Week 6 New & Noteworthy
Early Format Adjustments
Last week was my first week taking over this column on a full-time basis. I promised I’d do some format tinkering to see what works best, and so this article is complete with a few updates and changes:
- Main Body of the article is still organized by Ownership Tiers, but included at the end is a Priority List with a few Bonus points to help adjust the Priority List based on your Team and League Settings.
- Yahoo and ESPN Ownership%’s are included by Player’s Names.
- A “Key Statistic” that effectively highlights a particular aspect that makes that player worth adding.
I would appreciate either comments or critiques about either Football or Format which can be made either here or on reddit.
Week 6 Waiver Wire Touts
Nyheim Hines, RB, Indianapolis Colts (46.9% ESPN / 59% Yahoo) — Do not be fooled— Hines is not a change of pace back. He may appear it, and that may have been the intention coming into the season, but he’s being used as simply the primary ball carrier. He is not game flow dependent, and other Colts backs have fallen short of expectation. It’s a fluid situation, but at this current point Hines is a near every down back and a surefire RB2. Key Statistic: Hines has played on 73%, 69%, and 67% of Colts Snaps the last three games, a highly significant share.
Alfred Morris, RB, San Francisco 49ers (49.7% ESPN / 42% Yahoo) — I prefer Matt Breida from a skillset perspective, but that dude has been a walking injury all season. If Breida starts to miss more time and actually becomes a consistent inactive, Morris will be far more valuable than his sub-50% ownership% would suggest.
Keke Coutee, WR, Houston Texans (19.6% ESPN / 34% Yahoo) — His injury situation must be monitored moving into this week. Out of all the ownership%’s and ownership% changes that occurred this past week, I was most surprised to see that Keke Coutee was still relatively available. Coutee to me could finish as the #1 Rookie WR the rest of the season and it would not surprise me. Fuller or no, Coutee fills a role in the slot and over the middle of the field that is needed in this Watson-focused offense. He’s had an instant impact his first 2 active games in the NFL and I expect that to continue. Key Statistic: 11 Targets, 8.5 Rec, 80 Rec Yards, 0.5 TDs per game thru two active games. 15.25 PPG in Half PPR.
Ronald Jones, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (18.2% ESPN / 27% Yahoo) — I was not really a believer in Ronald Jones coming into the season, but at this point the Buccaneers really seem to have nothing to lose by giving him a run for the full-time job. I thought Peyton Barber could be a little better than this, but he’s just been completely ineffective both for fantasy and for the actual Tampa Bay Bucs. I am prioritizing him lower than you’d expect for a second round rookie with this kind of opportunity because of talent questions. Key Statistic: Peyton Barber is averaging just under 3.0 YPC, and has scored just over 3 Fantasy Points his last three games as the Lead Back for the Buccaneers.
Alfred Blue, RB, Houston Texans (15.5% ESPN / 14% Yahoo) — I don’t know what the injury status will be of Lamar Miller, and presumably he was relatively healthy as they had him dress as an emergency back on Sunday Night. But, if Lamar Miller’s injury woes continue, the Houston Texans will turn to Alfred Blue for a large workload moving forward. Key Statistic: Blue had 20 Carries and 8 Receptions this week when Miller did not play. He is well trusted by the Coaching Staff and will have a large role if the absence of other Houston backs continues.
Antonio Callaway, WR, Cleveland Browns (26.8% ESPN / 27% Yahoo) – I was tempted initially to talk about Rashard Higgins and his improved numbers with Baker Mayfield, but now that an injury will reportedly sideline Higgins for two weeks, Callaway is once again is, besides Jarvis Landry, the last WR in the room. Callaway has struggled with some drops and the chemistry hasn’t been there with Baker yet, but there are now even more targets looking for a home in Cleveland.
Chester Rogers, WR, Indianapolis Colts (7.4% ESPN / 5% Yahoo) — I really liked Colts WR Ryan Grant coming into this season, and while I still do think he may be a solid PPR-Flex option moving forward, Andrew Luck seems to look towards his slot WR Chester Rogers more often. He has had 8 Receptions in each of the last two games, and in PPR that is golden. Even if Hilton returns, Rogers will represent a middle of the field slot target, and until the target share goes down he’s worth starting as a high-floor WR3 in PPR leagues. Key Statistic: Andrew Luck is pacing 784 Pass Attempts. Only one QB (Matthew Stafford — 727) has ever surpassed 700.
Taylor Gabriel, WR, Chicago Bears (14.6% ESPN / 19% Yahoo) — Not much has changed since the recommendation last week as the Bears had a Week 5 Bye. Gabriel’s target numbers this year and target share have far surpassed his career in Atlanta. Maybe Anthony Miller’s return changes this, but I believe Gabriel will finish the season as a top 36 WR between a few Boom games and a floor that is not nearly as irrelevant as it used to be. Consult last week’s piece for more specific details about the target difference between 2016-2017 and 2018 for Taylor Gabriel. Key Statistic: Gabriel is averaging 7.25 Targets per game with the Bears after averaging 3.45 Targets per game during his Falcons tenure.
