Welcome to the QB List Staff Playbook Series. Every week throughout the season, we will conduct a staff survey, asking multiple fantasy analysts to offer insights on some of fantasy football’s most pressing questions. Essentially, we’re sharing our “playbook” with you, revealing the hard choices and strategic moves we would make to stay ahead of the competition.
This week, the QB List Staff was asked which players to stash ahead of Week 3:
Paul Ghiglieri (@FantasyGhigs): RB Tony Pollard (DAL)
Reasoning: Ezekiel Elliot is more of a grinder now than the dynamic, big-play threat he was earlier in his career. That seems odd to type, given Elliot is only 25 years old, but he’s actually a five-year veteran with over 1,200 rushing attempts under his belt. That wear and tear are precisely what makes Tony Pollard such an important stash, especially after the bloodbath and carnage that was Week 2. We lost more players to IR, many of them stars of the game, in one week than we’re used to losing over the course of an entire season. Dallas boasts one of the most potent offenses in football, so Pollard has league-winning upside if he were to take over as the starter should Zeke go down.
Pollard hasn’t been a meaningful part of the offense thus far in 2020 outside of kick return duties, but he has been highly efficient with his touches in the past, averaging 5.29 YPC on 86 attempts last year. Dallas owner Jerry Jones made Alvin Kamara comparisons when the team drafted Pollard in the 4th round last year, referencing Pollard’s ability to run with power as well as praising his abilities as a receiver. If you have space on your bench to stash a player, few have Pollard’s upside.
Tony Pollard saw 10-snaps on Sunday. Here's two of them which came on back to back plays, for a combined 24-yards.
Not getting Pollard more snaps was one of many reasons we begged for someone new at the top. More of the same in week one.
He's a play-maker, get him on the field pic.twitter.com/KVtuK5Sv9l
— Connor Livesay (@ConnorNFLDraft) September 17, 2020
Brandon Miller (@BrandonMillerFB): WR Michael Pittman Jr. (IND)
Reasoning: Pittman has some work to do before he can be trusted anywhere near your fantasy lineup, but the raw tools are there for the recent 34th-overall pick out of USC. He tied for the team lead in targets in Week 2 (six), and with Parris Campbell now out for the season, Pittman figures to fill a void in the Colts’ passing attack moving forward. A big body at 6’4”, 223lbs, his physicality should allow him to make plays early on while he adds polish to his game. The Colts would be wise to leverage their talented offensive line into a run-first approach, so volume may be a concern on some weeks, but I think that’s why you add Pittman now while he’s widely available and wait until we get a better idea of what his weekly role will be. Few rookies will see the rise in snap counts that Pittman Jr. figures to see moving forward.
Rookie Snap Count Risers:
25.71% ⬆️ 65.15%
58.82% ⬆️ 84.51%
22.06% ⬆️ 65.22%
Michael Pittman Jr.
52.70% ⬆️ 91.78%#FantasyFootball
— Frank Ammirante (@FAmmiranteTFJ) September 21, 2020
Ben Brown (@FelixTheDog23): WR Damiere Byrd (NE)
Reasoning: The real guy I’m stashing everywhere is Logan Thomas, but I think the rest of our team may be sick of hearing me hype him up, so I’ll go a different direction here. Damiere Byrd is establishing himself as the WR3 on a Patriots team that is desperate for receivers, especially this season when they’ve gotten zero production out of the tight end position. Besides Julian Edelman and N’Keal Harry, there’s nobody on the offense they trust to run a route and catch a pass on a consistent basis.
Byrd played with Cam Newton for two years in Carolina, so there is some familiarity there. He’s leading all Patriots receivers in snap share (86.8%), and yes, that is more than Edelman (65.4%). In Week 2, the first week of an air-based Patriots attack, he was targeted nine times with an aDOT of 10.3 yards. Harry, on the other hand, has an aDOT of 5.5 this season as he’s mostly been used on screens and slants. Yes, Harry has the draft pedigree and the most targets (18) on the season, but if I’m going to roster a Patriots WR not named Edelman, it’s Damiere Byrd.
In his second game, Damiere Byrd finished with 72 receiving yards.
Last year, the only WRs on the Patriots to finish with 72+ receiving yards were Julian Edelman (nine times), Josh Gordon (twice) and Mohamed Sanu (once). It's a good start for Byrd https://t.co/JA2TxGgKdY
— Mark Daniels (@MarkDanielsPJ) September 23, 2020
Ryan Heath (@QBLRyan): QB P.J. Walker (CAR)
Reasoning: This one is definitely a long-shot, but for those in deep SuperFlex or 2-QB leagues, Carolina Panthers backup P.J. Walker may be worth a speculative stash. Teddy Bridgewater did not perform very well Sunday, with the Panthers immediately falling out of the game and never having much of a chance to get back into it thanks to a string of turnovers. Head Coach Matt Rhule could eventually look to former XFL star P.J. Walker, who also happens to be Rhule’s former signal-caller from Temple back from 2013 to 2016.
The environment the Panthers offense has found itself in this year is more or less exactly what many predicted, with constantly negative game scripts and a bevy of weapons in the passing game for whoever is under center to take advantage of. Stash Walker now before Bridgewater implodes further and he becomes a hot commodity on Superflex waiver wires. He’s a playmaker in the right scheme.
#Panthers have agreed to sign former XFL and Temple quarterback P.J. Walker.
