Week 2 - Stock Watch

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The sad truth about football is that it's a traumatic collision sport and with that everyone is, unfortunately, injury prone. Week 1 of the 2017 NFL season was not kind as there are many NFL teams and in turn, fantasy owners who are now scrambling to know what to do next?

Allen Robinson (ACL) and Kevin White (Left Shoulder Blade) suffered season-ending injuries, Danny Woodhead (Hamstring) is out 4-6 weeks, and David Johnson will likely be out 10-12 weeks due to a left wrist dislocation. On top of these heartbreaking injuries, there is a lot to digest and react or overact too.

I'm here to provide you actionable advice throughout the season and will sift through all the narratives that have been spewed out the past few days. Is Kareem Hunt an RB1?! Is Jordan Howard becoming a backup?! Is Tom Brady washed?! 

(FYI these are not in any specific order)

1.  BUY Tarik Cohen

"The Human Joystick" was a human highlight reel this weekend as he juked defenders and dazzled fans. Cohen was on the field for 28 of the Bears 67 offensive snaps and was a focal point of the offense on 18 of them (5 Rushes, 12 Targets, 1 Wildcat). Cohen (5'6", 179) flashed early on in the preseason and only saw a few first half snaps in the Bears third preseason game, typically a team's dress rehearsal. The Bears coaching staff hinted at bigger plans for Cohen and they finally unveiled them Sunday.

So there are a few things to take away from Cohen's jaw dropping debut.

1. The Bears opponent, the Falcons, allowed the most receptions to running backs in the NFL last season. You may recall James White piling up 14 receptions on them in the Super Bowl. So the Bears clearly were attacking a weakness in the Atlanta defense. 

2. The Bears also have a plan for Cohen and are getting him on the field as much as possible. The Bears are using him as a traditional change of pace RB, as a receiver out the backfield, in the slot and split wide, as well as handling punt return duties. While the volume of offensive touches might not be a consistent 13 every week, it's evident that he has quite the ceiling.

3. The Bears are depleted of talent on offense and with the receiving corp getting even thinner after Kevin White's season ending injury the Bears may be forced to utilize Cohen as a receiver even more. The 12 targets Cohen received in Week 1 are a little ridiculous to expect going forward but it's certainly possible we've only seen the beginning.

Cohen looks like a souped up Theo Riddick and is legit flex play going forward in PPR formats with obvious week winning upside. The only downside to Cohen is that due to his size and stature he will always be apart of a committee if Jordan Howard were to go down.

2. HOLD Jordan Howard

While Cohen looked incredible let us not get carried away. Howard still out-snapped Cohen 38 to 28 and was the between the tackles back.

I think the situation we're seeing here is similar to the Devonta Freeman/Tevin Coleman debate from the beginning of last year. It's alright to say that both of these players are good and each has their valuable role in the offense. Now the Bears offense isn't in the same class as Atlanta's from a year ago but in a nutshell, I still think it's safe to say that Howard will get his 15-20 touches a game including the all important red zone carries while Cohen does his thing on passing downs.

The idea that Jordan Howard was a bonafide RB1 and Top 20 overall pick coming into this year was a little odd to me due to how poor he was as a receiver as a rookie (7 drops on 50 targets), the Bears bringing in receiving backs such as Benny Cunningham and Tarik Cohen, and the Bears being a poor club in general and having many negative (pass happy) game scripts in the future.

With that being said I still think Howard is a very solid RB2, in the same company as a Crowell and Doug Martin. Let's be honest, there are only like 6-8 legit bell-cow RB's in today's NFL so hold onto him and let's see how everything shakes out. Now actually might be the perfect time to put a feeler into the Howard owner in your league to see if he's willing to sell cheap.

3. BUY Buck Allen

As I mentioned earlier Danny Woodhead will be on the shelf for 4-6 weeks after reaggravating a hamstring strain. I would bet on his absence being closer to 6-weeks than 4. In Woodhead's absence, Buck Allen is likely to handle the majority of the passing down work while sprinkling carries between the tackles. Baltimore threw the 2nd most passes to running backs last season so Allen could have flex worthy play in PPR formats.

4. BUY Alvin Kamara

Sean Payton hates Mark Ingram for no reason, Adrian Peterson is washed and New Orleans spent a 2nd rounder on Kamara.

Kamara led the Saints in rushes, rushing yards, and snaps in Week 1. Mark Ingram paced the backfield in yards from scrimmage and I still think he's the back to own in New Orleans but Kamara's piece of the pie will be bigger than expected if New Orleans defense is as bad as they played on Monday night. If that's the case that means New Orleans will be playing from behind and that means fewer snaps for Peterson and more for Kamara and Ingram. And I'll remind you that last season there were a few weeks where both Mark Ingram and Tim Hightower were huge fantasy plays.

5. BUY Cooper Kupp

Remember that small school WR that everyone loved this time last year? I'm talking about Tajae Sharpe. Yeah, that flamed out quick. Well, I'm here to tell you that Kupp is not a Preseason or Week 1 wonder and he's a guy that needs to be scooped up in all formats. Kupp's chemistry with Goff carried over into the regular season. In 39 snaps, Kupp was targeted 6 times for 4 receptions, 78 yards, and a TD. If you're not familiar with Kupp think of Jordan Matthews size and usage, with better hands but with just 4.60 speed. I think Kupp is on his way to something like a 70/850/6 rookie season.

6. BUY Marlon Mack

Mack still needs to compete with the ageless wonder Frank Gore and Bullet Bob Turbin for touches but sooner or later Mack's raw talent should create the opportunity to take over the backfield. It's a great sign that Mack saw 11 touches (10 Rushes, 1 Reception) on his 17 snaps and he really should have been credited with 2 TD's last week if Chuck Pagano wasn't inept and actually used his challenge flag. This is more of a preemptive pickup since you shouldn't throw Mack into any lineup with confidence for the time being but in deeper bench leagues I would see if I could fit Mack on my roster to see what happens.

7. SELL TY Hilton

Sell TY Hilton while his stock isn't at rock bottom. Andrew Luck is likely still a month away from returning. He's already been ruled out for Week 2, has yet to return to practice so it's unlikely they would rush him into action Week 3, and Week 4 the Colts are playing in Seattle. Let's pray to God the Colts use some judgment and keep him out that week.

TY Hilton is a great player but he's barely a fantasy factor with Luck out of the lineup and it's still uncertain when he'll be back. These stats are per Graham Barfield of Fantasy Guru, but here are TY Hilton's weekly fantasy finishes when Andrew Luck does not play: WR30, WR27, WR50+, WR10, WR50+, WR20, WR50+, WR40, and WR50+.

If you could flip TY Hilton for someone like Stefon Diggs, Golden Tate, Davante Adams of the like I would pull the trigger.

8. DROP Darren McFadden

What a terrible week for Darren McFadden owners. If you took my advice and used a pick on him I apologize. Ezekiel Elliott will now be able to play this whole season and to make things worse McFadden was a healthy scratch on Sunday night after clearly running with the 1's all preseason. There is no reason to hold McFadden as there is no clear backup in Dallas at the moment. 

9. DROP Eddie Lacy

Fat Eddie's time may be nearing the end. From Top 10 pick just 2 years ago to getting passed up by UDFA RB's in just a few weeks of camp. Lacy saw the 3rd most snaps (7) of the 3 active Seattle RB's and that doesn't even factor in Seattle choosing to rest Thomas Rawls an extra week as he recovers from his high ankle sprain. Seattle has a horrid offensive line and right now Lacy is competing for the 3rd spot at best on the depth chart. It's time to cut the cord.

10. BUY Nelson Agholor

Agholor tied for the team lead with 8 targets in Week 1 and turned that into 6 receptions for 86 yards and a TD. Throughout the latter parts of the offseason, there were drum beats that Agholor would over take Jordan Matthews as the slot WR in the Eagles offense. Those rumors came to be true shortly after, as the Eagles decided to trade Matthews to Buffalo. Much of Agholor's yardage came off of a busted coverage that resulted in a long TD but the Eagles clearly schemed some touches for Agholor. Don't go overboard to obtain Agholor as there are plenty of mouths to feed in Philly but there is certainly WR3 upside here.

TL;DR

Week 2 Waiver Wire Adds:

QB: Alex Smith, Sam Bradford, and Jared Goff

RB: Tarik Cohen, Buck Allen, Kerwynn Williams, Alvin Kamara, Chris Johnson, Marlon Mack, Chris Carson and Andre Ellington

WR: Corey Davis, Cooper Kupp, Nelson Agholor, Paul Richardson, Kenny Golladay, Danny Amendola

TE: Austin Hooper, Charles Clay, Evan Engram, Jared Cook

D/ST: Baltimore (CLE) & Oakland (NYJ)

HOLD ON:

QB: Kirk Cousins

RB: Joe Mixon, Paul Perkins, Thomas Rawls, Samaje Perine

WR: Martavis Bryant, Brandon Marshall, Kelvin Benjamin, Jamison Crowder, Marvin Jones

TE: Hunter Henry

DROP:

QB: Carson Palmer and Andy Dalton

RB: Darren McFadden, Eddie Lacy, Jamaal Williams

WR: Allen Robinson, Kevin White, Breshad Perriman, Torrey Smith

TE: Eric Ebron, CJ Fiedorowicz

Week 13 Waiver Wire

Player Spotlight

Tyreek Hill - WR - Kansas City Chiefs

Thanksgiving is essentially an American holiday that is devoted towards: over-eating, drinking, football and enjoying family & friends. Now that also sounds eerily similar to most of my weekends during the fall, but that's beside the point.

