Every Friday 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 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 Myles Gaskin (75% on Yahoo, 81.1% on ESPN), Jalen Hurts (59% on Yahoo, 59.8% on ESPN), or Justin Herbert (91% on Yahoo, 96.1% on ESPN) are on the waiver wire, you’re either in a league too shallow for stashing, or you should go pick them 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.
Week 1 was a success where we advised you to pick up Joshua Kelley, Laviska Shenault, and Jerick McKinnon. Week 2 was successful in getting you to roster Myles Gaskin on your team. Week 3 and 4 were less successful but had a few solid waiver suggestions such as Jeff Wilson, Mo Alie-Cox, and Hunter Renfrow. Weeks 5 and 6 we told you to pick up Trey Burton who has emerged as a legitimate TE1 option in the Colts offense. In Week 7, we advised you to pick up JaMycal Hasty, Giovani Bernard, and Tua Tagovailoa. In Week 8, we recommended picking up Denzel Mims, Jalen Reagor, and Darnell Mooney. In Week 9, our recommendation was that you pick up Jordan Wilkins and Jordan Reed. In Week 10, Kalen Ballage was the big piece that we told you to pick up from ‘The Must Stash’, and if you read the ‘Deep Cuts’ section, you might’ve picked up Salvon Ahmed as well. In Week 11, we advised you to grab Taysom Hill, Breshad Perriman, and Devontae Booker off the waiver wire. In Week 12, we re-emphasized that you should pick up Denzel Mims and also suggested Frank Gore might have some value. In Week 14, we hit a home-run telling you to pick up Jalen Hurts who has been on fire in his two starts against the New Orleans Saints and Arizona Cardinals.
Who made the list(s) this week? Let’s dive in!
Week 15 Recap
Russell Gage, WR, Atlanta Falcons: This past week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Russell Gage caught five passes on ten targets for 68 receiving yards and a touchdown. If you have him he’s a decent hold.
Rashard Higgins, WR, Cleveland Browns: Rashard Higgins has really emerged these past couple weeks, and caught four passes on five targets for 76 receiving yards. Much like Russell Gage, if you have him he’s a decent hold.
James Washington, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers offense struggled on Monday Night Football, and James Washington didn’t catch a pass. He’s a safe drop.
Jeremy McNichols, RB, Tennessee Titans: Jeremy McNichols only had one catch for five yards against the Detroit Lions, while his backfield mate Darrynton Evans got eight carries, 30 rushing yards, two receptions, two targets, 27 receiving yards, and a receiving touchdown. While McNichols has dominated the backup role behind Derrick Henry for much of the season, this performance by Evans makes it a legitimate question who would get most of the carries if Henry did miss time. With one week left to go, McNichols is a safe drop.
Chad Hansen, WR, Houston Texans: Chad Hansen had another strong game despite a minimal workload, catching two passes on three targets for 55 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown. The 25-year-old receiver is a decent hold down the stretch.
The Must Stash
Sony Michel, RB, New England Patriots (18% on Yahoo, 18.5% on ESPN)
Sony Michel has had an up-and-down career so far. The Georgia running back was the 31st overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft and a key player in the New England Patriots 2018 Super Bowl run, taking 71 carries for 336 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns in four playoff games for the team. But after a pretty good rookie season, Michel failed to build upon it in 2019 averaging just 3.7 YPC. This year, while Michel’s efficiency has bounced-back, his volume (carries) has taken a big hit. In the seven games that Sony Michel has played this season, he’s totaled just 53 carries, 304 rushing yards, four receptions, 54 receiving yards, and one rushing touchdown while Damien Harris has been the primary back in the ground game.
|Week||Opponent||Carries||Rushing Yards||YPC||Rushing TDs||Targets||Receptions||Receiving Yards|
If Damien Harris is not ready to go against Buffalo on Monday Night Football, Sony Michel will have a prominent role for the team. Consider giving him a shot with one of your last bench spots.
Marcus Mariota, QB, Las Vegas Raiders (4% on Yahoo, 2.6% on ESPN)
Marcus Mariota got his first real game action since being replaced by Ryan Tannehill last year after Derek Carr suffered a significant groin injury that will sideline him the next couple of weeks. In relief of Carr, Mariota played extremely well completing 17 of 28 passes for 226 passing yards, one touchdown, and one interception against the Los Angeles Chargers. In addition, Mariota flashed his rushing upside, taking nine carries for 88 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown.
Quarterbacks that can run are incredibly valuable in the fantasy football world, and this ability gives Mariota an opportunity to be a low-end QB1 as long as he’s a starter. If you are struggling at quarterback and were unable to pick up Justin Herbert or Jalen Hurts earlier this season, take a chance on Mariota.
