The Must Stash: Week 5

Eli Grabanski looks at some deep sleepers to stash before Week 5's games.

Every week 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 rostered in under 20% of leagues 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 Rondale Moore (47.7% on ESPN), Trey Lance (27.1% on ESPN), and Damien Williams (61.4% 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.

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. Without further ado, let’s dive in!


Week 4 Review


  • Man, I wish that I left Damien Williams (RB, Chicago Bears) on the ‘Must Stash’ after featuring him in Week 2 and briefly mentioning him in the Week 3 edition. But that’s how it goes sometimes. I expect Williams to be a solid starting RB for the next four weeks or so with David Montgomery out.
  • Rashod Bateman (WR, Baltimore Ravens): Did not play last week, but is expected to play soon. Should still be a good stash option if he’s available, but will not be eligible for the ‘Must Stash’ this week now that he’s rostered in over 25% of Yahoo leagues.
  • Rhamondre Stevenson (RB, New England Patriots): Was inactive against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. If you need a bench spot immediately you can drop him since it likely won’t be until near the end of the season if he becomes fantasy relevant.
  • Tyler Conklin (TE, Minnesota Vikings): Conklin had four receptions on six targets for 18 receiving yards. He’s been consistently involved in the Vikings offense with at least four targets in every game thus far and should be a solid backend TE1/high-end TE2 for the rest of the season.
  • Dallas Cowboys D/ST: Had five sacks and two interceptions against the Carolina Panthers last week. Have a juicy matchup against the New York Giants this week and has graduated off of the ‘Must Stash’ now that they are rostered in over 20% of leagues.
  • Marlon Mack (RB, Indianapolis Colts): Marlon Mack had 10 carries for 22 rushing yards on the ground and one reception for one receiving yard through the air against the Miami Dolphins this past week. He’s still on the trade block and worth monitoring for now.
  • From the ‘Deep Cuts’ section, Samaje Perine saw the number of leagues he’s rostered in rising dramatically after Joe Mixon‘s injury to over 20%. Because of this, he is not eligible for the ‘Must Stash’ this week.


The Must Stash


Jeremy McNichols, RB, Tennessee Titans (3% on Yahoo, 2.9% on ESPN)


The Tennessee Titans have been feeding Derrick Henry all season thus far and it’s resulted in Henry having a stat line of 113 carries, 510 rushing yards, four rushing touchdowns, 14 receptions, 15 targets, 125 receiving yards, and zero receiving touchdowns through four games. When a player is seeing 30+ touches per game like Henry currently is, it raises his injury risk since he’s getting hit so many times each game. Because of this, it’s vital to roster Henry’s primary backup – Jeremy McNichols. McNichols has had a pretty good season himself thus far and been effective as the team’s primary pass-catching back, catching 15 passes on 21 targets for 134 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown through four games this season. Most of the other top ‘handcuffs’ are rostered in more than 20% of leagues at this point, and McNichols is likely the highest upside one sitting on your waiver wire right now. Give him a shot if you have an open bench spot.


Taylor Heinicke, QB, Washington Football Team (12% on Yahoo, 11.5% on ESPN)


Taylor Heinicke has been fantastic since he has taken over for Ryan Fitzpatrick. In Week 2 against the New York Giants, he completed 34 of 46 passes for 336 passing yards and two passing touchdowns (one interception). In Week 3 against the Buffalo Bills, he completed 14 of 24 passes for 212 passing yards and two passing touchdowns (two interceptions). In Week 4 against the Atlanta Falcons, he completed 23 of 33 passes for 290 passing yards and three passing touchdowns. Besides Heinicke’s strong passing production, he’s been solid on the ground as well, taking 20 carries for 87 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown this season. While he doesn’t have the name brand of other quarterbacks if you need help at the position Heinicke could be a solid option.


Brandon Bolden, RB, New England Patriots (5% on Yahoo, 3.9% on ESPN)


This week on Patriots running back roulette, we give Brandon Bolden a shot on the ‘Must Stash’ after Rhamondre Stevenson was inactive against the Buccaneers. Since James White suffered a season-ending injury in Week 3, Bolden has found himself getting more work than many expected. He out-snapped Patriots starting running back Damien Harris against the New Orleans Saints in Week 3 and then followed it up with a six-catch, 51 receiving yard performance against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 4. After James White‘s injury, it appears that Bolden is carving out a role where he can be fantasy-relevant this season and proving he may be worth a bench stash.


