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Booms and Busts - Starts and Sits for Week 7 Lineups

Week 6 in the NFL brought what may be one of the cleanest weeks of action to begin the season. With no catastrophic injuries affecting teams for the remainder of the year, the play on the field seemed to settle in as the more well-known players performed up to par. With big weeks from Derrick Henry and Julio Jones, along with others, it felt like all was right with the world. Now the question will be can they keep it up, or will we go back to the wild and wacky guessing game that is fantasy football?

Now that we are six weeks into the NFL season the crystal ball is becoming more clear. The cream always rises to the top and talent always finds a way. Which is what we are seeing if you look at positional rankings over the first six weeks. Players like Alvin Kamara and DeAndre Hopkins find themselves in their rightful places. But of course, there are outliers like Josh Allen and Robby Anderson taking full advantage of plus matchups to begin the season and it reflects in their rankings. The guessing game of the early parts of the fantasy season is out the window now and looking at matchups breeds success. Knowing which players are set up for big games while knowing which players are in for tough days and require benching is key for fantasy managers. With several weeks of data at our disposal, sifting through to set optimal lineups should be fairly easy.

Knowing positive and negative matchups is vitally important to a manager's success. That is what we provide for you here with the Woos and Boos of Week 7. I take a look at those under the radar plays that should be considered starting options for the week, while also pointing out the household names that could be in for disappointing weeks based on tough matchups.

 

Week 7 Woos

Matthew Stafford @ Atlanta Falcons

The beneficiary of "Who plays the Falcons?" this week will be Stafford. He has been an up-and-down performer to begin the season and is valued as a QB2 most weeks. But the offense has been without a fully healthy Kenny Golladay and the passing offense was struggling without him. Now with Golladay back, the Lions will be facing the worst defense in fantasy in points allowed to opposing quarterbacks (29.9 FPPG). The defense has continued to play horribly, allowing at least three touchdowns in each game except one (Week 5). Look for that to continue this week as the Stafford/Golladay connection is primed for a big day.

David Johnson vs. Green Bay Packers

I'm usually not one to promote playing David Johnson as I'm not very high on him as a fantasy player. But coming off a solid RB1 week against the Titans he is set up for success yet again in Week 7. He will be facing a Packers Defense that next to last in points allowed to the position (28.0 FPPG) and allows 6.8 FP over the average in scoring. They have had back-to-back weeks allowing multiple touchdowns to opposing RBs and we all saw what Ronald Jones did to this defense. Now the multi-faceted Johnson will get his turn and could turn in yet another RB1 scoring week for fantasy managers.

Tee Higgins vs. Cleveland Browns

Higgins continues to shine each week as the targets have been consistent since Week 3. He seems to be a big play waiting to happen as he is currently top-20 in air yards (525) and deep targets (9). This week he will look to take advantage of a Browns Defense that is near the bottom in points allowed to the position (30.5 FPPG). With the Bengals having plenty of weapons to cover on defense, Higgins should be able to see single coverage all day and I would count on another score in this matchup. I view him as a WR3 going into the week with WR2 upside and should be starting in all lineups.

Logan Thomas vs. Dallas Cowboys

Thomas re-emerged from his vanishing act in Week 6 as he found the end-zone for the first time since Week 1. There could be some sort of rapport between him and Kyle Allen as Thomas recorded a season-high 42 yards on four targets, finishing as TE9 on the week. This week he will look to take advantage of the porous Cowboys Defense, which is currently allowing 9.5 FPPG to the position. Thomas is the perfect candidate to start for managers that like to stream the position.

 

Week 7 Boos

Drew Brees vs. Carolina Panthers

My how the mighty have fallen. What used to be a perennial top-5 QB, Brees has been able to muster only two QB1 finishes on the season. He ranks 20th in passing yards (1,331) and 28th in air yards (1,010), showing that there is an unwillingness to take the shot down the field for the big play. This week could yet again be a struggle facing a Panthers Defense that is one of the best in the league in points allowed to the QB (14.6 FPPG). With Michael Thomas again in question for this offense in Week 7, starting Brees could be a risky proposition for fantasy managers.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire @ Denver Broncos

There are multiple factors here in play as I look at Edwards-Helaire for Week 7. Most fantasy managers will be starting him, or in a position to have to start him. But with Le'Veon Bell set to make his team debut, and facing a very stout Broncos run defense (12.1 FPPG, best in the league), Edwards-Helaire could struggle to find consistency. Sure, he recorded an RB1 finish a week ago (his first since Week 1) and is currently second in rushing yards (505). But he ranks just 16th in yards-per-carry (4.6) and 14th in evaded tackles (25). Look for the sure-tackling Broncos to bring him down early, eliminating his chances to get to the second level. He still will be played by fantasy managers in Week 7, but be sure to temper expectations.

Allen Robinson @ Los Angeles Rams

Robinson, bad quarterback play aside, remains the WR9 on the season. He requires plenty of targets to do his damage in matchups as his ability to get into the end-zone has just not been there (two TDs on the season). He is fourth in the league in receptions (40), third in air yards (674) but just 23rd in scoring. Expecting a quality start from him against a tough Rams secondary (16.3 FPPG, best in fantasy) will be a bit much to ask. He is another player that fantasy managers will be in a position to have to play, but the likelihood that he scores well enough to help you win will be minimal.

Tyler Higbee vs. Chicago Bears

Higbee has been by and large a disappointment for fantasy managers to begin the 2020 season. Aside from his three-score game in Week 2, he has not found the end-zone. The other statistics are not kind to him either. He ranks 21st in targets (21), 26th in routes ran (105), and 25th in red-zone targets (3). All showing a player that is inconsistently used in an offense that ranks 29th in the league in pass plays per game. This week he faces a tough road yet again as the Rams face a Bears Defense that allows just 7.8 FPPG to opposing TEs. With the poor play to begin the season, Higbee could be a player that most fantasy managers should be benching this week and use the waiver wire to stream a better matchup.



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Fantasy Football Trade Targets - Week 7

The fantasy trade market is always a fun one to evaluate. Articles like this are essentially glorified "Who's Hot and Who's Not" pieces but the tables are turned to where sometimes, you want to trade for those that are cold and trade away those hot.

Now, six weeks into the season, we have several big-name players underperforming and others over-performing. The trade market has the most leverage possible early on in the year when owners are 0-6 or 1-5 with injuries flooding them (especially this year). The time to buy/sell is now and I am here to help.

If you like this piece or others like it,  follow me on Twitter @RotoSurgeon to catch on any relevant and/or ask questions. Best of luck!

 

Players To Trade For

J.K. Dobbins, Baltimore Ravens

With Mark Ingram presumably out or limited for the next few weeks due to an ankle sprain, J.K. Dobbins has an opportunity to seize a larger workload in the Ravens backfield.

The Ravens' backfield as a whole is a mess for fantasy. Dobbins has been on the field plenty since Week 1 but is only averaging six touches per game. Gus Edwards is rumored to see an increase in touches as well but his role seems fairly established as an early-down grinder, particularly, late in games to eat first-downs and maintain leads. Given that Edwards has just three targets this season and 12 total in his three year career, it's fair to assume that he will not see a significantly substantive change to his role. It is very likely that Justice Hill is activated if Ingram is out. Hill will probably take on two-minute drills and obvious passing situations like last season.

Edwards is a tell for defenses that the Ravens want to run. The hard part is of course stopping their potent ground game thanks to super-human athlete Lamar Jackson at the helm. Nevertheless, even the Ravens have to keep defenses honest and have versatile options on offense. Dobbins spaces the field much more than Edwards and can even move out-wide to play some receiver. His snap-share probably does not exceed 50% sans Ingram but his touches could consistently hit low double-digits, which is all he needs in this offense to become a fantasy-viable starter.

Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers

Adams is obviously not some diamond-in-the-rough but there is a window to buy at partially discounted value. After missing multiple weeks with a hamstring injury and now being five weeks removed from an extraterrestrial-like Week 1 performance, Adams can possibly be traded for with a WR like DK Metcalf who has not missed all season or Ronald Jones, a RB coming off of three straight 100-yard performances. There are plenty of avenues to get creative here but the main goal is to acquire Adams who could end the season as the WR1 in PPG scoring.

There is virtually no competition for targets in GB and even when hounded by secondaries, Adams is bound to win, especially in the end-zone where he has been a favorite target of Rodgers' throughout his career. The Packers' offense is not devoid of talent but even after missing two games, Adams still leads the team in targets (tied with Marquez Valdes-Scantling). Adams saw 10 targets in his first game back from injury and is underperforming his expected yards-after-catch per reception at the sixth-highest rate in the league. He is as dominant a WR as there is in the league and is in his prime of primes at age 27. The Packers' defense is horrendous (30th in DVOA) which will keep the offense moving through the air despite Coach LaFleur's desire to run.

It is not out of the question for Adams to hit a pro-rated end-of-year target total of 200, this type of player is worth buying even at full-cost.

 

Players To Trade Away

Kenyan Drake, Arizona Cardinals

Although this sell is a little too obvious, it must be done. Drake's rushing line at half-time this past Monday night was 7 rushes, 20 yards, and one TD. The Cowboys' gave up in the second half, it was evident from DeAndre Hopkins' 60-yard catch and Drake's 69-yard TD run. There was no fight left in that defense after witnessing the demise of their offense thanks to Andy Dalton and their shoddy offensive line. The play-calling was horrendous, specifically, the 58-yard field goal call when down 25 points in the first-half.

Drake has been a black hole all season and is hardly used in the passing attack. His value in the past was driven by his usage as a receiver but now, in passing-downs, Chase Edmonds gets the call. Drake has totaled just eight (8!!) targets through six games which puts him on pace for the second-lowest total of his career (first being his low-usage rookie season). While Drake's snap-share has remained steady all season, Edmonds had been incrementally rising up until this past week where his services as a receiver were unnecessary. This backfield is not one that will be ran away with anytime soon but if Drake hits another skid, Edmonds will be right on his tail to pick up the slack. Take the value regained from this past game versus Dallas and try to move Drake. It will be hard due to the timing but there's no harm in trying.

Terry McLaurin, Washington Football Team

*DISCLAIMER: Do not trade McLaurin until AFTER this weekend's matchup versus the Cowboys*

Scary Terry is a fantastic receiver on pace to have a great season, unfortunately, that pace is now derailed thanks to the decision to bench Dwayne Haskins and role out a QB duo of Kyle Allen and Alex Smith. While Allen is the starter for now, it is very possible that Smith takes over full-time if struggles continue. The splits here, although within a small sample, speak for themselves

McLaurin is faced with the gargantuan task of carrying the receiving load for a mediocre football team in complete flux, aiming at their future this season rather than the season itself. If he were to suffer a minor-ish injury, the team would probably shut him down as to not further the damage on their start wide-out. The risk with McLaurin outweighs the reward and luckily, he is coming off of a good enough game (12 targets, 7 receptions, and 74 yards) to sell with some semblance of value.



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Pivot Plays and Post-Waiver Pickups - Week 7

Things are starting to get difficult for fantasy football managers.

Indianapolis, Minnesota, Miami and Baltimore all have the week off, so fantasy managers are already playing shorthanded. Fielding a full lineup is going to be tough as it is if you have a few injuries. If one of your key guys is listed as questionable heading into their game, you better have a backup plan the A-Team would have been proud of back in the 80s.

Without further ado, here are my pivot plays and post-waiver pickups for Week 7 --- and the questionable superstars who you might need to replace:

 

Week 7 Pivot Plays and Post-Waiver Pickups

Darren Fells (HOU, TE) vs. GB

If Denver’s Noah Fant (ankle) cannot go again on Sunday, you could go with…

Before you go thinking Fells is a bottom-of-the-barrel choice at the tight end position, remember that he scored a career-high seven touchdowns last year. Deshaun Watson loved throwing to him inside the red zone, but then early in 2020 Fells lost his place as Houston’s top tight end to up-and-comer Jordan Akins. Fells subsequently only caught six passes over his first four games.

Akins is banged-up with multiple injuries, however, and Fells has reclaimed his role and has thrived just like he did last season. He recorded eight receptions for 142 yards and a touchdown during the last two weeks he has been Houston’s main man at tight end. Fells is a nice fallback option if you are a Fant fan who gets burned at the last minute as his home matchup against Green Bay should not scare any fantasy managers away.

 

Anthony Firkser (TEN, TE) vs. PIT

If Tennessee’s Jonnu Smith (ankle) cannot suit up on Sunday, you could go with…

Backup tight ends are about as valuable in fantasy football as punters and waterboys. Even if you were in an AFC South fantasy league you probably would have passed on Firkser. Smith started strong as Tennessee’s top tight end (19-234-5) and made Firkser a fantasy non-factor the first month-plus, but Smith is on a limpy leg due to an ankle injury suffered this past week.

All Firkser did once Smith got hurt last Sunday was step in and step up to the tune of eight catches for 113 yards and a touchdown. I know Firkser is facing an undefeated Pittsburgh team with a top-10 pass defense, but we have seen how well the Titans passing attack has gone with Ryan Tannehill as its leader. No matter who is plugged in as a pass catcher, that person produces when Tannehill is throwing to him. Firkser is the perfect insurance policy if you have Smith on your roster. 40 yards and a TD is not out of the question if he starts for Smith.

 

Nelson Agholor (LV, WR) vs. TB (MONDAY)

If New Orleans’ Michael Thomas (ankle) cannot find his way to the field on Sunday, you could go with…

Agholor is getting to be a modern-day Cris Carter --- all he does is catch touchdown passes. Despite only being targeted 11 times in five games, Agholor has reached the end zone a trio of times and is averaging an impressive 18.5 yards per catch after never averaging more than 12.5 yards a catch in any of his first four seasons.

Agholor is not Derek Carr’s top target or second-best target. Might not even be his third-best. The fact is that Agholor is making plays every time the ball is spiraled his way, however, and he could break a play or two versus Tampa Bay on Sunday night. When picking up a player for fantasy purposes when you have a lineup emergency, it is sometimes best to get a game breaker who can post a ton of fantasy points in one shot rather than go for a guy who needs a volume of targets to be worthwhile. Agholor has shown he can give fantasy managers a lot with just one or two catches in a game.

 

Frank Gore (NYJ, RB) vs. BUF

If Cincinnati’s Joe Mixon (foot) cannot overcome his injury on Sunday, you could go with…

I know Gore is 100 years old. I know being a favorite of Adam Gase is like being a favorite of Rich Kotite. And I know Gore has not amassed more than 70 combined yards in a game this season and is facing a desperate Buffalo defense that will be out for blood after losing two straight games and tail spinning out of control. I know all this.

I also know that there is not much on the waiver wire at running back at this point of the season, especially at the end of the week after the first round of waiver picks have happened. On top of that, Buffalo has the 25th-ranked run defense in the league and can be exploited if the Jets offensive line brings its best game of the season. The Jets have nowhere to go but up, and neither does Gore. If you need someone in a pinch if Mixon’s foot holds him back, you might as well plug in this veteran and pray for the best. One thing is for sure --- Gore will get touches because there is not much behind him on the depth chart in the Jets backfield.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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Week 7 Stream Team - Shallow and Deep-League Pickups

Welcome to Week 7 of the NFL season. Each week we will be providing streamer advice for all of those who need it, which is pretty much anyone and everyone. Streaming players with the best matchups each week as well as during your stud's bye weeks is an integral part of winning a fantasy championship and we are here to provide the best choices week in and week out.

Each week in this article, we will break down streamers for both shallower leagues of 8-10 teams (around 40% rostered or less) and deeper leagues of 14 or more teams (around 20% rostered or less). We will provide a specific roster in each type of league, which will include a QB, RB, WR, TE, and Flex. It should also be noted that if you play in a deep league, but a shallow-league player mentioned here is available in your league, feel free to stream them as

Everything seemed to go off pretty well last week and we did not have any games recommended here canceled, so let's hope for the same as we head into Week 7. Some of the best options to stream are highlighted below.

 

Stream Team for Shallow Leagues (<40% Rostered)

Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns

36% Rostered

Quarterback is slim pickings for streaming this week, so Mayfield gets the nod in this spot. He will be going up against a Bengals Defense that is currently allowing nearly 18 fantasy points per game to the quarterback position. The total in this game is currently set at 50, so scoring should not be a problem. Also, Mayfield had his best fantasy performance of the season in Week 2 at home vs the Bengals when he threw for 219 yards and two scores.

Justin Jackson, Los Angeles Chargers

51% Rostered

I struggled to decide between recommending Jackson or Joshua Kelley here, but decided to go with Jackson based on his production from a week ago when he carried the ball 15 times for 71 yards while also hauling in five receptions for 23 yards. He gets a matchup vs. a Jaguars Defense that is allowing nearly 113 rushing yards per game to running backs as well as over 4.3 yards per carry. They have also allowed seven rushing touchdowns and are allowing backs to be active in the passing game as they have given up 36 receptions, which is tied for seventh-worst in the league.

Christian Kirk, Arizona Cardinals

41% Rostered

This game is expected to be a shootout with a total currently sitting at 56. The Seahawks have been awful vs. wide receivers as they are allowing over 394 receiving yards to wideouts thus far in 2020. Kirk has seen an average of five targets per game and could have a major impact in this one much the way he did last week vs. the Cowboys when he hauled in two scores. The Cardinals are also 3.5 point dogs, so Murray could be throwing a bit more, not to mention the Seahawks have one of the best run defenses in the league, likely making passing a priority for this offense.

Dalton Schultz, Dallas Cowboys

51% Rostered

Schultz is rostered a bit high for this section, but hopefully, you can grab him and stream him in your league. He saw five targets last week in Andy Dalton's first start and could see even more vs. a Football Team Defense that struggles vs. the tight end position. They are currently allowing almost 17 points per game to tight ends as they have given up 32 receptions for 386 yards and five scores.

Corey Davis, Tennessee Titans

25% Rostered

Corey Davis should return from the Covid-19 list this week and could have a solid day vs. the Steelers. The Steelers are giving up the ninth-most fantasy points per game to the position by allowing nearly 40 points per game. Davis saw an average of over six targets per game through his first three games and could be the benefactor of a similar target share this week. The Titans are slight dogs, so some additional passing could be instore in this game, especially because Pittsburgh has allowed the fewest rushing yards to running backs thus far in 2020 with 274 rushing yards allowed through their first five games.

 

Stream Team for Deep Leagues (<20% Rostered)

Kyle Allen, Washington Football Team

4% Rostered

As I said above, choices are limited at the quarterback position this week and that is also why Allen finds himself in this spot. The Cowboys secondary has been atrocious in 2020 and the defense as a whole is currently allowing over 21 fantasy points per game to the quarterback position. They have given up 13 passing touchdowns on the season, which is ranked tied for fourth-worst in the league.

Jamaal Williams, Green Bay Packers

25% Rostered

Williams has been involved in the past couple of weeks as he has 12 carries and eight receptions in the previous two games. He could find success with limited action vs. a Texans Defense that is allowing nearly six (!) yards per carry and has allowed eight rushing touchdowns to running backs, which is worst in the league.

Tim Patrick, Denver Broncos

19% Rostered

I am going to stick with Patrick for the third straight week this week vs. the Chiefs. While the Chiefs do have a strong pass defense, the Broncos are 9.5 point dogs and are going to have to be throwing often to stay in this game. In the previous three weeks, Patrick has caught 14 balls for 257 yards and scored twice. He should be a favorite target of Drew Lock on Sunday.

Logan Thomas, Washington Football Team

16% Rostered

Logan Thomas continues to see a solid target share as he received four targets last week and hauled in three of those targets for 42 yards and a score. He will be facing a Cowboys Defense that has allowed over 14 points per game to the tight end position.

Kendrick Bourne, San Francisco 49ers

4% Rostered

I am going out on a limb again this week and recommending Kendrick Bourne. Bourne has seen an average of nearly five targets per game in 2020 and could have a nice day vs. the Patriots' secondary. New England is allowing an average of 36 fantasy points per game to wide receivers and has allowed 164 receiving yards per game to the position. They have also allowed seven receiving touchdowns to wideouts, which ranks tied for fifth-worst in the league.



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Slow Starters Ready to Break Out in Fantasy?

We are now more than a third of the way into the fantasy football season and a seemingly clearer picture is available across the landscape. After a pandemic-shortened offseason and lack of preseason exposure, there were plenty of worries headed into the first month specifically. Thus far, one of the most prevalent topics with regards to how the pandemic played a part in fantasy is injuries because that is the easiest connection to make between lack of training camp reps, allowing for limited ramp-up time for players.

While injuries are the most tangible, slow-starting players are also ones who may have been hurt by the limited reps. Several skill guys had their snaps/roles cut early on in the season (Joe Mixon for example), yet were brought along over the course of subsequent weeks. Every player's performance is affected differently. Some are due to the pandemic, others are due to a rough schedule. It is often hard to pinpoint but this piece takes the best possible approach to evaluating each player's position.

Here are five slow starters expected to bounce back this season. For any questions on this topic or any other post, feel free to follow me on Twitter (@RotoSurgeon) and shoot it through.

 

Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles

I'm not buying any of the Jalen Hurts hype coming from the internet. Wentz has not been perfect, but thus far, he is not the only problem in Philadelphia's offense. Currently, nine out of 11 offensive starters are out with injury. Plus, Wentz is dealing with a league-worst 16 drops from his pass-catchers.

The Zach Ertz injury is a blessing-in-disguise because a plodding TE is now removed from the equation, allowing for more dynamic players to take his place. Richard Rodgers will sub in for the interim and Dallas Goedert, upon return from IR, will then take over. Ertz has been terrible this season despite having a fruitful history as Wentz's safety blanket. He shrinks the field around him, forcing more attention elsewhere.

Losing Miles Sanders would prove costly if the Eagles were not facing the New York Giants this week and then facing off against Dallas' putrid defense afterward. Boston Scott and the backups should fill-in just fine. With a bye week right after, Sanders should be fully healthy for the stretch run to take control of the NFC East in the second half.

Jalen Reagor's timetable to return from his thumb injury lines up here as well along with DeSean Jackson and Lane Johnson. The Eagles are in the most advantageous position within the division, making it possible they even add a dynamic piece at the trade deadline given the plethora of receivers potentially available for trade. Wentz is currently QB15 in scoring with a ceiling around the top-six given his increased rushing. Wentz is running more, and more efficiently than ever with 6.1 yards-per-carry on 28 carries. He is on pace for a career-high 75 attempts and already has four touchdowns on the ground which make up for and negate the increased turnovers this season.

 

Cam Akers, Los Angeles Rams

It is inconceivable that Akers only played one snap this past weekend versus the 49ers but it happened and Rams head coach Sean McVay's "game-flow" explanation was a non-answer. Akers was not drafted with their first pick in the 2020 draft and named starter out the gates to ride the bench. Either there was an issue in practice or Akers is still not fully healthy.

Despite playing 13 snaps in Week 5 and touching the ball nine times, it did not make much sense to keep him benched the next week, especially with McVay commenting on his increased involvement. Akers returned along a reasonable timeline from his rib cartilage injury, yet the "optimal recovery time" according to Inside Injuries of The Athletic is five weeks as to not re-aggravate the rib. Akers suffered the injury in Week 2 and we are now heading into Week 7.

Darrell Henderson has looked very good in a handful of games and mediocre in others. Nevertheless, he has the "hot-hand" and will continue to start until he is usurped or fails. Akers will have to be the one to usurp him and fortunately for fantasy GMs who are stashing him, he is quite capable. Henderson is seldom used on third-down and obvious passing-situations because of his limitations as a pass-blocker and receiver. This is where Akers could thrive and eat into the RB snaps.

Malcolm Brown has been a black hole when given touches since Week 2 but that is nothing new. Brown is averaging 3.7 yards-per-carry and 2.2 yards-per-target thus far, below-pedestrian numbers. If Akers' issue with getting on the field is due to the Rams' desire to unleash him on third-down and passing downs, there is a fantasy monster brewing that should have been unleashed earlier.

 

T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts

Hilton has been extremely disappointing early on, no one is arguing against that. The assumption coming into the season was that despite a clear decline for Philip Rivers, the fringe Hall-of-Fame QB would still be an upgrade over Jacoby Brissett as a passer. That, unfortunately, has not been very true as Rivers is looking like a shell of himself but the Colts are winning games on the back of their top-three defense. The addition of RB Jonathan Taylor in the second round of the 2020 draft was meant to spark the offense as well but he has been just as disappointing, if not more than Rivers given the high hopes that come with youth. All-in-all, the Colts' offense is bad.

Hilton's 6.5 yards-per-target on the season is a career-low and he has not found the end-zone yet through six games. However, he did have a TD called back this past week on a penalty far away from the play. He has six red-zone targets on the season and is still building rapport with Rivers. Parris Campbell and Michael Pittman Jr. are out for the foreseeable future and now Hilton is playing nearly every snap. Over the first four weeks, he did not play more than 80% of the offensive snaps in a single game, but these past two, he has played 95% and 94%, respectively. Hilton owns a 19% target share this season with a season-high 10 coming two weeks ago versus the Browns. He is still fast/explosive and has brighter days ahead given a very soft second-half schedule.

 

Marquise Brown, Baltimore Ravens

Hollywood Brown is one of the fastest players in the league playing on arguably the most versatile offense, and yet, his fantasy production is lacking in 2020. Part of the reason for this is Lamar Jackson and the Ravens' low-passing volume, and another is the lack of need for extensive receiving production.

Brown has just one red-zone target on the season and did not crack 80% of snaps through the first four weeks of the season but has 86% and 85% over the past two weeks, respectively. The Ravens have outscored opponents thus far by a margin of 75 points. In their one loss to the Chiefs, Brown was blanketed and then phased out from the game by being on the opposite end of a blowout.

Brown's home-run ability makes him a stereotypical boom-or-bust option but with a 26% target share and nine yards-per-target, he is just on the wrong end of touchdown variance with one on the season. He's a fantasy star on the cusp of breaking out.

 

Austin Hooper, Cleveland Browns

Austin Hooper has ascended to fantasy relevance over the past few weeks but has yet to truly break out. After signing the largest free-agent TE contract ever, Hooper was expected to be a massive part of Cleveland's offense after a fantastic stretch in Atlanta. While a good bit of his production was driven by a high-volume passing offense next to Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, Hooper held his own with a large target share and end-zone production.

Through the first three weeks of the 2020 season, Hooper totaled seven receptions on 10 targets for 62 yards and no touchdowns. Just this past week, he had five receptions on six targets for 52 yards with 57 yards the game prior. Snaps have not been an issue as he is on the field plenty but with David Njoku back in the mix, he has seen a dip below 80% over the past two weeks despite an increase in targets.

Fortunately, Njoku has once again requested a trade out from Cleveland, leaving Hooper and Harrison Bryant as the primary options at the position. Hooper played up to 98% of the snaps in games sans Njoku and will likely carry a massive share moving forward. He's building rapport with QB Baker Mayfield but there is work to be done.

Having only two red-zone targets thus far is disappointing, but that could change as the chemistry grows. Cleveland is being forced to throw more often than they'd like with star RB Nick Chubb out-of-commission. Hooper's role will continue to grow and it could hopefully blossom in the second half of this season.



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NextGen Stats - Quarterback Breakdowns and Takeaways

It's been a month since the last time we took a look at our beloved quarterbacks. Numbers are numbers, and numbers don't lie. You can twist them, but looking at them objectively, numbers say that no matter what, rushing the ball is almost always a worse option than passing it in today's game. That's why this column is the most important one you'll read today. It's time to tackle how quarterbacks have done through six weeks of play.

To gain the biggest edge in your fantasy football league, it's necessary to understand how to apply the advanced statistics being used in sports nowadays. Back in the day, it was all about wins and losses, passing yards, and touchdowns scored. It's not that those stats are now worthless, they just don't offer enough information to savvy analysts. While football is still in its infancy compared to baseball in terms of analytics, the evolution the sport has seen lately in those terms is notable.

Each week, I'll be tackling NFL's Next Gen Stats, bringing you data from the previous week's games with notable takeaways you should consider when assessing fantasy players for the upcoming week. In case you're new to the series, or Next Gen Stats altogether, I recommend you read our NGS-primer. Now, let's get to the data!

 

Week 6 - The State Of The Passing Game

One of the most important concepts to consider when analyzing players are Air Yards. The metrics around it are key to know who is really over-performing or under-performing among receivers and passers, but it doesn't have much to do with rushers.

Today, I'll present each of the stats from the NFL's advanced metrics site, its correlation with quarterback-fantasy points, and a list of leaders and trailers in each category along with some notes and takeaways on both the players' and the metrics' impact on fantasy football as a whole.

As we'll be discussing quarterbacks and their passing stats, I will reduce the fantasy points per game averages to just those related to passing. That means that I have removed the rushing/receiving fantasy points the qualifying quarterbacks have logged during the season. I've called this metric paFP/G, which is to say passing Fantasy Points per Game.

So let's dive in. Note: The cutoff is set at 45 pass attempts.

 

Time to Throw

Correlation with Passing Fantasy Points: 1%

Leaders and Trailers:

Leaderboard Notes:

  • When it comes to explaining fantasy points, there are few less predictive metrics than Time to Throw. The relationship sits at a measly 1% through more than a third of the season, just imagine...
  • That's why things like this happen: no. 1 quickest TT (Ben Roethlisberger) is averaging 17.8 paFP/G... while no. 2 slowest (Josh Allen) is averaging virtually a similar 20.7 paFP/G.
  • Three of four players with a TT below 2.5 seconds were either benched (Haskins), started the season as the reserve (Foles), or will be benched next game (Fitzpatrick).
  • On the other hand, all but one (Mitchell Trubisky) of the 21-slowest QBs in TT (all taking 2.7+ seconds to throw) have not been benched for a backup (some, like Drew Lock or Sam Darnold, were only benched due to injuries).
  • Through six weeks, there are six QBs averaging 20+ paFP/G, and their TT marks are spread all over the spectrum, ranging from 2.67 (Ryan Tannehill) to 3.07 (Josh Allen).
  • Something similar happens at the bottom of the paFP/G leaderboard: of the eight QBs averaging below 10 paFP/G so far, the TT numbers range from 2.65 (Jeff Driskel and Andy Dalton) to 3.05 (Drew Lock).
  • As expected, the longer a QB takes to throw, the more yardage he tends to rack up as routes have more time to develop. The relationship between TT and CAY and IAY is up to 49% and 44% respectively through W6.
  • On the other hand, there is a negative-46% relationship between TT and expected COMP% so far this year. The longer a quarterback takes to throw his passes, the lower the expectation is he completes them (makes sense, assuming "slower" passes are harder to complete as they tend to go for more yards downfield).
  • All things considered, don't put much weight on this metric, as it is way more descriptive of past performance than predictive of future ones.

