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 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 Gardner Minshew (54% on Yahoo, 48% on ESPN) or Ronald Jones (63% Yahoo, 57% 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 5 is in the books, and it’s time to start changing gears a bit. We know a lot more about the league than we did in week 1. Depth charts have been established. Questions about playing time have been answered. For just about every team, we either know who the #1 receiver and running back is, or we know that the team doesn’t have a true #1. In week 1 we didn’t know which Jacksonville WR to own. Now we know it’s D.J Chark. In week 1 we didn’t know which 49ers running back to own. Now we know that the 49ers have a good offensive line and a dynamic offense, and I think you can feel relatively safe starting Tevin Coleman and Matt Breida. With the picture so much clearer, there are fewer opportunities to stash guys that can play their way into playing time. It’s a lot more likely that we’ll see guys rise to prominence due to injury. It’s time to consider stashing some handcuffs.
Many fantasy experts don’t believe in handcuffing their running backs. To me, it depends on the situation and the size of your league/roster. If a starting RB has a clear backup, you’re probably better off rostering that guy than a “starting” receiver with little to no upside like a Cole Beasley or Paul Richardson. Just consider what happened a few weeks ago when Saquon Barkley got hurt. In leagues where Wayne Gallman was available, I saw people dropping 60-70% of their FAAB budget to acquire him. 2 weeks ago you could probably trade him to the Barkley owner for a buy-low WR2. It’s just the nature of the running back position: 9 times out of 10 the backup can come in and be 80%-90% as effective as the starter. With that, here are the week 6 stashes:
Ryquell Armstead, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars (1% on Yahoo, 2% on ESPN)
I’ve been hesitant to include Ryquell Armstead in any of my previous articles because I don’t think he’s particularly good. I thought that in the event of a Leonard Fournette injury there would likely be some sort of split between Armstead, Tyler Ervin, and Devine Ozigbo, and that the Jaguars offense wasn’t good enough t0 make any of them useful for fantasy. At this point, though, I see some reasons to take Armstead seriously.
First of all, the Jaguars offense is pretty good with Gardner Minshew at the helm, much better than I expected when it was announced that Nick Foles would miss half the season with a broken collarbone. Minshew’s performance has opened things up for Fournette. On Thursday night football a few weeks ago, we saw the Titans stack the box 40% of the time and run blitz on first down, effectively taking Leonard Fournette out of the game and forcing the Jaguars to win the game with Minshew. Minshew responded with 2 TD passes, a 108.2 QB rating, and a 13 point win. Since that game, Fournette’s stacked box percentage has been under 30% and Jaguars running backs are averaging 6.2 yards per carry.
During this successful stretch, Armstead has established himself as the clear backup to Leonard Fournette. He’s the only other Jaguars running back to take a carry and he’s the only other Jaguars running back that’s played a snap since Week 2. Armstead has posted a respectable 4.8 yards per carry in limited work and has looked comfortable in the passing game when called upon. Fournette is famously injury-prone, and if he ends up missing time this year I believe Armstead will get the bulk of the work.
Reggie Bonnafon, RB, Carolina Panthers (15% on Yahoo, 4% on ESPN)
This is pretty simple. Reggie Bonnafon is backing up the best running back in all of fantasy football, and therefore should be owned in deeper leagues. Its a lot like the situation in Jacksonville. Bonnafon is nothing special, but he’s serviceable. He’s the only running back other than McCaffrey to receive a carry this year (excluding fullback Alex Armah). Christian McCaffrey got banged up in last week’s game against the Jaguars, which forced Bonnafon into the game at a crucial point in the 4th quarter. Bonnafon responded with a 59-yard touchdown run on a simple handoff, reminiscent of the long TD run McCaffrey had earlier in the game. McCaffrey is on the injury report this week with a back injury. It’s not believed to be serious, but you never know about the severity of things like this and there’s always the possibility that the injury lingers or gets worse. I believe that if McCaffrey gets injured it would be Bonnafon getting the bulk of the work, which would make Bonnafon a borderline RB1.
The underrated part about owning a handcuff like this is their value in a trade. Fantasy owners live in a world of perpetual fear, and nothing is scarier to a fantasy owner than an injury to a stud running back. If we see another week like last week, where Bonnafon takes 4-5 carries and then McCaffrey shows up on the injury report, adding Bonnafon to a deal with the McCaffrey owner might be all it takes to get a deal done.
Preston Williams, WR, Miami Dolphins (15% on Yahoo, 8% on ESPN)
That’s right, he’s back on the list. Preston William’s ownership percentage is slowly growing, but it should still be higher. I’ve been waiting all year for a big game out of Williams, and I think we may finally see it this weekend. It’s unclear how much of it is due to a lack of talent and how much is due to a lack of motivation, but Washington has one of the worst defenses in the league. They’re bottom 10 in pass yards allowed per attempt, they’re bottom 5 in QB rating allowed, and they’re dead last in pass TD’s allowed. Remember when Taylor Gabriel scored 3 TD’s on Monday night a few weeks ago? That’s well within the range of outcomes for Williams this weekend. If he puts up another dud, I may finally consider giving up on this stash.
Byron Pringle, WR, Kansas City Chiefs (13% on Yahoo, 4% on ESPN)
Everyone saw Byron Pringle’s big game in primetime last week and said: “Yeah, but that only happened because Sammy Watkins and Tyreek Hill weren’t playing.” Maybe, but I’m not so sure. If Tyreek returns this week, and that’s no guarantee, I believe he’ll replace the underperforming Mecole Hardman in the Chiefs starting lineup. Hardman isn’t much more than a field stretcher right now, so playing him and Tyreek together would be a bit redundant. That leaves 2 other starting WR spots in the Chiefs lineup and I think one of those spots goes to Pringle if Sammy Watkins is unable to play.
Even if Watkins returns this week, I wouldn’t be shocked to see Pringle play his way into the lineup over the course of the season. Watkins has been a disappointment most of his career and he hasn’t done much of anything since his huge game in week 1. He nearly cost the Chiefs the game against the Lions when he failed to secure a 5-yard touchdown pass on the Chiefs’ second drive and then had a costly fumble in the 3rd quarter. The Chiefs can move on from Watkins in 2020 without taking a cap hit, so its well within the realm of possibility that they start the “moving on” process early.
Darrell Henderson, RB, Los Angeles Rams (19% on Yahoo, 21% on ESPN)
I’m violating my 15% rule for this last pick because I’m seeing Darrell Henderson get dropped in shallower leagues and I think his ownership percentage is being propped up by “dead” leagues and owners that aren’t paying attention. After watching Todd Gurley last Thursday struggle to run the ball for the 4th straight week, I started to wonder if the Rams would use the extra time off to get Henderson more involved in the offense. Right on cue, McVay said in his Wednesday press conference that they might start to rely on Henderson more heavily, as early as this week. Gurley is dealing with a thigh bruise and just doesn’t look like the same player that carried owners to championships in 2017. It may just be coach-speak and Henderson rides the pine again this weekend, but the nice thing about a stash is that it only costs you a roster spot. If you have the room on your bench, stash Henderson just to see if the Rams come into this crucial Week 6 affair with a new gameplan.
That’s it for week 6, feel free to weigh in and tell me who I missed.
Featured Image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)