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Fantasy football waiver wire for NFL Week 5: Chase Edmonds, Tee Higgins among top pickups

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Week 4 served as a reminder of the importance of flexibility and depth in the NFL. One game was postponed entirely and another delayed by a day, with a long day of uncertainty as the league worked to decide how to best proceed with the Chiefs-Patriots game originally scheduled for 4:25 p.m. ET on Sunday.

This season has already been and will continue to be unlike any other. It’s the reality of a season amid a pandemic. And this wasn’t something we didn’t expect; we just met the reality of the situation in a more glaring way this week.

One of the core truths of fantasy football is that we have so little control over what happens on Sundays. We must be willing to be flexible and dynamic. Along those lines, as it pertains to your roster, this is a year to work as hard as you can to cover your bases as much as possible.

Here’s the Week 5 ESPN Fantasy waiver wire column.

Note: Players in this column are available in more than 50% of leagues on ESPN.com.

Week 5 byes: Packers, Lions

Chase Edmonds, RB, Arizona Cardinals (25.4%): Kenyan Drake left the game on Sunday late and did not return, though it remains to be seen whether that was because Arizona was down big late to Carolina. For now, though, that catapults Edmonds to the top of the waiver list, as he’s a talented dude who was already making a mark for the Cardinals this season. If Drake misses time, Edmonds will be an RB2 consideration.

Justin Jackson, RB, Los Angeles Chargers (8.8%): The first step in this process is seeing if Joshua Kelley is available, as he still is in around 44% of leagues as of this writing. With Austin Ekeler out for multiple weeks, per Adam Schefter, Kelley is in line to start, but Jackson should serve as a useful counterpart as well. He’s an athletic pass-catcher, which could help him simulate some of what Ekeler did at a high level. He’s a 12-team or larger consideration for sure.

Dalton Schultz, TE, Dallas Cowboys (32.6%): Schultz has become the player many thought Blake Jarwin would emerge as prior to his season-ending knee injury, as Schultz is piling up catches and targets of late (24 targets in three weeks). The Cowboys’ defense is beyond description right now — though a sieve comes to mind as appropriate — meaning Dak Prescott has and will continue to throw a ton. Schultz can stay busy in this offense.

D’Ernest Johnson, RB, Cleveland Browns (0.0%): As we await word on the injury to Nick Chubb‘s knee, we must now consider the possibility of a role for Johnson until Chubb returns. He stepped in on Sunday with 95 rushing yards while running as Kareem Hunt‘s back-up and ran extremely well. The Browns have successfully folded two running backs into the mix this season, and while it’s hard to bank on Johnson being a part of your lineup right away, he’s a consideration in the event that Chubb misses times. A stash-able add.

Hunter Renfrow, WR, Las Vegas Raiders (36.1%): Injuries have crushed the Raiders at wide receiver of late, including Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards missing Week 4. Renfrow has a total of 17 targets in his past two games and figures to remain busy for as long as the two rooks are banged up. He has 10 or more points in each of his past two games and is a solid player who won’t draw the team’s top attention with Darren Waller on the field. A good add who should slot into the flex spot in many lineups leagues with 12 ore more teams (or any league that plays with three wide receiver spots).

Scotty Miller, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11.3%): The Bucs’ top duo of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin has been banged up already this season and Godwin is a stretch to play this Thursday against the Bears. Miller earned Tom Brady‘s trust in training camp and has shown up early this season with double-digit scoring in three of four games (the three games in which he saw at least five targets). In the event Godwin sits on Thursday, Miller is already on the deeper-league flex consideration radar and should most certainly remain rostered in all leagues.

Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Jacksonville Jaguars (27.8%): There are signs of a breakout from Shenault, who notched a career-high 86 receiving yards in Week 4. The Jaguars have been crafty and creative in the ways they’ve used Shenault, who has double-digit scoring in three of four games and an average of five targets per game. A fun stash to have on your roster for when the voluminous bye weeks hit.

Tre’Quan Smith, WR, New Orleans Saints (20.1%): Michael Thomas feels bound to return soon, perhaps as early as Week 5. So let’s establish that his return could immediately render all other Saints wideouts unlikely to be in your fantasy lineups. But Smith has stepped up with Thomas out, posting 13 catches on 17 targets and a pair of touchdowns. I’d suggest adding and stashing Smith in any league, but for anyone with Thomas on his or her roster, he’s a must add for insurance purposes going forward.