 

Completed/Intended Air Yards & Air Yards Differential

Correlation with Passing Fantasy Points: 34% / 0% / 36%

Leaders and Trailers:

Leaderboard Notes:

  • While there is a rather high relationship between Completed Air Yards and paFP/G, there is zero relation between Intended Air Yards and paFP/G. That is rather surprising, and will probably vary through the rest of the season, but interesting nonetheless with more than a third of the year in the rearview mirror already.
  • Take CAY and IAY for what they are. In fantasy leagues, what amounts to points are the things that happen on the field (CAY), not what players want to happen (IAY).
  • Although Ryan Tannehill IAY is just 7.6 yards, his CAY is at 7.2 yards, which means he has the smallest difference between both values (AYD) at just -0.3 yards. He might not be throwing the most explosive bombs downfield, but he's doing what he's attempting to to perfection.
  • Nick Mullens and Drew Brees are the only other quarterbacks with an AYD over -1.0 yards. The difference with Tannehill, though, is that they're averaging over one fewer air yard per attempt (6.5 and 6.1 IAY respectively), making their high AYD marks much easier to reach.
  • Drew Lock has been as wild as it gets. His AYD of -6.0 leads all qualified quarterbacks by a mile, with Flacco having the second smallest mark (-4.9), already more than a yard over Lock's value. No other quarterback is below -3.5 (Mitchell Trubisky) AYD.
  • Oh, by the way, try to find the similarities between those three (solution: all of them are bench-fodder).
  • Both Denver Broncos quarterbacks with min. 45 attempts (Lock and Driskel) have the two largest CAY+IAY combined marks at 19.8 and 18.5 yards respectively. Kirk Cousins is third with 18.2. The problem for the two Broncos is that none they're just completing 6.9 and 8.0 CAY compared to Cousins' league-leading 8.4.
  • Don't believe the lack of relationship between IAY and paFP/G? Well, Drew Lock has the highest IAY mark so far (12.9) while averaging the fewer paFP/G (5.7). Then, Andy Dalton has the second-lowest IAY (6.1), and is averaging the third-lowest 7.5 paFP/G... Similar outcomes, wildly distant IAY marks.
  • Same at the top of the paFP/G leaderboard: Aaron Rodgers (9.3 IAY) is averaging 20.6 paFP/G while Derek Carr is at a virtually similar 19.9 paFP/G average with a rather low 7.1 IAY (10th-lowest among 38 qualified QBs).
  • When it comes to the relationship between CAY and paFP/G, though, things are a little better. Of QBs with 20+ paFP/G on the season, their average CAY sits at 6.8. Of QBs with fewer than 10 paFP/G so far, their average CAY is at 5.6, more than a yard lower.
  • Complete more passes for more yardage, and reap the rewards. As simple as that, I guess.

 

Aggressiveness

Correlation with Passing Fantasy Points: negative-19%

Leaders and Trailers:

Leaderboard Notes:

  • We define "Aggressiveness" as the percentage of passes a quarterback throws into tight coverage, that is, when a defender is within 1 yard or less of the receiver at the point of the catch/interception. Don't take this metric as a sign of "braveness" or anything like that, though. It relates more to reckless-passing than anything else.
  • A quick peek at the most aggressive passers gives you an idea of what we're dealing with here: Trubisky has been benched already, Foles replaced him, Fitzpatrick is insane (and will the bench next Miami's game), Jones has yet to prove his worth (which is growing smaller by the day), Haskins is on the trade list, and Joe Burrow has been forced to risk the biscuit on a weekly basis...
  • There is just a negative-19% relationship between AGG% and paFP/G, but it's rather funny to find the top-five most aggressive players averaging paFP/G inside a tiny 1.8-clip ranging from 12.8 (Foles) to 14.6 (Fitz).
  • Don't get it wrong or for what it's not. Of the seven least-aggressive players (all below 12.0 AGG%) the paFP/G range from a putrid 8.9 (Mullens and Darnold) up to the league-leading 26.0 (Russell Wilson).
  • Joe Burrow already led the league in aggressive attempts back in Week 3. He's still leading by a lot through Week 6, with 53 passes into tight coverage to Wentz's 44 and Fitzpatrick's 40. No other player is at 40+ attempts.
  • Of QBs with at least 100 passing attempts, Russell Wilson has thrown the fewer into tight coverage (14 of 169), followed by Sam Darnold (15) and Cam Newton (20).
  • Drew Brees has been long discussed being washed up. Well, it very well could be the case, and he's not really trying to improve by himself. Not only are his 5.3 CAY and 6.1 IAY two of the lowest marks among qualified QBs, but he's also throwing the ball -2.5 yards behind the first-down marker on average. That's virtually the same as hyper-conservative passers as Nick Mullens (-2.8), Teddy Bridgewater (-2.1), and Dayne Haskins Jr. (-2.1).
  • Obviously, King of Wilderness Drew Lock leads the league in AYTS (Avg. Yds. to the Sticks) with a monster 4.4 mark. Trubisky is second at a distant 2.0, followed by Aaron Rodgers (0.8), the first of mortals.

 

Attempts & Yards & Y/A

Correlation with Fantasy Points: 60% / 74% / 67%

Leaders and Trailers:

Leaderboard Notes:

  • Not many big secrets hidden in these three stats, am I right? The correlation is high with fantasy points basically because fantasy points rely mostly on pure yardage, and to rack up yards you have to throw the ball (the more the better, that is). Doesn't take a genius.
  • Before getting injured (ugh) Dak Prescott was averaging a league-leading 44 pass attempts per game. Now that he's out for the season, Joe Burrow and Matt Ryan both sit at the top of the leaderboard with 41 each. Gardner Minshew II is third (40), and the only other player with a 40+ per-game attempt average.
  • Among QBs with at least 100 attempts over the season, Lamar Jackson is making it clear that Baltimore is not about to generate high passing-related numbers. Jackson has attempted the fewest passes per game so far (27), followed by Baker Mayfield (28) and Newton/Cousins (29).
  • The sample is small (three games, 73 pass attempts), but Nick Mullens wasn't bad while backing up Jimmy Garoppolo averaging 8.4 Y/A in his appearances this season. Only five other QBs are currently averaging that mark, although all of them have at least 141 pass attempts (Justin Herbert) and as many as 222 (Dak Prescott).
  • Speaking of Herbert. The battle of rookie-quarterbacks between him and Burrow is split in half: Herbert is the efficient passer (8.5 Y/A for 1,195 total yards on 141 throws) while Burrow is the volume leader (6.6 Y/A for 1,617 yards on 246 throws).
  • Tua will start his first game in Week 8, so we don't expect him to make this column at least until we revisit the quarterback NGS leaderboards in Week 12 (he won't reach enough attempts to meet the threshold just in Week 8 alone).
  • Y/A for quarterbacks with 20+ paFP/G: 7.8, 7.9 (x3), 8.4, 8.9.
  • Y/A for quarterbacks with fewer than 10 paFP/G: 5.0, 5.7 (x2), 6.1, 6.8, 6.9, 7.5, 8.4.
  • Yes, that explains the really-high 67% relationship between Y/A and paFP/G. Bank of bulky throwers, folks.
  • Now that we're into Y/A, there is another rather-high relationship between this statistic and touchdown-passing: positive 59% through six games. You might have expected this, or not, but the longer distance an attempt goes for, the higher tally of touchdowns a quarterback tends to rack up.
  • Both Deshaun Watson and Willson have the league-leading 8.9 Y/A, and they have scored 13 and 19 passing touchdowns respectively already (tied for fifth-most, and most, respectively).
  • On the other end, Daniel Jones and Darnold have just 3 passing touchdowns each (min. 130 attempts) while averaging paltry 6.1 and 5.7 Y/A marks...

 

Completion Percentage & xCOMP & COMP Above Expectation

Correlation with Fantasy Points: 59% / 26% / 56%

Leaders and Trailers:

Leaderboard Notes:

  • The world of hypotheticals is cool, but what truly matters is what actually happens on the field. That is why the real completion percentage is the stat that matters, and why the expected rate doesn't cut a good deal for fantasy GMs.
  • That being said, the difference between both marks (CPOE) is also a very strong indicator of fantasy performance, almost on par with actual COMP%, which makes sense considering that those that "overperform" or play to higher-than-expected levels on average are the ones who more often than not put on high-octane performances.
  • As ridiculous as it sounds, after six weeks Chef Russell Wilson is the only player over 6.1 CPOE. I mean, he's at 7.7 completion percentage points over expectation, which means he's 1.6 above no. 2 Derek Carr. That 1.6 difference is the same as that between Carr and no. 7 Philip Rivers...
  • Say what you want about Carr, but he's been a beast this season--as he usually is on a yearly basis and I won't get tired of repeating. Get Carr from waivers if he's still available there, seriously. He's a QB1 in even the shallower of leagues, believe it.
  • While Wilson's 169 pass attempts are far from the league-leading Burrow's 246, they are a fairly high amount to still be putting on a massive 7.7 CPOE over five games. For context, only Kyle Allen (55 attempts) and Justin Herbert (141) have CPOE marks 4.0+ even though they have minimal and lower samples to show for it.
  • Once more, Herbert's 5.9 CPOE is way higher than Burrow's 3.6. Another W for the Chargers rookie. Burrow edges Herbert on actual/raw passes completed over expectation 9 to 8, though that's reasonable considering he's tossed 104 more balls over the year.
  • Wilson himself has completed 13 more passes than expected. Carr comes second with 11, followed by Tannehill (10) as the only three players at 10+ through W6.
  • On the negative side of things, the two of Haskins and Wentz have both missed on 10 passes expected to have ended in actual completions. No other QB has fewer than 8...
  • ...does that mean it is time to sit Wentz? Not so fast, folks. Patrick Mahomes' CPOE is a paltry -3.8 (seventh-lowest among qualifiers) but not a single soul is even thinking of benching the former reigning SB champ. The CPOE model doesn't love Mahomes because that model works with knowledge of where receivers are at to calculate pass-completion expectations. What does that mean? The model knows Mahomes is usually throwing balls to wide-open receivers, so every time he misses on them he gets ultra-negatively-impacted on the CPOE front.
  • The model isn't dumb and Wentz has been plain bad, though. Don't get it wrong and bench him for good (if you're reading this, then yes, you too, Doug).
  • Everybody could have guessed the leader in expected completion rate: mighty washed Drew Brees, at 70.6%. He's the only quarterback, in fact, over 70%+. Talk about trying to stay out of trouble...
  • Baker Mayfield, though... The Brown has tossed passes expected to be completed just 58.5% of the time, which ranks as the lowest percentage among passers with at least 100 attempts, and second-lowest (Drew Lock) among qualified QBs.
  • Kirk Cousins is the only other 100+ attempts passer below an xCOMP% of 60%.

 

That's it for today. Until we meet again next week, I hope you can crush your waiver wire, set up the best possible lineup, and get ready for another weekend full of fireworks!



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Fantasy Football Risers and Fallers - Week 7

Whether due to their own play, the play of others, or injuries, players' stock increases and decreases on a weekly basis. Perhaps more than any other, the NFL is a league that experiences ups and downs at a rapid pace. With only 16 games, there’s little room for error and seemingly endless opportunities for improvement. The same goes for fantasy football; managing rosters effectively is key to winning that championship.

Throughout the season, players get hot and see an increased role while others struggle and fight to stay relevant. Experienced fantasy players know this happens every year. In this weekly column, we’ll showcase those who have taken important steps forward and those who have taken steps back.

These are the key risers and fallers heading into Week 7 of the NFL season.

 

Week 7 Fantasy Football Risers

Deshaun Watson (QB, HOU)

Since firing Bill O'Brien, the Texans have played like a completely different team, Although they fell short against the Titans last week, Deshaun Watson looks like the guy everyone drafted to be a top five fantasy quarterback. Watson now has three consecutive 300+ yard passing games and seven passing touchdowns in his last two games. Watson gets the Packers, bye, Jaguars, and Browns over the next four weeks. None of those are imposing foes.

Tee Higgins (WR, CIN)

Even though A.J. Green actually had a strong performance last week, make no mistake about it, A.J. Green is done. The new WR1 in Cincinnati is Tee Higgins. With how quick fantasy managers are often willing to jump onto rookies, it's surprising to see Higgins out there in so many leagues. Higgins is averaging eight targets over his last four games and has hit double digit fantasy points in all four of them. He had his first 100 yard receiving day last week. He is only going to improve as the season goes on and looks very much like the player hopeful drafters wished A.J. Green would be.

Justin Jefferson (WR, MIN)

Somehow, Kirk Cousins is supporting two top five fantasy receivers. Justin Jefferson already has three 100 yard receiving games and two games with 30 fantasy points. Game script obviously helped and Jefferson will always be at the mercy of Mike Zimmer's desire to never call pass plays, but the Vikings are not a good team and that will often force Zimmer's hand. Even though Stefon Diggs is thriving in Buffalo, Jefferson is proving that letting Diggs go wasn't necessarily a bad decision. Jefferson and Adam Thielen have quickly become of the best wide receiver duos in the league. Now fully entrenched as a starter, Jefferson is already a weekly must start and should only get better coming out of the bye in Week 8.

D'Andre Swift (RB, DET)

There is little doubt that D'Andre Swift needs to be on this list, but we need to exercise a bit of restraint. Swift certainly looked quite good last week en route to his first 100 yard rushing day and over 25 fantasy points. However, Swift still played just 38% of the snaps. We're putting our faith in a bit of rational coaching here. The Lions drafted Swift in the second round to presumably be there primary back. Their goal certainly wasn't to hope the Football Team released a 47 year old Adrian Peterson so they can stuff the ball into his chest 20 times a game. While the AP signing made sense given Swift's preseason injury, the goal, we think, was always for Swift to take over when ready. He sure looks ready. It would be mind-numbingly stupid if Swift didn't at least earn an increased role, hopefully making him a weekly RB2 going forward.

JaMycal Hasty (RB, SF)

When Raheem Mostert was out for three weeks with a sprained MCL, it was Jerick McKinnon as a near every down back. In Week 4, McKinnon played 92% of the snaps. When Mostert went down with a high ankle sprain last week, we expected more McKinnon. That is not what happened. UDFA rookie Jamycal Hasty played 21% of the snaps, which was fewer than McKinnon's 32%, but there were long stretches where Hasty played every snap. It could just be Kyle Shanahan getting an extended look at what he has, but it wasn't like the game against the Rams was a complete blowout. Hasty looked quicker and more explosive than McKinnon and I have a sneaking suspicion that Hasty is going to be the primary back for as long as Mostert and Tevin Coleman are out, with McKinnon maintaining his role as the passing down back.

 

Week 7 Fantasy Football Fallers

Aaron Rodgers (QB, GB)

To be perfectly honest, there weren't any performances by fantasy relevant quarterbacks that truly concerned me in Week 6. Aaron Rodgers' was the worst so we at least must take some notice, but it came against one of the best defenses in the NFL. The Bucs pressured Rodgers relentlessly and forced him into multiple mistakes. Rodgers had fewer fantasy points than Joe Flacco. Let that marinate for a moment. With that being said, Rodgers' next four opponents are the Texans, 49ers, Vikings, and Jaguars. He will be fine. It's just worth acknowledging that disastrous games are still in his range of outcomes.

Tight Ends

I typically like to have at least one riser and one faller at each position. The tight end position in 2020 is making that exceedingly difficult. It's just unfathomably bad. Coming into the year, it looked like things would be better because there were so many late round breakout hopefuls. The problem is none of them panned out and the earlier round tight ends are all hurt or busts. Anthony Firkser was the overall TE1 last week. George Kittle and Travis Kelce are smashing and Darren Waller has been reliable. Other than those three, you're just hoping every week. Firkser, Trey Burton, Darren Fells, Adam Shaheen, Logan Thomas, Nick Boyle, and Irv Smith were amongst the TE1s last week. Meanwhile, Tyler Higbee, Zach Ertz, T.J. Hockenson, and Evan Engram have been total busts. Noah Fant and Jonnu Smith are hurt. Mark Andrews has three TE1 games and three complete bust games. At this point, your goal should be to find someone playing snaps and running routes that has a hope of seeing a red zone target or two.

Mike Evans (WR, TB)

Six weeks into the season is more than enough time to start drawing conclusions. We have a Mike Evans problem. Although Evans had four consecutive double digit fantasy point efforts sandwiched between Week 1 and Week 6, he's been far worse than that; he just happened to find the end zone in every game of the season prior to last week. Evans has 27 targets across the three games Chris Godwin missed. Evans has 10 targets across the three games Godwin played. That's a trend. That matters. Tom Brady, while still good enough to potentially win a super bowl, is not good enough to carry two WR1s and it looks like Evans is playing second fiddle to Godwin. The touchdown upside remains there, but Evans is going to be extremely volatile going forward.

JuJu Smith-Schuster (WR, PIT)

Heading into 2019, one of the biggest questions in football was whether JuJu Smith-Schuster could operate as a true WR1 with Antonio Brown gone. Unfortunately, that question was never answered in 2019 because Ben Roethlisberger went down in Week 2 and JuJu dealt with injuries throughout the season well. The question remained heading into 2020. Through six weeks, I'm ready to say JuJu is not WR1 material. Whether it's AB, Diontae Johnson, or Chase Claypool, the answer to who Roethlisberger prioritizes is simply "not JuJu." JuJu now has posted three consecutive games with five targets or fewer and his only two quality fantasy games came in games where he scored. Johnson shouldn't be out much longer and with Claypool's performance, there is now way he's just going back to a rotational role. JuJu may very well be the odd man out here as there's little doubt in my mind he's the third most talented wide receiver on the Steelers.

Ezekiel Elliott (RB, DAL)

There is just no way we can ignore how awful Ezekiel Elliott has played this season. The numbers aren't terrible, but fumbling five times in a season is inexcusable, let alone five times in six games, including two last week. The Cowboys once elite offense is now a joke. Andy Dalton cannot sustain the fantasy values of all three receivers, Dalton Schultz, and Elliott. The player(s) that suffer each week may not be the same, but there will be least one or two odd men out. If not for the fumbles, Zeke would have put up a respectable 12 fantasy points due in large point to Dalton's incompetence resulting in constant checkdowns to Zeke. The running back will be fine, particularly in ppr leagues, but his touchdown upside has been severely hindered. Zeke may be more RB2 than RB1 the rest of the way.



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Coaching Matters: Offenses That Will Improve From Week 6

This series continues into its sixth week of where I dive into offensive areas that will improve or decline based on coaching in order to glean insight as to fantasy football value.

In Week 6, we saw performances such as Ryan Tannehill throwing for 364 passing yards, the Houston Texans running backs combining for 66 rushing yards, and the New York Giants wide receivers combining for 61 receiving yards. After these types of performances, it's important to look at each of these team's coaches and their play-calling tendencies to see if these performances are likely to continue, if they will change for the better, or if they will change for the worse.

This article will take a look at which of these areas are in line for improvement in future weeks. Let's dive in!

 

Improvements Ahead?

These are the areas and positions that will likely improve in the coming weeks, based on the team's play-caller tendencies in the past.

 

Houston Texans Running Backs

Tim Kelly

The Houston Texans fell to the Tennessee Titans last Sunday in a 42-36 overtime thriller. One area that could improve is the team's running backs. Against the Titans, the Texans running backs combined for 23 carries, 66 rushing yards, two receptions (four targets), 14 receiving yards, and one touchdown.

After this performance, on the season the running back room is averaging 17.5 carries, 67.67 rushing yards, 2.83 receptions (4.67 targets), 25.5 receiving yards, and 0.50 touchdowns (all rushing) per game.

Now let's compare this to what their offensive coordinator, Tim Kelly, has traditionally gotten out of his running back room in his time as an offensive coordinator. Texans offensive coordinator Tim Kelly has had his running back room average 21.38 carries, 95.63 rushing yards, 0.50 rushing touchdowns, 4.94 targets, 28.81 receiving yards, and 0.19 receiving touchdowns per game in the 16 games he coached as an offensive coordinator prior to this season.

Based on this information, there should be some slight improvement from the Texans running backs going forward. Now would be as good time a time as any to acquire David Johnson or Duke Johnson shares in your fantasy leagues.

Fantasy players this impacts: David Johnson and Duke Johnson

 

Indianapolis Colts Running Backs (Run Game)

Frank Reich & Nick Sirianni

The Indianapolis Colts won a close game against the Cincinnati Bengals this past Sunday. In the game, the Colts running backs combined for 13 carries, 59 rushing yards, nine receptions, 11 targets, 82 receiving yards, and zero touchdowns.

After this performance, on the season the running back room is averaging 24.67 carries, 94.67 rushing yards, 0.67 rushing touchdowns, 7.33 receptions (8.33 targets), 60 receiving yards, and 0.17 receiving touchdowns per game.

Now let's compare this to what Colts head coach Frank Reich has traditionally gotten out of his running back room. Reich has had his running back room average 23.47 carries, 97.89 rushing yards, 0.61 rushing touchdowns, 7.16 targets, 42.09 receiving yards, and 0.18 receiving touchdowns per game in the 96 games he coached as an offensive coordinator or head coach prior to this season.

In addition, in the 32 games that Nick Sirianni has been the Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator, the Colts running backs have averaged 23.34 carries, 106.66 rushing yards, 0.78 rushing touchdowns, 6.78 targets, 35 receiving yards, and 0.09 receiving touchdowns per game.

Fantasy players this impacts: Jonathan Taylor, Nyheim Hines, and Jordan Wilkins

 

Minnesota Vikings Running Backs

Gary Kubiak

The Minnesota Vikings lost to the previous winless Atlanta Falcons this past Sunday. In the game, the Vikings running backs combined for 13 carries, 32 rushing yards, three receptions (five targets), 11 receiving yards, and zero touchdowns.

After this performance, on the season the running back room is averaging 25.17 carries, 126.5 rushing yards, 1.33 rushing touchdowns, 3.83 receptions (five targets), 22 receiving yards, and zero receiving touchdowns per game.

Now let's compare this to what their offensive coordinator, Gary Kubiak, has traditionally gotten out of his running back room. The Vikings offensive coordinator has had his running backs combine to average 25.27 carries, 113.12 rushing yards, 0.86 rushing touchdowns, 3.55 receptions (4.92 targets), 27.83 receiving yards, and 0.10 receiving touchdowns per game in the 349 games he coached as an offensive coordinator or head coach prior to this season.

While Sunday's performance was disappointing, over the course of this season the Minnesota Vikings running back room is still performing on the higher end of what we would expect from Gary Kubiak's running back room.

Fantasy players this impacts: Dalvin Cook, Alexander Mattison, Ameer Abdullah, and Mike Boone

 

Denver Broncos Wide Receivers

Pat Shurmur

In Sunday's 18-12 victory over the New England Patriots, the Denver Broncos wide receivers combined for six receptions on 16 targets for 133 receiving yards and no touchdowns.

After this performance, on the season the wide receiver room is averaging 10.2 receptions on 18.8 targets for 153.2 receiving yards and 0.6 receiving touchdowns per game.

Now let's compare this to what their offensive coordinator, Pat Shurmur, has historically gotten out of his wide receiver room. Shurmur has had his wide receivers combine to average 20.36 targets, 150.47 receiving yards, and 0.88 receiving touchdowns per game in the 169 games he coached as an offensive coordinator or head coach prior to this season.

Pat Shurmur's past tendencies suggest there is potential for a few more targets and receiving touchdowns per game for this group. With starting quarterback Drew Lock finally back from his injury, the Broncos wide receivers appear to be on the upswing.

Fantasy players this impacts: Tim Patrick, Jerry Jeudy, and K.J. Hamler

 

New England Patriots Running Backs (Run Game)

Josh McDaniels

The Patriots running backs combined for 15 carries, 41 rushing yards, nine receptions, ten targets, 79 receiving yards, and touchdowns.

After this performance, on the season the Patriots running back room is averaging 22.4 carries, 111 rushing yards, 0.60 rushing touchdowns, 6.8 receptions (8.6 targets), 55 receiving yards, and 0.20 receiving touchdowns per game.

Now let's compare this to what their offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels, has traditionally gotten out of his running back room. Josh McDaniels has had his running backs combine to average 24.54 carries, 104.03 rushing yards, 0.87 rushing touchdowns, 7.1 targets, 44.98 receiving yards, and 0.28 receiving touchdowns per game in the 220 games he coached as an offensive coordinator or head coach prior to this season.

Based on this information, we should expect the Patriots running backs to perform better on the ground than last Sunday. However, the season totals are right in line with what we would expect from a Josh McDaniels' running back room. There isn't much of a buy-low opportunity at the moment for this group.

Fantasy players this impacts: Damien Harris, James White, Rex Burkhead, J.J. Taylor, and Sony Michel

 

New York Giants Wide Receivers

Jason Garrett

In the New York Giants first win of the season (20-19 over the Washington Football Team), the team's wide receivers combined for five receptions on nine targets for 61 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown.

After this performance, on the season the New York Giants wide receiver room is averaging 10.67 receptions (16.67 targets), 128 receiving yards, and 0.50 receiving touchdowns per game.

Now let's compare this to what the Giants offensive coordinator, Jason Garrett, has traditionally gotten out of his wide receiver room. Jason Garrett has had his wide receivers combine to average 11.43 receptions (18.88 targets), 160.30 receiving yards, 1.26 receiving touchdowns per game in the 208 games he coached as an offensive coordinator or head coach prior to this season.

This year's Giants will be one of the worst offenses directed by Jason Garrett, but there may be some improvement for this team's receivers in the coming weeks.

Fantasy players this impacts: Darius Slayton, Sterling Shepard, and Golden Tate

 

Cleveland Browns Wide Receivers

Kevin Stefanski & Alex Van Pelt

The Cleveland Browns got decimated by the Pittsburgh Steelers, losing 38-7. In the game, their wide receivers combined for six receptions on 12 targets for 78 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown.

After this performance, the wide receiver room is averaging 9.17 receptions (14.67 targets), 123.67 receiving yards, and 0.83 receiving touchdowns per game through the first six games of the year.

Now let's compare this to what the Browns head coach, Kevin Stefanski, has historically gotten out of his wide receiver room. Kevin Stefanski has had his wide receivers combine to average 13.47 targets, 128.21 receiving yards, and 1.05 receiving touchdowns per game in the 19 games he coached as an offensive coordinator prior to this season.

In addition, in the 16 games that Alex Van Pelt had been an offensive coordinator prior to the season, his wide receiver room averaged 16.25 targets, 111.56 receiving yards, and 0.81 receiving touchdowns per game.

Overall, there should be better performances than last Sunday for the Cleveland Browns wide receivers, but as a group their season totals are right in line with what we would expect from this offense.

Fantasy players this impacts: Jarvis Landry, Rashad Higgins, and Odell Beckham Jr.

 

Pittsburgh Steelers Tight Ends

Randy Fichtner

The Steelers dominated the Browns last Sunday, winning 38-7. Because they were in control most of the game, they didn't need to pass much and it resulted in below-average showings from the team's pass-catchers. One group that struggled, in particular, was the Steelers tight ends, who only combined for two receptions on four targets for nine yards and zero touchdowns.

After this performance, on the season the Steelers tight end room is averaging 4.4 receptions on 6.4 targets for 42 receiving yards and 0.2 receiving touchdowns per game.

Now let's compare this to what the Steelers offensive coordinator, Randy Fichtner, has traditionally gotten out of his tight end room. Fichtner has had his tight ends combine to average 6.09 targets, 47.72 receiving yards, and 0.28 receiving touchdowns per game in the 32 games he coached as an offensive coordinator or head coach prior to this season.

Based Fichtner's previous coaching tendencies, it's likely that we see improved performances from the tight end group in the future.

Fantasy players this impacts: Eric Ebron and Vance McDonald

 

Chicago Bears Wide Receivers

Matt Nagy & Bill Lazor

The Chicago Bears won 23-16 over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, improving their record to 5-1. In the game, the Bears wide receivers combined for 12 receptions on 18 targets for 105 receiving yards and zero receiving touchdowns.

After this performance, on the season this wide receiver room is averaging 14.67 receptions (on 23.67 targets), 160.5 receiving yards, and one receiving touchdown per game.

Now let's compare this to what the Bears head coach, Matt Nagy, has traditionally gotten out of his wide receiver room. Matt Nagy has had his wide receivers combine to average 18.35 targets, 145.25 receiving yards, and 0.85 receiving touchdowns per game in the 48 games he coached as an offensive coordinator or head coach prior to this season.

In addition, in the 57 games that Bill Lazor had been an offensive coordinator prior to the season, he had his wide receiver room average 21.47 targets, 153.37 receiving yards, and 1.19 receiving touchdowns per game.

Seeing both of these coaches' data, there are likely to be better performances from this group than last Sunday against the Carolina Panthers. But keep in mind the season totals for the wide receivers as a whole are actually running on the higher side of what we'd expect out these coaches wide receiver room.

Fantasy players this impacts: Allen Robinson, Anthony Miller, Darnell Mooney, and Cordarrelle Patterson

 

Jacksonville Jaguars Running Backs

Doug Marrone & Jay Gruden

The Jaguars got trounced by the Detroit Lions on Sunday, losing 34-16. In the game, the Jaguars running backs took 12 carries for 29 rushing yards and had seven receptions for 39 receiving yards and a touchdown through the air.

