Jimmy Garoppolo, SF
Streaky is the word to describe Garoppolo best. When he’s good, he looks like the Super Bowl QB we saw last season; when he’s bad, he looks like the guy replaced by Nick Mullens mid-game. Starting RB Raheem Mostert will go onto the IR for the next three weeks, leaving Jerick McKinnon as the likely starter. The 49ers have a brutal schedule in the coming weeks (Patriots, Seahawks, Packers, Saints), so they might be playing from behind, leading to a lot of garbage time production.
Derek Carr, LV
You might have forgotten about Carr because the Raiders were on BYE this past week, but that would be a huge mistake. Carr is arguably the most unheralded QB in the league. Through five games, he’s thrown for 1,442 yards and 11 TDs. He has WR Henry Ruggs III back from injury, and Bryan Edwards is expected back shortly. Take a flier on Carr, and I don’t think you will be disappointed.
Drew Lock, DEN
You could argue that Lock struggled against the Patriots defense this past week, but tell me, which team doesn’t? The more important statistic to look at is the win that the Broncos had on the road. That gives a team confidence. Also returning shortly from injury is TE Noah Fant, who is Lock’s number one target. Looking at Lock’s schedule, he has upcoming games against the Chargers, Falcons, Raiders, and Dolphins. It’s a favorable schedule if you are desperate for a QB.
Case Keenum, CLE
My friend and podcast partner, Michael Fabiano, is convinced that Keenum will start a few games for the Browns at some point this season. Keenum had his greatest success as a pro under Kevin Stefanski, and Baker Mayfield has looked awful. While I won’t endorse picking up Keenum just yet, I will tell anyone who is rostering Mayfield now to be wary of his playing time.
Boston Scott, PHI
With Miles Sanders sidelined for the next 1-2 weeks, fantasy football managers need to get Scott into their lineups. When Scott had his opportunity to start earlier in the season, he got injured mid-game, but the truth is that he is a very talented player who has great upside in PPR formats. If you are playing the Thursday night showdown on DraftKings, I would be sure to have Scott in your lineups.
Gus Edwards, BAL
Mark Ingram suffered an ankle injury in the Eagles game, and Ravens head coach John Harbaugh seems to think that Ingram will be available after the team’s bye week. Ingram looks painfully slow from my vantage point, and the Ravens need to get Edwards more carries. If you are in a league with a deep roster, stash Edwards now and hope to cash with him later in the season.
Justin Jackson, LAC
Rookie RB Joshua Kelley was my original stash and cash player in the preseason, but when Austin Ekeler went out with an injury, it was Jackson and not Kelley who looked better. Sadly, I think this will be a timeshare until Ekeler returns, but if you are desperate for a running back, Jackson might be able to give you some decent production in the short-term.
Gio Bernard, CIN
Bernard is on the waiver report in case Joe Mixon should miss any time with the ankle injury he suffered against the Colts. One word of caution—the team likes second-year RB Trayveon Williams, so don’t go breaking the bank on Bernard in FAAB. While he will certainly get touches, I think there will be a 50-50 split with Williams.
Jeremy McNichols, TEN
With Darrynton Evans on the IR, McNichols is the backup to Derrick Henry. Anyone who has Henry on their roster might want to handcuff him with McNichols just to play it safe. The good news about McNichols is that he is a three-down RB and can easily withstand 15 touches per game, so he has standalone value should Henry miss time.
JaMycal Hasty, SF
With Mostert and Jeff Wilson both injured, it looks like Hasty will be on the team’s active roster for the next few weeks. He rushed nine times for 37 yards against the Rams, and the 49ers are a running team, so Hasty will definitely see carries.
La’Mical Perine, NYJ
Jets head coach Adam Gase has stated that he wants to get Perine more involved in the Jets’ offense. While I believe that to be true, I know that Gase will make sure that Frank Gore gets 10-12 touches per game, limiting Perine’s value.
J.D. McKissic, WAS
My listing of McKissic is in no way a reflection of my feelings towards Antonio Gibson. I am a huge Gibson fan, but I do think that Washington is not ready to give him 20-25 touches just yet. McKissic fits their dink and dunk offense perfectly, so he is worth a deep flyer in PPR formats, and he’s a guy I really like on the cheap in DraftKings contests.