Anyways, fantasy owners sat back stuffed watching the games over the long holiday weekend hoping that our teams would also cook us up something nice. Unfortunately we all weren't so fortunate. Brandin Cooks, Rob Gronkowski, Antonio Gates and Eric Ebron all put up zeros. Not the donuts we were hoping for on Sunday. Julio Jones, Allen Robinson, Sterling Shepard, Steve Smith, Thomas Rawls, Martellus Bennett, Robert Kelley and Amari Cooper are also some culprits who took metaphorical dumps in fantasy lineups during the most important week of the season to date.

A guy who put on a show this past week, scoring three TD's on Sunday night, would be Tyreek "TyFreak" Hill. In the Week 9 Waiver Wire article I highlighted Hill as a Sleeper Wide Receiver. This is what I had to say about him at the time:

Hill is one of the most dynamic players in the NFL. Before being dismissed from Oklahoma State due to a gruesome domestic assault situation he was lined up all over formations and actually saw most of his time at running back. So don’t be surprised if he sees an increased workload if Spencer Ware is unable to go on Sunday. Hill for the meantime is making the most of his touches and against Jacksonville this week he could be a nice what the heck flex option in deeper leagues. Keep your eye out for him because he is a legit talent.
— Week 9 Waiver Wire Article

I should have put that last sentence in bold because boy is he ever, with that 4.29 40 and 40.5" vertical jump. Now for those who didn't catch the Sunday night game, Hill found three different ways to score: rushing, receiving and punt return.

Through the first half of the season Hill was seeing around 15 snaps per game on offense while being the special teams ace he still currently is. Hill role in the Chiefs offense has taken off in recent weeks due to injuries. Since Jeremy Maclin went down in Week 9, Hill has been the second most targeted Chief in the passing game (33) behind Travis Kelce (37). At over 8 targets and at least a rushing attempt per game Hill is now a focal point of the Chiefs offense. In recent weeks Hill has been used in the short passing game but earlier this year he showed the ability to fool defenders and get deep with his blazing speed.

Here are a couple plays from his time at Oklahoma State in 2014 to point that he's not just your typically uber athlete that is a gadget player. He has the tools to become a heck of a wide receiver. He makes these over the shoulder catches look easy. Hill has the mighty mouse gene that Steve Smith has. He's small (5'8" at his pro day) but doesn't play like it.

The Chiefs offense is starving for playmakers and even when Jeremy Maclin returns from his groin issue I don't see the Chiefs putting the genie back in the bottle. 

The remaining schedule is pretty favorable for Hill. Kansas City is at Atlanta this week before a stretch of three straight home games vs Oakland, Tennessee and Denver. 

In PPR leagues Hill is a guy who you're trying your best to fit in your lineup on a weekly basis now. In standard leagues or half point PPR I see Hill in the same vein as Tevin Coleman. These guys are flex worthy options who can win you weeks if everything goes well like it did this past week for Hill. Given the Chiefs favorable schedule the next month I wouldn't be surprised if we saw a couple more 20 point performances by years end.

Week 13 BYE: Tennessee & Cleveland

QUARTERBACK

Week 12 Thoughts: The biggest surprise at the QB position this year has to be Dak Prescott. He's been exceptional and is QB5 at this point in the season but I'd err on the side of benching him this week vs Minnesota. For instance I own Prescott in one league and am playing Tyrod Taylor over him...Jared Goff looked good last week vs New Orleans throwing for 3 TD's in the first half...Just when we hop aboard the Russell Wilson express again he puts up 151 passing yards, 0 TD and 2 INT against a mediocre at best Tampa defense. His 80 rushing yard bailed him out.

Colin Kaepernick - San Francisco 49ers

Kaepernick is still on the majority of waiver wires despite being QB6 overall since becoming the starter, ahead of: Tom Brady, Matt Ryan, Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, Derek Carr etc. Since he took over the starting job in Week 6 he is also 16th in the NFL in rushing yards. This is consistently giving him the high floor I've talked about in recent weeks despite not having really any legit weapon to target through the air. This week he plays a Bears defense that's been decimated by injuries the past month. We're going to be riding Kaepernick until we can't any longer.

RUNNING BACK

Week 12 Thoughts: It appears that Kenneth Dixon might have finally taken a stranglehold on the Ravens backfield. He out-snapped Terrance West 31 to 25 and out-touched him 17 to 16. While that sounds promising we do need to hold our horses because West has seen literally all the red zone touches since Dixon has returned from injury in Week 5. 18 touches to 0....This hasn't been the dream season fantasy owners were hoping for from Mark Ingram but he's surprisingly on pace for his first 1,000 yard season. In the 4 games since his Week 8 benching Ingram has averaged 8.1 YPC. When you stack that up against Tim Hightower's 3.9 YPC mark you wonder why the Saints are still giving him the bigger workload. Hightower's averaged 4 more touches per game over their past 4 (17.75 to 13.75)....David Johnson's stats through his first 16 regular season starts: 300 Car, 1,363 Yards, 14 TD, 72 Rec, 829 Yards, 4 TD. The only player to put up those numbers in a single season is Marshall Faulk in 2000. David Johnson has been one-of-a-kind since taking over as the starter late last season...Also another reminder to stock up your bench with upside. That means dropping a guy like Jerick McKinnon for a DeAngelo Williams, Alfred Morris, Bilal Powell and Andre Ellington if they are out there. The logic here is that, yes McKinnon is an RB3/4 just based off volume but he's never going to see your starting lineup. If you own one of those handcuffs that I just mentioned well then you have a legit RB1 if the starter goes down. A guy who can swing a match-up. That's never going to be Jerick McKinnon behind his disaster offensive line...Circling back to my Paul Perkins piece a few weeks ago. Perkins snap count has increased but it's Rashad Jennings who is still seeing the majority of the touches. The process of targeting a Giants RB due to their schedule was correct, Jennings had back-to-back 100+ total yard games in Weeks 11 and 12 but the player was wrong. Jennings is the clear back to own now. Perkins works as a fine handcuff and bench stash as he's still seeing around 10 touches per game.

Charles Sims - Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Charles Sims is already back practicing and should be good to come off the PUP list in Week 14 when he is eligible. He's a sneaky add right now if he's still on your waiver wire because  we know he has a role in the offense when healthy and has favorable match-ups in the fantasy playoffs (vs New Orleans in Week 14 & 16). The sample size is small but in 3 games vs New Orleans in his career he's averaged over 13 touches per game. Also with the receiving corps weak outside of Mike Evans he might be called upon more as a receiver.

Jalen Richard - Oakland Raiders

Richard is another guy who I touched on earlier this year (Week 6). Seeing as fellow rookie DeAndre Washington was a healthy inactive last week it appears that Richard is the handcuff to own in Oakland. Richard is averaging an impressive 5.8 YPC this year and has proven to be a valuable asset as a receiver as well. In Week 11, Richard toasted LB Bernardrick McKinney on a slant route before barreling through a pair of defenders near the goal line for a TD. Were Latavius Murray to go down, Richard would turn into a nice RB2 option. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention FB Jamize Olawale when discussing the Raiders backfield because he's been known to vulture TD's. 

Sleeper Running Back

Denard Robinson - Jacksonville Jaguars

The third stringer was thrust into action last week when Chris Ivory (hamstring) and TJ Yeldon (ankle) both left the game due to injuries. Robinson produced a modest 39 yards on 13 carries but could be in for an increased workload this week vs Denver if Ivory and Yeldon can't go. As I write this Wednesday, it does appear that both Ivory and Yeldon both missed practice. The Jaguars are averaging close 8 more rushing attempts per game (29 compared to 21) since the offensive coordinator change.

WIDE RECEIVER

Week 12 Thoughts: Saints Michael Thomas is pace for 95 Rec, 1,148 Yard and 10 TDs. The only other play to reach those benchmarks as a rookie is Odell Beckham Jr...The results were not impressive but Tyler Boyd and Brandon LaFell both saw 9 targets a piece last week in AJ Green's absence. Like I said last week, Boyd is the higher floor player with LaFell having a little more upside to his targets deeper down the field...the Falcons are using Taylor Gabriel perfectly but just know that his 5 TD's on 16 touches the past 4 weeks are unsustainable. On a side note Kyle Shanahan has done an incredible job at attacking opposing defenses where their week. While some teams just run their offense it's refreshing to see another team target a specific defender or position and just pick on them...DeVante Parker looks to be finishing strong for the 2nd straight season. He's averaged 5 catches and 82 yards over his past 3 games....Bradin Cooks complained about his role in the Saints offense earlier this week. Not that he wouldn't have already been a must start vs the Lions but now you can surely expect him to be fed. I'd be surprised if he has less than 7 receptions...Brandon Marshall hasn't had over 70 yards receiving in a game since Week 5. Although I haven't heard too much bitching and moaning about Marshall this year he's definitely in the same company at DeAndre Hopkins and Allen Robinson. They kind of are what they are at this point. QB play has taken a major tool on all three of these studs...Kelvin Benjamin had his first TD since Week 4. Benjamin's been fairly consistent with yardage totals but he hasn't been the WR1 we were hoping for after his early season success

Marquess Wilson - Chicago Bears

The 4th-year wideout out of Washington State had his best game as a pro last week racking up 8 receptions, 125 yards and a TD. This week the Bears face a 49ers secondary that has given up the most fantasy points to wide receivers this year. It's a bit hard to tell who Matt Barkley's favorite target is in this Bears offense since 4 players received 9 targets last week but Wilson is the best dice role since he lead Chicago with 11 targets.

