Every Friday I will list 5 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 under 20% owned 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 Jaylen Samuels (81% on Yahoo, 78% on ESPN) or Zach Pascal (51% Yahoo, 38% 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.
Of course. Of course. The moment I start to doubt whether the Preston Williams breakout will ever happen, he goes out and scores 2 TD’s in the Dolphins first win. And of course, as soon as I start checking to make sure I didn’t drop Williams in any of my deeper leagues, he suffers a season-ending injury. Fantasy football is weird that way.
It’s the Devante Parker show in Miami now, and we’ve seen how that’s gone for the last couple years. Parker has played better this year than in previous seasons, but he’s already owned about as much as he should be.
The other bright spot this week was Zach Pascal, who was the Colts #1 option in the passing game with T.Y. Hilton out with a calf injury. Pascal’s role is secure for the moment. T.Y. is expected to be out at least another week and Parris Campbell is now expected to miss time with a hand injury. Hopefully, you were able to stash Pascal and avoided my advice on Cameron Brate and Demaryius Thomas.
Things get interesting as we move on to week 10. We’re seeing a lot of teams come off their bye and a lot of teams in desperation mode, both catalysts of change. I see a few high-upside opportunities worth considering:
Nick Foles, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars (14% on Yahoo, 7% on ESPN)
I’ve found quarterback to be an unusually difficult position for fantasy this year. If you don’t have Lamar Jackson, Russell Wilson, or Deshaun Watson, you’ve likely had to deal with injuries and inconsistent output in your QB spot. Those 3 guys and a healthy Patrick Mahomes are the only QB’s I’d consider to be matchup-proof at this point in the year, so it’s time to start looking at your QB1’s schedule down the stretch and then find a QB2 that can fill in during your QB1’s tough matchups.
Enter Nick Foles. For a minute there, it looked like Gardner Minshew might steal Jaguars’ starting QB job, but a poor outing in London forced Doug Marrone’s hand. Foles will now be the Jags’ starting QB as long as Jacksonville is in the playoff race in 2019. The quick glimpse we saw of Foles as a Jaguar was promising (75 yards and a touchdown in just under a quarter of play) and Minshew was a borderline QB1 before his performance last week, so it stands to reason that Foles can be an effective option for fantasy. But the real appeal here is the schedule:
Week 11 @ Indianapolis
Week 12 @ Tennessee
Week 13 vs Tampa Bay
Week 14 vs Los Angeles Chargers
Week 15 @ Oakland
Week 16 @ Atlanta
None of those matchups should scare you. Weeks 13, 15, and 16 are against bottom 5 pass defenses in terms of fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson have a bye next week, so fantasy owners will be looking for replacements by this time next week. If you need a QB2 for your championship run, the time to stash Foles is now.
Brian Hill, RB, Atlanta Falcons (0% on Yahoo, 0% on ESPN)
Here’s a fun trivia question: who is the last Atlanta Falcons running back to rush for 100 yards in a game? It’s not Devonta Freeman. He has yet to eclipse 100 yards in 8 games this year and hasn’t reached triple digits since 2017. It’s also not Tevin Coleman, who surprisingly only had three 100-yard games in his 4 years in Atlanta. The answer is Brian Hill, who rushed for 115 yards on just 8 carries back in week 16 last year. I completely forgot this happened, and I’m guessing you did too.
Hill got to 100 yards mostly due to an impressive 60-yard run, the type of explosive play that’s been missing from the Falcons offense this year. Then in week 8, with Ito Smith in the concussion protocol and inactive, Hill worked his magic again, this time on a 23-yard touchdown run where he had to evade/break 4 tackles. Simply put, Hill has been effective when given the chance.
Ito Smith is now dealing with a neck issue in addition to and/or related to his concussion, so his status for this week and the rest of the season is up in the air. I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of the Falcons putting him on injured reserve. And then there’s the incumbent starter Freeman, who has been ineffective this year, has a history of injury, and isn’t part of the Falcons future. It suddenly appears that there isn’t much standing in Hill’s way. If he were to take the Falcons starting job or earn a role in a timeshare, he’d likely become a viable flex option.