After this performance, on the season the Jaguars running back room is averaging 15.17 carries, 63.17 rushing yards, 0.5 rushing touchdowns, 6.5 receptions (on 7.5 targets), 53 receiving yards, and 0.33 receiving touchdowns per game.

Now compare this to what the Jaguars head coach, Doug Marrone, has historically gotten out of his running back room. Marrone has had his running backs combine to average 23.40 carries, 94.15 rushing yards, 0.62 rushing touchdowns, 8.86 targets, 49.47 receiving yards, and 0.21 receiving touchdowns per game in the 144 games he coached as an offensive coordinator or head coach prior to this season.

In addition, in the 133 games that Jay Gruden had been an offensive coordinator prior to the season, his running backs have combined to average 21.95 carries, 87.59 rushing yards, 0.54 rushing touchdowns, 5.27 targets, 34.65 receiving yards, and 0.16 receiving touchdowns per game.

Based on this information, the Jaguars running back room appears to be performing below what we would expect, in particular on the ground. James Robinson is looking like a good player to be investing more into.

Fantasy players this impacts: James Robinson and Chris Thompson

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Wide Receivers

Bruce Arians & Byron Leftwich

The Buccaneers dominated the previously undefeated Green Bay Packers, winning 38-10. In this game, the Buccaneers wide receivers combined for eight receptions on 14 targets for 71 receiving yards and one touchdown.

After this performance, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have their wide receiver room averaging 11.5 receptions on 16.67 targets for 152 receiving yards and 1.5 receiving touchdowns per game this season.

Compare this to what Tampa Bay head coach, Bruce Arians, has traditionally gotten out of his wide receiver room. Arians has had his wide receivers combine to average 22.15 targets, 178.39 receiving yards, and 1.12 receiving touchdowns per game in the 240 games he coached as an offensive coordinator or head coach prior to this season.

In addition, across the 25 games that Byron Leftwich had been an offensive coordinator prior to the season, his wide receiver room averaged 21.52 targets, 186.64 receiving yards, and 1.36 receiving touchdowns per game.

Based on these previous tendencies, we should expect more targets and receiving yards for the Buccaneers wide receivers in the future, and a slight regression in receiving touchdowns per a game. The Buccaneers wide receivers are a strong hold in fantasy football leagues right now.

Fantasy players this impacts: Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, Tyler Johnson, and Scotty Miller



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Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups & Adds

Week 6 was like the 2020 of fantasy football weeks. All those great matchups meant nothing, those studs let you down, and your bench likely went crazy. The good news is that we didn't have any season-ending injuries to running backs or games canceled due to COVID, so in retrospect maybe we shouldn't complain.

The waiver wire will be more important in 2020 than any previous season, especially after waivers clear in most leagues. Use the players suggested here for your early-week claims but keep the rest in mind for later in the week if necessary and check our NFL news feed for the latest injury updates.

As always, the options listed at each position below are listed in order of priority to help you plan your claims accordingly. Players listed include only those rostered in approximately 50% or fewer Yahoo leagues. For a deeper look at each position, check out our separate weekly waiver wire columns at QB, RB, WR, and TE.

 

Quarterbacks - Waiver Wire Options

Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers - 54% rostered

Herbert's availability is limited in competitive leagues but he may have been dropped out of necessity with the unexpected bye in Week 6. He should be the top option regardless of matchup but when you add in the fact that their opponent is Jacksonville, a bottom-10 pass defense, he becomes an automatic start and top QB pickup.

Andy Dalton, Dallas Cowboys - 32% rostered

The Boys play on Monday night, so we've yet to see how he fares in his first start filling in for Dak Prescott. He should be viewed as a high-end QB2 most weeks; the upcoming matchup with Washington in Week 7 doesn't change that. For a deeper look at Dalton's projected value in Dallas, read here.

Teddy Bridgewater, Carolina Panthers - 45% rostered

Bridgewater had his worst day as a Panther in Week 6 as the Bears limited him to 216 passing yards. He went without a touchdown and was picked off twice. The matchup can be blamed, as the 5-1 Bears are now statistically the toughest defense to opposing quarterbacks. He should bounce back in New Orleans, facing his former team. The Saints allow the fourth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks.

Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders - 23% rostered

Coming off a bye, Carr gets to face a Buccaneers Defense that just made Aaron Rodgers look like an AAF outcast. Carr has been on a roll, throwing multiple touchdowns in each of the last four games with a 10-1 TD-INT rate in that span. Carr put up solid numbers against the Patriots and Chiefs, both good pass defenses, so he's safe to play in Superflex formats or as a streamer in deep leagues.

Others to consider: Daniel Jones, New York Giants (31% rostered); Kyle Allen, Washington Football Team (3% rostered)

 

Running Backs - Waiver Wire Options

Justin Jackson, Los Angeles Chargers - 45% rostered

When we last saw the Bolts in action, Jackson was getting more touches than Joshua Kelley and saw the key snaps in the fourth quarter and on passing downs. It's still likely to be a two-man committee but Jackson has a better rushing average and should have the higher floor based on his pass-catching ability. The Chargers will face Jacksonville in Week 7 which makes him very flex-worthy.

Boston Scott, Philadelphia Eagles - 13% rostered

Because the Eagles needed more injuries... Miles Sanders left with a knee injury in the second half without returning. He has already been declared out for Thursday Night Football, which means Boston Scott becomes the RB1 as he was in Week 1. That was a huge letdown game for him, seeing as how he collected 54 total yards and caught only two passes. It contributed to an upset loss to Washington, their only victory of the season so far. Scott has shown nothing of value this season, averaging 3.3 yards per carry and one reception per game. Those in a bind might have no choice to pivot here, unfortunately.

D'Ernest Johnson, Cleveland Browns - 26% rostered

Those who added Johnson as soon as Nick Chubb went on IR have been massively disappointed. He was invisible in Week 6, running three times for three yards and dropping an easy screen pass that couldn't inspire confidence in the coaching staff. He gets a pass to some extent because the past two games, Cleveland has faced the Colts and Steelers, who were No. 2 and No. 4 respectively as far as limiting fantasy points to running backs. This coming week brings Cincinnati, a far better matchup. He doesn't need to be flexed but can be if needed.

Jeremy McNichols, Tennessee Titans - 1% rostered

Rookie Darrynton Evans has been placed on IR, so McNichols is officially the insurance policy for all of Derrick Henry's fantasy managers. He won't get much run but if, God forbid, something should happen to Henry, he becomes the hottest waiver wire pickup around. McNichols looked sharp in spare duty this week, rushing five times for 51 yards. He has no stand-alone value as of right now.

La'Mical Perine, New York Jets - 18% rostered

In a logical world, the rookie would have a golden opportunity to showcase his skills and take over a significant portion of the backfield work now that RB1 Le'Veon Bell has been released. Unfortunately, we live in a world where Adam Gase is still the head coach of the Jets, he hates all running backs (and good players), so Perine saw fewer touches and snaps than 37-year-old Frank Gore. It didn't matter that the game was out of hand in the first quarter and no reason not to see what Perine could do with an extended workload. Only consider Perine once there are real rumblings that Gase might be on his way out.

Gus Edwards, Baltimore Ravens - 3% rostered

The bye week comes at a perfect time for the Ravens but not so much for fantasy managers. Mark Ingram left early with an ankle injury and didn't return, which could clear up this situation and turn it into a two-man split between J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards rather than a three-man RBBC. With an extra week to rest, it should be back to status quo which means none of the three are more than desperation RB3 plays any given week. Too bad because Edwards saw most of the carries in this game and could be a reliable starter, especially in standard leagues. For now, he's just a speculative add for Week 8.

JaMycal Hasty, San Francisco 49ers - 1% rostered

Another Raheem Mostert injury forced Hasty into action on Sunday night. Had Jeff Wilson been active, Hasty might not have seen the field. He wasn't overly impressive, gathering 37 yards on nine carries with nothing in the passing game. Monitor the injury report to see if Mostert and/or Wilson are pegged to miss more time before making a claim for Hasty.

Others to consider: Frank Gore, New York Jets (31% rostered); Duke Johnson, Houston Texans (25% rostered); Jamaal Williams, Green Bay Packers (15% rostered); J.D. McKissic, Washington Football Team (11% rostered)

 

Wide Receivers - Waiver Wire Options

Chase Claypool, Pittsburgh Steelers - 49% rostered

I know, he's not available in your league. If you read this column last week and didn't add him, you're clearly not taking my advice anyway. He's technically (inexplicably) under half-rostered across Yahoo leagues, so it provides me an opportunity to expand on his involvement in this offense. In Week 6, Claypool tied for the team lead in receptions (four), led the team in yardage (74), and was second in targets (four). Not outstanding numbers but add in a rushing touchdown and you have the makings of a solid day considering the Steelers didn't really need to pass throughout the second half. He's not just a must-add anywhere he's available, he is entering must-start territory.

Mike Williams, Los Angeles Chargers - 45% rostered

After a quiet start to the season that included a zero in Week 4, Williams came up huge in Week 5 with 109 yards and two touchdowns. Keenan Allen is expected back for the upcoming matchup with the Jaguars but there will be plenty of targets to go around and a favorable matchup to boot.

Travis Fulgham, Philadelphia Eagles - 31% rostered

While Fulgham predictably didn't put up the type of game he did last week, he came away with 75 yards on six catches and a jump-ball touchdown that saved his fantasy day. The most encouraging stat is his 10 targets which tied Zach Ertz for the team lead. Ertz won't be on the field for another 3-4 weeks due to an ankle injury suffered in-game. It's hard to tell whether DeSean Jackson or Alshon Jeffery has a realistic shot at returning but it's reasonable to assume they won't see much action even if they do take the field. Fulgham is flex-worthy in the right circumstances as long as you don't expect a monster game each time out. The Giants have only allowed one 100-yard receiver this season, which was CeeDee Lamb in Week 5. No other WR has reached 75 yards against them. Add now and use as needed to patch holes in your lineup.

Tim Patrick, Denver Broncos - 10% rostered

Make that back-to-back 100-yard games for Patrick, who is easily outproducing first-round pick Jerry Jeudy. Patrick went for 113 yards in a tough matchup with the Patriots while Jeudy had just 32 yards. In fact, no other wide receiver even registered a catch for Denver. Patrick is the lead target on this team and a WR3 candidate in standard leagues.

Henry Ruggs III, Las Vegas Raiders - 47% rostered

The week off should help Ruggs get closer to full health but the matchup with Tampa Bay makes him a stash rather than a streamer. Tampa's defense is for real and CB Jamel Dean has become a breakout star in his second season. Ruggs can be added wherever WR depth is needed but don't count on much in the short term.

Laviska Shenault Jr., Jacksonville Jaguars - 46% rostered

His steady, predictable climb in target share took an unpredictable nosedive in Week 6. Shenault was targeted seven times but took a backseat to Keelan Cole (nine targets) and D.J. Chark (14 targets) and was even less productive, catching three passes for 10 yards. Chalk it up to a bad game and keep him on the streaming radar.

Keelan Cole, Jacksonville Jaguars - 29% rostered

The biggest beneficiary of D.J. Chark being less than healthy was Cole, who went for 143 yards on six catches. This was his first true "boom" game of the year. Cole's previous high was 58 yards back in Week 2. He won't go off most weeks but he's getting the touchdowns that Shenault isn't and could be a factor if Chark still isn't 100%.

Russell Gage, Atlanta Falcons - 29% rostered

For the first time in four games, Gage caught more than two passes and went over 30 yards in a game. In fact, his 65-yard total in Week 6 is more than the previous three games combined. Maybe a coaching change is what Atlanta needed to get going. The matchup remains favorable again, as the Detroit Lions come to town.

Breshad Perriman, New York Jets - 8% rostered

He's back and looks good, even if his team is hard to watch. Perriman finished second on the team in targets with eight, behind only Jamison Crowder. Four catches for 62 yards isn't game-breaking but once Sam Darnold returns, there is enough big-play ability to make Perriman relevant.

Marcus Johnson, Indianapolis Colts - 0% rostered

This week's "who went off?" award goes to Johnson, who finished with five receptions for 108 yards. He wasn't on the active roster for the first three weeks of the season and has now done something no other Colts receiver had done yet - go for 100 yards in a game. They have a bye in Week 7 so don't get too excited. Stash him in deep leagues if you have the space but don't get your hopes up for consistent production. This is still a run-first offense.

Others to consider: Christian Kirk, Arizona Cardinals (39% rostered); Preston Williams, Miami Dolphins (25% rostered); James Washington, Pittsburgh Steelers (10% rostered)

 

Tight Ends - Waiver Wire Options

Darren Fells, Houston Texans - 5% rostered

With Jordan Akins out the past two games, Fells has scored in each and contributed 57 and 85 yards respectively. That'll play at tight end, especially for those who have been without Noah Fant and now may be without Zach Ertz. The Packers had been one of the tougher defenses versus the tight end but they didn't stop much of anything against Tampa Bay, including Gronk. Fells has the edge over Firkser because he has been more consistent both this season and over the last couple of seasons.

Anthony Firkser, Tennessee Titans - 0% rostered

Jonnu Smith was this year's breakout performer at tight end, going for 221 yards and five TD in the first four games. Seeing him leave early in Week 6 with an ankle injury is frustrating enough but especially after witnessing what his replacement did. Somehow, Firkser went for eight receptions and 113 yards with a touchdown, making him the top-scoring fantasy TE of the week so far. He had a grand total of 498 yards in his two-and-a-half-year career thus far, so it's hard to imagine that he suddenly becomes this year's version of Tyler Higbee. Still, this offense is clicking on all cylinders and Firkser makes a smart streamer if Smith, currently listed as questionable for Week 7, doesn't suit up.

Irv Smith Jr., Minnesota Vikings - 9% rostered

The bye week for Minnesota makes this a stash only recommendation but one that should get some attention for the remainder of the year. Smith was a complete non-factor for the first month, catching a total of two passes for 14 yards over the first four games. Forget that ever happened - Smith has four receptions in each of the last two games, going over 50 yards each time. Just like it took a couple of weeks for Gary Kubiak to figure out how to use Justin Jefferson, he seems to now have figured out how to use his young tight end. Smith is a talented receiver on an offense bereft of WR depth which makes him fantasy relevant in good matchups the rest of the way.

Logan Thomas, Washington Football Team - 15% rostered

After a hiatus, Thomas re-emerged onto the scene with 42 yards and a touchdown in Week 6. He also played on 63 snaps with the next-closest tight end, Jeremy Sprinkle, in on just 11 snaps. Thomas' upside with Kyle Allen isn't much higher than it was with Dwayne Haskins, nor is he suddenly a desirable weekly option. He is streamable in Week 7 since his opponent, the Dallas Cowboys, is one of the least effective at defending the tight end.

Richard Rodgers, Philadelphia Eagles - 0% rostered

It's unclear what Zach Ertz did to anger the gods but his disappointing season has gotten worse. He left the game against Baltimore early with an ankle injury and will be out for at least three weeks. Although it was Jason Croom getting the touchdown in his place, it was his only catch of the day and it came on the only offensive snap in which he appeared. The veteran Rodgers caught three passes for 31 yards and will see the majority of TE snaps and targets for the time being. There isn't much upside but he can be used as an Ertz replacement if no better options are available.

Adam Shaheen, Miami Dolphins - 0% rostered

Is Shaheen the new Gesicki? No, because Mike Gesicki is still there and is pretty good when the ball is actually thrown his way. Shaheen has a touchdown catch in consecutive games, though, so he is at least a factor in this offense that is thin at the receiver position. The Fins are off next week so just keep him in the back of your mind in case you need a desperation streamer or Gesicki finds a way to get hurt on his week off.

Others to consider: Greg Olsen, Seattle Seahawks (21% rostered); Drew Sample, Cincinnati Bengals (4% rostered)

 

Team Defense - Waiver Wire Options

Philadelphia Eagles Defense - 30% rostered

The past two games have been miserable for Philly's defense, which explains their low rostered rate. The Ravens scored 30 a week after the Steelers put up 38 on this unit. They shouldn't have as much trouble with the Giants, who remain one of the lowest-scoring offenses in the NFL. One thing that has been consistent with the Philadelphia defense has been sacks. They came into Week 6 third in sacks and now have 21 on the season. Daniel Jones has no problem taking a sack, or turning the ball over for that matter. For leagues that reward sacks more so than turnovers, this is the unit to target.

Cincinnati Bengals Defense - 3% rostered

For leagues where turnovers matter most, this embattled Cincy DST could come through. The Bengals have picked off a pass in five straight games and will get the Browns in Week 7. If Baker Mayfield is healthy enough to play, that might be a good thing for the defense. He was picked twice by the Steelers and didn't look right all game, clearly bothered by his rib injury.



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FAB Bidding - Week 7 Waiver Wire Targets

Whether it's injuries, bye-week blues, or simply poor performance, we've got the waiver-wire cure...but it just might cost you! Alongside our famous waiver wire pickups list and our weekly waiver wire columns by position, this column focuses on suggested waiver wire bidding percentages for fantasy football owners in leagues using a Free Agent Budget (FAB). In case you were not aware, several fantasy sports platforms are switching from FAAB to FAB in 2020, and RotoBaller will make that change as well.

As a caveat, these prices do not by any means indicate how much these free agent players will go for. Each league values players differently and will continue to do so. These values are here to provide a baseline or priority order to understand roughly how much you should be looking to spend on a particular player. Specific needs are always reasonable cause for a manual override.

Week 6 saw many backup players score TDs and a few key players got hurt, but I think most of us will take this for 2020. Another four-team bye week cometh, as BAL, IND, MIA, and MIN take a break. With that in mind, here are my median FAB bid ranges and adds heading into Week 7, with Yahoo rostership rates from Monday night.

 

FAB Waiver Wire Bids - Quarterbacks

Let me say very quickly, if Justin Herbert (55% rostered), Gardner Minshew II (52%) or Teddy Bridgewater (45%) are available then I’d target them first. I’d be firing around 8-10% of my FAB at Herbert if I really needed a QB, with roughly 2-4% at Minshew and Bridgewater.

Derek Carr (QB, LV) - FAB Bid: 1-2%

23% rostered

Carr and the Raiders enjoyed a bye-week vacation after handing the Chiefs their first loss of 2020 in Week 5. The matchup is a tough one against a stout Tampa Bay defense that just held Aaron Rodgers to peanuts but had yielded 290 yards and three TDs to Justin Herbert in Week 4. There’s some opportunity for Carr to step up with Darren Waller and big-play machine Henry Ruggs III.

Kyle Allen (QB, WAS) - FAB Bid: 1-2%

3% rostered

This is a pure desperation matchup play as Allen and the Washington Football Team draw a downward Dallas defense. Without a steady RB stable to run over the Cowboys’ front seven, Allen and his receivers (including his WR-esque RBs) will look for holes. Dallas has allowed 13 passing touchdowns with zero interceptions generated since Week 1, leaving a window or two for Allen to perform. Not well enough to win the game, but to have a good fantasy day.

 

FAB Waiver Wire Bids - Running Backs

Boston Scott (RB, PHI) - FAB Bid: 25-30%

14% rostered

Scott has disappointed with minimal usage in 2020 but the stars may be aligning here for Week 7. The Eagles are on a short week and Miles Sanders is expected to miss 1-2 games, so Scott’s the next man up. Despite poor results thus far in 2020, we can’t forget that he put up 138 total yards and three TDs against the Giants in Week 17 last season after torching them for 128 yards and a score in Week 8. I know it’s a different year and the Eagles are injured, but Scott has been a capable runner and receiver for Philly. I expect Corey Clement to work in some but Scott is a top-24 RB for Week 7 and worth an add.

J.D. McKissic (RB, WAS) - FAB Bid: 5-6%

12% rostered

We were told Antonio Gibson would receive more work so what happens? McKissic touches the ball 14 times for 84 total yards in a green-light matchup against the Giants. Classic. He may be heavily involved as a receiver against Dallas in a game that could see 60 total points. I know the Cowboys just crapped themselves on MNF but hopefully, they put up more of a fight with another week to get situated. Either way, you start RBs against Dallas.

JaMycal Hasty (RB, SF) - FAB Bid: 1-3%

0% rostered

Hasty looked like San Francisco’s best back after Raheem Mostert left with an ankle injury. This was Mostert’s first game back and reinjury risk is always possible, while Jerick McKinnon simply didn’t run well (and was barely used in Week 5). I don’t see how we can put Hasty above McKinnon off one game (and I don’t think anyone is) but Mostert’s most likely joining Tevin Coleman on the IR. McKinnon is solid but not a workhorse. Perhaps Hasty has more to offer than simple dynasty upside in 2020.

 

FAB Waiver Wire Bids - Wide Receivers

Here’s hoping you got Chase Claypool (49% rostered as of Monday night), who should be a top priority if available. I want to be sure Mike Williams (45%) is healthy but ditto him. And if DeSean Jackson (24%) is active for a game against the Giants, you try to play him because he simply hates them.

Travis Fulgham (WR, PHI) - FAB Bid: 8-10%

31% rostered

Fulgham has scored in three straight games alongside 50-plus yards and a whopping 23 combined targets in his last two. I recognize Fulgham’s week was largely fueled by a rather goofy fadeaway from Carson Wentz on 4th and 9 from the 18, but Fulgham had the perfect timing and positioning to bring it down. It wasn’t the only time Wentz simply tossed it high to Fulgham, and that trust could lead to more big games against NYG and DAL these next two weeks. He’s shown enough now to remain involved even as Jalen Reagor, Alshon Jeffery, and DeSean Jackson work their way back, though his floor will likely be quite low once that occurs.

Sterling Shepard (WR, NYG) - FAB Bid: 10-12%

29% rostered

New York Giants head coach Joe Judge said that Shepard’s Week 7 status may “come down to a pregame workout” ahead of their Thursday night game against Philadelphia. The short week stunts his chances but NYG is in need of reinforcements as Darius Slayton is dinged (but likely to play) and C.J. Board suffered a frightful injury on Sunday. Even if he’s unavailable for Week 7, he could knock on the top-30 WR door often whenever he does return.

Corey Davis (WR, TEN) - FAB Bid: 8-10%

26% rostered

The Titans activated Davis from the COVID-19 list on Monday as he joins up with Ryan Tannehill’s top-10 status. He and A.J. Brown both saw eight targets in Week 1 (their only game together thus far) as the Titans prepare for an uphill battle against Pittsburgh’s defense. Davis had at least 69 yards or a touchdown in his first three games  Don’t be shocked if he doesn’t pop in the return but note that Week 8 against Cincinnati could yield fun times.

Tim Patrick (WR, DEN) - FAB Bid: 5-8%

18% rostered

Patrick’s now surpassed 100 yards in two straight games and has a nice 4-43-1 line in the game before those. We can’t expect this to continue once K.J. Hamler and Noah Fant come back, but Denver should also need to throw a lot in Week 7 against Kansas City’s juggernaut offense. Patrick has earned your consideration, but if you haven’t played him by now then the window for prime results has likely closed.

Demarcus Robinson (WR, KC) - FAB Bid: 3-6%

1% rostered

Robinson led Kansas City wideouts with six targets and 69 yards in their sloppy win over Buffalo. The execution wasn’t sloppy, but the rain was coming down and led to a run-heavy attack. But it was great to see Robinson step up with Sammy Watkins out unless you had the catchless Mecole Hardman. This doesn’t cement him as the No. 2 -- far from it -- but it shows he’s capable and trusted enough to have that within range.

 

FAB Waiver Wire Bids - Tight Ends

Dallas Goedert (TE, PHI) - FAB Bid: 10-15%

41% rostered

Goedert is eligible to return from the injured reserve in Week 7, but we may not see him until Week 8. Keep an eye on his availability and practice reports this week, especially with Zach Ertz out for roughly a month. Goedert would still be a solid pickup even if Ertz were healthy, but Philly’s many injuries leave ample opportunity for Goedert to step into whenever he’s ready. He’d be a weekly top-10 play given the state of TEs in 2020. This is an add worth erring on the "week too early" side.



Darren Fells (TE, HOU) - FAB Bid: 4-5%

5% rostered

Fells exploded for 6-85-1 on a season-high seven targets in a tight loss to Tennessee in Week 6. It was his second straight strong game (and the second straight game without Jordan Akins active). He’ll slide back to low-end TE2 territory if Akins is active for Week 7 against Green Bay, but stands tall as a top-12 option if Akins is out. Who knew Houston's offense had such potential? It's almost like some mysterious shroud was limiting them this whole time.

Irv Smith Jr. (TE, MIN) - FAB Bid: 3-5%

9% rostered

Big Irv has caught 4-of-5 targets in consecutive weeks now, with 64 yards in Week 5 and 55 yards (and a two-point conversion) in Week 6. The Week 7 bye may leave him available in most formats and temper the waiver appetite but two weeks is a pattern in the football world. With Smith Jr. overtaking Kyle Rudolph, we may have a top-16 TE option come Week 8’s date with the Packers.

Trey Burton (TE, IND) - FAB Bid: 3-5%

20% rostered

Burton scored a one-yard TD as the QB in the Wildcat formation and then added a receiving TD alongside 58 yards on four catches. That makes three consecutive games with at least five targets as Indianapolis hits their bye week, but we must note Mo Alie-Cox was out. Philip Rivers loves having a reliable, athletic TE and Burton could be the guy, but we’ll need to see how much work he gets when he, Jack Doyle, and Alie-Cox are all active.

Anthony Firkser (TE, TEN) - FAB Bid: 0-1% 

1% rostered

Firkser feasted against Houston in Week 6, catching 8-of-9 targets for 113 yards and a touchdown. Jonnu Smith missed a chunk of the game with a reported minor knee sprain and is questionable for Week 7, so monitor Smith’s practice reports and add Firkser in deeper leagues should Jonnu miss the (bad) matchup against Pittsburgh.

 

FAB Waiver Wire Bids - Defense/Special Teams

Philadelphia Eagles Defense (vs NYG) - 31% rostered - FAB Bid: 3-5%

Los Angeles Chargers Defense (vs. JAX) - 29% - FAB Bid: 1-2%

Cleveland Browns Defense (at CIN) - 24% - FAB Bid: 0-1%

Apologies, my time is a bit thin this Monday but just know that squaring off against the Giants, Jaguars, and Bengals is typically a plus move for streaming. The Giants and Jags both have implied team totals of roughly 20 points per early Vegas lines, which is low. I don't love Cleveland being on the road but it's a get-right spot for them against a rookie QB who may be forced to take risks late.



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Running Back Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 7

Fantasy GMs are to be commended for rising to the unique challenges that have unfolded during this regular season. Injuries to critical players is an unwelcome reality that occurs every year. This is also the case for backs that were expected to operate as RB1s, but have been relegated to committees. However, this season has required a new level of flexibility to also absorb the COVID-related postponements and ever-changing scenarios for adjusted schedules.

We have also progressed into weekly planning for scheduled bye weeks, which includes the four teams that will be affected by this week’s revised schedule - the Colts, Ravens, Dolphins, and Vikings. This ensures that Jonathan Taylor, Myles Gaskin, Dalvin CookAlexander Mattison. Mark Ingram, Gus Edwards, and J.K. Dobbins will not be available this week. It also will provide managers with an additional factor that could fuel interest in locating alternative options on the waiver wire.

These recommendations will appear in three tiers - beginning with the most enticing and progressing to runners for anyone that is struggling with desperation. You will also find a group of backs that can be dropped in order for you to secure your replacements. After you've finished this breakdown, you can also find news updates and data-fueled analysis that is designed to help you maximize the scoring potential of your rosters.

 

Running Back Leaderboard

Week 6 Rushing Leaders Team Attempts Yards TDs
Derrick Henry Tennessee 22 212 2
Miles Sanders Philadelphia 9 118 0
D'Andre Swift Detroit 14 116 2
Ronald Jones Tampa Bay 23 113 2
Phillip Lindsay Denver 23 101 0
James Conner Pittsburgh 20 101 1
Myles Gaskin Miami 18 91 0
Darrell Henderson Los Angeles Rams 14 88 0
Raheem Mostert San Francisco 17 65 0
Devonta Freeman New York Giants 18 61 0
Jonathan Taylor Indianapolis 12 60 0
David Montgomery Chicago 19 58 0

 

Frontrunners - Week 7 Waiver Wire Running Backs

These backs should be your top priorities among the options that are available on most waiver wires. Some will be more beneficial in PPR formats than standard. All players have 60% or less ownership in typical fantasy leagues.

Justin Jackson, Los Angeles Chargers

46% rostered

Jackson and Joshua Kelley were expected to split touches during Austin Ekeler’s absence (hamstring) and that is what transpired during the Chargers’ Week 5 matchup in New Orleans. However, Jackson garnered the most extensive workload by accumulating eight more touches than Kelley (20/12). Jackson easily accrued more total yards than Kelley (94/38), while also capturing a 59% snap share. Kelley’s 35% share was his lowest since Week 3 after he had exceeded 50% in two of his three previous matchups. While this was only the first contest in which Ekeler was unavailable, the results were encouraging for Jackson - who also performed more effectively with the touches that he received.

Not only did he run with a greater burst with his rushing attempts, but he also collected more targets (5/1), and receiving yards (23/9) than Kelley. The promising touch distribution and Jackson’s superior production have elevated him among this week’s most enticing waiver wire options. Any fantasy GMs who are successful in securing him can also start him as a low-end RB2/high-endRB3 during this week's matchup with Jacksonville.

 

Gus Edwards, Baltimore Ravens

3% rostered

Mark Ingram’s ankle injury forced him to the sideline during the Ravens' Week 6 matchup with Philadelphia. That shifted the touch distribution for Baltimore's backfield to Edwards and J.K. Dobbins. It also elevated Edwards and Dobbins among this week’s most viable waiver wire options at the running back position, as the tandem could absorb expanded workloads if Ingram is absent from Baltimore's lineup. Dobbins is already rostered in 64% of all leagues. However, Edwards’ resides on 97% of all waiver wires.