Ted Ginn - Carolina Panthers

I've harped on this point when talking about Will Fuller and Sammie Coates earlier this year but having a vertical deep threat can change an offense. It appears that Carolina finally remembered that it has Ted Ginn. Ginn broke the century mark in yards for the first time this year but has had over 40 yards the past 6 games. Ginn's speed paired with Newton's arm is one of the most deadly combo's in the game, when Ginn actually catches the ball. Either way having Ginn on the field is big for the Carolina offense because they have to account for him on every play. Seattle is a tough match-up this week but San Diego, Washington and Atlanta are all flawed secondaries that Newton and Ginn can easily take advantage of. 

Sleeper Wide Receiver

Malcolm Mitchell - New England Patriots

Rob Gronkowski's and Martellus Bennett's lingering injuries certainly free up more targets for Patriots wide receives. Mitchell has been the one to step up the last two weeks scoring 3 times on 9 receptions for 140 yards. Mitchell's snap percentage the past two weeks went from 85% to 47%. Chris Hogan's return from injury is likely the reason for that drop so Mitchell seems a bit touchdown dependent at the moment but we know Brady has trust in Mitchell

TIGHT END

Week 12 Thoughts: Jordan Reed has a Grade 3 AC sprain in his shoulder. Even though he was unstoppable when he returned to action on Thanksgiving it's unclear if he'll be able to go on Sunday. This type of injury typically takes a month or so to recover from but expect Reed to play through it. In the meantime Vernon Davis should be a hot add this week. He's put up over 50 yards receiving in 5 of his last 6 games...On Thanksgiving night we also saw Ladarius Green get open downfield twice vs the Colts. His production has been modest since returning but he has as high of a ceiling as any TE. I'm not comfortable putting him in my starting lineup at the moment but if another playoff team in your league is weak at TE I'm not against playing keep away and stashing him on my bench...Rob Gronkowski's status is still up in the air this week. Martellus Bennett keep playing through and aggravating his high ankle sprain injury each week...It took a couple weeks but Cameron Brate has solidified himself as the 2nd option in the passing game lately. 

Vance McDonald - San Francisco 49ers

Guys, Vance "Let's Dance" McDonald has been TE4 the past 4 weeks catching at least 3 balls in each game. McDonald has more big play ability than we're used to seeing out of Tight Ends and is facing a Chicago D that has give up TD's the past 3 weeks to tight ends. Chicago will also be without their coverage LB's Danny Trevathan (Knee) and Jerrell Freeman (Suspension). 

Sleeper Tight End

Josh Hill - New Orleans Saints

Hill was catch-less the prior two weeks before breaking out for 6 rec for 74 yards on Sunday. Hill has been on the field more than Coby Fleener in recent weeks and is playing against one of the worst defenses vs TE's this week in Detroit. Coby Fleener is still catching a few balls each week but it's not like Josh Hill doesn't have the ability to be a dependable option in the passing game. He flashed a few seasons ago when he had 5 TD's.

Week 12 Waiver Wire

Player Spotlight

QUARTERBACK

Week 11 Thoughts: There is a bunch of QB news this week. Most notable is that Andrew Luck will miss the Colts game vs the Steelers on Thanksgiving night due to a concussion... Browns rookie signal caller, Cody Kessler, also suffered a concussion this past Sunday and will miss this weeks game. That his second of the season..Robert Griffin III has returned to practice!...Jay Cutler is believed to have a torn labrum which will sideline him for the remainder of the season. If Cutler has indeed started his last game in a Bears uniform it'll be fitting as he'll finish with a 51-51 record as a starter. Think what you will about Jay Cutler but he did re-write the Bears record books. Now that says a lot about the Bears as well...Tom Brady missed practice on Wednesday with a knee injury. It doesn't appear to be a major concern and he should play this week.

Colin Kaepernick - San Francisco 49ers

Ah, yeah guys we're going with Kaepernick again. He's now had over 18 points in 4 of his 5 starts this year. The Miami defense has come on as of late but I think their overall numbers are deceiving given they've gone up against: Goff/Garoppolo, Brissett, Kessler, Fitzpatrick/Petty. As always we can't forget about Kapernick's leg. He's averaged 52 yards rushing per start. Think of that as an extra 25-yard TD pass in most traditional formats.

RUNNING BACK

Week 11 Thoughts: The Packers indicated on Wednesday that Eddie Lacy will be shut down for the season and likely has played his last snap in a Packers uniform...Tevin Coleman is expected to return from a hamstring injury that sidelined him the past 3 games...LeSean McCoy missed the 2nd half of Sunday's game due to a dislocated thumb. He had surgery on Monday to relocate the joint and it sounds like the Bills are expecting him to play this week. Whether or not he'll be able to go likely depends on his grip strength and how he feels about ball security.. Mike Gillislee is back that should be added in case he's not able to go. He's been terrific the past two years when called upon...Jordan Howard caught 1 of 8 targets on Sunday. I'm not sure how that's possible but with that low of efficiency I wouldn't be surprised if we saw Jeremy Langford get a bigger opportunity in the passing game...With trade deadlines coming up I'll recommend trying to buy low on Spencer Ware.

Wendell Smallwood - Philadelphia Eagles

The rookie out of West Virginia may get the start on Monday Night vs the Packers if Darren Sproles (rib) and Ryan Mathews (knee) can't go. Smallwood has done well in limited action this season amassing 253 yards on 57 carries god for 4.4 YPC. Smallwood has nice burst but doesn't have much functional power. He is an asset in the receiving game. 

Rex Burkhead - Cincinnati Bengals

The Nebraska product should take over Gio Bernard's role as the third down receiving specialist. Despite not seeing much work his first 4 years in the league Burkhead is a nice player. I think Burkhead could see upward of 10 touches per game and is more valuable in PPR formats.

Sleeper Running Back

Alex Collins - Seattle Seahawks

Things can change so quickly. Last week Prosise was the add of the week and now he's sidelined until the playoffs at the earliest with a scapula fracture (the same injury Donte Moncrief missed 6 weeks with earlier in the year). With Thomas Rawls showing an inability to stay healthy in recent games Collins is now a top handcuff. The rookie out of Arkansas has nimble feet and runs with power. His playing style is similar to that of Chris Ivory. If he were to be thrust into a bigger role I think you could expected RB2 numbers.

WIDE RECEIVER

Week 11 Thoughts: Donte Moncrief was added to the injury report on Wednesday with a hamstring issue. He is a game-time decision...Stefon Diggs sounds doubtful to play on Thanksgiving vs the Lions with a knee injury...Sammy Watkins declared himself 100% healthy after Wednesday's practice. Right now he's working to get back into playing shape and it's uncertain if he'll give it a go this week. But it's at least promising that he'll be a huge fantasy factor down the stretch. If you recall a couple weeks ago I highlighted Watkins as a preemptive pickup and a big reason for that was because of the rest of season schedule that includes Jacksonville, Oakland, Pittsburgh, Cleveland & Miami...With Matt Barkley under center there is no reason to hold onto Eddie Royal & Cam Meredith...Robert Woods suffered what appears to be a mid-grade MCL injury. He's yet to practice this week and likely will be out some time...AJ Green went down on the 2nd offensive play of the game with what looked like gruesome hamstring injury. The Bengals are saying there was just a minor tear and that he will return this season. While that's great to hear there really isn't any reason to rush Green back if the Bengals aren't in playoff contention. Green might be back for the fantasy playoffs but I'm not getting my hopes up.

Tyler Boyd - Cincinnati Bengals

Tyler Boyd and Brandon Lafell are sure to be popular waiver wire pickups this week with AJ Green sidelined for the foreseeable future. Lafell will likely take over Green's role as the deep threat in the offense with Boyd's role not changing much. The rookie out of Pitt makes his living in the short passing game out of the slot. Lafell has more of the boom/bust upside while Boyd has the safe floor. I'm thinking Boyd should be good for 6 rec, 50 yard games while Green is sidelined.

Marqise Lee - Jacksonville Jaguars

For my money Lee has been one of the most improved players in the league this year. After being overshadowed by the Allen's (Hurns & Robinson) his first two years in Jacksonville, Lee has finally stepped up his game and been the one making spectacular plays this year. Although his ceiling isn't very high, only over 100 yards once, Lee has been targeted at least 6 times in 8 of his last 9 games. Lee is on of things that consistently is working this year so I expect his volume and production to continue the rest of the season.

Sleeper Wide Receiver

Adam Thielen - Mineesota Vikings

With Stefon Diggs questionable for this weeks game Thielen might take on the WR1 duties in the Vikings offense. Thielen has really come on this year and it's not a fluke. Thielen wins with route running and ball skills and has built a strong rapport with Sam Bradford because of this. Thielen's 37 receptions, 518 yards and 3 TDs might not stand out to you but they're impressive when you factor in that he's only been targeted 50 times this season and is in a low volume passing attack. If Diggs is out Thielen becomes a legit WR3.

TIGHT END

Week 11 Thoughts: Bears TE Zach Miller is out for the season with a broken foot. Logan Paulsen is presumed to be the starter. Paulsen has 6 TD in six seasons in the NFL...It stilll seems like it's a 50/50 proposition that Rob Gronkowski will play this week. What a dud by Martellus Bennett last week (1 catch, 14 yards)...With Jacob Tamme out for the rest of the season Austin Hooper will take over the main TE duties. The TE position for Atlanta has been boom or bust this season...Zach Ertz has been on a roll lately. He's caught 6 passes or more the past 3 week. He faces a Green Bay defense that been horrific the past week. I think he's a TE1 this week...Eric Ebron now has three straight games with 70+ yards since returning from injury.

Jared Cook - Green Bay Packers

Jared Cook led the Packers in targets (11), receptions (6) and yards (105) in his first game back from a high ankle injury he suffered in Week 3. Cook had a crucial fumble late in the game but Packer fans saw the deep element that Cook brings to the offense. The Packers finally gave up on the Justin Perillo experiment so it's just Cook and Rodgers at the position. Cook saw twice as many snaps as Rich-Rod last game and that's what I expect going forward. If you're struggling at TE Cook should is a high-upside play the rest of the way.

