Once A Sleeper, He’s Becoming A Starting-caliber Option For Fantasy

The quickest way to fall behind in a fantasy football league is to become complacent and rely on the team you drafted, neglecting the all-important waiver wire. As managers make numerous waiver claims for Week 6, hoping to strengthen their roster, should Alec Pierce be a priority addition off the waiver wire vs. the Jaguars?

Alec Pierce’s Hot Streak Continues for Fantasy Managers After Another Solid Outing

It happens every year. We fall for a rookie but end up dropping them after a few slow weeks. That’s the problem with relying on rookies early in the year. You never know when things will click and the game slows down for them, and they stop thinking and start playing football.

That’s happened with Pierce of the Indianapolis Colts. After a slow start due to a concussion, it’s now been three weeks in a row where Pierce has impressed. With 81 receiving yards in Week 5, Pierce has 80+ yards in back-to-back weeks thanks to eight of nine receiving against the Broncos as the lone bright spot in an otherwise awful game.

Pierce was QB Matt Ryan’s top weapon, leading the team in targets, receptions, and receiving yards in a game where both offenses left a lot to be desired. Pierce continues to improve his game and become a more well-rounded WR than we saw at Cincinnati. When you dive in deeper, it’s more impressive, too.

MORE: Fantasy Football Cut List Week 6

Since Week 3, Pierce is No. 1 on the Colts in target rate per routes ran at 28%. Michael Pittman Jr. sits at 18%. Pierce, as you might expect with someone with his skill set, is also dominating Pittman in yards per route ran, clocking in at 3.08 YPRR to Pittman’s 1.28. For context, the only player with a higher YPRR than Pierce since Week 3 is New Orleans Saints rookie WR Chris Olave at 3.39. Pierce has also amassed a 25.8% air-yard share for the Colts’ passing game.

Pierce was one of my favorite rookie sleepers of this class, given the lack of proven options on the Colts’ roster and the wide-open path for opportunities. Now that those opportunities are coming — and he’s taking advantage of them — Pierce’s stock is set to soar, making this one of the final chances for fantasy managers to add the former Bearcat.

Is Alec Pierce Worth Targeting Off the Waiver Wire Ahead of Week 6 Fantasy Matchups?

If I have enough roster space on my bench, Pierce is absolutely on my short list of targets for the Week 6 waiver wire. Unquestionably, the top claim of the week is RB Kenneth Walker III, followed closely by Brian Robinson of the Commanders. At WR, I’d give the slight edge to Patriots WR Jakobi Meyers, but Pierce’s ceiling might be even higher.

While Pierce was already playing well, the first-half foot injury to Ashton Dulin pushed even more targets Pierce’s way, even though Dulin is a clear fourth on the depth chart. At some point, touchdowns will come via broken coverages, as Pierce’s game puts pressure on the second-level coverage. It’s just up to Ryan to do the rest. That’s both a good and a bad thing right now, as Ryan needs to get his act together.

We are scratching the surface of Pierce’s ceiling, and while I don’t see him becoming the No. 1 and surpassing MPJ, even if just for the coming bye weeks, fantasy managers should take a hard look at Pierce and, if possible, add him off the waiver wire.

The schedule alone is worth targeting as the Colts face the Jaguars in Week 6, followed by games against the Titans and Commanders. Although Jacksonville is ninth in points allowed to WRs (13.7), Washington (24th) and Tennessee (28th) are in the bottom 10.

If Indy can get the offensive line figured out and solidify the tackle spot with improved play from Bernhard Raimann, Pierce’s upside rises, given the additional time for the play to develop for Ryan. For now, consider Pierce a high-upside WR4 worth starting in your Flex as a bye-week fill-in.

Tommy Garrett is the Senior Fantasy Football Analyst at Pro Football Network. Along with written work, he is also a co-host for audio and video content with the company. Born and raised in Indiana, Tommy stepped away from the manufacturing world to turn his lifelong passion for the game and turn it into a career. Tommy is likely to have baseball or college football on TV in his free time, and he’s either at the golf course or the gym to get away.

Tommy Garrett is a Fantasy Analyst for Pro Football Network and is a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA). You can read all of Tommy’s work here and give him a follow on Twitter: @TommyGarrettPFN.

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