Mike Davis, RB, Seattle Seahawks (14.5% ESPN / 19% Yahoo) — Chris Carson appears to be the “lead” back in the Seattle Seahawks backfield right now, but Mike Davis has carved out a sizable role, and is now above Rashaad Penny on the depth chart. A running back that can be relied on to get double-digit touches AND could inherit a larger role through performance and/or injury is worth owning in far more leagues and can be started as a Bye/Flex type play. Key Statistic: 16.5 Carries and 3 Receptions per game for Mike Davis in the past two games. I don’t expect him to get quite that many touches, but it does look like Double-Digits is a reasonable expectation.
Christian Kirk, WR, Arizona Cardinals (10.9% ESPN / 9% Yahoo) — A big play to start the Cardinals game this past Sunday may have carried Kirk’s fantasy day, but the Rosen-to-Kirk connection is at least beginning to produce some fantasy relevant results. While the Cardinals haven’t scored many points in their 1-4 start, I do believe with Rosen at the helm the Cardinals offense will take small steps forward throughout the season as Rosen catches up to the NFL game. This should mean more consistent production potentially for Kirk and Fitzgerald. Key Statistic: In his first game, Kirk had 1 Rec for 4 Yards. Since he has averaged 4.5 Rec, 40.33 Total Yards, and 0.25 TDs, good for about exactly 10 PPR PPG.
Willie Snead, WR, Baltimore Ravens (7.2% ESPN / 6% Yahoo) — More of a pure floor play, but Snead has had at least 49 yards in 4 of the first 5 games. He’s pacing something around 800 Yards for the season. He’s not a bad bye-week play and if something were to happen with Michael Crabtree or John Brown, who’s battled many injuries in the past, his role on this offense could increase. Key Statistic: Not to echo the above, but the Key Statistic here is the floor of 49 Yards through 4 of Snead’s first 5 games.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling (3.2% ESPN / 9% Yahoo) (MVS) & Equanimeous St. Brown (0.3% ESPN / <1% Yahoo) (EQ), WRs, Green Bay Packers — With Cobb and Allison out of the game, both MVS and EQ scored fantasy points for anyone who happened to give them a start. EQ’s may have come on a chunk play with 20 Seconds left in the game, but both of these players did a few things well, and depending on league size, both may be worth a flier as these injury situations unfold. If I had to invest in one, I would invest in Scantling. Cobb has been often injured and MVS looked like a primary target on a few plays during what was a bit of a disaster game for the Packers. MVS also got the Touchdown. Key Statistic: Through 5 Weeks, WRs not named Davante Adams on the Green Bay Packers have put up a total of 122.1 Points through the air in Half PPR scoring formats, or 24.42 PPG. There is plenty of volume here and if Week 5 proved anything, it was that whomever is the #2 and/or #3 WR for Aaron Rodgers is worth starting consideration in a 3-WR format.
Eagles RB Situation
I had time to list the Eagles RB situation along with the rest of the article, but since I had finished most of the content prior to the Jay Ajayi to IR news, I decided to include this section by itself as a footnote. Between Wendell Smallwood, Corey Clement, and Darren Sproles, I think Corey Clement is the one you probably want to own. Now yes, he is banged up and returning from injury, which might make Smallwood the better short-term play, but the Eagles seem to like Clement and if possible, I would expect him to take the lead in a committee without Jay Ajayi. But all of these backs, as well as any back that would seriously enter the fold, would be worth owning in this backfield currently. The committee approach caps the upside a bit, but in general I expect the Eagles to get their offense turned around which means there will be fantasy points to be had at the RB position on this offense.
Nyheim Hines — Bonus: Consistent RB Need, Favored in PPR Scoring
Corey Clement — Bonus: Consistent RB Need
Keke Coutee — Bonus: Floor+Ceiling, Favored in PPR Scoring. Move up to Fit WR Need.
Alfred Morris — Bonus: Role and Injured Cohort. Favored in non-PPR Scoring.
Wendell Smallwood — Bonus: Short-term RB Solution (if Clement can’t Play Either). Potential for Consistent RB Need.
Marques Valdes-Scantling — Bonus: Role could easily expand. Valuable QB.
Taylor Gabriel — Bonus: 3-WR Leagues as Boom+Bust Play.
Mike Davis — Bonus: RB-Needy Teams. Role with Chance for Expansion.
Chester Rogers — Bonus: Favored in PPR Scoring
Ronald Jones — Bonus: Potential for Expanded Role.
Alfred Blue — Bonus: Injury questions for Miller and Foreman.
Christian Kirk — Bonus: Rookie WR who could have his best days towards end of season.
Darren Sproles — Bonus: Favored in PPR Scoring
Antonio Callaway — Bonus: High Upside. High Role Potential.
Willie Snead — Bonus: High Floor Option. Bye Week Option.
Equanimeous St. Brown — Bonus: Probably not relevant in 2018, but a Dynasty Option.