Week 10 Waiver Wire

Player Spotlight

Paul Perkins - RB - New York Giants

After winning a fantasy football championship it's intrinsic to take a step back after the season and examine your roster. Of course every team has a handful of studs that carried you to the playoffs but there is usually one player who changed your season out of nowhere. Your trump card, so to speak (I couldn't resist).

Two seasons ago that player for you may have been CJ Anderson, Jeremy Hill, Joique Bell or Matt Asiata. Last season for many it was David Johnson, Tim Hightower, Buck Allen, James White or Rashad Jennings who put the team on their back when it mattered most. As we near the home stretch of our regular seasons it's now time to find your diamond in the rough. These candidates typically come from the running back department because of how volatile the position is. As you know running backs come out of nowhere every week due to injury but in some cases a players talent can create more opportunity for themselves. Lets try to weave through a couple of potential season changing candidates at the moment.

Peyton Barber - Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Love his story and his game. He doesn't run with quite the anger and brutality of his relative, Marion Barber, but he's not to be taken lightly. Jacquizz Rodgers helped keep some fantasy owners afloat with three awesome weeks before his injury, so we know there definitely is value in the Tampa running game. At the moment Barber looks like a solid play this coming week vs Chicago but Doug Martin should be back any day now. I know, I know, we've already gone down that path this year with Martin. Tampa Bay has an awesome schedule down the stretch, including match ups vs New Orleans in Weeks 14 and 16 so whatever Tampa Bay back is healthy at the moment will be in our starting lineups. 

Kenneth Dixon - Baltimore Ravens - A favorite of many in the NFL draft and fantasy football community, Dixon finally got more involved in the offensive game plan this week. Going into their Week 8 BYE, Coach John Harbaugh noted that he wanted to get Dixon more involved and they actually backed that up. Dixon saw 11 touches to Terrance West's 16. Both were disgustingly ineffective with their work but that's not totally surprising since the Baltimore offense hasn't been the most fruitful this year. Dixon has the talent of a 3-down back and everything is trending in the right direction but I doubt they hand the reigns totally over to him. West has played well for the most part and Dixon has had trouble staying healthy on top of that.

Robert Kelley - Washington Redskins - 10 Weeks into his NFL career the UDFA out of Tulane is now the incumbent starter in Washington. Kelley is a downhill, decisive runner who has performed well given the opportunity in the preseason and regular season. Head Coach, Jay Gruden, stated last week that Kelley would receive the bulk of the carries and that Matt Jones would have to win his job back. Chris Thompson will still be a major player in the backfield, mainly as a receiving back, so keep that in mind. The Redskins play two of the more stout run defenses in the coming weeks (Green Bay and Minnesota) so I think it's extremely unlikely that Kelley just runs away with the job during that stretch. Can Kelley be a back that gets you 15 carries for 70 yards and give or a take a TD some weeks? Sure. He's more than capable of that. I'm just not sure he has quite the season changing upside of this next back.

The back who is currently available in most leagues that I believe has the best chance to become a real difference maker down the stretch is, Paul Perkins. The reason why is because he has the talent, his opportunity is growing and the schedule is in his favor.

The rookie out of UCLA's game closely resembles Devonta Freeman's because of his spectacular agility and footwork. Perkins lateral agility and stop-start burst leaves defenders grasping for air in the tightest of spaces. Per Pro Football Focus, Perkins graded out as the most elusive back in the 2016 draft class. Perkins forced 85 missed tackles on 265 touches last season. To put those numbers in perspective, Derrick Henry forced 86 missed tackles on 406 touches and Ezekiel Elliott 56 missed tackles on 317 touches.

Perkins isn't a speed demon but he has that same 40-60 yard breakaway ability that we see with backs like Ajayi and Melvin Gordon.

Although he's not the biggest back (5'10", 208 LBS), Perkins has very good power due to his willingness to keep his legs driving through contact as he contorts and slips through defenders for that extra yard. 

Perkins isn't on the same level as a receiver as Darren Sproles, Le'Veon Bell or Devonta Freeman, in the sense that you're not going to split him out wide to exploit mismatches in coverage. However, Perkins is a reliable receiver out of the backfield and as we alluded to earlier is a menace in space.

Like most rookies, Perkins must improve as a pass blocker to become a three-down back.

Coming out of their BYE, Ben McAdoo expressed to the media that they were looking to get Perkins more involved. Well that was indeed the case this past Sunday when Perkins saw the same amount of touches as starter, Rashad Jennings. Perkins however out gained Jennings 47 yards to 39 yards, all the while showing good vision and explosion on a few of his touches. Right now it appears like the Giants backfield is more of a 50/50 split but don't be surprised if the Giants ride one back if they get hot. McAdoo isn't against a lead back. We saw that in 2015 when Rashad Jennings led the NFL in rushing yards over the last 4 weeks of the season. If someone is going to take over the backfield it's going to be Perkins. He's more agile and explosive than Jennings and is 10 years younger. When you're playing behind a poor offensive line that matters.

Ahh, so we've finally got around to the offensive line. It's such an important piece to a running backs success and Giants have yet to get the running game going this year. So if the line sucks and Paul Perkins is in a timeshare why in God's name am I a Paul Perkins truther right now. Well, according to Football Outsiders DVOA metric, the Giants play arguably one Top 10 rushing defense the rest of the season. Here are their upcoming opponents with their rank: (CIN (22nd), CHI (23rd), CLE (29th), PIT (14th), DAL (8th), DET (26th), PHI (11th) and WAS (31st). I think more bountiful fantasy days are on their way. A resurgent passing game should open things up too.

In fantasy football you need to skate to where the puck is going to be. It pays to be forward thinking because by the time Paul Perkins takes over this starting job it'll be too late. Don't be afraid to take chances.

Week 10 BYE: Buffalo, Detroit, Indianapolis and Oakland

QUARTERBACK

Week 9 Thoughts: It's obvious Ben Roethlisberger is still recovering from his torn meniscus. It still might be a struggle this week vs Dallas but he should be able to get back on track vs Cleveland and Indianapolis in Weeks 11 and 12...If Carson Palmer was dropped he's another great streaming option as Arizona is facing a 49ers team that has given up multiple TD's passes every game after Week 1...Russell Wilson easily played his best game of the season last week but now faces a tough New England team. Nice job NFL with scheduling a team to fly across country on a short week. Not to mention the major time zone change...Just a reminder that Aaron Rodgers is now on pace for 40 TD passes...Drew Brees faces Denver this week at home. I'm torn on what to think here because I'm of the belief that you just don't play QB's vs Denver. Here is how a couple of Top QB's have faired this year: Derek Carr - 184 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT, Philip Rivers - 178, 1 TD, 0 INT, Jameis Winston - 179 Yards, 0 TD, 2 INT, RuTD, Andrew Luck - 197 Yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, Cam Newton - 194 Yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, RuTD...Joe Flacco is probably the most popular choice for the top streaming option this week. He faces the worst pass defense in the NFL, in Cleveland, so it should be a perfect spot especially at home but I just can't get fully onboard. Brock Osweiler was in a perfect get back on track game vs DET a few weeks back and we saw how that turned out. Sometimes bad QB's are just bad no matter the match up. I get the reasoning for it but I'd rather try Cutler.

Jay Cutler - Chicago Bears

The Bears face a Buccaneers defense that has given up 857 yards and 8 TD's and 0 INT through the air the past two weeks. Now, Jay Cutler isn't Derek Carr or Matt Ryan but with Alshon Jeffery, Zach Miller, Eddie Royal and Cam Meredith all coming off a BYE they should be rested up and ready to go. The Bears are the only team without 3 offensive touchdowns in a game this year. That has to end this week, right?

RUNNING BACK

Week 9 Thoughts: How about Melvin Gordon?! After not scoring a TD as rookie he has a NFL leading 11 through 9 weeks. Now this doesn't happen if Danny Woodhead and Keenan Allen don't tear their ACLs but Gordon is proving that he still has the talent we all saw at Wisconsin...DuJuan Harris looks like the same creative and agile runner that flashed in his limited action with Green Bay. Carlos Hyde should return this week but I think Harris has supplanted both Mike Davis and Shaun Draughn in the RB pecking order in San Francisco...Derrick Henry left Sunday's game with a calf injury and those can be tricky. Antonio Andrew is next in line and is someone you'll want to pounce on if Henry and DeMarco Murray are ever sidelined...Much is being made of CJ Prosise playing 8 more snaps than Christine Michael on Monday night. Right now Michael is a "hold" because you probably can't trade him for much. Prosise on the other hand might be worth an add in deep bench leagues. I'm just not going crazy over him because Thomas Rawls is returning soon and the Seahawks still like Michael...Dion Lewis is returning this week and I probably should have worked him into my Paul Perkins piece. I hope we see the Dion Lewis of old but as I said last week, I think the Patriots will be careful with Lewis and make sure he's good to go for the playoffs...Jordan Howard established himself as the bonafide starter prior to the Bears BYE week so I'm fully expecting him to get 11 carries in Week 10 because John Fox is the worst.

Chris Ivory - Jacksonville Jaguars

Ivory broke the century mark for rushing yards (107) for the first time this season on 18 carries. TJ Yeldon is still seeing the majority of the receiving work in the backfield so both players ceilings are limited because of that. New Jaguars OC, Nathaniel Hackett, spoke about how the Jaguars needed to improve a dormant run game and that is exactly what they tried to accomplish in his first game calling the shots. The Jaguars should be able to remain competitive against their remaining schedule so more weeks like this could be on the horizon. Ivory is really just an RB4 at the moment but the needle is pointing up.

