For the last two weeks, I have filled in as the RB/WR Start/Sit author for MLFS. Today I will be trying on a new hat, and a different hat once more, looking now to the waiver wire to find players of all different ownership%’s that will be worth an add as Waivers begin to process in most leagues tonight.
When I look at Waiver Wire adds, I’m looking at basically two different criteria: potential for short-term value, and potential for long-term upside. Depending on my team situation and what I’m looking to add, the equation for what I would prefer could be a little different. If I’m a Joe Mixon owner, filling in that spot with back-up Giovanni Bernard may be of the utmost importance. If you happened to have a great team you feel confident about, then the best move is to probably shoot for the stars and see what kind of potential difference maker you can add to your roster.
But I won’t bore any further. If you’re interested in the basics for why I picked any player, consult the blurb by their name, or ask me directly on Reddit or through Twitter.
Week 3 Waiver Wire Adds
“Last Calls” (50+% Ownership)
These players were probably drafted or added last week, but just in case.
Quincy Enunwa, WR, New York Jets — Enunwa was probably added in a good number of leagues after his strong Week 1 performance, and is likely unavailable in a vast number of competitive leagues due to his large spike in Ownership%. That said, his ESPN ownership% is still 56.8%, meaning that in shallow leagues, he may still be available. Quincy Enunwa has a LOT going for him right now. More than just his first two week fantasy performance, averaging 14.0 Points in ½ Point PPR through two weeks, Enunwa has also lead his team in WR Snaps and Targets (21). Enunwa is also built like a match-up nightmare. He is 6’ 2”, 220+ LBs with a 4.45 40 Yard Dash on his NFL Draft Profile. He’s a combination of a Golden Tate/Jarvis Landry type Slot Receiver with a borderline-Tight End body type. Theoretically this could greatly work to his advantage, specifically because he does have numerous traits that would placate a Rookie QB. Sam Darnold won’t have to consistently beat #1 Corners or win on the outside to win with Enunwa, and Enunwa’s big body will also serve as a sizable target across the middle of the field. And he doesn’t obviously have to continue his torrid 2018 pace. Enunwa’s 2016 saw him produce 58 Receptions for 857 Yards and 4 TDs. It wouldn’t take a huge increase from that line to see Enunwa be a WR2. A positive TD regression as a 6’ 2” large bodied WR alone could see Enunwa replicate 2016 and be a WR2. I think he’ll be a bit better than 2016.
Matt Breida, RB, San Francisco 49ers — My first article for this website covered why I thought Breida, even working behind Jerick McKinnon, had a chance to a be a Flex play in Kyle Shanahan’s offense. The first game of the season was rough, and he may have even been dropped in shallow leagues, but the Minnesota Vikings defense stifled the 49ers offense in Week 1. Against a better match-up, we saw not just Breida, but the entire offense move the ball up the field. Breida might not be on the same talent level as Devonta Freeman, but he fits the mold Shanahan has worked with in the past, and if he continues to get passing work he can get 200 Carries and 55+ Receptions. In this offense, that looks like a mid-range RB2 to me. That is a worthwhile add in any league format, if he still happens to be available.
Shallow-League Relevant (35-50%)
Most of these players were drafted in deeper leagues, but if you don’t play in Deeper Leagues…
Keelan Cole, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars — I can’t imagine anyone who plays Fantasy Football hasn’t seen Cole’s spectacular Week 2 catch, which was just the highlight of a monster 7/116/1 Week 2. That makes 100+ Yards in three of his last four Regular Season games dating back to last season, and 99+ in four of his last five. That split also happens to coincide with when Marqise Lee was hurt at the end of 2017. Many will argue that the Jaguars Defense+Run mentality will limit the passing game of the Jaguars, but ultimately with the best Defense last season, Bortles still finished 11th in the NFL in passing yards with 3,687. Bortles likes to target the WR, position, and has never really had a pass-catching RB or a pass-catching TE that significantly digs into his WR volume. Marqise Lee, who I would argue is less talented than Keelan Cole, was the WR23 from Weeks 2 to 14 in 2017. If healthy, Keelan Cole is looking at the potential of being a top 20 Fantasy WR for the rest of the season.
Giovanni Bernard, RB, Cincinnati Bengals — With Joe Mixon’s lose body in his knee causing him to miss a now anticipated 2-4 Weeks, Giovanni Bernard steps back into a larger role the Cincinnati Bengals. And before anyone scoffs at the idea that an expanded role could be very valuable for Bernard, let’s not forget that when Mixon was limited down the stretch last year, Giovanni Bernard actually finished as the RB8 between Weeks 14 and 17. Bernard’s value will his a huge deflation whenever Mixon returns, but Bernard should be firmly in the RB2 class until Mixon returns.
