by Noah Pires
October 13, 2020
Gardner Minshew - Jacksonville Jaguars
Waiver Priority: No
The weekly “just pick him up already” candidate unsurprisingly found his way back onto this list because he’s good. Very blunt, yet very true. The Jaguars want to throw the ball, as GM has attempted at least 40 throws in four straight games, and has logged multiple tuddies in all but one outing. He’s currently on pace for over 4,600 yards and 32 tugs, and with the combination of their schedule and defense, this projection isn’t all too unreasonable. This week they get the Lions, allowing the 10th most fantasy points/game to the position, and thereafter, get a stretch of HOU, LAC, and GB. He’s an every week QB1 with both floor and upside, what else do you want?
Ryan Fitzpatrick - Miami Dolphins
Waiver Priority: No
Fitzmagic is byke, and in a big way. He made the 49ers look like the Broncos, and, well, would you look at that, he gets the Broncos this upcoming week. I know what you’re thinking, so let me stop you before you get ahead of yourself. You may automatically assume that Denver is a good defense because they’ve had that reputation for the better part of a decade, but thus far, they’re allowing the 6th most points to the position per game (21.4). A soft defense, paired with a pass happy offense, led by a QB that wants to run the ball (to the detriment of his Harvard brain) is a recipe for fantasy success, and Fitzy fits into this equation perfectly.
Andy Dalton - Dallas Cowboys
It was a sad day for Cowboys fans and Dak owners, as the franchise QB that they don’t want to make their franchise QB went down with a Gordan Hawyard-esque ankle injury that likely cost him a season and then some. In his place? The red rifle, Andy Dalton. He’s not a great quarterback, but when you have Lamb, Cooper, Gallup, Zeke, and Schultz at your disposal, you don’t need to be in order to put up top-12 numbers. Even if he’s 70% of Dak, that’s good enough for (using Daks’ #s prior to injury) 296 passing yards and 1.6 tuddies a game, which isn’t great, but it’s worth the add in any SuperFlex/2QB league, and I’d argue warrants streaming upside depending on matchups. He’s been a usable option in the past when he had a healthy A.J. Green and Marvin Jones at his disposal, and this receiving core shits all over anything the Bengals have ever had to work with, so I’m actually fairly optimistic about AD going forward. I’d have a hard time arguing Matt Ryan over him, and would likely rank him in that Minshew/Tannehill tier going forward.
Alexander Mattison - Minnesota Vikings
Waiver Priority: Yes
I wrote Mattison up last week as someone to stash for $15-20 before a major injury hit to the team’s starter, and to be honest, that was probably the first time I was right about anything all season. Dalvin looked great all game, but the fact that he hobbled off the field clutching his groin like EDP445 at the AVNs gives me worry that he may miss some time going forward. I’m no doctor, and there hasn’t been any concrete news about if he’s expected to miss any time, but regardless, Mattison is worth spending all you got to acquire him. We have seen what he’s done in the past as the lead back, and this weekend was a reminder of how dominant he can be when thrust into that role. His 20 carries, which he turned into 112 yards, and three receptions, going for another 24, show he has the ability to be a true workhorse in the wake of Cook’s absence. Cooks is incredible, yes, but it’s hard to deny he’s struggled staying healthy throughout his career. Even if this groin issue is less serious than I may be making it out to be, I’m not optimistic about him keeping a clean bill of health for the remainder of the season, and with the Vikings seeing how well AM can handle the load, likely wouldn’t feel pressured to get DC back on the field before he was ready. If there’s one thing Mike Davis taught me, it’s to not cheap out on a potential workhorse back off waivers, even if it’s just a rental. Well that, along with RBs not mattering.
