Welcome to the 2023 season. We all begin the season with optimism for our players and a (mostly) healthy roster. But to win, you have to make moves that keep you ahead of the game. That’s what this weekly post is all about. Here, I’ll be looking at lightly rostered players who could benefit you this season. Here are some players to look for in Week 5. All roster percentages are courtesy of the NFL.

Quarterbacks

Aidan O’Connell, Las Vegas Raiders

Roster Percentage: .2

About: O’Connell, a rookie, got the start Sunday as Jimmy Garoppolo was ruled out. There isn’t a likelihood of a change at QB here any time soon, but it seems O’Connell and not veteran Brian Hoyer is the No. 2 for the Raiders. Given the track record of injuries for Jimmy G., O’Connell isn’t a bad player to stash at this point, especially as we approach bye weeks.

Baker Mayfield, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Roster Percentage: 9.7

About: Mayfield is a starter for a team in first place. He’s thrown for three touchdowns in two of the four games this season. The Buccaneers have a great set of receiving weapons, led by Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, and the team looks like a contender in the NFC South. I know we’ve been burned by Baker before, but he should be rostered everywhere.

Running Backs

Pierre Strong, Jr., Cleveland Browns

Roster Percentage: .1

About: The Browns are adjusting to life without Nick Chubb. The Browns have Jerome Ford and signed Kareem Hunt, but they also traded for Strong just before the season. While most assumed Ford and Hunt would be the backs, Strong continues to get touches. On Sunday, he led the team with 49 yards rushing. Granted, he only had five carries, but he made the most of it. At the very least, he is worth a roster spot as the Browns figure out their backfield-by-committee approach.

Jaleel McLaughlin, Denver Broncos

Roster Percentage: .2

About: The Broncos only kept three running backs on the active roster—McLaughlin, Javonte Williams, and Samaje Perine. When one is injured, the other two are used. Williams exited Sunday’s win for the Broncos with a hip injury. McLaughlin saw seven carries and rushed for 72 yards, also catching a touchdown pass. He’s an explosive talent who should be rostered.

Ronnie Rivers, Los Angeles Rams

Roster Percentage: 0

About: Rivers is the RB2 for the Rams now that Cam Akers is in Minnesota. Yes, Kyren Williams is the workhorse. But Rivers is the next man up. He might not be ideal for your lineup right now, but he’s only one injury away from more meaningful touches. Many people are rostering Zach Evans, but it’s Rivers who’s got the better shot at work right now.

Wide Receivers

Calvin Austin, Pittsburgh Steelers

Roster Percentage: 1.3

About: Granted, the offense in Pittsburgh isn’t great right now. Diontae Johnson is also on IR. But Austin is looking like a player who might contribute in 2023 and is poised for a bigger role in the future. We’ve seen his big play ability, and he’s also consistently involved in the passing game. He has 12 receptions for 143 yards on 21 targets in four games. He is worth a roster spot.

Brandon Johnson, Denver Broncos

Roster Percentage: .1

About: The Broncos have a lot of names at receiver. Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, and Marvin Mims are probably all on rosters. But what about Johnson? Normally, a fourth receiver wouldn’t warrant a lot of attention, but Johnson has been consistently involved. He only has seven receptions for 113 yards, but he has three touchdowns. As we head into bye weeks and battle injuries, Johnson is a deep-league flex option with upside.

Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, Tennessee Titans

Roster Percentage: .1

About: DeAndre Hopkins and Treylon Burks are the big-name receivers in Tennessee, but we’ve seen Westbrook-Ikhine consistently produce the past few seasons. He already has 12 receptions for 134 yards and two touchdowns. The pass offense in Tennessee isn’t robust, but as Burks and Hopkins continue to battle injuries, Westbrook-Ikhine becomes a more attractive option.

Michael Wilson, Arizona Cardinals

Roster Percentage: .1

About: Wilson became a trendy pickup at the end of rookie drafts this summer, but at this point, some people might have forgotten about the Cardinals’ rookie. And yet, he’s started to blossom in this offense. Sunday, he caught seven passes for 76 yards and a touchdown. If he’s available in your league, he’s worth a roster spot.

Curtis Samuel, Washington Commanders

Roster Percentage: 1.6

About: Samuel is sometimes the forgotten man in the Commanders’ arsenal of weapons. Through four weeks, he’s WR44. Not incredible, but definitely a flex-worthy consideration. He’s also had at least six points in each game, which is a decent floor. As we approach bye weeks, he’s a good stash.

Deven Thompkins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Roster Percentage: 0

About: Evans suffered an injury on Sunday. In his place, Thompkins got plenty of run. He caught four passes for 45 yards and a touchdown. Hopefully, Evans is OK, but just in case, Thompkins is a player I’d look to stash.

Matthew Fox is a die-hard NFL fan and Broncos’ homer. He’s a member of the FSWA. You can find more from him on Twitter @knighthawk7734 or as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast, a part of the Campus2Canton Network.

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