Darren Sproles - Philadelphia Eagles

Sproles is the clear lead back in Philadelphia now as he's played 80% of snaps the past two weeks. Ryan Mathews has a TD the past two weeks but he's played just 8 snaps in both games. We all know what Sproles brings to the table and given the workload he's receiving he's a fine RB2/Flex play while it continues. This week the Eagles face Atlanta who has allowed the most receiving yards to running backs in the NFL.

SLEEPER RUNNING BACK

Kapri Bibbs - Denver Broncos

Bibbs pops on our radar after taking a screen pass 69-yards (nice) to the house on Sunday Night Football and Coach Kubiak saying that Bibbs earned more work going forward. Devontae Booker hasn't been very impressive in his first two starts filling in for CJ Anderson and is likely still battling a shoulder injury, so I think we can expect his workload to decrease a tad. Bibbs isn't starting lineup worthy by any means but because of the Broncos run centric offense he should be owned in most formats. Bibbs is a compact, one-cut runner without any real impressive trait.

WIDE RECEIVER

Week 9 Thoughts: It appears that Pat Shurmur is turing Stefon Diggs into Jarvis Landry. Diggs had 13 receptions for 80 yards in Week 9.  I wish Diggs was on a different team because he'd be special in a pass heavy offense. Like TY Hilton numbers...Speaking of the Vikings pass game, we finally got to see a little of Laquon Treadwell. He caught his first pass of his career on a nice 15 yard in route. With Norv Turner gone I hope they start using him more...Now might be the time to trade Ty Montgomery. Reason being is that James Starks will be returning and is likely to take over the majority of the traditional running game touches and Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Davante Adams will still continue to be the Big 3 in the passing game. There is just so much ambiguity on his role in the future so I'm trying to get out while I'm ahead...I'll highlight DeAndre Hopkins promising schedule the rest of the season - JAX, OAK, SD, GB, IND, JAX, CIN, TEN...Cole Beasley has had over 50 receiving yards in every game this season...I said this last week but go and buy Tyrell Williams right now. He's has a great chance to be that season changer down the stretch. San Diego is done playing Denver for the year...Jeremy Maclin can be dropped. It's just not happening this year and he's currently nursing a groin injury...As the Steelers offense comes together again with the return of Ben Roethlisberger now is the time to pick up Sammie Coates if he's been dropped. There are not many players if fantasy where you can easily tell a story of them scoring 30 points. Coates is one of those guys.

Rishard Matthews - Tennessee Titans

Matthews has now led the Titans WR's in snaps the past two weeks and has overtaken Tajae Sharpe as the WR1 in this passing game. I know that's not saying much and the Titans have a run heavy offense but we've seen Matthews be super efficient with his touches just a year ago in Miami. Matthews has 5 TD's over the past 5 weeks and is clearly Mariota's go-to receiver in the red zone. The touchdowns will be hard to sustain but I think Matthews can reasonably be a WR3 from here on out. 

Sterling Shepard - New York Giants

Shepard had a 4 game stretch where he didn't reach the end zone or top 32 yards so he might have been dropped. Week 9 wasn't a day for the ages but he did reach 50 yards and hit pay dirt. Shepard's been targeted at least 6 times in every game since Week 1, so that's not really an issue. With the Giants passing game showing life this past week and Victor Cruz nursing a sprained ankle there could be more days like this in the near future for Shepard as they have a favorable schedule the rest of the way.

SLEEPER WIDE RECEIVER

Sammy Watkins - Buffalo Bills

He might not be on your waiver wire but let this serve as a reminder for you to go check because he is eligible to return in Week 12. Watkins is as talented as they come so if you can make a roster spot for him just to see what happens I advise you too. Buffalo has incredible match ups in Weeks 13-16 as they play Oakland, Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Miami. It doesn't get better than that.

TIGHT END

Week 9 Thoughts: I swear Antonio Gates has nine lives. He's now led or tied for the team lead in targets the last 3 weeks and leads all TE's now with 14 red zone targets...Jimmy Graham is the top targets in the passing game in Seattle and as I stated in the Week 5 Waiver Wire article, Russell Wilson has trust in him in any situation...Gary Barnidge is still searching for his first TD this season which means he'll likely score twice on Thursday night...Jordan Reed, Tyler Eifert and Gronk return to lineups this week. Here is to hoping they all remain healthy down the stretch...Josh Hill has played twice as many snaps as Coby Fleener the past two weeks so no need to hold onto Fleener any longer.

Lance Kendricks -  Los Angeles Rams

Kendricks has had a least 5 receptions and 8 targets the past 3 weeks. During that span he's led the team with targets at 29 and faces a Jets defense who have given up the 10th most points to TE's this year. Nothing wrong with riding the hot hand a TE when you're streaming the position.

Week 9 Waiver Wire

Player Spotlight 

Davante Adams - WR - Green Bay Packers

I think what I enjoy most about sports is the human aspect of it. All the different personalities we're able to see on a daily basis is incredible and I try to enjoy them all. From Tom Brady losing his mind on the sideline, Bill Belichick's one word answers in press conferences, Richard Sherman's dominant play followed up with his outspokenness on and off the field, Gronk making 69 jokes, Cutler moping around on a sideline, Aaron Rodgers straddling the fine line of confidence and arrogance and Marshawn Lynch's one of a kind personality. We're all able to see these athletes larger than life physiques and personalities on display and at the end of each day it's a beautiful smorgasbord.

That's the side of the coin that we can see. What we aren't privy to is how each athlete is wired and how they're handling the physical, emotional and mental aspects of being a professional athlete. Despite how we treat athletes on game days, they're not robots, and often times are 20-something year olds just trying to figure out life themselves. They are going through the same everyday hurdles that everyone else does all the while performing their job in the spotlight. Now, I'm not telling you to sympathize for athletes more than you would for anyone else but I think it's just good to have perspective because that might be exactly what we all needed in regards to Davante Adams.

After compiling 233 receptions, 3,031 yards and 38 touchdowns in just two seasons at Fresno State the Packers selected Davante Adams 53rd overall in the 2014 NFL Draft. His career didn't get off to the start that many expected. Sure, Adams had some promising games as a rookie, most notably his performance in the divisional round of the playoffs vs the Cowboys where he caught 7 balls for 117 yards and a score, but for the most part he was just another guy in a high powered offense.

Then the offseason rolled around and glowing reports were flowing out of Packers camp daily about how impressive Davante Adams had been looking. Coming out of school, Adams was still raw as a route runner. An incredible college receiver in his own right, he made much of his living off of Derek Carr throwing beautiful fade routes and feasting on poor MWC defenses. The physicality and skill it takes beat a starting NFL corner is a different beast that Adams had yet to master but after Adams showing in the playoffs and all the praise thrown his way during training camp it appeared that Adams had improved enough to make the leap from contributor to budding star.

Unfortunately, that was not the case. Adams sophomore campaign was an abject failure and in a sink or swim environment like the NFL, Adams head was below water for most of the season. In 2015, Pro Football Focus ranked Adams 181 out of 182 NFL wide receivers. Adams name doesn't need to be dragged through the mud more than it already has been the past year but I'll just say the above referenced play happened all too often in 2015.

2016 has been quite the turnaround so far. Through the Packers first 7 games, Adams has been the most reliable Packers traditional wideout. The past two weeks he has caught 25 passes, a Packers record over a two-game span.

So what's changed from 2015 to 2016? From an outsiders perspective it's clear Adams is over the ankle injury that hobbled him much of 2015 and it could just be another year full of growth and comfort in the NFL. Only Adams knows for sure but I imagine 2015 was likely a very trying time for the then 22-year old. Physically he was playing through injury and emotionally and mentally he had a lot on his shoulders replacing Jordy Nelson and being thrust into a spotlight.

Simply though Adams is just a better player in every facet of his game this year. There have been numerous times where Adams has bailed out Rodgers by hauling in balls that have required difficult adjustments or 50/50 situations that where Adams had to win at the catch point. Per NFL.com's, Next Gen Stats, Davante Adams is an NFL best 9 for 9 in contested situations this year - meaning passes where he was targeted with less than one yard of separation from the defender.

Adams has had some favorable match-ups in the secondary this year but it's clear his routing running has been refined. Again, per Next Gen Stats, Adams is creating 2.37 yards of separation at target, 9th best among 29 WR's who have received 40+ targets lined up outside. For perspective Jordy Nelson is only creating 1.96 yards of separation.

So while we can see the growth of Adams as a player on the field it's also evident that Adams has regained the trust of the Packers coaching staff and Aaron Rodgers. On short notice last week Adams was asked to fill the receiver/running back hybrid role that was previously filled by Randall Cobb and Ty Montgomery. Adams filled in seamlessly and looked comfortable doing so.

Adams looks comfortable out of the backfield, in the slot and split wide. That's something I wouldn't have anticipated saying 12 months ago. It crazy sometimes how much a player can change in a year and maybe with a 23-year old, like Adams, we should have been more patient.

From a fantasy perspective I think Adams is a safe WR3 these days with WR2 upside if Montgomery and Randall Cobb miss anymore action. Sure, Adams is an integral part of this shorter passing game that has ignited the Packers offense but with a full cast of characters around I don't suspect 12 catch games to be the norm. Which means now might be the perfect time to sell him high to an owner who desperately needs a win this week and is being hurt by BYE's. I would trade Adams for Nuk, Eifert, Fitzgerald or Alshon while they're on their BYE's.