***These next two guys are likely owned in your league, and I wrote them up last week, so I’m not going to regurgitate those sentiments, so here’s just the FAAB I’d spend. If you want to know my thoughts on these two guys, check last week’s rendition. TLDR - pick them tf up***
Damien Harris - New England Patriots
Justin Jackson - Los Angeles Chargers
Ok, I lied, I'm gonna talk about Justin Jackson. The Chargers played last night, and JJ not only drew the start, but he out touched, out produced, and overall looked better than Joshua Kelley. Jackson outsnapped Kelley 42:25 and it was apparent that the Chargers just have a lot more faith in him than Kelley, as he was on the field basically the whole end of the game in both the 4th quarter and OT. His 20 touches may be a bit inflated due to the handful of dumpoffs Herbert funneled to him towards the end of the contest, but it at least shows the type of usage he's set to see. Jackson also ripped off a 30-yard run, which is impressive given the defense he was up against (I'm pretty sure the Saints haven't allowed a 100 yard rusher in 48 straight games...don't quote me on that). Overall, it was a good showing for the former 7th round pick, and looking ahead, after their bye, he gets to run wild against the Jets, Dolphins, Jaguars, Raiders, all of which rank top-9 in points allowed to the position. Austin Ekeler should be returning sometime after that stretch, so JJ's days of being a usable asset are fleeting, but any time you can pick up a starting RB off waivers that plays on a run heavy team facing a cake schedule, you do whatever it takes to grab them. $100 FAAB may seem a little ambitious, but at this point, if you need a win, it's too good of a situation for you to risk underpaying. Maybe that's the Chargers fan in me talking, but then again, I hate the Chargers.
Tee Higgins - Cincinnati Bengals
I’m pretty sure Higgins’ ownership percentage is fake, as it seems Yahoo has a bunch of dead leagues, but if he’s still sitting on your waiver wire, then go pick this guy up. Yeah, I wasn’t his biggest fan coming out of Clemson, but unbeknownst to me, it appears I’m not the one calling the shots in Cincinnati, so my opinion has less of an impact than A.J. Green. This past week marks the third straight game where Mr. Higgins has totaled either 60 yards or a tug, and has totaled 24 targets over that span. With A.J. Green dealing with a bad hammy, along with other issues, namely him not being good at football, Tee has fit nicely into the #2 role in a pass happy offense that will find a much easier time moving the ball in the weeks ahead as the Ravens will not be on the other side of the field for a while. Their next game won’t be easy, facing off with the stout Colts’ defense, but after that, get the gift that keeps on giving in the Browns and Titans. Honestly, though, I don’t even care much about the strength of schedule. With byes and COVID looming large, it’s hard to be picky, and seeing as his usage is consistent and valuable, he’s more than worthy of a heavy investment this week.
Brandin Cooks - Houston Texans
The former Saint, Patriot, and Ram looked like BC of old, and those aren’t his initials, it stands for “before concussions”. Will Fuller is still the most consistent option on this team and will be the Texans’ WR1 going forward, but Cooks has had enough good outings this year for me to feel comfortable investing in him. Outside of these top two options and the corpse of David Johnson, it’s a relatively consolidated offense in Houston, and seeing as they match up with the Texans, Packers, Jaguars (again), and Browns over their next four outings, Cooks looks to be worthy of FLEX consideration for the foreseeable future. I’m still more excited about the likes of Tee Higgins, Laviska Shenault, and Chase Claypool, as there’s a lot more upside in those three rookies, but Brandin is a nice consolation prize for you penny pinching FAAB-spenders out there.
Laviska Shenault Jr. - Jacksonville Jaguars
Waiver Priority: No (unless you need a WR)
My love for Laviska knows no bounds. I don’t understand how in the world his ownership is so low given hsi consistent usage and situation, as the Jaguars have had less leads than a shitty detective. Viska has now logged six or more targets in three straight games, and with D.J. Chark leaving the game early, is in line to see additional usage if the former LSU Tiger were to miss time. Even if he is ready for week six, Shenault is still a FLEX-worthy player, as he’s on pace for a very Deebo Samuel-esque rookie season. If he keeps his current production up, LS would be looking at a (90 target) 74-864-3 receiving line and 29-170-3 on the ground. Not often do you get a chance at a 1k yard producer off waivers, especially one who has just barely scratched the surface of his potential, off the wire, so if he’s still on the market, back up the Brinks Truck for the former Buffalo.
Chase Claypool - Pittsburgh Steelers
Waiver Priority: Yes (but would rather have Higgins)
In just one game, Chase Claypool scored more tuddies than all-world talent Leonard Fournette totaled in 2019. High praise. For real, though, if Diontae Johnson misses some time with the back injury he sustained, Claypool will step into an ultra-valuable role, which he put on display this past week. The touchdowns numbers were flukey, but the 11 targets are just a sign of things to come, and seeing as Diontae was averaging 11.5 looks a game before his concussion, along with JuJu’s role being a whole lot smaller than many expected, even in the wake of DJ’s absence in previous weeks, CC will be a legitimate WR3 play going forward. His size-speed combo makes for a matchup nightmare, as was seen on his third tug through the air, burning a safety down the seam, so if he’s going to be seeing somewhere in the vicinity of double digit looks with the ability to break a long play for a house call, there isn’t much to be worried about. If this was the first time he flashed, I’d be a little hesitant, but seeing as he’s taken the top off a defense before, namely in week two against the Broncos, I’m fully bought in, especially if DJ’s injury is more serious than what we know of at the moment.
