The Must Stash: Week 7
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 Chase Edmonds (40% on Yahoo, 28% on ESPN) or Darrell Henderson (30% Yahoo, 28% 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 6 is in the books, and hopefully you were able to stash Darrell Henderson when his ownership dipped down under 20% last week. Henderson’s numbers from last week aren’t that impressive (he only received 7 touches), but he provided a noticeable boost to the Rams offense when he entered the game. The Rams started the game with Malcolm Brown, who did his typical 4-yards-per-carry grinder routine for the first two Rams possessions. Henderson entered the game in the early 2nd quarter and immediately ripped off runs of 22 and 14 yards on consecutive plays.
Big plays like this have been missing from the Rams offense all year: Todd Gurley has only 3 runs over 15 yards on 64 carries. Malcolm Brown has one on 37 carries. Henderson had his share of mistakes – I noticed him whiff on a pass block and he was part of a lost fumble on a toss play – but I don’t see how Sean McVay can ignore this given how his run game has struggled this year. Gurley’s health continues to be a mystery. If he’s inactive again this week, the Henderson stashes might pay off immediately with an easy matchup against the Falcons.
In other news, it was another week where no major running back injuries occurred. I think Reggie Bonnafon and Ryquell Armstead continue to be worth stashing in deeper leagues, but they’re just handcuffs for now. And they’re not the only ones: Jordan Wilkins, Latavius Murray, and Tony Pollard are all guys that I think would step into the starting role and get a full workload if anything happens to the starter. I’d stash all of them if you have the bench space, especially if you own the guy they’re backing up. They should all be valued at roughly 5% of the starter’s value, so use your best judgment to determine whether or not they’re rosterable in your league.
I included that list of handcuffs because I don’t have any running backs on the stash list this week. I wish I could recommend a deep sleeper RB, but there just isn’t much happening at that position right now, so all you can do is keep rostering handcuffs. Here are the week 7 stashes:
Allen Lazard, WR, Green Bay Packers (27% on Yahoo, 3% on ESPN)
I’m including Allen Lazard this week because his ownership in ESPN leagues is still shockingly low, but mostly just because I’m a Packer fan and I want to talk about him. I received a comment a couple of weeks ago about Jake Kumerow being a potential stash option with Davante Adams set to miss time with a toe injury. I responded that I liked Kumerow as a player but I wasn’t sure whether Kumerow was still ahead of Lazard on the depth chart. The more I watch of Kumerow, though, the more I wonder if he can get open against starting NFL corners. He might be one of those guys that can dominate against lesser competition in the preseason but is outmatched in real games. Lazard, on the other hand, looked the part of an NFL receiver on Monday night, beating Justin Coleman for a crucial TD catch and later converting two first downs on the Packers’ final drive. Perhaps the most encouraging sign was Aaron Rodgers’s trust in Lazard. Rodgers and Lazard failed to connect on a deep pass in the 4th quarter, but the famously temperamental Rodgers went back to him on the very next play for a TD. Rodgers then singled out Lazard’s performance in a postgame interview, even implying that he’d wanted Lazard in the lineup much earlier than this game.
Lazard’s availability likely depends on how many Packers fans you have in your league and how closely your league is monitoring the Packers’ injury report. His stats from Monday’s game don’t really jump off the page but consider that his 4 catch, 65-yard performance came in just 17 snaps. Davante Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Geronimo Allison all missed practice Wednesday and Thursday. MVS seems like the most likely of the 3 to play this weekend, but I wouldn’t be surprised if all 3 miss the game. The situation is serious enough that the Packers signed veteran wide receiver Ryan Grant this week. We’re very likely heading towards a game (and possibly multiple games) where Lazard is a starter for the Packers, making him a viable flex option. Go get this guy if he’s still available.
Zay Jones, WR, Oakland Raiders (4% on Yahoo, 2% on ESPN)
The Packers’ opponent this weekend has their own issues at wide receiver. Tyrell Williams is dealing with plantar fasciitis has yet to practice this week. Hunter Renfroe hasn’t been effective in the slot role. Keelan Doss and Trevor Davis have only been with the team for two weeks and are unproven at the NFL level. The circumstances open the door for recent trade acquisition Zay Jones to contribute. It’s easy to forget because nobody pays much attention to the Bills for fantasy, but Jones led the Bills in all receiving categories last season and managed to put up 7 TD’s working with a strange combination of bad quarterbacks.
