I’m no sage. And, as Jay always points out, I’m no expert. I can’t see the future, and I can’t accurately predict the outcome each week. One thing I can do, though? Look to the past to determine what may happen in the future. That’s called wisdom. And in fantasy sports it’s one of the best possible things you can do. Trends and trajectories, consensus and conjecture. It’s all a part of the game, but if you read it right you can get a step up on the competition. Which is why we’re here. Well, I’m here, at least…
You’ll notice a couple repeats below, a couple second-time offenders. I mean, they haven’t necessarily offended anyone, but I’m a little offended that no one’s listening! Haha, no I’m not. I’m just joshin’. I don’t need any pretzels. I’m not salty. Promise. But, once again there are high volume options out there to pick up in your leagues, and the most likely reason they’re not owned yet is their name value. If name value is the reason you’re not picking up one of these guys, wait about 4 more weeks until everyone knows who they are and then you can’t grab them. Or, in the case of the top pickup this week, everyone knows who they are, but their perception is being massively changed in front of our eyes. So…
Note: The threshold for appearing as one of the targets is <25% ownership on either Yahoo or ESPN as of Monday.
- Terrelle Pryor, WR (QB?)– CLE (ESPN 27.8%, Yahoo 22%) – Love that little emoji. I feel like I need that EDM club sound happening right now while I talk about Pryor. You know, the ‘beh beh beh beh!’ one that makes you feel like you’re a millennial? Haha, maybe Pryor’s trying to shed the millennial tag by adding Sr. to his name a la Steve Smith Sr. Well, it’s not working Terrelle. The only thing you’re shedding are my perceptions that you’re a great college player but can’t cut it in the pros how you desired. We’re talking about the top recruit in his class coming out of high school, a championship level QB at Ohio State, and then a complete at the pro level. Until now. After Week 3’s effort, and CLE HC Hugh Jackson’s genius, we may be seeing an emergence occur in Cleveland on the football field. He’s the Heisman-caliber college QB the Browns were thinking they were getting in RGIII, except this one’s on the outside. Pryor’s athleticism has shined so far this season, and his breakout Week 3 provides a glimpse to his crazy upside: 35 passing yards, 4/21/1 rushing and 8/144/0 receiving. I mean, wut?!? I doubt he does that every week, but there’s so much potential here. The Browns grabbed him off waivers, and now so should you.
- Adam Humphries, WR – TB (ESPN 0.7%, Yahoo 1%) – While I doubt the trend continues into Week 4 (both due to the amount and the opponent), Humphries has quietly increased his targets in each of the first three games this season, culminating in a 12 target 9/100/0 effort on Sunday. I don’t doubt Tampa’s desire and ability to throw the ball at all, but I do doubt any other receiver’s ability to compliment Mike Evans effectively. I’ll mention the TE situation a little further down, but as for the WR, Humphries is establishing himself as the #2 option in an offense that could throw it 35-40 times every week. After he faces DEN in Week 4 Humphries becomes a great fill in for bye weeks and a potential FLEX play. Get him now ahead of the hype.
- Jamison Crowder, WR WAS (ESPN 11.1%, Yahoo 16%) – Alright, it’s officially a campaign. Don’t care. And maybe it’s working? Up into double digit ownership, but that’s three straight weeks with solid production. Oh, and he found the end zone. Again. So much for just being a target machine over the middle. Crowder could/should end the season as a Top 25 WR. Translation: FREAKING PICK HIM UP! This could be the 2016 version of 2012 Randall Cobb on the waivers.
- Cole Beasley, WR – DAL (ESPN 14.5%, Yahoo 21%) – Similar to Crowder above, I’m including Beasley once again trying to campaign for you to pick him up. He’s owned in more than Crowder (maybe because he plays for the Cowboys?), but they’re crazy similar players. With Dak continuing to prove that Dallas has a bright future after Romo, Beasley continues piling up targets, yards and value. With a high catch rate (20/25) and another 7 catches for 73 yards in Week 3, Beasley’s one of the high floor options you need one your team as we enter bye weeks.
- Jordan Howard, RB – CHI (ESPN 15.5%, Yahoo 24%) – I never really trusted Jeremy Langford much coming into the season. And with zero shares of him, it shows. However, I’ve been highly intrigued by Howard since his college days. A bruiser with some wheels, Howard is starting to prove his value not he field both between the tackles and in the passing game. More than with any other RB in the Chicago stable, Howard has the potential to be the closest emulation of Matt Forte. Now with Langford nursing a bum ankle, and Kadeem Carey still being a non-factor, Howard’s primed for a bigger role in the offense moving forward. With 6 targets in Week 3, a lot of his value came through the passing game, but if he increases his carries from 9 (for 45 yards) to 15 you have a great flex option now that the bye weeks are here.
- Wendell Smallwood, RB – PHI (ESPN 1.4%, Yahoo 1%) – Under the radar during the NFL draft, and almost universally in fantasy drafts, Smallwood has a fast path to finishing as a top 5 fantasy rookie RB. A 17/79/1 effort against the Steelers Sunday night catapulted him onto everyone’s radar as the potential new #1 RB in Philly. Yes, Darren Sproles had an excellent night, as well, but he’s proven his minimal fantasy value over the past three years. Ryan Mathews? Well, whaddaya know? He’s hurt. And essentially a touchdown-dependent option now. The highest upside lies with Smallwood. I wouldn’t burn the waiver yet since they’re heading into a bye week, but if you have a spot, or are looking for a RB, he’s one of the first two I’d consider after waivers pass.
- Cameron Brate, TE – TB (ESPN 1.4%, Yahoo 1%) – Hunter Henry was solid this week, as well, starting in the stead of the bionic Antonio Gates. However, if I’m targeting just one TE leading into Week 4 it’s Brate. Everyone clamored over the potential of Austin Sefarian-Jenkins in the offense, yet he’s no longer in the future plans of the team. Instead, we get a two TD performance from the new starting TE for Jameis Winston. To me, this comes down to your trusting of Winston…and I do. I love the volume (10 targets) and his redzone usage. Moving forward Brate’s a name to watch as we approach bye weeks options to fill in for the bigger names at the position.
DROP THOSE COMMENTS! And good luck in Week 4! Here’s to hoping I don’t have to highlight Jamison Crowder for a third straight week after this weekend!