The fifth week of the 2016 regular season is just about coming to a close with only the Monday Night Football game remaining. Most fantasy football leagues will run their waiver wires late Tuesday or early Wednesday, but we are here to help you get a jump on the best options to consider.
We will be ranking the top five players likely to be available in your league at each of the four major positions. Some weeks there might not be five good options available, but we’ll scour for the best we can find. Additionally, throughout the week, we will update each of these articles as ownership percentages change (via Yahoo!) and news arrives.
Waiver wire running back rankings, Week 6
1. James White, New England Patriots (46 percent owned)
White was one of the Patriots who had the most to gain with the return of Tom Brady. The New England running back rushed for 26 yards and caught four passes for 63 another yards in Week 5. Look for White’s usage to increase as New England’s pass-catching running back, especially in games where the Patriots need to catch up.
2. Bilal Powell, New York Jets (35 percent owned)
Powell continues to expand his role as the Jets’ pass-catching back despite Matt Forte’s presence. Powell rushed for 10 yards and added six catches for 41 yards in the Jets’ loss to the Steelers. The Jets needed to catch up the entire game, which reduced the workload for all of their running backs in Week 5. Forte underwent X-rays after Week 4, and although nothing was broken, the Jets will likely be much more careful with their starting running back in the future. This should carve out a more significant role for Powell, and the Week 1 and 2 performances, in which Powell received almost no playing time, should stay in the past.
3. Jay Ajayi, Miami Dolphins (33 percent owned)
The Miami running game has been ineffective since the injury to Arian Foster, with even coach Adam Gase stating that the four-man committee employed in past weeks has failed. Rather than relying on a backfield committee, the Dolphins used Ajayi as the feature back in Week 5. The Miami running back rushed for 42 yards and a touchdown in the Dolphins’ loss to the Titans. Ajayi had 11 more rush attempts than any other running back, which hopefully proves that the four-headed experiment at running back is over. Despite the Dolphins’ offense not being the most productive, Ajayi should at least have a good share of opportunities in Miami’s Week 6 matchup against Pittsburgh.
4. Jalen Richard, Oakland Raiders (21 percent owned)
The Oakland backfield has been somewhat evenly split, between Richard, Latavius Murray, and DeAndre Washington. With the starter, Murray, sidelined due to a toe injury, the carries in Week 5 were split between the two rookie running backs. Richard rushed for 31 yards on eight carries and added six catches for 66 yards. Richard was more efficient with his touches than Washington both on the ground and through the air, and was already carving out a spot in the Raiders’ backfield while Murray was healthy. Look for an expanded role for Richard as the season progresses, especially if Murray misses more time.
5. Matt Asiata, Minnesota Vikings (16 percent owned)
Minnesota will likely continue to play both Asiata and Jerick McKinnon in tandem, with McKinnon likely to get a greater number of touches. However, Asiata is clearly the goal line back, scoring in both Weeks 4 and 5. Asiata rushed for 55 yards and a touchdown while adding three catches for 46 yards in the Vikings victory over the Texans. Asiata was the more efficient running back in Week 5, and will continue to play a significant role in the Vikings run-first offense.