon when he’s back and fully healthy. He may not be worth playing in a tough Week 6 matchup with the Patriots, but his next three games are against beatable run defenses (Chiefs, Falcons, Raiders). Stash him now. —JC

  • After Austin Ekeler (hamstring) was confirmed to be out four-to-six weeks, many fantasy owners went to scoop up Joshua Kelley, who had been serving as Ekeler’s top backup. That was a sensible move, but Jackson should be owned, as well. Jackson is sitting at just 42 percent ownership but he could get a chance to work in a 50-50 split with Kelley, and the Chargers could ride the hot hand, as well. The Chargers have a nice stretch of games against the Dolphins, Jaguars, and Raiders after their Week 6 bye, so Jackson could easily work his way into flex territory as long as Ekeler is out. —JC

  • Williams was a popular sleeper before the year, but dwindling targets and overall production saw him quickly sent back to the waiver wire. He lived up to his preseason hype in Week 5, though, catching four-of-five targets for 106 yards and a score. Williams remains a big-play threat everywhere on the field, so if he’s finally up to full speed after tearing his ACL midway through last season, he could be ready to really take off in Miami’s free-wheeling offense. He’s at least worth streaming next week against the Jets. —ML

  • Shenault saw a team-high eight targets for the Jaguars and led the team in catches (7) and receiving yards (79) in Week 5. DJ Chark left the game against the Texans with an ankle injury, and if he misses time, Shenault will continue to see a lot of targets and touches in the Jaguars offense. With games upcoming against the Lions and Chargers, he can be trusted as a WR3/flex. If Chark is out, he could even creep into fringe-WR2 range. —JC

  • In his last three games, Higgins has seen 24 targets, catching13 for 179 yards and two TDs. He also added 13 yards on the ground. Higgins is emerging as Joe Burrow’s favorite receiver, and he should continue to be a threat as a contested-catch playmaker. Higgins has a tough matchup against the Colts next week, but after that, he gets the Browns and the Titans in solid matchups. —JC

  • After having zero catches in Week 4, Deshaun Watson made a concerted effort to get the ball to Cooks, and it worked for the Texans. Cooks was targeted a team-high 12 times and caught eight passes for 161 yards and a TD. Make sure to scoop him up after frustrated owners dropped him. He may be a boom-or-bust playmaker but he should find success in his next four games against the Titans, Packers, Jaguars, and Browns. —JC

  • Kirk was one of three Cardinals receivers to get seven targets against the Jets, finishing the day with five catches for 78 yards. After a slow start to the season and a game missed with a groin injury, Kirk has standard point totals of 7.8 and 7.9, respectively, the past two weeks. He’s becoming more involved in the offense and will a be top-tier streamer with matchups against the Cowboys, Dolphins, and Seahawks up for him the next four weeks (with a bye between the Dolphins and Seahawks games). —JC

  • Cole has scored in three of the five games he has played this season and has seen no fewer than five targets in each of his five outings. If DJ Chark (ankle) misses time, Cole should get a chance to be more active and will continue to get attention from Gardner Minshew. That could make him an intriguing play against the Lions in Week 6. —JC

  • Patrick had a team-high seven targets, six catches,113 yards, and a TD for the Broncos when they took on the Jets in Week 4. Following an unexpected bye, Patrick will take on the Patriots in Week 6. While the Patriots will be a difficult matchup for Patrick, he still should get plenty of targets from a now-healthy Drew Lock, and he does have TDs in back-to-back games. Beyond Week 6, Patrick has some solid matchups against the Chiefs, Falcons, and Raiders, so he’s definitely worth adding as a potential WR3/flex. —JC

  • N’Keal Harry has averaged seven targets per game this season for the Patriots, and while he hasn’t had a lot of big performances so far this year, his target share confirms that he should be on fantasy benches at the very least. At 6-4, Harry could be a TD threat after catching one against the Chiefs, and with Cam Newton set to return in Week 6 against the Broncos, Harry could be a decent flex option. —JC

  • Zaccheaus only reeled in one catch against the Panthers for 13 yards in a game where the Falcons’ offense struggled to move the ball through the air. That said, he still saw four targets, tied for third most on the team, and should have a chance to do well as a streamer in Week 6 against a Vikings defense that allows 31 fantasy points per game to wide receivers. Consider adding him if Julio Jones (hamstring) is out again. —JC

  • Smith’s three-catch, 23-yard performance against the Cardinals won’t jump out much, but his 11 targets should. He led the team in that regard and even if Breshad Perriman (ankle) does return to action in the future, Smith may be a part of this Jets offense. Smith has proven to be a solid downfield threat and has earned the trust of both Sam Darnold and Joe Flacco. He may not see double-digit targets as frequently, but he’s worth keeping around as a bench option, especially in PPR leagues. He may be starter-worthy against the Dolphins in Week 6 if Perriman isn’t ready to play yet. —JC

