Week 8 forced a lot of reflection upon myself. I’m not as bearish on Ty Johnson now as most people because I still think there’s a chance Detroit provides him with an opportunity for more carries. It wasn’t the performance as much as the workload this past Sunday that surprised me. And once again Chris Herndon hasn’t played in a game yet. I’m still incredibly high on his talent, but the fact he hasn’t stepped on the field yet is annoying. I’m also not worried about Sam Darnold either. He looked awful against New England and Jacksonville, but I’ve preached patience with him because the Jets have probably the easiest schedule in the NFL over the next six weeks. I’ll take a more conservative approach this week with the waiver wire. There aren’t too many names that jump off the page, but still some players worth looking at!
Gardner Minshew JAC; FAAB Bid: 10-15% - Minshew just keeps on rolling. The upside is somewhat limited by what he can do with minimal passing opportunities, but Minshew has made the most of it posting 20+ fantasy points in four-point per passing touchdown leagues in back-to-back weeks. A big theme this week will be playoff scheduling, which is still quite early to read up on, but we’ll throw some out there for discussion. Minshew and the Jags face off against the Buccaneers, Chargers, Raiders, and Falcons in Weeks 13-16. There’s an opportunity there for Minshew to really shine in the crucial fantasy playoff weeks. I wouldn’t say he’s a trade target, but he’s available in about half the leagues on Yahoo and ESPN. Minshew gets a home matchup next week against the Texans who are terrible against quarterbacks.
Cam Newton CAR; FAAB Bid: 7-8% - The struggle with suggesting Cam Newton as an add is that there are a few unknowns. We still don’t know when he’ll return. More recently the Panthers announced they were still going to play Kyle Allen as Newton was still in the middle of his rehab. And even when Newton does return it’s unknown how healthy he’ll actually be. As of right now, Kyle Allen hasn’t been doing well. Allen had a nice outing in Week 3 against Arizona with four touchdowns. But in his last four starts he has just three touchdown passes and six turnovers. So it’s clear that when Newton is ready to return, the job should be his. The Panthers may be 4-1 with Allen under center, but they know a healthy Cam Newton is the best way to go once he’s ready to return.
Baker Mayfield CLE; FAAB Bid: 7-8% - I understand the hesitancy with adding Mayfield; he’s been awful as of late. Actually he’s been bad all year. Mayfield came into the season with high expectations after the Browns acquired Odell Beckham Jr. in the offseason and it seemed like Mayfield could be a top five quarterback in fantasy this year. And that just hasn’t happened. And it’s not like the schedule gets any easier with a pair of games against Pittsburgh on tap, as well as the Bills and Broncos, who have slowly come to life on defense. But in Weeks 14-16 the Browns play the Bengals, Cardinals, and Ravens. Not to mention they do have a sexy matchup in Week 12 against the Dolphins, so while there are some terrible matchups there’s an opportunity for Mayfield down the line. If you’ve made it this far without them, then you probably don’t need him in the playoffs. But in a two-quarterback or superflex league he’s worth adding based on the playoff schedule. You may not need to do it this week, but take note.
Ryan Tannehill TEN; FAAB Bid: 3-5% - Tannehill is a “break glass in case of emergency” kind of waiver wire addition. He’s done better than Mayfield as of late, but the volume of pass attempts is a concern for Tannehill. He has 62 so far in his two starts, which is pretty vanilla, but he has five touchdowns and just one turnover in that span. The Titans get a fairly difficult matchup next week in Carolina, but then they draw the Chiefs at home and that could present some opportunities for the Titans even if they’re throwing more simply to keep pace with the Chiefs. That all depends on Patrick Mahomes playing, but Tannehill has been serviceable so far. He doesn’t have the biggest arm, but you could do worse.
