Mitch Staniger is enjoying a much-deserved vacation this week. When the bullpen phone rang and my number called, I was ecstatic to get an opportunity to share not only my “Target Trends” but also my “Waiver Wire” thoughts with you this week.
I feel like the football gods are taking it easy on me though, which I’m 100% ok with on many levels. The most important of which was the limited number of injuries this weekend. For too many weeks, most of us fantasy owners have been scrambling mid-week to find plug-n-play options to make up for our injuries. Throw in the bye weeks and some underperforming stars at the same time, it all adds up to a ton of FAAB monies being tossed around for names nobody would have expected to be a “thing” in late October (Does the “Add: Malik Willis; Drop: Aaron Rodgers” move ring a bell for anyone?). If only there was a prop bet available for that one! I digress…
So, fear not my friends, Mitch will be back in the saddle next week, refreshed and ready to help you navigate the rest of the regular season and prepare you for the fantasy playoffs. In the meantime, I’ll do my best to highlight some options that should help you this week and beyond. With six teams on bye (Browns, Cowboys, Broncos, Giants, Steelers and 49ers), it’ll be a challenge for many of us to navigate week 9. The roster may not look great Sunday morning but don’t forget we’re all going through this together. At the end of the day, only 3 words matter: Just Win Baby!
NOTE: Rostered percentages and scoring system is based on Yahoo! PPR league scoring.
QB: Justin Fields (CHI, 41% rostered) – The Bears are not a good team and their fantasy “stars” have been a disappointment for the most part. Despite this, there have been some signs of fantasy life for some of their key offensive weapons. Exhibit one: Justin Fields. Let’s not sugar coat it, Fields was a terrible fantasy QB over the first for games, providing his owners an average of 13 fantasy points per game. To be fair, he was also facing top ten defenses verses QBs over those four weeks. The schedule got a bit easier for Fields starting in week five and his fantasy production is responding in kind, averaging over 24 points per game. Despite this, his ownership still lags below 50%. After putting up a nice effort versus the Cowboys, I suspect will now change. If you’re still rostering the likes of Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers, note the next 3 matchups for Fields are all against bottom third defenses.
QB: Jimmy Garoppolo (SF, 49% rostered, bye week add) – Since being reinstated as the 49ers QB, Jimmy G has been deployed as a game manager. In this role, he’s been about as consistent as they come, scoring 20 or more fantasy points over the last 4 games. Mix in a new weapon in Christian McCaffrey with a healthy Deebo Samuel after the upcoming bye week, and it’s going to be hard to stop this team. The 49ers have a QB-friendly schedule during the stretch run and fantasy playoffs. He should already be on your roster in a 2-QB or super flex league, on your waiver priority list as a bye-week filler in week 10 and on your radar as a late season starter following his bye week.
RB: Kenyan Drake (BAL, 31% rostered) – Thankfully, there weren’t many backfield injuries of note in Week 8. One that may have short-term implications is in Baltimore. The Gus Bus suffered a flat tire early in the game, paving the way for Drake to get the lions-share of backfield work (42 snaps) versus the Bucs. He turned that into 62 yards rushing, 4 receptions and a TD. Early indications are Edwards’ hammy is not too serious but with the Ravens bye coming up in week 10, Drake may get one game all to himself.
RB: Tyler Allgeier (ATL, 55% rostered) – Tyler Allgeier won’t be a league-winner by any means and may not even be a long-term solution with Cordarrelle Patterson coming back soon, but his fantasy ownership remains too low. I get it, he plays for the Falcons and who can predict their game plan week to week (I know all you Kyle Pitts owners feel me!). If your league falls into the 45% category and he’s available, be sure to put in a claim. What makes him a little more interesting is the new targets in the passing game. Prior to week 8, Allgeier only received 2 targets. He turned his 3 targets versus the Panthers into 46 yards and a score. Don’t go overboard with your FAAB bid here, but we’re playing week-to-week here. With so many good RBs on bye, you could do a lot worse.
WR: Rondale Moore (ARI, 35% rostered) – Sunday was a big day for many top WRs. Nestled amongst those names on the week 8 leaderboard is Rondale Moore. Despite the loss of Hollywood Brown and failure of Robbie Anderson to make a mark with his new team, Moore is still rostered in only a third of leagues. That will likely change in a big way after logging his best game as a pro on Sunday hauling in 7 of 8 targets for 92 yards and a TD. The Cardinals have some important games coming up against divisional opponents in the Seahawks, Rams and 49ers so all hands will be on deck. Look for the targets to continue and grab yourself a nice bye-week flex option.R
WR: Joshua Palmer (LAC, 26% rostered) – Joshua Palmer turned in his best game of the season in week 6 versus the Broncos, logging 9 receptions on 12 targets, including a season-high 72 snaps. Unfortunately, he suffered a concussion and missed the week 7 game versus the Seahawks. The bye week came at a fortunate time and now Palmer should be fully cleared for the upcoming matchup versus the Falcons. Palmer’s potential generally aligns with Keenan Allen’s status, who after running only a total of 16 routes in week 8, is still clearly affected by the hamstring injury. Additionally, Mike Williams remains out this week so there’s another boost to Palmer’s potential. Plucking a low-owned WR off the waiver wire in week 9 is never a sure bet but the potential return here makes Palmer an interesting play.
WR: Terrance Marshall Jr. (CAR, 1% rostered) – Right when we thought the Panthers were folding up their tent and going home, a few fantasy options are floating to the surface. D’Onta Foreman has been a beast over the past two games with 118 rushing yards in both and DJ Moore has re-emerged as a fantasy-relevant WR. After a career-high nine targets leading to 87 yards receiving, Marshall has a chance to carve out a WR #2 role which at minimum, puts him into consideration as a bye-week flex option.
TE: Tyler Conklin (NYJ, 12% rostered) – Tyler Conklin got off to a hot start with Joe Flacco under center, averaging 8 targets over the first three games. Since then, he disappeared from the fantasy radar, to include a big jelly donut in week 5 versus the Dolphins. Dunkin Donuts can’t hold this guy down forever though as he busted out in a big way on Sunday with 10 targets, 6 receptions for 79 yards and 2 scores. With Conklin back in the Jets playbook and 6 teams on bye in week 9, you could do worse to fill your short-term TE needs.
TE: Isaiah Likely (BAL, 5% rostered) – Much to the chagrin of fantasy owners everywhere, Mark Andrews watched most of the Ravens win over the Bucs from the sidelines due to a shoulder injury. Enter stage right Mr. Isaiah Likely! Likely took full advantage of his expanded role by catching 6 of his 7 targets for 77 yards and a score. The early returns suggest Andrews’ injury will respond well to the extra rest and he’ll suit up at New Orleans. In case this proves to be nothing more than optimism and Andrews gets an early jump on the week 10 by week, Likely is a must add in all formats. Granted, the Saints defense is strong versus TEs but this cat confirmed the analysts correct, he can ball. Regardless of Andrews’ situation, the Ravens would be fools to not take advantage of their newly unveiled weapon. I’m not saying he’s a league-winner but his ownership could increase 10-fold by the end of the week. Don’t wait for the Andrews owner to scramble to the wire if Coach Harbaugh and the fellas feel Andrews needs more rest.
There you have it, my player recommendations that may be available to you on the waiver wire. Let me know what you think and feel free to ask any specific questions. Like Mitch, I’m here to help!