  • Beasley had another solid game for the Bills in Week 4, catching three passes for 34 yards and a nice TD that saw him make the catch while being flipped into the air by a defender. Beasley is averaging 65.5 receiving yards per game this season and should continue to be a PPR threat with 18 grabs through four games. The Bills have three solid matchups upcoming against the Titans, Chiefs, and Jets, so Beasley could be a solid flex or WR3 in those contests. —JC

  • With Allen Lazard out indefinitely because of a core muscle injury, Valdes-Scantling will serve as the No. 2 receiver in the Packers’ high-volume passing attack. MVS has a bye in Week 5 and didn’t do much with Davante Adams (hamstring) out in Weeks 3 and 4, but it’s worth scooping him up, as he could be a WR3 in favorable Week 7 and 8 matchups with the Texans and Vikings. —JC

  • Stop me if you’ve heard this before: The Eagles need receiving help. Jeffery (foot) should be ready to play at some point in the not-so-distant future after returning to practice last week. He can be added as a potential volume-based WR3/flex play for fantasy owners needing some depth at the position. He probably can’t be started against the Ravens next week, but he does have upside as a TD threat thanks to his size. —JC

  • Ebron has another good streaming matchup coming up against the Browns, who have struggled to contain tight ends this season. Ebron caught five passes for 43 yards against the Eagles last week but did have a key drop and fumble, so he could’ve done more. Still, as long as Diontae Johnson (back) is banged up, Ebron will be the team’s top middle-of-the-field threat. —JC

  • Burton made his Colts debut in Week 4 against the Bears and saw five targets. Against the Browns, he once again saw five targets, and neither Jack Doyle nor Mo Alie-Cox was credited with more than two. That makes Burton a a worthwhile TE streamer most weeks, and given that he’s playing the Bengals in Week 6, he’ll have even more streamer appeal. —JC

  • While Darren Fells is the red-zone TD threat for the Texans, Akins does more in PPR formats, as he had a game with seven targets earlier in the season. If he returns from a concussion that caused him to miss Week 5, Akins will have a chance to emerge as a top streamer in a favorable matchup against the Titans. —JC

  • The Vikings don’t use their tight ends a lot, but the Falcons have been awful against TEs all year. Rudolph could take advantage if that even though he may only be a TD-dependent play, he can be used as a Week 6 streamer because his matchup is so good. Irv Smith, who had four catches for 64 yards for Minnesota in Week 5, is also in play as a streamer. —JC

  • The Dolphins are playing the Jets in Week 6 after the NFL schedule was shuffled a bit. That will make Fitzpatrick a solid streamer. FitzMagic had an amazing day against the 49ers, logging 350 passing yards and three TDs against the 49ers’ banged-up secondary. He should have a chance for another multi-TD outing against a weak Jets defense that just got torched by the Cardinals. —JC

  • Minshew had his third game with at least 300 passing yards and two TDs on Sunday against the Texans. Minshew has been one of the best QB streamers this year, and he is taking on a Lions team in Week 6 that is allowing 21.3 fantasy points per game to QBs. —JC

  • Cousins will get a cupcake matchup in Week 6 against a Falcons defense that has both been banged up and has allowed the most fantasy points per game to QBs this season (33). Cousins put up 249 yards and two TDs in a similar matchup in Week 5, so consider that his floor against Atlanta. —JC

  • Bridgewater continues to put up solid numbers in favorable matchups, and he just dropped 300 yards and two TDs against the Falcons. Bridgewater gets a tougher matchup with the Bears in Week 6, but he’s a great backup QB to keep around, especially considering that he’ll get another chance to play the Falcons in just a few weeks. —JC

  • The Dolphins are easily the best streaming defense to target on the waiver wire. The team is getting healthier in the secondary and should have an easy matchup against a Jets offense that was tied for the fewest total yards in the league (278) and the second-fewest points per game (16.8) entering Sunday’s action. If Joe Flacco starts in place of Sam Darnold in Week 6, the Dolphins could have an even higher ceiling given the pressure they should be able to get on the statuesque Flacco. —JC

  • Washington may not be the most exciting defense on the market, but they have an elite defensive line and surprisingly were ranked fourth in Football Outsiders defensive DVOAheading into Week 5. The Giants were only managing a paltry 11.8 points per game (fewest in the league) before facing a Cowboys defense that allows 36.5 points per game (most in the league), so Washington could be a solid under-the-radar pick up if they can pressure Daniel Jones, who has turned the ball over nine times so far this season. —JC

  • It could also be worth trying the Giants’ defense against Washington. The Football Team has averaged fewer than 20 points per game this season and doesn’t have a QB worth worrying about. The Giants defense has been up-and-down this season, but if they can force turnovers, they can be trusted. —JC

  • The 4-1 Bears are averaging just 21 points per game and the sixth-fewest yards per game this season at a mark of 323.3. The Panthers have improved on defense since allowing 31-plus points in their first two games and make for a legit streaming option if you’re in a bind in Week 6. — JC