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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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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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Waiver Wire Express - Week 7 Lightning Round

Week 6 was relatively healthy and had no coronavirus delays, so let's just take a moment to bask in that. That said, we still saw Miles Sanders (knee) and Zach Ertz (ankle) go down, while Mark Ingram (ankle) has a bye to get healthy. Week 7 byes are Baltimore, Indianapolis, Miami, and Minnesota. Let's get to those waiver wire lightning round heading into Week 7.

This column is published early every week and then updated on a daily basis. Each day of the week will also yield more in-depth waiver wire analysis for all positions.

Waiver pickups are listed in priority order (in a vacuum) and broken down by position. Players must be rostered in roughly less than 60% of Yahoo leagues and therefore will range from shallow options in standard leagues to deep options in PPR formats.


Running Backs (Priority Order):

Justin Jackson
Boston Scott
Frank Gore
Zack Moss
Joshua Kelley
La'Mical Perine
J.D. McKissic
Royce Freeman
Jamaal Williams
T.J. Yeldon

 

Wide Receivers (Priority Order):

Chase Claypool
Travis Fulgham
Mecole Hardman
Henry Ruggs III
Tee Higgins
Mike Williams
Laviska Shenault Jr.
N'Keal Harry
A.J. Green
James Washington
Marcus Johnson
Adam Humphries
Keelan Cole
Zach Pascal
Tim Patrick
Russell Gage
Preston Williams
Gabriel Davis
Darnell Mooney
Breshad Perriman

 

Tight Ends (Priority Order):

Dallas Goedert
Rob Gronkowski
Austin Hooper
Darren Fells
Logan Thomas
Eric Ebron
Trey Burton
Irv Smith Jr.
Gerald Everett
Jimmy Graham
Cameron Brate

 

Quarterbacks (Priority Order):

Justin Herbert
Andy Dalton
Teddy Bridgewater
Carson Wentz
Baker Mayfield
Daniel Jones
Gardner Minshew II



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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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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 week 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 week 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 week 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 week 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 week 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 week 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 week 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 week 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 week 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 week 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 week 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 week 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 week 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 week 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 week 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 week 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 week 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 week 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 week 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 week 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 week 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 week 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 week 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 week 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 week 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 week 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 week 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 week 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 week 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 week 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 week 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 week 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 week 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 week 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 week 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 weeks 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 weeks 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 weeks 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 weeks 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 weeks 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 weeks 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 weeks 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 weeks 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 weeks 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 weeks 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 weeks 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 weeks 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 weeks 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 weeks 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 weeks ago


 




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2020 Fantasy Football Advice 2020 Fantasy Football Matchups and Start/Sit 2020 Fantasy Football Projections & ADP Analysis Editor Note Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups NFL Analysis RotoBaller - All Fantasy Sports Articles

Week 7 Defense (DEF) Streamers and Starts - 2020 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings

We had some surprise defenses crack the top-10 in Week 6 with the Atlanta Falcons picking off Kirk Cousins seemingly at will and the Tampa Bay Bucs easily handling Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. Even with that, we were able to get six of the top-10 defensive units, but the Indianapolis Colts may be showing some cracks in the armor, and Washington offensive ineptitude surprisingly flipped the script and allowed the Giants to finish as the only top-10 unit in that matchup.

I've been mentioning this for weeks, but it bears repeating that scoring and yards are at an all-time high this year. 4,621 points or 25.4 points per game so far this season and are gaining 363.3 yards per game, which are both the most through the first five weeks of any season in the Super Bowl era. With offenses putting up video game numbers, it means that we can't continue to judge a defense solely by the number of points they allow or the number of yards they give up. Those numbers will naturally be higher than we're used to. Instead, we need to look for which offensive lines are truly weak points and which defenses will either be blitz-heavy or get consistent pressure with their pass rush. These are all incredibly important pieces of information in determining which defenses to play in any given week.

Remember that picking the right defense is not about identifying who will allow the fewest points, but who will cause the most turnovers or tally the most sacks since that has a higher correlation to weekly fantasy DST leaders. That means that, as much these rankings are about the talent on the defensive side of the ball, it is equally about taking advantage of the lack of talent on the offensive side. Starting the right defense every week can be a difference-maker, so remember to check back here during the week as I will make updates once we get more information on some of these injuries and also get a better sense of the weather for the game.

 

Week 7 Defenses To Start & Stream: Tiers & Rankings

Below are my Week 7 defense tiers and rankings, or which defenses to stream, start and target off the waiver wire for Week 7 of the NFL and fantasy football season. Our weekly tiered defense rankings are a guide to making waiver wire pickups to improve your lineups, and to decide which defenses to start, sit, target, avoid or stream for Week 7. I've broken out our defense rankings into tiers with analysis on each matchup. Some of these Week 7 defenses have good matchups and are not widely-owned, representing fantasy scoring opportunities if they are available on your league's waiver wire for a Week 7 pickup or add.

Returning for this year: Confidence Ratings (out of 15) - Since every league's DST scoring is different, projections don't always make a ton of sense. The confidence rating, which Bill Dubiel started last year, is a guideline for how much more I like one team over another instead of a straight point projection. A zero means "do not start," then the confidence rises from there. I take a lot of factors into account: opponent injuries, home-field advantage, weather (which will be updated during the week), etc. We still have only one game of in-season data to work with, so this week's rankings weigh schedule and personnel heavier than they will down the line.

Typically the top three tiers will be DSTs you should target, with Tier 4 being options in deep leagues and Tier 5 being desperation plays or good defenses in horrendous matchups.

 

Tier 1 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Week 7 Opponent Confidence Rating
1 1 Buffalo Bills Defense @ NYJ 13.9
2 1 Philadelphia Eagles Defense vs. NYG 13.5
3 1 Kansas City Chiefs Defense @ DEN 12.3
4 1 Los Angeles Rams Defense vs. CHI 11.8

Perhaps I'm about to be overly hard on the Bills as a life-long Bills fan, but their defense is concerning me right now. Yes, the Jets are a terrible offense. They rank 31st in passing yards, 26th in sacks allowed, 31st in drives ending in a score, and 15th in rushing and now are without Le'Veon Bell. But, as the Chiefs showed on Monday night, the Bills can be run on, even though Frank Gore and the Jets offensive line are not Clyde Edwards-Helaire and the Chiefs unit. This is clearly not the same Bills defense that we've seen over the last couple of years. In addition to being gashed by the run, they are dead last in pressure rate. If you are not creating pressure, then you don't give yourself much chance to add fantasy points through sacks and turnovers. With Sam Darnold coming back, the Jets should become a little better on offense, though not much. I know you simply want to play defenses going up against the Jets, and the Bills have enough talented defensive players that you have to imagine they can take advantage of this matchup, but I could just as easily see the Eagles as the #1 DST this week due to their ability to create pressure.

The Eagles have started to get healthier on defense and are currently fourth in the NFL with 21 sacks. The Giants are 25th in the NFL with 17 sacks allowed, so I expect a healthy Eagles defensive front to get in Daniel Jones' face throughout the game which is good news since the Giants are already third-worst in the NFL with 18.4% of drives ending in a turnover. Even without the pressure, the Giants simply aren't a good offense right now. They're 27th passing yards, 28th in rushing yards, and 25th in drives ending in a score. If the Eagles are without Miles Sanders and Zach Ertz, who both left hurt on Sunday, the already sputtering offense will be even more short-handed which could lead to some short fields for the Giants. However, that's not enough to scare me off using this Eagles unit against one of the worst offenses in the NFL.

The Chiefs defense came to play Monday night against a solid Bills offense. The Chiefs send blitzes at one of the highest rates, and although they didn't sack Josh Allen, they were in his face all night long. Kansas City is 7th in the league in pressure rate, tops in quarterback knockdown rate at 1o.6%, and 9th in quarterback hurries. That will be useful against a Denver offensive line that is 22nd in sacks allowed and 5th-worst in the league with 16.7% of drives ending in a turnover. Obviously, having Drew Lock, Melvin Gordon, and Phillip Lindsay back will help the Broncos offense overall, but they don't have the firepower to keep up with the Chiefs and their defense is too banged up to keep the Chiefs from scoring. That will mean the Broncos will be forced to pass in the second half, which will lead to more blitzes, sacks, and turnovers for the Chiefs defense.

The Rams had been riding high on defense before falling short against the 49ers on Sunday night. However, maybe you're noticing a trend, but the Bears offense is simply not as good as the 49ers with all their pieces back. The Bears are 15th in sacks allowed, 18th in passing yards, 25th in rushing yards, and 27th in drives ending in points. While their sack numbers aren't egregious, the Rams defense is 5th in the league in sacks and 5th in drives ending in points against. With Jalen Ramsey likely shadowing Allen Robinson, I don't expect the Bears to be able to move the ball much in this game, which will allow more chances for Aaron Donald and company to get to a super immobile Nick Foles.

 

Tier 2 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Week 7 Opponent Confidence Rating
5 2 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defense  vs. LV 10.9
6 2 San Francisco 49ers Defense   @ NE 10.6
7 2 New York Giants Defense @ PHI 10.3
8 2 Pittsburgh Steelers Defense @ TEN 9.8

Tampa Bay thoroughly dominated Green Bay on Sunday, so it's not too much to expect a similar outing against a lesser-talented Las Vegas team. It's clear that losing Vita Vea didn't inhibit the Bucs' ability to stop the run. They're tops in the NFL with only 3.0 yards allowed per carry, which should help them against a Raiders' offense that relies heavily on Josh Jacobs. The Bucs are 3rd-best in pressure rate at 28.3% and second-best sack total, which means that, despite the Raiders not allowing many sacks this season, the Bucs should still be able to generate pressure on Derek Carr and the offense. That's good news considering Las Vegas is 9th-worst in the league in drives ending in turnovers. I expect Tampa Bay to score nearly at will against this Las Vegas defense, and even if the Raiders do put up points, they will also likely cough up a few turnovers. Tampa Bay is just playing too well to bet against right now.

The 49ers came to play on Sunday against the Rams, starting to look a little more like the playoff contenders they've been in recent years. Despite their rash of injuries, they are still fifth in the league in pressure rate, third in quarterback knockdowns and fourth in quarterback hurries. As we saw on Sunday against the Broncos, this is not the same Patriots offense, even with Cam Newton back. They are 17th in sacks allowed, 30th in passing yards, 7th-worst in drives ending in points, and worst in the league in drives ending in an offensive turnover at 19.2%. The Patriots are unlikely to put up lots of points against this 49ers defense, which raises their defensive floor and it wouldn't surprise me if San Francisco can also notch a few sacks and force some turnovers.

I honestly can't believe I have the Giants this high, but here we are. They just finished as a top-10 unit against Washington and now will face an Eagles offense that will be without Miles Sanders and Zach Ertz and possibly still without Alshon Jeffrey and DeSean Jackson. This is also an Eagles offense that is dead last in sacks allowed, 26th in yards per play, and 27th in drives ending in a turnover. Also, this Giants defense hasn't been as bad as many think. James Bradbury has been great in shadow coverage against opponents' top receivers, and the team is 9th in pressure rate, 10th in sacks, and 10th in quarterback knockdowns. With the Eagles not even entirely sure who will be starting for them at right guard on Thursday, I expect the Giants to be able to get into Carson Wentz's face throughout what should be an ugly game with lots of turnovers.

The Steelers absolutely dismantled the Browns on Sunday. Now they will get a much stiffer test in the Tennessee Titans. I think the Steelers are the best defense in the NFL, but the Titans are no joke on offense, so it moves Pittsburgh down a little bit in our weekly ranks. The Titans offense is second in the league in drives that end in a score, fourth in the league in yards per play, and best in the league in sacks allowed. However, there is only so far down that I can drop a Steelers defense that is the best pressure defense in the NFL by a large margin. Their 38.9% pressure rate is well above the second-best rate of 29.2%. The Steelers blitz the most in the league (46.3%), have the most quarterback hurries, and are 2nd-best in yards per rushing attempt at 3.3 yards. Add to that the fact that the Titans just lost starting left tackle Taylor Lewan to a torn ACL, and I think the Steelers will be able to get some pressure on Ryan Tannehill in this game.