WEEK 9 BYE: Chicago, Cincinnati, New England, Arizona, Washington & Houston

QUARTERBACK

Week 8 Thoughts: What a disappointing season for Russell Wilson so far. He hasn't thrown for a TD in three straight games and has been nonexistent as a runner due to his knee injury. In short bench leagues I won't blame you for dropping him because QB is the most replaceable position in fantasy football....Ben Roethlisberger is questionable to return this week vs a Baltimore D that typically plays the Steelers tough. I don't think Ben is a must play this week even if he's ready to go...Matt Ryan and Derek Carr certainly should be in the MVP conversation at the midpoint of the season....Blake Bortles career touchdown passes by quarter: 4, 15, 13 and 26 - that sounds about right...With 6 teams on BYE Ryan Tannehill isn't the worst streaming option vs a NYJ D that has been torched through the air.

Colin Kaepernick - San Francisco 49ers

With 6 teams on BYE Kaepernick is easily the top streaming option this week. This 49ers vs Saints match up profiles the two worst defenses in the NFL on a points given up per game basis, both at over 30 PPG, so this should be a high scoring affair. Through his first two starts Kaepernick has averaged 75 rushing yards per game, which gives him an awesome floor to start. If there is any week to get a QB1 performance out of a 49ers QB it's this week.

RUNNING BACK

Week 8 Thoughts: I know it was vs a Jacksonville team that threw in the towel early on the Thursday Night Football but Derrick Henry showed why he's a must own handcuff at this point. He's an RB1 if DeMarco Murray ever goes down again..Ryan Mathews played 8 snaps in Week 8. He's had some costly fumbles this year but he's still the best back in Philly. He doesn't have any real value currently but lets hope that Doug Pederson wakes up like Adams Gase did and just rides the best back on the roster...How about Jonathan Stewart with back-to-back 2 TD weeks. He's looking like a mighty fine high-end RB2 as long as they continue to steer away from using Cam at the goal line...Carlos Hyde is questionable this week with a shoulder injury. The Niners used a committee approach in Week 7. DuJuan Harris surprisingly led the way in touches with Shaun Draughn scoring the lone TD. If Hyde is a no-go I don't know if there is any back you can play with confidence...I'm interested to see if Paul Perkins gets more work coming out of the BYE week. Considering Ben McAdoo gave Andre Williams the longest leash in the world I'm not getting my hopes up until I see it on Sundays.

Charcandrick West - Kansas City Chiefs

The Charcnado returns to relevancy with Jamaal Charles now on IR and Spencer Ware currently in the concussion protocol. If Ware is unable to suit up Sunday vs Jacksonville, West becomes a low end RB1. Jacksonville has allowed the 6th most points to opposing running backs per game this season. Now from a rest of season perspective I think you need to treat West just like we did at the start of the season when Charles was sidelined. West will see some work every week but the job is still clearly Spencer Ware's when healthy. 

Tim Hightower - New Orleans Saints

This whole Saints RB fiasco is just terrible and benefits no one. As you probably know, Mark Ingram was benched after fumbling last week which led to Hightower amassing 29 touches. What makes this even more tilting for Ingram owners is that his high for touches this year was 24. Who knows if this was just a wake up call for Ingram or if it's truly a timeshare heading forward. It wouldn't be the first time Sean Payton's RB usage surprised people (CJ Spiller, Chris Ivory etc). The Saints face San Francisco this weekend so there should be enough work for each back to have stand alone value but this situation will likely be one we play by ear in the coming weeks.

SLEEPER RUNNING BACK

Peyton Barber - Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Coming into this season there wasn't a player I was rooting for more than Peyton Barber. The UDFA rookie out of Auburn left school early in hopes of providing for his mother who is dealing with health issues and is currently without a home. Barber was well aware that he wasn't a 1st or 2nd round pick but knew an NFL paycheck of any kind could go a long way in providing for his family. Barber made the Bucs practice squad and is now on the verge of seeing important action as the Bucs RB depth chart has become depleted due to injures. Barber is a worthy NFL back, a hard nosed runner who can punishes defenses. He's more along the lines of the Terrance West spectrum of backs.

WIDE RECEIVER

Week 8 Thoughts: Alshon Jeffery finally caught a touchdown pass! How about that?...Ty Montgomery should be suited up on Sunday. He should maintain the same role he occupied in Weeks 6 & 7 with James Starks and Eddie Lacy sidelined. If Randall Cobb is out with his hamstring injury Montgomery could be in for a big day vs a porrus Colts defense...Dez Bryant looked to be fully recovered from his knee injury. He's had 100 yards or a TD in the past three games he's played in. I think you can consider him a low end WR1 the rest of the season...Allen Robinson still has yet to top 75 receiving yards in any game this year...Now is the time to sell Marvin Jones if you're still able to get a decent return. His play hasn't declined by any means he's just in an offense that has no problem spreading the ball around. So instead of getting his 10 targets a game he's seeing more around 6-7 these days....Tyrell Williams is a WR who I think can quietly be a huge factor down the stretch. Dontrelle Inman is a JAG and Travis Benjamin is slowed with a PCL injury. Williams isn't 100% himself and is coming off a 1 catch, 4-yard performance so now is the perfect time to buy. SD has a great schedule down the stretch. 

Mohammad Sanu - Atlanta Falcons

With Julio Jones hobbled by injury it was great to see Sanu step up this past week and carry the Falcons passing game down the stretch, eventually leading to his game-winning TD reception. Sanu does most of work in the short and intermediate passing game and with Tamme and Coleman sidelined with injury and Julio Jones not at 100%, Sanu should see more targets his way. Matt Ryan is playing at an MVP level and the passing game is firing on all cylinders so it's only logical to try and get a piece of that pie. Sanu isn't a league winner but is nice bench depth as we head down the stretch and through the BYE week gauntlet. He's got a great match up this week vs Tampa Bay.

JJ Nelson - Arizona Cardinals

JJ Nelson scored twice and saw a team high 92% of the teams snaps at WR this past week so it's safe to say I picked the wrong Cardinals wideout to highlight last week. On Monday, Bruce Arians confirmed that JJ Nelson is a starting WR in the Cardinals offense and it's clear he has supplanted Michael Floyd in 3 WR sets. Nelson is know for his blazing speed (4.28 40) but has been effective in the short passing game in recent weeks making most of his living off creating separation on comeback routes.

SLEEPER WIDE RECEIVER

Tyreek Hill - Kansas City Chiefs

Hill is one of the most dynamic players in the NFL. Before being dismissed from Oklahoma State due to a gruesome domestic assault situation he was lined up all over formations and actually saw most of his time at running back. So don't be surprised if he sees an increased workload if Spencer Ware is unable to go on Sunday. Hill for the meantime is making the most of his touches and against Jacksonville this week he could be a nice what the heck flex option in deeper league. Keep your eye out for him because he is a legit talent.

TIGHT END

Week 8 Thoughts: Hold on to Martellus Bennett through his BYE if you can. I think he's still a Top 10 TE the rest of the season...It sounds like Dwayne Allen is close to returning so that Jack Doyle honeymoon was short lived...Jared Cook is still a week away from returning...With so many top TE's on BYE you might be forced to start like a Dennis PItta, Jason Witten and Antonio Gates this week.

Eric Ebron - Detroit Lions

Ebron had an outstanding game returning from ankle and knee injuries that sidelines him for the past three weeks. Ebron again proved to be the dynamic middle of the field target the Lions hoped he'd be this year. Detroit faces the Vikings two of the next 4 weeks and when you throw in the Lions Week 10 BYE, Ebron doesn't become the most attractive target but if you believe in his talents and opportunity the risk is worth the reward.

SLEEPER TIGHT END

Austin Hooper - Atlanta Falcons

As I mentioned above, Jacob Tamme will miss this coming week which makes Hooper one of the best streamer plays. The rookie out of Stanford was my top TE in his class and has played well so far in his limited action. Hooper has the ability to split a seam and become a downfield threat in the passing game and is a willing blocker. Jacob Tamme has been quiet the past month or so but the Falcons have shown to be willing to feed the TE when the match up dictates.

 

Week 7 Waiver Wire

Player Spotlight

Jay Ajayi - RB - Miami Dolphins

To be honest, I feel like I should be covering Kenny Britt here but I just can't bring myself to watch multiple games of the Rams offense. I've already watched all the primetime games this past week. So I figured I'd go with the surprise 200-yard rusher who also fits into a popular theme of this NFL season, which is redemption stories.

Christine Michael, Terrelle Pryor, Terrance West, Kenny Britt etc are all players who are having breakout seasons after having a near career death experience. Often times we overlook the fact that athletes are human too. They're not perfect and just like everyone else in the world it might take a second or third chance at something until the metaphorical light bulb finally turns on. 

Talent certainly creates opportunity and it's awesome to see these players finally take advantage of that opportunity and flourish. A player who many might not consider in the group of players I mentioned above is Jay Ajayi. The second year man out of Boise State was Lamar Miller's backup as a rookie and is now splitting duties in Miami. With all the running back committees around the NFL these days that seems pretty standard, right?

Not so fast my friend. Despite the positive reviews coming out of the training camp this year the Dolphins have seemingly done everything possible to find someone to overtake Ajayi's default role as the starter. It started with signing restricted free agent, CJ Anderson, to an offer sheet that Denver eventually matched. Miami then brought in Cardinals RB Chris Johnson for a visit. Like Anderson he opted to stay with his old team. Miami then spent a 3rd round pick on Kenyan Drake and brought in Isaiah Pead and Daniel Thomas for more RB depth in camp. Then in middle of July the Dolphins signed Arian Foster to compete for the starting job. Foster performed well in camp and won the starting role heading into the regular season. Ajayi, who had a disappointing preseason plagued by drops and fumbles, didn't handle the news well. Details haven't been released on what exactly happened in the Dolphins facility but Ajayi was not allowed to travel with the team to Seattle in Week 1. Head Coach, Adam Gase said it had to do with maturity and professionalism and that those were areas that needed to improve.

