The Must Stash: Week 5

Deep sleepers to stash before Week 5's games.

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 James Robinson (91% on Yahoo, 96.1% on ESPN), Joshua Kelley (67% on Yahoo, 70.6% on ESPN), or Laviska Shenault (29% on Yahoo, 30.7% 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 wasn’t quite as successful in finding huge steals, but still pretty good as Corey Davis, Myles Gaskin, Logan Thomas, and Tre’Quan Smith showed that they are rosterable. Week 3 and week 4 were less successful but had a few solid waiver suggestions such as Jeff Wilson, Mo Alie-Cox, and Hunter Renfrow. Who made the list(s) this week? Let’s dive in!


The Must Stash


Jordan Akins, TE, Houston Texans (12% on Yahoo, 4% on ESPN)


The Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien was fired this past week, leaving sole control of the offense to offensive coordinator Tim Kelly. Kelly has previous experience as a tight ends coach for the team and makes it a strong possibility that this positional group gets slightly more work over the rest of the season. This is supported by the fact that the Houston Texans TE room receiving touchdowns per game has increased since Kelly was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2019.

Enter Jordan Akins. Akins has been the primary receiving tight end for the Texans this season and has played pretty well, catching 14 passes on 15 targets for 168 receiving yards and a touchdown through the first four games of the NFL season. In addition, Akins has run 103 routes (13th among tight ends) and gotten 83 of his yards after-the-catch (11th among tight ends). Akins has been one of the more reliable receiving threats for the Texans so far this season and will continue to be utilized based on his production.

While it remains to be seen if he will be ready to go for Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars after suffering a concussion last week against the Minnesota Vikings, his potential for growth with Bill O’Brien out of the mix combined with his solid performance thus far is intriguing. With various teams having BYE weeks scheduled in the coming weeks and the league experiencing some COVID issues that put the status of some games up in the air, Akins should be near the top of every fantasy player’s watch list at the tight end position.


Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Miami Dolphins (6% on Yahoo, 5.7% on ESPN)


Is it Tua Time? This question has been heating up after Dolphins head coach Brian Flores hesitated when asked who the starter will be on Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers. The Dolphins current starter Ryan Fitzpatrick has been up-and-down so far in the 2020 NFL season (four games), completing 69% of his passes for 994 passing yards, but also throwing more interceptions (5) than touchdowns (4). Fitzpatrick has been well-known for his streaky play in the past where one game he’ll look like ‘Fitzmagic’ and then the next he’ll turn into ‘Fitztragic’. If he ends up resorting to ‘Fitztragic’ mode and having a rough game the door becomes wide open for Tua Tagovailoa to finally get his opportunity.

And considering Tua was one of the highest touted quarterbacks in recent memory after an impressive college career at Alabama where he ended up getting drafted 5th overall by the Miami Dolphins in the 2020 NFL draft, he won’t be giving the starting job back to Fitzpatrick when he takes it. It’s only a matter of time before the rookie gets his time to shine, and it’s always good to be the first one to the punch.


Denzel Mims, WR, New York Jets (3% on Yahoo, 3.9% on ESPN)


Denzel Mims was getting some looks in the offseason as a potential fantasy football sleeper, but a preseason injury stopped that hype train from getting out of the station. Finally returning from the injured reserve, Mims will have an opportunity to reignite that excitement in his first game against the Arizona Cardinals. The second-round pick is an athletic freak who ran a 4.38 forty yard dash (96th percentile) at the NFL combine, has an insane catch radius that ranks in the 96th percentile, and possesses high speed (96th percentile) and burst scores (90th percentile). In his draft profile, he was touted for his strong hands, contested-catch ability, and vertical receiving skills. Based on all this, Mims will have a very high ceiling in the NFL, it’s just a matter of when he hits it.

It could be sooner rather than later. Mims may see his path to fantasy relevance accelerated with the New York Jets lack of pass-threats. Besides Jamison Crowder, the Jets have struggled at wide receiver or tight end, with Braxton Berrios being the only receiver besides Crowder to have more than 100 total receiving yards through the first four games. Mims has the talent and will have the opportunity to break out, which makes him worthy of this list.


Trey Burton, TE, Indianapolis Colts (0% on Yahoo, 0.3% on ESPN)


After many weeks of being one of the top players on the ‘Deep Cuts’ list, Trey Burton finally sees himself getting promoted to the ‘Must Stash’. As I’ve touched on in the previous weeks of this series, Burton has been worth keeping an eye on based on Frank Reich and Philip Rivers‘s past history of utilizing the tight-end position. While Mo Alie-Cox finished with the most fantasy points in last week’s game against the Chicago Bears because he caught a touchdown, Trey Burton actually ended up with the most routes run (17), targets (5), receptions (2), and receiving yards (16) of all the team’s tight ends. This usage is very encouraging considering this was Burton’s first game of the season where he was coming off of a calf injury and his first game as an Indianapolis Colt overall. He’s got the most upside of any tight end available on most leagues waivers, and I expect him to produce around the level Mo Alie-Cox has in recent weeks.


