by Noah Pires
September 29, 2020
This is one of those weeks that makes you regret not dropping a band on James Robinson before the season started. Chris Carson was the only notable “injury” to the RB position, but it looks like he’ll be good to go against the Dolphins, so neither Travis Homer or Carlos Hyde made the cut. Outside of a few rookies that shined bright in their pseudo-debuts, there wasn’t really much going on, but on the bright side, there are a lot of strong streaming options for week 4. Let’s take a look at them, starting with a guy who’s become a familiar face in this article.
Gardner Minshew - Jacksonville Jaguars
Waiver Priority: No
As long as Minshew is < 60% owned, he will be on this list. Yes, he looked absolutely terrible on Thursday night against a middling defense, at best, but we have to keep in mind that D.J. Chark was out and it was a short week for the boys in Jacksonville. Maybe Chark being there wouldn’t have done much, as the pressure was getting the GM too quickly for any sort of downfield play to develop, but then again, maybe Miami would’ve ran a different defensive look to account for the vertical threat. Whatever the case may be, I’m still all in because the schedule is a masterpiece and the Jaguars’ defense keeps the offense chucking. He’s thrown the ball 87 times over the past two weeks and is averaging 20 rushing yards per game thus far in 2020. This is the type of QB you’re looking for as an ideal streaming option, and I’d be more than comfortable trotting him out there as a fringey QB1 for the foreseeable future.
Ryan Fitzpatrick - Miami Dolphins
Talking about game script, nobody looks to benefit more from that factor than Ryan Fitzpatrick this week facing the Seahawks. Not only are the Dolphins not going to be able to stop Russell Wilson, but the Seahawks defense blows as well, a major reason for them allowing 28.7 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks through three weeks. Sure, Fitzy isn’t as elite as Matty Ice, Cam Newton, or Dak Prescott, but the king of garbage time and head first slides should provide a QB1 floor and legitimate top 5 upside this week. His schedule thereafter, though, is tough, facing the Chargers and 49ers in two of his next three (after Seattle). Think of him as more of a 1 week rental than your answer at the QB position for the rest of the year.
Baker Mayfield - Cleveland Browns
You think I feel good about putting Baker on this list? No, definitely not, but anyone playing the Cowboys has the potential to blow up and act like they don’t know nobody (shoutout Jody Highroller). Through three weeks, Dallas is giving up an average of 25.3 fantasy points per game to the position, so even though the Browns seem to be a team that likes to lean on the run, the Cowboys’ offense should keep Mayfield slinging. If Baker continues his streak of mediocre games, he’d be someone I’m willing to stash as well, as his schedule post-Pittsburgh is insanely easy, facing the Bengals, Raiders, Texans, Eagles, Jaguars, and Titans all in a row. In Superflex/2QB leagues, he looks to be a solid buy-low candidate for these reasons as well.
Nick Foles - Chicago Bears
It took less quarters to bench Mitchell Trubisky than it does to buy a Big Mac, and with Nick Foles at the helm, this offense should stand to improve a bit. As far as fantasy goes, touching on Foles’ upside, I’m not all too excited, though. I’m not a fan of any one-dimensional quarterback unless they’re playing a charmin soft defense (aka Baker Mayfield as I stated above), but looking at how the Bears’ schedule plays out down the stretch, BDN is someone I’m intrigued by. Chicago gets a slate of the Saints, Titans, Vikings, Packers, Lions, Texans, Vikings, and Jaguars all in a row to end the year, a stretch that even Trubisky would be able to dominate. It’s not going to take much to scoop him off waivers, or even acquire him via trade, because we all know who Foles is at this point of his career, but it’s not unreasonable to expect some fringe QB1 performances sprinkled in throughout that eight game run.
Myles Gaskin - Miami Dolphins
Waiver Priority: Yes
Myles Gaskin played on 78.9% of Miami’s offensive snaps this week, marking three straight games of workhorse status. His 27 touches were by far the most he’s been given thus far, and although he turned that into just 95 yards, nobody is challenging him for his role. Matt Breida is apparently bad at football, and Jordan Howard is nothing more than a goal-line back, which means little for his own fantasy value, but in turn, hurts Gaskin’s upside. Howard being in Miami is what’s separating Gaskin from being a James Robinson-esque asset, as the TD upside on a weekly basis is so volatile because Gaskin needs to score from 10+ yards out to get 6, but I’ll take the guaranteed touches + extremely consistent and plentiful receiving work (averaging 5 receptions per game) any day of the week, making him a priority waiver add this week.