Travis Fulgham - Philadelphia Eagles
The last thing I want to do is hype up an Eagles’ pass catcher, but after what Fulgham just did, it’s impossible to keep him off this list. His raw counting numbers were impressive, sure, but the way he got to those totals was even more telling, as he put on display his contested catch abilities, some nice YAC plays, and usage in both the short, intermediate, and deep game. I’d be a little more excited if he wasn’t on the Eagles because one, they stink, and two, they have a handful of receiving options returning from injury in the next few weeks, but his output isn’t something to overlook in dynasty leagues. He is a must add, especially in leagues with deep benches, as there are very few players who ever flash this sort of upside, let alone one’s available on waivers. As for redraft, though, don’t drop the bag on him. The impending return of Goedert, Reagor, and DJax will only hurt his future prospects for this season.
Tyler Johnson - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This is definitely more of a dynasty add than anything, as there will be way too many viable pass catchers in this offense for Tyler Johnson to ever be trusted in 2020, but the flashes he showed Thursday night were legit. Coming out of Minnesota, I think I had him ranked as my WR5 in this class, which may be more of an indictment on my scouting abilities than TyJo’s actual talent, but he put some of that juice on display, getting open at will against a pretty stout Bears’ secondary. He didn’t pop off for some Chris Godwin-esque six catch 190 yard statline, but what he did show was an ability to play that “big slot” role that I hoped he would occupy during his transition into the NFL. In his debut, the former Golden Gopher commanded a healthy six targets, turning that into a 4/61/0 line, and maybe more importantly, played on nearly 80% of the team’s offensive snaps. Again, once Godwin is back to 100% and Scotty Miller isn’t banged up on a short week, I’m sure his role will diminish, but he definitely earned himself some more run given the YAC and IQ (finding holes in the Bears’ zones) he showed not only this past week, but also solidified those flashes during his time in college. I mean, it’s not like this guy came out of nowhere. Johnson posted 78/1,169/12 as a junior, only to top that with 86/1,318/13 the following season despite competing with potential first-round receiver Rashod Bateman. On top of the raw counting numbers, Johnson also broke out at the age of 19.0, which checks out in the 90th percentile. The reason he slipped to the 5th is still beyond me, but he has heaps on talent and showed that on a short week against a solid defense in Chicago. He has a place in this league, and on the off chance the Buccs don’t re-sign Chris Godwin after (or during) the season, then there may be a path to usage in TB for tygawd.
Darnell Mooney - Chicago Bears
Similar to Johnson, Mooney is another guy who had a prolific collegiate profile, boasting both a 92nd percentile breakout age (18.9) and 72nd percentile college dominator rating, to go along with a great athletic profile (4.38 speed). Unlike Johnson, though, Mooney has been a consistent part of this Bears’ offense and has looked to have already secured the #2 job across from ARob. Yeah, that doesn’t mean much when you have the dynamic duo of BDN and SDM (new nickname alert) trying to throw the ball in your direction, but usage is what we look for in these potential breakout players. To this point, the only game where DM has played < 60% of the team’s offensive snaps was in week one, and since then, has averaged 5.5 targets per game. Again, many of these are empty looks, as both guys behind center have had accuracy issues, but the separation and contested catch ability Mooney has shown will keep him on the field, and IF this quarterback situation were to ever improve, he would definitely stand to benefit. His night could have been much bigger, as a 50+ yard bomb was horrendously underthrown, but I’d argue that only helps you in being able to add him off waivers or as a throw-in in a trade after this week. He’s talented af and for the price it’ll take to acquire him, it’s worth the shot. As for redraft, though, it’s not worth it. Nobody was excited about Anthony Miller this year despite looking like the clearcut #2 seeing seemingly accurate targets out of the slot, so there’s no point in trusting that same position on the hierarchy when the majority of his looks are 3x further downfield than Miller’s are/were going to be.
