2021 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Week 5 | Top Pickups & Sleeper Adds for Week 5

Last Updated: Jul 14, 2023

We are beginning to see enough football to determine which players have solidified roles in their respective offenses. Whether injuries have occurred or unexpected players have stepped up, we must react and make adjustments each and every week.

I’ll help you decide which fantasy football waiver wire pickups you should be making that could benefit your fantasy teams now, later in the season, or just for the upcoming Week 5.

Note: Free-Agent Acquisition Budget dollar bid prices for Week 5 based on a season-long budget of $100. Adjust your percentage and scale accordingly for your league’s unique FAAB allotment and your remaining FAAB dollars.

(Roster % is based on Yahoo! Fantasy leagues information.)

2021 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Week 5: Top Pickups

Sam Darnold, QB, Carolina Panthers (37% rostered)

I’ve already highlighted Sam Darnold in last week’s waiver wire article, but he’s still criminally under-rostered.

Darnold has three straight games with 300+ passing yards and a combined 10 touchdowns on the season. He leads the NFL (not just quarterbacks) with five rushing touchdowns.

It’s clear, Sam Darnold needed to be freed from Adam Gase to shine. He’s found new life in Carolina and has the weapons to continue producing as a viable weekly starting quarterback in your fantasy leagues.

  • Sam Darnold Week 5 FAAB Bid: $31

Dalton Schultz, TE, Dallas Cowboys (33% rostered)

Dalton Schultz has been heavily involved and productive in the Cowboys’ offense to start the season. He has amounted six receptions in three of four games this year and scored three touchdowns in his last two weeks.

His production isn’t a fluke. Schultz has been targeted 15 times in his last two games.

Schultz now finds himself among the top tight ends in fantasy football. Given how much Dak Prescott has looked his way this season, you’re going to want him on your roster.

With the uncertainty of the tight end position, Schultz provides a safe floor and high ceiling each week going forward.

  • Dalton Schultz Week 5 FAAB Bid: $21

Dawson Knox, TE, Buffalo Bills (46% rostered)

You probably won’t see me mention two tight ends among the top waiver wire adds again this season, but you never know!

It’s impressive what Dawson Knox has done the last couple of weeks. Josh Allen targeted Knox a combined 13 times in Weeks 3 and 4, with Knox taking advantage of his opportunities to the tune of nine receptions for 87 yards and three touchdowns.

He now has four touchdown receptions in his last three games.

If you can’t get Dalton Schultz on your roster, Dawson Knox should be next on your list. Any time you have a tight end in a high-octane offense getting a healthy target share and turning that share into production, he’s a must-add.

  • Dawson Knox Week 5 FAAB Bid: $18

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NEW - Damien Williams, RB, Chicago Bears (8% rostered)

When David Montgomery went down in Week 4, Damien Williams stepped in with 55 rushing yards and a score on eight carries. He caught a pair of targets for 15 yards as well.

Williams was listed as a one-week streamer previously. But now that Montgomery is expected to miss 4-5 weeks with a knee sprain, Williams becomes a viable starter for your fantasy football squads, not just for Week 5, but for the foreseeable future.

I’d expect him to be heavily involved in Week 5 against the Raiders’ middle-of-the-pack run defense. Williams should handle the workload for the next 4-5 weeks until David Montgomery returns.

I understand he’ll be a top-waiver add this week, but don’t overspend here. Tarik Cohen will be back soon and when David Montgomery returns, Williams will have zero fantasy relevance to justify rostering him.

  • Damien Williams Week 5 FAAB Bid: $12

Kalif Raymond, WR, Detroit Lions (1% rostered)

This Detroit Lions wide receiver is heating up and as of right now, is still under the radar. Take advantage while you can.

Kalif Raymond now leads all Lions wideouts in targets (22), receptions (14), receiving yards (182), and is tied for first with two touchdowns on the season. Jared Goff targeted Raymond 10 times in Week 3 and looked his way six more times in Week 4.

Raymond has taken full advantage of his increased involvement in the last two weeks, racking up nine receptions for 114 yards and two touchdowns.

Since he’s only 1% rostered, this is your time to buy low. The Lions will find themselves behind in most games this season, which translates to more throws for Goff and more opportunities for Raymond to put up numbers in garbage time.

