Kenyan Drake/Damien Williams
With Jay Ajayi getting traded to the Eagles, that leaves a void in the Dolphins backfield. Williams has been spelling Ajayi here and there all year, but didn’t get any work this past week against Baltimore, while Drake did. I’m not reading too much into that, but I’m just not a fan of Damien Williams. Drake is the better back in my eyes, and I think if this turns into a split, he will be the guy who emerges off of pure talent. The offensive line hasn’t been playing well, but a shakeup in the backfield can definitely change things. I would try to add Drake, and if I can’t get him I’ll be aiming for Williams.
Darren McFadden/Alfred Morris/Rod Smith
The Zeke saga continues. Nobody knows who the guy is going to be if Zeke gets suspended for sure. But I’ve already outlined why I think McFadden is the guy to own in too many articles this season. Here are my reasons in a nutshell: 1) He was the guy being groomed to be Zeke’s replacement as an every-down back with the starters during the preseason, while Morris hardly got any work with them. 2) Once Zeke’s suspended got nullified, DMC suddenly became inactive with Morris and Rod Smith ahead of him. Those two first points don’t gel. 3) There is reason to believe that the Cowboys were saving McFadden for this scenario, as he is also injury prone. 4) McFadden is a 3-down back like Zeke, while Morris is not. 5) McFadden has proved it in this offense before behind a good offensive line, running for 1000+ rushing yards in 2015. 6) Adam Schefter, who I probably trust more than any other NFL “insider”, said that he also believes that the Cowboys are saving McFadden in case Zeke gets suspended. So if Morris becomes the starter, all of these narratives obviously are wrong, which is still possible! So if Zeke is suspended and his appeal gets denied tonight, and McFadden isn’t available, I’m picking up Morris. If Morris is unavailable, I’m picking up Smith as a long shot who can emerge if given opportunity.
Shepard is the de-facto #1 wide receiver for the Giants. Evan Engram is definitely going to get his, but Shepard will be a huge part as well. Shepard and Manning already have a good rapport going back to his rookie year last year, so I expect Shepard to fill in some big shoes and produce as a WR2/high-end WR3. Shepard has been in this article for a few weeks now, and he needs to be fully owned.
At the time of me writing this, Frank Gore is still a part of the Colts. There are talks of him being dealt by today’s trade deadline, but we’ve yet to see anything tangible. Obviously if that becomes a reality, Mack becomes the best pickup this week because of the clarity, but he’s valuable either way. Mack played an even share of snaps with Gore this week, and since the Colts figure to be down most weeks, Mack will see a lot of time on the field as their preferred hurry-up option. He’s very talented and can make big plays with any touch he receives.
Juju couldn’t have spent his opportunity any better than he did on Sunday night. With Bryant out of the picture, Juju caught 7 passes on 10 targets for almost 200 yards and a TD. He’s not going to do that any week, but we saw what he’s capable of given the opportunity. The Steelers had a huge void in their offense for another receiving option, and if he keeps getting the opportunity, he should be a solid option for the rest of the year. We’ll see if the Steelers being Martavis Bryant back into the fold.
Collins has ran for almost 6 YPC this year, and John Harbaugh said that he has earned increased opportunity. With a Ravens defense that should keep games close, Collins shouldn’t find himself in too many negative game scripts, in which case Buck Allen would be the preferred option. Collins has proved himself this year, we’ve seen his talent on the field ripping off huge chunk gains throughout the season, so I believe he can be solid RB2 material if he’s given the opportunity.
Matt Breida (if Carlos Hyde gets traded)
Breida will become the 49ers 3-down back if Hyde gets traded by 4PM today. If that’s the case, Breida becomes an instant RB2 as his floor. If Hyde doesn’t get traded, move Breida to the long-term stash section of this article in the case of an injury-prone Hyde getting hurt.
Curtis Samuel/Russell Shepard
Now that Kelvin Benjamin is headed for Buffalo (yes, he got traded to Buffalo), Curtis Samuel is now the #2 WR for the Panthers. He’s worth a pickup to see what he can do with an expanded role. These type of opportunities don’t come up often, but a 2nd round pick in this year’s draft obviously has talent, and I would try to scoop him up now before he blows up. Samuel’s forte is speed; he’s a playmaker, and will probably be a boom/bust type player. Russell Shepard can be more of a possession receiver. Shepard was playing more snaps, but this creates room for Samuel to enter to rotation more frequently.
Solid value for foreseeable future
Sanu needs to be higher owned. He’s seen at least 6 targets in each game this year, besides the one he got hurt in. Matt Ryan looks for him on clutch 3rd downs and near the end zone. This offense is trying to find its groove, but Sanu has been the one bright spot, being a bit of a comfort target for Ryan all year. He’s a solid WR3/flex right now.
Davis has done well all year, even while Jordan Reed was healthy. In the 4 games before Dallas, Davis has had 58 yards or more, ripping off big gains. With Jordan Reed always hobbled with injuries, and nursing a hamstring injury that will likely keep him out in Week 9, Vernon Davis is a great streaming option with flex upside.
