Waiver Wizard 2019 Week 6
Though it feels that the Fantasy Football season has just begun, I'm going to offer you a sharp dose of reality - we are already more than a quarter of the way through the season. The months preparing for your draft in the offseason hopefully paid off with some solid picks and pans, allowing you to position yourself in a decent spot with the upcoming bye weeks.
Wait. That isn't the case with your team? The players that you drafted in the first few rounds have been colossal disappointments so far this year? Some players like Odell Beckham Jr (along with the entire rest of the Cleveland Browns) were massively overhyped and you bought in? An early injury to Saquon Barkley has derailed your hopes and dreams?
I feel you.
Fantasy Football, much as I loathe to admit it, is partially luck. We can prepare for things as best as possible, draft players that fit our roster construction and offer a ton of upside, but at the end of the day all that we can hope for is that expectations meet reality. As owners, we don't dictate the playcalling on any given team. We can't explain why the coaching staff has more faith in player A than B. We can't rely on others to keep their cool and not bench someone with fumbling issues, or a case of the dropsies (Eric Ebron syndrome).
With so much of this out of our hands, where does that leave us? Sharp owners prepare for upcoming circumstances, adjust to what has already happened, and not dwell on the past. Read, react. Read, react. Notice how I didn't say overreact? Don't drop players with advantageous schedules that are proven talent such as DeAndre Hopkins, Aaron Rodgers or David Montgomery. Seems obvious to most, but you'd be surprised at some of the Twitter questions that I receive every Tuesday about who should be dropped to acquire the latest hot acquisition.
Read, and react. Owners were worried that Todd Gurley wouldn't come close to providing a value where he was being drafted at the end of round two (or the beginning of round three in some cases). To that end, he's averaged a touchdown on the ground each week, already has 14 receptions and appears to be making it through each week unscathed. Does it still make sense to handcuff him with Malcom Brown when possible? Absolutely. Are Gurley's overall touches down from last season? Certainly. Therefore, consider him a mid-range RB2 or FLEX option, rather than top 10 player at the position. Adjust.
Read, and react. We were told that Miles Sanders talent coupled with the limited skillset of Jordan Howard would lead to him winning the starting role in Philadelphia during draft season. Needless to say, that hasn't happened. Howard has solidified himself as the early-down and short-yardage back for the team, and the coaching staff confirmed that they have confidence he will retain that. Sanders has averaged a paltry 3.6 YPC on the ground and shown a lack of vision at times, coupled with losing several fumbles. He's still being used as a pass-catching option and is on pace for around 40 receptions this season, but it is clear that he shouldn't be viewed as an RB2, and is more of a PPR FLEX. Adjust.
Read, react. Stefon Diggs was drafted in similar territory as his Minnesota cohort Adam Thielen, yet he has half of his points scored. The Minnesota Vikings have clearly shifted from a pass-first to run-first offensive strategy, causing a dramatic dip in his overall targets per game. Even after speaking out publicly with his frustrations on lack of usage, Kirk Cousins looked his way just four times in Week 5. Again, adjust expectations.
Look, I could go on but at this point I'm sure you understand where I'm going with this. Throw out any preconceived notions that you had on players entering your draft over a month and a half ago. The past is the past - we can't change it but we sure can learn from it. Make moves as necessary. Consider alternative options and explore trades. Be aggressive on the waiver wire, and even if you have failed to register a win so far this season, continue to be as competitive as possible. Miracles do happen.
Thoughts on various positions….
Gardner Minshew II (Jacksonville Jaguars) - I've spoken about Minshew in earlier articles, and I want to reiterate my position yet again. Minshew isn't a top-10 option at the position, nor should he be viewed as such. He has kept the Jaguars competitive in each of the games that he has started, and has thrown (to his credit) multiple touchdown passes in four of his first five starts. That said, I still view him as a bye-week replacement option or desperation fill in should a starter go down with an injury, rather than a must-add.
Jacoby Brissett (Indianapolis Colts) - Even with his most recent dud against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 5, Brissett has been a revelation for a team that was wondering how they would fare without Andrew Luck. The yards that Brissett adds on the ground (he already has 24 rushing attempts this year) are simply gravy. With the team having a chance to rest up during a bye this week, expect receiving options T.Y. Hilton, Jack Doyle and Nyheim Hines to return rejuvenated. Injuries have forced their defense to allow more points than initially expected, and this team will greatly benefit with time off.