 

Tier 3 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Week 6 Opponent Confidence Rating
9 3 Los Angeles Chargers Defense vs. JAX 9.3
10 3 Cleveland Browns Defense @ CIN 8.9
11 3 New England Patriots Defense vs. SF 8.6
12 3 New Orleans Saints Defense vs. CAR 8.3
13 3 Chicago Bears Defense @ LAR 7.7
14 3 Washington Football Team Defense vs. DAL 7.5
15 3 Green Bay Packers Defense @ HOU 6.9

The Chargers are fresh off the bye and have two weeks to prepare for a Jaguars offense that has been struggling with consistency of late. While Jacksonville is 6th in passing yards, Minshew has also thrown 11 interceptions, the offensive line has given up the 18th most sacks, and the Jaguars have the 7th-most drives ending in a turnover. The Chargers may only have eight sacks on the season, but they are 11th in pressure rate and 3rd in quarterback hurries. The Chargers are getting healthier on defense with Melvin Ingram and Justin Jones back both at practice. If either one of them, or both, is able to return on Sunday, it would be a big boost to a pass rush that could wreak havoc on an over-matched Jaguars offensive line.

As I mentioned above, the Browns got trampled on Sunday by the Steelers, but their defense had been playing good football up until that point. They will also face a much softer test this week. The Bengals are 31st in the NFL in sacks allowed, 24th in drives ending in points, and have an offensive line that has been below average in almost every blocking metric. The Browns defense is 6th in the NFL in rushing defense, allowing only 3.6 yards per attempt, but they have been destroyed through the slot. That means the Bengals only hope is Joe Burrow to Tyler Boyd. If the Browns can build an early lead against a bad Bengals Defense and force passing downs, it will give more opportunity for sacks for a defense that is 2nd in the NFL in quarterback hurries and 2nd-best in the league in drives that end in an offensive turnover at 18.2%.

The Patriots defense certainly wasn't the reason they lost to the Broncos on Sunday. They are 4th in the league in pressure rate and best in the league in drives ending in a defensive turnover. That pressure will be a factor on Sunday considering the 49ers are 27th in the league in sacks allowed and may not have as strong of a running game with Raheem Mostert out to keep the Patriots from coming after Jimmy Garropolo. What keeps me from pushing the Patriots into the top-10 is the fact that their defensive faults have been overshadowed a bit by the talent-level of opponents and gamescript. They are 18th in the NFL in yards per play allowed, 13th in yards allowed per carry, 15th in drives ending in a score, and 27th in yards allowed per pass attempt. The 49ers offense is middle of the road in drives ending in turnover and has been much better at protecting the ball with Jimmy G and Deebo Samuel back in the lineup. I expect them to take better care of the ball and scheme ways to take advantage of a Patriots defense that is giving up a fair amount of yards per play and surviving by slowing down the pace of play.

The Saints will come off their bye week with two weeks to prepare for a Carolina offense that is 19th in sacks allowed and just scored 16 points against the Bears. Teddy Bridgewater has been solid for the Panthers, but he also has five interceptions to only six touchdowns on the season. With the Saints offense expected to get Michael Thomas back, they should exploit a vulnerable Panthers Defense and force Bridgewater to have to throw often to keep up. That will leave open opportunities for a defense that had the bye week to get healthy. What this comes down to for me is simply that the Saints have been a strong defensive unit for a couple of years now and have too many good players to keep giving up this many yards and touchdowns through the air. With Sean Payton and company coming out of the bye week, I expect them to begin to right the ship.

The Bears defense showed up to play against a solid Panthers offense on Sunday, but this still a defense that is underperforming its previous levels. They are 21st in pressure rate, 24th in quarterback hurry percentage, and 15th in drives ending in an offensive turnover. The best way to slow down the Rams offense is to get pressure on Jared Goff. However, the Bears pressure rate matched up against a Rams offense that is 4th in the league in sacks allowed doesn't give me confidence that Goff will be under a lot of pressure. That means he can manage an offense that is 10th in yards per play and 4th in expected points contributed by the offense.

What we saw from the Cowboys offense on Monday night made me even more confident in playing the Washington defense against them. The Cowboys may be 21st in sacks allowed, but their cobbled together offensive line gave up a ton of pressure against the Cardinals, and the task won't be any easier against a Washington team that is 8th in sacks, 13th in pressure rate, and 11th in quarterback hurry rate. The Cowboys offense is 31st in the NFL in offensive drives ending in a turnover and clearly doesn't have the firepower to score quickly with Andy Dalton under center. I don't expect Washington to handle them the way Arizona did, but a few turnovers and sacks seem likely.

The Bills' offense set the league on fire for the first four weeks, but we've seen the return of frazzled Josh Allen. The strong-armed quarterback has continued to score points and gain yardage with his legs, but he has also begun turning the ball over a bit more and the Bills are now 25th in the league drives ending in a turnover. The Jets get pressure at a below-average rate and their offense continues to put the defense in poor positions, but if Josh Allen is trending towards past issues with inaccuracy and holding onto the ball too long, it's likely going to lead to some questionable decisions, sacks, and maybe turnovers.

 

Tier 4 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Week 7 Opponent Confidence Rating
16 4 Dallas Cowboys Defense @ WAS 6.7
17 4 Tennessee Titans Defense vs. PIT 6.3
18 4 New York Jets Defense vs. BUF 5.9
19 4 Denver Broncos Defense vs. KC 5.1
20 4 Cincinnati Bengals Defense vs. CLE 4.9
21 4 Seattle Seahawks Defense @ ARI 4.4
22 4 Atlanta Falcons Defense vs. DET 3.9

 

Tier 5 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Week 7 Opponent Confidence Rating
23 5 Arizona Cardinals Defense vs. SEA 3.4
24 5 Jacksonville Jaguars Defense vs. LAC 2.9
25 5 Las Vegas Raiders Defense vs. TB 2.3
26 5 Detroit Lions Defense @ ATL 1.9
27 5 Houston Texans Defense vs. GB 1.1
28 5 Carolina Panthers Defense @ NO 0.9
29 5 Miami Dolphins Defense BYE 0.0
30 5 Baltimore Ravens Defense BYE 0.0
31 5 Indianapolis Colts Defense BYE 0.0
32 5 Minnesota Vikings Defense BYE 0.0


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Week 7 Kicker Streamers and Starts - 2020 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings

This NFL season continues to be the weirdest one that I’ve seen in my lifetime. In Week 6, we saw games that we expected to be close turn into blowouts, and we had blowouts turn into close games. If it weren’t for some winding back the clock magic by Indianapolis Colts quarterback Philip Rivers, they were headed towards another loss to a bad Cincinnati Bengals team. 

We saw some explosive kicker performances in Week 6. Denver Broncos kicker Brandon McManus single-handedly beat the New England Patriots, as he scored all 18 of the team’s points en route to a 24-point fantasy outing. Younghoe Koo of the Atlanta Falcons also broke 20 thanks to his team’s 40-point scoring outburst.

With COVID-19 continuing to weave its way through NFL locker rooms, bye weeks are getting more and more difficult to navigate. We have four teams currently slated for byes this week in the Baltimore Ravens, Indianapolis Colts, Minnesota Vikings and Miami Dolphins. A couple of these guys have been locked for fantasy lineups, so you could be forced into a switch here.

 

Tier 1 NFL Kickers

  1. Mason Crosby (GB) @ HOU
  2. Harrison Butker (KC) @ DEN
  3. Wil Lutz (NO) vs CAR
  4. Matt Prater (DET) @ ATL
  5. Brandon McManus (DEN) vs KC

The Green Bay Packers got absolutely waxed in Week 6 by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Despite that, Crosby gets the top spot. Crosby has been automatic and the Houston Texans are the perfect get-right spot. Kansas City Chiefs’ kicker Harrison Butker grabs our second spot. The Chiefs can still put up points in bunches, and they’ll be looking to thrive in that thin Denver air, even if he hasn't been nearly as accurate this year. 

New Orleans Saints’ kicker Wil Lutz is up next. This offense has been playing well, and they should be getting All-Pro wide receiver, Michael Thomas, back. The recipe is there for a big week. Detroit Lions’ kicker Matt Prater slides in at four this week. Detroit has scored at least 20 points in every game this season, and the Atlanta Falcons’ defense is still not that good. Denver Broncos’ kicker Brandon McManus rounds out the top five. His offense isn’t perfect, but they’re serviceable. At home against a KC defense that has been suspect over the last three years, he should get into scoring range frequently.

 

Tier 2 NFL Kickers

  1. Zane Gonzalez (ARI) vs SEA
  2. Tyler Bass (BUF) @ NYJ
  3. Chris Boswell (PIT) @ TEN
  4. Younghoe Koo (ATL) vs DET
  5. Jason Myers (SEA) @ ARI

We have Arizona Cardinals’ kicker Zane Gonzelez up to start the second tier. This Cardinals’ offense is still finding their footing, but just about anyone can put points up on Seattle. Buffalo Bills’ kicker Tyler Bass comes in seventh. The New York Jets are bad, and the Bills are good on offense. That is all. Pittsburgh Steelers’ kicker Chris Boswell is in the middle of these ranks this week. This team is just playing good football. It’s not pretty, but it works. I think they move the ball better than their Tennessee Titan opponents in Week 7.

Koo grabs the ninth spot. This offense showed their explosiveness in Week 6, and they can do that again against the Lions’ defense that is allowing over 28 points per game on average this season. Seattle Seahawks’ kicker Jason Myers rounds out our second tier. This Seattle team is just firing away right now, and they’re not going to slow down against the Cardinals. Plug him in once again.

 

Tier 3 NFL Kickers

  1. Michael Badgley (LAC) vs JAX
  2. Ryan Succop (TB) @ LV
  3. Robbie Gould (SF) @ NE
  4. Stephen Gostkowski (TEN) vs PIT
  5. Greg Zuerlein (DAL) @ WAS

Los Angeles Chargers’ kicker Michael Badgley is 11th in our rankings. Even if this team isn’t going to compete for a title, they’re finding ways to score, and that will continue against a Jacksonville Jaguars Defense that’s giving up 30 points per game. Buccaneers’ kicker Ryan Succop slides in at 12. Tampa has all of their pieces back, and they’re going to continue to get in sync as the season moves along.

San Francisco 49ers kicker Robbie Gould is next. The 49ers moved the ball well against the Los Angeles Rams, and I think they can put up some points on the road this week. Titans’ kicker Stephen Gostkowski comes in at 14. The Titans are humming right now, but this is a tough defensive matchup. Some regression should be expected here. Dallas Cowboys’ kicker Greg Zuerlein rounds out the ranks this week. This offense has too many weapons not to score points against the Washington Football Team regardless of quarterback or location. They should bounce back enough to make Zuerlein at least streamable.

 

Kickers to Avoid

Sam Ficken is our first avoidance of the week because *checks notes* Adam Gase is still the head coach. Even if quarterback Sam Darnold returns, I don’t want any piece of the Jets regardless of the matchup. 

Jonathan Brown of the Jaguars grabs our second spot. This Jaguars roster continues to struggle after a surprising win to start the season. Until they’re able to turn things around, Brown just can’t be trusted to produce. The Jags have been inclined to go for it on fourth downs rather than attempt a long field goal these days.

Joey Slye of the Carolina Panthers grabs our final spot. This New Orleans Saints team will be looking to come out and make a statement, and they can make that over this young Panthers’ roster. Teddy Bridgewater finally struggled in Week 6 and could do so again this week.



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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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Top IDP Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 7

Pickings can always be slim in deep IDP leagues, but this year it is looking thinner than usual in even the shallowest of setups. In fact, going shopping for IDP players in 2020 can often feel like you’re going to the grocery store for filet mignon, only to bring home a roll of toilet paper and a tube of Preparation H. Sure, that hemorrhoid cream may come in helpful someday… but it isn’t what you went to the store to get. And it definitely isn’t going to serve the same purpose as the steak you meant to buy but never got… at least I hope it won’t. But maybe it will? I mean, who am I to judge what you do and don’t eat? If you want to eat Preparation H, you do you!

Anyways, the point is that pickings can be slim out there on the IDP waiver wire, depending on your league’s scoring and roster setups. That doesn’t mean there aren’t guys available who can help you, though. It also doesn’t mean that you should dump your starter after one bad game, nor should you keep starting a big name who has played like a bust all season (i.e., Cory Littleton). You must be a reasonable and vigilant manager, which means you should occasionally to listen to my (sometimes) passable advice!

P.S. Thank you for finally rostering Jeremy Chinn in over 25% of IDP leagues! We can finally remove him from this list!

