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 (57% on Yahoo, 35% on ESPN) or Phillip Dorsett (65% 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 4 is in the books, and we’re looking at the dullest week so far this year in terms of waiver wire options. There’s no Terry McLaurin, Wayne Gallman, or Demarcus Robinson to blow your FAAB money on like we had after weeks 1 through 3. That being the case, none of my stash recommendations from week 4 panned out. C.J. Prosise scored a late touchdown, but the pass-catching back was otherwise barely used as the Seahawks led for most of the game and relied heavily on Chris Carson. Once again, Preston Williams led the Dolphins in targets and, once again, the Dolphins failed to score more than 10 points. I still think there’s something there with Williams, but he’ll be off the list this week with the Dolphins on their bye week. I’d recommend holding onto Williams if you have a deeper bench, as Miami plays Washington in week 6, possibly their best chance of the year to secure a win and score multiple touchdowns.
On to the week 5 stashes:
Ito Smith, Running Back, Atlanta Falcons (14% on Yahoo, 10% on ESPN)
Ito Smith makes the list for the second straight week as he continues to be under-owned in all fantasy leagues. After getting knocked out early in the game in week 3, Ito returned to his usual role in week 4: the low side of a 60/40 split with Devonta Freeman. There was nothing exciting about Ito’s statline. The Falcons got down 24-7 at half and attempted 53 passes in the game. Ito was targeted 4 times to Freeman’s 9.
So why is Ito worth stashing after last week’s disappointment? Well, the Falcons are in desperation mode, and desperation tends to bring change. They’re coming into week 5 with a 1-3 record and they’re 5 point underdogs to the Texans on the road. Maybe Dan Quinn and Dirk Koetter turn to Ito Smith to provide a spark for the offense. Ito’s 5.7 yards per carry look a lot more impressive than Freeman’s 3.3, and Ito has managed to generate as many carries of 15 or more yards (2) as Freeman on 33 less carries. Maybe Quinn gets fired mid-season and the interim coach prefers the faster Smith to the more physical Freeman. Maybe Atlanta loses again this weekend and decides to see what they have in Smith in order to better determine how to address the running back position next offseason. Maybe Freeman suffers another concussion and gets shut down for multiple weeks. Regardless, it appears there are multiple avenues to Ito Smith getting more work and his ownership should be higher.
Jordan Wilkins, Running Back, Indianapolis Colts (3% on Yahoo, 1% on ESPN)
Marlon Mack missed Thursday’s practice, this time with an ankle injury instead of the calf injury he was dealing with a few weeks earlier. Mack has seemlingy been on the injury report all season, and you have to wonder how long he can stay on the field. The Colts have a huge game against the Chiefs this weekend and a bye to follow, so I expect Mack does everything he can to play. If he plays, there’s always a risk of aggravating the injury and causing a multi-week absence. And if he doesn’t play, Jordan Wilkins will step into Mack’s role with Nyheim Hines keeping his role as the passing-down back.
Wilkins is a 4.6 runner with roughly the same build as Mack who the Colts selected in the 5th round. In other words, nothing special from a talent perspective. But the Colts have been effective in the ground game no matter who is in the backfield because of their offensive line. Colts running backs are currently averaging 4.6 yards per carry on the season and, despite losing Andrew Luck in the preseason, the Colts offense is ranked 8th in offensive DVOA on the year. Mack is the better talent overall, but Wilkins can be an RB2 or flex option of forced into action against a weak Chiefs this weekend.
John Ross is expected to miss multiple games with a shoulder injury, opening the door for Auden Tate to start opposite Tyler Boyd. Even before the injury to Ross, Tate was on the deep sleeper radar after leading the Bengals in targets, receptions, and receiving yards for two consecutive weeks. Tate is nothing like Ross. At 6’5″ 230 pounds, he’s built more like a tight end than a wide receiver. He doesn’t offer the big play potential that Ross does, and that hurts the Bengals offense as a whole, but Tate’s size can help the Bengals be more efficient in the redzone.
In addition to the injury to Ross, A.J. Green’s status for the next several weeks is also uncertain. The latest report is that he’s expected to miss two or three more weeks, but that’s also what the Bengals were saying back when the injury occurred. The Bengals face the Cardinals at home this week, a game that could easily turn into a shootout. I think the move here is to pick up Tate to see if he can put up big numbers this weekend and then attempt to sell him to the owner of Ross or Green.
Chris Herndon, Tight End, New York Jets (11% Yahoo, 11% ESPN)
These next two picks are for those desperate for tight ends. The tight end options get bleak after the first 8 or 9 and in fantasy leagues where owners drafted Darren Waller and Mark Andrews to be their backups, two of those top options are on the same team. So if you’re currently stuck with injured guys like David Njoku and Hunter Henry or disappointments like O.J. Howard and Jared Cook, consider stashing Chris Herndon. Herndon will serve the final game of his 4-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy and should return to his role as the Jets’ starting tight end immediately.
Herndon only played in 14 games and started 12 as a rookie last year and still managed to finish 16th in PPR scoring among tight ends. Sam Darnold could be back from his bout with mono as early as next week, at which point he and Herndon continue to build on their accomplishments as rookies in 2018.
I’ve seen rumors and speculation that Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey could end up in Philadelphia, given the Eagles desperate need for help in the secondary. We usually don’t see player-for-player trades during the season, but the Eagles are unique in that they have an all-pro talent as their backup tight end. A straight-up trade of Dallas Goedert for Ramsey would make sense for both organizations and would instantly launch Goedert into the TE1 discussion. It’s unlikely to happen because things never seem to work out this way in the NFL, but Goedert’s value could also skyrocket with an injury to Zack Ertz, who has missed at least one game in 3 of the last 4 years. If you’re in a deep league and especially if you own Ertz in a deep league, Goedert is worth a stash.
That’s it for week 5. Feel free to weigh in and tell me who I missed.
Featured Image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)