The third-year back received a team-high 14 attempts versus the Eagles and has averaged 8.8-attempts per game since Week 2. He has also accumulated 48 carries throughout the season, which is just two fewer than Ingram. Baltimore's Week 7 bye will supply Ingram with additional time to recover before the Ravens host Pittsburgh in Week 8. However, fantasy GMs with Ingram on their rosters should prioritize the addition of Edwards as they monitor Ingram's health. Anyone else can also target Edwards, who could become a viable resource for your rosters in the upcoming weeks.

 

Boston Scott, Philadelphia Eagles

13% rostered

Miles Sanders bolted for 118 yards on just nine carries when Philadelphia hosted Baltimore. However, he was also sidelined by a knee injury at the conclusion of a 74-yard burst. His status for Week 7 will remain uncertain until the severity of his issue is determined by an MRI. However, the Eagles are scheduled to play on Thursday night, which increases the possibility that he could be absent for that matchup. Scott’s role would expand considerably if that scenario transpires, which elevates him among this week’s primary targets on the waiver wire.

Corey Clement would also garner touches. But Scott would operate as Philadelphia's primary back. He has carried 21 times during the season opener while accumulating 67 yards. While those numbers are uninspiring, he did explode upon the fantasy landscape last season by accumulating 350 total yards from Weeks 14-17.  He should become a top priority for any managers who depend on Sanders in their starting lineups. He is also included in this week's frontrunners among backs that are available on most waiver wires.

 

In The Running - Week 7 Waiver Wire Running Backs

These backs remain available on the waiver wire but are not necessarily must-adds.

Joshua Kelley, Los Angeles Chargers

55% rostered

Even though Jackson's stock has risen significantly following his performance in Week 5 that does not mean that Kelley should be dwelling on waiver wires. He was dropped by some fantasy GMs during the Chargers’ bye week which expanded his availability to 45% of all leagues. He did assemble 167 yards on 43 carries in Weeks 1-3 and has been utilized with consistency in the red zone (10 attempts/7 inside the 10).

Kelley will continue to split touches with Jackson, and his usage and production should normally reside somewhere between the expanded workload that he experienced earlier in the season and the role that he was entrusted with during Week 5. His ability to function as an inside runner will also keep him involved in the offense whenever Ekeler resurfaces. Managers who invest in him will be attaining a back that has already completed his bye week, and he remains a viable RB3/flex option.

 

Adrian Peterson, Detroit Lions

60% rostered

Even though Detroit is operating with a committee approach, Peterson's role as a vital component with the Lions’ rushing attack remains intact. He was 16th in attempts prior to the team’s Week 5 bye and has now led the team in carries and rushing yards during four of their five matchups. Since Week 3, he has accumulated 48 carries, compared to 10 for Kerryon Johnson and 18 for D’Andre Swift. That includes his team-high 15 carries in Week 6 versus Jacksonville when Swift was allotted 14 attempts, and Johnson only rushed four times.

Swift did deliver the most prolific performance of his rookie season in Week 6 (17 touches/123 total yards/2 touchdowns), and should continue splitting touches with Peterson as the season continues. The combined usage for the tandem will remove Johnson completely from the fantasy radar. But the timeshare will not deter Peterson from absorbing a respectable number of early-down carries, along with a sizable percentage of red zone opportunities. That presents your motivation for adding him as a flex option.

 

Zack Moss, Buffalo Bills

55% rostered

As fantasy GMs have steadily released Moss from their rosters, he has now become available in over 40% of all leagues. He generated 64 total yards on 20 touches in Weeks 1-2. But interest in the once-promising rookie has diminished during his three-game absence, as he recovered from a toe injury. However, he should eventually recapture a role that is similar to his previous responsibilities. This should include red zone carries, as Moss collected seven during those initial two matchups.

He is now healthy and will resume his responsibilities in a committee with Devin Singletary. But Moss remains capable of performing effectively between the tackles, while also running with sufficient power to accumulate carries near the goal line. This presents fantasy GMs with greater potential to deliver fantasy points than many other options that are available on the waiver wire. It also elevates his potential for him to develop into as a flex option for anyone who is contending with bye weeks and injuries.

 

Dark Horses - Week 7 Waiver Wire Running Backs 

This group consists of running backs that can be added if you are willing to wait for the possibility of a larger role during the year, or consider your situation to be desperate due to injuries.

J.D. McKissic, Washington Football Team

11% rostered

There is a dearth of productive players contained in Washington’s 32nd ranked offense, and Antonio Gibson remains the most appealing option from the team’s backfield. But McKissic has absorbed a consistent role as the pass-catching specialist while providing managers with increased incentive to seize him in PPR leagues. McKissic collected all six of his targets and generated 43 yards during Washington’s Week 6 matchup with long-time NFC East rival New York in Week 6.

That easily led his team’s running backs in each category, while McKissic also expanded his lead in season-long numbers among all Washington’s backs (31 targets/23 receptions/167 receiving yards). This also places McKissic second only to Terry McLaurin in receptions and yardage, while he has also averaged 7.3 targets, 6.3 receptions, and 43 yards per game since Week 4. McKissic was also included in this section one week ago. However, he still remains available in nearly 90% of all rosters. Anyone searching for scoring from your running backs in the PPR format should strongly consider securing him this week.

 

Brian Hill, Atlanta Falcons

18% rostered 

The fifth-year back currently does not present stand-alone value. However, he is performing proficiently when he receives carries (35 attempts/161 rushing yards/4.6 yards per attempt). His value would also surge significantly if Gurley would be sidelined during the season. Hill would share touches with Ito Smith if Gurley were to become unavailable for any reason. However, Hill has attained a 27% snap share while Ito Smith's share dwells at 17%, and Hill would commandeer the largest workload if that scenario transpires.

Even though Hill’s numbers as a receiver might appear unimpressive (11/targets/9 receptions/75 yards), he has already established new career-highs in receptions and receiving yards. Those numbers would also rise substantially as he absorbed more opportunities, should Gurley be absent from the lineup. Hill remains available in over 80% of all leagues and presents an excellent insurance policy for anyone with Gurley on their rosters. He is also a viable roster stash for all managers in deeper leagues.

 

La'Mical Perine, New York Jets

18% rostered

The release of Le’Veon Bell was just the latest unsightly development for the increasingly beleaguered Jets. But it also reshaped the landscape of New York’s backfield. This presents an opportunity for any fantasy GMs who are willing to stash Perine and exercise patience after they have secured him.  Perine’s usage and production after six matchups will not excite you, as he has now carried 22 times, and has accumulated 83 yards (3.8 yards per attempt).

However, his prospects of Perine being entrusted with a larger workload provides your motivation for including him on your rosters. The inexplicable decision-making of Adam Gase is well-chronicled, as is Gase’s ongoing comfort level with Frank Gore. But Perine possesses a ceiling that easily exceeds the 37-year old Gore's. This could eventually lead to an expanded touch total – particularly if Gase is no longer determining the weekly touch distribution. This supplies an opportunity for anyone who is searching for a back that could reward your decision as the season progresses.

 

Also-Rans - Time To Say Goodbye

These backs can be dropped in order to secure a running back with greater potential to bolster your scoring during the year.

Sony Michel, New England Patriots

30% rostered                                                                                                                   

Michel was already on injured reserve due to his quad injury, before New England placed him on the COVID-19 list.  These issues will keep Michel affixed to the sideline. However, there are additional concerns surrounding the third-year back. Whenever Michel does return, it is highly unlikely that he will receive a role that even remotely resembles his touch total prior to his absence. New England’s backfield remains highly congested, starting with Damien Harris – who has accumulated 23 carries during Michel’s absence. Rex Burkhead remains capable of pilfering opportunities, while James White has attained a 54% snap share since he returned to the Patriots in Week 5.

Michel’s inability to capitalize on his touches has also diminished considerably since his 2018 rookie season. He averaged just 3.7 yards per attempt and 57 yards per game during 2019 and had manufactured even lower averages in Weeks 1-2 (28 yards/3.2 yards per game) before an uncharacteristically productive outing in Week 3 (117 yards/13 per attempt). There are other backs that should be targeted for your critical roster spots.

 

Kerryon Johnson, Detroit Lions 

21% rostered 

Adrian Peterson's frequent usage was discussed previously as was D'Andre Swift's season-best performance in Jacksonville. While that tandem has commandeered the majority of opportunities, Johnson has been relegated to a minimal touch total. The third-year back has averaged an anemic 3.3 attempts per game since Week 3, while has he managed just 34 rushing yards during that sequence. Peterson has consistently received early-down opportunities, and 48,3% of the team's red zone usage, while Swift’s role should expand following his highly productive outing against the Jaguars.

These developments have left Johnson as an after-thought within the offense. His nominal usage is primarily creating frustration for anyone with Peterson or Swift on their rosters, while also failing to present any reason for optimism if your roster contains Johnson. No improvement in Johnson’s situation is imminent unless Peterson is sidelined by a health issue. There are running backs on your waiver wire that are accumulating more touches than Johnson. This provides tremendous justification for dropping him this week.

 

Jordan Howard, Miami Dolphins

28% rostered

Howard will be included yet again in this section since managers in nearly 30% of all leagues continue to waste a valuable roster spot by retaining him. Since Week 1, he has experienced a steady decline in his weekly allotment of rushing attempts (8/5/3/2) which were punctuated by the fifth-year back being relegated to healthy scratch status in both Week 5 and 6. His inability to generate yardage with the carries that he did receive was undoubtedly a factor, as Howard had only managed 14 yards on his 18 attempts (0.8 per attempt) before being removed from the backfield equation completely.

Myles Gaskin has easily confiscated lead back duties for the Dolphins, while Matt Breida has been entrusted with a modest role as Miami’s RB2. The team’s interest in Le’Veon Bell also provided an indication of how Howard is perceived by the team’s offensive decision-makers. The alternative options that are now available on the waiver wire eliminate all rationale for managers to use valuable roster space by retaining Howard.



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Wide Receiver Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 7

Six weeks of NFL football are behind us, aside from a pair of Monday games, including a late afternoon game between the Bills and the Chiefs.

In terms of wide receiver production this week, we didn't have the huge breakouts like we had in Week 5. Chase Claypool didn't score four touchdowns. In fact, only three receivers on Sunday had multiple receiving touchdowns, and all three are rostered in at least 87 percent of leagues. Anyway, let's get to the waiver wire.

Not all options are the same. Some players may be better in PPR or deeper leagues, so it’s not a one-size-fits-all comparison. Use your best judgment when deciding which of these players is the right fit for your roster. Check here for a complete list of our Waiver Wire Adds for Week 6 for help at all the skill positions. All players on this list here are around 30% rostered or below.

 

Travis Fulgham, Philadelphia Eagles

31% rostered

With their top three receivers still out, Fulgham had another strong game, catching six of his 10 targets for 75 yards and a touchdown. We're in a really weird spot here with Fulgham, because he's playing like someone who needs to not only be rostered, but needs to be in your WR2 spot. The problem is that we don't know what his workload looks like when Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, and Jalen Reagor are back in the fold, so in terms of value as the season goes along...it's hard to know. But Fulgham should at least be startable next week against the Giants, and should be on your radar.

Keelan Cole, Jacksonville Jaguars

29% rostered

Cole's scored 9.7 fantasy points or more in 0.5-PPR in four of the six games this year, and Sunday was the best performance of all for him, as he grabbed six passes for 143 yards. Cole's role is likely to look more like it did in Week 3 and Week 4 -- a pair of games with four catches for 40-something yards -- than it is to look like this, but he's a fine bye-week fill-in in deeper leagues, especially full PPR ones.

Russell Gage, Atlanta Falcons

27% rostered

Gage was looking like a solid WR4 play for the first couple weeks of the year but has faded since. On Sunday, he caught four passes for 65 yards, and maybe with both Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley on the field, there will be more chances for Gage to get some open looks? He's not an exciting play, but if the Falcons start to play better after firing Dan Quinn, Gage can get back to having some WR4 appeal in deeper leagues.

Tim Patrick, Denver Broncos

18% rostered

Jerry Jeudy struggled against the Patriots, catching just two passes for 32 yards. But Patrick continued his ascension, turning his eight targets into four receptions and 101 yards. Three consecutive games with at least 100 yards or a touchdown have Patrick in a really good place, though before we anoint him as a weekly WR3 play, we probably need to see how he looks when K.J. Hamler and Noah Fant are back. Still, Patrick deserves a spot on most fantasy rosters.

Randall Cobb, Houston Texans

17% rostered

A Cobb touchdown helped cover up that he had just three catches for 17 yards. Still, Houston is throwing more and Cobb has WR4 upside in full PPR leagues due to his role, and the fact that it seems Kenny Stills just isn't part of this passing game now can offer Cobb a few more opportunities each week.

James Washington, Pittsburgh Steelers

10% rostered

So, about JuJu Smith-Schuster...

James Washington led the Steelers wide receivers in targets this week with seven, turning them into four catches for 68 yards and a touchdown. Diontae Johnson (back) missed this game, opening room for Washington. He should maintain a role until Johnson returns, though the bigger question is if he can leap over Smith-Schuster once Johnson is back. Washington has been outplaying JuJu. For now, Washington is a deep league option.

Adam Humphries, Tennessee Titans

9% rostered

With Corey Davis still on the COVID-19 list, Humphries had a nice workload upon his own return from the COVID-19 list, catching all six of his targets for 64 yards and a touchdown. Humphries fits an archetype I like in deep leagues: he's a slot receiver who should get six or seven targets per game, which gives him a really nice floor. There's plenty of chances for guys like that to make positive impacts in your lineup, especially as bye week replacements. And hey, Humphries is already past his bye week!

Breshad Perriman, New York Jets

8% rostered

Well, Perriman returned from an ankle injury that had caused him to miss three games. He was targeted eight times, catching four of them for 62 yards. Look, we saw last year in Tampa what Perriman can do in a good offense -- he can be really, really good for fantasy football managers. He's very clearly not in a good offense now in New York -- this offense is just ridiculously bad -- but when Sam Darnold gets back, Perriman might be able to carve out some fantasy viability in deeper leagues. I think his talent is worth a roster spot in a 14-team league.

Zach Pascal, Indianapolis Colts

6% rostered

Pascal was expected to be the No. 2 receiver while Parris Campbell and Michael Pittman Jr. were out, and he is, though he's closer to the 1A receiver at this point with how T.Y. Hilton has been playing. Pascal was targeted seven times against the Bengals, catching four passes for 54 yards and a score. He has a bye week coming up, but should be a WR4 option until this team gets healthier.

Marcus Johnson, Indianapolis Colts

0% rostered

Like teammate Pascal, there's a bye week next week for the Colts and Marcus Johnson, but I still have to mention a guy who caught five passes on eight targets for 108 yards. While T.Y. Hilton has floundered, Johnson has seen his role grow in each of the past three games. He's the big play receiver for Philip Rivers and should be rostered in 14-team leagues.



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Tight End Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 7

Week 7 is not going to be a lucky one for millions of fantasy football managers. The bye week is going to create some gaping holes at the tight end position for millions of fantasy squads. The biggest loss is Baltimore’s Mark Andrews, although Miami’s Mike Gesicki, Indianapolis’ Mo-Alie Cox, and Minnesota’s Irv Smith Jr. will be missed by many fantasy teams as well.

To win fantasy football leagues, you need to have depth at every position and need to weather roster-related storms by making smart pickups on the waiver wire. This week will test the waiver wire skills of many fantasy managers.

Here are the top tight end candidates to pick up in fantasy football leagues heading into Week 7!

 

Top Tight End Waiver Wire Options

Anthony Firkser, Tennessee Titans

0% rostered

Little did we know we may have a future Hall of Famer on our hands with Firkser! One minute he is Jonnu Smith's hardly-heralded backup. Next minute he is a fantasy darling or demigod because he caught eight passes for 113 and a touchdown. This is the crazy world of fantasy football, folks!

We are not sure of the extent of Smith’s ankle injury, so Firkser’s fantasy value is tied to that. The longer Smith is out, the longer Firsker has fantasy worth. It is that simple. All I know is Ryan Tannehill is throwing passes these days like he is the second coming of Joe Montana, so if Firkser is Tennessee’s top tight end the next couple weeks than he is somebody to consider picking up for short-term help if you are in need at that position.

Darren Fells, Houston Texans

5% rostered

There are not many tight ends who have been better the past two weeks than Fells, who racked up eight catches for 142 yards and two touchdowns. Fells has reminded fantasy managers that when given the opportunity to play he can find the end zone as quickly as Kim Kardashian can find a camera to pose in front of. As long as Jordan Akins misses time with his injuries, Fells will be a fantasy force since QB Deshaun Watson trusts him inside the red zone.

Fells will be facing a Green Bay defense that has allowed a tight end to break the 50-yard barrier three times over its past four games. The Packers-Texans game will be a shootout, so as long as Fells is starting he is an excellent play this week whether you pick him up in a regular league or stick him into your DFS contest lineup.

 

Other Tight End Options to Consider

Irv Smith Jr., Minnesota Vikings

9% rostered

Smith was a wall of glass the first month of the season. Now Kirk Cousins is finding him almost as often as he is finding opposing cornerbacks. Smith has recorded eight catches for 119 yards over the past two weeks and has found his groove in Minnesota’s inconsistent offense. More importantly, he is in the process of leapfrogging veteran Kyle Rudolph atop the Vikings depth chart at tight end, which makes him more attractive in dynasty leagues and standard leagues. Smith is on bye this week but should be a constant contributor from here on out.

Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

6% rostered

For the third week in a row, Brate is one of the top tight ends available in many fantasy leagues. This has more to do with the lack of available playmakers at the position on waiver wires than it does about how valuable he is, though. The re-emergence of Rob Gronkowski and the return of wideout Chris Godwin will stunt Brate’s fantasy worth, but Brate could do some damage running routes against Las Vegas’ beatable defensive backfield this weekend.

Trey Burton, Indianapolis Colts

20% rostered

For whatever reason, T.Y. Hilton is not receiving the volume of targets he has the past several seasons in Indy. Meanwhile, Indianapolis has a rotating “Tight End of the Week” thing going on. One week Mo-Alie Cox wins the award. Next week it is Jack Doyle. This past Sunday it was Mr. Burton, who scored one touchdown on a run and another on a catch after being M.I.A. since 2018. It is hard to bank on him consistently producing since Indy has three solid tight ends, but he is worth a watch. Just know you will not get anything out of him until Week 8 since he is off this upcoming week.

Gerald Everett, Los Angeles Rams

3% rostered

Tyler Higbee entered the season as a top-10 fantasy tight end. Everett has more receptions, yards and targets over the Rams’ past two games, however. Everett has above-average speed and playmaking ability for a tight end and should continue to be featured almost as often as Higbee when both tight ends are healthy. Everett has a stiff test against Chicago’s defense next Monday night, so he may be someone to consider more this week if you are looking long-term fantasy-wise.

 

Don’t Forget About…

Logan Thomas, Washington Redskins

15% rostered

Thomas and his whopping 7.6 yards per catch have not been wowing many fantasy managers this year, but Washington’s No. 1 TE has had at least four targets in each of his outings this season. Thomas is also coming off his best game of the season (3-42-1) and has Dallas’ porous secondary lined up next. He is an intriguing one-week play thanks to his targets and his matchup.

Adam Shaheen, Miami Dolphins

0% rostered

Is Mike Gesicki in danger of losing his job as Miami’s top tight end? It is probably farfetched, but Shaheen has scored touchdowns in back-to-back weeks and is a former second-round pick who has been besieged with injuries over his career. Now that he is finally healthy he seems to be coming into his own. The only issues for Shaheen are that Gesicki is still around and will take his targets, and that Miami is on bye this week.

Dan Arnold, Arizona Cardinals

0% rostered

Kliff Kingsbury loves having Kyler Murray pass the ball early and often. He just does not love having Murray pass to his tight ends. This makes Arnold not very attractive in fantasy leagues because he is targeted less than Joe Biden is by MSNBC. But Arnold is facing Seattle’s 32nd-ranked pass defense, so Arnold could have his best game of the season this week.



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Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups List

RotoBaller has brought back for the 2020 NFL season our ultimate Fantasy Football Draft Sleepers and Waiver Wire Pickups List. Be sure to also try our other lineup tools too!

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Using your phone? You can also download our free app which includes player news, notifications, injury alerts & articles.

 

 
 

2020 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire by NFL Position

ALL - RB - WR - TE - QB - DEF

 

Dallas Goedert (TE, PHI) - Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in All Leagues ROSTERED: 41% of Leagues ANALYSIS: If you consider yourself a good fantasy GM, this post won't surprise you. It made some sense to drop Goedert back in September's end when he fell down injured and was put in IR, but you'd be not very intelligent if you're not targeting... Read More

1 month ago

Jeremy McNichols (RB, TEN) - Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 14+ Team Leagues ROSTERED: 1% of Leagues ANALYSIS: As a 2017 fifth-round pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers out of Boise State, it was a very slow start to the professional career of running back Jeremy McNichols, taking just two carries for four yards with no targets in the passing game... Read More

1 month ago

Royce Freeman (RB, DEN) - Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 14+ Team Leagues ROSTERED: 2% of Leagues ANALYSIS: Melvin Gordon is currently dealing with strep-throat (could be worse) and potential discipline from his recent DUI arrest, and while he could return this week, that remains up in the air, which leaves a window of opportunity open for Royce Freeman to build... Read More

1 month ago

Anthony Firkser (TE, TEN) - Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 14+ Team PPR Leagues ROSTERED: 0% of Leagues ANALYSIS: Jonnu Smith has been the man at tight end for the top-tier Tennessee Titans squad so far this season, with Anthony Firkser serving as second-fiddle during Smith's breakout season. However, with Smith being held out of the Titans' last contest against the... Read More

1 month ago

Zach Pascal (WR, IND) - Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 14+ Team Leagues ROSTERED: 6% of Leagues ANALYSIS: Pascal has had an interesting season so far. He has had four games with four or fewer targets, but he has also had a two with seven or more. One of those better performances was last week when he caught four of seven... Read More

1 month ago


T.J. Yeldon (RB, BUF) - Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 14+ Team PPR Leagues ROSTERED: 1% of Leagues ANALYSIS: I won't sugarcoat it: from a surface-level view, the prognosis on T.J. Yeldon looks rather grim. Former Alabama back had very little to show for his first year with the Buffalo Bills in 2019 and has had just a single week to... Read More

1 month ago

JaMycal Hasty (RB, SF) - Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 14+ Team Leagues ROSTERED: 0% of Leagues ANALYSIS: Raheem Mostert is probably heading to the IR due to a high-ankle sprain. This left the 49ers backfield in need of a "hasty" replacement (couldn't resist mate), in the form of JaMycal Hasty, a rookie running back out of Baylor. Hasty first saw... Read More

1 month ago

Boston Scott (RB, PHI) - Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 14+ Team Leagues ROSTERED: 13% of Leagues ANALYSIS: As if the Eagles hadn't enough injury woes to deal with already, mostly related to their receiving corps, it's now time for their rushers to start falling down. Enter Miles Sanders, who got injured yesterday and had to leave the field after playing... Read More

1 month ago

Sterling Shepard (WR, NYG) - Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 14+ Team Leagues ROSTERED: 29% of Leagues ANALYSIS: Sterling Shepard got injured 15 snaps into his Week 2 game. Following that, the Giants dropped him into the Injured Reserve and after missing four straight games he's eligible to return and everything points toward a TNF comeback, facing the Eagles. The minute... Read More

1 month ago

Preston Williams (WR, MIA) - Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 14+ Team PPR Leagues ROSTERED: 25% of Leagues ANALYSIS: Miami Dolphins wide receiver Preston Williams has established himself as the clear No. 2 receiver on the team behind DeVante Parker. The second-year pro has now caught touchdowns in three of his past four games. His biggest game along that stretch was... Read More

1 month ago


Gus Edwards (RB, BAL) - Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 14+ Team Leagues ROSTERED: 4% of Leagues ANALYSIS: Injury alert! Injury alert! Nobody loves Baltimore's backfield, but that monster of a unit lost one of its three heads yesterday with Mark Ingram II falling down injured. With Ingram out, Gus Edwards was the most benefited rusher of the Ravens leading the... Read More

1 month ago

Darren Fells (TE, HOU) - Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 14+ Team Leagues ROSTERED: 5% of Leagues ANALYSIS: Jordan Akins suffered a concussion back in Week 4, and he's been out the past two games. That has put veteran Darren Fells in the spotlight during those two matches, which he absolutely took advantage of. Although he was only targeted 2 times... Read More

1 month ago

Tim Patrick (WR, DEN) - Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 12+ Team PPR Leagues ROSTERED: 18% of Leagues ANALYSIS: Tim Patrick and the Denver Broncos were forced out of the schedule a week ago due to COVID reasons. It was something to fear, given that the pause might interrupt Patrick's two-game streak of hitting 14+ PPR points (14.3 and 23.3)... but... Read More

1 month ago

Adam Humphries (WR, TEN) - Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 14+ Team PPR Leagues ROSTERED: 9% of Leagues ANALYSIS: I was way higher on Adam Humphries last season than I was entering 2020. All he went on to do last year, though, was log 374 yards on 37 receptions with 2 TDs over 12 games. That was bad. This season, though,... Read More

1 month ago

Travis Fulgham (WR, PHI) - Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in All Leagues ROSTERED: 31% of Leagues ANALYSIS: I don't think I need to remind you, but if you remember what happened last weekend you know that Week 5 left fantasy GMs debating whether they wanted to pick Travis Fulgham or Chase Claypool from the waivers pool. For some reason (some four... Read More

1 month ago


J.D. McKissic (RB, WAS) - Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 14+ Team PPR Leagues ROSTERED: 11% of Leagues ANALYSIS: The large difference in opportunities between Antonio Gibson (86 through Week 6) and J.D. McKissic (58) doesn't align with the amount of snaps played by each player so far: 199 McKissic, 174 Gibson. That is all you need to know to get... Read More

1 month ago

Rashard Higgins (WR, CLE) - Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 14+ Team Leagues ROSTERED: 0% of Leagues ANALYSIS: Let's get rid of the bad things first: Rashard Higgins has played just three games, his usage has been rather paltry, and he's stuck in an offense that boasts two of the best rushers and two of the best receivers in the league. Cool.... Read More

1 month ago

Devin Duvernay (WR, BAL) - Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 14+ Team Leagues ROSTERED: 1% of Leagues ANALYSIS: The sample is as tiny as it gets, but hey, we're here looking for bargains and buried gems. These are Duvernay's weekly points per snap: 0.2, 0.5, 1.3, 0.1, 0.4, and 0.2. These are Duvernay's weekly points per touch: 2.2, 2.9, 4.4, 1.4,... Read More

1 month ago

John Hightower (WR, PHI) - Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 14+ Team Leagues ROSTERED: 0% of Leagues ANALYSIS: With the absolutely bonkers ascension of both Greg Ward and most of all Travis Fulgham among Philly's wideouts, John Hightower has been relegated to a super-deep background. It'd be disrespectful to put Hightower at the same level of any of those two, obviously,... Read More

1 month ago

Demarcus Robinson (WR, KC) - Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 14+ Team Leagues ROSTERED: 1% of Leagues ANALYSIS: What if I told you Demarcus Robinson just led all Chiefs' wideouts in receiving yards this past Monday? That's a fact, and he did so to the tune of five catches on six targets for 69 yards. All things considered, it's a shame... Read More

1 month ago


Henry Ruggs III (WR, LV) - Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 12+ Team Leagues ROSTERED: 47% of Leagues ANALYSIS: Although it is still more probable than not to find Ruggs in your WW pool of available players, chances are this is the last time you can get him for free this season. Even though the rookie has missed two of five games,... Read More

1 month ago

Derek Carr (QB, LV) - Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 2QB Leagues ROSTERED: 23% of Leagues ANALYSIS: Everybody hates Derek Carr. That's the only reason you can still find the Raiders QB available in more than three out of four Yahoo! fantasy leagues. Why? Because Carr has been great so far this season, even though Las Vegas' 3-2 record and overly-tight wins... Read More

1 month ago

Damiere Byrd (WR, NE) - Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 14+ Team Leagues ROSTERED: 4% of Leagues ANALYSIS: Fantasy GMs have yet to catch up with New England's receiver Damiere Byrd. I can't blame them so much, though, as these Patriots offense--when it comes to the passing game--has sucked a bit in 2020 with Tom Brady out of town and replaced... Read More

1 month ago

Breshad Perriman (WR, NYJ) - Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 14+ Team Leagues ROSTERED: 8% of Leagues ANALYSIS: New York Jets' marquee free-agent acquisition Breshad Perriman has played all of two and a half games this season... He completed the first game of the year putting up a dud (4.7 PPR points), then got injured in Week 2 (3.2 points on... Read More

1 month ago

Christian Kirk (WR, ARI) - Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 12+ Team Leagues ROSTERED: 40% of Leagues ANALYSIS: With five of six maximum games played, Kirk is currently the WR46 in total points through Week 6. He was forced out of Week 3 with a groin injury, but even looking at a per-game average he's right in the same position with... Read More

1 month ago


James Washington (WR, PIT) - Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 12+ Team Leagues ROSTERED: 10% of Leagues ANALYSIS: Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver James Washington had his best outing of the season in Week 6 against the Cleveland Browns. He caught four passes for 68 yards and a touchdown in the game. He led the Steelers with seven targets, while no one... Read More

1 month ago

Marquez Valdes-Scantling (WR, GB) - Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 14+ Team Leagues ROSTERED: 30% of Leagues ANALYSIS: Green Bay Packers wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling has all the stars aligned for a productive fantasy stretch ahead. He's the clear No. 2 receiver on the team behind Davante Adams while Allen Lazard (core muscle) is sidelined. Lazard had core muscle surgery a... Read More