 

IDP Settings

As a reminder, we will use the following IDP designations/league settings for our FAAB recommendations:

  • Standard Scoring Leagues: This system usually rewards 1-point per tackle, 3-points per sack, 4-points per turnover, and sometimes offers 2-points for a tackle for loss (TFL) or pass deflection (PD). Standard leagues also usually only start one DL, LB, and DB, respectively. You will always prioritize your FAAB budget towards offensive players in Standard Scoring IDP leagues, though you shouldn't underestimate the value of adding a great defender in them.
  • Defense Premium Leagues: Defense Premium leagues tend to try to make defensive players worth as much as offensive players. Commissioners often accomplish this by rewarding 2-points per tackle, 3-points for TFL or PDs, 4-points per sack, and 6-points per turnover. In these leagues, you don't necessarily prioritize offensive players on waivers. While it is a case-by-case analysis, defenders in these leagues can often be worth as much as most offensive waiver additions.
  • Deep Defense Leagues: These are leagues that have you start a full defense, or require you to start CBs and DTs, or they are leagues so deep (think 16 team leagues) that at least 32 players at each position (DL, LB, and DB) start every week.
  • Dynasty Leagues: This is self-explanatory to most. Dynasty leagues are those in which every player you draft/add is on your team until you trade or release him.

Now that we have that explanation out of the way, let's get to this week's top adds! Remember that we will only address defenders who are rostered in less than 30% of IDP leagues on ESPN, Yahoo, or other prominent sites. We will also do our best to avoid obvious additions. While players like Myles Garrett are somehow rostered in only 31% of ESPN IDP leagues, we assume that anyone reading this material knows to add Garrett if they can.

 

1. Chase Young, DL, Washington Football Team

Young was on this list last week, and his roster percentage hasn’t gone up at all since then. While Young didn’t take advantage of a great matchup in Week 6, there are few defenders with his weekly upside. He is a must roster in dynasty leagues, Deep Defense leagues, and pretty much all IDP formats.

Standard Scoring FAAB: 3%

Defense Premium FAAB: 4%

Deep Defense FAAB: 5%

Dynasty FAAB: 5%

2. Jason Pierre-Paul, DL, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Pierre-Paul is a relatively obvious name that was left off of some of our early lists because we assumed he would be picked up in a large number of leagues relatively early in the season without our help. However, that does not appear to be the case as Pierre-Paul is still available in approximately 85% of IDP leagues.

The guy is third in the NFL in sacks right now and he has done well against some top-notch blocking units, like the one in Green Bay. He should be rostered in all IDP leagues where he qualifies as a DL, and in Defense Premium leagues as either a DL or LB.

Standard League FAAB: 1%

Defense Premium FAAB: 4%

Deep Defense FAAB: 4%

Dynasty: 1%

3. Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Dallas Cowboys

Vander Esch’s roster percentage only dropped low enough to qualify for this column because of his recent collarbone injury. Now that the former Boise State star is back on the field, he should be rostered in more than 25% of leagues… but he isn’t.

The kid has averaged nearly six solo-tackles per game for his career and over eight total tackles per game, which means he has a lot of value in Standard IDP setups and in leagues that place a premium on tackles. His youth and ability to tip passes mean he isn’t just worth rostering in Standard leagues, though. Vander Esch should be rostered in almost all IDP leagues with ten or more teams.

Side note- Jaylon Smith’s fantasy production could eventually take a slight dip when Vander Esch gets up to speed, as the two young thumpers split stats.

Standard League FAAB: Wait

Defense Premium FAAB: 1%

Deep Defense FAAB: 3%

Dynasty FAAB: 1%

4. Carlton Davis, DB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

While Davis is only rostered in 11% of fantasy leagues, he sits tied for third in the NFL in interceptions and tied for first in PDs. The Auburn product is also averaging nearly four solo-tackles per game, which means you can count on him in pretty much all IDP scoring formats. This steady fantasy production is largely thanks to the fact opposing passers still target Davis, despite his elite resume. Expect that heavy target share to continue against receivers like Michael Thomas, Mike Evans, and others.

With a heavy target share and terrific ball skills, Davis is probably already rostered in any leagues that require you to start a CB. If he isn’t, he should be. It isn’t just CB mandated leagues where Davis should be rostered, however. He is a top-20 fantasy DB in pretty much every league, every week. Start Davis in all IDP leagues any time he lines up against a stud WR who you know will get targets, like Michael Thomas or Julio Jones.

Standard Scoring FAAB: 2%

Defense Premium FAAB: 8%

Deep Defense FAAB: 8%

Dynasty: 2%

5. Brandon Graham, DL, Philadelphia Eagles

Graham sits fourth in the NFL in both sacks and TFLs this season, and he is on a career high pace in both categories. That pace should continue, as the former Michigan star has six more games this season against pass blocking units that rank in the bottom half of the NFL. Expect this grizzled vet to produce fantasy points in the five remaining games he has against the NFC East, as well as against Seattle. That kind of outlook makes him a worth an add in all 14-team IDP leagues, and in Deep Defense setups.

Standard League FAAB: Wait

Deep Defense FAAB: 2%

Defense Premium FAAB: Wait

6. Leonard Williams, DL, New York Giants

This one is not a flashy or particularly popular name to add to our list, but hear us out. So far, Williams has averaged four tackles, one TFL, and 0.5 sacks per game this season. That isn’t half-bad for fantasy purposes. His overall stats aren’t the primary reason to roster him in deep IDP leagues, though. Rather, the main reason to roster Williams this year is his schedule.

Half of the remaining games on the Giants' schedule this year are against teams who rank in the bottom half of the NFL in Adjusted Sack Rate. That isn't even counting a Dallas offensive line that is declining rapidly without Tyron Smith. These matchups are prime spots for Williams to put up fantasy stats, and he has already shown the ability to take advantage of these kinds of matchups against San Francisco and Washington.

While Williams isn't a must-add in Standard leagues, he is worth considering in Deep Defense IDP leagues. Leave him on your bench half of the time if you like, but you may want to start the former Trojan in matchups with Washington, Philadelphia, Seattle, Cincinnati, and Dallas.

Deep Defense FAAB: Wait

7. Dre Greenlaw, LB, San Francisco 49ers

Greenlaw was on this list last week, and he rewarded those who listened to our advice with eight solo-tackles and a TFL. Those results are consistent with what has happened over the past year when Kwon Alexander is out of the 49ers’ lineup. When Alexander sits, Greenlaw plays close to 100% of the 49ers’ snaps and he rakes in the tackles.

This former Arkansas safety is young and worth a long-term roster spot in deep dynasty leagues. He is also a worthwhile pick-up in deep redraft leagues, or in Standard IDP leagues where you need a guy to fill-in for Darius Leonard or Kwon Alexander.

Standard Scoring FAAB: Wait

Deep Defense FAAB: 1%

Dynasty FAAB: 1%

8. Malcolm Butler, DB, Tennessee Titans

It's been some time since Butler was particularly relevant in anything, but he is having a solid fantasy season so far. Right now, he is averaging six solo-tackles per game, playing a similar role to what Logan Ryan did in Tennessee last year. On top of that, Butler sits tied for seventh in the NFL in PDs, and he has returned his two interceptions for a total of 97 yards, showing big-play potential.

While Butler isn't a long-term asset, and he isn't worth rostering in shallow IDP leagues, he will continue to get you targets and tackles. He is rosterable in Deep Dynasty leagues and, perhaps, in 16-team Defense Premium setups. You won't have to pay much for Butler, either, as his name has lost a lot of luster over the past few years.

Defense Premium FAAB: Wait

Deep Defense FAAB: Wait



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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.



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Week 6 Defense (DEF) Streamers and Starts - 2020 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings

I was riding high after predicting eight out of the top ten defenses two weeks ago, but we saw some craziness this Sunday (along with some top tier defenses postponed or canceled), which caused only a 50% success rate in identifying top-10 units. Miami throttling San Francisco was truly a surprise, as was a Kansas City defense that hadn't allowed more than 20 points in any game this season allowing 40 points to Las Vegas.

I touched on this last week, but teams have now scored 3,900 points or 25.6 points per game so far this season and are gaining 367.4 yards per game which are both the most through the first five weeks of any season in the Super Bowl era. With offenses putting up video game numbers, it means that we can't continue to judge a defense solely by the number of points they allow or the number of yards they give up. Those numbers will naturally be higher than we're used to. Instead, we need to look for which offensive lines are truly weak points and which defenses will either be blitz-heavy or get consistent pressure with their pass rush. These are all incredibly important pieces of information in determining which defenses to play in any given week.

Remember that picking the right defense is not about identifying who will allow the fewest points, but who will cause the most turnovers or tally the most sacks since that has a higher correlation to weekly fantasy DST leaders. That means that, as much these rankings are about the talent on the defensive side of the ball, it is equally about taking advantage of the lack of talent on the offensive side. Starting the right defense every week can be a difference-maker, so remember to check back here during the week as I will make updates once we get more information on some of these injuries and also get a better sense of the weather for the game.

 

Week 6 Defenses To Start & Stream: Tiers & Rankings

Below are my Week 6 defense tiers and rankings, or which defenses to stream, start and target off the waiver wire for Week 5 of the NFL and fantasy football season. Our weekly tiered defense rankings are a guide to making waiver wire pickups to improve your lineups, and to decide which defenses to start, sit, target, avoid or stream for Week 6. I've broken out our defense rankings into tiers with analysis on each matchup. Some of these Week 6 defenses have good matchups and are not widely-owned, representing fantasy scoring opportunities if they are available on your league's waiver wire for a Week 6 pickup or add.

Returning for this year: Confidence Ratings (out of 15) - Since every league's DST scoring is different, projections don't always make a ton of sense. The confidence rating, which Bill Dubiel started last year, is a guideline for how much more I like one team over another instead of a straight point projection. A zero means "do not start," then the confidence rises from there. I take a lot of factors into account: opponent injuries, home-field advantage, weather (which will be updated during the week), etc. We still have only one game of in-season data to work with, so this week's rankings weigh schedule and personnel heavier than they will down the line.

Typically the top three tiers will be DSTs you should target, with Tier 4 being options in deep leagues and Tier 5 being desperation plays or good defenses in horrendous matchups.

 

Tier 1 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Week 6 Opponent Confidence Rating
1 1 Baltimore Ravens Defense @ PHI 13.4
2 1 New England Patriots Defense vs. DEN 12.9
3 1 Indianapolis Colts Defense vs. CIN 12.1
4 1 Pittsburgh Steelers Defense vs. CLE 11.6

Yes, Philadelphia is set to get a little bit healthier on offense with the returns of Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson, and they just put up 29 points on the Steelers, but they are also the third-largest underdog on the slate, according to Las Vegas.  The Eagles are still going to be hobbled on the offensive line, and Lane Johnson is getting a second opinion on his troublesome knee, which is an even bigger issue than their beleaguered receiving corps. Philadelphia has allowed the third-most sacks in the league, with 19 in only five games. The relentless pressure has also caused Carson Wentz to throw nine interceptions, which is the most in the league. As I mentioned above, I'm not really concerned if the Eagles are able to put up 20 points in this game since most teams are doing that relatively consistently this year. The Ravens defense hasn't been elite this year, ranking only 14th in pressure ate, but they are 6th in the NFL in sacks and should find themselves in the backfield consistently on Sunday, racking up sacks and causing a few interceptions. All of which makes them one of the best bets at DST in Week 6.

Holding the Chiefs offense in check the way the Patriots did during the first half last Monday night was a truly impressive feat; however, I'm not sure we should have expected much different from Bill Belichick. Yes, the Chiefs wound up with 26 points and the win, but their offense was stalled way more than usual. Belichick has always been an incredible defensive coach, but now his task gets significantly easier on Sunday, even if the Denver Broncos get Drew Lock back under center. The Patriots may only have six sacks on the season, but they are second in the NFL in pressure rate at 30.9% and third in the league with 26 quarterback hurries, numbers that are more impressive when you consider that three of the four teams the Patriots have played are in the top-13 in pressure allowed. Meanwhile, the Broncos were 28th in the league with 13 sacks allowed before missing this Sunday with a "BYE" and simply don't have the playmakers to scare these Patriots defenders. Yes, Jerry Jeudy will be good, but he's not somebody that is going to consistently get the better of Stephon Gilmore, who should be back from his COVID diagnosis on Sunday. I expect the Patriots to control this game and cause lots of problems for the Broncos offense.