Aaron Jones, RB, Green Bay Packers — Jones’ two game suspension ends this week, and while I wouldn’t advocate playing Aaron Jones like I would Cole, Enunwa, or Breida, I think he is worth the add just to see how the Packers’ backfield works out. I’ve watched a lot of film of all three Green Bay Running Backs, and for my money, the only one who really looks like he could be an above-average RUNNER is Aaron Jones. He had roughly 2 YPC more than Jamaal Williams last year, even though he did have fewer than 100 Carries. That said, Jamaal Williams is better in pass protection situations, which occur frequently in an Aaron Rodgers offense. Jones possesses more upside for the Green Bay Packers than any running back. He could be the new Eddie Lacy– the good version. But Williams is also potentially the safer option for the Green Bay Packers right now with his trusted pass pro. Regardless, I believe in the talent of Jones enough, and I believe that this situation is fluid enough, that I am adding Aaron Jones even in more shallow leagues to see how this backfield shakes out. A lead RB with real talent for the GB Packers can equate to a lot of TD potential, and little added pressure from defensive scheme due to the commitment to stopping Rodgers.
Austin Ekeler, RB, Los Angeles Chargers — I do not believe that Melvin Gordon is too hurt following the Chargers Week 2 Win. He did leave the game early, but he left under his own power and the game wasn’t too competitive. Whether or not Gordon is healthy however, Austin Ekeler has been very efficient so far in the first two weeks even on a limit carry load. Many debate the usage of Hand-Cuffs but when that player has standalone Flex value, he becomes a must-own. Ekeler is probably not a player I’m going to want to start in most leagues, but he will be valuable later in the season for Bye Weeks even if Gordon stays healthy for 16 games. If Gordon does happen to get hurt, Ekeler will see a role increase.
Mike Williams, WR, Los Angeles Chargers — It is hard to get a good grasp of the Chargers’ offense and their receivers following Week 2. In Week 1, they had to score a lot of points to compete, and in Week 2, they didn’t really have to score at all to compete after the first quarter. Mike Williams has managed modest point totals in both weeks though, averaging 10+ points in ½ Point PPR. The main argument in favor of Mike Williams really just comes down to how talented he is and how much passing volume there is to be had in this offense. Mike Williams was a high level First Round draft pick last year, and has done nothing performance wise to reduce our expectations of him. There’s enough volume in this offense for Mike Williams, if he is the definitive #2, to be a top 30 WR.
The Maybe Availables (10-35%)
Depending on League Depth, Some of these Players may be available.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers — This may be more suited for a weekly article, but if you happen to be in a situation where your QB1 is lacking, Ryan Fitzpatrick is becoming a very intriguing add. Playing the Steelers this week, I wouldn’t be unwilling to play Fitzpatrick until he came up against a defense I was legitimately afraid of. I don’t think Fitzpatrick is a great QB, but he does seem to be in an offense with suitable weapons that can create fantasy value. Specifically, Ryan Fitzpatrick seems to have found some real chemistry with WR Desean Jackson, the kind of chemistry that starting QB, the suspended Jameis Winston, has yet to develop. If you’re looking for a streamable Match-Up QB, Ryan Fitzpatrick is in a great position to continue putting up QB1 numbers in neutral-or-better match-ups until Winston comes back. As a Bears fan, he reminds me of Josh McCown‘s magical run with Marshall and Jeffery in Chicago.
Jordan Wilkins, RB, Indianapolis Colts — Wilkins outperformed Marlon Mack on the ground in terms of YPC (6.1 v. 3.4) and has for my money looked like the best downhill runner of the group. Ultimately how good of a Fantasy RB he is depends on his faith on the GL or the number of receptions he gets, but if there’s one back in Standard leagues who had season long potential, or if there’s one back who I believe has the greatest chance of getting consistent volume, at this point it would be Jordan Wilkins. Most likely it will be a rough situation and one to avoid starting for a few weeks, but I ultimately think they run with the Wilkins/Hines backfield more and more throughout the season whether Mack gets hurt or pushed into a lesser role. Wilkins should have enough volume to be a consistent flex play at worst by the end of the season.
Geronimo Allison, WR, Green Bay Packers — Allison hasn’t set the world on fire so far, but to me, the top 3-WRs of the Green Bay Packers in many years deserve to be rostered. Davante Adams is clearly in place as the #1 WR for this team, but I do think Allison could even challenge Cobb as the consistent #2 for the Packers. If Cobb gets hurt at all, Allison may get the job by default. There is clear upside here and his lack of ownership dating back to draft season is a bit perplexing.