Jones is a bit of an enigma. He hasn’t been particularly efficient at any level, but he’s been productive. He was the most productive receiver on the Bills last year but managed only 56 catches on 102 targets. That’s partly due to the quarterback play, but he bears some responsibility, too. He caught 399 passes in 4 years at East Carolina but, despite his elite speed, only managed to put up 10.7 yards per catch. It’s not a good sign that the Bills brought in free agents John Brown and Cole Beasley after what Jones did in 2018 and its also not a good sign that they were willing to trade a 7th round pick for him this week after spending a 2nd round pick to draft him in 2017. But this is the type of guy John Gruden likes: an athletic receiver with something to prove who may have been underused on his previous team. Gruden has missed on that archetype with players like Martavis Bryant and J.J. Nelson, but Tyrell Williams and Darren Waller are looking like shrewd acquisitions. I’ll be watching to see how Jones is used this week and how motivated he looks in this new situation.
Darius Slayton, WR, New York Giants (4% on Yahoo, 10% on ESPN)
I was curious to see who would play opposite Golden Tate in last week’s matchup between the Giants and Patriots. It ended up being rookie Darius Slayton rather than former Broncos 2nd round bust Cody Latimer, and Slayton finished 2nd on the team in targets. It was Golden Tate who had the big numbers in the game, most of it coming on a somewhat flukey 64-yard touchdown where Tate bobbled the ball and the defender fell down, but Slayton nearly had a few big plays as well. Down two scores late in the game, Slayton received 3 deep targets from Daniel Jones, including one on the Giants’ last offensive play where Slayton initially made an impressive leaping catch, but Stephon Gilmore managed to rip the ball out of Slayton’s hands at the last second. It was an impressive performance from Slayton overall – he was open on a number of occasions and was someone the Patriots defense needed to account for, a good sign for the rookie given the quality of the opponent. The matchup is a lot more favorable this week for the Giants, facing the Cardinals at home, and Slayton may get another chance to start if Sterling Shepard is unable to play. Don’t be surprised if Slayton has a big game with Arizona focusing their coverage on Tate and Slayton becomes a hot waiver wire pickup next week.
Jacobi Meyers, WR, New England Patriots (3% on Yahoo, 2% on ESPN)
Another guy who impressed me last Thursday was Jakobi Meyers, who played the 2nd most snaps among Patriots receivers. Meyers had 4 catches in the game, including two impressive 23-yard catches in the first half while the game was still close. He was one of the lone bright spots on the Patriots offense (the other being Julian Edelman) which has now looked out of sync for a few weeks.
Part of the reason the Patriots have had problems is that they’ve sustained a number of injuries to their receivers. This has led many fantasy owners to stash N’keal Harry, who is eligible to return from Injured Reserve in week 9. Not a bad idea, but I might go for the more immediate solution with Meyers if I need help now. Meyers should have another chance to produce this week with Josh Gordon unlikely to play and, for what it’s worth, I haven’t been that impressed with Gordon’s play this year. I don’t know if his knee has been bothering him for a few weeks or if something is wrong off the field, but he looks nothing like the playmaker from way back in 2014. Maybe Meyers can surpass Gordon on the depth chart, but even if he doesn’t, Phillip Dorsett and Julian Edelman have their own nagging injuries to deal with and Tom Brady seems to trust Meyers. Bill Belichick is known for being cutthroat and going with what works, so I think it’s possible for Meyers to play his way into the Patriots wide receiver rotation.
Javon Wims, WR, Chicago Bears (0% on Yahoo, 0% on ESPN)
Since I broke the 15% rule (again) with Allen Lazard, I’m going to make up for it by ending with a much deeper sleeper. Here’s a fun trivia question: which Bears receiver has played the most snaps in their last two games? That’s right, it’s the guy you probably didn’t even realize was on their roster, Javon Wims. He’s played 122 snaps over the last two weeks, one more than Allen Robinson. Why is Wims playing so much? Your guess is as good as mine. The Bears have gotten to the point where I have no idea what they’re going to do next on offense, but not in a good way. Taylor Gabriel has missed the last two weeks, and you would think that would have opened the door for 2018 2nd round pick Anthony Miller, but it was Wims on the field instead.
Wims is a bigger-bodied, jump ball receiver like Allen Robinson. Just a hunch, but I’m wondering if Matt Nagy wants to get a bigger target on the field for his not-so-accurate collection of quarterbacks. The Bears have been playing Tarik Cohen in the slot receiver fairly often this year, which might make smaller speedsters like Gabriel and Miller less useful in the offense. This is worth monitoring going forward and Wims is worth stashing in (very) deep leagues.
That’s it for week 7. Feel free to weigh in and tell me who I missed (especially if it’s not a wide receiver).
Featured Image by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)