I know the climb has been brutal for you, as it has for us all. This past Sunday my eyes froze over as I watched many of my teams drop under .500 for the first time. As I write this, I am enduring Jason Witten hand me a loss one excruciating 3 yard catch after another. This section of the season is the darkest grind when the post-draft excitement has long worn off but the playoffs are still far away. Injuries and bye massacres come for us all, but it’s how we respond that defines us.

However, this week get out your guayabera because we will be sippin’ cafe con leche on the beach by sundown! With 4 Miami Dolphins showing up as waiver adds, I’d like us all to take a mental vacation to that sweet salty air. For a brief moment, we won’t focus on the cold and wind but put slap in your favorite Gloria Estefan CD and let’s conga! 

Priority will be classified in 4 ways:

HIGH – immediate starter on most teams and trade bait at worst; be aggressive!

MEDIUM – probable FLEX-level starter right now; add if you have need at the position.

LOW – still a lottery ticket, but showing signs of growth; add if you have bench room.

FREE – likely can add post-waivers without using FAAB or priority if your league allows.

Players with “PPR+” designation mean they will be extra useful in formats that reward receptions.

Special thanks to @SmolaDS for always tweeting out Sunday’s snap counts early Monday!

First Aid Kit

Players set to inherit a bigger role due to injury

Brian Hoyer, QB, IND (priority LOW in multi-QB leagues) – Hoyer was summoned to lead the Colts after Brissett went down with an ugly knee injury. He proceeded to go 17-26 and put up 168 yards and 3 TDs. This continues the theme of Colts QBs racking up an uneven number of passing TDs relative to overall attempts. This seems unsustainable, but should Hoyer start week 10, he gets 2019’s most premium matchup against the Miami Dolphins

Bilal Powell, RB, NYJ (priority MEDIUM pending Le’Veon Bell’s status) – On Monday, word came out that LVB was getting an MRI done on his knee. We are unclear as to what the extent of the (if any) injury may be. If he were to miss time I would place my bet on Powell who has shown the ability to run as well as receive, and has seen increased snaps over the last few weeks. He could slide in as a low end RB2 for those needing help. 

Devante Parker, WR, MIA (priority MEDIUM) – Sherpa crush and rookie standout Preston Williams is sadly done for the year with a knee injury. Parker has been impressive in his own right in 2019.  DVP has scored a TD in 4 of his last 5 games and since week 4 his lowest output has been 8.9 PPR points. He was already becoming a reliable WR3 and now will see more looks for the second half. 

Powerbars

High calorie options to grab for a boost

Darrell Henderson (priority MEDIUM) – He was on my list prior to the bye week and I still feel that he is a FLEX play similar to Miles Sanders as long as Malcolm Brown is out.

Kalen Ballage and Myles Gaskin, RB, MIA (priority LOW) – Miami’s newly minted lead back, Mark Walton, will now miss 4 games for PED use. This may or may not yield fantasy goodness but the bye week winter is coming with 14 teams taking a break over the next 3 weeks. You may have to plug your nose and roll one of these guys out there. 

Personally, without being enamored with what Ballage has put on tape, I would stash Gaskin on the cheap and see what happens. 

Alexander Mattison, RB, MIN and Ryquell Armstead, RB, JAX (priority FREE) – This is a reminder that it’s handcuff season. Mattison is rostered at a 21% clip but Armstead only 1% in ESPN leagues. Both have league winning upside if the bellcow ahead misses time.

What especially interests me with Armstead is that while he didn’t catch much in college, in London he snagged 5 balls for 65 yards. I watched the game and he looked smooth in the open field, much different than what was said of him as a straight line banger. As soon as you have room, roster one or both of these lotto tickets. 

Zach Pascal and Chester Rogers (PPR+), WR, IND (priority MEDIUM) – In week 8 I wrote: Pascal is a former UDFA who…broke out as a teenager, dominated his small school competition and posted a decent speed score…There is certainly a WR2 role that is still up for grabs in Indianapolis, and while I wouldn’t pay a lot, he’s rosterable to find out over the next few weeks.

Now that there is no TY Hilton, he’s Indy’s WR1 and playing like it. He was on the field for 94% of snaps and put up an impressive 5-76-1 making drive saving catches along the way. Hilton will reportedly be out at least a month so fire up Pascal as a WR2/3 for now. He has 2 cupcake matchups in the next 3 weeks vs. Miami and at Houston.  

Rogers is another UDFA who has an 84th percentile agility score that should play well in the slot. He has lined up there for the majority of his snaps and could be a desperation PPR play as you navigate the bye weeks.  