1 month ago

Russell Gage (WR, ATL) - Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 14+ Team PPR Leagues ROSTERED: 27% of Leagues ANALYSIS: And just like that, we're ready to buy back into the Atlanta Falcons offense, right? Following two straight disastrous outings and the firing of head coach Dan Quinn, the Falcons offense came alive in a big way in Week 6, dropping 40... Read More

1 month ago

La'Mical Perine (RB, NYJ) - Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 14+ Team Leagues ROSTERED: 18% of Leagues ANALYSIS: Maybe, just maybe, you have heard about this guy Le'Veon Bell being cut by the New York Jets. Well, with Bell out of town everything the Jets backfield has to show for is a 58-year-old Frank Gore and 22-year old La'Mical Perine, a 2020... Read More

1 month ago

Jamaal Williams (RB, GB) - Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 14+ Team Leagues ROSTERED: 25% of Leagues ANALYSIS: Williams' 2020 season has been a rollercoaster of performances. Rounding the numbers, he's scored 8-8-3-18-3 PPR points in the five games he's played, showing all of a near-zero floor, RB1 ceiling, and also a couple of average-FLEX-games. Considering Green Bay drafted A.J. Dillon... Read More

1 month ago


Logan Thomas (TE, WAS) - Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 14+ Team Leagues ROSTERED: 15% of Leagues ANALYSIS: It is Terry McLaurin and then, maybe, there are the rest of Washington's skill-position players. McLaurin's been target 58 times in six games (27% of all Washington's targets), sure, but Logan Thomas is second with 36 (17%) himself. Perhaps you didn't expect that coming... Read More

1 month ago

Trey Burton (TE, IND) - Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 14+ Team Leagues ROSTERED: 20% of Leagues ANALYSIS: Only four tight ends broke the 20-PPR mark in Week 6, including Trey Burton. He finished TE3 with 21.9 points on the day against Cincinnati helping Indianapolis get the comeback victory this past Sunday. It's been a wild season at the Colts tight... Read More

1 month ago

Keelan Cole (WR, JAX) - Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 12+ Team Leagues ROSTERED: 29% of Leagues ANALYSIS: Although Keelan Cole couldn't help Jacksonville get a W this past Sunday, he put on his best performance of the season and it can't be argued he was the lone really bright light of the offense against Detroit. It's been like that all... Read More

1 month ago

Jimmy Garoppolo (QB, SF) - Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 2QB Leagues ROSTERED: 21% of Leagues ANALYSIS: Jimmy Garoppolo entered Sunday's game against the Rams quite under pressure. It was normal, considering the putrid performance he put on a week ago when he could only score all of 0.1 FP against Miami. He was banged-up back then, sure, but that fantasy... Read More

1 month ago

Kirk Cousins (QB, MIN) - Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 12+ Team Leagues ROSTERED: 39% of Leagues ANALYSIS: When I first checked the fantasy-point tracker on Sunday, I saw something I couldn't believe. Through two quarters, Kirk Cousins was sitting at almost two negative fantasy points. He had committed three interceptions and thrown no touchdowns at all. He was, simply put, mediocre. Until... Read More

1 month ago


Trey Burton (TE, IND) - Week 6 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 14+ Team PPR Leagues ROSTERED: 1% of Leagues ANALYSIS: There have been a lot of moving pieces at the tight end position this season, not to mention the rotation that has already occurred at tight end for the Indianapolis Colts. At first, the main man on the food chain was thought... Read More

2 months ago

Cameron Brate (TE, TB) - Week 6 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 14+ Team Leagues ROSTERED: 2% of Leagues ANALYSIS: Being a tight end in a Tom Brady-led offense has proven quite fruitful in the past, but there wasn't much hope surrounding Cameron Brate coming into the 2020 season with O.J. Howard and Rob Gronkowski occupying the same position for Tampa Bay, even... Read More

2 months ago

J.D. McKissic (RB, WAS) - Week 6 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 14+ Team PPR Leagues ROSTERED: 6% of Leagues ANALYSIS: It has been a tough year for running backs, and the continuous flow of injuries has only piled on to the already up-hill climb. Despite the uncertain start to his season, and the lack of voluminous work out of the running game,... Read More

2 months ago

Tim Patrick (WR, DEN) - Week 6 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 14+ Team PPR Leagues ROSTERED: 17% of Leagues ANALYSIS: Tim Patrick had a stellar performance in his last game. In Week 4 against the Jets, Patrick tallied six receptions, 113 yards, and a touchdown. With teammate Courtland Sutton on injured reserve, Patrick stepped up and delivered. His 21 targets through four... Read More

2 months ago

Mike Thomas (WR, CIN) - Week 6 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 14+ Team PPR Leagues ROSTERED: 0% of Leagues ANALYSIS: This will become the most savage move of any fantasy GM in your league if you pull it off, believe me. Thomas' upside is entirely tied to A.J. Green's status after he got sidelined this past Sunday with (supposedly; there are some... Read More

2 months ago


Nelson Agholor (WR, LV) - Week 6 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 14+ Team Leagues ROSTERED: 2% of Leagues ANALYSIS: There are only two pass-catchers active (not injured) in the NFL with 11 or fewer targets averaging 9+ PPR points per game and with 30+ through five games: Raiders WRs Henry Ruggs III and Nelson Agholor. Las Vegas QB Derek Carr has been... Read More

2 months ago

Olamide Zaccheaus (WR, ATL) - Week 6 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 14+ Team Leagues ROSTERED: 8% of Leagues ANALYSIS: It might sound ridiculous, but I think we can consider the Falcons some sort of Dallas-lite: an undercooked version of what the Cowboys have put on the field through the first five weeks of the 2020 season. Atlanta has three great wideouts in... Read More

2 months ago

Jalen Guyton (WR, LAC) - Week 6 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 14+ Team Leagues ROSTERED: 1% of Leagues ANALYSIS: Outside of veterans Keenan Allen and Mike Williams (and TE Hunter Henry) the Chargers aren't offering reliable weapons to rookie QB Justin Herbert. Austin Ekeler is injured and with that, his pass-catching prowess is gone. That has allowed Jalen Guyton to be on... Read More

2 months ago

Preston Williams (WR, MIA) - Week 6 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 14+ Team Leagues ROSTERED: 22% of Leagues ANALYSIS: Although Preston Williams has featured heavily in Miami's start of the season (he only trails DeVante Parker with 235 to the WR1's 255 snaps), he has been a little bit disappointing in terms of production. In five play, although Williams is the WR2... Read More

2 months ago

Mecole Hardman (WR, KC) - Week 6 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 12+ Team Leagues ROSTERED: 40% of Leagues ANALYSIS: Take a look at Hardman's week-to-week targets from the 2019 season, then look at his weekly fantasy outcomes, and you'll get an idea of the player Mecole Hardman is: the biggest of boom/bust wide receivers. Well, perhaps not the biggest, but he's definitely... Read More

2 months ago


Mike Williams (WR, LAC) - Week 6 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 14+ Team Leagues ROSTERED: 40% of Leagues ANALYSIS: Mike Williams' profile as a receiver is that of a boom/bust asset. He's a deep threat and a walking big-play waiting to happen. That cuts his upside on a play-to-play basis, and will always lead to horrific games when things don't go his... Read More

2 months ago

Justin Jackson (RB, LAC) - Week 6 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 12+ Team PPR Leagues ROSTERED: 42% of Leagues ANALYSIS: The Chargers backfield was always going to be manned by Austin Ekeler after his 2019 explosion. With the departure of Melvin Gordon came the arrival of rookie Joshua Kelley, though, so the backfield seemed to be on track to be shared among... Read More

2 months ago

Alexander Mattison (RB, MIN) - Week 6 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in All Leagues ROSTERED: 40% of Leagues ANALYSIS: While Chase Claypool and Travis Fulgham are undoubtley going to be the two darlings of the Week 6 WW pickups--they finished as overall no. 1 and no. 2 in PPR leaderboards this past weekend--let's not forget about the most valuable under-the-radar guy out there:... Read More

2 months ago

Cole Beasley (WR, BUF) - Week 6 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 12+ Team PPR Leagues ROSTERED: 28% of Leagues ANALYSIS: Cole Beasley has been sneakily productive so far this season. Through four games, Beasley has finished as a top-45 receiver each week, providing a nice floor for fantasy managers. In those four games, he has averaged six targets as well. His steady... Read More

2 months ago

Brian Hill (RB, ATL) - Week 6 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 14+ Team Leagues ROSTERED: 21% of Leagues ANALYSIS: Atlanta Falcons running back Brian Hill has been an extremely effective No. 2 back for the team over the first five weeks of the season. In Week 5 against the Carolina Panthers, Hill carried the ball six times for 39 yards and caught... Read More

2 months ago


 




Categories
2020 Fantasy Football Advice 2020 Fantasy Football Sleepers Editor Note Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups NFL Analysis RotoBaller - All Fantasy Sports Articles

Quarterback Waiver Wire Pickups and Streamers - Week 7

Week 6 of the NFL season has mostly come and gone and it was one of the more explosive offensive showcases yet. Six quarterbacks threw for over 300 yards, three quarterbacks passed for four touchdowns, and another three signal-callers had three passing scores. NFL teams have continued to feast on defenses that missed out on training camp and have a bunch of moving parts. Thankfully, we also avoided major injuries to quarterbacks this week after a week that saw Dak Prescott lost for the year.

The grind doesn’t stop in fantasy football and we cannot rest on our laurels. Four teams have bye weeks in week 7, and three of them feature perennial QB1’s this season. The Colts, Dolphins, Vikings, and Ravens will be getting a week off (unless COVID shenanigans move schedules around again), so we will need to find some upside plays.

In this article, I will be focusing on players who are under 65% rostered in fantasy leagues while adding a couple of deep sleepers for two-quarterback leagues (less than 20% rostered).

 

Top QB Streamers and Adds

Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles

Yahoo: 60% rostered ESPN: 51.2% rostered

Despite leading the league in interceptions (9), Carson Wentz has had surprisingly steady fantasy numbers the past four weeks. Wentz has scored at least 21 fantasy points in three of the last four weeks and has thrown for at least two touchdowns in each of his last two games against the Steelers and Ravens. Wentz is doing all this despite missing four offensive lineman and his top passing weapons being Travis Fulgham, Greg Ward Jr., and Zach Ertz. As time goes on, Dallas Goedert and Jalen Reagor should return, boosting his ability to establish a higher weekly floor. His next two opponents are the Giants and Cowboys, two weak defenses that should allow Wentz to succeed regardless of the players around him.

Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers

Yahoo: 54% rostered ESPN: 45.6% rostered

Fantasy players will likely have just one more chance to capitalize on having Justin Herbert on the waiver wire thanks to his bye week. Heading into the bye, Herbert threw for 264 yards and four touchdowns against the Saints despite losing Keenan Allen early in the game. Herbert will have a healthy Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, and Hunter Henry coming out of the bye, three players that should help him maintain his high fantasy floor. Matchups against the Jaguars, Broncos, Raiders, Dolphins, and Jets have high shootout potential, giving Herbert fringe QB1/QB2 upside for the next five weeks. That can only come in handy as you navigate byes and potential COVID shutdowns.

Andy Dalton, Dallas Cowboys

Yahoo: 32% rostered ESPN: 24.4% rostered

If your league allows rolling waivers for players who haven’t played, you may want to do yourself a favor and snag Andy Dalton before tonight’s contest. Dalton was 9 of 11 for 111 yards in cleanup duty against the Giants, leading Dallas to a win after Dak Prescott’s devastating leg injury. Dalton has a history of producing QB1 numbers (yes, I know it has been a few years) and finds himself in an offensive system with coaches that know how to get the most out of quarterbacks. It also helps to have one of the best running backs and three wide receivers who could be the top pass catcher on a majority of NFL teams.

Dalton has an embarrassment of riches and plays in one of the softest divisions in terms of team defenses. Grab him while you can.

 

2QB League Options and Stashes

Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders

Yahoo: 23% rostered ESPN: 22.5% rostered

Derek Carr gets a bad reputation as a game manager, but he has quietly put together a really good fantasy season so far. Carr has thrown for 1,442 yards and 11 touchdowns with just one interception in five games for the Raiders this season. He has also had three games with at least 20 fantasy points so far this year. Carr is a matchup dependent QB2 but isn’t going to make mistakes and has an array of explosive weapons in the passing game that give him great value as a fantasy quarterback. He may not win you many weeks outright, but he is a consistently solid play and worthy of a bench spot on most teams.

Kyle Allen, Washington Football Team

Yahoo: 3% rostered ESPN: 1.6% rostered

Despite Alex Smith taking over for the Washington Football Team in Week 5, Ron Rivera went right back to Kyle Allen in week 6. Allen played with for the WFT’ers, going 31 of 42 for 280 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. If Allen can limit the turnovers (unlike last season in Carolina), he has a solid array of players around him that can move the football. Like Andy Dalton, Allen gets the benefit of playing in the NFC East with their terrible secondaries.

If Allen can hold on to the starting job, he will face the Cowboys, followed by a bye, and then the Giants, Lions, Bengals, and Cowboys again. That is a very soft passing schedule for a quarterback that unseated a former first-round pick. Don’t use Allen as your QB1, but he is worth a stash in deeper leagues as bye weeks approach.



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2020 Fantasy Football Advice 2020 Fantasy Football Sleepers Editor Note Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups NFL Analysis RotoBaller - All Fantasy Sports Articles

Deeper League Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 7

The NFL proceeded with Week 6 after several COVID scares last week. Fortunately, no games were canceled and teams were back in action. With a lot of players injured right now, the waiver wire has proved to be incredibly important in terms of getting solid streamers and depth.

At this point, many fantasy managers have likely figured out their weekly starters, but with bye weeks coming now, it’s important to have good substitutes. That’s where the depth comes in and this week offers the chance to pick up some very good options for your team.

As always, players in this deep league column are going to be rostered at or below 15% in Yahoo leagues. Let’s look at some “sleepers” for you to consider.

 

Free Agent Quarterbacks

Nick Foles, Chicago Bears- 10%

The Bears are 5-1 and the wins haven’t always been pretty. One thing for sure is that Nick Foles has helped this team much more with his veteran presence. Look, deep league pickups at QB are going to be limited, but you can’t do much worse than Foles. When looking at other options like Sam Darnold and Kyle Allen, Foles may as well seem like an elite fantasy addition. He does have one passing touchdown in the past three games along with over 200 yards passing in two of those contests as well.

 

Free Agent Running Backs

Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals- 6%

Giovani Bernard stepped in during Week 6 after RB1 Joe Mixon went down with a foot injury. Now, Mixon’s status remains unclear going forward, which means Bernard is a terrific insurance policy. If Mixon misses any time, Bernard will be the RB1 and could take on a huge workload. Cincy’s RB2 did have a rush touchdown in Week 6 and ended up with eight carries.

Gus Edwards, Baltimore Ravens- 3%

An ankle injury sustained by RB1 Mark Ingram meant a bigger role for Gus Edwards in Week 6. The back finished with 14 carries for 26 yards and a score. Like Giovani Bernard, Gus Edwards is a good insurance policy pick up this week in case Ingram can’t play. Edwards would be a bigger factor in the game plan as the likely RB1.

 

Free Agent Wide Receivers

Greg Ward, Philadelphia Eagles- 11%

The Eagles lost another pass-catcher in Zach Ertz during Week 6. With their main TEs out and the star WRs still hampered for the most part, Ward should remain a factor in the passing game. He’s a good stash at this point more than anything considering he hasn’t gotten more than 38 yards in the past three games.

James Washington, Pittsburgh Steelers- 10%

Amidst all the spotlight fellow receiver Chase Claypool has been put under, James Washington has been quietly putting up good numbers this season too. He finished Week 6 with four receptions for 68 yards and a score on seven targets. He has also seen at least three targets in five games as well. Washington will remain a factor in this passing game, though his production each week will likely vary. He’s still a flex consideration.

Adam Humphries, Tennessee Titans- 9%

Humphries has been quietly productive as the Titans’ WR3 this season. He finished Week 6 with six receptions for 64 yards and a score on six targets. The wideout has also gotten at least four receptions, 41 yards, and six targets in four games played thus far. That’s about as consistent as you will find on this column. Humphries is a solid depth piece and potential starter.

Zach Pascal, Indianapolis Colts- 6%

Pascal had a terrific Week 6, accumulating four receptions for 54 yards and a score on seven targets. Now the WR2 on the Colts, Pascal has seen at least seven targets and 54 yards in two of the past three games. That bodes well for his fantasy value going forward, making him a worthy addition.

Kendrick Bourne, San Francisco 49ers- 4%

Bourne may not be explosive, but his role in this passing game has been stable during 2020. The receiver has seen at least four targets in five of six games and has recorded at least 40 yards in three of six games. He’s developed some consistency and is worth a stash.

Damiere Byrd, New England Patriots- 4%

With New England lacking weapons in the passing game, 27-year-old Damiere Byrd has emerged as a solid option for Cam Newton. The South Carolina product has been inconsistent, but productive when given the chance to shine. He can be a great deep league starter if his numbers become more consistent weekly. For now, he’s at least worth a stash.

Darnell Mooney, Chicago Bears- 2%

2020 pick Darnell Mooney is now becoming a bigger factor in this Nick Foles-led Chicago offense. What’s encouraging is the receiver has seen at least five targets in the past four games. What’s not is his inconsistent production (52 yards in Week 4, 19 yards in Week 5). This adds up to Mooney being a good stash for right now with room to become a starter if he becomes consistent.

 

Free Agent Tight Ends

Logan Thomas, Washington Football Team- 15%

Though the production has not been there, the targets have been for TE Logan Thomas on a Washington team that features unknown pass-catchers aside from Terry McLaurin. Thomas has gotten at least four targets in all six games thus far, which is encouraging for his value on this offense. However, he has only recorded over 30 yards in three of six games. All in all, Thomas is worth storing as TE depth on your team, especially considering bye weeks are now in full swing and many star TEs will not be playing some weeks.

Darren Fells, Houston Texans- 5%

Last week, I talked about Darren Fells and his rise in 2019. Well, his 2020 season is now starting to get better as he posted his best numbers of the season in Week 6. He scored another touchdown this past week and added six receptions for 85 yards on seven targets. Fells and Deshaun Watson have a solid rapport and the player could be a worthy bye-week fill-in at TE along with having the potential to be a TE2 if his numbers stay like this.

Richard Rodgers, Philadelphia Eagles- 0%

With the Eagles now down their top-two TEs, Richard Rodgers will see his role become larger going forward. When considering the injured WR corp on this team too, Rodgers’ fantasy value should escalate a bit right now, making him a solid addition this week. He also has the potential to be a good fantasy starter for deep leagues, but it’s best to monitor how he does in the first couple of games with an expanded role.



Win Big With RotoBaller

Be sure to also check out all of our other daily fantasy football articles and analysis to help you set those winning lineups, including this new RotoBaller YouTube video:

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2020 Fantasy Football Advice 2020 Fantasy Football Busts & Overvalued Players 2020 Fantasy Football Sleepers Editor Note NFL Analysis RotoBaller - All Fantasy Sports Articles

Week 6 Outliers Analysis - We Must Overreact!

Deshaun Watson led the way at the quarterback position in Week 6, finishing with 32 points. Six of the top-seven quarterbacks on the week, Watson, Ryan Tannehill, Matt Ryan, Kirk Cousins, Carson Wentz and Lamar Jackson were all involved in the same three games which were shootouts with at least 58 points scored. George Kittle had another huge game finishing as the No. 2 tight end on the week and other than that, the position was a disaster with Anthony Firkser, Trey Burton, Darren Fells, Adam Shaheen and Nick Boyle making appearances in the top-10.

The Vikings and Falcons Defenses are terrible on the back-end and as a result, Justin Jefferson and Julio Jones finished as the top-two wide receivers on the week. Keelan Cole was a bit of a surprise finishing as WR-8 on the week against the Lions, even though D.J. Chark led the Jaguars in targets. On the low-end, Odell Beckham Jr., Julian Edelman and Cooper Kupp had terrible weeks, all finishing outside the top-50.

Derrick Henry ripped off a 94-yard touchdown run which made him RB-1 on the week. Ronald Jones, James Conner and Myles Gaskin all finished inside the top-six at running back as the beneficiaries of positive game scripts. Generally, running back was a tough position in Week 6 as only 10 players exceeded 15 points. Now that Week 6 is behind us, let's take a look at some of these unexpected performances and evaluate whether these guys will continue to produce moving forward.

 

Philip Rivers, Indianapolis Colts

Week 6 Stats: 29-of-44 passing, 371 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT

The Colts went down 21-0 to the Bengals very early in Week 6 and as a result, Rivers needed to put the ball in the air a season-high 44 times. Rivers has now exceeded 30 pass attempts in just two games this season. The Bengals defensive line also lacked any consistent pass rush, which afforded Rivers adequate time to throw without forcing him to move around much.

Bottom Line: The Colts were basically forced to abandon the running game early in this contest, rushing the ball just 15 times in the entire game. Philip Rivers will not throw the ball enough to be fantasy relevant unless the Colts are big underdogs or find themselves behind like they did against the Bengals. Don't rush out to your waiver wire and pick up Rivers unless you're in a two-QB league.

 

Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Week 6 Stats: 2 targets, 1 catch, 10 yards

The Buccaneers Defense had Aaron Rodgers under siege for the entire game and he was never able to get settled. Rodgers threw his first two interceptions of the season on back-to-back drives in the first half, one of which went for a pick-six. Tom Brady only needed to throw the ball 27 times for 166 yards in a game that the Buccaneers controlled from the start, and they didn't need to push the ball down the field much through the air. Regardless of the game-flow, Chris Godwin received seven targets compared to just two for Evans.

Bottom Line: In the games where Chris Godwin starts, Godwin has 20 targets compared to just 10 for Mike Evans. You may want to consider shopping Evans in trade deals because if Godwin remains healthy, Evans will be the clear No. 2 receiver in the Buccaneers passing game.

 

Marcus Johnson, Indianapolis Colts

Week 6 Stats: 8 targets, 5 catches, 108 yards

In Week 6 Marcus Johnson played 63.5% of the Colts offensive snaps due to injury and since Week 4, Johnson has played at least 47.2% of the snaps. In Week 5, a game that the Colts lost to the Browns, Johnson was only targeted three times, hauling in all of them for 53 yards. The Bengals used their best defensive backs to cover T.Y. Hilton and Marcus Johnson was the beneficiary of decent matchups in the secondary. The Colts went down big early and Johnson racked up big yardage as the Colts needed to abandon the running game.

Bottom Line: Marcus Johnson will be extremely boom-or-bust until Michael Pittman returns from injury. Once Pittman does return to the lineup, Johnson will return to the bench. This game will likely be Johnson's best of 2020.

 

A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals

Week 6 Stats: 11 targets, 8 catches, 96 yards

I have personally watched every single snap of the Bengals 2020 season, and heading into Week 6, it appeared that A.J. Green had fallen off. In Week 6, Green looked like the player we remembered from 2017 and 2018. Green was running great routes, routinely beating the Colts defensive backs and he was able to get open with ease. Green simply looked different in Week 6 and played a season-high 79.5% of the Bengals offensive snaps.

Bottom Line: A.J. Green showed us that he's back in Week 6. If somebody grew impatient and dropped him in your league, he's definitely worth a waiver claim. If Green is on your roster, you may want to consider selling-high because although he looked good, he's on a team that's loaded with play makers and he may not see consistent volume.

 

D'Andre Swift, Detroit Lions

Week 6 Stats: 14 carries, 116 yards, 2 TD, 4 targets, 3 catches, 7 yards

D'Andre Swift played just 37.7% of the Lions offensive snaps in Week 6. This means Swift touched the ball on 17 of the 29 snaps he played. Adrian Peterson played 35.1% of the Lions offensive snaps, while Kerryon Johnson played just 25.6%. The Lions are clearly looking to run more and throw less in 2020, as Matthew Stafford has only exceeded 31-pass attempts twice this season

Bottom Line: D'Andre Swift is clearly the best running back on the Lions roster, but the Lions appear to be using a full blown three-man committee at the position. If you have Swift on your roster, he's worth starting consideration, but don't overblow this game because he may be boom-or-bust until he starts playing more.

 

Kareem Hunt, Cleveland Browns

Week 6 Stats: 13 carries, 40 yards, 3 targets, 2 catches, 17 yards

The Browns were dismantled by the Steelers in Week 6 and had to abandon the running game fairly early in the contest. Hunt played 52.6% of the snaps compared to 29.8% for D'Ernest Johnson and 12.3% for Dontrell Hilliard. The Browns offensive line wasn't able to get much movement up front and they didn't have much success throwing either, with Baker Mayfield throwing for just 119 yards.

Bottom Line: The Browns offense didn't generate much of anything in Week 6 and ended up benching many of their players late with the game out of reach. Buy-low on Hunt, because complete implosions like this won't happen often.

 

Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins

Week 6 Stats: 2 targets, 0 catches

The Dolphins dominated the Jets and simply didn't need to throw much. Complicating matters for Mike Gesicki, Adam Shaheen and Durham Smythe, both of which are tight ends, each scored.

Bottom Line: If you have Mike Gesicki on your roster, he may frustrate you at times, but he's a big-play threat and a top-10 option at the position, so you just need to roll him out there.

 

Anthony Firkser, Tennessee Titans

Week 6 Stats: 9 targets, 8 catches, 113 yards, 1 TD

Jonnu Smith went down with an injured ankle and as a result, Anthony Firkser played a season-high 54.7% of the snaps. The Titans trailed for much of the day against the Texans, and as a result Ryan Tannehill threw the ball 41 times.

Bottom Line: Jonnu Smith's ankle sprain is considered to be minor, and if he plays in Week 7, Firsker will see his snaps fall back into the 30%-range. If you are counting on Jonnu Smith, you may want to add Firkser as insurance in the event Smith misses Week 7.

 

Trey Burton, Indianapolis, Colts

Week 6 Stats: 1 carry, 1 yard, 1 TD, 5 targets, 4 catches, 58 yards, 1 TD

Every time Trey Burton was tackled in Week 6 he looked like he wasn't going to get back up. Logan Wilson matched up well on Burton for much of the game, and Burton's touchdown reception was a spectacular catch with Wilson all over him.

Bottom Line: Burton's performance was rather fluky, especially because of the rushing touchdown. If not for the scores, Burton would have had a very underwhelming stat-line, and he should only be rostered and started if you're desperate.



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Booms and Busts - Surprise Starts and Sits for Week 6 Lineups

The hits keep on coming during the 2020 season of fantasy football. Each week that passes by seems to bring yet another major talent crashing down due to injury. This past week it was Dak Prescott that was lost for the season with a broken ankle. As much as this injury affects the outlook for the Dallas Cowboys, it is equally devastating for his managers in fantasy. Even with as deep as the quarterback position is viewed, an injury to a player the caliber of Prescott can be a catastrophic loss. The safety of having that spot filled every week is taken away and sends managers scrambling for a replacement. That replacement can come from a trade or most likely via the waiver wire. These types of moves bring strategy into play more for fantasy managers. As decisions now must be made more from a matchup standpoint as opposed to just plugging the player into the starting lineup.

After the first five weeks of the season, managers have a better understanding of good and bad matchups to take advantage of. The better defenses around the league are obvious, which can open the door for those under the radar plays against poor competition. At the beginning of the 2020 season, no one could have predicted the likes of Mike Davis and Travis Fulgham setting the fantasy world on fire, but here we are. It's what can make this game fun, while also make it maddening. The constant battle between who is good enough to be in the lineup and who should be left on the bench for the week. One wrong decision could be the difference between a win or a loss. Ultimately making that decision the difference between making the playoffs or not.

Knowing positive and negative matchups is vitally important to a manager's success. That is what we provide for you here with the Woos and Boos of Week 6. I take a look at those under the radar plays that should be considered starting options for the week, while also pointing out the household names that could be in for disappointing weeks based on tough matchups.

Week 6 Woos

Kirk Cousins vs. Atlanta Falcons

You always have to question yourself when you're high on a QB that has not put up a QB1 performance since the first week of the season. That is where we are with Kirk Cousins. But facing a Falcons Defense that is the worst in points allowed to the position (30.5 FPPG) can do wonders for a player's performance. In fact, the Falcons have surrendered at least four scores to opposing QBs in all but one game. Add in the possibility of Dalvin Cook missing this game and you could see Cousins put together his best game of the season. If you are looking for a QB this week with Russell Wilson and Drew Brees on bye, look no further than Kirk Cousins.

David Montgomery @ Carolina Panthers

Montgomery has struggled to get it going in 2020 with three of his five games finishing outside the top-30 in scoring at the position. But look for that to change in Week 6 as he faces a Panthers Defense that has been run all over to start the season. They are third in the league in points allowed to opposing RBs (27.4 FPPG) giving up at least one score in each game. Even though his rushing totals have been suspect, Montgomery has been picking up the slack in the receiving game (seven receptions in Week 5). If he can put it all together in Week 6, Montgomery is a lock to finish as an RB1.

Preston Williams vs. New York Jets

After weeks of disappointing results, Williams finally put together a solid effort in Week 5 (four receptions for 106 yards and a score). The production has yet to fully click, but he is top-10 in average depth of target (15.8) and inside the top-30 in air yards (348). Something has to give and that should be this week in a plus matchup against a very subpar Jets Defense that is allowing 23.8 FPPG to opposing wideouts. With the Dolphins offense playing well in recent weeks, take a shot with Williams as your WR3 in Week 6.

Austin Hooper @ Pittsburgh Steelers

Hooper started his Browns career very slowly with subpar performances during the first few weeks. But he has picked up the pace with back-to-back games with five receptions each. Even with the slow start, he is top-12 at the position with 17 catches on the year (speaking to how poor the position has been this year). Although the matchup may not be the best in Week 6 against the Steelers (5.7 FPPG allowed), you have to ride the hot hand if you are in need at the position. With the Browns possibly playing from behind in this game, Hooper may find himself as a vital piece to the makeup effort. Managers that like to stream the position could use Hooper as a valuable fill-in for Week 6.

