Greetings from the cold, barren edge of the Earth! Had a mishap last week and had to spend the last 10 days in the infirmary. Turns out, boiling water is not the best way to warm up frostbitten toes. Believe me I’d much rather spend that time out on the mountain where I’m in control of my own destiny instead of being at the whim of those doctors. The good news is that I’m back and ready to lead our motley crew up to the summit!
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.
First Aid Kit
Players set to inherit a bigger role due to injury
Matt Schaub, QB, ATL (priority MEDIUM in multi-QB leagues pending Matt Ryan’s status) – We know what Schaub is, and there is no intriguing young profile to write about. But, he potentially will be the QB on a pass happy team with good weapons and an atrocious defense. I wouldn’t kick these tires outside of a 2QB/superflex league though.
UPDATE – It appears Ryan may only miss one game at most.
Chase Edmonds, RB, ARI (priority HIGH) – Last time we chatted, I mentioned Edmonds as an RB1 type pickup should David Johnson miss any time. That was prior to week 6 and as it happened, DJ was healthy enough to play (although Edmonds did score a touchdown). DJ once again was limited all week but got the green light and was “active” on Sunday. Well, he got one touch and Edmonds went absolutely HAM recording 150 total yards and 3 scores! He was used like a true workhorse and performed like one as well.
Unfortunately, we still don’t seem to know what DJ’s situation is and after the game Coach Kingsbury said “we wanted to make sure Dave only played if we really needed him…We were just being smart. It was a knee-based deal.” So, despite being active, there was never any intention to play DJ this game? Thanks, coach. Presumably DJ will be a lead back once again but Edmonds is shaping up to be a weekly flex and I think this could devolve into a true committee (maybe 60/40), which is great for the Cardinals but unfortunate for David Johnson backers.
UPDATE – The Cardinals worked out 2 backs Monday, hinting that DJ may be out for a week or more. Strong add.
Ty Johnson, RB, DET (priority HIGH pending Kerryon Johnson’s status) – The 6th round rookie out of Maryland inherited a majority role in the Lions’ backfield once Kerryon Johnson left the game with a right knee injury. It’s promising that KJ’s 2018 injury was to the left knee and he was seen with a brace and staying loose on the bike, but he was ultimately ruled out for the game. However, in the event KJ should miss games, Ty Johnson is an interesting add.
He cracked 1000 yards rushing as a sophomore but never got there again, although for his career he did average a massive 7 yards per carry. His game is fast, albeit raw, but given opportunity he does possess tantalizing speed and receiving skills. Ty’s fantasy value all depends on KJ’s knee but I would feel very comfortable starting him in a flex role if JD McKissic is his only backfield competition on game day.
UPDATE – The latest out of Detroit is that KJ will miss “some time” which feels like coach speak for an extended absence. If Edmonds isn’t available, add Ty Johnson with confidence.
Kenny Stills, WR, HOU (priority HIGH pending Will Fuller’s status) – The Texans acquired Stills because he is essentially a carbon copy of Will Fuller and they know that their offense can sputter when Fuller is off the field. Blazing deep speed (sub-4.4) pairs well with what Deshaun Watson likes to do so when Fuller left Sunday’s game with a hamstring Stills jumped right in and went over 100 yards receiving. I believe he is a perfect player to seamlessly fill in for Fuller so go ahead and add with excitement.
UPDATE – Fuller will miss multiple weeks with a significant hamstring strain.
High calorie options to grab for a boost
Mark Walton, RB, MIA (priority LOW) – Like Kenyan Drake and Kalen Ballage before him, it’s unlikely Walton becomes a useful fantasy running back even if given the majority of Dolphins carries. That being said, the 2nd year back looked good turning 14 carries into 66 yards against a respectable Bills defense. Drafted in the 4th round by the Bengals he now seems to have found a role in his hometown of Miami. Walton would be an uninspiring flex play but I know people were starting Jon Hilliman a few weeks ago, so he’s at least on par with that.
Darrell Henderson Jr, RB, LAR (priority LOW) – With Malcolm Brown out, the electric Mr. Henderson saw his biggest opportunity in a game this season with 12 touches against the Falcons. He showed some burst on a few carries but ultimately had a lackluster stat line totaling only 39 total yards. This is definitely a player you want to roster though, as the offense is still good and Gurley can miss a game at any time. He’s not even a flex starter just yet, but one injury report away from being 100% rostered and an impact fantasy starter.
Preston Williams, WR, MIA (priority MEDIUM) – Another week, another Sherpa stan regarding Williams. He has seen 6 or more targets in all but one game this season. Coming off a 6-82 showing, he’s been very impressive considering he is a rookie on a bad team with not one but 2 complete zeros at QB. Preston is a reasonable bye week filler in season long and a strong buy in dynasty. The Dolphins have already waved the white flag and benched Rosen after a few starts meaning they know the QB position must improve in 2020.
AJ Brown, WR, TEN (priority LOW) – A sentence I never expected to write this year is: Ryan Tannehill immediately breathed life into this Titans offense. Before we get too excited, realize Tennessee didn’t attempt 30 passes, but Tannehill made the most of them and AJB saw a team leading 8 looks which he turned into 64 yards. We’ve already seen that he has big pay ability on 2-3 targets but if he starts seeing even 6+ targets a game this could really be something. In week 8 I would still be nervous starting AJB against the Broncos but in dynasty he has a blinking green up arrow next to him.
Zach Pascal, WR, IND (priority LOW/FREE) – Pascal is a former UDFA who actually saw some playing time as a rookie in 2018 due to multiple injuries at the position. This past Sunday he had a career day catching 6 balls for 106 yards and 2 scores. He may not be a total one hit wonder, though.
His profile is interesting as he broke out as a teenager, dominated his small school competition and posted a decent speed score. Despite plenty of draft capital and preseason hype ahead of him on the depth chart, no one has separated from the pack until Pascal did this week. 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.
Alex Erickson, WR, CIN (priority FREE) – I don’t know what happened here. At one point in this game, Erickson was on the receiving end of all 110 Bengals passing yards. Eventually Andy Dalton connected with some other players, but Erickson ended the day with an 8-137 line on 14 targets. I’ll admit, even with all my sagely wisdom I don’t know what to make of this. Personally, I am going to chalk it up as a blip that he’ll be able to tell his grandkids about and move on.
Leave these guys behind, it’s time to move on
Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, SF – Outside of multi-QB leagues he’s absolutely droppable. The 49ers are having a great season but JG hasn’t attempted 35 passes one time and they are running at the league’s highest rate.
Chris Thompson, RB, WAS – This one is sad to write, as he is a special talent who is fun to watch. This offense has devolved into a simple run based unit that is content to hand off to Adrian Peterson 50 times a game. Even in deep PPR leagues CT is merely a desperation start.
Demarcus Robinson, WR, KC – Normally I would support having any member of the Chiefs but with Hill back it appears to be a fairly narrow dispersal of opportunity between Hill, Kelce and the stable of RBs. If anyone outside of that makes noise I would bet on Mecole Hardman over DRob.
Vance McDonald, TE, PIT – Obviously the entire Steelers’ offense has taken a step back and peripheral pieces are no longer fantasy viable. If you’re still clinging to his 2 TD performance in comeback mode week 2, it’s time to let go.
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