Week 5 of the 2023 NFL season is just about wrapped up with just two primetime games left on the slate. The Week 6 waiver wire can make or break a league, and the injury report will be critical to consider.
Keeping an eye on injuries is very important for gaining the edge on the waiver wire. It isn’t always about who had the best performance, and it could be about who is going to be able to play. As they say, the best ability in fantasy football relevance is availability. Below is a rundown of notable skill position injuries, and who stands to benefit as you consider what to do with your waiver wire priority. We’ll offer updates on each injury as new information comes along this week.
Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs
Kelce suffered a high-ankle sprain (update: It is now being called a low-ankle sprain) right before halftime of the Chiefs’ 27-20 victory over the Vikings on Sunday. He’d return with his right cleat heavily taped in the second half and caught a touchdown pass to help the winning effort. Even though he did return, his status should be monitored for their Thursday night matchup against the Broncos.
If the Chiefs decide to rest the All-Pro against the lowly Broncos, backup Noah Gray would fill in as a TE1 for KC. He’s caught 10 passes for 113 yards and a touchdown this season and entered Week 5 as the 14th ranked fantasy tight end. He’d be widely available on the waiver wire with a rostership percentage of just 1.1%.
Justin Jefferson, WR, Minnesota Vikings
Also suffering an injury in that game was Jefferson, who exited in the fourth quarter with a hamstring injury. The electric wideout was subdued with just three catches for 28 yards prior to the injury and was not on the field as Minnesota attempted a late comeback in the closing minutes of the ballgame.
His status will also have to be monitored ahead of the Vikings’ Week 6 matchup against the Bears next Sunday and if he’s unable to go, both Jordan Addison and KJ Osborn would step up in their number of targets. Osborn in particular should be available on the waiver wire with him being rostered in just 15.6% of leagues. He had five receptions for 49 yards against the Chiefs and again, would stand to get more targets if Jefferson were to miss action.
Anthony Richardson, QB, Indianapolis Colts
Richardson is already running into injury problems for the Colts and exited Sunday’s 23-16 victory over the Titans with a shoulder injury. Early reports suggest the rookie has an AC joint sprain and there’s a definite possibility that he’ll miss some time.
Just like a few weeks ago when AR was in concussion protocol, Gardner Minshew would be called into action as the Colts starter in his place. The veteran was effective in managing the game during their victory over the Titans on Sunday, going 11-14 for 155 yards through the air. He’s rostered in just 0.8% of fantasy leagues, so the lane is wide open for fantasy managers to scoop him up.
Tank Dell, WR, Houston Texans
Houston fell to the Falcons in a 21-19 loss on Sunday and the team lost Dell to a concussion late in the first half. The rookie caught three passes for 57 yards prior to his exit and has been explosive for the Texans, entering Week 5 as the 17th ranked fantasy wideout.
If Dell can’t clear concussion protocol prior to their Week 6 matchup against the Saints next Sunday, Nico Collins would simply resume his role as WR1 for Houston. However, Collins is already rostered in roughly 90% of fantasy leagues and with Robert Woods going down with a rib injury on Sunday,John Metchie III would be someone to consider as a quick replacement for Dell. The second-year receiver caught two passes for 20 yards against the Falcons on Sunday and could very garner some more targets. The lane is clear for fantasy managers to grab him as he’s rostered in just 1.2% of leagues.
James Conner, RB, Arizona Cardinals
Conner suffered a knee injury in the second quarter of the team’s 34-20 loss to the Bengals on Sunday and did not return to the field. He entered Week 5 as the 14th ranked running back in fantasy and he’ll be sorely missed if he’s unable to go for their Week 6 matchup against the Rams.
Someone worth looking into in case Conner isn’t able to go is Emari Demercado, who is rostered in just 0.2% of fantasy leagues. The rookie out of TCU got plenty of work against the Bengals, taking 10 carries for 45 rushing yards and a touchdown, also adding a reception for 12 yards through the air.