Jeff Wilson Jr. - San Francisco 49ers
Matt Asiata walked so Jeff Wilson Jr. could also walk. He played just 31.5% of the snaps, averaging a healthy 1.25 YPC. At the end of the day, though, he turned in a solid fantasy performance, logging two tugs and 54 yards through the air on three receptions. The thing is, though, I’m never going to tell you to pick up Jeff Wilson. Ever. He benefit from three other backs getting hurt, as well as the team’s top two receiving weapons missing time, and the cherry on top? He played the Giants. Once Mostert returns, he’s going to be relegated into a lesser-Tevin Coleman role, and nobody is excited to own TCo, let alone a worse version of it. Don’t fall into the trap of spending up on JWJ this week.
Rex Burkhead - New England Patriots
I could sit here and tell you that Rex Burkhead is the running back to own in New England, but that would be disingenuous as long as Cam Newton is behind center. I think the best way to put it is like this: any game where Sony Michel runs for 100 yards, something is up. I can’t take away the performance he had, though, logging 98 yards and 3 tugs on 15 touches, seeing 10 targets as well. It’s important to note that James White missed his second straight week, helping improve Rex’s receiving work, as well as Harry being limited throughout the week. So, with that being said, am I completely avoiding Burkhead? No; I’d rather him than Jeff Wilson, but the FAAB I’m willing to sink into RB is likely going to be a whole lot less than what it’s gonna take to grab him.
Corey Davis - Tennessee Titans
A.J. Brown’s knee is reportedly worse than initially expected, and in his absence, Corey Davis has done a solid job, posting a (11 target) 8/105/1 receiving line over the past two weeks. He’s more of a FLEX play than anything, as Jonnu Smith seems to be the #1 in the passing game on a very run-heavy offense, so I’m not looking to burn my FAAB on Davis. This write-up is the epitome of this week’s waiver crop tbh: an unexciting player on a team that doesn’t use them heavily enough to warrant excitement or any real investment.
Allen Lazard - Green Bay Packers
Waiver Priority: No (unless desperate)
One player that is interesting, though, is Mr. Allen Lazard. He has become an every down player for Green Bay this year, and in Davante’s absence, saw eight looks, dropping a 6/146/1 knowledge bomb on Drew Brees’ corpse. With Aaron Rodgers not giving a fark about anybody’s well-being, along with their upcoming schedule of the Falcons, Buccs, Texans, Vikings, (49ers), and Jaguars, Lazard looks to be in line for some pretty solid fantasy performances. Even if Adams returns, I’d have enough faith in AL providing WR3/FLEX value going forward, and if Davante were to sit another week or two, could open the possibility for the 6’5 227 pound slot-receiver to log some WR2 weeks.
Justin Jefferson - Minnesota Vikings
The Justin Jefferson coming out party only took three weeks and it was fantastic. Everyone was worried that he was a lowly slot receiver that produced solely because Joe Burrow put up the most prolific collegiate season of all time, but he proved this weekend that he’s a lot more than that. Not only was he dominating on the outside, but he also produced with one of the least prolific NFL quarterbacks of all time, Kirk Cousins. As far as redraft goes, JJ isn’t somebody I’m picking up in hopes of being an immediate starter, but he’s certainly worth the stash, as was A.J. Brown, Deebo Samuel, or Terry McLaurin were last year. Minnesota’s defense is atrocious, and their upcoming schedule is favorable for passing scripts (HOU, SEA, ATL, GB, DET), so there’s a good chance that if his usage keeps up (29 snaps this week, only behind Thielen with 32; 9 targets), he’s going to pop off at least once more. If you drafted him in dynasty, hold tight, because his price is about to skyrocket.
Brandon Aiyuk - San Francisco 49ers
A rookie I’m a little less optimistic about is Aiyuk. He had a great game, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t see any way that this kind of production ever stays consistent. It was encouraging to see Aiyuk get utilized in a versatile role, catching passes and rushing the ball a handful of times, but my only issue is that’s exactly what Deebo’s role is, except Samuel is the better player. On top of that, Kittle, Mostert, and Jimmy G were out, on top of playing the Giants, so it seems to be sort of an anomaly. I’m not going out to spend any sort of FAAB on what will soon to be a low volume passing offense’s third option in the receiving game, so if I miss on Aiyuk, at least I can rationalize that miss.
Scotty Miller - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
For whatever reason, Tom Brady loves Scotty Miller. Who am I kidding, we all know the reason he loves Miller...it’s because he’s incredible. With Godwin now dealing with a hammy, and Miller already having a role in this offense prior to CG going down, he’s bound to see a bump in target volume. Looking back, he’s had a fairly impressive start to 2020, topping 70 yards twice, and in week two, could have had a much bigger game if he hadn’t dropped a would-be TD. I’d be a little more excited about this pickup if his upcoming schedule was better than what it is during Godwin’s absence, as the Bucs take on the Bears, who haven’t surrendered a TD to a receiver through three weeks, and a stout Chargers secondary thereafter. Because of this, he is, yet again, someone I’m running out to go grab.