  • Kalif Raymond Week 5 FAAB Bid: $12

Taylor Heinicke, QB, Washington Football Team (10% rostered)

I’ve seen plenty of disappointing quarterback play across the NFL so far this season. If you find yourself in need of some help at the position, Taylor Heinicke should be available on your waiver wire.

Heinicke has now scored 24+ fantasy points in each of the last three games, capping it off with his best performance of 2021 in Week 4. He threw for 290 yards and three touchdowns against the Falcons on Sunday, leading the Washington Football Team to its second win of the year.

Heinicke isn’t afraid to run with it either, having carried the ball 13 times for 64 yards and a touchdown over the last two weeks.

Washington’s schedule doesn’t look favorable from a real-life football perspective, as its next three games come against the Saints, Chiefs, and Packers.

However, with Heinicke likely to be playing catch up for the foreseeable future, this is obviously a great thing for fantasy football. You want your quarterback throwing a ton, and Heinicke should have plenty of chances to continue producing fantasy points.

  • Taylor Heinicke Week 5 FAAB Bid: $9
Taylor Heinicke, Washington Football Team QB, scrambles in Week 4 of the 2021 NFL Season.

Washington Football Team quarterback Taylor Heinicke has proven to be a consistent fantasy performer as he continues to rack up yards through the air and on the ground. (Image: USA TODAY Sports)

2021 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Week 5: Best Players To Stash

Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Buffalo Bills (58% rostered)

Another Josh Allen target, Emmanuel Sanders, now has 26 targets on the season and exactly zero games with fewer than six. He had a couple of “meh” performances in his first two games but has come to life in the Bills offense in the last two weeks.

Sanders has a combined 168 receiving yards and two touchdowns from Week 3 and 4. Cole Beasley is still ahead of Sanders in targets and receptions but just posted two receptions on two targets in Week 4.

Sanders has been the most consistent target given his opportunities thus far. He’s just 37 receiving yards behind the team leader Stefon Diggs and leads Buffalo wideouts with two touchdowns on the season.

  • Emmanuel Sanders Week 5 FAAB Bid: $14

NEW — Trey Lance, QB, San Francisco 49ers (31% rostered)

Jimmy Garoppolo is dealing with a calf injury and will be re-evaluated this week to determine if and how much time he’ll need to recover. Trey Lance stepped up in Week 4 completing 9 passes for 157 yards and 2 touchdowns. Not bad for the rookie’s first big-time exposure to the NFL.

Lance isn’t someone I would recommend starting in Week 5 against one of the best defenses vs the quarterback position. He is a player that should be stashed in fantasy rosters as he could become the starter soon rather than later. His upside is appealing and could be a league winner once named the official starter. Get ahead of it now!

  • Trey Lance Week 5 FAAB Bid: $9

Jared Goff, QB, Detroit Lions (13% rostered)

It’s easy to poke fun at some players and Jared Goff has certainly been on the receiving end for some time now. Take Week 3, when Goff threw for 217 passing yards and zero touchdowns. Performances like that won’t win you many fantasy matchups.

In his other three games, though, Goff has combined 883 passing yards and seven touchdown passes, scoring over 20 fantasy points in each of those games. He may not be your every-week starter, but he is worth rostering as a backup or streaming option going forward. Any quarterback that can get you multiple touchdown passes in any given week deserves roster consideration.

  • Jared Goff Week 5 FAAB Bid: $6

Randall Cobb, WR, Green Bay Packers (6% rostered)

Week 4 could have just been a fluke performance from Randall Cobb, but something is telling me that he’ll be more involved going forward.

Aaron Rodgers fought to add his former teammate Cobb to the Green Bay roster for a reason. The chemistry they have shared for many years was apparent this past Sunday, where Cobb caught five of his six targets for 69 yards and two touchdowns.

Rodgers has struggled to find a consistent WR2 in the Packers offense for a long time. He could finally have his guy in his old buddy, Randall Cobb. He’s worth the low-risk bid for the high-upside potential we just witnessed in Week 4.

  • Randall Cobb Week 5 FAAB Bid: $5

Thanks for reading our Week 5 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Adds!


Nate Hamilton

Nate Hamilton is a regular contributor to the fantasy football industry. He has produced content for some of the top fantasy football sites including FantasyPros, The Fantasy Footballers, Fantasy Data, FantraxHQ, and currently The Game Day! He is a co-author of Amazon's #1 Best Selling "The Fantasy Football Black Book" with Joe Pisapia. Nate is a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA).

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