 

Week 6 Boos

Tom Brady vs. Green Bay Packers

Brady's performances have been like clockwork to start the 2020 season. If the matchup is good, he has performed well. In three plus-matchups, he has three QB1 finishes. In two tough matchups, his best finish is QB19. That could be the case in Week 6, facing a Packers Defense that is 20th in the league allowing just 18.6 FPPG to the position. With other QBs out there with better matchups (Cousins, Fitzpatrick), managers may want to look elsewhere in Week 6 to fill this position in their starting lineups.

Joe Mixon @ Indianapolis Colts

Obviously, you will be starting Mixon in your lineups due to the workload he gets on a week-in-week-out basis (first in opportunity share at 85.5% and second in carries with 101). On the season, he has just one RB1 finish (RB1 in Week 4) with all other performances outside the top-24. Facing a stout Colts Defense will not help matters either (only 13.5 FPPG allowed). Managers must adjust expectations for this matchup as he will be likely starting for most due to lack of depth. But expecting an RB1 finish might be a stretch for Week 6.

Robby Anderson vs. Chicago Bears

One of the bright spots early during the 2020 season, Anderson has risen to become a weekly staple in fantasy starting lineups. He has been the most targeted receiver for Teddy Bridgewater, ranking third in the league in receptions (36) and fourth in yardage (490). But what has been hurting him is the lack of scoring (one touchdown back in Week 1). That could be the case yet again this week facing a Bears Defense that has allowed just one touchdown to opposing wideouts on the season (Mike Evans in Week 5). This may be a week for managers to look elsewhere to fill their WR3 role in the starting lineup.

Zach Ertz vs. Baltimore Ravens

Talk about disappointing and you have to look at the performance of Ertz to begin this season. The targets have been there (35) and he is first in routes run at the position (194). But the production has yet to catch up as he is 22nd in yardage (145) and has found the end-zone just once. Don't look for that to change in Week 6 as he faces the tough Ravens Defense that is currently allowing just 7.7 FPPG to the position. Ertz is a player that most owners keep in their lineups because of who he is, but until the production picks up you must continue to temper expectations.



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Pivot Plays and Post-Waiver Pickups - Week 6

The pivot plays and post-waiver pickups keep coming, RotoBallers!

There is no Thursday game this week to burn fantasy football players, but there are now two Monday night games and plenty of Sunday games that could catch fantasy managers off guard if they do not have backup plans in place for the “questionable” players on their rosters. You always need a Plan B in fantasy football, especially in 2020.

Without further ado, here are my pivot plays and post-waiver pickups for Week 6 -- and the questionable fantasy football starters who you might need to replace.

 

Keelan Cole (JAC, WR) vs. DET

If Atlanta’s Julio Jones (hamstring) cannot trot out there on Sunday afternoon...

While fantasy managers are falling over themselves to pick up Philadelphia's Travis Fulgham and Kansas City's Mecole Hardman, Cole is an intriguing late-week pick that will probably fall through the waiver wire cracks. Jacksonville's No. 2 WR has yet to have a 60-yard game on the season, but he has found his way to the end zone three times in the Jaguars' five contests. Cole has also received steady work as he has been targeted at least five times in each of his outings.

Detroit's pass defense is mediocre, and the Lions have allowed No. 2 and No. 3 receivers to burn them this season. New Orleans' Tre-Quan Smith caught two touchdown tosses from Drew Brees in Detroit's last game, and Arizona's Andy Isabella pulled the same two-TD trick on them in Week 3.  It would be no surprise to Cole have five catches for 50-60 yards and a score on Sunday.

 

Irv Smith Jr. (MIN, TE) vs. ATL

If Denver’s Noah Fant (ankle) or Houston’s Jordan Akins (concussion) cannot suit up...

Smith was selected in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft and was immediately made an important part of Minnesota’s offense as the Vikings ran much of their system out of two-tight-end formations. Smith did little to build off his promising rookie campaign this season, however. He had just two catches for 14 yards entering Week 5 and was probably dropped in most fantasy leagues. But Smith bounced back this past Sunday night by hauling in four passes for 64 yards against Seattle’s 32nd-ranked pass defense.

While Smith’s track record this year (other than his performance last week) has been far from Pro Bowl-worthy, Atlanta’s track record when it comes to pass defense is has been as horrendous as Seattle’s. Atlanta has the second-worst pass defense in the NFL and has had just as much trouble keeping its defensive backs healthy as it has covering receivers and tight ends. Now that Smith is getting more involved in Minnesota’s passing attack, this is the perfect time for him to have another good game against a terrible secondary.

 

J.D. McKissic (WAS, RB) at NYG

If Minnesota’s’s Dalvin Cook (groin) cannot limp onto the field on Sunday...

McKissic is not going to win a rushing title in his lifetime. We know this. He has rushed for 75 yards this season and 402 yards over the course of the four seasons coming into the present one. It is not his forte, despite being a running back. Washington opts to leave the running to Antonio Gibson and Peyton Barber.

What McKissic can do well is catch the ball out of the backfield, and that skill comes in handy for fantasy players in a pinch, especially if they participate in PPR leagues. McKissic has caught 16 passes (on 20 targets) for 123 yards over his last three games. With Washington facing the winless New York Giants this Sunday in a game with surprising division title implications, look for McKissic to keep being featured on swing and screen passes with Kyle Allen back under center helming the offense. There is nothing more welcomed in PPR leagues than points from short dump-offs that only gain a few yards.

 

Gabriel Davis (BUF, WR) vs. KC

If Buffalo’s John Brown (calf) cannot make it on Monday night...

Davis is likely available in most fantasy leagues since No. 4 wide receivers rarely make it on fantasy rosters unless those higher on the depth charts on their teams get injured. Davis is not your run-of-the-mill No. 4 WR, though. The fourth-round rookie has an abundance of talent and has the size and speed that could make him a premium playmaker, and so far he has made plenty of plays even though he usually is not a starter. Davis has either accounted for 50-plus yards or scored a touchdown in each of his past four games, and he was targeted nine times by Josh Allen and had a score called back due to a penalty this past Tuesday at Tennessee.

Kansas City may have the sixth-ranked pass defense in the league, but that is largely because of games against Baltimore and New England where the Chiefs held Lamar Jackson and Brian Hoyer each under 135 yards passing.  The Chiefs allowed an average of 300 passing yards in their other trio of contests. If Brown cannot go on Monday night, picking up and using Davis as a fill-in should work out all right. Davis has proven he can play and be a point producer when given ample opportunities.



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Fantasy Football Rookies to Watch in Week 6

Every week, this column will spotlight the first-year players who are ripe for a breakout performance. Often, rookies can provide some of the most value as under-the-radar options.

Last week, Pittsburgh rookie wideout Chase Claypool had a monster performance. The Notre Dame product tallied 116 yards from scrimmage and four total touchdowns, helping the Steelers beat the Eagles. Claypool had previously made some big plays, but last week was his true breakout game. Anticipating and reflecting upon these breakouts are essential for fantasy success.

This week's article will dive into the prospects of five rookies who have had varying degrees of success thus far. Such analysis is critical for both redraft and dynasty leagues, so let's get to it!

 

The Stunning Steeler

Chase Claypool (WR, PIT)

Claypool's dominant outing was the story of the early set of games last Sunday. His astounding production came on a total of 14 opportunities (11 targets, three carries). This usage should carry over into this week as well with teammate Diontae Johnson still dealing with a back injury.

Counting stats are not the only part of Claypool's profile that is impressive. His yards per reception ranks fourth among receivers, his yards per target is fifth, and yards per route run is third. Other metrics paint a similar picture. Claypool's production premium, a measure of efficiency, is tops among all wideouts. Most importantly for fantasy managers, his 3.52 fantasy points per target come in at second at his position. Clearly, Claypool is a budding star, both in fantasy and reality. This week, the rookie takes on the Cleveland Browns, a defense that has yielded the third-most passing yards in the league. Look for another massive showing from Claypool on Sunday.

 

The Surprising Star

James Robinson (RB, JAX)

Entering the season, few expected Robinson to make any noise in fantasy. Then, the Jaguars released Leonard Fournette, Ryquell Armstead went on COVID IR, and everything changed for the rookie. Through five weeks, Robinson is the RB9 in both standard and PPR. His rushing yards are 12th among running backs, and his receiving yards are third at the position. Robinson has created 150 of his 333 rushing yards on his own, the eighth-highest figure in the league. The young tailback has been a revelation for Jacksonville so far.

The Jaguars face the Detroit Lions this week. Detroit has surrendered over 170 rushing yards per game, which is worst in the NFL. Robinson will have an excellent opportunity to continue his success on Sunday. Finishing as a top-5 fantasy RB this week is not just possible, but expected.

 

The Solid Successor

Tee Higgins (WR, CIN)

Bengals receiver A.J. Green has played uncharacteristically poorly this season, and his lack of effort was criticized extensively after last week's performance. Fortunately for Cincinnati, Higgins has been more than capable of stepping up. The rookie has had four consecutive games now with at least six targets, and 15 of his targets have come in the last two weeks.

Higgins is clearly becoming a larger part of the offense as time passes, which bodes well for his game this week against the Colts. What does not bode well, however, is the fact that the Colts Defense is the stingiest in the league against the pass. Should Higgins continue to produce despite the unfavorable matchup, we can be more convinced of his value going forward.

 

The Flashy Fourth-Rounder

Gabriel Davis (WR, BUF)

Davis had to wait until the third day of the draft to hear his name be called, but he has not had to wait long to perform well in the NFL. His diving reception made the highlight reel in Week 2 against Miami, and on Tuesday he made a leaping grab that was ultimately negated due to a penalty.

Davis has racked up the 12th-most fantasy points per target at the receiver position, illustrating his efficiency for fantasy managers. Last week, with John Brown sidelined, he saw a solid nine targets. Efficiency and volume are a deadly combination, so let's see if he can keep up his output this week against the Chiefs.

 

The Brilliant Backup

Anthony McFarland Jr. (RB, PIT)

McFarland sat out the first two weeks of the season with an injury, but in Week 3 he made his debut. In that game, he had seven touches and 49 total yards, good for a 7.0 yards per touch average. His performance was a bit less impressive last week, but he has shown flashes in his limited action thus far.

McFarland should be assumed to see low volume until proven otherwise, but once he sees a larger role, he will be quite valuable. Perhaps that will be sooner rather than later; Pittsburgh's number two tailback, Benny Snell Jr., has been quite unimpressive. Snell's production premium is just 81st among RBs, so an upgrade is certainly possible. Watch to see if McFarland gets an increased workload this week against a tough Cleveland run defense.



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Week 6 Stream Team - Shallow and Deep-League Pickups

Welcome to Week 6 of the NFL season. Each week we will be providing streamer advice for all of those who need it, which is pretty much anyone and everyone. Streaming players with the best matchups each week as well as during your stud's bye weeks is an integral part of winning a fantasy championship and we are here to provide the best choices week in and week out.

Each week in this article, we will break down streamers for both shallower leagues of 8-10 teams (around 40% rostered or less) and deeper leagues of 14 or more teams (around 20% rostered or less). We will provide a specific roster in each type of league, which will include a QB, RB, WR, TE, and Flex. It should also be noted that if you play in a deep league, but a shallow-league player mentioned here is available in your league, feel free to stream them as

Waivers ran a day later this week with the Tuesday Night Football installment, so we now have a Friday edition of the Stream Team instead of the usual Thursday edition. Last week was a royal disaster with the Patriots/Broncos game getting moved, but we did hit on some guys like Teddy Bridgewater and Eric Ebron. Keep in mind, at the time of this writing the Falcons have shut down facilities due to Covid-19. For this reason, I will leave players from the Falcons at Vikings game off of this list. With that being said, if the game does play, I do like Kirk Cousins and Irv Smith Jr. as streamers at their respective positions. Now, let's see what Week 6 has to offer.

 

Stream Team for Shallow Leagues (<40% Rostered)

Daniel Jones, New York Giants

32% Rostered

Jones should be able to have a solid game vs. the Washington Football Team this week. The Football Team is currently allowing over 21 fantasy points per game to the quarterback position. They are doing this in large part by allowing over 240 passing yards per game, and they have also given up nine passing touchdowns, which is tied for ninth-worst in the league.

Nyheim Hines, Indianapolis Colts

49% Rostered

Nyheim Hines has been getting some work in the running game as he has 19 carries in the Colts' previous three games. He also sees plenty of action in the passing game as he has 12 targets in the previous three games. He should be able to find success vs. a Bengals Defense that has allowed the second-most rushing yards to backs. While they haven't allowed a ton of action to backs in the passing game, that is mainly because they have been trampled up front.

Chase Claypool, Pittsburgh Steelers

42% Rostered

I hate being the guy that recommends someone right after they have a monster week, but Claypool fits the bill here. He has a matchup vs. a Browns Defense that has allowed nearly 47 fantasy points per game to wide receivers in 2020, which is second-worst in the league. The game also has a total of 51, so you could see quite a bit of passing from both teams, which makes him even more intriguing. Also, if Diontae Johnson misses time with the back injury he suffered last week, Claypool is in a smash spot.

Eric Ebron, Pittsburgh Steelers

49% Rostered

Ebron has gone up in rostership since last week, but he still can be squeezed into the piece for likely the final time. He gets a dream matchup vs. the Browns who are allowing nearly 18 fantasy points per game to tight ends. They have given up the fourth-most receptions and fifth-most scores to the position. He is in a prime spot and I will likely be using him in DFS as well. Update: He was dealing with a hand issue recently, so please monitor that before plugging him in.

Mecole Hardman, Kansas City Chiefs

42% Rostered

Hardman is usually a bit of a boom-or-bust type play and that very well may be the case this week. The Bills are currently allowing 37 fantasy points per game to wideouts, which is ranked in the middle of the pack. They have allowed six receiving touchdowns, however, which is tied for sixth-worst in the league. Hardman has scored in two of the Chiefs' previous three games and has seen 13 targets across those games. He could certainly find the endzone again on Monday night.

 

Stream Team for Deep Leagues (<20% Rostered)

Joe Flacco, New York Jets

2% Rostered

This is a bit of an odd choice, but Flacco does get a pretty good matchup this week vs. the Phins. Miami is allowing quarterbacks to put up nearly 19 fantasy points per game. They are also allowing quarterbacks to throw for 275 yards per game and have allowed seven touchdown passes. Add in the fact that the Jets are 9.5 point underdogs, and Flacco could be throwing quite a bit.

Frank Gore, New York Jets

19% Rostered

I hate recommending two Jets, but here we are. Le'Veon Bell is no longer a member of the Jets and that means it is one again Frank Gore time. The Dolphins are giving up almost five yards per carry. They have also allowed six rushing touchdowns and are allowing  96 yards per game to backs. While Gore leaves much to be desired, the volume should be there, which is why he is in the article this week at 19% rostership.

Tim Patrick, Denver Broncos

17% Rostered

I am going to stick with Patrick again this week vs. the Patriots. In the previous two weeks, Patrick has caught 10 balls for 156 yards and scored in each contest. He is going up against a surprisingly struggling Patriots secondary that is allowing the 11th-most receiving yards to wideouts.

Trey Burton, Indianapolis Colts

6% Rostered

The tight end position in deeper leagues is scarce this week. Burton has seen 11 targets in his first two games since returning from injury and gets a decent matchup vs. the Bengals. The Bengals are allowing nearly 14 fantasy points per game to the position. They have also given up the seventh-most receiving yards to the position.

Damiere Byrd, New England Patriots

4% Rostered

I am going out on a limb with this one, but I do like the matchup. Byrd has seen 22 targets in the last three games and will be facing a Denver defense that has struggled vs. wideouts in 2020. They are allowing nearly 200 receiving yards per game to the position and rank fifth-worst in terms of points allowed per game to the position by allowing just over 44.

 



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Beginner's Luck? Chase Claypool, Travis Fulgham, Other WR Breakouts

It sometimes takes rookie wide receivers a season or two to reach their full potential. Davante Adams averaged 465 receiving yards in his first two NFL seasons. Michael Irvin had a total of 78 receptions in his first three NFL seasons.

The 2014 season was a special one for rookie WRs. Mike Evans, Odell Beckham Jr., DeAndre Hopkins, Kelvin Benjamin, and Sammy Watkins all finished the season with at least 800 receiving yards. All of those receivers, except Benjamin, are still in the NFL and playing at a high level.

Several young WRs have had breakout games and enjoyed fantasy success so far this season. Is their early-season success truly reflective of their talent or can we chalk it up to beginner’s luck?  Can we count on them for the rest of this season and beyond? The following are five young receivers who’ve been lighting it up as of late. Let’s try to determine if it's legit or if there’s a Kelvin Benjamin in the group.

 

Chase Claypool, Pittsburgh Steelers

After a seven-catch, 110-yard, three-touchdown Week 5 performance, Chase Claypool was one of this week’s hottest fantasy football waiver wire adds. The Steelers selected Claypool in the second round of the 2020 NFL draft, and with their reputation for developing top wide receivers, the rest of the league took notice.

The six-foot four-inch Claypool is an explosive receiver with a knack for being able to bring down contested catches. With his special teams experience and above-average blocking skills, it wasn’t surprising when he saw significant playing time to start the season. However, as detailed in the chart below, Claypool’s playing time seems tied to how many snaps second-year WR Diontae Johnson plays on a weekly basis. Johnson, who leads the Steelers with 26 targets, saw limited action in Week 3 (concussion), and Week 5 (back injury) and that’s when Claypool saw a significant uptick in playing time.

 

Steelers WR

Week 1
Snaps %
Week 2
Snaps %
Week 3
Snaps %
Week 5
Snaps %
Chase Claypool 30 37 76 69
Diontae Johnson 86 83 24 8
James Washington 58 48 61 71
JuJu Smith-Schuster 86 91 73 76

Claypool is currently second among WRs with 9.2 Yards After The Catch Per Reception (YAC/R) and has the type of skillset that can eventually help him become one of the NFL’s top receivers for years to come. Although he deserves to be rostered in all league formats, fantasy managers should temper their expectations. There are many mouths to feed in the Steelers passing game and that can lead to some inconsistency in Claypool’s fantasy production moving forward. Fantasy managers should expect Claypool to have some very good weeks, like when he’s got a favorable matchup, and some small weeks, like when he plays against the Ravens in three weeks.

Claypool can be a significant contributor to your fantasy team’s success for the rest of the season, but you’ll need to make strategic decisions as to when to put him in your starting lineup and when to leave him on your bench. Claypool’s talent is for real, but it may not be evident on a weekly basis early in his career.

 

Laviska Shenault Jr., Jacksonville Jaguars

Shenault hasn’t exactly lit the fantasy world on fire, but he’s gradually developing into a reliable fantasy WR. According to Fantasy Football Today, he’s fantasy football’s WR32, averaging 12.3 Fantasy Points Per Game (FPPG) in PPR scoring formats. That means that in a 12-team league, he’s a fringe WR3 or flex option.

Breaking tackles was his specialty in college. He broke 46 of them over his last two college seasons, so it makes sense that he’s tied for fourth in receptions per broken tackle among NFL WRs this season. With his combination of size, strength, and speed he has the potential to further develop into a big-time playmaker. Shenault’s outstanding running skills make him a versatile offensive force who has already had nine carries for 53 yards (5.9 YPC) through Week 5.

As part of a Jaguars team that surprisingly leads the NFL in passing play percentage (66.56%), he should continue to grow as a receiver as the season progresses. Shenault already leads the team with 23 receptions and averages 62% offensive snaps played per game. He’s still a bit of a work in progress, but Shenault deserves to be rostered in all fantasy league formats. Shenault may not have Claypool’s high ceiling, but at least for this season, he should provide fantasy players with a bit more consistency in weekly production than the Steelers WR.

 

Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings

With the Vikings a little thin at the WR position after Stefon Diggs shuffled off to Buffalo, many fantasy players and analysts (myself included), expected Justin Jefferson to be widely used in the Vikings’ passing game. However, asking a rookie WR to regularly put up significant fantasy numbers when he plays for a team that has the fourth-lowest passing play percentage dating back to the 2019 season is asking for a lot.

So far, the receiver who has benefited the most from Diggs’ departure has been Adam Thielen. He’s fifth in FPPG among NFL receivers. Like many rookie WRs who have come before him, Jefferson has had his ups and downs to start his career. He’s tied for fourth among WRs with 19.5 yards per reception. In Week 3, he caught seven passes for 175 yards, including a 71-yard TD reception. He followed that up with a four-catch 103-yard game. However, in his other three matchups, he’s averaged just under three receptions and 31 receiving yards per game.

Some college scouts cite Jefferson’s lack of speed and poor separation skills and consider him a career WR2, at best. Those alleged weaknesses haven’t been an issue thus far this season. He’s NFL’s WR11 when it comes to YAC/R (6.7). Maybe the scouts will end up being right and in the long term, Jefferson’s lack of speed will limit his ability to stretch the field. However, for the short term, the Vikings’ run-first offensive scheme (and maybe some typical rookie growing pains) will be his biggest hurdle to providing fantasy players with consistent fantasy production on a weekly basis. His ceiling isn’t as high as Claypool’s or Shenault’s, but he’s another rookie who deserves to be rostered. Just don’t consider him an automatic start on a weekly basis…yet.

 

Tee Higgins, Cincinnati Bengals

Tee Higgins is averaging 12.7 FPPG in PPR scoring formats. That makes him a WR30 in fantasy football. If you start three WRs in your fantasy league Higgins should be one of them. He’s got it all. He’s a talented receiver who’s a deep-ball threat and can play all three receiver spots. Higgins doesn’t have blazing speed but he’s quick off the line of scrimmage and has excellent ball tracking and ball-handling skills.

Higgins finds himself in a perfect situation. Not only does he play for a team that loves to throw the ball, but because they’ll be playing from behind for much of the season, they’ll need to throw the ball.  He’s already become an integral part of the Bengals’ passing offense and averages close to eight targets per game. With future star QB Joe Burrow slinging the ball his way you’re going to want to find a way to get Higgins on your dynasty team’s roster. A.J. Green’s time has come and gone. Start Higgins every week.

 

Travis Fulgham, Philadelphia Eagles

Travis Fulgham has TDs in each of the last two weeks as the Eagles, who’ve been decimated by injuries to their WRs, desperately look for anyone that QB Carson Wentz can throw the ball to. Conventional wisdom tells us that Fulgham will find his way back to the Eagles’ practice squad once Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson are healthy enough to return to the football field.

Fulgham played his college ball for the lightly regarded Old Dominion and will probably never have a regular starting job as an NFL receiver, but he’s obviously formed a bit of a connection with Wentz over the past couple of weeks. Nevertheless, even if he gets one more week as a starting Eagle WR, this isn’t the time to put him in your lineup. He’ll be facing the Ravens who’ve given up the eighth-fewest fantasy points per game to fantasy WRs. Chalk up his brief time in the Eagle’s spotlight to beginner’s luck. We’ve found our Kelvin Benjamin doppelganger.



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Week 6 Waiver Wire Pickups & Adds

More delays, postponed games, and schedule changes. Get used to the new normal. We should be thankful that we at least have an NFL season that has gone mostly according to plan, other than every good running back being injured.

The waiver wire will be more important in 2020 than any previous season, especially after waivers clear in most leagues. Use the players suggested here for your early-week claims but keep the rest in mind for later in the week if necessary and check our NFL news feed for the latest injury updates.

As always, the options listed at each position below are listed in order of priority to help you plan your claims accordingly. Players listed include only those rostered in approximately 50% or fewer Yahoo leagues. For a deeper look at each position, check out our separate weekly waiver wire columns at QB, RB, WR, and TE.

 

Quarterbacks - Waiver Wire Options

Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings - 32% rostered

Cousins didn't torch Seattle like other QBs have done this year but he could have his best game yet in Week 6. He plays Atlanta in Week 6 and might have to do it without his main RB (see below). The Falcons are officially a dumpster fire at 0-5 and their pass defense is a large part of the problem. They just allowed Teddy Bridgewater to throw for 313 yards and two touchdowns. Every QB they've faced has gone over 300 yards and that includes the Nick Foles/Mitch Trubisky Frankenquarterback combo in Week 3. Even with a new coach, it doesn't make Atlanta any more formidable. Start Cousins if at all possible this week.

Andy Dalton, Dallas Cowboys - 1% rostered

The outlook for Dallas' offense has changed for the worst reason imaginable. Dak Prescott suffered a gruesome injury that led to immediate foot surgery Sunday night, ruling him out for the remainder of the season. That makes the offseason signing of veteran Andy Dalton look like a brilliant move since he'll be in command of a high-octane offense for a team now desperate to reach .500 and push for the playoffs. Regardless of what you thought of Dalton in Cincy, he now has Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and CeeDee Lamb to throw to, along with Ezekiel Elliott to dump the ball off to when pressure gets to him. Without the rushing ability of Prescott, Dalton projects as a low-end QB1 in good matchups and a fringe starter in tougher ones. Arizona's pass defense has been mediocre this year, so Dalton can be used as a straight-up Prescott replacement.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Miami Dolphins - 20% rostered

The FitzMagic happened at the most unexpected time in San Francisco. Facing last year's NFC champion and top-ranked defense on the road, he threw for 350 yards and three touchdowns. In other words, it was the top-five fantasy he should have had last week but didn't. While he seems intent on fooling fantasy managers by bucking expectations, he shouldn't have a hard time generating points against the Jets. The Dolphins' readjusted schedule has them facing the defense that looks better on paper because they've faced subpar QBs like Brett Rypien and Nick Mullens (and Philip Rivers at this point). Fitzpatrick is always streamable but especially so in Week 6.

Nick Foles, Chicago Bears - 10% rostered

Your boring, desperation streamer for deep leagues this week is Foles. His value stems from the matchup with Carolina, which should keep his floor fairly high. They've improved over the weeks defensively, limiting Matt Ryan to 226 yards with no touchdowns on Sunday. Still, Foles isn't prone to disastrous games and should be a safe replacement for this newly heavy bye week.

Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers - 48% rostered

After a shamefully-low rostered rate early in the week, Herbert was added by a lot of teams late once we saw another game canceled and the status of the Buffalo-Tennessee game in doubt. On paper, the matchup with New Orleans is favorable too and he took advantage. The Chargers were supposed to get the Jets next week but the COVID chaos has moved that game to Week 11 instead, which means the Chargers have their bye in Week 6. Herbert is simply a backup to stash if available.

Others to consider: Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans (46% rostered); Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns (40% rostered)

 

Running Backs - Waiver Wire Options

Alexander Mattison, Minnesota Vikings - 40% rostered

This is why you keep handcuffs insurance policies on your bench. Dalvin Cook was on his way to another great game in Week 5 before exiting with a groin injury. That led to a big dose of Alexander Mattison. He responded with his best Cook impersonation, running 20 times for 112 yards and chipping in another 24 receiving yards. Cook's MRI on Monday inspired confidence from coach Mike Zimmer, who said it was "clean." He could conceivably be back in action for Week 6, but the team may not rush him back. If he is forced to miss even one game, Mattison becomes an instant must-add. He's averaging a stout 4.6 yards per carry over his first two seasons and would become the new workhorse for a team that ranks in the top five in total rush attempts so far.

Damien Harris, New England Patriots - 52% rostered

There's not a great chance Harris is available in your league but the ranks are thin at RB this week so it's worth mentioning. The Pats' schedule has been in flux but it appears they will play their game vs Denver in Week 6. This isn't a smash spot as the Broncos have actually limited damage to running backs fairly well. We also have no idea if Cam Newton will be back and if so, whether that's a positive or negative. His presence obviously makes the offense much better but he also steals carries and goal-line carries from the backfield. Harris is a risky RB3 based on the upcoming matchup but should be a solid low-end RB2 the rest of the way, making him an instant add in 12+ team leagues unless you happen to be stacked at running back.

Justin Jackson, Los Angeles Chargers - 42% rostered

It was thought that Joshua Kelley would serve as the lead back on Monday Night Football but Jackson saw just as many touches. Neither were particuarly effective but it was a tough matchup with the Saints Defense, who has limited running backs in 2020. He hasn't shown much with his touches this year but averaged 5.1 yards per carry over his first two seasons and has breakaway speed in the open field. Pay attention to the snap counts going forward and consider him as a backup if you employ the #AllBenchRB philosophy.

D'Ernest Johnson, Cleveland Browns - 44% rostered

I stick by last week's recommendation of Johnson as the top RB because it was also stated that he should be on benches in Week 5. The Colts Defense is the best at limiting fantasy points to running backs and did an adequate job considering Darius Leonard was out. It's not any easier in Week 6 unfortunately, with a road game against the Steelers. After that, you can plug him in versus Cincinnati and Las Vegas, two of the worst run defenses out there, and start reaping the rewards.

J.D. McKissic, Washington Football Team - 6% rostered

Antonio Gibson is irrationally adored by many a fantasy manager but McKissic continues to get the bulk of the receiving work out of the backfield. In Week 5, they nearly matched each other in total yardage; Gibson combined for 51 scrimmage yards and McKissic had 49. The 6-5 edge in receptions for McKissic and lack of touchdowns for Gibson evens them out. It's not as if they will have equal value going forward but the difference isn't as great as people think.

Others to considerDuke Johnson, Houston Texans (29% rostered); Jamaal Williams, Green Bay Packers (15% rostered); Mike Boone, Minnesota Vikings (0% rostered)

 

Wide Receivers - Waiver Wire Options

Chase Claypool, Pittsburgh Steelers - 14% rostered

If Justin Jefferson's Week 3 performance (7-175-1) was a breakout game, then what do we call Claypool's Week 5? He exploded onto the scene with a four-touchdown game, catching seven passes for 110 yards and three scores. His other TD came on a two-yard run. He would have had another touchdown if not for a penalty that had it called back. A big impetus for his sudden involvement is the fact Diontae Johnson exited the game early again, this time with a back issue. Between a concussion, toe issue, and now back injury, Johnson has been absent for much of the season, so Claypool is a good bet to keep seeing snaps.

