Waiver Wizard 2019 Week 10

By Evan Tarracciano
Evan Tarracciano Fantasy Football - Insanity Personified
When you take a step back from Fantasy Football and think about it for a moment, it is a true wonder that this hobby caught on. Sure, fans are incredibly passionate about sports and with the recent legalization of betting they perhaps have a vested interest in the outcome of games. Yet with that said, Fantasy Football (and Fantasy sports in general) is a comical, considering that we as owners and analysts have zero control over the true outcome of the result on the field. We analyze statistics and probability, put our best team out to play each week and (hopefully) are active enough with trading and on the waiver wire to constantly improve our squads. Yet that aside, we don't call the plays. We don't sit in on team meetings or have any idea what the game plan will be against the opponents. All we can do is hope for the best, roll the dice and play the odds.

Albert Einstein is attributed with the quote "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results". Using this as an example, failing to be proactive and not constantly tinkering with your team is, in a way, insanity. With matchups generating different results that cast different projections each week for FLEX options, putting forth the same lineup and hoping for the same outcome is a massive mistake.

Plenty of websites put forth detailed information to aid owners on which games are beneficial or detrimental to particular players, most notably with "shutdown" cornerbacks covering or shadowing particular receivers. Outside of a select few option in 2019, few players fall within the true "set it and forget it" category where the matchup truly has zero bearing on whether or not you should consider starting them.

Over the course of my writing and radio career I've made plenty of good and bad calls when it comes to backing or shying away from certain talent. I'm human, after all. That said, one thing that I've preached since joining the industry in 2011 is to always be active. Never be satisfied with the status quo! Always do research on which players are available on the waiver wire, which owners are looking to make moves and are suitable candidates for a trade, and to always construct the best roster possible, each and every week. Never be satisfied with the way things are, always look to improve.

Even in weeks such as this where there are few "must add" options available in less than 25 percent of leagues that will change the outcome of a particular week, taking the additional time to edit one's watch list and/or reach out to other players and see if they are interested in wheeling and dealing is necessary.

Stagnation is the death of a Fantasy team.
Though they aren't necessarily the sexiest names out there, I'd highly encourage owners to take a look at some of the following options and evaluate if they would be a beneficial add for their team, or to perhaps add a trade chip in the hopes of blocking an opponent.

Zach Pascal (WR - Indianapolis Colts) - News broke on Wednesday of last week that T.Y. Hilton was dealing with a new injury in the form of a calf strain, and didn't practice throughout the week before finally being ruled out on Friday. Further information was provided by head coach Frank Reich, confirming that it will be a 3-4 week injury to their star wideout, forcing his owners to scramble. In his absence a coin needed to be flipped between Pascal or Chester Rogers, with Parris Campbell joining them in 3-WR sets. Pascal came away as the clear beneficiary even with quarterback Jacoby Brissett going down, catching 5-of-6 targets for 76 yards and a touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Though the volume doesn't perhaps indicate that he is the unquestioned WR1 for the team, expect him to be the featured option as long as Hilton remains sidelined. The team has several fantastic matchups upcoming, including the Miami Dolphins in Week 10, Houston Texans in Week 12, and Tennessee Titans in Week 13. For the short-term, Pascal can be added as a FLEX option regardless of the format and will provide a nice safety net during the bye weeks.

Ronald Jones (RB - Tampa Bay Buccaneers) - The other "hot" pickup this week is sure to be Jones, who rushed for 67 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries, chipping in two receptions for 15 yards against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 9. Earlier this year it appeared that Jones would be in a full-blown timeshare with Peyton Barber, yet the Bucs coaching staff has appeared to be more optimistic on Jones of late, affording him more snaps and touches. His statistics are only ho-hum from a metrics standpoint, but any starting RB on an NFL team is certainly worth rostering, especially on a potent offense. This upcoming week the team faces the Arizona Cardinals, who have been an absolute sieve against running backs, allowing the second-most fantasy points per game to the position. I'm sure that other analysts will spring Jones ahead to the immediate RB2 territory, but I still view him as more of an upside FLEX/RB3 that provides a decent floor.

