We’re approaching the quarter pole of the fantasy regular season and the elements are showing their teeth. Those of you that started 1-2/0-3 are approaching Dead Man’s Pass were a loss can completely throw you into a tailspin. The ice is slick, the days are long and the food is low. If you are thriving on the trail, then now is the time to take some chances and separate yourself. Let’s forage for those scarce nutrients and press on.
Each week, I will list intriguing players owned in no more than 30% of leagues per ESPN. For a primer on additional roster management and waiver wire principals read this. At the end I will also point out some players that can be safely dropped for a better option.
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.
Snap rates courtesy of Jared Smola (@SmolaDS) who was tweeting them out all Monday morning!
First Aid Kit
Players set to inherit a bigger role due to injury
Darrel Williams, RB, KC (priority HIGH pending Lesean McCoy and Damien Williams’ status) – As long as Damien Williams remains sidelined, Darrel will presumably fill his role. This offense is extremely pass heavy but it appears the Chiefs are content using DW 2.0 heavily as a receiver catching 5-5 targets this week. He added 9 carries which is similar to what Damien was getting prior to injury. Lesean McCoy went out late Sunday with what appeared to be a re-aggravation of his ankle injury, which would put Darrel in line to be KC’s majority back. That spells RB1 upside.
Wayne Gallman, RB, NYG (priority MEDIUM pending Saquon Barkley’s status) – My heart breaks as I write this because whether he’s on your roster or not, Saquon is a joy to watch. Seeing him limp off the field with assistance from trainers was a low point in the 2019 season. Nevertheless, this means there is an opening for carries in the Giants’ backfield. Gallman is a bland, unathletic replacement for Barkley, but he appears to be the next man up. He is immediately in the FLEX conversation but I wouldn’t get too excited about his prospects to fill Barkley’s shoes. UPDATE – Barkley is out 4-8 weeks with a high ankle sprain. Tragic.
C.J. Prosise, RB, SEA (priority LOW PPR+) – After Sunday there are a lot of moving parts in the Seattle backfield. Prosise lands under this section because his opportunity was based on an injury to Rashaad Penny, although it was also an in-game benching of the fumbling Chris Carson that gave Prosise a chance. On top of all this, neither Penny nor Carson have impressed too much this year and there could be an opening for the myth of CJ Prosise to become reality.
In the box score you’ll see 5 receptions for 38 scoreless yards but Prosise has potential to be much more. Injuries have always been his bugaboo, but right now I’d classify him as a deep league stash given the injured and unsettled nature of this backfield.
Phillip Dorsett, WR, NE (priority HIGH pending Julian Edelman’s status) – The options for Tom Brady keep shrinking, which is bad for the Patriots but good for us. Dorsett was in consideration as a desperation FLEX but if Edelman misses games he would be upgraded to a WR2. Don’t overthink this: he has been productive in limited time already and now could blossom as one of Brady’s primary targets. UPDATE – Initial x-rays were negative and Edelman underwent an MRI Monday, which was also negative. I don’t think Dorsett gets a major bump.
Parris Campbell & Deon Cain, WR, IND (priority MEDIUM pending TY Hilton’s status) – I wrote both these guys up after Devin Funchess went to IR, however neither has seized the opportunity. Hilton left Sunday’s game with an aggravation of his existing quad injury and was seen on the sideline icing it in the second half. Unfortunately this feels like a multi-week absence for Hilton, so one of the young Colts has to step up. Cain was on the field more in week 3, playing 54% of the snaps while Campbell was at 45%. Right now either one is a WR4 but there are plenty of targets up for grabs.
High calorie options to grab for a boost
Daniel Jones, QB, NYG (priority HIGH in multi-QB formats) – Danny Dimes really owned the haters this Sunday, throwing for 300 yards in his first NFL start. He was panned as a high draft pick, but it’s likely that if he had been selected in the 3rd round this would have been a much more anticipated debut. Watching him in action, I thought he made good decisions and I was impressed with a little Konami Code™ ability, running for 28 yards and 2 scores. You can’t ask much more from a young gun than to lead a game winning last second drive on the road. Jones is a must add in multi-QB formats and is even in consideration for single-QB streaming in the right matchup. Mark your calendars for week 7 against Arizona.
Kyle Allen, QB, CAR (priority HIGH in multi-QB formats) – While Jones was almost certainly owned prior to Sunday, there is a chance Kyle Allen slipped through the cracks. Because of the uncertainty around Cam, Allen wasn’t a confirmed starter until late in the week but now he may have stirred up some controversy back home. He exploded for 261 passing yards and 4 TDs in the desert looking, frankly, much better than whatever version of Cam Newton had been playing QB. He’s easily an awesome add in multi-QB formats and like Jones can now be on the single-QB streaming list.
