The roster percentages for this column are updated every Friday morning.
Each week of the NFL season, we will identify fantasy football waiver-wire pickups specifically for those of you looking for streaming options in deeper formats (including IDP leagues). These are players available in a majority of ESPN Fantasy leagues who have enticing matchups in the week ahead that make them worthy of consideration for your lineup.
While you might notice some overlap with Field Yates' pickup column that publishes on Mondays, an important distinction is that the options mentioned in this column are focused solely on this week's matchup and not the players' values for the remainder of the season.
Do you need replacement options for injured players? Or are you merely dealing with depth issues? A roundtable of fantasy analysts and NFL Nation reporters will join me to identify some choice names to consider each week.
Here are some of our favorites for Week 6:
In a surprising drubbing of the 49ers on Sunday, the bearded one joined Miami legend Dan Marino as the only players in franchise history to compile at least 350 passing yards with three scores and no turnovers. Fitz is 13th in air yards per target among qualified passers, so he isn't afraid to push the ball vertically to his young receivers. If the Harvard product made easy work of the 49ers' respected defense last week, it will be compelling to see how he performs against a Jets defense that rates 20th in pressuring passers and has allowed the third-most net yards per dropback to opposing arms. Momentum and matchup merge this week to support streaming value for this veteran signal-caller. -- Jim McCormick
The Falcons are somehow allowing 30.1 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks this season, using ESPN standard scoring. For some context, Lamar Jackson averaged 27.7 fantasy points during his MVP campaign last season. Multiple turnovers against the Seahawks kept Cousins from delivering a solid fantasy line in Week 5, but with at least 249 yards in all but one start this season and multiple scores in three outings already, there is some appeal to streaming the Vikings' quarterback in a choice matchup this week. -- J.M.
The last time we saw Harris on the field, he efficiently rushed for the first 100-yard performance of his career. A quad injury to Sony Michel signals Harris could again be the lead early-down option for the Patriots this week against Denver. The Broncos have been solid against opposing ground games this season, allowing just 3.86 yards per carry to tailbacks, thus this isn't as much of a matchup-driven endorsement as it is about the valuable potential of Harris' role. If Cam Newton is back in the mix behind center, rushing lanes should open for Harris, given the stress he places on front sevens in run support. -- J.M.
After proving dominant last season, Tampa appears to possess the league's stingiest rush defense yet again. Citing Tampa's defense might be an odd way to promote Williams, sure, but the premise is that he has recently surfaced as a helpful third-down option in the receiving phase for the Packers. Funneling targets to the backfield as a means to replicate the running phase could serve Williams well in this matchup, even as Aaron Jones obviously consumes the more valuable role. Week 4's spike in receiving usage for Williams could prove to be an aberration, but against an overwhelmingly tough run defense, I can envision the Packers looking to move the chains via the air. Washington's J.D. McKissic, available in roughly 85% of ESPN leagues, is another viable receiving threat out of the backfield worth considering for those facing injury and bye issues. -- J.M.