Noah Fant (TE - Denver Broncos) - Lets be upfront when discussing Fant. His inclusion on this list is more due to the buzz surrounding him than my actual stamp of approval. Sure, Fant broke the 100-yard receiving mark for the first time in his young career in Week 9 against the Cleveland Browns and made a highlight-reel play on his touchdown reception. I get it. Yet what else has he done this year to earn our trust? Five times in 2019 he has caught two receptions or less, and he has never been targeted more than eight times in any given game. The Broncos are on a bye week coming up which means that his addition will provide no short-term value for owners, and immediately following the team's return they square off against the Minnesota Vikings and Buffalo Bills. Others will claim that since the position is so thin that he is worth monitoring - I suppose that is true, but key in on the word "monitoring". In dynasty or keeper formats I can understand the appeal, but I'm not going to view him as a plug-and-play option.

Sam Darnold (QB - New York Jets) - I told you so. I told you so. I told you so. Easy schedule be damned, I wasn't on board with adding him as a replacement to Patrick Mahomes, and voiced my opinion in several articles in prior weeks. Darnold doesn't possess either the talent or weapons to make him a worthwhile add, barring owners being in a horrific spot with their quarterback on a bye. I don't trust Darnold, and he hasn't proven anything to me in his short career that he's capable of a turnaround. Should Jacoby Brissett sit this week, I'd actually prefer to grab Brian Hoyer instead. Enough said?

Kalen Ballage (RB - Miami Dolphins) - With the recent trade of Kenyan Drake coupled with the suspension handed down to incumbent option Mark Walton, suddenly Ballage is the Dolphins starting running back. Woof. Though he did receive a fair amount of hype entering the preseason as a sleeper candidate, Ballage has averaged a paltry 2.0 YPC, and doesn't run with the violence that one would hope as a 6'2, 231 lb. player. Though Ballage is capable enough to catch passes out of the backfield, Patrick Laird and Myles Gaskin will eat into his touches in this already ho-hum situation. As mentioned earlier - if your team is truly hurting and has no other options to turn to during the bye week with Patrick Lindsay, Carlos Hyde, Leonard Fournette, Sony Michel, James White, Miles Sanders, Jordan Howard and Adrian Peteron on a bye in Week 10 - I get it. Otherwise? Avoid. I spoke with Cameron Wolfe of ESPN on Twitter earlier this afternoon, and he meniotned that Laird is anticipated to be the second option for the team over Gaskin, with the off-chance that the team brings in a veteran for depth, for whatever that is worth.

Josh Gordon (WR - Seattle Seahawks) - I'll fully admit that I've long been a supporter of Gordon, since I truly wanted him to turn his career around after the off-field issues that plagued him earlier in his career. Call me a sucker for the underdog. No, he isn't as fast as he was six years ago with the Cleveland Browns, but he's also not high during the game, so that is certainly a step in the right direction. Gordon played well enough for the New England Patriots earlier this year as a FLEX option for most owners in standard size leagues, and his ownership severely declined following the team's decision to place him on the IR with multiple bone bruises in his shin. Now with Seattle, he will operate as the team's third option alongside Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf. Given that quarterback Russell Wilson begged the team to put a waiver claim on him and bring him along, one would think that he is excited about having him aboard. I can't state that his value will take a tremendous leap forward in Seattle, and I can't envision him ever breaking out of the WR4/FLEX rank most weeks. Yet, I still think that he deserves to be rostered for his upside alone. Now fully healthy and cleared to participate in practice, he should be active for the team's upcoming matchup with the San Francisco 49ers on Monday Night Football.

N'Keal Harry (WR - New England Patriots) - Speaking of the Patriots, the team's first-round selection was finally activated off of the IR, and will look to start against the Philadelphia Eagles when the team returns off bye in Week 11. This is a crowded core without question, and the presence of Julian Edelman, Mohamed Sanu, Philip Dorsett and Jakobi Meyers (not going to even start with their tight ends and pass-catching RBs) severely limits his upside. Sanu led the team in targets during Week 9, and it goes without saying that Harry will need to build a relationship with quarterback Tom Brady before really making a true impact for Fantasy purposes. Akin to Fant who we discussed earlier, Harry is someone who I am more comfortable adding as a speculation play in dynasty/keeper formats than redraft leagues. Even knowing that the team was high enough on him during the draft to select him 32nd overall, I can't envision a scenario where he bumps everyone else off of the depth chart.