The Colts are the second-largest favorite according to Vegas odds, but this game will hinge on the health of their defense. Star linebacker Darius Leonard missed Sunday's game against the Browns with a groin injury and, despite playing, fellow linebackers Anthony Walker and Bobby Okerele were banged up during the week and came into the game hobbled. As a result, the Colts gave up 385 yards to the Browns and lost 32-23. The Colts were able to pick Baker Mayfield off twice, but only got one sack against the Browns stalwart offensive line. It will be a much different story on Sunday against a Bengals offensive line that has been one of the worst in football, allowing a league-leading 22 sacks, including seven last week to a Ravens team that has consistently gotten less pressure on the quarterback than Indianapolis. That's good news for a Colts defense that is 8th in the NFL in pressure rate and 9th in quarterback hurry percentage. With Phillip Rivers more likely to find success against the Bengals Defense than he did against the Browns, and the Bengals likely playing this game without A.J. Green (who admittedly wasn't really productive when in) the Colts should get up early in this game and take advantage of a weak Bengals offensive line.

As I mentioned above, the Browns don't give up a lot of sacks, but Baker Mayfield is still one of the more turnover-prone quarterbacks in the league. Only 53.2% of his passes have been on target, according to Pro Football Reference, and he was one of the worst quarterbacks in the league last year when pressured. So far this season, he has only been pressured on 13.5% of dropbacks and has been hurried a total of 13 times in five games. That has allowed him to curtail some of his mistakes (even though there have been a few head-scratching throws); however, the Steelers have the third-highest blitz percentage at 38.7% and the best pressure rate in the league at 38.1%. Since the Steelers are second in the league with only 3.3 yards allowed per rush, the Browns may have to turn to Baker more often than they want. If he is not able to stand in a clean pocket, he's more liable to make mistakes that lead to turnovers. Pairing that with the likely low-scoring total in this division rivalry, and I like the Steelers as a high floor offense with a good chance at a defensive touchdown.

 

Tier 2 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Week 6 Opponent Confidence Rating
5 2 Miami Dolphins Defense  vs. NYJ 11.3
6 2 Washington Football Team Defense @ NYG 10.4
7 2 Tennessee Titans Defense vs. HOU 10.2
8 2 Los Angeles Rams Defense @ SF 9.8

The Dolphins defense just manhandled a near-full strength 49ers team, so it makes sense to have faith in them to put up a similarly inspired effort against an undermanned Jets team. Le'Veon Bell came back, but his usage continued to be questionable. Sam Darnold missed last week, as did left tackle Mekhi Bechton, but they may return this weekend which would be a boon for the Jets. The Dolphins as a unit have been fairly average on the year, ranking 13th in pressure rate and 16th in hurry percentage despite being tied for 7th in sacks. This pick is really more about the ineptitude of the Jets offense that is 25th in the league in sacks allowed and 28th in total yards.

If we're attacking the Jets, then we should also be attacking the other New Jersey (sorry, New York) team. The Giants put up 30+ points against the Cowboys, but that is more about Dallas featuring one of the worst defenses in the league than the Giants all of the sudden becoming a strong offense. Devonta Freeman lacks explosiveness and Darius Slayton gives the Giants one consistent weapon on the outside, but he doesn't have much help. Washington got Chase Young back this Sunday, which is great news for a pass rush that suffered a bit without him. However, on the year, they are 3rd in the league in interceptions, sixth in the league in sacks, 12th in quarterback hurry rate, and will now face a Giants team that is 27th in total yards and 26th in sacks allowed. I think Washington will be a surprisingly high-scoring defensive unit this week.

As of this writing, the Titans have only played one half of football in two weeks, but they look pretty good for a team that was a bit short-handed due to their COVID designations. Another week should allow them to get talented players that Kristian Fulton and Jeffrey Simmons back in the fold. Coming into Tuesday night's game, they are fourth in the league in pressure rate and first in quarterback knockdowns, despite having only four sacks. That tells me that a big week is coming, and who better to have it against than a Texans offensive line that is 28th in sacks allowed. The Titans defense is 7th in the league in drives ending in points, so I expect them to keep this from turning into a truly high-scoring affair, especially with Derrick Henry grinding down a weak Texans Defense, so I feel more confident in using the Titans this weekend.

As I mentioned above, the Dolphins defense held the 49ers to 259 yards of offense, picked off two passes, and registered five sacks. They've also consistently generated a worse pass rush than the Rams throughout the season. That makes me a little bullish on a Rams defense that is 9th in the NFL in pressure rate and tied for first in sacks. The 49ers are 29th in the league in sacks allowed and are clearly discombobulated right now as they recover from a slew of injuries, which means it's the wrong time to have to face Aaron Donald. The Rams defense has been steadily improving on the season, so I look for Los Angeles to take advantage of a beaten-down 49ers team.

 

Tier 3 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Week 6 Opponent Confidence Rating
9 3 New York Giants Defense vs. WAS 9.1
10 3 Kansas City Chiefs Defense @ BUF 8.9
11 3 Chicago Bears Defense @ CAR 8.4
12 3 New York Jets Defense @ MIA 8.1
13 3 San Francisco 49ers Defense  vs. LAR 7.9
14 3 Denver Broncos Defense @ NE 7.6
15 3 Cleveland Browns Defense @ PIT 7.1

OK, we all know the Giants defense is not that good, but Washington's offense may be worse. They benched Dwayne Haskins and got even worse production from Kyle Allen and Alex Smith. It was great seeing Smith back on the field, but he was hit constantly and he clearly doesn't have the mobility that he used to. The Giants are 11th in pressure rate and 12th in sacks, but this play is simply about attacking one of the worst offenses in the NFL. If Alex Smith starts again, which should be expected, the Giants really only have to worry about stopping Terry McLaurin and can go to work on an offensive line that is 31st in the NFL in sacks allowed with 21 in five games.

The Bills offense has been an elite offense this season, but they looked relatively mediocre in a first half without John Brown and both starting right guard Jon Feliciano and his back-up Brian Winters. That's not a great sign against a Chiefs defense that is 7th in the league in pressure rate. Josh Allen has gotten away with a few questionable throws heading into Tuesday night, and then had those decisions come back to bite him against the Titans on national television. The Chiefs were exposed against the Raiders on Sunday, but this is still a strong defensive unit that blitzes the 6th-most in the league and could cause problems for replacements on the Bills'offensive line. I think this game will be fast-paced and involve a fair share of sacks and turnovers.

The Bears defense has so far lacked the bite of recent seasons, ranking 18th in pressure rate, 16th in sacks, and 23rd in quarterback hurry percentage. They're also 12th in the number of drives ending in scores and will face off against a surprisingly strong Panthers offense that has the fourth-most yards in the league. The Panthers have allowed the 15th-most sacks in the NFL, so it's likely that the Bears bring down Bridgewater a couple of times, but this isn't the slam dunk game people would have assumed once Christian McCaffrey went down.

I know we don't want to pick on the Dolphins offense after what they just did to San Francisco, but we've seen enough of Ryan Fitzpatrick to know that turnovers are always on the table when he takes the field. The Jets' secondary has struggled, but they are 9th in the NFL with five interceptions, tied for third in quarterback knockdowns, and are 17th in the NFL in pressure rate, so they still have a little bit of pep, unlike the offensive side of the ball. Maybe I'm alone here, but I think we could just as easily see the Dolphins throw two interceptions and yield three-plus sacks as I can see them turn in another rout.

This hasn't been a great season for the 49ers, and they've lost some key pieces on the defensive line, but they are still 5th in the NFL in pressure rate and 7th in quarterback knockdowns, which means they're getting after the quarterback. The Rams have only allowed seven sacks total on the season and are third in the league in total yards, so they will score points and keep the 49ers from putting up a massive fantasy total, but we all know how Jared Goff's play diminishes when he's under pressure, so there's a chance we can see Bad Goff on Sunday in a messy game overall. I think the 49ers are too well-coached to come out and lay another egg.

An extra week means the Patriots will most likely be starting Cam Newton in this game instead of Jarrett Stidham, which is, as I'm sure you know, a massive difference. The Broncos defense is still 6th in the NFL in pressure rate and 5th in quarterback hurry percentage, but they banged up enough that I'm not sure they can contain a well-coached Patriots offense for the entire game. I just don't see a lot of upside in the matchup, especially with how the Broncos offense put their defense in bad positions throughout the entire game against the Jets. However, I think the Broncos can get to Cam a couple of times, and I can't envision this being a high-scoring, or exciting, football game.

The Browns have played really solid defense of late, including a strong game in limiting an admittedly average Colts offense. The Steelers have a near-elite offensive line that has allowed only six sacks in four games and should have little problem with a Browns pass rush that has a mediocre 19.6% pressure rate. However, the Browns do lead the league in quarterback hurries with 30, which could cause problems for Ben Roethlisberger since the veteran loves to hold the ball a little longer than he should. Chase Claypool was superb last week, but if Diontae Johnson misses next week, Claypool will really need to deliver against since JuJu Smith-Schuster will likely get a heavy dose of Denzel Ward. I expect this to be a grinding, low-scoring game that should keep the fantasy DST floors relatively safe.

 

Tier 4 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Week 6 Opponent Confidence Rating
16 4 Buffalo Bills Defense vs KC 6.9
17 4 Green Bay Packers Defense @ TB 6.3
18 4 Carolina Panthers Defense vs. CHI 6.1
19 4 Cincinnati Bengals Defense @ IND 5.3
20 4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defense vs. GB 4.9
21 4 Arizona Cardinals Defense @ DAL 4.5
22 4 Jacksonville Jaguars Defense vs. DET 4.2

 

Tier 5 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Week 6 Opponent Confidence Rating
23 5 Houston Texans Defense @ TEN 3.8
24 5 Philadelphia Eagles Defense vs. BAL 3.1
25 5 Detroit Lions Defense @ JAX 2.7
26 5 Dallas Cowboys Defense vs ARI 2.1
27 5 Atlanta Falcons Defense @ MIN 1.2
28 5 Minnesota Vikings Defense vs. ATL 0.9
29 5 New Orleans Saints Defense BYE 0.4
30 5 Las Vegas Raiders Defense BYE 0.3
31 5 Los Angeles Chargers Defense BYE 0.0
32 5 Seattle Seahawks Defense BYE 0.0


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Week 6 Kicker Streamers and Starts - 2020 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings

This NFL season continues to be the weirdest one that I’ve seen in my lifetime. I’ve seen teams come out and get embarrassed by bottom dwellers, and I just watched Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Miami Dolphins absolutely dismantled the San Francisco 49ers. If you ever think that you’re going to be able to accurately predict a week in the NFL, you’re wrong.

We saw some explosive kicker performances in Week 5. Dolphins’ kicker Jason Sanders put up 22 points on the afternoon, and he was tightly contested by New York Giants’ kicker Graham Gano, who had a 20-point outing for himself. As defenses are adapting and improving, we’re going to see more big kicker performances, so keep that in mind when setting your lineups.

With Covid-19 continuing to weave its way through NFL locker rooms, bye weeks are getting more and more difficult to navigate. The New England Patriots were originally slated to have their bye in Week 6, but there will now be just three teams off this week. Those will be the New Orleans Saints, Seattle Seahawks, Los Angeles Chargers and Las Vegas Raiders. In addition to their regular fantasy talent, all three of them have had great fantasy kickers thus far.

 

Tier 1 NFL Kickers

  1. Justin Tucker (BAL) @ PHI
  2. Harrison Butker (KC) @ BUF
  3. Dan Bailey (MIN) vs ATL
  4. Tyler Bass (BUF) vs KC
  5. Jason Sanders (MIA) vs NYJ

Baltimore Ravens’ kicker Justin Tucker has reclaimed our top spot. After his team thoroughly beat the Cincinnati Bengals, they now draw the Philadelphia Eagles’ who have struggled mightily on defense all season. Points should abound here. Kansas City Chiefs’ kicker Harrison Butker gets our next spot. Even in a loss, this offense still put up 32 points. I think we should see plenty of points from these two high-scoring units. Minnesota Vikings’ kicker Dan Bailey is up next. Even though they’re 1-4, they Vikings are putting points up, and Bailey is the primary beneficiary of that.

Buffalo Bills’ kicker Tyler Bass grabs the fourth spot this week. This offense has put up at least 27 points in all four games this season, and they’ve cleared 30 in their last three. Against the Chiefs, they will find ways to move the ball. Sanders wraps up our first tier. Through five games, he has scored 62 points, which leads all players at the position. Against the dumpster fire that is the New York Jets, he’s a near must-start for the week.

 

Tier 2 NFL Kickers

  1. Mason Crosby (GB) @ TB
  2. Samuel Sloman (LAR) @ SF
  3. Rodrigo Blankenship (IND) vs CIN
  4. Cairo Santos (CHI) @ CAR
  5. Ryan Succop (TB) vs GB

Green Bay Packers’ kicker Mason Crosby gets our next spot. He’s nearly perfect to start the season, and he’s playing with one of the NFL’s best offenses. Have no qualms starting him this week. Los Angeles Rams’ kicker Samuel Sloman comes in at seven. His offense continues to hum along, and they have a matchup with the division-rival 49ers. This game could be lower scoring, but I think Sloman still gets a good amount of work.