It was interesting to hear the broadcast team discuss OC Randy Fichtner touting Claypool's "availability" in practice each week, which also harkens to JuJu Smith-Schuster missing each Wednesday. This doesn't mean Claypool will be the WR1 in Pittsburgh but he will be targeted regularly in a high-octane offense and warrants a claim in all leagues.

Laviska Shenault Jr., Jacksonville Jaguars - 34% rostered

If you believe that football statistics come in predictable patterns, Shenault will have seven receptions next week.

image from Yahoo!

 

 

 

 

 

Spoiler: this isn't how the NFL works and we have no idea what Shenault will do next week. We do know that his target share keeps ramping up and he can provide a high floor in full PPR leagues. The Detroit Lions are a fantasy-friendly defense too, allowing the fifth-most points per game to wide receivers. Shenault is a solid WR3 who belongs on more rosters.

Brandin Cooks, Houston Texans - 44% rostered

After being blanked last game, Cooks went off for a league-high 161 receiving yards on eight receptions. That makes two games over 95 yards and three games under 25 yards for Cooks this year. Good luck figuring out when he's going to pop. This was a plus matchup with Jacksonville and Cooks took advantage. That said, the Texans will likely continue to rely on the pass and Cooks will have his moments.

Preston Williams, Miami Dolphins - 22% rostered

Just when he entered drop territory in most fantasy leagues, Williams came alive in San Francisco. Much like his QB, Williams did what he was supposed to do last week against Seattle. Williams turned four catches into 106 yards with a touchdown and actually looked healthy. He is back on the waiver wire radar and is definitely stream-worthy against the Jets.

Christian Kirk, Arizona Cardinals - 34% rostered

It was reassuring to see Kirk become involved in the passing game again, catching five balls for 78 yards in a win over the Jets. It wasn't just the Nuk show, as Kirk tied DeAndre Hopkins for the team lead with seven targets. It was a laugher over the Jets but the next week's matchup could actually be better, as the Cowboys' secondary gives up more points to WRs. Kirk remains a volatile option but his ceiling is always enticing.

Travis Fulgham, Philadelphia Eagles - 0% rostered

Your DFS tournament winner in Week 5 was the seventh receiving option for the Eagles heading into 2020. With their top three WRs sidelined as they have been since Week 1, Fulgham has gotten his chance and you could say the made the most of it. Fulgham caught 10 of 12 targets for 152 yards and a touchdown in a true breakout game against the Steelers. Just to jog your memory, Fulgham was a sixth-round pick by Detroit after coming out of Old Dominion. He came into Week 5 with two NFL receptions.

Before you empty the wallet to make Fulgham your top waiver priority, a couple of things to keep in mind. Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson could both return in Week 6, which obviously hurts Fulgham's target share. Second, the Eagles have done this before. Greg Ward caught eight passes on 11 targets for 84 yards in Week 3, Dallas Goedert caught eight of nine targets for 101 yards in Week 1. Doug Pederson has shown he will feed a guy in any given game, especially when the run game isn't working. Not to take anything away from Fulgham but he won't be a primary focus of this offense each week and will be a boom-bust flex option, not a league winner.

Henry Ruggs III, Las Vegas Raiders - 43% rostered

Ruggs' 118-yard outburst didn't help many fantasy teams since he was rostered in less than half of all leagues and started in only 5% of Yahoo leagues. He did get our attention again after his opening-week touchdown. Ruggs is doing exactly what Mike Mayock envisioned when he made him the top receiver selected in the 2020 NFL Draft - stretching the field, hitting on big plays. The health issues make him hard to trust but the ceiling is sky-high on any given week. Don't count on Ruggs in Week 6, as the Raiders are scheduled for their bye week.

Jeff Smith, New York Jets - 1% rostered

I went into detail on Smith last week and the Jets are on a bye so this isn't a player to add right now anyway. I'll just throw this out there: despite catching only three passes for 23 yards, he was targeted 11 times. Smith could be considered the team's top target after Jamison Crowder right now, for what that's worth.

Alshon Jeffery, Philadelphia Eagles - 18% rostered

Those searching for a midseason lotto ticket or in deep-enough leagues may consider stashing Jeffery. It's not sure whether he'll play this week or how effective he will be, so expect little to nothing and you won't be disappointed.

Jalen Guyton, Los Angeles Chargers - 2% rostered

Mike Williams returns, Keenan Allen goes out. It doesn't appear to be a serious injury but regardless, Guyton has carved out a role as deep threat and bomb-catcher. He caught a 72-yard bomb for a score last week and a 49-yard pass in Week 5. He won't catch more than two passes for you but if it goes for a long score, that's a decent flex play in times of desperation.

Cedrick Wilson Jr., Dallas Cowboys - 2% rostered

Although Wilson doesn't truly have standalone value, it's worth mentioning that he is still getting utilized as the fourth receiver in Dallas' pass-heavy attack. He also occasionally throws touchdown passes to Dak Prescott too, although sadly we can't count on that happening again. Wilson may be forgotten if the team narrows its options with Dalton behind center so save Wilson for the deepest of leagues only.

Others to consider: Mecole Hardman, Kansas City Chiefs (40% rostered); Golden Tate, New York Giants (35% rostered); Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Green Bay Packers (34% rostered); Tee Higgins, Cincinnati Bengals (33% rostered)

 

Tight Ends - Waiver Wire Options

Jimmy Graham, Chicago Bears - 40% rostered

He isn't the most exciting add, but Graham is 12th in receiving yards among tight ends and has four touchdowns. That makes him TE4 in standard leagues, believe it or not. He's more of a high-end TE2 in PPR leagues and streamable in most circumstances. A matchup with Carolina is just OK but he can serve as a replacement for Darren Waller managers.

Darren Fells, Houston Texans - 2% rostered

It wasn't a high-volume game for Fells but he did come through for those few who streamed him. Fells caught a 44-yard touchdown pass early in the game, serving as the main tight end with Jordan Akins out due to an ankle injury. He is lesser version of Graham in the sense that his value is higher in standard than PPR leagues and isn't assured the same level of targets. Fells caught seven touchdowns in 2019, so we know Watson will look his way in the red zone. That should count for something.

Irv Smith Jr., Minnesota Vikings - 6% rostered

Finally, signs of life from the second-year TE. Smith was supposed to step up as the main pass-catching tight end in 2020 but he's taken a serious step backward. Smith entered Week 5 grading out as the second-worst tight end (63 out of 64) according to PFF, while teammate Kyle Rudolph was 13th. It was reassuring to see Smith grab four passes for 64 yards on Sunday night while Rudolph caught just one for 10 yards. If you're in desperation territory for a tight end this week, Smith at least faces the Falcons who, besides being god-awful in every way this season, had been the worst defense against the tight end before Week 5.

Mo Alie-Cox, Indianapolis Colts - 36% rostered

In a choice matchup, MAC Daddy pulled a disappearing act. The entire Colts offense struggled but for Alie-Cox to give his managers a big zero was a shock after his recent emergence. He can be used in a pinch again but then has a bye after Week 6 so it might be time to find a better short-term option.

Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 2% rostered

With no O.J. Howard and Rob Gronkowski still serving as a blocker first, Brate caught five passes for 44 yards in Week 4. It's unclear whether Chris Godwin will return or whether Mike Evans or Scotty Miller are 100% but Brate is touchdown-dependent for value anyway.

Others to consider: Drew Sample, Cincinnati Bengals (4% rostered)

 

Team Defense - Waiver Wire Options

Miami Dolphins Defense - 2% rostered

I said this defense wasn't as bad as people think and it proved true in a surprising victory over the 49ers. Blame the ankle all you want, but the Fins forced Jimmy Garoppolo out of the game after picking him off twice. Now that the schedule has changed for several teams, we'll get the first Dolphins-Jets showdown of 2020. With Joe Flacco likely to start again, we could see another five-sack, three-turnover day or something comparable.

Minnesota Vikings Defense - 29% rostered

It used to be that the Falcons offense meant an automatic sit for opposing defenses. They've only scored 16 points in consecutive weeks and there seems to be a feeling that this team might have given up on the season. The Vikes have underachieved on defense all year but could find an elixir in Atlanta.

Washington Football Team Defense - 7% rostered

The Rams simply trounced Washington in Week 5, marking four straight games the defense has allowed 30+ points. The Giants were averaging 11 points per game until they put up 34 in Dallas. Daniel Jones is still turnover prone and this could be a low-scoring game based on both team's low pace of play.



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Fantasy Football Trade Targets - Week 6

The fantasy trade market is always a fun one to evaluate. Articles like this are essentially glorified "Who's Hot and Who's Not" pieces but the tables are turned to where sometimes, you want to trade for those that are cold and trade away those hot.

Now, five weeks into the season, we have several big-name players underperforming and others over-performing. The trade market has the most leverage possible early on in the year when owners are 0-5 or 1-4 with injuries flooding them (especially this year). The time to buy/sell is now and I am here to help.

If you like this piece or others like it,  follow me on Twitter @RotoSurgeon to catch on any relevant and/or ask questions. Best of luck!

 

Players to Trade For

JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers

Chase Claypool breaking out is the best thing that could have happened for Juju. Now, the Steelers finally have a field-stretching threat who can play the Martavis Bryant role in the offense and open up the middle of the field for Juju to operate. While the target share and fantasy production has been mediocre for the greater part of the past two seasons, the time has come to trade for Juju. His early-career production was definitely bolstered playing next to arguably the greatest receiver of this past generation in Antonio Brown but he did hold his own without him.

In 4 games with Ben and without AB prior to this season: Juju had 35 targets, 26 receptions, 333 yards, and 3 TDs. Two of those games were with Martavis Bryant who drew plenty of attention away from the line-of-scrimmage and the hope with Claypool is the same. Claypool is so big and fast that leaving him in man coverage with a smaller DB is foolish, he needs to be doubled downfield or else. Juju's strength is playing through contact, finding holes and breaking out plays with the ball in his hands. Diontae Johnson is a talented receiver due to return soon and also bolstered by Claypool but Juju is the primary beneficiary given his style of play.

Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys

Obviously, Cooper has been fantastic this season and trading for him last week would have cost an arm and a leg but after Dak Prescott's injury and Cooper's mediocre Week 5 performance, there may be a window open to take advantage of. While Andy Dalton is a downgrade from Prescott, he is still a capable NFL QB who will be playing in the best offense since 2015 with prime A.J. Green, Marvin Jones Jr, Giovani Bernard, Tyler Eifert and Mohamed Sanu.

Five years is a lot of time, and there has been plenty of mediocrity since, but Dalton's now been in Dallas all offseason and through the first month of the season. He should know the playbook well enough to operate the offense and have plenty of easy throws given the plethora of talent at WR. The Cowboys will feed Ezekial Elliot more than they had early-on with Prescott but they can only afford to do so to a certain degree given how poor their defense is (24th in DVOA). The passing volume will be there and Cooper can succeed with any competent QB under center, especially given the talent around him.

D'Andre Swift, Detroit Lions

Swift is in a precarious position fantasy-wise as he has not played much, if at all particularly due to Adrian Peterson's arrival, but he has been fantasy-relevant scoring double-digit PPR points in three-of-four games thus far. Kerryon Johnson is slowly getting phased out of the offense and while Peterson remains as the main blockade, that could not matter so much if Swift takes on the lead job with Peterson playing more of a short-yardage role.

Swift has shown to be a fantastic receiving option out of the backfield (despite dropping the game-winner in Week 1) and has tons of rushing upside. He was the second RB drafted in 2020 for a reason and while the Lions have shown to be incompetent with the position for two decades now, Swift should be the one to buck this trend. He was dealing with a hip injury earlier in the season which may have lingered a bit. Now, coming off of the BYE, the Lions may feel a lot more comfortable with him taking on a larger load and playing much more comfortably in the offense. Not to mention, the Lions get an absolute smash matchup versus the Jaguars who have been gashed on the ground for over 300 rushing yards the past two weeks.

 

Players to Trade Away

Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers

Hopes of Ekeler returning anytime soon are fleeting. While he did post a video on Instagram recently where he was working out on a bike machine and claiming to be getting healthier, there is a huge hill to climb before getting back on the field. Ekeler's injury is fairly severe as he admitted that some of the tendon in his leg ripped off of the bone. Luckily, surgery is not required but the rehab process could last until the end of the season. With the Chargers sitting at the bottom of the AFC West with a losing record, there will be no rush to bring him back on the field in the second-half of the season when he is eligible to return from IR. Even if he does return within his six-week timeframe initially established, there is a ton of re-injury risk if he is not 100%.

This has nothing to do with on-field performance/regression whatsoever, he will be incredible on the field with a QB like Herbert who has been a massive improvement over Tyrod Taylor. Trade Ekeler away while the initial reports of his injury are more positive than they may turn out to be in a few weeks.

Henry Ruggs III, Las Vegas Raiders

After a two-game absence, Ruggs came out and torched the Chiefs' secondary for two catches, 118 yards and a TD. Ruggs' is an incredible football player whose value will often not show up on stat-sheets like in Week 5. He is a field-stretcher who can operate on several sectors of offense but when you quarterback is Derek Carr, Ruggs is needed to take the top off of defenses and keep them honest. While Carr is justifiably labeled as a check-down artist afraid of throwing deep, he is *capable* of doing so, and when he does, Ruggs can, and will produce. However, In three games, Ruggs' hasn't seen more than five targets and given the type of offense Jon Gruden runs, it is unlikely that Ruggs' target share is respectively high anytime soon.

The selling point on Ruggs is that he is a home-run threat akin to Marqiuse Brown/Will Fuller and can win weeks with some WR1 performances. He still has some cache as the first WR selected in the 2020 Draft by a team bereft of pass-catching talent. However, Nelson Agholor and Hunter Renfrow have performed well, Bryan Edwards is returning soon, and Darren Waller is essentially the WR1 despite playing TE. Ruggs will have opportunities but they will be limited, making the margin-for-error quite slim.

David Montgomery, Chicago Bears

To be absolutely clear, do not trade Montgomery until after this week's matchup versus the Panthers. He will probably have as good a game as any running back against their porous run defense. Montgomery's fantasy value is more perception-based than performance-based thus far but he is coming off of his second-best scoring week of the season. Pile on Week 6's presumed performance and you have some momentum to trade away.

Montgomery has been a terrible real-life running back since entering the league and a mediocre-at-best "workhorse" RB. There is still reason to believe that he could have a decent career but he has been mired by the surrounding offense along with his inability to run straight. With Tarik Cohen out for the season, Montgomery's immediate workload should be plentiful and that is another selling-point but it is not hard to imagine Chicago bringing in a complementary back. to alleviate some of the work and play the more valuable passing-downs. The Bears have already inquired about Le'Veon Bell and it is very possible they trade for a back prior to the deadline or sign someone off of the street if a viable one is cut.



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Digging for Value in the New York Jets Backfield

It was a long time coming and finally it happened. The Jets wanted away from Le’Veon Bell and the feeling was certainly mutual. In a season marred by bad play and worse coaching, the Jets took another loss by releasing their prized free-agent signing from last season.

In a total of 21 games on the roster, Bell was a total bust. In two games this season, he recorded fewer rush yards (74) than Malcolm Butler did on his two interception returns on Tuesday Night Football (96).

It is clear to all that the New York Jets are in tank mode. Why else would they keep Adam Gase around and still calling the offensive plays? They want to lose. Getting rid of one of the few players who may stop that from happening is the final step in giving up. Next year, with the draft capital amassed and an entirely new coaching staff, the team could start to improve. As for this year? It is over with. The real question now is who are they going to hand the ball off to the rest of the year? And how will they do behind a subpar offensive line?

 

The Inconvenient Truth

Frank Gore is the main player who will gain even more snaps. It is clear Gase loves him despite his advanced age and steep decline. He was signed to the team at the first opportunity and he was the next man up when Bell was placed on IR this season. Although he is likely a future Hall of Famer, the time of Gore being fantasy-relevant has long passed. Do not tell this to the Jets though. They are still going to run him until the wheels fall off. As a Gore fan, I hope he does well. As a realist, I do not see anything but heartache for anyone who starts him for fantasy.

Through five games in 2020, Gore has 64 rushes for 204 yards. This is a paltry 3.2 Y/A. This has equated to exactly zero TD on the ground. He is also a non-factor in the passing game with only two receptions for 11 yards on the season. If this is the lead back on a team, it is a team you want no part of. This makes him at best, and I use the word "best" lightly, a flex play moving forward the rest of the season.

With this said, there are still a few others who may get a bit of run. There is not much to talk about with Josh Adams and Lamical Perine, but we still need to mention them. Just in case the Jets go on a tear in the second half of the season...

 

The Others

Josh Adams is a decent player but he is what he is at this point. He runs between the tackles, averages 4.1 yards per carry, and is limited as a pass-catcher. Not the type of player that wins you a week in fantasy unless he is scoring touchdowns, which is unlikely in this offense.

After the season-ending injury to Jay Ajayi two years back, Adams was able to come off the practice squad for the Eagles and provide some stability. Of course, he was playing behind an offensive line consisting of Jason Kelce, Lane Johnson and Jason Peters. This is far different from the line the Jets are putting on the field each and every week.

After the 2018 season, Philadelphia did not feel the need to retain his services and he found his way onto this Jets roster as a backup to Le’Veon Bell and now Frank Gore. As the veteran backup next to rookie Perine, he will be next man up should something happen to Gore. This is still not someone even worth rostering. Even in the deepest of leagues, Adams is a dart throw at best. The type of dart throw you make after a night of drinking. So, stay away. If you are down to the dregs of playing Adams, you are already done for the season.

When it comes to Perine, the rookie from Florida, he is another shot in the dark who will not do much for you. Perine wasn't a workhorse in college, used mostly as a receiver out of the backfield. He gained a lot of yardage in a couple of big games but was quiet most of the time. His workout numbers don't exactly scream "impending breakout player" either.

image taken from PlayerProfiler

On 15 NFL carries this season, Perine has 56 yards. He has two receptions for -1 yard in the passing game. This shows not only the ineptitude of the Jets offense, but the effect it has on the players who try to play in it.

We are still not sure how severe the shoulder injury of Sam Darnold is. Until his return, Joe Flacco will be behind center for the team. This even further limits the upside as Flacco will not be able to move out of the pocket to extend plays. He is a figure of yesteryear - a statue QB in a league moving away from this type of player at the position.

The New York Jets are a ship going down in the sea. Le’Veon Bell was happy to get off the sinking ship. You should follow suit and abandon ship as well. It just might salvage your fantasy team.



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What Dak Prescott's Injury Means For Andy Dalton

On Sunday, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott suffered a season-ending ankle injury against the New York Giants. It was a horrifying moment for anyone watching the game.

With Prescott out, the Cowboys turned to Andy Dalton at quarterback to end the game. Dalton was 9-for-11 throwing the football, with 111 yards. He didn't throw for a touchdown or an interception, but lost a fumble.

Dalton will now be the starter for the Cowboys moving forward. And while we've heard all of the "lol Cowboys still have the best quarterback in the division" jokes over and over now, what are we really to make of Dalton in this role? Can he be successful enough for fantasy managers to make him a starting option?

 

Dalton's Past Performance

Andy Dalton brings with him something that backup quarterbacks don't always bring: a long track record of NFL performances as a starting quarterback.

That gives us some room to explore his past, though it's not as simple as just saying "he's thrown for 4000-plus yards twice, so he's going to be fine."

Instead, let's focus on Dalton's 2019 performance to start, since it was his most recent season and was fairly uneven, since he was benched for Ryan Finley for a time.

Still, Dalton started 13 games last year, which is good enough as a sample size. He completed 59.5 percent of his passes for 3,494 yards, 16 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions. The 14 picks were his most since 2014 -- that they came in three fewer games is definitely something that gives me pause.

Per PlayerProfiler, Dalton played on a Bengals offense that was fifth in passing plays per game last year. He was 11th among quarterbacks in attempts but just 18th in passing yards. A supporting cast efficiency that ranked 32nd among quarterbacks and protection rate that ranked 19th ere pretty big factors in that.

Still, even if we account for issues with who he was throwing the ball to, numbers like this worry me a lot:

image taken from PlayerProfiler

I'm especially concerned by that clean pocket completion percentage. If the offensive line woes were really the main culprit of his inefficiency, wouldn't we have seen some improvement on his completion percentage ranking on those clean pocket looks? Or was he so rattled by the lack of blocking and weapons that nothing could have saved his 2020 season and he was destined to be bad even when he wasn't getting pressured?

Good question and one I don't have an answer to except to say that the last time the Bengals had an offensive line rank in the top 10 in lowest adjusted sack rate was 2014, when they ranked fifth. Dalton was a Pro Bowler that year, passing for 3,398 yards and 19 touchdowns, but he also threw 17 interceptions and had a QBR that was lower than the year before and after. So, maybe the line isn't the culprit for Dalton's struggles?

 

How He Fits Into This Offense

Well, the Cowboys run the most passing plays per game in the NFL this year, thanks in large part to a defense that can't keep the opposing team from scoring. That's meant Dallas has had to run more plays than they might otherwise be running.

It also should mean that they're forced to keep running pass plays. Maybe not at quite so high a rate -- Ezekiel Elliott will get more chances to run the ball, though I don't think Booger McFarland was correct at all about this take:

Yes, Zeke's a good running back, but the downgrade from Dak to Dalton doesn't somehow make you better just because it means three more carries per game for Ezekiel Elliott.

Anyway, the big question is how Dalton will play with a better supporting cast. Remember, he was 32nd among quarterbacks in supporting cast efficiency last year. Dak this year is 14th and was eighth last year. Dalton gets a huge upgrade to the players who he is throwing the ball to, which is going to help him play more efficient football. And a better protection rate will keep him upright, though it might not help improve his efficiency too much.

But hey -- Dak was a top five fantasy quarterback rest of season and averaged 29.6 fantasy points per game including his final game, and he did so despite not being top 10 in any of these things:

image taken from PlayerProfiler

You can succeed in this offense without elite efficiency. So, even though Dalton does represent a decline in efficiency here, he can still be successful from a fantasy perspective because of the available opportunities for him.

This is, of course, assuming Dalton isn't completely cooked. Last year was bad bad, but he was throwing to the likes of John Ross and Auden Tate. Now, he gets CeeDee Lamb, Amari Cooper, and Michael Gallup. Considering the only consistent weapon he had last year was Tyler Boyd, I think this upgrade should help Dalton's efficiency. He was still 11th in accuracy rating last season, but 32nd in receiver target separation. In theory, Dalton should have some juice left and should be solid in Dallas.

Not Dak solid. But I'd project Dalton to be a high-end fantasy QB2 moving forward. He'll miss more than Dak. He'll throw picks more than Dak. He won't be as mobile. But he's also going to throw the ball a ton to three very good wide receivers, and Ezekiel Elliott's presence should open up passing lanes and the defense crowds the box a little more against Dallas.

 

Is There Dynasty Impact Here?

Could Dalton play so well that the Cowboys decide to let Prescott walk in free agency?

The answer to that is both yes and no. Yes, the Cowboys could let Dak leave if they don't feel comfortable with how much money he commands. No, Dalton's performance doesn't have an impact on that, and if Dak leaves, we'd expect to see the Cowboys draft a quarterback.

So, in terms of dynasty, Dak was a top-five dynasty QB before the injury. Because current-season value does matter, I might drop him a couple of spots, but he's still solidly a top-10 dynasty QB.

As for Dalton, his value does rise a good bit since we can assume he starts 11 games this year, but long term, he's about where he was, which is at the level of "solid backup." Yes, he should be universally rostered in Superflex. No, you shouldn't trade the farm for him, though a Dak manager in win-now mode might be fine with paying more than they should for Dalton right now.



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FAB Bidding - Week 6 Waiver Wire Targets

Crack that piggybank and recruit some reinforcements! Alongside our famous waiver wire pickups list and our weekly waiver wire columns by position, this column focuses on suggested waiver wire bidding percentages for fantasy football owners in leagues using a Free Agent Budget (FAB). In case you were not aware, several fantasy sports platforms are switching from FAAB to FAB in 2020, and RotoBaller will make that change as well.

As a caveat, these prices do not by any means indicate how much these free agent players will go for. Each league values players differently and will continue to do so. These values are here to provide a baseline or priority order to understand roughly how much you should be looking to spend on a particular player. Specific needs are always reasonable cause for a manual override.

The injuries were lighter in Week 5, but losing the NE/DEN contest surely tilted many a roster. With four teams on bye for Week 6 -- SEA, LAC, NO, LV -- having depth is more important than ever. Don't shy away from the "boring" add to plug in. Here are my median FAB bid ranges and adds heading into Week 6, with Yahoo rostership rates from Monday night.

 

FAB Waiver Wire Bids - Quarterbacks

Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB, MIA) - FAB Bid: 1-2%

21% rostered

The Dolphins will want to see Tua Tagovailoa in action eventually, but Fitzmagic season is in full effect. The Harvard alum wisely targeted San Francisco’s practice-squad DB Brian Allen often in Week 5, resulting in 350 yards and three scores in a blowout of the reigning NFC champs. And now he gets a green-light matchup with the Jets in Week 6, meaning Fitzpatrick and the Miami offense are solid plays once again. I recognize the 49ers were broken, but Fitz ranks top-five in aggression per NFL's Next Gen Stats and that will play in fantasy.

Kirk Cousins (QB, MIN) - FAB Bid: 1-2%

32% rostered

Cousins went 27-of-39 on throws for 249 yards and two touchdowns with an interception (and fumble lost) in Week 5. It wasn’t impressive as the Vikings ran all over the Seahawks, even once Dalvin Cook left with a groin injury. The 39 pass attempts blew away his previous season-high mark of 27 and may foreshadow Week 6’s date with a vulnerable Atlanta defense. Especially as Kirk was just one of five qualified QBs with an intended-air-yards mark of 10 or more entering Week 5.

The Falcons just got DJ Moore right and should offer little opposition to Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson, but even a limited Cook or his backups could gash ATL. Perhaps they’ll be stiffer in hopes of proving that now-ousted Dan Quinn was the problem and not them. Cousins is a viable streamer for those seeking 18-20 points.

 

FAB Waiver Wire Bids - Running Backs

Alexander Mattison (RB, MIN) - FAB Bid: 10-15%

40% rostered

I’ll mention Mattison even though his rostered rate is slightly above the usual threshold. Dalvin Cook left Sunday night’s game with a groin injury and is receiving an MRI on Monday, which left Mattison in a smash spot against Seattle that yielded 136 total yards.

While he was momentarily banged up and Mike Boone also ran well, that highlights how all three RBs are talented and that Seattle’s D is in rough shape. If Mattison is the starter next week against Atlanta then you’ll want him plugged in. The Vikings have a bye in Week 7 and may elect to give Cook rest through then. Plus, you get all sorts of Hamilton-themed smack talk to drop:

Jamaal Williams (RB, GB) - FAB Bid: 3-6%

15% rostered

While Williams is a running back, he’s needed as a receiver right now given Green Bay’s injuries.  The Packers have little depth beyond Davante Adams, who is presumed back for Week 6, with an inconsistent Marquez Valdes-Scantling and upstart Robert Tonyan blossoming at tight end. This left Williams with an 8-95-0 receiving line alongside a poor 8-10-0 rushing line for Week 4. They won’t grind Aaron Jones into the ground, leaving Williams able to benefit from a vengeful Aaron Rodgers who is out to prove he’s still a king in today’s NFL.

*There simply aren’t many low-owned RBs that are ready to help in Week 6. If you need a running back on the roster then go after the insurance-policy backs such as Tony Pollard (what Mattison was) and hope to hit it big moving forward. I'm not here to conjure up names just to squeeze into a column -- if they aren't worth your FAB, I won't force it.

 

FAB Waiver Wire Bids - Wide Receivers

Chase Claypool (WR, PIT) - FAB Bid: 20-25%

14% rostered

Claypool erupted for four total touchdowns on Sunday, catching seven passes for 110 yards and three TDs while adding a two-yard TD rush for fun. He rallied for PIT once Diontae Johnson left with a back issue, which tacks on to his recent concussion and a toe injury to give him a frightful list of woes to overcome. Monitor Johnson's injury reports as the week progresses but Pittsburgh may not put this genie back in the bottle. If you have to make one add this week, it's Claypool.

Preston Williams (WR, MIA) - FAB Bid: 8-10%

22% rostered

Whew, about time! We knew we just had to wait for a matchup with San Francisco to get Williams right, right? He was the main beneficiary of the aforementioned Brian Allen matchup, securing 106 yards with a 32-yard touchdown mixed in on his four catches. The lower volume remains concerning, but this should keep him above Isaiah Ford on the depth chart. Miami won’t explode for 43 points often, but facing the Broncos in Week 6 should offer another opportunity to roll.

Travis Fulgham (WR, PHI) - FAB Bid: 8-10%

3% rostered

Fulgham showed that last week’s 2-57-1 line wasn’t a flash-in-the-pan scenario, as he dominated Pittsburgh’s defense for 10 catches, 152 yards, and a score on 13 targets. He and Greg Ward both did well with Philly trailing often (yet Zach Ertz still stunk). Philly will eventually return Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, Jalen Reagor, and Dallas Goedert, so don’t get attached to double-digit targets. 

Tyler Johnson (WR, TB) - FAB Bid: 2-3%

0% rostered

The good news is that Johnson logged 61 yards on four receptions (six targets) in his first real taste of NFL action. The bad news is that it took injuries to Chris Godwin and Justin Watson, as well as Mike Evans and Scotty Miller being dinged up, to get Johnson there. It's hard to see those stars aligning yet again for Week 6's home date with the Packers, but it's not impossible. Aaron Rodgers and the Pack will surely push Tom Brady and the Bucs to action, and if Johnson is running in three-wide sets then you have a solid dart throw on your hands.