Cole Beasley - Buffalo Bills
Cole Beasley is the epitome of a WR4. You want 5-6 targets a week? Check. How about 57 yards? Yup, he’ll do that too. Want a TD on top? Hell no. You see where I’m going with this. He’s never going to overtake Diggs in the receiving game, and John Brown looks like he’ll back sooner rather than later, so AT BEST he’s the third option, but even that’s up in the air with Gabriel Davis showing flashes of being a legit playmaker. If you’re desperate, you could do a whole lot worse than Beasley, but I’d bet you can also do a lot better.
Tee Higgins - Cincinnati Bengals
Similar to Justin Jefferson, Tee Higgins woke tf up in week three to the tune of 5/40/2. More impressive than the box score, though, was his usage, as Higgins was second on the team in targets behind just Tyler Boyd (13) with nine, along with running a route on 45 of Burrow’s 52 drop backs, which paced the team. A.J. Green is dust, and even though Boyd seems to be the unquestioned #1, with a defense as bad as Cincy’s is, causing them to consistently play from behind, there’s plenty of volume to go around. Of the three rookies on this list, he’s firmly in a tier above Aiyuk and slightly behind Jefferson, and he’s definitely someone I’m looking to hold onto in redraft leagues because A.J. Green certainly isn’t the answer on the outside in 2020.
Andy Isabella - Arizona Cardinals
So is Christian Kirk just bad at football? It only took four targets for Andy to do more than Kirk has ever done in three years, and I’m pretty sure at this point of his career Isabella is the most efficient receiver of all time. But in the end, that’s the issue: he relies wholly off efficiency. Imagine saying efficiency is a bad thing. Well, in this case, when you’re playing around 40% of the snaps and seeing only four targets despite Kirk sitting and playing in a tightly contested game, efficiency is something that isn’t going to overcome the lack of volume on a weekly basis.
Greg Ward - Philadelphia Eagles
Waiver Priority: Yes (if you need a WR)
Who would have thought that in a week filled with rookie breakout performances, Greg Ward would come out on top. Me, that’s who. Ward looks to be someone worth grabbing solely because everyone the Eagles expected to have a role in the passing game heading into the year is now dead. Dallas Goedert got crossed up by AI and is out for a few weeks with a sore ankle, Jalen Reagor is on the couch for the next month or so, and DJax did what DJax does best: pull a hammy. Ward’s 11 targets and > 80% snap share tells the full story here, as he now looks to be a nearly every-down player with a skillset on the outside that nobody else on this roster boasts, because, well, there’s nobody else on this roster at all. Outside of Lazard, Ward looks to be the go-to pickup at the position this week.
Logan Thomas - Washington Football Team
I don’t wanna talk about this guy anymore. It’s the same story every week: he played 90% of the snaps, sees 8 targets, and leaves the game with 20 yards because Haskins blows. I’m still looking to pick him up because that kind of usage is unheard of outside the top 6 or so tight ends in the league, but at the end of the day, you have to realize not much is going to come of a target from Haskins.
Greg Olsen - Seattle Seahawks
Greg Olsen is just 2019 Jason Witten all over again. All he does is run 9 yard curls, catch the ball, and fall down. The only reason he made it onto this list is because Russell Wilson is an absolute gawd and the Seahawks’ defense stinks out loud, so there will be plenty of volume to go around. Obviously Lockett and Metcalf are well ahead of Olsen on the target totem pole, and even a healthy Chris Carson is going to see more looks in the receiving game than old man Greg, but with how often this team scores, there’s a lot worse options to throw into your tight end spot if you’re trying to fill the void left by Dallas Goedert’s injuries and inconsistencies.
Mo Alie-Cox - Indianapolis Colts
Mo may run like he has a piano tied to his back, but Jack Doyle runs like he has Mo Alie-Cox with a piano strapped to his back on his back, so he should have no issues fending off Mr. Doyle in the weeks going forward. MAC has now logged byke to byke solid performances, albeit on limited volume this past week, and seems to be a TE2 going forward. The only thing keeping him from breaking into that top-12 conversation is both volume and QB play, because both seem to be sporadic at the moment, but if either start to stabilize, he has as good a chance as any to sneak into the TE1 conversation. He’s the Greg Ward of tight ends, as the Colts’ receiving weapons outside of him have all found themselves in a blue tent or retirement home (sorry TY), so even though he’s not a sexy pickup, he’s worth investing in on the off chance his role continues to expand.
***There is only one defense this week that hits all three criteria we use for a good streaming option: being the home team, being favorites, and having a low point total. Others that fit this criteria are >60% owned***
Los Angeles Rams vs New York Giants
Spread: LAR (-11.5)
by Noah Pires
October 27, 2020
by Noah Pires
October 20, 2020
by Noah Pires
October 13, 2020