Indianapolis Colts’ kicker Rodrigo Blankenship is next. After five games, Blankenship is the only other kicker to clear 60 points. His offense isn’t perfect, but the Cincinnati Bengals are the perfect get-right spot. Chicago Bears’ kicker Cairo Santos gets the next spot. This team isn’t winning pretty, but they’re still winning. They can move the ball enough to get Santos scoring chances against the Carolina Panthers. Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ kicker Ryan Succop rounds out this next group. The Packers’ defense isn’t the best unit, and the Bucs should be able to get some plays working against them.

 

Tier 3 NFL Kickers

  1. Matt Prater (DET) @ JAX
  2. Stephen Gostkowski (TEN) vs HOU
  3. Zane Gonzalez (ARI) @ DAL
  4. Robbie Gould (SF) vs LAR
  5. Greg Zuerlein (DAL) vs ARI

Detroit Lions’ kicker Matt Prater slides into the lineup after a week off. The Jacksonville Jaguars have lost four straight after a surprising win over the Colts in Week 1, and this Lions’ team has been moving the ball well as of late. Tennessee Titans’ kicker Stephen Gostkowski is up next. As of this writing, he has played just three games, and he’s still tied for K12 on the year. I think they can move the ball on the Houston Texans. Zane Gonzalez sneaks in at the 13th spot. This offense finally showed some life last week, and now they head for a shootout in Texas with the Dallas Cowboys.

This San Francisco team struggled last week, but kicker Robbie Gould remains consistent. This team should be able to bounce back at home to give him a solid outing. Dallas Cowboys kicker Greg Zuerlein gets our final spot this week. Even with quarterback Andy Dalton in over Dak Prescott (ankle), this offense has enough weapons to keep putting up points, especially against a suspect defense like Arizona.

 

Kickers to Avoid

Sam Ficken is our first avoidance of the week because *checks notes* Adam Gase is still the head coach. Even if quarterback Sam Darnold returns, I don’t want any piece of the Jets regardless of the matchup. 

Younghoe Koo of the Atlanta Falcons grabs our next spot in this category. This Falcons’ team is reeling, and they just can’t seem to get out of their own way. Even with an easier matchup, I’m not seeking Koo out this week, especially with a new head coach calling the shots. 

Randy Bullock of the Bengals is our final avoidance of the week. Quarterback Joe Burrow has looked as advertised to start the year, but he gets another tough matchup in this Colts’ defense that has played very well through five games. Bullock and the team as a whole could easily struggle.



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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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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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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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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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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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Waiver Wire Express - Week 6 Lightning Round

Week 5 brought some key injuries and we lost the NE/DEN game (with BUF/TEN still up in the air). The biggest injury was Dak Prescott, who was carted off after suffering a compound ankle fracture, but we also saw Sammy Watkins and A.J. Green leave due to hamstring injuries alongside Diontae Johnson's back injury. Also, Dalvin Cook left SNF with a groin injury. For now, Week 6 byes are the Seahawks, Chargers, Saints, and Raiders. Now here's the waiver wire lightning round heading into Week 6.

This column is published early every week and then updated on a daily basis. Each day of the week will also yield more in-depth waiver wire analysis for all positions.

Waiver pickups are listed in priority order (in a vacuum) and broken down by position. Players must be rostered in roughly less than 60% of Yahoo leagues and therefore will range from shallow options in standard leagues to deep options in PPR formats.


Running Backs (Priority Order):

Alexander Mattison
Damien Harris
Phillip Lindsay
Frank Gore
Justin Jackson
Adrian Peterson
La'Mical Perine
Brian Hill
D'Ernest Johnson
Jamaal Williams
J.D. McKissic
Gus Edwards
Anthony McFarland Jr.
Darrynton Evans

 

Wide Receivers (Priority Order):

Brandin Cooks
Chase Claypool
Henry Ruggs III
Tee Higgins
Mecole Hardman
Preston Williams
Cole Beasley
Travis Fulgham
Laviska Shenault Jr.
Scotty Miller
Christian Kirk
Mike Williams
Keelan Cole
Greg Ward
Russell Gage
Zach Pascal
Olamide Zaccheaus
Tim Patrick
Isaiah Ford
Gabriel Davis
Jalen Guyton

 

Tight Ends (Priority Order):

Austin Hooper
Eric Ebron
Jimmy Graham
Rob Gronkowski
Logan Thomas
Irv Smith Jr.
Trey Burton
Darren Fells
Cameron Brate

 

Quarterbacks (Priority Order):

Ryan Tannehill
Kirk Cousins
Justin Herbert
Gardner Minshew II
Ryan Fitzpatrick
Andy Dalton
Philip Rivers
Teddy Bridgewater



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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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Quarterback Waiver Wire Pickups and Streamers - Week 6

Once again, the NFL was a perfect example of why people love and hate the game of football. On one hand, we saw the best feelgood story in several years with Alex Smith returning to play (and looking relatively good all things considered) for the Washington Football Team. Then, just hours later the brutal cruelty of football emerged as Dak Prescott suffered a major ankle injury that will likely end his 2020 season and bring him into an uncertain contract negotiation this offseason.

While all we can do is offer condolences to Dak Prescott for his horrible injury, the fact is the football season won’t stop moving forward. Each week we advance brings new bye weeks, and given the COVID-driven uncertainty this year, identifying the players to add to your team has never been more important. At this moment, the NFL has shuffled numerous bye weeks, making planning even more essential. Thankfully, we have now surpassed the quarter of the season mark, so there is plenty of data out there to point us in the right direction.

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

Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers

Yahoo: 49% rostered ESPN: 32.2% rostered

Thanks to the constant reshuffling of the NFL schedule due to COVID cancellations, the Chargers (based on what I can tell) will have a week 6 bye. That will probably buy you one more week to place a waiver claim on Justin Herbert, but honestly, it may be worth your time to be proactive and just roster him. Herbert looks to be the real deal, throwing for over 900 yards and five touchdowns in his first three starts. That doesn’t even take into account his week 5 performance against the Saints, which will be coming tonight. Herbert was recently named the full-time starter and is worth rostering thanks to the array of weapons at his disposal (including a soon to return Mike Williams).

Andy Dalton, Dallas Cowboys

Yahoo: 2% rostered ESPN: 0.2% rostered

With the Dak Prescott injury, Dalton has been thrust into arguably one of the best offensive situations in the NFL. The Cowboys have a punishing run game with Ezekiel Elliott and three legitimate WR1 level talents in Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and CeeDee Lamb. Dalton was 9 of 11 for 111 yards in relief of Dak Prescott against the Giants as he led the Cowboys to a win with a last-second field goal. Many fantasy players will remember Dalton toward the end of his Bengals career, but don’t remember the times he flourished with the Bengals in his prime. This is easily the most talented offense Dalton has ever played on (no offense to A.J. Green, Marvin Jones Jr., and Mohamed Sanu) and he is an instant weekly QB2 with QB1 upside for the rest of the season.

Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings

Yahoo: 32% rostered ESPN: 15.8% rostered

Through four weeks, Daniel Jones has been far from a roster able asset. He hasn’t thrown a touchdown in three weeks and has failed to surpass 11 fantasy points since the first week of the season. However, he has faced an absolute murderers row of fantasy defenses, going against the Steelers, Bears, 49ers, and Rams so far this year. His schedule softens up considerably from now until his week 11 bye week, with contests against Dallas, Washington, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, Washington, and Philadelphia.

Jones should be able to bounce back even without the services of Saquon Barkley in the backfield. Jones is accurate enough to pick apart those defenses and still has a litany of weapons at his disposal in the form of Evan Engram, Golden Tate, and Darius Slayton. Pick him up and stash him for a rainy day.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Miami Dolphins

Yahoo: 20% rostered ESPN: 20.7% rostered

Kirk Cousins continued to bounce back from his abysmal showing against the Colts in week 2, throwing for 260 yards and a touchdown against the Texans secondary in week 4. Cousins doesn’t have the passing ceiling of most players considering he has yet to attempt more than 27 passes in a game this season despite the Vikings being 1-3, but he has a ton of weapons that maximize his completions. Adam Theilen continues to produce, Justin Jefferson has emerged as a legitimate weapon at wide receiver, and Dalvin Cook is always a threat to take a short pass the distance.

Cousins plays two of the three worst secondaries in the NFL in 2020 (Seattle and Atlanta) the next two weeks, which means he should see the same offensive statistical boost so many quarterbacks have enjoyed so far this season.

 

2QB Options and Stashes

Drew Lock, Denver Broncos

Yahoo: 8% rostered ESPN: 5.9% rostered

It has been many weeks since we have seen Drew Lock take an NFL field. Before his shoulder injury, Lock had one game where he looked solid (13.14 points scored against the Titans) and a game where he threw five passes before getting knocked out by the Steelers. The Broncos signal-caller was coming into week 5 with a questionable tag, but thanks to the impromptu bye situation, he got one more week to rest and likely returns against the Dolphins in Week 6. Despite the loss of Courtland Sutton to an ACL injury, Lock still has a plethora of weapons at his disposal when he returns. Noah Fant has continued to dominate and Tim Patrick and Jerry Jeudy both looked strong with Brett Rypien and Jeff Driskel under center. Beyond that, Melvin Gordon has been excellent, and Philip Lindsay is poised to return from his own injury. Lock has the complimentary cast to provide a nice floor as a QB2 for the remainder of the season.



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Tight End Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 6

Week 6 is not going to be kind to fantasy football managers at the tight end position.

Four teams are on bye, which means fantasy players will not have Las Vegas’ Darren Waller, New Orleans’ Jared Cook, Los Angeles’ Hunter Henry, and Seattle’s Greg Olsen at their disposal. On top of that, fantasy footballers might have to live another week without Denver’s Noah Fant and Philadelphia’s Dallas Goedert due to their injuries. And do I even have to mention how COVID and the NFL’s rescheduling of games has wreaked havoc on fantasy GMs across the country?

If you need a tight end for your fantasy squad this week, you are shopping at the right store! Here are the top tight end candidates to pick up in fantasy football leagues heading into Week 6!

 

Top Tight End Waiver Wire Options

Jimmy Graham, Chicago Bears

40% rostered

Graham is getting to be the Cris Carter of 2020 --- all he does is catch touchdown passes. The veteran fantasy stud has four touchdowns in Chicago’s first five games and has been equally as comfortable whether Nick Foles or Mitchell Trubisky is his quarterback.

Graham is not racking up lots of yardage (34 yards per week) and is not busting many long gainers (9.9 YPC, no 30-yard receptions yet), but he is more dependable and reliable than most tight ends on fantasy waiver wires at this juncture. Graham has a rough matchup in Week 6 against an above-average Carolina Panthers pass defense that has not allowed a tight end TD over its first five games, but even if Graham does not help fantasy managers this week he certainly should during other weeks later this season.

Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2% rostered

Tampa Bay has as many injured pass catchers as Texas Roadhouse has steaks. That is why it was no surprise Brate started seeing many more Tom Brady passes head his direction, especially because O.J. Howard suffered his season-ending Achilles injury, elevating Brate as Tampa’s No. 2 TE behind Rob Gronkowski.

Brate caught five passes for 44 yards on six targets this past Thursday night and should continue to be given ample opportunities on passes over the middle of 10 yards or less, along with inside the red zone. Brate is facing a stiff challenge from a Green Bay defense that should be fresh coming off a bye and that has not allowed a tight end to score this year, but he hauled in two touchdowns in his only career game against the Packers so do not be shocked if he has a solid outing.

 

Other Tight End Options to Consider

Mo Alie-Cox, Indianapolis Colts

36% rostered

Fantasy GMs should not kick Cox to the curb over one poor performance. He has been one of the pleasant surprises at the position this season and should not be punished for last game, where he went catchless against Cleveland. Cox recorded 174 receiving yards and two touchdowns in the three games prior and has a mouthwatering matchup versus the pitiful Cincinnati Bengals and their inexperienced secondary up next. Jack Doyle has done nothing to deter Philip Rivers from throwing to Cox since returning from injury.

Irv Smith Jr., Minnesota Vikings

6% rostered

Smith was an invisible man over the opening month of the season (two catches for 14 yards), but quarterback Kirk Cousins found the young upstart for a couple nice plays this past Sunday night. Smith racked up four receptions for 64 yards and should be included in the Vikings offensive game plans much more regularly after this prime-time effort. Smith should have no trouble having another plus game this Sunday against Atlanta, whose secondary is too banged-up and not talented enough to cover most NFL-caliber pass catchers.