Washington Football Team D/ST (6% on Yahoo, 6.7% on ESPN)


It feels a little strange to be including a defense on this list, but getting production out of your defense can be the difference between winning and losing some fantasy matchups. While the team matches up with the Los Angeles Rams in week 5, they have a pretty juicy matchup in week 6 against the New York Giants. The Giants offense has been putrid so far this year and is only averaging 278 yards and 11.8 points per game through the first four weeks. In addition, Daniel Jones has thrown five interceptions and been sacked 14 times already this year, and the team as a whole has fumbled three times (lost two). If you are streaming defenses, it is a good idea to pick the Washington Football Team D/ST up now. Otherwise, you will have to burn a waiver next week to get a piece of this juicy matchup.

BONUS: Anthony McFarland Jr., RB, Pittsburgh Steelers (3% on Yahoo, 2.2% on ESPN)


Anthony McFarland didn’t get a fair shake in the ‘The Must Stash’ last week after the Pittsburgh Steelers-Tennessee Titans week 4 game was postponed, so in addition to the five players above he will be included once again as a bonus player. Anthony McFarland looked great in his first NFL action during week 3, taking six carries for 42 rushing yards and catching one pass for seven yards. McFarland’s performance combined with Benny Snell‘s poor performance (seven carries for 11 rushing yards) improved his odds of taking over as the primary change-of-pace running back and #2 back in the Steelers offense behind James Conner.

After Week 3’s game Steelers head coach talked about McFarland saying, “He has merited more playing time,” said Tomlin. “He has had some really good practices. This is a difficult environment for young guys to establish themselves and get the type of feel that you are willing to play him and play him a lot. Without preseason games the process might be a little bit more cumbersome for him. He has continually worked hard and earned the opportunity that he got. I am sure we’re going to continue down that road with he and others.”

In addition, given James Conner’s extensive injury history, there’s a very real possibility that McFarland could potentially see lead back carries at some point this year. He’s one of the best boom/bust lottery tickets that you can still find available on a majority of waiver wires.




Deep Cuts


(Less Than 3% owned in ESPN and Yahoo)


Olamide Zacchaeus, WR, Atlanta Falcons (2% on Yahoo, 1.5% on ESPN): The Falcons star wide receiver, Julio Jones, exited Monday night’s game against the Green Bay Packers with a hamstring injury and his status for week 5 is up in the air. In Julio’s absence against the Packers, Olamide Zacchaeus managed to catch eight passes on nine targets for 86 yards. The 23-year-old has got a good shot at getting a similar usage against the Carolina Panthers in week 5.


Rashaad Penny, RB, Seattle Seahawks (3% on Yahoo, 2.1% on ESPN): Rashaad Penny is a player I anticipate that will move up from the ‘Deep Cuts’ list to ‘The Must Stash’ in the future, once he gets closer to returning from the PUP list. He’s currently ahead of schedule in his recovery and should be back around week 8 or so. Given Penny’s previous effectiveness and first-round pedigree, this is a lottery ticket that could really pay off. If you have an IR spot available, it might be a good idea to stash Penny in there. 


Gus Edwards, RB, Baltimore Ravens (2% on Yahoo, 1.4% on ESPN): Throughout his three-year NFL career, Gus Edwards has been consistently solid, averaging 5.4 YPC on 297 carries. While the Baltimore Ravens backfield situation is crowded between himself, J.K. Dobbins, and Mark Ingram, if either of Ingram or Dobbins misses time Edwards will have value in Baltimore’s run-heavy offense. 


Jordan Wilkins, RB, Indianapolis Colts (1% on Yahoo, 0.8% on ESPN): Jordan Wilkins has gotten nine carries in each of the last three weeks. In addition, if Jonathan Taylor were to miss time, Wilkins would move into the early-down back role and have RB2 potential behind the Colts offensive line.


Jalen Hurts, QB, Philadelphia Eagles (1% on Yahoo, 1.2% on ESPN): Philadelphia Eagles starting quarterback Carson Wentz has been terrible to start the year, completing just 60.6% of his passes and throwing more interceptions (7) than touchdowns (4) through the first three games. Doug Pederson has stated that Carson Wentz’s starting job is not in trouble yet, but it’s important to keep in mind that the team did use a second-round pick on Jalen Hurts in the 2020 NFL draft. Given this as well as Jalen Hurts’ strong rushing ability in college producing 10.96 rushing attempts, 58.46 rushing yards, and 0.77 rushing touchdowns, he could be an intriguing fantasy option if Wentz’s struggles continue.


Darnell Mooney, WR, Chicago Bears (1% on Yahoo, 1.2% on ESPN): The Bears 5th round pick Darnell Mooney has been playing pretty well in his first four NFL games, catching 13 passes on 20 targets for 145 yards and a touchdown. The Bears decision to start quarterback Nick Foles seems to be helping Mooney take another step and he could become an occasional FLEX play/decent bench piece for fantasy players down the line.


David Njoku, TE, Cleveland Browns (2% on Yahoo, 1.3% on ESPN): David Njoku put up a great performance in week 1 against the Baltimore Ravens, catching three passes for 50 yards and a touchdown. He’s missed the last three weeks with a knee injury, but was finally designated for return from the injured reserve list on Wednesday. While it’s hard to pinpoint what his role will be coming back, the former 1st round pick has flashed enough talent to make him worth monitoring in future weeks.


That’s it for week 5. 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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