J.D. McKissic, RB, Detroit Lions (15% on Yahoo, 10% on ESPN)
Ty Johnson was the hot waiver pickup when Kerryon Johnson was placed on IR a couple weeks ago, but he’s failed to live up to expectations so far. It’s not all Ty’s fault. Much like Kerryon Johnson, there hasn’t been much room for Ty to run. He also had two near touchdowns in week 8 – one was prevented by defensive pass interference, the other by a poor throw from Matthew Stafford.
Regardless, Ty may have missed his window to take the starting job. It’s pretty clear the coaching staff is not in love with him. In week 8, the first week without Kerryon, the Lions chose to start Tra Carson at running back, who had only been with the team two weeks. Then last week, down 17-14 in the second half, the Lions turned to J.D.McKissic. McKissic was a key part of two Lions scoring drives. He ran for 32 yards on 4 carries on the Lions first possession of the 2nd half and then caught two passes for 33 yards and a touchdown on a game-tying drive in the 4th quarter.
I will not be surprised if the Lions continue to turn to McKissic in crucial situations. He just fits their offense a little better than Johnson right now. McKissic is like a more explosive Theo Riddick. He was a wide receiver in college and initially entered the NFL as a slot receiver and punt returner in Atlanta before transitioning to running back in Seattle. The Lions can’t run the ball anyway, so maybe they’re better off with a pass catcher at running back that can keep you honest with delayed handoffs.
Andy Isabella, WR, Arizona Cardinals (1% on Yahoo, 1% on ESPN)
It’s funny, I’ve watched a good portion of every Cardinals game this year and I often find myself thinking, “if they only had a field stretcher to open things up underneath for Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk.” It’s easy to forget, they’ve had that player all along: 2019 2nd-round draft pick Andy Isabella. If you’re a dynasty player or someone who follows the NFL draft closely, you already know Isabella’s name. If you’re not familiar with him. check out Ryan Comeau’s Going Deep piece from the preseason.
It’s unclear why the Cardinals have been hesitant to put Isabella on the field. You would think his 4.3 speed alone would qualify him for more snaps, but it’s possible he’s struggled to pick up Kliff Kingsbury’s offense and the knee injury he suffered in the preseason likely delayed his development slightly. We’ll see, but Isabella may have earned more playing time after his big play last Thursday, an 88-yard catch and run on a beautiful throw from Kyler Murray. The play occurred in the 4th quarter with the Cardinals down 11 points and nearly kickstarted an improbable comeback in a game they trailed 21-7 at the half. If you believe in the Cardinals offense (which I do) and believe in elite speed (who doesn’t?), then Isabella needs to be on your radar as a deep sleeper. He’s more likely a contributor in 2020, but the combination of him and Kyler is so dangerous that it might start to pay off sooner.
Jacob Hollister, TE, Seattle Seahawks (4% on Yahoo, 3% on ESPN)
I’ve been hesitant to tout Jacob Hollister the last few weeks because he had been splitting snaps with Luke Willson, but I think its time to take him seriously after Hollister out-snapped Willson 60-17 and scored two touchdowns against Tampa Bay last week. I think we’re starting to see a pattern emerge: Willson is the better blocker and the preferred option in the run game, Hollister is the better receiver. Even when their snap counts were pretty even in weeks 7 and 8, Hollister was getting more targets than Willson. Then in week 9, when Seattle got down 21-7 early in the game, Seattle put Willson on the bench in favor of Hollister. Obviously, you want the tight end used in the passing game for fantasy.
What’s also obvious is that Pete Carroll is obsessed with running the ball. In a perfect world, Russell Wilson wouldn’t even attempt a pass. Fortunately for us, we’re not living in Pete Carroll’s perfect world. Seattle’s schedule is about to get tough and expose their bad defense. They play the 49ers, Eagles, Vikings, Rams, and Panthers over their next 5 games. They’re going to need to throw the ball to win those games, which means you have to take Hollister seriously.
That’s it for week 10. Feel free to weigh in and tell me who I’ve missed.
Featured Image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)