Gerald Everett, Los Angeles Rams

1% rostered

Before Tyler Higbee lost his mind and had his scintillating five-game stretch for the Rams at the tail end of the 2019 campaign, Everett had a four-game span where he caught 18 passes for 239 yards and two touchdowns before being derailed by an injury. Everett is looking now like he did during that hot streak. The big man caught four passes for 90 yards against Washington in Week 5 and could push for a bigger role in the Rams passing attack if he keeps contributing like this. Everett is one to watch for in deep leagues, but it is too early to peg him as a savior in standard leagues.

 

Don’t Forget About…

Darren Fells, Houston Texans

2% rostered

Fells’ fantasy value has fallen off the charts this season as up-and-coming Jordan Akins has overshadowed and outplayed him. With Akins concussed and not in uniform this past weekend, however, Fells regained his 2019 form and gifted shrewd fantasy managers 57 yards and a touchdown for easily his best game of the young season. If Akins misses more time, Fells could be a low-cost spot starter for fantasy purposes.

Drew Sample, Cincinnati Bengals

4% rostered

Cincy’s second-round pick from 2019 has two 40-yard games over the past month, but he has yet to find the end zone or become a consistent fantasy threat. If you can be patient with Sample, though, he could develop his chemistry with QB Joe Burrow over the course of the season and become a decent piece of your roster in dynasty leagues for 2021.

Greg Olsen, Seattle Seahawks

29% rostered

Olsen’s numbers are not as flashy or as helpful as they were during his prime with the Carolina Panthers, but the longtime veteran is still serviceable for fantasy football. Olsen is on bye this week so he will be of no use to fantasy players in the short term, and it would be nice if he was the Seahawks tight end catching Russell Wilson TD tosses and not Will Dissly. If you could use a better backup on your fantasy roster, however, Olsen could help, especially Wilson starts trusting him more as the season wears on.

Dawson Knox, Buffalo Bills

2% rostered

Knox is now caught in a timeshare situation with Tyler Kroft, which does not do any fantasy favors for either man. But while Kroft is the multimillionaire veteran, Knox is the future and needs to be kept an eye on over the next several weeks. If Knox shows any signs of life, scoop him up in dynasty leagues and stash him at the bottom of your roster. One of these days the light will go on and he will become a decent fantasy option.



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Top IDP Waiver Wire Pickups for Week 6

Last week, we gave you a few select pieces of advice in our IDP waiver column and our weekly IDP rankings column. Let’s review a couple of those pieces of advice, and whether they panned out, shall we?

Last week we told you to stop letting Budda Baker sit on waivers. We warned you that he had missed one week, but was still a star in a thin DB pool. Today his roster percentage stands at 61% in both ESPN and Yahoo leagues. The 39% who failed to roster Baker this past weekend missed out on a sack, eight solo tackles, and ten total tackles.

That’s elite production from any DB, and the guy silenced injury concerns by playing 100% of the Cardinals’ defensive snaps just a week after thumb surgery. If you are part of the 39% who left him on waivers, I would ask you to look at his performance this past weekend and compare it to whoever you started instead of adding him. I’d hazard that Baker outperformed whatever DB you started over him.

 

Week 6 Intro

Baker is not the only player you left out there despite our brilliant IDP advice here at Rotoballer, though. Last week we also warned you to stop dropping Darius Leonard. Since then, Leonard has been dropped in another 18% of IDP leagues. Now the Colts’ superstar is rostered in a mere 75% of ESPN leagues, and a woeful 68% of IDP leagues in Yahoo. This is an unreasonably low roster percentage for a guy who comfortably dominated all other defenders in fantasy the second half of last year. I mean, come on guys! Sometimes it feels like the only person listening to our brilliant advice is our very imaginary super fan, Trevor.... Oh, and that weird guy on Instagram who keeps asking me if I like my cabbage boiled and always comments that I ‘look like a toothpaste model’ in every picture I post.

Side note: what does that even mean, TaterGuy121? What does a toothpaste model even look like? Are you complimenting me, or telling me I’m so ugly that my teeth are my best feature? I mean, I know I have straight teeth, but I also have eyes, a nose, and a pretty darned nice… you know what? Never mind. I’m getting sidetracked.

The point is, let our warnings about Budda Baker serve as a lesson. We told you to stop leaving proven IDP stars on waivers due to minor injuries, and a lot of you missed out on serious fantasy production by ignoring that advice. Please don't do that with Leonard. Find space for him on your bench until he is healthy, perhaps even trade two decent players you aren't using for a good one so you can improve your roster AND make room for Leonard when he returns. It doesn't matter how you do it, get him rostered in 100% of IDP leagues!

 

IDP Settings

As a reminder, we will use the following IDP designations/league settings for our FAAB recommendations:

  • Standard Scoring Leagues: This system usually rewards 1-point per tackle, 3-points per sack, 4-points per turnover, and sometimes offers 2-points for a tackle for loss (TFL) or pass deflection (PD). Standard leagues also usually only start one DL, LB, and DB, respectively. You will always prioritize your FAAB budget towards offensive players in Standard Scoring IDP leagues, though you shouldn't underestimate the value of adding a great defender in them.
  • Defense Premium Leagues: Defense Premium leagues tend to try to make defensive players worth as much as offensive players. Commissioners often accomplish this by rewarding 2-points per tackle, 3-points for TFL or PDs, 4-points per sack, and 6-points per turnover. In these leagues, you don't necessarily prioritize offensive players on waivers. While it is a case-by-case analysis, defenders in these leagues can often be worth as much as most offensive waiver additions.
  • Deep Defense Leagues: These are leagues that have you start a full defense, or require you to start CBs and DTs, or they are leagues so deep (think 16 team leagues) that at least 32 players at each position (DL, LB, and DB) start every week.
  • Dynasty Leagues: This is self-explanatory to most. Dynasty leagues are those in which every player you draft/add is on your team until you trade or release him.

Now that we have that explanation out of the way, let's get to this week's top adds! Remember that we will only address defenders who are rostered in less than 30% of IDP leagues on ESPN, Yahoo, or other prominent sites. We will also do our best to avoid obvious additions. While players like Myles Garrett are somehow rostered in only 31% of ESPN IDP leagues, we assume that anyone reading this material knows to add Garrett if they can.

 

1. Chase Young, DL, Washington Football Team

It doesn't seem like he should qualify for this list, but he does. Young's elite talent is available in 77% of IDP leagues, which is a bit much even if you factor in the Buckeye's injury in Week 2. Young should be rostered in all leagues, and you should particularly like his matchup against the Giants this week. He is an easy top-ten DL this week, as long as he continues to play.

Standard Scoring FAAB: 3%

Defense Premium FAAB: 4%

Deep Defense FAAB: 5%

Dynasty FAAB: 5%

2. Bobby Okereke, LB, Indianapolis Colts

Last week we told you to add Anthony Walker as a solid fill-in for Darius Leonard, and that call turned out well. Okereke performed even better than Walker, however. Playing 100% of his team’s snaps for the first time all year, Okereke totaled ten tackles, a pick, and a PD against Cleveland last week. While that type of production may decline just a bit against a pass-heavy Bengals offense this coming week, Okereke is a young and talented defender worth adding as a Leonard fill-in in Standard IDP leagues. He is also worth rostering in Deep Defense and deep dynasties.

Standard League FAAB: 1% (if you need a Leonard sub)

Deep Defense FAAB: 2%

Dynasty FAAB: Wait

3. Yannick Ngakoue, DL, Minnesota Vikings

We first told you to add Ngakoue in fantasy after he nabbed a strip-sack against the Colts in Week 2. Since then, Ngakoue has totaled at least one sack and one TFL in three straight games (four games straight, overall). On top of that, he has forced a fumble and averaged nearly three tackles over the past three weeks. Ngakoue is doing all of this despite being the focal point of opposing blockers, with little help from teammates. If Danielle Hunter ever returns, these numbers could increase as Hunter forces QBs towards Ngakoue with regularity. With how thin the DL position is right now, Ngakoue should not be available in 82% of IDP leagues.

Standard League FAAB: 1%

Defense Premium FAAB: 3%

Deep Defense FAAB: 1%

Dynasty FAAB: 2%

4. Harold Landry III, DL, Tennessee Titans

Another player we have already told you to roster but is still available in over 80% of IDP leagues. Landry has averaged over four tackles per game so far this season, and he just notched his first sack against the Bills. Expect his sack numbers to continue to rise, and his tackle rate to stay steady. A bonus of having Landry as your starting DL is that he already had his BYE week, meaning you shouldn't need a backup unless COVID strikes again or injuries crop up. Landry is young enough and well-rounded enough to be rostered anywhere he qualifies as a DL.

Standard League FAAB: 1%

Deep Defense FAAB: 2%

Defense Premium FAAB: Wait

Dynasty FAAB: Wait

5. Jeremy Chinn, DB/LB, Carolina Panthers

You've heard it before, so start adding him, huh? He is almost rostered in enough leagues that he won't qualify for this list. Let's get him there! The guy hasn't logged less than seven tackles in any game, and he will keep getting better.

Standard Scoring FAAB: 2%

Defense Premium FAAB: 2%

Deep Defense FAAB: 7%

Dynasty FAAB: 5%

6. Justin Simmons, DB, Denver Broncos

Simmons was a top-ten DB in fantasy in most formats last year, and he is so again this year. He is valuable in both Deep Defense leagues, thanks to his ability to get you INTs and PDs, and in Standard leagues where his tackling ability will be valued. With his BYE in the rearview mirror, Simmons has even more appeal since you can leave him in your DB slot for the rest of the year.

Standard Scoring FAAB: Wait

Defense Premium FAAB: 2%

Deep Defense FAAB: 2%

Dynasty FAAB: Wait

7. Dre Greenlaw, LB, San Francisco 49ers

Thanks to injuries and Kwon Alexander taking passing down work with Fred Warner, Greenlaw has seen his 2020 fantasy value take a hit. Greenlaw is back healthy, and Alexander may be headed for the IR with a high ankle sprain, however.

Fantasy managers should strongly consider adding and starting Greenlaw for however long Alexander is out. Dynasty managers should also consider keeping Greenlaw for the long term since Alexander could be a cap casualty in 2021. Remember that when Alexander missed the 49ers' final eight regular-season games last year, Greenlaw played over 90% of the team’s defensive snaps in each of those contests. The former Razorback averaged over nine tackles over that span, and he totaled 13 tackles in both Weeks 16 and 17. Don’t spend FAAB on him, because most won’t see much fantasy value in Greenlaw’s 2020 stats, but consider adding him for free if you can.

Standard Scoring FAAB: Wait

Deep Defense FAAB: Wait

Dynasty FAAB: Wait

8. Willie Gay Jr., LB, Kansas City Chiefs

A talented but troubled second-round selection in this year's draft, Gay Jr. has seen his snaps increase every game this season. He spent the Chiefs' entire opener on the bench, only to play nearly half of their snaps this past week against the Raiders. You saw the talent when Gay Jr. got to play in Week 5, when he totaled six tackles and a sack. It is far too early to add Gay Jr. in any but the deepest of redraft leagues, but he is a good add in deep dynasty setups.

Deep Defense FAAB: Wait

Dynasty FAAB: Wait



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Week 5 Defense (DEF) Streamers and Starts - 2020 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings

After successfully predicting eight out of the top ten defenses last week, we may be starting to hit our groove. Some of them felt a bit like gimmes, but the Jets in the top-10 was the subject of criticism and watching the Bills round into form a bit was also nice. The only two outliers here were my faith in the Seahawks Defense to capitalize on Ryan Fitzpatrick's mistakes, and my belief that the Cardinals Defense could curtail the Christian McCaffrey-less Panthers. However, the Cam Newton news on Saturday (after the rankings were published) also drastically shifted the defensive landscape.

Now four weeks in, certain stats have started to stabilize and we have a good idea that the limited preseason may be impacting defenses more than offenses. Entering Monday night, teams had scored 3,151 points, which was already the most through the first month of any season in the Super Bowl era. On top of that, there has been a combined average of 13.65 penalties per game, down from an average of 18.54 through the same stretch last season. All of this is causing offenses to put up video game numbers, which means that we can't continue to judge a defense solely by the number of points they allow. Those numbers will naturally be higher than we're used to. Instead, we need to look for which offensive lines are truly weakpoints and which defenses will either be blitz-heavy or get consistent pressure with their pass rush. These are all incredibly important pieces of information in determining which defenses to play in any given week.

