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.
High calorie options to grab for a boost
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.
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.
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