Tim Patrick, DEN
I am assuming that Bengals WR Tee Higgins and Steelers WR Chase Claypool are not on your league’s waiver wire. If they are, get them NOW. If not, then Tim Patrick is the No. 1 target. He had 101 yards against the Patriots and was clearly Drew Lock’s go-to guy. He was also on the field for 92% of the team’s snaps. Rookie WR Jerry Jeudy gets more publicity because he is a first-round pick from Alabama, but he has struggled with drops this season and looks like he is more of a big-play guy. Patrick is the team’s de facto WR1 with Courtland Sutton out. If you are in desperate need of a receiver, I might go 8-10% on him in FAAB.
James Washington, PIT
It’s clear that Washington is the WR4 on Pittsburgh, but I am listing him here to make the following point: When picking up players, I would rather have the WR4 on a good offense than the WR3 on a bad offense. If Washington gets playing time, he will produce.
Travis Fulgham, PHI
I went back and watched Fulgham on YouTube highlights and came away impressed. He is the real deal, and I think there is clearly a role for him in the Eagles’ offense even when DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery return. The Eagles play from behind in most games, so Fulgham should see a ton of garbage time production.
Keelan Cole, JAX
Be careful spending a ton of FAAB on Cole. He was the beneficiary of the Lions awful play against slot receivers. I think there is always a role for Cole in the Jaguars offense (he has at least five targets in each game this season), but he still shares time with Chark and Shenault, who will command targets as well.
Darnell Mooney, CHI
While it’s almost impossible to predict the Chicago Bears’ usage rates, head coach Matt Nagy seems to have taken a liking to Darnell Mooney. Mooney played 67% of snaps against Carolina, indicating that he has become the team’s WR2. He has terrific speed and will be used to stretch the field.
Breshad Perriman, NYJ
Perriman made his return against the Dolphins and had four catches for 62 yards on eight targets. Even better was that he played in 89% of the team’s snaps. The Jets offense is a mess, but Perriman could be a good source of garbage time fantasy production.
Devin Duvernay, BAL
The Ravens are in desperate need of playmakers, and they have started integrating Duvernay into their offense. He had the most snaps of the season (26) and had three catches for 31 yards. With the Ravens on BYE, look for the team to keep developing plays for Duvernay and integrating him into their offense.
Mecole Hardman, KC
With Sammy Watkins injured, fantasy football managers rushed to add Mecole Hardman to their rosters, thinking he would have a breakout performance against the Bills. He disappointed, putting up a goose egg while Demarcus Robinson had five catches for 69 yards. Expect to see upset Hardman managers drop him from their rosters. This is where you come in—Hardman is a streaky player who might do nothing on some weeks and put up two TDs on others. While that is incredibly frustrating, there is considerable fantasy value to be had.
Damiere Byrd, NE
Byrd was once again underwhelming against Denver (he had three catches for 38 yards), but he was on the field for 96% of the team’s snaps. One of these weeks, he will have a huge game—so stash him on your roster now in case you need to use him when you have players on BYE.
Bryan Edwards, LV
I love looking for guys on the waiver wire who I liked before the season but were dropped for one reason or another. Edwards was one of my sleeper picks but got injured a few weeks ago and looks like he is still a week or two from a return. Keep him on your watchlist.
Logan Thomas, WAS
Thomas is a freakish athlete who stands 6’6" and has a huge wingspan. He was on the field for 86% of the team’s snaps against the Giants and had had at least four targets in every game this season. I am listing him here because I thought his TD reception against the Giants might be a turning point for him. QB Kyle Allen will need as many red-zone weapons as possible, and if he feels comfortable throwing to Thomas, that could be huge for his fantasy production.
Trey Burton, IND
Indianapolis uses multiple tight ends, but the one who seems to be emerging is Burton. He had two TDs against the Bengals, including a one-yard run. He is very athletic and will be on the field when the Colts are trailing. Don’t forget that QB Philip Rivers loves throwing to his tight ends. Burton was the ultimate bargain on DraftKings this past weekend, but I see his value beginning to increase shortly.
Irv Smith, Jr., MIN
I begged the Vikings to free WR Justin Jefferson, and they did. Now I am hoping that they free TE Irv Smith. Smith is clearly the best tight end on the team, and he had his second straight week of being incorporated into the team’s offense. He was on the field for 78% of the team’s snaps when they were trailing to the Falcons, so the opportunities will hopefully be there for him to make an impact.
Anthony Firkser, TEN
Firkser has little to no value unless Jonnu Smith is out. If you have Smith on your roster (or if you are struggling at tight end in general), keep Firkser on your watchlist if Smith misses time.
Gerald Everett, LAR
The Rams love his upside, so keep him on your radar. From week to week, it will be a little annoying to project whether Higbee or Everett will be more successful, but if Higbee should ever get injured, Everett’s value would shoot up considerably.
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