AJ Brown, WR, TEN (priority MEDIUM) – The Titans found themselves in comeback mode most of the game Sunday so Brown saw extra looks. He corralled 4 of 7 targets for 81 yards and just looks like a man among boys on the field. I can’t promise relevant volume will always be there but this is talent worth taking a swing on. If it seems like Tennessee will be playing from behind, AJB is at least a matchup-dependent FLEX. 

Hunter Renfrow, WR, OAK (priority LOW; PPR+) – Don’t look at his picture before you add him, as Renfrow looks like a mid-level accountant. However, he is settling in as the primary slot WR for the Raiders’ surprisingly efficient offense. He possesses a decent agility score and will probably continue to rack up PPR points on a team that is playing catch-up more often than not.

It’s not a tantalizing add, in fact it’s the exact opposite of rostering AJ Brown. However, they don’t ask you how…just how many. With upcoming games against the Chargers, Jets, and Bengals he can get you through some bye week blues.  

Noah Fant, TE, DEN (priority MEDIUM) – Fant was mentioned after week 8 where I cited that he saw a season high 8 targets in the wake of the Manny Sanders trade. Now, he’s got back to back blow up games post-Sanders and there is no good reason he won’t continue to be featured in an offense lacking playmakers. With him logging season high snap counts of 82% and 86%, I’ve bumped his priority from LOW to MEDIUM so you know I’m serious. 

Mike Gesicki, TE, MIA (priority MEDIUM) – Well, Gesicki is the 4th Dolphin to be listed this week and now I need a Mojito. Already left for dead 23 games into his career, SPARQ freak Gesicki is quietly making a name for himself in Miami. He just posted a 6-95 line and is averaging 5 targets a game over last month.

That kind of opportunity places him in the top 12 at the position. As an added bonus for fantasy, he is lining up 38% of the time in the slot, meaning the ‘Fins are intentionally working him as a receiver. Finally, his 9.8 yards per target over the last 4 games would be top 4 for TEs on the season. For context I may prefer Gesicki over Dallas Goedert if I had to start one this week. 

Jacob Hollister, TE, SEA (priority LOW) – Hollister saw 59% of the Seahawks’ snaps on Sunday and turned that opportunity into a 4-37-2 line. I don’t think it’s enough to add outside of deep leagues but we know Will Dissly was productive in Seattle and Hollister is more explosive. I would worry about the volume, but keep an eye on this one for now. 

Stragglers

Leave these guys behind, it’s time to move on

Cam Newton, QB, CAR – He’s not even close to returning and just went to see a foot specialist. You’ve obviously found some kind of replacement by now. Unless it’s some deep dynasty with an IR designation, please drop Cam. 

Mark Walton, RB, MIA – He was fringy anyway, and I would rather hold Mattison or Armstead over the next 4 weeks. 

Kerryon Johnson, RB, DET – He’s out until week 16 at the earliest. Unless you’re holding him in a keeper league, drop him. 

DeSean Jackson, WR, PHI – He came back for a few plays and now needs core surgery. Hopefully he can find his way back to the field in 2020. 

Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR, GB – Just went 0-0-0 in a comeback mode game. Dust.

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  1. toolshed says:
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    Well I added brissett a few weeks ago to prepare for my qb’s wk 10 bye since he was playing mia. So much for thinking a ahead. Now virtually all decent qb are owned b/c we are in the thick of the bye weeks. Who do you like this week most out of grappolo who looks to be throwing more now with Sanders, hoyer (plays mia), jones (at jets, didnt look real good on mnf), darnold (ugh), Tannehill, k allen. Mayfield is a fa too but no way against buf. Sad to say I’d roster any starting qb over him now. Thanks

    • al_FF_red

      What a BOOF says:
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      Tannehill has been pretty reliable since becoming starter. 300 yards in 2/3 games and 6 total TDs. He gets a favorable matchup where Tennessee will need to keep pressing the issue vs. the Chiefs (maybe with Mahomes). I’d start him.

      JG and KAllen next then Hoyer.

  2. And Now the Jon Lovitz Dancers! says:
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    d-jax, good decision making buddy, sure saved time and money not having that surgery, the FIRST time! probably had an LAA or a mess “doctor” advising him on that one.

    • al_FF_red

      What a BOOF says:
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      Tough scene.