Kenyan Drake ARI; FAAB Bid: 12-14% - I’m dipping a little bit into the player pool of talent that is just over 70% owned because Drake is a good add with the news regarding Chase Edmonds and his injury. And with Arizona trading for Drake you have to be worried as a David Johnson owner. Sure, the Cardinals may want a little more depth, but there is a lot of mystery regarding how healthy Johnson really is. Drake is a pretty decent player and this is an upgrade for him without question. But you probably don’t want to play him this week. He just got traded to Arizona and they play San Francisco on a short week Thursday night. Teams typically don’t move the ball very well on the 49ers so while Drake’s worth stashing, he should stay on the bench in Week 9.
Kareem Hunt CLE; FAAB Bid: 10-12% - I’m slightly confused why people are dropping Kareem Hunt as he’s getting closer to returning from his eight-game suspension. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not worried about Nick Chubb ’s workload. He’s been great for Cleveland despite losing two fumbles against New England last week. But I’m just baffled because if you drafted Kareem Hunt , why are you dropping him now? As the end of the suspension draws closer you should be more inclined to keep him. You either should’ve dropped him earlier in the year or not drafted him at all. Because he’s now just under 60% owned on ESPN and Yahoo leagues and, God forbid, if anything were to happen to Nick Chubb then Hunt could be in line for more work. There is the argument that the Browns try to integrate Hunt into the offense since the team is underperforming and they may need a refreshing look. I get that, but I’m not totally sold on it. I still don’t see them taking the ball out of Chubb’s hands too much. But we know what Hunt can do so if others are dropping him, we’ll stash him.
Mark Walton MIA; FAAB Bid: 8-10% - With the trade of Kenyan Drake to Arizona there’s an opportunity for more work with Mark Walton . Even with the departure of Drake, Kalen Ballage saw just four total touches Monday night against Pittsburgh. Walton, on the other hand, had 11 carries for just 35 yards (not great), but he did have three catches on six targets for 19 yards. In PPR formats he gets a mild bump, but the ceiling isn’t all that high because the Miami offense is still terrible. But there’s one less player in the Dolphins running game and if Walton is getting 10-to-12 touches a week with the upside of maybe 14 or 15, then he should at least be stashed.
Jaylen Samuels /Benny Snell Jr. PIT; FAAB Bid: 8%/4% - So James Conner had a fantastic game against Miami on Monday night, as do most running backs. Conner did leave Monday’s game in a sling with an AC joint injury so that throws a mild monkey wrench into the machine for Conner owners. Jaylen Samuels was inactive for yesterday’s game, but there’s a chance he plays next week against the Colts after having knee surgery not too long ago. On the off chance that Conner and Samuels are both inactive then Snell would be in line for a nice workload and could be in play in deeper leagues. Again, this all hinges on the status of Conner.
Danny Amendola DET; FAAB Bid: 10-12% - The Lions backfield has been the talk of much speculation the last few weeks since Kerryon Johnson ’s injury. Oddly enough the beneficiary has been Danny Amendola . Over his last two games Amendola has 19 targets with eight receptions in each game for a total of 200 receiving yards. He’s been a great flex play the last couple weeks and he doesn’t have a terrible schedule going forward. Sure, they play the Bears in Soldier Field in Week 10, but it’s a good schedule. The Vikings secondary has been beaten at times and they still have games against the likes of Oakland, Washington, Tampa Bay, and Dallas. Matthew Stafford ’s having a great year and he’s getting the most out of his weapons including Amendola.
Josh Reynolds LAR; FAAB Bid: 10-12% - Remember this guy? Reynolds had some big games in 2018 when the Rams had to deal with a few injuries and sure enough it’s happened once again. Brandin Cooks suffered a concussion this past week and Robert Woods has been very disappointing over the last four weeks. Even with Cooper Kupp ’s massive game on Sunday, Josh Reynolds still saw eight targets with Cooks out. He only caught three passes, but turned it into 73 yards and a score. He’s a solid add in the short-term that could help your team over the next few weeks now that we’re in crunch time.
Auden Tate CIN; FAAB Bid: 8-9% - Tate won’t be the only Bengal in this section, but his ownership needs to go up. He’s seen at least six targets in six straight games and in three games in that span he has double-digit targets. He only has one touchdown on the season, but A.J. Green still hasn’t played and Tate has a decent range of 9-to-14 PPR points each week. Tate (and his teammate coming up shortly) are on Bye next week so it wouldn’t be too surprising if some people dropped him, but the Bengals have a collection of great and bad matchups following their week off with a juicy Week 16 matchup against the Dolphins further down the line. We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it though.