The Ravens need someone to throw the ball, and Maclin is actually very talented. He has been up an down due to injury, but when he’s on the field he has gotten it done for the most part. He should be Flacco’s go-to down the stretch and should provide WR3 value the rest of the way.
Rex Burkhead – PPR
Burkhead’s snap totals are coming up, and he was used heavily in the passing game this past week. That Patriots backfield is very muddy, but Burkhead was second in snaps to Dion Lewis, even ahead of James White. Mike Gillislee is becoming a bit of an afterthought in this backfield. It’s tough to predict, but it’ll be interested if Burkhead continues to see this type of role in the passing game as the Patriots are trying to figure out how to use his versatility.
Anderson hasn’t been consistent this year by any means, but he has a rapport with Josh McCown, and he can take it to the house on any play. He’s a poor man’s DeSean Jackson, which has always had fantasy value. We just never knew when to play him. He’s a solid WR3/flex play most weeks, understanding that he’s very boom/bust. However, that boom/bust is worth it when you either have bye weeks or you’re filling in for injuries. If Bryce Petty becomes QB, his value shoots up even further because of the rapport they’ve shown in the past.
More of a weekly flier, but as things shake out, he’s a good flier as there is while Russell Wilson starts to pass more and more; he’s on pace for the most attempts of his career. The Seahawks can’t run the ball, and Richardson has been one of the most reliable targets so far this year. He’s more consistent than Lockett, and has shown his ability to scramble along with Wilson for huge plays, which is a huge plus.
Doctson played the majority of snaps this week, while Terrelle Pryor got around 30% of snaps. Doctson only caught one pass last week, and it happened to be a touchdown, so he’s not a preferred play of mine this week. The reason why it’s ok to play him is because the Redskins are going to try to get him involved, and he’s seeing the field. I’m definitely trying to find a better option this week, but he’s a great stash since he has the talent to become a high-end WR2 with volume. There’s a huge void in this offense for a wide receiver to step up and be the #1. Crowder was the guy last week, but it remains to be seen who it will be on a consistent basis.
Kupp’s target share has been all over the place this year, but he’s seeing a ton of red zone targets – close to the top of the league. 10 target games like the one he saw before his bye is possible too, but so are the 2 and 3 target games. With not that many great options at WR on the waiver wire, Kupp is someone who should be rostered and can be played as a low-end WR3/flex option with upside.
Ted Ginn Jr.
Willie Snead hasn’t found his way back into the offense, after playing only a handful of snaps this week. Ginn is useful, but he has some boom/bust nature to him as well. However, he’s been looking better than he did in the beginning of the season, and it looks like things are clicking a bit more for him and Drew Brees. He’s a desperate start most weeks, and not someone I want to rely on. However, his upside is worth throwing in my starting lineup if I’m hurting with bye weeks or injuries.
Doyle has been Jacoby Brissett’s favorite target this year, and is the only guy I really trust on this Colts offense. In PPR, Doyle is definitely a week start at TE, but he also provides flex value as well. He’s had less than 7 targets only twice this week, so I’m rolling out Doyle with confidence most weeks.
With no Tyler Eifert, Kroft has been getting it done for the most part. He’s been Andy Dalton’s favorite red zone target outside of AJ Green, and there aren’t too many passing option outside of him. You’re really banking on touchdowns with Kroft, but at least he’s getting decent volume.
Is there a kicker in here? Yes. Zuerlein has killed it this year for fantasy owners, and he could be on a lot of waiver wires because of his bye last week. Take advantage.
Long Term Stash/Lottery Ticket
Danny Woodhead – PPR
Woodhead is eligible to return in Week 11, and will be back in his role as the pass-catching RB out of the backfield. If you’re in a full PPR, he’ll be a great add and can be a potential RB2 the rest of the way. He’s a much better version of Buck Allen.
Westbrook did very well in the preseason, and he’s eligible this week. No word on whether the Jaguars are going to activate him, but if he’s still on your waiver wire, he’s a good scoop to see if he can be plugged in to get some volume from Blake Bortles. He’s very talented with huge upside, but there’s always the question of whether he’ll get consistent volume ahead of Marqise Lee and Allen Hurns.
Not buying into Crowder becoming the #1 guy just yet. However, with Jordan Reed likely out for Week 9, Crowder can become a go-to option for Kirk Cousins, as we’ve seen in the past with Reed out. If that happens, there could be some momentum built for Crowder. I need to see more of a consistent target share for him for me to start him every week, but I’m okay starting him this week without Reed.
Davis has been hurt since Week 2, but he should be entrenched as a starter once he’s back. He can be back this week against the Ravens, against whom I probably wouldn’t play, but he’s more of a wait-and-see in case his role becomes a major part of the offense.
He has a bye this week, but could come out of it with a bigger role. He should be a big TD threat, but we’ve seen rookies not get the reps in this offense. His snap share has grown since he came back from injury, so he’s a good stash in case he becomes a go-to for Philip Rivers.
Tyrod Taylor @ Jets
Josh McCown vs Bills
Jared Goff @ Giants
CJ Beathard vs Cardinals
Saints vs TB (if Winston doesn’t play)
Rams @ Giants