Darrel Williams, RB, Kansas City Chiefs (3% on Yahoo, 1.8% on ESPN)
Kansas City Chiefs rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire suffered a high-ankle sprain this past week against the New Orleans Saints, which will keep him out for the rest of the regular season. While Le’Veon Bell stands to be the primary beneficiary of Edwards-Helaire missing some time, Darrel Williams should also be in line for more opportunities. On the season, Darrel Williams has taken 29 carries for 123 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown. In addition, he’s caught 13 passes on 19 targets for 87 receiving yards.
|Week||Opponent||Carries||Rushing Yards||YPC||Rushing TDs||Targets||Receptions||Receiving Yards||Receiving TDs|
While these statistics won’t blow anyone out of the water, they do show that Darrel Williams is capable of being a solid fantasy running back – if he gets the opportunities. You shouldn’t be starting him this week, but if your league continues into week 17 Darrel Williams could be a solid play then.
Dan Arnold, TE, Arizona Cardinals (2% on Yahoo, 1.1% on ESPN)
Shockingly, Dan Arnold has been one of the most reliable tight ends in fantasy football over the past three weeks. The athletic freak who ranks in the 97th percentile for burst score, 93rd percentile for agility score, and the 95th percentile for catch radius according to PlayerProfiler has caught seven passes on 12 targets for 142 receiving yards and three receiving touchdowns over the last three weeks. He’s flashed some major upside in this time, and if he sees an increase in workload he could jump into a whole nother tier.
|Week||Opponent||Targets||Receptions||Receiving Yards||Receiving TDs|
Given the low number of targets, it’s hard to say if Arnold’s production is sustainable. But given his performance, the last few weeks he’s warranted a spot on the last edition of the ‘Must Stash’ just in case it’s for real.
Ito Smith, RB, Atlanta Falcons (9% on Yahoo, 3.2% on ESPN)
This past Monday, the Falcons interim head coach, Raheem Morris, said that Todd Gurley‘s role had changed and Ito Smith is now the primary ball carrier. Despite Todd Gurley’s name brand, it makes sense when you look at the data. Over the last four weeks, Ito Smith has taken 37 carries for 167 rushing yards and caught eight passes on 11 targets for 20 receiving yards. Meanwhile, Todd Gurley has averaged under 3.5 YPC in every game he’s played since week 6, and taken just 21 carries for 60 rushing yards over the past four weeks.
BREAKING: Falcons HC Raheem Morris says Todd Gurley’s role has changed. Morris said Ito Smith is the lead runner right now. #Falcons@AJCsports @NFL
— ATLSportz❗️❗️ (@AtlSportz) December 21, 2020
The changing of the guard has already happened, but Ito Smith is still rostered in less than 10% of fantasy football leagues. If you are really struggling at running back and need a player who will get a decent workload these last couple weeks, Ito Smith is your guy.
Darrynton Evans, RB, Tennessee Titans (1% on Yahoo, 1.7% on ESPN): Darrynton Evans saw his first game action since week 5 and made it count, taking eight carries for 30 rushing yards and catching two passes for 27 receiving yards and a touchdown. The rookie may be worth an end of bench roster spot for those that have week 17 championships or play in keeper/dynasty leagues.
D’Ernest Johnson, RB, Cleveland Browns (1% on Yahoo, 0.7% on ESPN): D’Ernest Johnson took four carries for 24 rushing yards in garbage time against the New York Giants after Kareem Hunt left the game with a minor injury. While Hunt is unlikely to miss any time, D’Ernest Johnson is still a great stash in Kevin Stefanski’s run-heavy offense.
Jordan Love, QB, Green Bay Packers (0% on Yahoo, 0.4% on ESPN): There’s a solid chance that the Green Bay Packers could lock up the #1 seed before week 17. This could lead to the Packers opting to rest most of their starters, and give their 1st round draft pick, Jordan Love, an opportunity to play against the Chicago Bears.
Darwin Thompson, RB, Kansas City Chiefs (0% on Yahoo, 0.2% on ESPN): With Clyde Edwards-Helaire out for the rest of the regular season, there will be more reps available to the rest of the Chiefs running backs. In addition, the Chiefs can lock up the #1 seed and a bye this weekend, which could mean they play their backups more than usual in week 17.
Jalen Guyton, WR, Los Angeles Chargers (1% on Yahoo, 1.5% on ESPN): Jalen Guyton caught four passes on six targets for 91 receiving yards against the Las Vegas Raiders last Thursday night. While it’s difficult to see him putting these numbers up on a regular basis once the Chargers wide receivers get healthy, this type of performance warrants a spot on the ‘Deep Cuts’ list this week.
That’s it for week 16. Feel free to weigh in and mention any players you believe should be on this list.
Featured Image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)