Cameron Brate - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
In the wake of O.J. Howard’s absence, Cameron Brate had a very unusual stat line. I don’t mean that as in five catches for 44 yards is atypical, but for Brate, I’m so used to seeing two catches for seven yards and two touchdowns that I was caught off guard. In all seriousness, though, he looks to be TB12’s top option in the short game, until Godwin’s return at least, as Gronk looks like dust and Tanner Hudson had no interest in supplanting Brate. He’s never going to be a great receiver in terms of efficiency, but the former Harvard product has always seemed to thrive in the red zone and down by the goal line, and seeing as how the Buccs are passing at a 59% clip in the redzone, the 8th highest clip in the league, he should stand to benefit from the odd TD here or there. He’s basically a clone of Drew Sample but in a better offense, so take that for what it is I guess.
Jimmy Graham - Chicago Bears
What is dead will never die, and Jimmy Graham has two feet in the grave. Despite him looking like he’s running with a refrigerator on his back and bricks in his pockets, he has turned into one of Nick Foles’ favorite targets. Again, Nick Foles is a bad QB, so it makes sense he’s leaning on the 4th best receiver on the team, but I digress. To my surprise, Jimmy Graham actually ranks 2nd in the NFL in red zone targets with eight, and paces the league with five looks inside the 10, converting at a 60% rate (which means he’s scored 3 tugs on these opportunities for those of y’all that can’t math it up). On top of that, he’s somehow seen an average of 6.7 targets per week since week two, and if we remove week two, is actually averaging a healthy 6.75 looks per outing. Not too shabby old man. This offense still stinks and so does his QB, but tight end is shallow enough for me to want to chase these numbers, even if it means there’s a little puke in my mouth at the end of the day from seeing J. Graham in my starting TE spot. I’m already easy just thinking about it, but when I compare it to seeing L. Thomas post three and a half yards on nine targets, I think it becomes an easier pill to swallow.
Trey Burton - Indianapolis Colts
I’m not here to fall head over heels in love with any pass catching option on the Colts, but it’s no secret that Trey Burton has overtaken TE1 duties in Indy. Mo Alie-Cox has become nothing more than Matt Asiata, being a touchdown dependent option that gets little to no run, whereas Burton has run 38 routes and commanded 11 targets over their last two weeks, dwarfing Doyle’s 32 and 3, and MAC’s 18 and 3. It’s still nothing to write home about, as Phil is washed and it’s a conservative offense, but with the TE position looking Nicole Anniston thin five weeks in, there’s a lot worse options you could invest in. Burton being unproductive despite this usage is both a good and a bad thing because it means you’ll probably be able to scoop him cheap, but on the other hand, means he also kinda stinks. I’m more than fine with lobbing $5 at the guy, and if he busts, he busts, but it’s worth the shot.
NEW YORK GIANTS vs Washington Football Team
Spread: Giants (-3.5)
CAROLINA PANTHERS vs Chicago Bears
Spread: Panthers (-3)
One that doesn't fit the formula...
Washington Football Team (6% owned)
They’re decent...I guess, but the Giants will make anyone look elite. The G-Men’s o-line ranks dead last in adjusted sack rate, coming in at 10.9%, and with the Football Team’s d-line ranking 14th in adjusted sack rate (6.7%), so it’s no secret that DJJ will be put under pressure. Pressure makes diamonds, but in New York, it makes turnovers, and a whole lot of them, so even if they’re underdogs in this spot, I have more than enough confidence in Jones having no confidence for them to be a viable streamer this week.
Stashes for Week 7...
If you’re looking for a defense to stash, just grab the Iggles. Their defense isn’t great, but they get the Giants in week seven. I don’t need to say much else, but if you’d like, I can tell you Philly ranks 6th in adjusted sack rate at 9.1%. Just saying.
Los Angeles Chargers
Another defense to stash? Is this Christmas? No, it’s just mid October and the schedule makers blessed the Chargers with an easy slate. They draw the Dolphins and Jags byke-to-byke, and even though Fitzy has looked on his game as of recent, I have more than enough confidence in LA’s pass-rush and coverage to turn over the bearded assassin in week seven. As for the Jags’ matchup, I’m never going to bet against Minshew...unless Joey Bosa is breathing down his neck. Also, the Chargers aren’t a bad defense to begin with, so I have confidence starting them against mediocre offenses, making this an even easier stash.
by Noah Pires
October 20, 2020
by Noah Pires
October 06, 2020
by Noah Pires
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