Olamide Zaccheaus (WR, ATL) - FAB Bid: 3-6%

8% rostered

Zaccheaus only managed a 13-yard catch in Week 5 after dropping that 8-86-0 line in Week 4. It was a disappointing follow-up, but it's promising that he stayed on the field and remained in the rotation with Julio Jones out. Russell Gage only had a 2-16-0 line as well, so it's not like Zaccheaus was the only one left out. And it's not like he was out there to run block:

Other WRs of Note:

  • Laviska Shenault Jr. (JAX, 34%) 4-5% - Two strong weeks in a row, targets trending up.
  • Christian Kirk (ARI, 34%) 4-5% - Season-high 7 tgts, 78 yds, DAL & SEA matchups coming.
  • Marquez Valdes-Scantling (GB, 33%) 3-4% - Still No. 2 WR for Rodgers, that has value.
  • N'Keal Harry (NE, 32%) 3-4% - Harry with 28 tgts thru 4 games, getting Cam back?
  • Cole Beasley (BUF, 29%) 2-3% - BUF throwing a ton, he’ll be needed against KC in Wk. 6.
  • Scotty Miller (TB, 29%) 2-3% - Goose egg hurt, but still a solid play if Godwin’s out.
  • Alshon Jeffery (PHI, 18%) 1-2% - Don’t forget about him, PHI is about to get crowded.
  • James Washington (PIT, 9%) 1-2% - Claypool draws spotlight, but JW viable if Diontae out.
  • Breshad Perriman (NYJ, 8%) 3-4% - Take Jeff Smith’s targets and give them to Perriman.
  • Darnell Mooney (CHI, 1%) 3-4% - Drew more tgts than Miller again, Foles missed open TD.
  • Nelson Agholor (LV, 2%) 1-2% - 3 TDs is great, only 11 tgts is not. Ted Ginn-ish at best.
  • Gabriel Davis (BUF, 2%) 2-3% - Unreliable w/ both Diggs and Brown healthy.
  • Cedrick Wilson (DAL, 2%) 0-1% - DAL defense may require lots of passing, Dalton will do.
  • Demarcus Robinson (KC, 0%) 0-1% - May step into potent offense if Watkins misses time.

 

FAB Waiver Wire Bids - Tight Ends

Darren Fells (TE, HOU) - FAB Bid: 2-3%

2% rostered

Fells found open space (read: busted coverage) for a 44-yard TD to fuel a 2-57-1 line on the day, enough for a top-3 TE week in half-PPR formats. He's TD-dependent and has only seen more than two targets in a game once so far, but we're all hoping Week 5's 30-14 victory signals a renaissance for Deshaun Watson and the Texans offense. Tennessee's defense offers stiffer competition than Jacksonville next week, but not by much. The Titans have quietly allowed opposing TEs to find paydirt in each of their first three games this season.

Gerald Everett (TE, LAR) - FAB Bid: 1-2% 

1% rostered

Everett caught all four of his targets for 90 yards against Washington while Tyler Higbee only had two catches/targets for 12 yards. It’s fair to question the hierarchy, especially after Higbee popped in the second half of 2019 after an injury sidelined Everett. Regardless, it's much closer to even than most people would think:

His ceiling is certainly the highest of these players, but he did just face Washington...so. Week 6's date at San Francisco should require more firepower as the Niners hope to rebound from embarrassment. Mike Gesicki just hung 91 yards on SF so perhaps Everett can replicate his 90-yard day there.

Irv Smith Jr. (TE, MIN) - FAB Bid: 1-2%

6% rostered

Big Irv established season-high marks with four catches on five targets for 64 yards against Seattle, building momentum for a date with Atlanta’s beleaguered defense in Week 6. Kyle Rudolph has averaged two targets through five games and isn’t ramping up, so we hope this is a sign that Smith is getting more involved. I'm tempering expectations and you may not want to hold him through Minnesota's Week 7 bye, but do note the recent upward trend here.

Cameron Brate (TE, TB) - FAB Bid: 1-2%

2% rostered

Brate answered the Week 5 call with five receptions for 44 yards on six targets, offering a midrange safety blanket for Tom Brady with O.J. Howard out. Rob Gronkowski topped 50 yards himself but didn’t look terribly graceful on his feet. Neither has a high ceiling these days, but the Bucs receiving corps is battered and needs both TEs to complement Mike Evans. If you simply need a solid 30-40 yards with decent red-zone usage then Brate fits the bill.

 

FAB Waiver Wire Bids - Defense/Special Teams

Miami Dolphins Defense (vs. NYJ) - FAB Bid: 0-1%

2% rostered

I realize the Dolphins typically elicit giggles, but they just bounced Jimmy Garoppolo after one half of play and now face the Jets. With confidence in their sails, Miami will look to build on Week 5’s five-sack, three-turnover performance against a reeling Jets team. Tack on that it’s a home matchup for Miami and you’ve got a good recipe to serve up on Sunday. Even as the Jets ease Le'Veon Bell and potentially Breshad Perriman back in, they are not to be feared. They simply get put into holes early and often, which leaves them taking risks and making mistakes for the majority of the game.

Minnesota Vikings Defense (vs. ATL) - FAB Bid: 0-1%

29% rostered

Matt Ryan and the Falcons have looked lost lately, which is exactly what the Vikings defense needs to see. While they just posted a season-high four sacks against Russell Wilson and the Seahawks, the Vikes’ D has struggled on the whole. They’ve surrendered at least 23 points in each game thus far, but have faced the likes of Aaron Rodgers, DeShaun Watson, and Russell Wilson. If you can’t scoop Miami then take a look at Minny, who open as 3.5-point favorites per Vegas sportsbooks.



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Deeper League Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 6

It seems the waiver wire is becoming more and more important with all the hectic scheduling changes, potential cancellations looming, and the presence of injuries. Managers will now have to deal with potential COVID-related game postponements along with the setbacks experienced by many players.

As we head into Week 6, it’s important to start monitoring the consistency of your players to see who could hold trade value and who may need to be dropped. Luckily, there are still players who can provide value off the waiver wire in the deepest of leagues in case someone on your squad is dropped.

As a reminder, players listed in this column will always be rostered at or below 15% in Yahoo leagues. Let’s check out who you should consider grabbing for this week.

Free Agent Quarterbacks

Nick Foles, Chicago Bears - 10%

Nick Foles once again took down Tom Brady, this time in another nail-biter on Thursday night between the Bucs and Bears. Look, Foles is not the most consistent guy out there, but he is streaky, and when he starts feeling it, your fantasy team will flourish. Consider grabbing Foles as a backup.

Drew Lock, Denver Broncos - 8%

With the Broncos’ Week 5 matchup against New England moved back to Week 6, this gives QB Drew Lock another week to rest up and potentially return from a shoulder injury sustained in Week 2. Lock showed promise in Week 1 and the end of last season, so the young QB is certainly worth stashing for now.

Andy Dalton, Dallas Cowboys - 3%

We all hope QB Dak Prescott has a successful recovery from that devastating injury he suffered on Sunday. Because Prescott will be out for the season, veteran Andy Dalton will now become the starting QB for the rest of the season. Dalton has proven to be a fantasy starter in the past and has plenty of weapons to remain fantasy-relevant for the rest of the season.

The QB threw for 111 yards after Prescott went down and made two incredible throws to Michael Gallup to put the team in a position to win. Dalton is the best out of this QB trio to grab this week considering his new, large role and experience.

 

Free Agent Running Backs

Jamaal Williams, Green Bay Packers - 15%

Last the Packers played in Week 4, Williams showed why he was a talented pass-catching back, posting a season-high eight receptions for 95 receiving yards on eight targets. While the rushing totals haven’t been there, Williams’ value in the passing game shouldn’t be undermined. He can offer great flex value thus.

 

Free Agent Wide Receivers

Greg Ward, Philadelphia Eagles - 15%

Though he’s not the best Eagles receiver to pick up right now (more on that later), Ward is one of the top options in this passing game as Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, Jalen Reagor, and Dallas Goedert all remain out. Ward has seen at least five targets the past three games, including one contest with 11. He also has 16 receptions for 136 yards and two scores in that stretch. He remains a decent pickup considering Carson Wentz needs someone reliable to throw the ball to.

Kendrick Bourne, San Francisco 49ers - 5%

The 25-year-old Bourne has been consistent this entire season in his numbers. While they haven’t been explosive, his role has remained steady. For example, the WR has seen at least four to six targets, 30+ receiving yards, and two receptions in all five games. That merits him flex consideration in deep leagues at the very least. It’s becoming clear that managers can at least predict what they are getting with Bourne.

Travis Fulgham, Philadelphia Eagles - 3%

Now, THIS is the Eagles receiver you absolutely WANT. Fulgham has appeared out of nowhere and put up solid numbers the past two weeks. He has become Carson Wentz’s top WR option and posted an incredible 10 receptions for 152 yards and a score on 13 targets in Week 5. In Week 4, he posted two receptions for 57 yards and a score on three targets.

Fulgham’s stock is rising and with the Philly WR corp ailing, he could become an integral asset on this offense. He is the best WR to pick up from this section.

Nelson Agholor, Las Vegas Raiders - 2%

Former Eagle Nelson Agholor is now seeing more involvement in this Raiders’ passing offense, getting 32, 44, and 67 yards receiving the past three weeks, respectively. He also has two touchdowns and is slowly gaining the trust of Derek Carr. Agholor should be in contention for the WR2 spot on the team with Hunter Renfrow, meaning his role and production going forward might not be too shabby.

Darnell Mooney, Chicago Bears - 1%

The yards may not be prolific, but the ball is certainly coming Mooney’s way. The WR has seen at least five targets the past three games, so managers can only hope he cashes in with great production. Mooney has posted over 35 yards in three of five games, which is an encouraging trend for this emerging WR2 on the Bears.

Josh Reynolds, Los Angeles Rams - 1%

Josh Reynolds often goes under-the-radar as the WR3 on the Rams’ offense, but he has quietly seen at least four to five targets in the past three games and has posted over 45 yards in two of them. While he’s not a focal point of this offense, the looks are coming his way, meaning he holds some value in deep leagues.

Danny Amendola, Detroit Lions - 1%

34-year-old Danny Amendola may not have a large role in his offense anymore, but he’s still been serviceable as the WR3 on the Lions. The Texas Tech product has seen anywhere from three to seven targets in four games along with 57 and 81 yards receiving in two of those contests. Amendola provides flex value considering his numbers can be decent, but the only downside is it’s not consistent.

 

Free Agent Tight Ends

Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 2%

With O.J. Howard out for the season and the WR corp banged up, Brate made a case for a bigger role on Thursday night against the Bears, and he delivered. On six targets, the TE had five receptions for 44 yards. With the receivers likely returning to the field healthier sooner rather than later, Brate’s production might not skyrocket, but it could remain steady considering Rob Gronkowski has had an off-year.

Darren Fells, Houston Texans - 2%

With fellow tight end Jordan Akins out in Week 5, Darren Fells stepped up, getting two receptions for 57 yards and a score on two targets. Fells and Deshaun Watson had some great chemistry last year, but that hasn’t translated to success this year for the TE. Nevertheless, Week 5 was his most encouraging performance of the season. Fells is worth a stash right now but nothing more. It’s best to monitor his role going forward and make sure he has good production.

Gerald Everett, Los Angeles Rams - 1%

Gerald Everett has gone unnoticed on the Rams’ TE unit due to the breakout of Tyler Higbee, but the South Alabama product thrived in Week 5, getting four receptions for 90 yards on four targets. While this was encouraging, it’s only best to stash Everett for now seeing how he only had four receptions for 51 yards on five targets prior to Week 5.



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Running Back Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 6

Fantasy GMs are to be commended for rising to the unique challenges that have unfolded during this regular season. Injuries to critical players is an unwelcome reality that occurs every year. This is also the case for backs that were expected to operate as RB1s, but have been relegated to committees. However, this season has required a new level of flexibility to also absorb the COVID-related postponements and ever-changing scenarios for adjusted schedules. Anyone with Derrick Henry, James Conner, Melvin GordonDamien Harris, or James White on their rosters has experienced this process during the past two weeks.

We have also progressed into weekly planning for scheduled bye weeks, which includes the four teams that will be affected this week - Las Vegas, New Orleans, Seattle, and the Los Angeles Chargers. This ensures that anyone with Alvin Kamara, Josh JacobsChris Carson Joshua Kelley, or Justin Jackson on their rosters will have to avoid starting those backs this week. It also will provide managers with an additional factor that could fuel interest in locating alternative options on the waiver wire.

These recommendations will appear in three tiers - beginning with the most enticing and progressing to runners for anyone that is struggling with desperation. You will also find a group of backs that can be dropped in order for you to secure your replacements. After you've finished this breakdown, you can also find news updates and data-fueled analysis that is designed to help you maximize the scoring potential of your rosters.

 

Running Back Leaderboard

Week 5 Rushing Leaders Team Attempts Yards YPC TDs
Todd Gurley LA Rams 14 121 8.6 1
Alexander Mattison Minnesota 20 112 5.6 0
Ronald Jones II Tampa Bay 17 106 6.2 0
David Johnson Houston 17 96 5.7 0
Ezekiel Elliott Dallas 19 91 4.8 2
Raheem Mostert San Francisco 11 90 8.2 0
Mike Davis Carolina 16 89 5.6 0
Miles Sanders Philadelphia 11 80 7.3 2
Josh Jacobs Las Vegas 23 77 3.4 2
Kareem Hunt Cleveland 20 72 3.6 0
Dalvin Cook Minnesota 17 65 3.8 1

 

Frontrunners - Week 6 Waiver Wire Running Backs

These backs should be your top priorities among the options that are available on most waiver wires. Some will be more beneficial in PPR formats than standard. All players have 60% or less ownership in typical fantasy leagues.

Chase Edmonds, Arizona Cardinals

54% rostered

Chase Edmonds has been a mainstay in this column due to his potential to burst for sizable yardage. He has also sustained his status as one of the top two insurance policies among all running backs - along with Alexander Mattison.  This is due to his prospects of igniting as an RB1 for fantasy GMs if Kenyan Drake would experience a reduction in his workload for any reason. Through five weeks, Drake has now carried 85 times but has averaged 3.7 yards per attempt, while manufacturing 314 yards.

Edmonds has continued to capitalize on his opportunities, by accumulating 224 total yards and three touchdowns on 37 touches. That includes his performance in Week 5 when he accrued 92 total yards on eight touches while bolting for a 29-yard touchdown on the ground. Edwards has also been far more involved as a pass-catching weapon than Drake, as his target share (12.7%) and target total (23) easily exceeds Drake’s (3.7%/6 targets). Edmonds is an absolute must add, who could become a league winner if Kliff Kingsbury elevates him beyond Drake on Arizona’s depth chart.

 

Alexander Mattison, Minnesota Vikings

37% rostered

Only three backs had carried the ball with greater frequency than Dalvin Cook entering the matchups of Week 5. His ability to take advantage of those opportunities had also propelled him into the league lead with 424 rushing yards. This placed constraints on Mattison‘s weekly touch total, as he averaged 7.3 per game from Weeks 1-4. (25% snap share). Cook’s extensive usage and production continued until the third quarter of Minnesota’s matchup in Seattle when he suffered a groin injury.

That propelled Mattison into workhorse responsibilities, and he responded by exploding for 136 total yards on 23 touches, including 112 yards on the ground. Cook's status should be monitored throughout the week. But Mattison's performance has provided the latest reminder that he can instantly supply fantasy GMs with a weekly RB1 if he inherits Cook’s workload for any reason. He remains an elite insurance policy for anyone with Cook on their rosters. Mattison is also a viable roster stash for anyone else due to the soaring value that he would possess if Cook becomes unavailable.

 

Damien Harris, New England Patriots 

57% rostered

The landscape of New England’s backfield was destined for change prior to the Patriots’ Week 4 matchup with Kansas City. Sony Michel had been highly unproductive in Weeks 1-2, before exploding for his most prolific outing since 2018. Rex Burkhead generated 98 total yards while delivering the first three-touchdown performance of his career in Week 3. But James White was also returning to the team following his absence while Harris was reemerging from injured reserve.

The timing of Harris’ return also coincided with the placement of Michel on injured reserve (quad), which elevated Harris into lead back duties. He attained a 31% snap share while bolting for an even 100 yards on 17 attempts against the Chiefs. He demonstrated that he can perform effectively if he is entrusted with the majority of rushing attempts, and should function as the Patriots’ primary rusher when they host the Broncos on Sunday. Harris is still available in over 40% of all leagues, and he should be one of your top targets on this week’s waiver wire.

 

In The Running - Week 6 Waiver Wire Running Backs

These backs remain available on the waiver wire but are not necessarily must-adds.

Phillip Lindsay, Denver Broncos

52% rostered

Lindsay was included in last week’s recommendations but remains rostered in only 52% of all leagues. He is primed to reemerge in Denver’s offense after being absent since Week 1 (turf toe). Melvin Gordon was ninth among all backs in rushing attempts (65) and 10th in rushing yardage (281/6.3 per attempt) from Weeks 1-4 while performing on a career-high 72% of the offensive snaps. Gordon was also infused into Denver’s offense to function as the team’s primary back.

But he will not maintain the same massive workload with Lindsay blending into the backfield. He should receive a respectable touch total after generating  2,048 yards and finishing among the top 14 in rushing during both 2018 and 2019. He will not match his previous yardage totals with Gordon above him on the depth chart. But both backs will be actively involved in the offense and could be deployed on the field at the same time. Lindsay's availability is surprising, and he should be rostered in all leagues.  

 

Justin Jackson, Los Angeles Chargers

38% rostered

The training camp reps for Jackson and rookie Joshua Kelley provided intrigue in August as both backs were competing for the opportunity to operate as LA's RB2 behind Austin Ekeler. Jackson originally received first-team reps. But the competition evaporated when he encountered a quad injury, and Kelley delivered an impressive camp. Jackson had registered just two attempts from Weeks 1-3 before capturing a 40% snap share during LA’s Week 4 matchup with Tampa Bay.

Estimates vary on the exact length of Ekeler’s absence, but he will be sidelined for multiple weeks.
Kelley should operate as the primary rusher during that span while also commandeering red-zone opportunities.

But Jackson will also be a vital component in a Charger offense that is eighth in run play percentage (47.1%). He should collect enough touches to function as a flex option for managers during that sequence. That elevates him beyond several other waiver wire options whose week-to-week involvement is uncertain.

 

Adrian Peterson, Detroit Lions

57% rostered

Peterson’s role as Detroit’s lead rusher has been consistent through four matchups, while he has run effectively and displayed his durability during those contests. He was 16th among all backs in rushing attempts (54) and 18th in rushing yards (245) as the Lions entered their bye week. He has also performed sufficiently with his respectable workload (4.5 yards per attempt/13.5 attempts per game) to warrant a roster spot for anyone who is searching for options in the flex.

Peterson leads the Lions’ backfield in snap share (40%), while Swift is second (31.4%), and Kerryon Johnson lags in third (26.5%). Peterson has easily commandeered the highest number of rushing attempts on the team, and his yardage total easily exceeds the totals for Johnson and Swift. Johnson has carried just 21 times while manufacturing 71 yards (3.4 per attempt) while Swift has been limited to 12 carries and 42 yards (3.5 per attempt). Peterson remains available in over 40% of all leagues and remains a potential solution for anyone contending with roster challenges.

 

Dark Horses - Week 6 Waiver Wire Running Backs 

This group consists of running backs that can be added if you are willing to wait for the possibility of a larger role during the year, or consider your situation to be desperate due to injuries.

Malcolm Brown, Los Angeles Rams

39% rostered

Your initial reaction to the possibility of adding Brown will not match the enthusiasm for targeting more dynamic players. Nor will it duplicate the passion that exists for Brown’s teammates Cam Akers or Darrell Henderson. However, Brown has sustained a respectable percentage within Sean McVay’s weekly touch distribution, while averaging 10.6 rushing attempts per game. His week-to-week total has ranged between 7-11 carries, while Brown has also attained the largest snap share among LA backs during three of the team’s first five matchups.

The reemergence of Akers after a two-game absence (ribs) injected an additional layer of congestion into the Rams’ backfield. Brown also does not have Akers’ Round-2 draft pedigree, nor can he match Henderson’s potential for huge gains. But he has retained ongoing involvement in the weekly touch allotment within LA’s crowded backfield. This supplies the rationale for including him on your roster, during a season in which multiple factors can leave managers scrambling for flex options.

 

Brian Hill, Atlanta Falcons

21% rostered

Todd Gurley is still the lead back in Atlanta. But Hill is the insurance policy for savvy managers with Gurley on their rosters. The fourth-year back entered 2020 with 122 career touches during his first three seasons. But he did erupt for 115 yards on just eight attempts during Atlanta’s Week 16 matchup in 2018. Hill also demonstrated his potential to perform efficiently when he established season highs in attempts and rushing yards in Week 3 (9/58).

Hill also separated from Ito Smith into defined RB2 duties during that contest, as his 35% snap share, easily exceeded Smith’s (9%). He also assembled 54 total yards on eight touches in Week 5, while maintaining his role as the backup to Gurley (18 touches/150 total yards). Hill remains available in over 70% of all leagues and is a worthy roster addition for anyone who prefers to elude a roster crisis if Gurley is sidelined for any reason.

 

J.D. McKissic, Washington Football Team

6% rostered

The relentless avalanche of injuries, ineffectiveness, and evolving schedules was mentioned in the introduction. These factors have forced many fantasy GMs to extend their flexibility to new levels in order to locate emergency options that can be inserted into their starting lineups. That scenario transpired once again as Week 5 kickoffs were rapidly approaching, and this recommendation to add McKissic in PPR leagues is made with that uncomfortable process in mind.

Antonio Gibson is the lead back in Washington. However, McKissic has confiscated responsibilities as the team’s primary pass-catching back. He has garnered eight targets in two different matchups, including his team-high total in Week 5. McKissic also leads Washington’s backfield in targets (25), receptions (17), and receiving yards (124), while his snap share has ranged between 44% and 55% during the season. His involvement as a receiving weapon elevates McKissic among the viable options for anyone who is participating in PPR leagues.

 

Also-Rans - Time To Say Goodbye

These backs can be dropped in order to secure a running back with greater potential to bolster your scoring during the year.

Sony Michel, New England Patriots

35% rostered

Michel ascended into the role of New England’s primary rusher during his 2018 rookie season while finishing 14th overall in attempts, and 15th in rushing yards (9314/5 per attempt). But there has been a litany of inefficient performances since that initial season. Michel’s averages declined significantly during 2019 (57 yards per game/3.7 yards per attempt). He also remained extremely ineffective in Weeks 1-2 (3.2 yards per attempt/28 yards per game) before delivering a rare productive outing in Week 3 (9 attempts/117 yards).

Michel’s placement on injured reserve (quad) was mentioned previously, and he appears destined for a diminished role upon his return. Harris performed impressively while operating in Michel’s usual role during New England’s Week 4 matchup (17 attempts/110 yards/5.9 per attempt). James White has also re-captured his responsibilities as New England’s primary pass-catching back, while Rex Burkhead perpetually looms as a candidate to siphon touches. All of these factors have collapsed Michel’s ceiling while providing fantasy GMs with significant motivation to remove him from their rosters.

 

Kerryon Johnson, Detroit Lions

26% rostered  

Peterson's aforementioned status as the team leader in rushing attempts and rushing yardage indicates that he is Detroit's lead rusher. D'Andre Swift's deployment in the ground game has been minimal. But he has become the Lions' primary pass-catching back. Swift leads the Lion backfield in targets (16/4 per game) receptions (13) and receiving yards (124).

While Peterson and Swift maintain their responsibilities, Johnson has been relegated to minimal involvement in both the ground game and Detroit's aerial efforts. Johnson has averaged just 5.3 attempts per game during his first four matchups, and just three carries per game since Week 3. He is also a distant third among Detroit's trio of running backs in targets (3), receptions (2) and receiving yards (17). Modest usage as both a rusher and receiver is not a formula for viability in a running back. Fantasy GMs can do better and should remove Johnson from their rosters this week.

 

Jordan Howard, Miami Dolphins

33% rostered

Here is the latest reminder that Howard is not collecting enough touches to function as a resource on anyone’s roster. He was only accruing a modest workload entering Week (4.5 attempts per game) and was not running effectively with the opportunities that he was receiving. Howard was averaging just 0.8 yards per attempt and had manufactured just 14 yards on 18 carries. Howard’s season degenerated even further in Week 5 when he became a healthy scratch.

It is highly unlikely that Howard’s situation will improve, as Myles Gaskin has commandeered the Dolphins’ lead back responsibilities. Gaskin has now accumulated 247 rushing yards on 64 attempts. Gaskin has also collected 23 of his 25 targets while assembling 147 yards as a pass-catcher. Matt Breida has also maintained involvement in the offense, while Howard has now been relegated to a non-entity. He is somehow rostered in 33% of all leagues, and that is no reason for that to continue.



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Wide Receiver Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 6

Can you believe we're already on our way to Week 6 of the NFL? The season is flying along, even with a lot of bumps along the way.

This week saw some wild performances from some unexpected places, including Steelers rookie Chase Claypool going all the way off. It's a great time to get Claypool on your roster, and also a bad time to be me, who recently traded him away in dynasty. Oops!

Not all options are the same. Some players may be better in PPR or deeper leagues, so it’s not a one-size-fits-all comparison. Use your best judgment when deciding which of these players is the right fit for your roster. Check here for a complete list of our Waiver Wire Adds for Week 6 for help at all the skill positions. All players on this list here are around 30% rostered or below.

 

Brandin Cooks, Houston Texans

43% rostered

The first game of the A.B. (After Bill) era of Texans football was Sunday, and it saw Brandin Cooks catch eight-of-12 targets for 161 yards and a touchdown. Rostered in less than half of all leagues, Cooks appears to be the primary receiving option for Houston now, making him a potential WR2 play moving forward. Sure, there's a chance this receiving corps remains a little too spread out to bring consistency, but hopefully that's not the case.

Laviska Shenault Jr., Jacksonville Jaguars

34% rostered

Speaking of messy receiving situations, Jacksonville! Both Keelan Cole and Collin Johnson caught touchdown passes this week, but neither make this week's list. Instead, the rookie Shenault does, because of his team-high eight targets, resulting in seven catches for 79 yards. Shenault now appears to be the No. 2 receiver on this Jaguars team, which is a role that will likely fluctuate in terms of usage on a week-to-week basis. Still, in the right matchups, Shenault will be a solid WR3 play.

Christian Kirk, Arizona Cardinals

34% rostered

Weird that Christian Kirk just fell off the face of the earth to start the year, but he saw a season-high seven targets on Sunday, catching five passes for 78 yards. It's starting to seem like Kyler Murray is willing to pass the ball to people other than DeAndre Hopkins, which should help Kirk be a little more consistent moving forward. Matchups against Dallas and Seattle are on the docket next, which should offer good chances for Kirk to pile up the yardage, making him a decent WR3 option.

Preston Williams, Miami Dolphins

22% rostered

It's been a disappointing season for Preston Williams, but Sunday saw the second-year receiver catch four passes for 106 yards and a touchdown. This was by far his best game of 2020. A lot of people have been dropping Williams, but he's still the No. 2 receiver on a pass-happy offense with Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing the ball, so there's still plenty of value here.

Curtis Samuel, Carolina Panthers

21% rostered

Samuel continues to play a versatile role with Christian McCaffrey out. On Sunday, he was targeted five times in the passing game, finishing with 36 yards, plus added 28 rushing yards on four carries. His value will take a sharp hit when McCaffrey is back, but until then, he's a decent deep league play. Don't prioritize Samuel, but if you need to fill a roster spot and other guys on this list aren't available, Samuel is a fine option.

Chase Claypool, Pittsburgh Steelers

15% rostered

OKAY HERE WE GO.

This was a huge game for Claypool. The rookie was targeted 11 times, catching seven passes for 110 yards and three touchdowns. He was had three carries for six yards and a score. With Diontae Johnson leaving with a back injury, someone had to step up for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, and it wasn't JuJu Smith-Schuster but instead was the rookie out of Notre Dame. Claypool was so good that we have to assume he's going to be one of the team's top targets -- if not THE top target -- moving forward. Add him. Now. In any league where he's available.

Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals

13% rostered

Maybe Fitzgerald can have a bit of a resurgence? His seven targets tied a season high and helped us forget that in Week 3 and 4 he had a combined four receiving yards. The veteran receiver has some value in 16-team leagues, though there are plenty of higher upside options.

Travis Fulgham, Philadelphia Eagles

3% rostered

The Eagles will get Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson back soon, but even with that factored in, you have to add Travis Fulghum, who was just insanely good in this week's game. He was targeted 13 times, catching 10 passes for 152 yards and a touchdown. He's scored touchdowns in back-to-back weeks and is clearly the best healthy player right now in this receiving corps. Carson Wentz looked his way over twice as much as any other Eagle. I think he should be your second priority among receivers behind Claypool heading into this week's waiver wires.

Jeff Smith, New York Jets

1% rostered

Follow the targets? Okay, let's talk about Jeff Smith then. His 11 targets led the Jets this week, but he caught just three passes for 23 yards. Pretty huge discrepancy there between potential production and actual production. But Smith's been targeted 20 times in the last two games, and it's virtually impossible to ignore that level of opportunities. In deep leagues, Smith is worth a roster spot, though as the Jets get healthier, Smith is likely to slide out of the picture.

Darnell Mooney, Chicago Bears

1% rostered

Say hello to the new No. 2 receiver on the Chicago Bears! Mooney's Week 5 game wasn't very good -- he caught two of his five targets for 15 yards -- but he's getting consistent targets right now and would have had a touchdown if not for a bad throw from Nick Foles. Mooney should be rostered in deep league because all second receivers should be rostered in deep leagues, and while he's probably not a future star or anything, he is a fairly exciting young player whose role should continue to grow as the season goes along.



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