The Must Stash: Week 2
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 15% 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 Justice Hill (32% on Yahoo, 21% on ESPN) or Justin Jackson (39% Yahoo, 35% 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.
Week 1 is in the books, and the week 1 stashes all showed some promising signs. Dare Ogunbowale led the Buccaneers backfield in snaps. Dontrell Hilliard, Trey Quinn, and Preston Williams all scored TD’s. Noah Fant played 81% of the snaps and logged 5 targets.
The big misses: Malcolm Brown and Terry McLaurin. I was shocked to see Darrell Henderson barely on the field in week 1, allowing Brown to take all the non-Gurley work. McLaurin was someone I considered including in last week’s article, but I thought Case Keenum would be more inclined to gravitate to his slot receiver. Brown and McLaurin are guys you need to pay up for now, unfortunately. Let’s see if we can avoid that in week 2:
Rex Burkhead, RB, NE (11% on Yahoo, 6% on ESPN)
Rex Burkhead led Patriots running backs with 85 total yards in week 1, on just 13 total touches. We’ve seen Burkhead have games like this before, hence why his ownership hasn’t changed much. But before you dismiss this as just another random nice game, there are a few things worth considering:
1) Rex Burkhead might be the only multi-dimensional back on the Patriots (Damien Harris being the possible other). Sony Michel is better between the tackles runner and James White is a better receiver, but Burkhead can do everything reasonably well. White was used sparingly as a runner in Week 1, the same way he has been used his entire career. Michel was rumored to be more heavily involved in the passing game this year, but he did not receive a target in week 1.
2) Burkhead has rarely been fully healthy for the Patriots. He only appeared in 10 games in 2017 because of a rib injury he suffered in week 2 and a knee injury in week 15. He played in only 8 games last year because of a neck injury. People tend to think of him as a guy that’s buried on the bench, but he’s averaged 9.4 touches in games where he is active during his time in New England.
3) Burkhead was the 3rd Patriot back to take a carry against the Steelers and was used heavily when the game was out of hand. That may seem like a bad thing until you consider that they play the Dolphins this week and the Trevor Siemian Jets the week after. If those games go the way you’d expect, Burkhead could see a lot of work late in the game as the Patriots attempt to preserve Sony Michel and James White. It’s a bit of a stretch, but if Burkhead takes 10+ carries the next two weeks he might suddenly have some trade value when bye weeks begin in week 4.
Raheem Mostert, RB, SF (12% on Yahoo, 7% on ESPN)
Tevin Coleman suffered a high ankle sprain in week 1 and will likely be sidelined for the next 4-6 weeks. That leaves 49ers with Matt Brieda, Raheem Mostert, and fullback Kyle Juszczyk as the only players left in the backfield. Brieda will step into the starting role (which he already technically had) and take the bulk of the carries, but Mostert’s role will increase as well. Brieda has been banged up constantly over the last year, to the point where I think I might bet against him staying healthy until Coleman returns. Mostert is undersized and I’m not sure he’s capable of being much more than a 3rd down back, but he might be someone you could trade to the Coleman or Brieda owner when bye-week desperation sets in.
Preston Williams, WR, MIA (2% on Yahoo, 3% on ESPN)
I’m putting Preston Williams on this list for the 2nd week in a row. His stat line (5 targets, 3 receptions, 24 yards, and a TD) isn’t going to raise many eyebrows, but consider that he managed to generate this on only 21 snaps. When he was in the game, Ryan Fitzpatrick was looking in his direction. One of the missed targets was a deep pass down the sideline, which Williams nearly hauled in for a touchdown but landed just out of bounds. Imagine the hype this week if he’d put up 4 catches, 60 yards, and 2 touchdowns. Miami is a mess and there are rumors are floating around about players asking to be traded and/or quitting on the coach. If you believe that sort of thing, it’s worth noting that Williams is an undrafted rookie. He can’t afford to quit or ask for a trade. He’s playing for his NFL life. The Dolphins will continue to be down big and passing all year long. If the snap counts increase a bit, Williams could amass a lot of garbage time points.
Deebo Samuel, WR, SF (15% on Yahoo, 15% on ESPN)
Although it didn’t lead to much in the box score, Deebo Samuel led 49ers receivers in snaps last week. George Kittle is the clear #1 option in the 49ers pass game, but they should be a good enough offense to make their 2nd option fantasy viable. Most of the reason the 49ers stats as a whole were so unimpressive is that Jameis Winston kept throwing touchdowns to the wrong team, thereby allowing the 49ers to run the ball 53% of the time. Jimmy Garoppolo’s pass attempts will be higher going forward and when that happens, Samuel has the talent to be the one who benefits.
Phillip Dorsett, WR, NE (13% on Yahoo, 4% on ESPN)
There’s a distinct possibility that Antonio Brown is on the commissioner’s exempt list or permanently unemployed at this time next week given the rape and sexual assault allegations he is now facing. If that were to occur, Phillip Dorsett would have the opportunity to recapture his role as the #3 receiver on the Patriots. We saw in week 1 what Dorsett is capable of in that field-stretcher role, catching 4 balls for 95 yards and 2 touchdowns. Dorsett wouldn’t be a consistent fantasy option in this scenario, he’d be a boom-or-bust guy. But the Patriots play a lot of late afternoon and early evening games, which allows you to see how the early games go and plug Dorsett into your lineup if you need to take a risk in your WR2 or flex spot.
That’s it for week 2. Feel free to weigh in and tell me who I missed.