Rex Burkhead, RB, NE (priority MEDIUM) – For the second time in 3 games, Burkhead has looked like the most dynamic back on the Patriots. So far he has shown superior running ability compared to incumbent Sony Michel, gaining 112 yards on 24 carries (4.7 ypc) to Michel’s 108 yards on 45 carries (2.4 ypc). Additionally, Burkhead can play in the passing game, with 13 receptions already in this young season. Sunday he filled in admirably in a suped-up James White role playing 74% of the snaps. It wouldn’t shock me if he continued to carve out significant touches in this offense. If the Pats’ coaching staff can see what we’re seeing, their hand may be forced soon.
Jamaal Williams, RB, GB (priority LOW) – This is why we can’t have nice things. If you’re reading this, it must mean that Aaron Jones’ bellcow potential has been put out to pasture. The hard truth is that Williams is here to stay in a legit 50/50 timeshare, and he even outplayed Jones in week 3. Of course Jones saved his fantasy day by converting 2 goal line carries but otherwise Jamaal was better and played more snaps at 61%. I wouldn’t be thrilled to start Williams, but the facts are he’s FLEX-worthy in a pinch and worth rostering.
Diontae Johnson, WR, PIT (priority LOW) – Named the starter heading into week 3, Johnson played the part well turning 6 targets into a 3-52-1 line. Many thought that Mason Rudolph would connect with his college mate James Washington but that did not yield much production. JuJu led the team as expected but Diontae was second in looks (5) and snaps (92%) and I would expect that to continue. Expectations should be tempered tho, as the whole offense looked rough against SF. He’s a nice WR4 stash on your bench.
Mack Hollins, WR, PHI (priority LOW) – I wrote about Hollins and teammate JJ Arcega-Whiteside last week, but Hollins emerged, playing 99% of the snaps for Philadelphia. Mack reeled in 4 of 7 targets for 62 yards and was much more involved than rookie darling JJAW. As long as Alshon Jeffery remains sidelined, Hollins can be a WR4/5, and a bye week option.
Preston Williams, WR, MIA (priority LOW) – Williams is familiar to the Sherpa, as he is still under-rostered but emerging as the de facto WR1 in this putrid Miami offense. On Sunday he saw 12 targets which is wonderful, but converting them into 4-68-0 is not. He’s probably long gone in dynasty formats, but keeper league players take notice as the Dolphins are due for major QB and OL upgrades as soon as 2020.
Auden Tate, WR, CIN (priority LOW/FREE) – The big bodied, second year WR exploded out of nowhere for 6-88 on 10 targets against Buffalo. Tate was impressive in college scoring 16 TDs across 2 years, good for a 75th percentile dominator rating. He also broke out as a teenager, which is also puts him in the top 25th percentile. The negatives with him are that he tested fairly unathletically and was a 7th round draft pick.
It remains to be seen whether this was an exploitable advantage that Cincinnati saw heading into the game or if he will carve out a real role. With AJ Green staying mum on his return, Dalton slinging it, and room for 3 relevant WRs in this offense, Tate is a worthwhile add. I just wouldn’t be too aggressive for this depth piece.
Will Dissly, TE, SEA (priority MEDIUM) – He has now caught 11/12 targets for 112 yards and 3 TDs over the past 2 weeks. Going back to the beginning of 2018, he caught 6/10 targets for 147-2 in the first 2 weeks before disappearing and finally suffering a season ending injury. Dissly has not shown sustained success yet but I’m comfortable saying he is a priority TE streamer as we enter the bye weeks. He may even wind up a multi-week option.
Dawson Knox, TE, BUF (priority FREE) – The bar for a fantasy relevant TE is so low that virtually anyone with a pulse qualifies. Knox is an intriguing athletic specimen, testing above the 70th percentile for both burst and agility scores. In his first real taste of game action, he put up an impressive 3-67-1 complete with a Vance McDonald-esque catch and run with a monster stiff arm along the sideline. The volume will be low in this offense but the fact they used Knox in a TE jet sweep tells me they like him as a versatile playmaker. He’s on the fringes of the TE streamer list.
Leave these guys behind, it’s time to move on
Antonio Brown, WR, N/A – He was released and then basically retired? I don’t know, but safe to drop if you haven’t yet.
Geronimo Allison, WR, GB – There was some life after a week 2 score, but he’s seen 7 targets compared to 21 each for Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. If you’re holding on I suggest you give up.
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