Remember that picking the right defense is not about identifying who will allow the fewest points, but who will cause the most turnovers or tally the most sacks since that has a higher correlation to weekly fantasy DST leaders. That means that, as much these rankings are about the talent on the defensive side of the ball, it is equally about taking advantage of the lack of talent on the offensive side. Starting the right defense every week can be a difference-maker, so remember to check back here during the week as I will make updates once we get more information on some of these injuries and also get a better sense of the weather for the game.

 

Week 5 Defenses To Start & Stream: Tiers & Rankings

Below are my Week 5 defense tiers and rankings, or which defenses to stream, start and target off the waiver wire for Week 5 of the NFL and fantasy football season. Our weekly tiered defense rankings are a guide to making waiver wire pickups to improve your lineups, and to decide which defenses to start, sit, target, avoid or stream for Week 5. I've broken out our defense rankings into tiers with analysis on each matchup. Some of these Week 5 defenses have good matchups and are not widely-owned, representing fantasy scoring opportunities if they are available on your league's waiver wire for a Week 5 pickup or add.

Returning for this year: Confidence Ratings (out of 15) - Since every league's DST scoring is different, projections don't always make a ton of sense. The confidence rating, which Bill Dubiel started last year, is a guideline for how much more I like one team over another instead of a straight point projection. A zero means "do not start," then the confidence rises from there. I take a lot of factors into account: opponent injuries, home-field advantage, weather (which will be updated during the week), etc. We still have only one game of in-season data to work with, so this week's rankings weigh schedule and personnel heavier than they will down the line.

Typically the top three tiers will be DSTs you should target, with Tier 4 being options in deep leagues and Tier 5 being desperation plays or good defenses in horrendous matchups.

 

Tier 1 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Week 2 Opponent Confidence Rating
1 1 Pittsburgh Steelers Defense  vs.PHI 14.1
2 1 New England Patriots Defense vs. DEN 13.4
3 1 Baltimore Ravens Defense vs. CIN 12.1
4 1 Los Angeles Rams Defense @ WAS 11.4

Having a game postponed due to positive COVID tests is never a good thing, but it did give the Steelers an extra few days to gameplan for Carson Wentz and the Eagles. Coming into Sunday's victory over to the 49ers, the Eagles offense was a shell of itself. Repeated injuries to their offensive line, as well as to Dallas Goedert, DeSean Jackson, and Jalen Reagor left Wentz with practice squad wide receivers. Even though the Eagles scored 25 points and won the game on Sunday night, they only gained 267 yards of total offense against a defense that has been decimated by injuries. Alshon Jeffrey may come back next week, but he's going to be incredibly rusty, and the Eagles offensive line will still be the walking wounded, especially with the revelation that Lane Johnson will have to play the entire season through injury. Through four games, the Eagles are allowing a tremendous amount of pressure, tied for 29th in the NFL in sacks allowed, and the Steelers lead the league in blitz percentage (51.2%) and pressure rate (46.5%). San Francisco was able to get to Wentz three times despite losing yet another defensive lineman (Ezekiel Ansah) to injury, so I expect the Steelers to make his life miserable this weekend.

Holding the Chiefs offense in check the way the Patriots did during the first half on Monday night was a truly impressive feat; however, I'm not sure we should have expected much different from Bill Belichick. Yes, the Chiefs wound up with 26 points and the win, but their offense was stalled way more than usual. Belichick has always been an incredible defensive coach, but now his task gets significantly easier on Sunday against Brett Rypien (most likely) and the Denver Broncos. Fresh off of throwing three interceptions and almost giving the game away against the Jets, Rypien looks like fresh meat to the Patriots coaching staff. The Patriots may only have six sacks on the season, but they are sixth in the NFL in pressure rate at 26.9% and seventh in the league with 19 quarterback hurries, numbers that are more impressive when you consider that three of the four teams the Patriots have played are in the top-13 in pressure allowed. Meanwhile, the Broncos are 28th in the league with 13 sacks allowed and simply don't have the playmakers to scare these Patriots defenders. Yes, Jerry Jeudy will be good, but he's not somebody that is going to consistently get the better of Stephon Gilmore right now. I expect the Patriots to control this game and cause lots of problems for Rypien. UPDATE: Stephone Gilmore recently tested positive for COVID, which will likely downgrade this defense, slightly, when I update the rankings after Thursday's game. 

The Ravens surprisingly allowed 343 total yards to Washington in their 31-17 victory on Sunday, coming away with only one sack and one turnover against Dwayne Haskins, who had been on the verge of demotion before the game began. To make matters more troubling, Washington is currently 25th in the league with 13 sacks allowed, so the fact that the Ravens couldn't get to Haskins often is mildly concerning and a microcosm of their larger issues. On the season, the Ravens are tied for a disappointing 15th in the league with nine sacks and are 22nd with only a 20.4% pressure rate. Those numbers simply aren't going to do it. However, the Bengals may be just what the doctor ordered. Despite their victory against Jacksonville, and Joe Mixon's big day, the Bengals offensive line has been horrendous. They get very little push in the running game and are 31st in the league with 15 sacks allowed. I'm betting on the talent the Ravens have on defense, and if they can't come away with multiple sacks this weekend, it may be time to move them out of the elite tier.

After getting shellacked in the first half against the Bills, the Rams defense has really started to wake up. They were getting no pressure on the quarterback early in the season, but are now fifth in the NFL in sacks and 17th in pressure rate, which is a major improvement over the last two weeks. They now get to face the aforementioned Washington offense, which should be no contest for this Rams defense. With Jalen Ramsey more than capable of making life hard on Terry McLaurin, Haskins will need to consistently move the ball with his other options on offense. I simply don't seem that happening against a Rams defense that is playing fast and hungry. They got to Daniel Jones five times on Sunday, and I expect more of the same this week. Remember, Dwayne Haskins was on the verge of being benched for Kyle Allen. One mediocre game doesn't all of the sudden make him a much better quarterback.

 

Tier 2 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Week 5 Opponent Confidence Rating
5 2 San Francisco 49ers Defense  vs. MIA 11.1
6 2 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defense @ CHI 10.6
7 2 Indianapolis Colts Defense vs. CLE 10.1
8 2 Arizona Cardinals Defense @ NYJ 9.8

As I mentioned above, the 49ers just suffered yet another defensive injury, but they are also second in the NFL with a 30.9% pressure rate and held the Eagles to under 300 yards of total offense. The good news for the 49ers is that there is a chance they get linebacker Dre Greenlaw and cornerbacks Emmanuel Moseley, K'Waun Williams, and Ahkello Witherspoon back in time for the game against Miami. While those won't help their decimated pass rush, getting some starters back in the secondary will be crucial for a match-up against pass-happy Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Dolphins. The Harvard graduate as thrown the third-most interceptions in the league, but the Dolphins have only allowed six sacks per game, so that San Francisco pressure rate will be put to the test. I expect the 49ers to grind this game out on the ground, not giving Miami a chance to run as many plays as they did this weekend. That will lead to this being a low-scoring game with a Fitz interception or two thrown into the mix for a solid overall game at the office of the Niners defense.

While the Chargers put up 31 points against the Bucs on Sunday, only 24 of those came against the defense, and, as mentioned above, scoring is up across the league, so we can't judge a defense only by the amount of points they give up. The Bucs limited the Chargers to 324 total yards; yet, 125 of them came on two touchdowns passes by Justin Herbert. Now, those still count, but that means, outside of two big plays, the Bucs held the Chargers to 199 yards on 48 plays, or 4.1 yards per play. The only reason I bring that up is that the Chicago Bears with Nick Foles are not the kind of explosive offense to take advantage of the Bucs' tendency to give up big plays. However, they also aren't the type of offense to give up a ton of sacks, as they held the Colts high-pressure defense to only one. They also only put up 11 points in a loss. I don't think the Bears are going to do much damage on offense and the Bucs are currently fourth in the NFL in sacks and 3rd in pressure rate (29.9%), so they'll likely get to Foles once or twice and at least pressure him into some bad throws since I expect the Bears to be playing from behind.

Losing Nick Chubb is a major blow for the Browns offense. Yes, they still have Kareem Hunt, but those two as a tandem never gave the defense a chance to breathe. While Hunt is explosive, he doesn't have Chubb's power inside and isn't as effective in goal-line situations. The rushing offense is absolutely crucial to the Browns' success because it puts less pressure on the erratic play of Baker Mayfield. In Sunday's win, the Browns ran for 307 of their 508 total yards. That's going to be a lot harder to do against a Colts defense that is 6th in the NFL with 3.6 yards allowed per attempt and tops in the league by allowing only 26.7% of drives end in points. If the Browns aren't able to control the game on the ground and use it to set up play-action then Mayfield is going to have to put more weight on his own shoulders against a Colts defense that is 4th in the league in pressure rate (27.9%), tied for 8th in sacks, and tied for 10th in quarterback hurries. A game where Baker throws more usually means more interceptions and less high-scoring offense, especially against a defense that isn't allowing many points to begin with.

It's pretty clear after four weeks that you play your defenses against the Jets. Even the Browns Defense that had lost nearly every impact starter other than Bradley Chubb still put up a reasonable performance. Believe it or not, this Cardinals defense is better. They are tied for 6th in the league with 11 sacks and are 15th in drives that end in a score. They're relatively average in both rushing and passing defense, but they have been a bit weaker against the run this year,  a fact which shouldn't hurt them much against Frank Gore and the Jets. The Cardinals will also likely get safety Budda Baker back this week, which only makes them a stronger play. On the other side of the ball, I simply can't see the Jets Defense stopping Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins, provided the veteran receiver is healed enough from a foot injury that clearly hampered him against Carolina. If the Cardinals are scoring points, that will put the Jets in catch-up mode, and they simply don't have the offensive line to consistently protect Darnold in that situation. The young signal-caller has made some great plays this year, but is also making more head-scratching mistakes as a result of his dismal supporting cast. I expect more of the latter on Sunday.

 

Tier 3 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Week 5 Opponent Confidence Rating
9 3 Buffalo Bills Defense @ TEN 9.5
10 3 Kansas City Chiefs Defense vs. LV 9.4
11 3 Tennessee Titans Defense vs. BUF 8.5
12 3 Cleveland Browns Defense vs. IND 8.2
13 3 New Orleans Saints Defense vs. LAC 7.9
14 3 Denver Broncos Defense @ NE 7.4
15 3 Houston Texans Defense vs. JAX 7.1

The Bills defense is starting to come around. They kept Raiders star Josh Jacobs in check for much of Sunday afternoon and stifled an admittedly banged up Raiders offense until a garbage-time touchdown at the end of the game. However, this is a different task. The Bills are still only 16th in the NFL in yards allowed per carry with 4.4, and the Titans will bring bruiser Derrick Henry with them on Sunday. Now, the Titans offensive line hasn't been great and they're currently 27th in the league with only 3.8 yards per attempt, but we know Henry's talent and the Bills also lost linebacker Matt Milano to injury on Sunday, so if he's unable to play, this advantage swings even more to Tennessee. With news that wide receiver A.J. Brown is on track to return Week 5, this becomes a more dangerous Titans offense. Considering they've only allowed four sacks on the year, I don't expect the Bills to get to Ryan Tannehill that much, which means this could be a slow, low-scoring game that won't yield too many fantasy points. UPDATE: With more Titans testing positive for COVID, this game has a real chance to be postponed or outright canceled (with Tennessee forfeiting) since the Titans have already had a bye. Get a back-up option ready. 

The Chiefs just came out of that Monday night game with a dominating win over the Patriots, even though it was a version without Cam Newton. However, the Chiefs defense is 9th in the NFL in pressure rate, fifth in the NFL in sacks, and third in interceptions. That opportunistic nature is going to be important against a Raiders offensive line that's banged up and looked to tire in the second half against the Bills. What's more, it's unclear if the Raiders will get Henry Ruggs or Bryan Edwards back for this game, leaving Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow as the main pass-catching options. If that's the case, the Chiefs defense may move up in the rankings, but I think Derek Carr will be throwing in catch-up mode all game long, which will lead to garbage points, but also a lot of turnovers and sacks.

