Waiver Wizard 2019 Week 9
Bye Week Blues
In most 12 or 14-team formats this is a very thin week at the waiver wire position, with few players of real relevance that are widely unowned becoming recommended plays, despite the Atlanta Falcons, Cincinnati Bengals, Los Angeles Rams and New Orleans Saints on bye. Given the plethora of talent that will be riding benches one would hope that there would be a player that is suddenly being vaulted into relevance akin to Ty Johnson last week (and how did that one turn out), yet sadly that isn't the case. Sure, Mark Walton and Kalen Ballage will now receive additional work with the Miami Dolphins after the Kenyan Drake trade, but does anyone really want to roster someone from that team?
Diontae Johnson is a name that I've endorsed seemingly since week 2 of this column that I will bring up yet again - he has obvious chemistry with Mason Rudolph. How he remains at under 18 percent ownership is anyone's best guess, but I'd be comfortable starting him as a FLEX option in PPR formats, especially with so many top-tier options on bye. I've received a fair number of questions pertaining to Green Bay Packers wideout Allen Lazard, yet I would rather avoid that situation if at all possible with Davante Adams returning soon from his turf toe issues and the team now effectively running the ball. Alex Erickson intrigues me, but the Cincinnati Bengals are on a bye this upcoming week, and his role upon the return of A.J. Green is unknown.
Outside of those few options, the only other player that I'm willing to bring up and discuss is Dallas Goedert, who has scored touchdowns in consecutive weeks and seen his role really increased with the team since Week 6. It is doubtful that the Philadelphia Eagles trade Zach Ertz for a cornerback, but if they opted to go in that direction to fill a need, Goedert would immediately become a top-5 option at the position for me on a weekly basis. His ownership has risen of late, but remains below 35 percent.
Josh Gordon's IR Situation
Before we continue and analyze some of the names that are being discussed at the trade deadline, I wanted to briefly touch base on the situation that Josh Gordon is going through in New England. With the team putting him on the IR recently due to bone bruises in his knees that have been keeping him from playing at 100 percent, the team will be forced to release him to free agency once is is medically cleared.
ESPN's Josina Anderson mentioned a few days ago that sources close to Gordon think that he will be back to full health within 1-2 weeks, and it goes without saying that he will draw plenty of interest from contending teams looking to add help at the receiver position. For owners wondering if they should release him, I'd say to retain him if at all possible, unless you are competing in an 8 or 10-team league with shallow bench depth during the bye weeks. In any "normal" format I'd look to hold him if possible, as in his case I believe that the risk is worth the reward.
Trade Deadline News and Notes
Teams around the NFL have until 4 PM EST this evening to make trades prior to the window officially closing, and everyone here at Football Diehards has been keeping a close eye on all the latest information being leaked from beat reporters, inside sources and insiders.
Traditionally known for being a quiet day compared to the other major sports, the NFL trade deadline usually comes and goes without any "major" talent shifting between teams. Currently plenty of big names are being discussed on various fan forums and blogs, but if there is any truth to the matter remains to be seen.
On Sunday, the Miami Dolphins didn't allow Kenyan Drake to travel with the team as they were in deep negotiations with the Arizona Cardinals, who eventually acquired his services for a 2020 sixth-round pick. At first glance this is positive news for his short-term outlook, as the Cardinals are a much better team than the woeful Dolphins, and the grass has to be greener on the other side anywhere else. David Johnson (ankle) and Chase Edmonds (hamstring) are both going to miss this week's Thursday night game against the San Francisco 49ers, so this transaction screams of desperation. As long as both players in front of him are out Drake is a viable FLEX, and little else. The 49ers allow under 100 rushing yards per game and this isn't a particularly great matchup for Drake. To make matters worse, the team then faces the best run defense in the NFL in Week 10 (Tampa Bay) before squaring off against San Francisco yet again. In this case, I wouldn't look to actively acquire Drake at all.
In other news, earlier this afternoon Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News mentioned that the New York Jets are attempting to trade before the window closes - this is definitely one of those reports that seems to clickbait more than anything else. Yes, the Jets are in full-blown "tank" mode, and have little to no shot at winning the AFC East (let alone making the playoffs as a wildcard), so acquiring any draft picks and freeing up cap space makes sense, in theory. That said, when considering if a report is truly valid or leaked by the team in an effort to drum up interest, consider not only the quality of the player being traded, but the contract that the other team will be inheriting as well. In the case of Bell, the Jets would need to find another organization capable of taking on the fully-guaranteed portion of his contract, which totals nearly half of the four-year, $52.5 million deal that he signed in the offseason. Are teams like the Houston Texans, Kansas City Chiefs or Buffalo Bills interested in adding his talent? Sure, but they also need to be financially capable of doing the move.
Another name that has seen plenty of buzz is Darius Slay from the Detroit Lions. Currently according to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo the Lions have an absurd asking price similar to what the Jacksonville Jaguars acquired for Jalen Ramsey. The fact that the team is capable of thinking they are comparable is illogical at best, and no team will come close to that sort of compensation. The Philadelphia Eagles are a team to keep an eye on if the price comes down, but as if this moment I expect Slay to stay in Detroit.
Though he isn't someone that owners can roster for Fantasy purposes, the Washington Redskins are now apparently open to dealing LT Trent Williams, who has held out from the team the entirety of 2019. One of the best in the entire league when healthy, Williams is surely generating plenty of calls from teams that are hurting on their o-line, and his addition to any front five would greatly improve the outlook of the running back behind him. It makes sense for the team to trade him, as he clearly has zero intentions of reporting any point soon. Williams is definitely a person that I am paying close attention to.
A situation to keep an eye on is at tight end in Foxboro. With Rob Gronkowski unlikely to return this year, the team has opted to re-sign Ben Watson as a band aid. He is an okay fit at best, but it wouldn't surprise me if New England was in contact attempting to acquire Tyler Eifert from Cincinnati, O.J. Howard from Tampa Bay, or perhaps even Zach Ertz from Philadelphia. Granted the team has been utterly dominant and hasn't suffered tremendously with a hole at the position, but everyone knows how the Patriots are always attempting to improve, and have the cap flexibility to do so.
With the NFL now attempting to mirror other leagues that encourage a team to full-blown "tank" in an effort to secure a high draft pick and the league doing nothing to put a stop to the trend, expect to see the vast divide amongst competing teams and those rebuilding become more absurd. Until the NFL adopts a different draft-selection system that doesn't simply hand-over the top draft choice to the worst team in the league by standing (and then subsequently reward them with an easy schedule, cap space, etc.) there is little reason for teams to field competitive rosters that may "cost" them a win and standings in the draft.
Buckle up folks, the next few hours should be fun!