Tee Higgins, WR, Cincinnati Bengals (25.0%): It feels near sacrilegious to say, but if I were rostering a second Bengals wide receiver beyond Tyler Boyd, Higgins may be the pick. He posted another 77 receiving yards on four catches and seven targets in Week 4, looking the part of a player who was just one pick away from going in the NFL’s first round of the draft. Higgins is an athletic receiver with great size, and Joe Burrow has been money so far. Higgins is exactly the kind of upside wideout I like to have on the ready on my bench.

Quarterback adds: as stated above, Week 4 was a reminder of the need for flexibility in fantasy football. While rostering two quarterbacks is not a strategy I frequently employ in all other years, this is a season when most of my teams are rostering two quarterbacks on a just-in-case basis. I’ll try to highlight a few names per week to consider for your roster at this position.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Miami Dolphins (28.0%): Three games with at least 20 points this season. It’s a roller-coaster ride, but often a fun one.

Gardner Minshew II, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars (45.9%): Another quarterback with at least 20 points in three of four games. Minshew makes it happen.

Justin Herbert, QB, Los Angeles Chargers (11.8%): The talent is obvious, and the upside is substantial. Herbert is going to be an excellent quarterback in time and is already a fantasy consideration.

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Cards knock off unbeaten Seahawks in wild OT

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GLENDALE, Ariz. — Of all the players to lead the Arizona Cardinals to an overtime win over the Seattle Seahawks, it was one of the most unlikely.

Rookie linebacker Isaiah Simmons intercepted Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson with 1:04 left in overtime on his fourth snap of the game. He didn’t play in the first half.

That led to Cardinals kicker Zane Gonzalez redeeming himself after missing the game-winning field goal earlier in overtime, making a 48-yard kick with 20 seconds left in the extra period to give Arizona a 37-34 win while handing the Seahawks their first loss of the season.

Arizona improved to 5-2, holding onto second place in the NFC West with the Los Angeles Rams playing Monday night.

Coach Kliff Kingsbury nearly cost the Cardinals the game earlier in overtime, when he iced Gonzalez with 2:47 left on second-and-15. Gonzalez made the initial kick but it didn’t count, then he missed the next one.

Then came Simmons’ pick.

It was just another typical Cardinals-Seahawks game — full of drama, twists and turns.

Both teams combined for 1,091 yards — 572 by Seattle and 519 by Arizona.

Kyler Murray threw for 360 yards, three touchdowns and an interception on 34-for-48 passing. He also had 67 rushing yards and a touchdown on 14 carries.

DeAndre Hopkins had 10 catches for 103 yards and a touchdown. Running back Chase Edmonds, who had two of the biggest plays in overtime, caught all seven of his targets for 87 yards. Larry Fitzgerald had 62 yards while catching all eight of his targets.

The game was moved to Sunday night amid concerns the Bucs-Raiders game might have to be postponed due to a positive coronavirus test on the Raiders and additional players being placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list due to contact tracing.

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Kershaw pitches Dodgers to brink of World Series

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ARLINGTON, Texas — As Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts strolled to the mound with two outs in the top of the sixth inning, a chorus of boos rained down from the crowd at Globe Life Field. Even though this was Game 5 of Major League Baseball’s first neutral-site World Series, Dodgers fans have overrun the stadium, and they let their feelings be known: They did not want Roberts to remove Clayton Kershaw from the game.

Roberts did not abide, and as Kershaw strode off the mound, it was to a sound too often unfamiliar to him in October: cheers. If ever there were a postseason to huzzah the Dodgers’ left-hander, of course, this is it, and his plenty-solid performance in Game 5 laid the foundation for the Dodgers’ 4-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday.

The win, on the heels of the Dodgers’ brutal Game 4 loss a day earlier, gave the Dodgers a 3-2 advantage in the series and put them one victory shy of their first championship since 1988. They can lock up a title in Game 6 on Tuesday night.