Tyrod Taylor, QB, Houston Texans (5% on Yahoo, 4.0% on ESPN)


Tyrod Taylor has been featured on the ‘Must Stash’ before (Week 2), and has played very well when he was healthy this season. In the one and a half games that Tyrod was healthy this year, he completed 31 of 44 passes (70.5%) for 416 passing yards and three passing touchdowns through the air and carried the ball five times for 55 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown on the ground. Over the course of his career, he’s done a great job of protecting the football throwing only 20 interceptions in the 74 games, which minimizes his downside on a week-to-week basis. After this week, Tyrod will be eligible to come off the injured reserve (hamstring injury), so if you need help at QB and are interested in rostering him, now would be the time to pick him up.


Khalil Herbert, RB, Chicago Bears (9% on Yahoo, 3.0% on ESPN)


Damien Williams was the big pick-up this week after David Montgomery‘s injury, but rookie running back Khalil Herbert could also see an uptick in snaps. Herbert’s draft profile notes that he has above-average ball carrier vision, speed, and is smooth in his ability to change directions. Considering Montgomery is expected to miss the next four to five weeks and Damien Williams is already a little banged up with a thigh bruise, there is a path where we see Khalil Herbert being fantasy relevant sooner rather than later.

Deep Cuts


(Rostered In Less Than 3% Of Leagues)

Both Websites (ESPN and Yahoo)


Kendrick Bourne, WR, New England Patriots (3% on Yahoo, 2.3% on ESPN): Kendrick Bourne had a nice game in Week 3 where he had six receptions on eight targets for 96 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown, and then followed it up with five catches on five targets for 58 receiving yards in Week 4 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He seems to be emerging as one of Mac Jones‘s top targets.


Taysom Hill, QB, New Orleans Saints (3% on Yahoo, 1.6% on ESPN): While Jameis Winston is the starting quarterback in New Orleans right now, Taysom Hill has gotten a fair share of rushing work over the last two weeks – taking 12 carries for 60 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns. If Jameis struggles and Taysom gets inserted into the starting lineup, he’ll have low-end QB1 fantasy upside with his rushing ability.


Wayne Gallman, RB, Atlanta Falcons (1% on Yahoo, 2.0% on ESPN): Wayne Gallman got his first NFL action this season against the Washington Football Team, taking six carries for 29 rushing yards. Given the struggles of Mike Davis this season, there may be more opportunities for Gallman going forward.


Ricky Seals-Jones, TE, Washington Football Team (1% on Yahoo, 0.1% on ESPN): In Week 4, Ricky Seals-Jones caught two passes on four targets for 19 receiving yards. With Logan Thomas on injured reserve for at least the next three weeks, Ricky Seals-Jones could see more opportunities in Scott Turner’s TE-friendly offense.


Kalif Raymond, WR, Detroit Lions (2% on Yahoo, 2.1% on ESPN): Over the last two weeks Kalif Raymond has made nine receptions on 16 targets for 114 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns. He’s got a legitimate chance of ending up as the Lions’ most targeted wide receiver this season.


John Bates, TE, Washington Football Team (0% on Yahoo, 0.0% on ESPN): With Logan Thomas on injured reserve, rookie tight end John Bates may see more snaps over the next three weeks. Prioritize Seals-Jones over him, but there’s upside here.


O.J. Howard, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2% on Yahoo, 2.3% on ESPN): O.J. Howard is a former first-round pick who has had solid fantasy seasons in the past. With Rob Gronkowski banged up and likely out a bit longer, Cameron Brate (rostered in over 3% of fantasy leagues) and O.J. Howard will get more opportunities in the high-powered Buccaneers offense.


Mo Alie-Cox, TE, Indianapolis Colts (1% on Yahoo, 0.4% on ESPN): Mo Alie-Cox caught three passes on five targets for 42 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns last week against the Miami Dolphins. The Colts’ primary pass-catching tight end will always have some sleeper potential on a week-to-week basis as long as Frank Reich is calling the plays, so keep an eye on Alie-Cox.


Quez Watkins, WR, Philadelphia Eagles (2% on Yahoo, 1.8% on ESPN): Quez Watkins caught three passes on seven targets for 33 receiving yards against the Kansas City Chiefs this past week. He was a training camp standout this offseason, so if he can increase the number of targets going his way he could find himself being fantasy relevant this season.


J.J. Taylor, RB, New England Patriots (1% on Yahoo, 1.5% on ESPN): When the Patriots lost James White to a serious hip injury, it opened up some playing time opportunities for some of the other Patriots’ backs. While he’s pretty small, Taylor is worth consideration in deeper leagues.


ESPN/Yahoo Only


Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, WR, Tennessee Titans (4% on Yahoo, 1.9% on ESPN): Nick Westbrook-Ikhine had four receptions on four targets for 53 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown in Week 3 and followed it up with three receptions on eight targets for 29 receiving yards in Week 4. As long as A.J. Brown and Julio Jones are out, he will continue to be involved in the offense.



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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