When it comes to fantasy football, injuries can be detrimental to the season-long success of your fantasy squad and can leave you scrambling for plug-in starters, especially after another action-packed, injury-riddled week of football. To make matters worse, bye weeks have officially begun (CLE, LAC, SEA, TB). This is why you will need to work the fantasy football waiver wire to grab high-upside players to help fill these empty roster spots and reduce that Sunday morning pre-kickoff panic. 

If you’re looking to do just that, here are the best fantasy football waiver wire pickups for Week 5 that could help push your fantasy team in the right direction.  

All players must be owned in less than 50 percent of ESPN leagues to be included in the best fantasy football waiver wire pickups weekly column. All ownerships for waiver wire players will be provided and will reflect that of Tuesday morning. 

QB Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups

CJ Stroud (32.0%)

CJ Stroud’s fantasy ownership keeps rising, and rightfully so. He ranks as the QB10 through four weeks and has eclipsed 20 fantasy points in three straight games. Stroud is taking care of the ball and runs a Texans offense that throws the ball a lot. He has attempted at least 30 passes in every game this season and that should continue as long as Houston continues to play in negative game scripts. 

Both Nico Collins and Tank Dell have proved to be solid deep threats thus far but the running game and offensive line have struggled, making it even more intriguing to just roll with Stroud in hopes of this pass-heavy offensive game plan continuing throughout the season. Nonetheless, they’re passing the ball so much because it’s working. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. 

Sam Howell (8.9%)

Outside of Sam Howell’s forgetful Week 3 performance against the Bills, he’s been consistent enough to warrant some interest for Week 5 fantasy football waiver wire pickups. If you took out the Week 3 stinker, he’d be averaging over 18.5 fantasy points per game — making him a top-12 fantasy quarterback. Howell generated noise in college because of his dual-threat ability but outside of last week versus the Eagles, where he totaled six carries for 40 yards, we haven’t seen too much usage of his legs. 

Over the next two weeks, Howell gets to face both the Bears and Falcons — two teams that rank bottom-10 in defensive DVOA through four weeks. Assuming he builds off his strong performance through the air and on the ground, Howell should be able to do some serious damage against a Bears defense that blew a 28-7 lead to the Broncos last week. Bye weeks have started, making Howell a great Week 5 fantasy football waiver wire pickup as a plug-in starter. 

MORE: Jaleel McLaughlin: Week 5 Fantasy Football Waiver Adds

Following the Javonte Williams injury, you may want to include Jaleel McLaughlin among your fantasy football waiver wire pickups for a couple of reasons. Click the link to read more.

RB Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups

Tyjae Spears (20.3%)

It’s hard to be interested in rostering the guy who backs up none other than Derrick Henry, but Tyjae Spears’ role is slowly increasing by the week. He logged a career-high 33 snaps in Week 4 (partly due to a blowout) and has totaled over 50 scrimmage yards twice already with limited touches. Barring an injury, Spears will never dominate the backfield, but his production in such limited touches coupled with his pass-catching ability well above Henry’s makes for a great situation to monitor as the season progresses. 

The Tyjae Spears fantasy football ownership is already at 20 percent, presumably because of his overall upside, but he’s worth the fantasy pickup now before it’s too late. I understand the hesitation of rostering Henry’s backup, but Spears’ increasing role is happening right in front of us and the track record for starting running backs so far this season hasn’t been great. 

Chuba Hubbard (17.9%)

Much like Spears, I’m recommending another backup running back, but this one is more enticing. Chuba Hubbard is rostered in less than 18 percent of leagues but has been involved in the rushing attack just as much as Miles Sanders has been through four weeks. Hubbard out-snapped Sanders in Week 4 and registered more carries and yards, but he still only finished with 7.3 fantasy points and has only eclipsed double-digits once. Much of that has to do with the Panthers’ offense performing below expectations, but Bryce Young’s struggles could benefit Hubbard in fantasy. 

Stashing Hubbard makes a ton of sense but his upside feels higher than most of your average Week 5 fantasy football waiver wire pickups. Sanders has been injury-prone his whole career and is already dealing with a groin injury, and Young’s inability to get the ball downfield means more check-down passes to Hubbard. Stash him at least for now to see how the backfield shapes up after an underwhelming stat line from Sanders. 

WR Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups

Josh Reynolds (27.9%)

The Lions offense was hard to figure out at the start of the season outside of Amon-Ra St. Brown hogging most of the targets, but it’s clear through four weeks that Josh Reynolds is next-best wideout in the passing attack. Marvin Jones Jr. is not efficient at this point in his career and Kalif Raymond doesn’t offer much outside of big-play ability. Jared Goff has targeted 19 times through three games already (he had zero targets in Week 3) and should continue to receive a similar share unless Sam LaPorta propels himself ahead of him given the recent uptick in overall usage. 

The target share is all you want from a waiver wire pickup and with how competitive the Lions look this season, Reynolds will continue to be a big part of the offensive game plan moving forward. It’s worth noting that Jameson Williams is set to return to the team this week, but we’ll have to wait and see how his role forms over the next few weeks.

Michael Wilson (1.9%)

If you’ve followed along with FlurrySports’ Fantasy Football by Committee show, you would’ve already had Michael Wilson on your radar long before his two-touchdown performance last week. The Cardinals are surprisingly competitive and have kept games much closer than expected thus far — and Wilson has been a big contributor. One would’ve thought we’d see Arizona playing from behind often but that hadn’t happened much until last week against the 49ers. As a result, Joshua Dobbs got the passing game going and found Wilson seven times for 76 yards and two touchdowns (26.6 fantasy points). 

Wilson is still sort of buried in the depth chart, however. He still ranked third in targets in Week 4 but is still running fewer routes than guys like Rondale Moore, who has been very unproductive in the passing attack thus far. Last week’s production is a glimpse of what he could produce if he earns more snaps but he’s a stash and wait-to-see situation for now. 

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TE Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups

Jake Ferguson (24.5%)

Why is Jake Ferguson still only 24.5 percent owned? He’s seen at seven targets in 3-of-4 games thus far and just produced his best fantasy total of the season in Week 4 (14.7), where he caught all seven of his targets for 77 yards. Dak Prescott has grown to like Ferguson in the short game and as the season progresses, his role could open up even more. 

Consistent target share is king in the tight end fantasy football world, and why not add a guy in a good Dallas offense? Also, the Cowboys face the 49ers and Chargers — two offenses that could very easily put a ton of points on the board, making for even game scripts and more opportunities for Ferguson and the passing attack. 

If you’re hurting for tight end production, consider Jake Ferguson in your Week 5 fantasy football waiver wire pickups.

Logan Thomas (7.7%)

Before exiting Week 2 with a concussion, Logan Thomas was leading the Commanders in targets through six quarters. Granted, that’s not saying too much because he’ll be the third option in the passing game (at best), but it’s hard to ignore Thomas’ overall threat in the red zone and the fact that rookie quarterback Sam Howell will lean on the tall receiver in those situations. 

He’s eclipsed double-digit fantasy points just once in three games thus far but the Commanders feel like an up-and-coming squad that could keep games close and there’s clearly a willingness to keep Thomas involved, even with multiple tight ends on the field. 

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