If this was Kershaw’s last appearance in the 2020 postseason — there’s always a potential Game 7 relief appearance looming — there’s a good argument that it’s his finest playoffs yet. His shakiness in Game 5 evened out in the middle innings – he even foiled the first attempted straight steal of home in a World Series game since 1982 — and by the time Roberts yanked him, Kershaw had retired eight batters in a row to gussy up a final line for 5 2/3 innings, 5 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks and 6 strikeouts. In total, he has thrown 30 2/3 innings these playoffs, allowed 23 hits, walked 5 and struck out 37 with a 2.93 ERA and 4 wins.

Though the jeers that greeted Roberts on his way to the mound were even worse as he returned to the dugout, his maneuvering in Game 5 worked far better than his bungling the day prior — even if it placed the Dodgers in one particularly hairy situation. Dustin May, the fireballer who replaced Kershaw, struck out Rays cleanup hitter Manuel Margot on a 101.5-mph fastball to end the sixth and threw another scoreless 1 1/3 innings afterward.

He exited with a runner on first when Rays manager Kevin Cash pinch hit left-handed hitter Ji-Man Choi, which prompted Roberts to go to lefty Victor Gonzalez. Cash immediately pinch hit right-hander Mike Brosseau, who mashes lefties, and he walked. Up stepped Randy Arozarena, the Rays’ best hitter and a right-hander as well.

On the first pitch, Gonzalez induced a flyout. Brandon Lowe floated a ball to center field for the third out. The Dodgers had escaped, and Blake Treinen — not Kenley Jansen, who blew Game 4 — came on in the ninth and recorded the save.

The Dodgers had played nine innings of clean baseball less than 20 hours after their two-error debacle with two outs and two strikes in the ninth inning allowed Arozarena to pound home plate for the winning run and Brett Phillips to airplane into the outfield after loosing the single that led to the chaotic series of events evening the series.

Mookie Betts ripped a leadoff double off Rays starter Tyler Glasnow, Corey Seager plated him with a single and Cody Bellinger‘s two-out infield single scored him, giving the Dodgers a 2-0 advantage. Joc Pederson‘s home run in the second extended it to 3-0 — the same lead he had and frittered away in Game 5 of the 2017 World Series.

World Series Game 5s, in fact, had been a bugaboo for Kershaw. The Boston Red Sox tarred him with four runs in four innings of the 2018 World Series, and he was beginning to bend in the third inning Sunday. Kevin Kiermaier singled, Yandy Diaz tripled him in and Arozarena drove him in to cut the lead to 3-2.

The key moment came an inning later. Manuel Margot drew a leadoff walk, stole second and advanced to third on a bad throw. Hunter Renfroe walked. With runners on the corners, Joey Wendle popped out and Willy Adames struck out. With Kevin Kiermaier at the plate and down 0-1, Margot dashed for home. Kershaw recognized in time and threw to Austin Barnes, who slapped a tag with Margot’s fingertips inches from home plate.

From there, Kershaw cruised, passing Justin Verlander for the most strikeouts all-time in the postseason with 206. Kershaw, circa 2020, is more craftsman than conqueror, and though this wasn’t the coronation he wanted nor the dominant start he desired, it was plenty good — something well worth cheering.

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Dodgers snap back vs. Rays, now a win away from winning World Series

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ARLINGTON, Texas — The theme late Saturday night and early Sunday afternoon — in the aftermath of a heart-wrenching, stomach-churning loss — was universal among the members of the Los Angeles Dodgers: They had to forget. They had to wipe away the memory of an improbable ninth-inning breakdown, bounce right back and win a crucial, World Series-shifting Game 5.

“We’re still pretty confident we’re the best team in baseball,” Dodgers catcher Will Smith said, “and we’re gonna win this thing.”

Thanks to more early runs, a gutsy start from Clayton Kershaw and a major recovery from the bullpen, the Dodgers moved a step closer with their 4-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays, taking a 3-2 Series lead and moving one victory away from their first championship since 1988.

The Dodgers picked up a couple of first-inning runs off Tyler Glasnow, then got solo homers from Joc Pederson and Max Muncy. But the game shifted in the bottom of the fourth when, with nobody out, two Rays batters on base and the Dodgers leading by only a run, Kershaw induced a shallow popup, recorded a strikeout, then retired Manuel Margot as he attempted to steal home.

Kershaw went on to retire the next five batters and, just as important, Dustin May retired the four who followed to protect the lead. The Dodgers pen protected that lead when Victor Gonzalez finished up the eighth and Blake Treinen nailed down the ninth to preserve the lead.

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