John Brown, WR, Baltimore Ravens — John Brown, before his stretch of injuries, was considered by many as one of the next big things. A burner who had some excellent early career production and was a bit more dimensional than similar burners on his former team like JJ Nelson. Part of Brown’s downfall can be directly contributed to his struggles with Sickle Cell Trait, which specifically hurts his recovery when he does get injured, from my understanding. John Brown has claimed that this is not the case, and that his injury troubles of the past few years have been simply bad luck. If he can stay healthy for 16 games, John Brown could be at worst a Boom-or-Bust WR2, who’s once highly thought of talent level could push him a tier or two above that. I don’t have faith he stays healthy for those 16, but for a Waiver Wire add, I’m more than willing to roll the dice on someone that I believes possesses significant upside like John Brown.
OJ Howard, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers — This is again another case like John Brown where there is just significant upside to be had here. If I’m comparing Howard with a multitude of other TEs, I’d rather roll the dice on owning Howard and getting a special TE as opposed to sticking with a TE in the 10-12 range and continuing to hold out hope for a more consistent floor. If Howard can establish that floor with consistent target value while mixing in the weeks like this one, an incredibly talented player can live up to some of those talent expectations.
Buck Allen, RB, Baltimore Ravens — This is the OPPOSITE of the last few picks to me, and is a PPR only add to me. Buck Allen is a FLOOR-centric pick, at least in my opinion. Buck Allen simply is what he is. He is trusted by the coaching staff to play assignment football. He is trusted by the coaching staff in Pass Pro. He plays on a team that loves to throw the the RB. He also, however, is not all that explosive. Allen’s career Yards Per Carry and Yards Per Reception are both incredibly pedestrian, and the game script on Thursday certainly played in Allen’s favor. However, the role he possesses will probably dictate he catches around 55-65 passes this year, and that has value in a PPR league. I am not someone who believes his role expands even with a Collins injury. I think the Ravens would look for Mr. Outside Hire should they need to fill in a large between-the-tackles RB role.
More Than Likely on the Wire (under-10%)
Antonio Callaway/Rashard Higgins, WR, Cleveland Browns — I don’t know if the Browns will be able to sustain another WR outside of Landry, but Saturday’s news that there would be a Josh Gordon-sized hole in the Cleveland Offense. Antonio Callaway is the player I would add if I had the opportunity, as he is the WR in Cleveland most likely to reach a high-upside. Callaway is a lot like Gordon– a highly touted WR who has had personal issues consistently keeping him away from production on the field. I don’t know that Callaway develops the week to week consistency, but Tyrod Taylor does like to air it out and as we saw at the tragic end of the Browns’ Week 2 game, it just may be Antonio Callaway who catches those balls. Rashard Higgins is a less physically talented player, but one who’s had route running success dating back to College on formats like “Reception Perception.” Higgins isn’t as likely to be a high upside or game changing fantasy players, but in a PPR league, he does have a fair chance at getting consistent volume, particularly if Callaway does not develop into that consistent target.
Nyheim Hines, RB, Indianapolis Colts — Hines got a TD in Week 2, but he did not get the volume, particularly in the passing game, that he saw in Week 1. However, the fact that the Colts got up early and played good defense was certainly a bit shocking. I don’t necessarily think that continues as we move forward. The Colts have been one of the highest volume passing attacks over the last few years when Luck was at the helm. In his first game from a year long Shoulder injury, Luck threw the ball 53 times and had over 300 Yards. If Hines can cement himself as the COP for the Indianapolis Colts, he should have enough pass catching volume to be in a similar role to Buck Allen, but could also have a larger impact per touch.
Taywan Taylor, WR, Tennessee Titans — I’m not quite sure the Titans even know what they have here in Taylor. Week 1 he didn’t see many snaps or any real stats, and while his Week 2 line, short of a TD, won’t jump off the page, I was very intrigued at how new OC Matt LaFleur chose to use Taylor throughout this game. The Titans ran what seemed like half of an entire drive using a Derrick Henry wildcat this week, and implemented Taylor as the motion receiver in the Read Option. I don’t know entirely what Taylor’s usage or potential fantasy impact could be moving forward, but as someone who was discouraged after Week 1, I am starting to believe again that Taylor may end up utilized in this offense in a way that would make him relevant moving forward.
Dede Westbrook, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars — I do believe Keelan Cole will function as the #1 WR for the Jaguars, but Westbrook, particularly in a PPR league, seems like he will be the type of receiver who can get his volume, too. I don’t necessarily see myself burning any high priority or trading for Westbrook, but I believe, as a player under-10% owned, Westbrook deserves to be far more owned than numerous WRs above him. If you’re looking for a weekly fill-in in a PPR, I think you could do much worse than Dede Westbrook.
Major League Fantasy Baseball Show Episode #167, 6/23/2019 Host Brian Roach, Jr., Co-Host Cole Freel, Guest Kevin Bzdek
Major League Fantasy Baseball Show Episode #169, 8/4/2019 Host Cole Freel, Guest Joe Iannone
@brandonziman You are more than welcome Brandon. You were a fantastic writer and a joy to work with. As we move through a very big transition for us hopefully we can continue to work with one anither.