  3. toolshed says:
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    I also added herndon several weeks ago. This guy is eating up a spot on my bench. Is he even worth holding on to with how inept the jets look. How did darnold throw over 300 yds against Dallas? Goedert is available. Barring injury, my te spot is set until week 12 (bye). I originally thought he’d be back after his suspension and and would be decent and I could trade him. Thanks

    • al_FF_red

      What a BOOF says:
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      I’d have no problem dropping Herndon if you needed a week 10 starter or even for a high upside stash like Armstead or Mattison

  4. M says:
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    My running backs are:

    James Conner (injured)
    Derrick Henry
    Philip Lindsay (bye)
    Carlos Hyde (bye)

    so I’m definitely going to have to hit the wire this week. I’m just not sure what order to rank my claims, because there are some pretty decent RB out there in this 10-team .5PPR league, and I have to think both short-term and long-term because I’m shorthanded this week. I have 2 free bench spots, so hopefully I will end up with 2 of these guys:

    Matt Breida
    Ronald Jones
    Jamaal Williams
    Ty Johnson
    Kalen Ballage
    Bilal Powell

    What order would you rank these guys in my situation?

    • al_FF_red

      What a BOOF says:
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      RoJo (lights out matchup vs Zona, and possibly RB2 production ROS)

      —- big gap

      Breida (FLEX ROS)

      —- another, smaller gap as these guys are desperation FLEX types

      Jamaal Williams
      Ty Johnson

      —- barely startable

      Ballage

      —- forget it

      Powell – latest this morning is that LVB is fine

  5. eballs says:
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    Would you use a number one waiver claim on Josh Gordon?

    • al_FF_red

      What a BOOF says:
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      I don’t think so

      He’s at best the #2 there behind Lockett but DK is looking good too. I think this was a depth, real football move for Seattle upgrading their roster but not necessarily a fantasy jackpot

      • al_FF_red

        What a BOOF says:
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        He’ll have some nice weeks I think because Russ pairs nicely with his game

        It makes the Seattle offense more dangerous and that’s good for them. Just not sure he’ll be reliable week to week other than an upside WR3/FLEX

        • eballs says:
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          Would you rather use it one Guice then?

          • al_FF_red

            What a BOOF says:
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            #1 pri on Guice feels aggressive

            If no one had added him before this week do you think you need to spend the #1?

            Maybe can add post waivers. Or just save it for a windfall scenario like Fournette or Cook injury

  6. Thanos says:
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    Damien Williams got dropped in both of my leagues. What do you think of his resurgence? Where would you rank him? RB2? RB3?

    • al_FF_red

      What a BOOF says:
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      That backfield is murky and outside of the great 91y run he was still pretty unimpressive

      However he played >70% of snaps and I’d say he’s still a RB2/3ish with Mahomes back. I’d want to add him where possible

  7. Nightpandas says:
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    I’ve got Carr and Darnold and jets D…on the fringe at 5-4

    Wondering if I should trade a pick to get Goff or Allen and Saints D from a rebuilding team

    12 team std keep 3

    • al_FF_red

      What a BOOF says:
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      Eh not sure Goff/Allen is that much an upgrade over Carr. Raiders have been OK and have a nice upcoming schedule for fantasy

      Unless it’s a massive deep league I would imagine you can stream Ds, no?

      Certainly if the trade makes you more comfortable go ahead but I’d try and set my sights on more of a difference maker at QB if I was going to make a move

  8. Nick says:
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    Hey Sherpa, my plan is to snag Pascal and Reynolds this week dropping Conley (was a filler) & Shepard (done waiting on concussion protocol)…especially since I need a WR3 this week & maybe a WR2 if Thielan is out plus a flex…my question is, I have Scantling as well to potentially let go in this 12-teamer, would you snag Fant as backup TE to Mark Andrews, or just hope Andrews can be my go-to for rest of season despite trending downhill? I could also snag Ballage on waivers since I’m rolling out Kamara/Montgomery this week and my flex would be D Henderson at this point or Reynolds..

    • al_FF_red

      What a BOOF says:
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      I think I like your plan?

      I’d drop MVS for anything that helps you. Even if it’s TE depth. MVS is toast imo. Ballage or Fant are nice lotto tickets for you

  9. BORTLES says:
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    Thoughts on Foles post-bye week, rest of season?

    • al_FF_red

      What a BOOF says:
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      Should be fine. Comparable to what Minshew was doing. I don’t think the O changes overall

      Foles’ preference for certain WRs could dictate things for them tho. Like maybe Chark isn’t as clear a #1? I have no idea but I think that’s the biggest Q

      • BORTLES says:
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        Makes sense. I don’t have any Jags so luckily don’t have to worry much on that front.

        Otherwise, I’ll probably just stick with Winston for now and not add Foles as a backup (yet). Thanks!

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