Preston Williams, Miami Dolphins (39.8% rostered; vs. Jets)
Welcome to the 2020 season, Preston Williams. He was a preseason sleeper who had a slow first month, but his breakout game (four catches for 106 yards and a touchdown on five targets) came Sunday vs. the San Francisco 49ers. Williams is just a few weeks shy of being a year removed from a torn ACL, and he's starting to regain his former status as one of Ryan Fitzpatrick's favorite targets. Fitzpatrick is hot, DeVante Parker is demanding a lot of attention, and Williams gets a chance for an encore against a Jets defense that allowed 11 catches for 209 yards and a touchdown to DeAndre Hopkins and Christian Kirk last week. Sign me up. -- Cameron Wolfe, NFL Nation Dolphins reporter
After not registering a target in the season opener, Higgins has averaged 7.5 targets per game in the four games since. He led the Bengals in both targets and yards in Week 5 against the Ravens, turning in a respectable game, even with the Ravens holding Joe Burrow to a career-low 183 passing yards and sacking him seven times. Higgins leads the team outright in receiving touchdowns (two) and could be in for an even larger role this week after teammate A.J. Green was forced to leave Sunday's game with a hamstring injury. -- André Snellings, ESPN senior writer
Is it true that Kirk hasn't had a game with even 11 fantasy points this season? Is it also true that his point total has increased in each game this season? The answer to both of those questions is yes, and with the third-worst defense against opposing receivers on tap, I like only the latter to continue. He leads this team in air yards per target (11.7) and has a ceiling worth chasing in what figures to be a fantasy-friendly environment. -- Kyle Soppe, ESPN Fantasy researcher
I wanted to recommend Higgins because of his consistent volume and because Bengals reporter Ben Baby pointed out the team is intent on developing the chemistry with fellow rookie Joe Burrow. Unfortunately, Higgins is about to face the NFL's No. 1 pass defense. So I'll go with another rookie whose volume keeps increasing. Shenault had a season-high seven catches and eight targets in Week 4, and Jaguars reporter Michael DiRocco said offensive coordinator Jay Gruden still wants to get him more involved in both the passing and running game. Shenault's biggest shortcoming is that he hasn't scored since Week 1. But he's facing the Lions, who have allowed the fourth-most points per game in the NFL. -- Mike Triplett, NFL Nation Saints reporter
With Mo Alie-Cox dealing with an injury and already just a complementary player, Burton is mostly competing with Jack Doyle for receiving opportunities this week. Several metrics suggest Burton is the veteran to roster for this nice matchup with a Bengals defense allowing roughly 13 fantasy points per game to tight ends. After all, Burton is second on the team in targets the past two games and has been targeted on a team-high 31.4% of his routes during this sample. Doyle, meanwhile, has been targeted on just 13.8% of his routes the past two games. With a nice matchup and some indicators that he's emerging as the top option in this Colts committee, Burton is a widely available streamer for those in deeper leagues. -- J.M.
Earning a spot in this space for the second straight week, Ebron's surge in opportunity rates helps his case as a viable streaming candidate at a relatively fickle fantasy position. Since splitting routes and targets with Vance McDonald in Week 1, Ebron ranks second on the Steelers in both routes run and targets. Now a savory matchup with a Browns back seven allowing 17.6 fantasy points per game to tight ends is next. -- J.M.
Defense/Special Teams (D/ST)
Miami Dolphins (58.3% rostered; vs. Jets)
Did you know that the Dolphins claim the league's seventh-highest pressure rate (32.4% of opponent dropbacks)? You do now. A shoulder injury could see the Jets' Sam Darnold sit this week, leaving a statuesque Joe Flacco in the pocket against a Miami front that likes to blitz often (30.8% of dropbacks). No matchup has been more fertile for fantasy fun than facing the Jets this season, so it's worth assuming some risk to deploy this surprisingly capable Miami pass rush. -- J.M.
Individual Defensive Players (IDP)
Montez Sweat, Washington Football Team (5.4% rostered; at Giants)
A key part of a deep and talented Washington defensive line, this edge menace just posted a career best in tackles in Week 5 and has registered a sack in three of five outings thus far. Next up is a Giants front allowing pressure on 37.2% of Daniel Jones' dropbacks, the fifth-highest allowance in the league. -- J.M.
Eric Wilson, Minnesota Vikings (18.2% rostered; vs. Falcons)
Proving busy patrolling running lanes since taking over for an injured Anthony Barr, Wilson has at least six tackles in each of the past four appearances, while also proving productive blitzing the A-gap in Mike Zimmer's defense. With multiple sacks and multiple turnovers already this season, Wilson is a fun option against Atlanta this week. -- J.M.
Currently 12th in fantasy points per game among defensive backs using ESPN's IDP scoring key, Okudah has been peppered with targets through his first month of NFL action. A penchant for breaking up passes and corralling receivers should help Okudah continue his productive pattern. -- J.M.