The Must Stash: Week 1

Eli Grabanski looks at some deep sleepers to stash before Week 1's games.

Every week I will list some players who I think if things go their way, will wind up in those waiver articles the following Tuesday. You don’t have to stash all of them – it depends on who you have on your roster, the depth of your benches, the scoring system of your league, etc. But these are guys that should at least be on your radar. 

Stashing players is only something that can occur in deeper leagues with large benches, so to make this information worthwhile, I will only be recommending guys that are rostered in under 20% of leagues on both Yahoo and ESPN, and in many cases, you’ll see percentages in the single digits. If you’re in a league where guys like Elijah Moore (37.7% on ESPN), Trey Lance (32.5% on ESPN), Tyrell Williams (31.1% on ESPN), and Zach Ertz (24.3% on ESPN) are on the waiver wire, you’re either in a league too shallow for stashing, or you should go pick those guys up right away.

In addition, for those of you in really deep leagues (16+ teams), we will also include some deep cut players that are rostered in less than 3% of leagues on both Yahoo and ESPN in a section at the end to try and give you the best chance of winning your fantasy league. Without further ado, let’s dive in!

 

The Must Stash

 

Terrace Marshall Jr., WR, Carolina Panthers (18% on Yahoo, 18.1% on ESPN)

 

Terrace Marshall Jr. was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2021 NFL Draft and has balled out during the preseason with a stat line of nine receptions on 12 targets for 181 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown in three games. He’s got a very appealing size & speed combination – standing at 6’2’’, weighing 205 pounds, and running a 4.38 forty-yard dash at his LSU Pro Day.

In addition, he will also have an opportunity to be the number three wide receiver in an offense that is one of the most WR-friendly in the league. Last year the Panthers’ wide receiver room averaged 15.69 receptions on 23.19 targets for 205.75 receiving yards and 0.63 receiving touchdowns per game. The offense also supported three fantasy-relevant receivers last year with D.J. Moore, Robby Anderson, and Curtis Samuel. With Samuel leaving for Washington this offseason, the Panthers will need someone to step up, most likely Marshall, to run the offense that Matt Rhule and Joe Brady desire.

Generally, a lot of fantasy players will put rookies lower on their draft boards until they have a few games under their belt. But ‘The Must Stash’ is all about beating your league-mates to the punch, so if you have an open roster spot consider using it on Marshall (or one of the other players featured in this article).

 

Rondale Moore, WR, Arizona Cardinals (19% on Yahoo, 18.1% on ESPN)

 

There’s been some hype for many of the rookie wide receivers this year with Ja’Marr Chase, DeVonta Smith, Elijah Moore, and Jaylen Waddle receiving the most attention, but in this Rondale Moore seems to be sliding under the radar. This is a supremely talented wide receiver that had 114 receptions, 1258 receiving yards, 12 receiving touchdowns, 21 carries, 213 rushing yards, and 2 rushing touchdowns in just 13 games his freshman year of college (2018).

In addition, Rondale Moore will be playing in a very WR-friendly system. Over the course of Kliff Kingsbury’s 32 game career as the Arizona Cardinals head coach, his wide receiver room has averaged 15.5 receptions on 23.59 targets for 174.34 receiving yards and 0.88 receiving touchdowns. Having a WR-friendly coach will make it more likely that Rondale Moore can contribute right away and raises his ceiling in fantasy leagues.

With Moore’s situation and his 4.37 speed, he’s got a good chance of surprising fantasy players and being a fantasy-relevant player right off the bat.

 

Bryan Edwards, WR, Las Vegas Raiders (12% on Yahoo, 12.0% on ESPN)

 

Bryan Edwards has gotten a lot of positive reviews in the offseason with Raiders head coach Jon Gruden saying that Bryan Edwards has looked like Terrell Owens out there and starting quarterback Derek Carr saying, “Very fun to throw him the ball. I’ve said it before, just like Davante [Adams] could just move through the air, their body control is just impressive. I wish I could do that. It’d be nice to be able to catch a football like that. I think also you see his strong hands. Sometimes he’ll catch a ball and he’s so strong that he doesn’t bring it into the body where they can punch it out, he’ll just hold it away from them. Not many guys can do that, but he can.” While the Raiders aren’t the most WR friendly team, these glowing reports and the opportunity for Edwards to be the #1 wide receiver on the team (and #2 target behind Darren Waller) with Nelson Agholor gone make him a great candidate to be picked up frequently before week 2.

 

Ty Johnson, RB, New York Jets (10% on Yahoo, 5.2% on ESPN)

 

Ty Johnson has slid under the radar this offseason, but it sounds like he’ll have a role on opening day for the New York Jets committee backfield and a real chance to lead the team in touches.

Last year Johnson carried the ball 54 times for 254 rushing yards on the ground and caught 16 passes on 20 targets for 99 receiving yards through the air (11 games). While these numbers may not stand out too much on paper, they indicate that he’s capable of being efficient on the ground and solid as a pass-catcher. Being capable in both areas will give Ty Johnson more opportunities to stay on the field and outperform expectations.

Many people may be scared off by the Jets’ running backs because they haven’t produced in recent years. While this is a valid concern, it is important to remember that they will have a brand new coaching staff with offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur running a very similar scheme to Kyle Shanahan’s zone running scheme in San Francisco. There could be a breakout running back in the Jets backfield, and Ty Johnson has much better odds of being the main guy than the number of leagues he’s rostered in would indicate.