Andy Dalton (Cincinnati Bengals) - Speaking of teams that have been forced to throw, Dalton currently ranks third in the NFL with 204 passing attempts, and has thrown touchdown passes to five different players already this season. Auden Tate's emergence coupled with the eventual return of A.J. Green will greatly benefit Dalton, coupled with the ongoing health of Tyler Eifert as a red zone option. I'd be looking to acquire Dalton as a backup in leagues if possible, as he is owned in less than 19 percent of standard formats.
New York Giants backfield - With Saquon Barkley still sidelined with a high ankle sprain and Wayne Gallman sustaining a recent concussion, the team will look to hand the ball off to Jonathan Hilliman on Thursday against the New England Patriots. I've already seen his name bandied about in waiver wire columns that have been produced the last day or two. Please don't waste FAAB money or a waiver wire position on Hilliman. I don't see him finding his way into the end zone on a team that will be under severe duress. Avoid.
Kansas City Chiefs backfield - I touched on this situation on Twitter, stating that I was confused why the team was so quick to essentially bench LeSean McCoy and feed Damien Williams touches, despite him being off the field since Week 2. It is clear that the team wants Damien Williams to have the lead role, and compliment him with McCoy when necessary. Why did the Chiefs opt to sign McCoy then to a major contract when they just drafted Darwin Thompson? No idea. McCoy will still be involved, but is more gameflow dependent than truly reliable at this point.
Ryquell Armstead (Jacksonville Jaguars) - I'll make this point short and sweet. Leonard Fournette has been wonderful this season and currently ranks fourth in the league with 95 carries. His workload alone makes him a viable back-end RB1 option, but this is still a player that carries major injury concerns. Since being drafted in 2017 Fournette has missed 11 games with lower body issues, and Armstead has proven himself to be a very capable player when given the opportunity.
Tennessee Titans- Recently I've read plenty of praise towards both Corey Davis and A.J. Brown, suggesting that they be considered as viable streaming options or pickups in most formats. No. No. No. As long as Marcus Mariota is under center, I want zero to do with this passing "attack". Does anyone realize that Delanie Walker and Adam Humphries actually lead the team in receptions? Or that Hunter Renfrow of the Oakland Raiders has more targets than either Davis or Brown? I'm all about adding upside, but make sure to target upside with opportunity.
Mohammed Sanu (Atlanta Falcons) - Calvin Ridley was sure to decrease his touchdown rate after a phenomenal rookie season, but his slow start has me worried. Currently on pace for less than 1,000 receiving yards or 80 catches, Ridley has instead taken a backseat to Austin Hooper and Sanu. Sanu has posted double-digit PPR numbers in four of the first give weeks, and has at least five targets in each game this year (including 17 over his past two starts). He isn't a flashy name per se, but his consistency is a nice floor to have in your pocket.
Byron Pringle (Kansas City Chiefs) - Following the departure of Sammy Watkins against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 5, it was Pringle, not Demarcus Robinson or Mecole Hardman that most directly benefitted. Nothing suggested that would be the case entering Week 5, as Pringle totaled just two receptions and two targets prior. Much will be made about this so-called "breakout" performance, but as I mentioned before -read and react. Tyreek Hill is likely to return in either Week 6 or 7 at the latest and Travis Kelce had his worst game in recent memory. Don't spend too much on a flash in the pan performance. The Chiefs still boast the most exciting offense in football, but there comes a limit on how far down the depth chart I'm willing to acquire.
Hunter Henry (Los Angeles Chargers) - Sidelined since the conclusion of Week 1 with a knee injury, Henry's ownership has fallen below the 50 percent mark due to frustrated owners not willing to afford him a bench slot. Knowing that his initial timeline suggested that he would miss between four to six weeks, we are now in the midst of that window and should be keeping him in mind. Entering the season ranked within the top five at the position, Henry is a red-zone weapon that will be relied upon by Philip Rivers (hopefully eliminating some of the two-yard dump off passes to Austin Ekeler). The window to buy-low on Henry is drawing to a close.
Chris Herndon (New York Jets)- Herndon has topped the waiver wire addition list at the position for a number of weeks now, and for good reason - he closed the 2018 season as a back-end TE1, and was one of the top waiver-wire additions of the season. Following his four-game suspension, he is now eligible to return against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 6. Head coach Adam Gase stated that he'd like to get him back practicing prior to activating him, but that is simply coach speak. He will be out there. The problem? The team is uncertain if Sam Darnold will be. As long as Darnold is out with his mono health issues, I don't want to start Herndon, despite the obvious appeal and lack of depth at the position.