The Must Stash: Week 3
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 Jaylen Samuels (46% on Yahoo, 30% on ESPN) or D.J. Chark (33% Yahoo, 36% 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 2 is in the books, and hopefully, you were one of the people that rostered Raheem Mostert and Deebo Samuel before the 49ers beatdown of the Bengals. Mostert led the 49ers backfield in just about everything: snaps, touches, targets, total yards. If it weren’t for Jeff Wilson’s 2 vulture touchdowns, we might have seen Mostert put up 30 points. Samuel’s snap count dropped to 40%, but he still managed to lead the 49ers with 7 targets, 5 receptions, and 87 yards. Dante Pettis continues to either be on the bench or ignored in the passing game, so I think we can continue to consider Deebo the #2 option in this passing game behind George Kittle and a possible flex option once the bye weeks hit.
My big miss of week 2 was Demarcus Robinson, who hauled in 6 receptions for 172 yards and 2 TDs. As much as I wish I’d stashed him, I don’t know how useful he’ll be going forward. Patrick Mahomes continues to spread the ball around and take whatever the defense gives him. In week 2, that just happened to be D-Rob. I think he’ll have a few 3 catch, 45-yard games over the next few weeks and generally be a difficult guy to predict.
Here are the stashes for week 3:
Taysom Hill, QB, New Orleans Saints (2% on Yahoo, 1% on ESPN)
Sean Payton has been strangely tight-lipped about his plans for this weekends game in Seattle, even hinting at the idea that he might use multiple quarterbacks. The original expectation was that Teddy Bridgewater would be the starter, but I suspect Payton wants Taysom Hill as his QB. Payton’s love for Taysom Hill is well documented: although he’s officially listed as a QB on the depth chart, the Saints have deployed him as a wide receiver, kick returner, and wildcat QB. I think the only reason the Saints re-signed Bridgewater as Drew Brees’s backup is that they wanted to expand Hill’s role in the offense. I truly believe it would have been Hill who entered the game after Brees’s injury, were it not for the fact that he likely received few, if any, practice reps at QB before the week 2 game.
Bridgewater, for his part, looked like a shell of his former self in relief of Brees on Sunday. Inaccurate, unwilling to go downfield, and often too slow to get rid of the ball. It’s hard to blame the guy given all he’s been through and the fact that he’s barely played the last 3 years, but Sean Payton also can’t afford to wait and see if he shakes off the rust. The Saints need to stay alive in the division until Brees returns later in the year, and that may mean turning to the more dynamic Hill in the short-term.
From a fantasy perspective, Taysom Hill could be a lesser version of Lamar Jackson. Good arm, ok accuracy. He ran a 4.5 at the combine, so not quite as fast as Lamar, but a little bigger and more physical. He probably would have been taken more seriously as a QB prospect if it weren’t for the fact that he spent three years doing missionary work before his college career and was a 27-year-old rookie. Oh, he’d also be stepping into an offense with Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas. I’d expect to see a lot of read-option with Alvin Kamara, something we’ve already seen the Saints do while Brees has been healthy. If you’re one of the unfortunate fantasy owners that lost Ben Roethlisberger or Brees in week 2, consider stashing Hill as a potential high-upside replacement.
Preston Williams, WR, Miami Dolphins (2% on Yahoo, 3% on ESPN)
I’m going to Preston Williams on here until his ownership increases or I see some reason to take him off. That reason might end up being that the Dolphins are so bad that nobody on their team has fantasy value, but I’m not ready to say that just yet. Lost in this team’s terrible start is the fact that they played two of the better defenses in the league, with the Patriots looking like they might have surpassed the Bears as the league’s best defense. The Dolphins’ schedule is easier going forward and is especially nice in the fantasy playoffs with games against the Giants and Bengals.
Williams was out-snapped by DeVante Parker and out-targeted by Jakeem Grant in week 2, but he was by far the most efficient and effective receiver on the Dolphins. Parker failed to convert any of his 7 targets into a catch and Grant only managed 3 receptions for 22 yards, while Williams turned his 6 targets into 4 catches for 65 yards. I wouldn’t be surprised if Parker is traded, benched, or released in the next few weeks, as his performance continues to be embarrassing, even by Miami Dolphins’ standards. Keep stashing Williams if you have room on the bench and see if conditions improve.
Devin Smith, WR, Dallas Cowboys (8% on Yahoo, 5% on ESPN)
Michael Gallup will miss the next 2-4 weeks with a knee injury, leaving a vacancy on the opposite side of Amari Cooper in the Cowboys’ passing game. Randall Cobb likely keeps his role as the slot receiver, meaning Devin Smith is in line for a significant playing time increase. If you don’t know or remember Smith, he played opposite Michael Thomas on Ohio State’s BCS Championship team back in 2014 and got drafted by the Jets in the 2nd round. He played sparingly in his first season-and-a-half as a pro and then suffered two ACL tears to the same knee in less than a year. Last week he showed off the deep ball ability that got him drafted so highly, hauling in a 51-yard bomb from Dak Prescott, his first catch since 2016.
The Cowboys offense has been gold for fantasy so far, and that should continue with a game against the Dolphins this week. Don’t be surprised if Smith catches another deep ball or two a la Hollywood Brown in week 1 and becomes a hot waiver pickup next week.
Demetrius Harris, TE, Cleveland Browns (0% on Yahoo, 1% on ESPN)
David Njoku broke his wrist last week and will be out for at least a month. As far as I can tell, every single Njoku owner went out and picked up Will Dissly after his 2 TD performance in week 2. Dissly is an OK option, but he’s only playing about 60% of the snaps for Seattle and their passing game is difficult to trust. Njoku owners might be better off doing exactly what the Browns plan to do and replacing Njoku with Demetrius Harris. Like Njoku, Harris is an athletic freak. He played college basketball for the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and made the Chiefs roster as an undrafted rookie despite never playing football at any collegiate level. He’s never really had a chance to start because he spent the first 5 years of his career backing up Travis Kelce. Former Chiefs GM and current Browns GM Bryan Dorsey liked Harris enough to bring him into Cleveland to serve as a backup, but will now have to turn Harris as the starter. The Browns will need to put up points against the Rams this weekend, and Harris could be a nice red-zone threat for Baker Mayfield.
Justice Hill, RB, Baltimore Ravens (19% on Yahoo, 12% on ESPN)
I’m breaking my own rule with this pick because he’s still over 15% owned in Yahoo leagues, but I’m starting to see Justice Hill get dropped in a lot of leagues and I think it might be a little too soon to do that. Hill is a bit undersized and was effective in the passing game in his college career, which led many people to speculate that he might be used as the Ravens’ passing down back. We haven’t seen Hill used that way so far, but a lot of that may be because the Ravens haven’t trailed in either of the first two weeks. That will likely change in week 3, with the Ravens playing on the road in Kansas City. If Hill was dropped in your league, he may be worth a stash just to see if his involvement increases with a more pass-heavy game script.
That’s it for week 3. Feel free to weigh in and tell me who I missed.