 

Kenneth Gainwell, RB, Philadelphia Eagles (9% on Yahoo, 3.3% on ESPN)

 

Gainwell is a legitimate dual-threat running back who put up 231 carries for 1459 rushing yards and 13 rushing touchdowns on the ground and caught 51 passes for 610 receiving yards and three receiving touchdowns (14 games) through the air in 2019 for Memphis. Considering Miles Sanders dropped 13.5% of passes thrown his way last year, there’s a good chance that the pass-catching back role is wide open in Philadelphia. One of Boston Scott or Kenneth Gainwell will end up in this role this year and have a chance to flourish under the new coaching staff.

Over the course of his 48 games as the Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator, new Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni saw his RB room average 24.08 carries, 110.33 rushing yards, 0.83 rushing touchdowns, 5.85 receptions, 7.31 targets, 42.42 receiving yards, and 0.17 receiving touchdowns per game. Over the course of new offensive coordinator Shane Steichen’s 24 games as the Los Angeles Chargers offensive coordinator, his RB room averaged 24.08 carries, 99.33 rushing yards, 0.54 rushing touchdowns, 8.29 receptions, 10.17 targets, 67.46 receiving yards, and 0.21 receiving touchdowns. Both coaches rank in the top 10 in running back opportunities per game and have had a lot of success with pass-catching backs in the past such as Nyheim Hines or Austin Ekeler.

The Eagles backfield is a prime bounce-back candidate in 2021, and Gainwell could find a way of being fantasy relevant in 2021 alongside Miles Sanders. Keep a close eye on this backfield and if you have an open roster spot it’s worth taking a shot on Gainwell.

 


Deep Cuts

(Rostered In Less Than 3% Of Leagues)

Both Websites (ESPN and Yahoo)

 

Tyrod Taylor, QB, Houston Texans (3% on Yahoo, 3% on ESPN): With Deshaun Watson not playing for a variety of issues, the Houston Texans starting quarterback, for the time being, is Tyrod Taylor. While he’s not the most exciting option due to his low passing totals, he does have some rushing upside and doesn’t turn the ball over very frequently.

DeSean Jackson, WR, Los Angeles Rams (3% on Yahoo, 2.8% on ESPN): The Los Angeles Rams traded for Matthew Stafford this past offseason. Sean McVay has a pretty wide receiver-friendly system and when he’s on the field DeSean Jackson is still a capable deep threat. There’s a chance that he ends up as a FLEX caliber player this year in Los Angeles.

K.J. Hamler, WR, Denver Broncos (2% on Yahoo, 2.1% on ESPN): Hamler’s got a lot of competition in front of him with Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, and Noah Fant all likely ahead of him in the target pecking order, but the second-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft has got a lot of talent himself.

Samaje Perine, RB, Cincinnati Bengals (1% on Yahoo, 1.7% on ESPN)The Cincinnati Bengals have leaned towards a bell-cow approach on the ground even when Joe Mixon has missed time, and now Samaje Perine is the team’s primary backup running back. If Mixon misses time in 2021, Perine will be fantasy-relevant.

Mo Alie-Cox, TE, Indianapolis Colts (1% on Yahoo, 0.4% on ESPN): While Kylen Granson is the most likely player to fill the ‘Trey Burton’ TE pass-catching role in the Colts offense, Mo Alie-Cox is also worth monitoring as he has a little more experience under his belt.

Royce Freeman, RB, Carolina Panthers (0% on Yahoo, 0.2% on ESPN): Chuba Hubbard was getting drafted as Christian McCaffrey’s handcuff for most of the offseason, but then the Panthers picked up Royce Freeman and the situation is a little murkier. Freeman has been a solid dual-threat back and could be useful if McCaffrey misses time.

Kylen Granson, TE, Indianapolis Colts (0% on Yahoo, 0.1% on ESPN)Kylen Granson is projected to be the Colts’ primary pass-catching tight end in 2021. The big reason Granson is largely ignored right now is that he’s a rookie tight end, but given Frank Reich is one of the best coaches in the league for tight ends, he could be a sneaky value if he can adapt quicker than usual.

Josh Oliver, TE, Baltimore Ravens (0% on Yahoo, 0.0% on ESPN)If Mark Andrews misses time, Josh Oliver would step in as the Ravens’ primary pass-catching tight end.

 

ESPN/Yahoo Only

 

Boston Scott, RB, Philadelphia Eagles (13% on Yahoo, 3% on ESPN): There is going to be value in the Eagles backfield this year, particularly with the team’s primary pass-catching back. While Kenneth Gainwell makes ‘The Must Stash’ this week if Gainwell is not available Scott is also a fine target for an open bench spot.

Los Angeles Chargers D/ST (40% on Yahoo, 2.9% on ESPN)While they have a tough schedule in the coming weeks, the Chargers D/ST could be a bit of a sleeper this year with Derwin James returning from injury and head coach Brandon Staley coaching up the defense (he was the defensive coordinator of the Rams defense last year that was the best defense in the league). Keep an eye on them in ESPN leagues.

Juwan Johnson, TE, New Orleans Saints (9% on Yahoo, 0.7% on ESPN)Adam Trautman has been getting most of the hype, but Juwan Johnson appears to be the team’s primary pass-catching tight end. There aren’t many established receiving threats on the Saints going into the start of the 2021 season, so Johnson could end up surpassing expectations.

Wayne Gallman, RB, Atlanta Falcons (3% on Yahoo, 3.5% on ESPN): Mike Davis is not the most established starting running back in the league, and the Falcons recently picked up Wayne Gallman who performed well last year. There is an outside chance that Gallman ends up taking over the job this year, so keep an eye on him on the waiver wire.

 

That’s it for week 1. Feel free to weigh in and mention any players you believe should be on this list.

 

Featured Image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)

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