Dude was a STUD this year in the XFL 🔥
— SidelineMike (@SidelineMike_) March 23, 2020
Rich Holman (@RichardoPL83): TE Mo Alie-Cox (IND)
Reasoning: Once you get past the top tight ends, things get murky very quickly. So any time we see a performance like Mo Alie-Cox put up, it’s time to take notice. With Jack Doyle out and Trey Burton on IL, Cox played on 67% of the offensive snaps and saw six targets. The Colts only threw the ball 25 times, giving the Colts TE a 24% target share. He caught five of his six targets for 111 yards. Four of those receptions went for at least 15 yards. Cox was a college basketball star, and it showed as he went up and made a jumping contested-catch between two defenders (see below).
As of this writing, waivers have already run and Cox is rostered in just 4% of Yahoo! and CBS leagues. If Jack Doyle was to miss more time, Cox should be added as the Colts face the Jets this week who just allowed Jordan Reed to put up a line of 7 catches for 50 yards and 2 TDs. He has already established himself as a downfield threat for Phillip Rivers, as you can see below.
TE Mo Alie-Cox will not be ignored. pic.twitter.com/oehH9En0VJ
— Matt Waldman (@MattWaldman) September 20, 2020
Myles Nelson (@MylesNelsonPL): RB Jeff Wilson Jr. (SF)
Reasoning: With Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman expected to miss multiple weeks , all the attention has gone to Jerick McKinnon, as he’s expected to pick up most of the work moving forward. However, San Francisco has proven time and time again that they do not rely on just one RB, and they will play the hot hand on any given day. Plus, McKinnon hasn’t exactly been the picture of health the past few years, so Wilson may come into a large workload here soon.
JaMycal Hasty is also an interesting stash for these reasons, but Wilson has proven his worth in San Francisco before and will likely get the lion’s share of what’s leftover after McKinnon. He’s only rostered in 3% of Yahoo leagues, and he’s definitely someone I’m keeping a very close eye on while Mostert and Coleman are hurt. Last season, he not only served as the goal line back for the Niners before Mostert’s emergence, but Wilson Jr. also demonstrated versatility as a trusted receiving back as well.
Jeff Wilson Jr. (6-0, 213) appeared in 10 games in 2019 and registered 27 carries for 105 yards and four touchdowns while adding three receptions for 34 yards and one touchdown through the air. #49ers pic.twitter.com/Q4qBwp7Ulr
— Kevin (@SfKittle) March 6, 2020
Mike Miklius (@sirl0inofbeef): RB Carlos Hyde (SEA)
Reasoning: Chris Carson is clearly the lead dog in Seattle. It’s safe to say, though, that Carlos Hyde would take over if Carson went down. Carson runs with an aggressive style and it’s not unreasonable–especially this year–to think he could go down. If Hyde took over, he would be the lead back in one of the league’s best offenses. He would have plenty of carries, huge touchdown upside, and little competition on the roster. Hyde may remain in the understudy all season, but he will be huge if he gets the lead role. He plays with the kind of physicality Seattle loves in a lead back.
— The Sports Throne (@SportsThroneHub) September 21, 2020
Kevin Taylor (@ktbeast918): RB Mike Davis (CAR)
Reasoning: Mike Davis will be hot waiver wire add this week and there is a good reason for that. He was owned in just 8% of Yahoo leagues coming out of Week 2. One could argue he should have been owned in a lot more leagues considering how much usage starting running back Christian McCaffrey has weekly. He steps into a likely every-down role for the Carolina Panthers with McCaffrey out multiple weeks after suffering an ankle injury. Davis stepped in for CMC and caught all eight of targets for 74 yards this past week. With Carolina expected to be trailing most weeks thanks to their poor defense, Davis should have plenty of passing game work along with lead running back duties. The Panthers face the Chargers and the Cardinals the next two weeks. Both matchups are unimposing for running backs, and Davis is in the RB2 conversation with RB1 upside if he gets the full three-down role.
Mike Davis had 8 catches for 74 yards in relief of CMC on Sun. Is a good pass catching RB on a team that is top 6 in RB targets per game (skewed by CMC but still) … CAR will be pass heavy all year w/ a QB that likes to throw short. Prefer Davis to any of the NYG RB in waivers.
— Matthew Berry (@MatthewBerryTMR) September 21, 2020
David Fenko (@Velcronomics): RB Rashaad Penny (SEA)
Reasoning: In 2020, depth is at a premium given the uncertainty of the season and the lack of game-ready conditioning for the players. Seattle is getting decent, if unspectacular, production from Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde so far, but who knows what the roster might look like even next week. Chris Carson has struggled with his own injury history and seemed like he may have been on the verge of losing the job last season due to a series of costly fumbles. Carlos Hyde wants to be Frank Gore, but ultimately, only Frank Gore is Frank Gore; however, of all the fringe FA running backs in 2020, he was the one that found work nearly immediately so there’s still something left in the tank.
As for the player in question, Rashaad Penny is ahead of schedule in recovery from an ACL tear sustained last season and very well could find his way onto the field as soon as he’s eligible to return from the PUP list. Penny was a first-round pick in the 2018 draft and has already shown explosiveness and good vision in limited looks across 2019 and 2020. In 2019, he was already making noise to supplant Carson (even if Carroll wanted nothing more than to give every snap to Carson) and we’re at a point where, by late 2020, that can be a reality.
***For more on must-stash players, check out Eli Grabanski’s weekly article here.
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