It appears Ajayi got the message and since receiving that wake up call he's been the best back in Miami. Adam Gase recently spoke on Ajayi saying he had, "a bad 10 days between the last preseason game and the opener" but has lived up to his expectations since.

So with Arian Foster back healthy how should we handle this backfield going forward? I wish I could tell you with full certainty but I can't. I'll take my best stab at it. I think we were all surprised to see Foster only play 11 snaps and receive 5 touches for 15 yards in Week 6. Gase preached in recent weeks how he needed to get the offense in a better rhythm which meant settling on a lead back rather than using the RB carousel they used for a number of weeks. With his 200-yard performance I think Ajayi bought himself another week or two of locking down that lead back role in Miami.

Here are some highlights from Sunday:

What stood out most in last weeks game is that Miami changed it's offense quite a bit. Now this might be because of how banged up the Steelers front seven was. They were missing their two best defenders in Cam Heyward and Ryan Shazier. So it's possible they thought lets run the ball down their throats. 

Miami used two TE sets quite often in the run game. Dion Sims, MarQueis Gray and Dominque Jones all played more than 25 snaps. Now re-watch the plays above and I think you'll see a consistent theme. I'll also mention that this is the first week Branden Albert, Laremy Tunsil and Mike Pouncey have all played together along the line.

I'm hopeful that Miami will use this approach more often in the coming weeks because their receiver corp is still a work in progress. Jarvis Landry is a very good slot WR. On the outside though DeVante Parker is still a work in progress, Kenny Stills is inconsistent and Jordan Cameron is still injured. Ajayi is the best back for this heavy set ground game approach.

In the offseason I talked about how Ajayi is a pretty good receiving back but I haven't been that impressed with that aspect of his game this year. He can for sure still get the job done there but I think Arian Foster is best suited for that role. Foster might not have much left as a between the tackles runner bun man is he still smooth as ever in the passing game.

So going forward lets recap everything one more time. I think Ajayi has done enough the past month to lock down the "lead" back role. That likely means 15 or so touches a game. This will vary depending on the game script. We saw him run the rock 25 times in a win for example. If Foster ever gets back to a true 100% he'll obviously get some work in the ground game but will be most effective used as a receiver that gets 4-5 catches per game.

The Dolphins have a pretty tough schedule in the coming weeks - Buffalo, BYE, NYJ, @SD, @LAR, SF. The games vs SD and SF are plus match ups.

Ajayi should be seen as a decent RB3 with upside. The upside coming if Miami has overcome their offensive line struggles and stick to more of these 2 TE sets that worked so well this past week.

BYE WEEK: DALLAS & CAROLINA

QUARTERBACK

Week 6 Thoughts: The big news this weekend was Ben Roethlisberger tearing the meniscus in his left knee. Schefter reported that he had a clean up procedure on Monday morning and that should keep Big Ben out a few weeks. Pittsburgh plays New England this week before their Week 8 BYE. Roethlisberger recovers faster than most from injury so maybe we see him Week 9 vs Baltimore...There are so many great streaming plays this week it's hard to pick from. Instead of rambling on each QB here is a list who has great match ups that I won't cover below: Andy Dalton vs CLE, Tyrod Taylor vs @MIA, Marcus Mariota vs IND.

Kirk Cousins - Washington Redskins

The Lions have one of the worst pass defenses in the league. They just allowed Case Keenum to throw for 300+ Yards and 3 TD's. He even rushed for a score. Heck, Detroit even made current QB15 *Aaron Rodgers* look like Drew Brees a couple of weeks ago. It's not a given that Jordan Reed is back but Detroit has allowed at least 16 fantasy points to every QB they've faced this year. I think Cousins is in for a nice day.

SLEEPER QUARTERBACK

Colin Kaepernick - San Francisco 49ers

Kaepernick wasn't perfect last week but he still put up over 20 fantasy points in most formats. He rushed for 66 yards and just like I said with Mariota last week he has a high floor and a tremendous ceiling due to his legs. The 49ers are playing against a Tampa defense that is vulnerable through the air and with Kaepernick behind center the deep passing game is finally there in San Fran.

RUNNING BACK

Week 6 Thoughts: We still don't quite know what's going on with Theo Riddick. The Lions haven't said much so monitor his situation this week. I'll talk more on the Lions backfield below...It's promising to see Jonathan Stewart pick up two TD's this past week. With all the shots Newton has taken so far this year you wonder if they'll rely more on him near the goal line this season...Devontae Booker saw only 16 snaps last week but he just looks fresher than CJ Anderson. He'll be getting a bigger workload in coming weeks...Jaquizz Rodgers is a must add if he's out there. Doug Martin reaggravated his hamstring injury last week and it appears he'll be sidelined for a few more. This week Tampa plays San Francisco who has given up RB7, RB6, RB1 & RB2 finishes to running backs the past 4 weeks. Rodgers saw 35 touches in his last game. The volume and plus matchup is there....The Packers acquired Knile Davis from the Chiefs this week. He's super talented but he's had problems holding onto the football. I think Davis and Don Jackson will split Lacy's between the tackle work these next few weeks with Green Bay favoring the hot hand here. So we're looking at 8-10 touches a game from these guys. I don't see a ton of value while the Packers offense is still sputtering but they're worth speculative adds in deeper bench leagues...Latavius Murray is back practicing so Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington are not must holds at this point in the game...If Terrance West is still available I'd put big FAAB on him. Again he's looked very good and new OC Marty Mornhinweg fed him the ball 27 times last week...I'd still keep an eye on Paul Perkins. Rashad Jennings hasn't looked great and Orleans Darkwa didn't play a snap last week...Speaking of snaps I'd sell Ryan Mathews right now if you can. Mathews played 11 snaps last week and touched the ball 9 times for 60 yards. I love Ryan Mathews as a talent but it appears that Doug Pederson is happy with his committee approach. Darren Sproles led all Eagles backs with 23 snaps, Wendell Smallwood had 10 and Kenjon Barner had 8...LeSean McCoy left practice with a tight hamstring on Wednesday. It doesn't sound serious but the next 24 hours are pretty crucial to see if he plays on Sunday. Mike Gillislee has been terrific in his limited action this year averaging 6.8 YPC. He's worth a stash these days in deeper leagues. Jonathan Williams is another Buffalo back to take note of.

James White - New England Patriots

Tom Brady has talked up James White in the past and White has been a stud with Tom Brady under center so far in 2016 and at the end of 2015. With Dion Lewis still not practicing White's role should still be consistent for a while. He saw a career high 7 carries in Week 6 and has been targeted 15 times the past two weeks. I mentioned this in the Week 1 Waiver Wire column but in PPR formats, White was RB5 spanning Weeks 10-16 last season. During that 7 game stretch White scored 6 TD's while averaging 4.5 receptions for 50 yards receiving per game. He's continued that pace so far this season with Brady behind center. He's a nice flex play while Dion Lewis is still out.

Zach Zenner - Detroit Lions

Zach Zenner is here because he's the only healthy RB on the roster that has some experience in this offense. He's a capable all around back but isn't anything special. We've yet to hear word on what is up with Theo Riddick and Dewayne Washington is still recovering from his foot sprain. Justin Forsett may see some work but I'm still giving the edge to Zenner if you need a body. Zenner had 16 touches for 78 yards in Week 6.

SLEEPER RUNNING BACK

Mike Davis - San Francisco 49ers

Carlos Hyde has been ruled out this week with a shoulder injury. There is optimism that this will be just a one week absence but AC joint sprains can be tough for RB's to play through. Thankfully the 49ers have their BYE win Week 8 so Hyde should be good to go in Week 9. Mike Davis and Shaun Draughn will likely split duties in Hyde's absence but I will point out that Davis outsnapped and touched Draughn last week. Davis might see more of the between the tackles work with Draughn being more of the receiving back between the two. Tampa Bay has been generous to RB's this year giving up 6 rushing TD's in 5 games.

WIDE RECEIVER

Week 6 Thoughts: Of course Sammie Coates puts up a zero after his breakout performance. Don't drop him though if you can. There aren't many players who can put up 30 points games with ease...Could this be the week Alshon Jeffery finally scores a TD? I think so. Green Bay will be without their top 3 corners this week meaning the Bears wideouts will be facing LaDarius Gunter, Demetri Goodson and Mycah Hyde....Cameron Meredith might be a must start these days. He's had 27 targets the past two weeks filling in for Kevin White...Golden Tate had more yards in Week 6 than he did Weeks 1-5. Tate's obviously got the talent but I'm wondering if this explosion had to due with Riddick being out of the lineup...Vincent Jackson tore his ACL and is done for the year. Mike Evans should see crazy volume from here on out...I know Jeremy Maclin has sucked so far this year but don't drop him. I might even say go out and see if you can get him for cheap...Travis Benjamin has lost a fumble in 3 of his last 4 games and has easily been outsnapped by Tyrell Williams and Dontrelle Inman the last two weeks. I found that interesting.

Kenny Britt - Los Angeles Rams

Kenny Britt is on pace for 107 targets, 80 receptions, 1,312 Yards & 5 TD's this year. Dating back the last calendar year he's played at roughly a WR3 level - 15 Games, 86 Targets, 54 Receptions, 949 Yards, 4 TD. Case Keenum has some DGAF to his game and is certainly willing to take shots downfield to Britt when the Rams offense isn't mindlessly feeding Tavon Austin. Britt needs to be owned in all formats.

