Fantasy football RB waiver pickups, Week 5
Jaleel McLaughlin (5 percent rostered)
Broncos running back Javonte Williams suffered a hip injury in the team’s Week 4 win against the Bears and it was Jaleel McLaughlin, not Samaje Perine who stepped up in a big way in his absence. Perine is rostered in 51 percent of leagues, not qualifying for this list, but if he is available in your league he is the top waiver wire priority over McLaughlin.
While Perine saw a majority of the snaps once Javonte Williams left with a hip injury, it was McLaughlin who was the more productive back. He turned 10 touches into 104 yards and a touchdown, compared to Perine’s 35 scoreless yards on eight touches. McLaughlin had a higher route participation than Perine and also earned more touches than Perine despite playing fewer snaps.
McLaughlin has been receiving praise from head coach Sean Payton dating back to the offseason after landing with the Broncos as an undrafted free agent out of Youngstown State University and it is clear that Payton trusts him with the ball in his hands. Despite his small stature (5-foot-7, 187 pounds), Payton has shown he is comfortable using McLaughlin in the red zone and near the goal line.
Williams’ status for Week 5 remains up in the air, but he was taken to the locker room and ruled out of the Week 4 game versus the Bears shortly thereafter. Williams is still not fully recovered from the torn ACL/MCL injuries he suffered last season and the injuries could be connected if the hip injury occurred on the same side of the body.
Even if Williams can suit up for Week 5, McLaughlin makes for a worthy flier given how he performed on Sunday and Williams’ injury history.
Chuba Hubbard (25 percent rostered)
With Miles Sanders currently banged up and nursing a groin injury, Chubba Hubbard led the way in the Panthers backfield, earning 16 carries to Sanders’ 14. Hubbard and Sanders both received 16 touches and should each continue to see double-digit touches while the Panthers look to get rookie quarterback and No. 1 overall pick Bryce Young, who has visibly struggled through his first four NFL games, up to speed.
Despite operating as the No. 2 running back behind offseason acquisition Miles Sanders, Hubbard has averaged 4.6 yards per attempt thus far and recorded at least two receptions in every game this season. With matchups against the Lions and Dolphins over the next two weeks, where both teams will be heavily favored, the Panthers could find themselves in negative game scripts, turning Hubbard into a potential PPR scam.
The Panthers offense hasn’t had much going for them through four weeks and is desperately in search of finding Young a true No. 1 wide receiver in the trade market according to NFL insider Jordan Schultz. Until/if they can acquire one, Hubbard makes for a worthy bench stash with potential PPR juice in the coming weeks and is a player worth monitoring while Sanders continues to deal with a nagging groin injury.