The Bills offense has been on fire to start the season, but they've also not played a defense that is the same caliber as the Titans. Add to that that the Titans had extra days to prepare for this Bills team, and you could see the first rough Sunday for this Buffalo offense. The Bills offensive line is without Jon Feliciano and also lost Brian Winters on Sunday; that's not great for a line that is already 18th in the league in sacks allowed. The Titans may only have four sacks, but they are 5th in the NFL in pressure rate and second in quarterback knockdowns, so they are likely going to be in Josh Allen's face. The quarterback's near-injury and horrible fourth-quarter sack on Sunday show that there are still chinks in his armor. If the Titans can get pressure on him, they can turn some of that Hero Ball mentality into some turnovers, which will be crucial in what should be a low-scoring game. UPDATE: With more Titans testing positive for COVID, this game has a real chance to be postponed or outright canceled (with Tennessee forfeiting) since the Titans have already had a bye. Get a back-up option ready. 

The Browns defense is decidedly average when it comes to pressure rate (16th) and quarterback knockdowns (30th), but they are tops in the league in quarterback hurries and 8th in yards allowed per rushing attempt at 3.9 yards. Those last two stats are particularly important in this game because Phillip Rivers remains relatively immobile, and the Colts will try to win this on the ground. TY Hilton has looked like a shell of his former self and has yet to top 87 yards in a game since Andrew Luck retired. If the Colts can't get Jonathan Taylor going against a solid run defense, then I expect a fair share of stalled drives and punts. The Colts offensive line is good enough to prevent many sacks, but I expect an interception from the Browns and a really ugly game without many points scored.

The Saints secondary is beyond banged up right now, and Justin Herbert actually looks pretty good. However, the loss of Austin Ekeler hurts the Chargers offense enough to keep the Saints in play in deeper leagues. The Saints had done a decent job containing the Lions, limiting them to 281 yards on the day, 112 of which came on two scoring drives when the game was essentially already decided. Still, this is a team that's 27th in the league in pressure rate and 28th in drives ending in points allowed with 53.1%, so there is cause for concern. If the Saints secondary, particularly Marshon Lattimore, can come back healthy on Sunday, then I like them to take advantage of a banged-up Chargers team and a rookie quarterback. If not, I would stay away from this game.

This ranking is assuming that Cam Newton misses another week since he was diagnosed with COVID-19, which has a 14-day quarantine period. With Brian Hoyer or Jarrett Stidham under center, this offense simply isn't scary. The Broncos defense is banged up enough that I'm not sure they can contain a well-coached Patriots offense for the entire game, so I just don't see a lot of upside in the matchup, especially with how the Broncos offense but their defense in bad positions throughout the entire game against the Jets. However, I think a few turnovers are in store with those either of those players at quarterback, and I can't envision this being a high-scoring, or exciting, football game.

Don't look now, but we have a Replacement Coach Narrative. After the Texans fired Bill O'Brien, there was a report that the Texans players felt a sense of relief. They will now be playing for Romeo Crennell, the defensive coordinator, who appears well-loved in the locker room. However, that's not reason enough to want to play them. What is the reason is that the Jaguars are 27th in the league in sacks allowed and the Texans are tied for 10th in the league in sacks. The Texans blitz the 7th most in the league, which could confuse a mediocre Jaguars offensive line and cause issues for Gardner Minshew, who already has four interceptions on the year. I expect the Texans to be fired up and think they could dominate the Jaguars in this game.

 

Tier 4 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Week 5 Opponent Confidence Rating
16 4 Dallas Cowboys Defense vs. NYG 7.0
17 4 New York Jets Defense vs. ARI 6.6
18 4 Seattle Seahawks Defense vs. MIN 6.5
19 4 Chicago Bears Defense vs. TB 5.2
20 4 Philadelphia Eagles Defense @ PIT 4.9
21 4 Washington Football Team Defense vs. BAL 4.5
22 4 Miami Dolphins Defense @ SF 4.2

Yes, I know the Cowboys are playing the Giants, but they just gave up over 500 yards to the Browns and have given up 1,722 yards through four games, over 430 per game. The fact that they're playing the Giants gives them some upside for sacks and turnovers, but this is also a really bad defense that could give up 20+ points easily in this game.

The Jets run defense is solid, but they're secondary is not equipped to handle Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins. They may notch a sack or two, which can keep them interesting in super deep leagues, but this isn't a match-up I would be targeting.

Jamaal Adams appears to be another week away from returning, so that makes the Seahawks secondary vulnerable to Adam Thielen and emerging Justin Jefferson. I expect the Seahawks to score at will against Minnesota, which will lead to lots of garbage time points and yards for the Vikings offense. The Seahawks will likely get enough sacks to keep them in deep league consideration, but I don't love the play this week.

The Bears defense simply doesn't have the bite it's had in year's past. They are 28th in the league in pressure rate and have a mediocre eight sacks over four games. They rarely blitz and simply aren't getting pressure with their front four, especially against a Bucs offensive line that has allowed five total sacks in four games. With the way Tom Brady just torched a better Chargers secondary, I wouldn't feel comfortable lining up the Bears against him this week, even with Chris Godwin likely to miss another week.

The Eagles defense woke up against an injured Niners team on Sunday night, and I think this defense is one to keep an eye on now that they're starting to get healthy. I'm just not interested in them this week. Facing Nick Mullens, Jerrick McKinnon, and the Niners, even with George Kittle, is much different than facing this Steelers offense. Additionally, I think the Steelers defense is going to have a field day with the Eagles offensive line, which will likely lead to turnovers and a lot of bad spots for the Eagles defense. That's never good for fantasy production.

Michael Thomas is likely to return this week, and the Chargers just allowed 38 points to a Tampa Bay offense without Chris Godwin. Are you really confident in rolling them out against a fully healthy Saints offense?

Washington gets a tremendous amount of pressure, which keeps them from the bottom tier, but this isn't going to be a game you want to play them. They are banged up on the defensive line and don't have the secondary talent to keep this Ravens team from running up 30+ points.

The Dolphins squeeze into the bottom of this tier because we still don't know who is suiting up for San Francisco. If Jimmy Garropollo, Raheem Mostert, and/or Deebo Samuel come back, this is an entirely different offense and one that I am not comfortable attacking with the Dolphins and their mediocre pass rush.

 

Tier 5 Defenses

Rank Tier DST Week 5 Opponent Confidence Rating
23 5 Los Angeles Chargers Defense @ NO 3.9
24 5 Atlanta Falcons Defense vs. CAR 3.1
25 5 Cincinnati Bengals Defense @ BAL 2.5
26 5 Jacksonville Jaguars Defense @ HOU 2.4
27 5 Carolina Panthers Defense vs. ATL 1.5
28 5 New York Giants Defense @ DAL 0.8
29 5 Minnesota Vikings Defense @ SEA 0.4
30 5 Las Vegas Raiders Defense @ KC 0.3
31 5 Detroit Lions Defense BYE 0.0
32 5 Green Bay Packers Defense BYE 0.0


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Week 5 Kicker Streamers and Starts - 2020 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings

Week 4 is done, and the NFL season is really starting to roll now. Offenses are scoring more than we've ever seen before. Heading into the Monday night games, nine of the 13 games for the week had gone over the 50-point mark, and two of the four came within five points of that mark. If offenses are just going to keep getting better as they gel more, we could be on pace to see the most high-scoring season of all time.

We don't have a ton of matchups that figure to be offensive shootouts, but we could see several high-powered offenses beat up on lower-level teams. We saw teams hanging around in games last week, so we can never overlook those teams. Regardless of what you think of these matchups, we're all going to be watching, and I'm sure we'll see some exciting moments across the board in every game.

Bye weeks are officially here. We're going to be without Detroit Lions' kicker Matt Prater and Green Bay Packers' kicker Mason Crosby. Crosby has been one of the NFL's best kickers in the early going, so you'll have to find a replacement for him this week. Prater isn't in the top tier, but he's been in the top half of the league thus far. If you're looking to replace one of those guys, you're in the right place.

 

Tier 1 NFL Kickers

1. Harrison Butker (KC) vs LV
2. Greg Zuerlein (DAL) vs NYG
3. Jason Myers (SEA) vs MIN
4. Dan Bailey (MIN) @ SEA
5. Zane Gonzalez (ARI) @ NYJ

Kansas City Chiefs' kicker Harrison Butker claims the top spot for Week 5. He draws a matchup with the Las Vegas Raiders that are playing hard-nosed football to start the year. While they may not win the game, they will be able to hang and score points. Dallas Cowboys kicker Greg Zuerlein is probably loving life. Since Week 2, they've scored 31 or more points in all three games. Lock him in against the New York Giants this week. Seattle Seahawks kicker Jason Myers gets the next spot. This has been arguably the NFL's best offense through four weeks, and they grab a matchup with the Minnesota Vikings, who are still struggling to stop teams a quarter of the way into the season. I'm expecting a lot of points from both teams.

Vikings' kicker Dan Bailey grabs the fourth spot. I'm expecting a shootout in this game. The Vikings can move the ball well, and they'll be able to run up some points against the Seahawks' defense that has allowed at least 23 points in all four games thus far. Rounding out the top five, we have Arizona Cardinals' kicker Zane Gonzalez. This Cardinals' unit is sputtering after a hot 2-0 start, but the New York Jets are a perfect recipe to get things back on track. I think the Cardinals' have the potential to have one of their best games of the season this week. Gonzalez will be a primary beneficiary of that.

 

Tier 2 NFL Kickers

6. Justin Tucker (BAL) vs CIN
7. Samuel Sloman (LAR) @ WAS
8. Younghoe Koo (ATL) vs CAR
9. Cody Parkey (CLE) vs IND
10. Robbie Gould (SF) vs MIA

Baltimore Ravens' kicker Justin Tucker grabs the sixth spot. This Baltimore offense ran up the score early against the Washington Football Team, and they bulled their starters. I don't think that will be happening against the Cincinnati Bengals, but he should still have a great scoring week. Los Angeles Rams' kicker Samuel Sloman gets the next spot. This Rams' group was held in check in Week 4, but they can bounce back against Washington in Week 5. This offense has the pieces to take advantage of Washington's weaknesses in the secondary. Atlanta Falcons' kicker Younghoe Koo comes in the eighth spot. His offense is still loaded with talent, and they can put points on a Carolina Panthers' defense that has outperformed expectations to this point.

Cleveland Browns' kicker Cody Parkey gets the next spot here. This offense just ran for over 300 yards against the Dallas Cowboys. I don't think they'll be able to move the ball at will against the Indianapolis Colts, but I do think they'll be able to get him into scoring situations throughout the game. San Francisco 49ers kicker Robbie Gould rounds out our second tier. This 49ers' team should be getting a few starters back next week, and that will automatically help his cause for scoring points. He's getting a little long in the tooth, but he remains one of the best in the business at what he does.

 

Tier 3 NFL Kickers

11. Wil Lutz (NO) vs LAC
12.Stephen Hauschka (JAX) @ HOU
13.Chris Boswell (PIT) vs PHI
14.Daniel Carlson (LV) @ KC
15. Rodrigo Blankenship (IND) @ CLE

New Orleans Saints' kicker Wil Lutz grabs the first spot in this third tier. He's on an offense that's finally starting to get their feet under them, and wide receiver Michael Thomas has a strong chance to return next week against the Los Angeles Chargers, which will give them a big boost. Jacksonville Jaguars' kicker Stephen Hauschka is up next. This Jaguars' team is feisty, and they can put some points on a reeling Houston Texans' team that just fired their coach following an 0-4 start. Chris Boswell of the Pittsburgh Steelers claims the next spot. The Steelers' offense has been decent thus far, and they can play even better against the Philadelphia Eagles that have struggled through four games. 

Raiders' kicker Daniel Carlson sneaks into the 14-spot this week. This Raiders' offense can move the ball against Kansas City on the ground, and they've found ways to put up points through the first month of the season. He's been nearly perfect thus far, and I think he has another good week ahead. Indianapolis Colts' kicker Rodrigo Blankenship snags our last spot for this week. This Colts' team has shown that they can score well, or they can win ugly. They could be forced to do either one of those this week against the Browns. This one isn't a perfect matchup, but he's been a good kicker on a good team. Relying on that this week.

 

Kickers to Avoid

Ka'imi Fairbairn is our first choice to avoid this week. This Texans' group is 0-4, spending more money than anyone else in the NFL this season, and they just fired their head coach/GM in Bill O'Brien. They have a decent matchup against the Jaguars, but I'm not trying to count on this team right now.

Sam Ficken of the New York Jets is next. This Jets' team is awful. They might be the worst team in football right now. Even though they have an easier matchup against Arizona, Ficken is still not a guy you should be going to play. Let him ride your bench this week, and that should continue for most weeks.

Dustin Hopkins of the Washington Football Team is our final kicker to avoid. This team just got rolled by Baltimore, and it doesn't get any easier against the Rams. The Rams' defense is playing some truly great football right now, and that's going to continue against Washington.



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