Alex Erickson CIN; FAAB Bid: 6-7% - Alright so I’m a little more excited about Erickson this week. He made the waiver column last week, but there was some trepidation there since it seemed like a fluky stat line for a player who hadn’t done much throughout his career. He was fourth in targets on Sunday for the Bengals, but he still caught six passes of seven targets for 97 yards. He’s seen his snap count go up significantly the last three weeks so the Bengals are putting him on the field more so we’re getting more sustenance with Erickson as an option in deeper PPR leagues.
Jonnu Smith TEN; FAAB Bid: 6% - Smith was the beneficiary of some extra work with Delanie Walker out of commission this past week. Smith paid off for those smart enough to stream him. He caught six-of-seven targets for 78 yards and a touchdown. The Titans have a tough game next week, as mentioned above, against Carolina. But that Week 10 matchup against the Chiefs is certainly an intriguing option. Now it remains to be seen when Delanie Walker is set to return. For now, Smith stands to benefit in his absence and isn’t a bad option even in shallower leagues.
Dallas Goedert PHI; FAAB Bid: 6% - It’s hard to argue with the efficiency of Goedert. He’s scored in back-to-back games and has somewhat cut into the workload of Zach Ertz , among other pass catchers in Philadelphia. Ertz has 19 targets in his last three games, while Goedert has 17 but the latter has found the end zone more than the former. Ertz is still out-snapping Goedert, but a big concern for Ertz coming into the season was his projected workload. Both Philly tight ends have some very difficult matchups on the horizon against Chicago, New England, and Seattle but at least those games will be at home. Following that stretch, from Weeks 13-16 the Eagles face the Dolphins, Giants, Redskins, and Cowboys and those defenses are penetrable. Ertz will snap out of this funk and he’ll probably get more targets. But Goedert will stay involved especially as a red zone threat for Carson Wentz .
Darren Fells HOU; FAAB Bid: 5-6% - No need to go crazy bidding for Fells, but the tight end position has been just awful to get a read on. Fells does have five touchdowns in his last six games and in three of those games he has at least six targets. The downside is that in the other three games he has two or fewer targets. He’s largely a 12-team or deeper league add, but at least he has one of the better quarterbacks in the game feeding him the ball.
Carolina Panthers – It’s rare that D/ST can allow 51 points and still yield one point in fantasy formats, but the Panthers still found a way to be somewhat productive against the massacre they faced at the hands of the 49ers last week. Carolina has the upside of five-to-six sacks in any outing and the Titans offensive line has the worst adjusted sack rate in the league. It’ll be a home game for the Panthers and they should bounce back from a very disappointing performance in Week 8.
Seattle Seahawks – Continuing with the tradition of picking on the brutal travel schedule of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they now travel from Nashville to Seattle for a road game against the Seahawks. And it’s not just the travel, but Jameis Winston has been turning the ball over at an historic rate lately. Winston alone has ten turnovers in the team’s last two games and now has to play Seattle on the road while the Seahawks have already forced 15 turnovers with 13 sacks. The Bucs are a tired and beat up team. The offensive line is in rough shape and they don’t run the ball that well so Seattle should have no trouble stopping Ronald Jones and Peyton Barber .
Denver Broncos – After a very slow start in their first three games, the Broncos defense has come to life. In their last five games they have 17 sacks and they’ve forced six turnovers. The turnovers have been very hard to come by for Denver, but the good news is the Cleveland Browns come to town and it seems like they only know how to turn the ball over. Nick Chubb lost two fumbles last week to the Patriots and Baker Mayfield was picked off once. He should’ve been picked off a second time, but Stephon Gilmore dropped an easy interception. Mayfield still has a dozen interceptions on the year in just seven games and his offensive line can’t really protect him. The Broncos have a pretty nice floor next week.