Torrey Smith - San Francisco 49ers

As I mentioned earlier the 49ers deep passing game should come to life with Colin Kaepernick now starting. Well, at least we're hoping it becomes more of a thing. That's positive news for Torrey Smith who had a 53-yard TD on a blown coverage last week. Kaepernick missed him on a deep post as well that would've gone for another score. Smith is a nice end of the bench stash right now to see if he becomes a relevant fantasy option. Smith is still a good wide receiver just in a garbage situation.

SLEEPER WIDE RECEIVER

Ty Montgomery - Green Bay Packers

Montgomery is one of the biggest waiver wire storylines this week so he probably isn't much of a sleeper but alas he needs to be touched on. Montgomery played 22 of his 36 snaps out of the backfield last week and looked great in doing so. When healthy the past two seasons he's become one of Aaron Rodgers favorite targets. Last week he hauled in 10 receptions for 98 yards on 12 targets. With Lacy and Starks now sidelined perhaps for numerous weeks I don't see Montgomery's usage changing.I think he'll receive a carry or two but most of his value will be in passing game where he'll see 7-8 targets a game. Some people brought up the fact that he'll be the WR3 now but I think Janis slides into that role. The one downside with Montgomery is that he is classified as a WR so you'll likely be using your Flex spot on him.

TIGHT END

Week 6 Thoughts: Antonio Gates admitted he isn't 100% and with Hunter Henry looking phenomenal Gates isn't a must hold. With how much of a disaster the TE position is these days I think you can feel safe starting Henry...With Sims, Martin, and VJax sidelined Cameron Brate volume of targets should continue to be steady. I know he was a disappointment last week but the process was right because the opportunity should be there...Charles Clay has had 3 straight weeks of 5 receptions...Coby Fleener continues to be a mystery but he's in a great offense and they're finding ways to get him the ball so he should be rostered in all formats. Josh Hill actually saw more snaps than Fleener - 46 to 41 - and had an impressive TD grab. I'm going to keep my eye on him.

Jack Doyle - Indianapolis Colts

Like we all expected coming into the season Jack Doyle is the TE10 through 6 weeks. With Dwayne Allen on the shelf for possibly a month due to a Grade II high ankle sprain Doyle should receive a ton of work. TE's are receiving 22% of the targets in the Colts passing game and with Dorsett nursing a hamstring injury and Moncrief still out the TE might be the #2 option in the passing game. I know Doyle is a no-name guy but he should be a nice option at TE for the next month.

SLEEPER TIGHT END

CJ Fiedorowicz - Houston Texans

The third year TE out of Iowa has now put together an impressive three game stretch working the middle of the field. It's clear he's built a chemistry with Brock Oswieler and has quietly been the 2nd most targeted Houston Texans over this three game sample. Will Fuller is still nursing a hamstring injury so if you're a Greg Olsen or Jason Witten owner and need someone to fill during their BYE week Fiedo is certainly an option.

Week 6 Waiver Wire

Player Spotlight

Sammie Coates - WR - Pittsburgh Steelers

This past Sunday night I watched about a half-hour of the second presidential debate. While the real winner of the debate, Ken Bone, only spoke for a few seconds I must admit watching Donald Trump act like a third grader was quite entertaining. On the flip-side I can't really get over how a reality TV star is somehow in the middle of a presidential race and the way he talks about America you would think the majority of it is up in flames. I'm a believer that you get what you look for in life and a pessimistic world view is not a enjoyable way to live.

I'm far from perfect but I try to view each player through a positive lens. Sammie Coates is a player where his flaws are obvious but when you take a step back and view his talent and tactical value he adds to his team, he's a valuable asset. Week 5 is a perfect example. Coates was the WR1 in fantasy this week. He caught 6 passes for 139 yards and 2 TD's. He also dropped 5 passes.

Let's take a look at few plays from the past few weeks.

Coates is filling Martavis Bryant's role in this high-flying Pittsburgh offense as the vertical deep threat and is reaping the rewards. He currently is 7th in the NFL in receiving yards (421) and leads the NFL with 6 receptions of 40+ yards this season and it's easy to see why. More often than not he's the best athlete on the field.

Whenever I see Coates I think of Terrell Owens just due to his strength, size and speed. Physically he's such a mismatch.

Also like Owens, there is a Jeykell and Hyde to his game. Much more so with Coates.

Here Coates slows up in his route for whatever reason and is unable to snatch the ball away from his body.

As many opportunities as Coates creates for himself you'll see that he leaves plenty of plays on the field. Coates hands and ball skills have always been a concern even when he was at Auburn and I haven't seen really an improvement since entering the league.

Still his athleticism is a natural trump card that allows the Steelers offense to function at it's best and that's a point I really want to emphasize here. Even though each game is a rollercoaster his tactical value makes all the negative plays worth living through.

I'm not saying forget the drops, everything is fine, but let's look at the things Coates can do. He creates effortless separation and will swing games with his play making ability. On simple crossing patterns he can create YAC with the best of them and he's doing enough filing in for Martavis Bryant. Big Ben has one of the best deep balls in the NFL and Coates allows Ben to aggressively push the ball down field numerous times a game. Defenses now need to game plan for this. Something they wouldn't need to really do if Markus Wheaton and Eli Rogers were out there.

Brandon Marshall, and Terrell Owens are Hall of Fame receivers who have had drop issues. Some of the best young receivers in today's NFL like Mike Evans, Amari Cooper, Jordan Matthews, Will Fuller and Martavis Bryant have had some maddening stretches as well but they bring so much good to the table.

I'd like to think of Coates as a clean up hitter in baseball or a 3-point specialist in basketball. Often times they are far from prefect players but they're a key piece to an offenses success. Let's take Matt Kemp for example here. The Braves were one of the worst offenses in baseball the 1st half of the season. Even though Matt Kemp was still an impressive power hitter he's been largely criticized for his poor OBP and fielding the past few years. He wasn't seen as much of an asset. The Braves acquired Kemp at the trade deadline and plugged him in right behind Freddie Freeman in the lineup. Kemp provided pop that the Braves offense has sorely lacked since trading Heyward, Gattis and Upton over the past few years. According to Fangraphs, the Braves had the 2nd best offense in the MLB in the 2nd half of the season and Kemp was a big part of that. In basketball terms think of Coates as the 3-point specialist that spaces the floor for an offense and can blow a game open with a few quick threes.

For fantasy purposes Coates will be a boom/bust play from here on out. He needs to be owned in all formats and is a perfect WR3 and maybe even a WR2 depending on the match up.

I'll also add this side note since lineup strategy isn't talked much in fantasy football. Let's say you're a Coates owner and are going up against one of the best teams in your league and are expected to lose by 20 points. Rather than going with a safe play and plugging in like a Jordan Matthews, put in Coates because like we saw this week, it's not hard for him to have a 30 point game. Coates is the prefect home run play and you'll need to make up some points somewhere.

WEEK 6 BYE: MINNESOTA & TAMPA BAY

QUARTERBACK

Week 5 Thoughts: Brian Hoyer is an alright streamer again this week vs Jacksonville. He's now had 3 straight games of over 300+ yards, 2 TD and 0 INT...Philip Rivers faces a tough Denver defense two of the next three weeks so he won't be a reliable fantasy option these coming weeks but I just wanted give him props for his play with his depleted cast of weapons the past month. He's done much better than I expected...Thank god that Colin Kaepernick is finally starting in San Francisco...Derek Carr has been phenomenal this year...What a disappointing week for Eli Manning vs that banged up Packers secondary. Fantasy owners were definitely hoping for more.

Marcus Mariota - Tennessee Titans

I despise Mike Mularkey and this 1940's offense that the Titans run but Mariota should be a worthwhile streamer this week. He faces the Browns defense that is one of the worst in the league. To give you an idea of what Mariota is going up against the worst QB performance vs Cleveland this year is Joe Flacco in Week 2 where he threw for 302 yards, 2 TD & 2 INT. Mariota had 7 rushes for 60 yards and a TD last week. Mariota's ability as a rusher gives him a reasonably safe floor with a crazy QB1 overall ceiling upside like we saw in Week 5. Might I also add that the Titans play IND, JAX and SD in the upcoming weeks. I don't want to get ahead of myself and tell you to put any of your eggs in the Titans offense long term but this week should work out for you if you choose to rely on Mariota.

SLEEPER QUARTERBACK

Alex Smith - Kansas City Chiefs

Coming off his BYE, Smith should be available in most non 2QB leagues but now is the time to pick him up and ride him if you're about that streaming QB life. The Chiefs upcoming schedule couldn't be better - @OAK, NO, @IND, JAX, @CAR, TB. All those are great match ups. I know it's never pretty with Alex Smith and you'll be furious watching 7 yards passes down the field but more times than not he honestly gets the job done. Now I'm not saying play Smith over like Aaron Rodgers but he's a better option than like Kirk Cousins, Eli Manning or whatever streaky QB1 play you might be tempted by.

RUNNING BACK

Week 5 Thoughts: Bilal Powell has now outscored Matt Forte the past three weeks in PPR formats...Eddie Lacy's ankle injury seems minor but it still might be worth taking a look at James Starks this week. Starks production has been disappointing thus far but any time a starting RB is available he deserves your attention...Justin Forsett signed with Detroit today. With Dewayne Washington sidelined with a foot sprain he could see some action in the coming weeks. I don't expect Theo Riddick's role to change at all if you're worried about that...Bobby Rainey seems to have locked down Shane Vereen's role in this Giants offense. He's been targeted 15 times the past two weeks for 13 receptions. He's got nice value in PPR formats...Arian Foster is likely returning this week. Jay Ajayi looked good last week. If not for a holding call he would have had 2 rushing TD's. The Dolphins offense is terrible so unless Foster goes down again I don't see too much value from here on out for Ajayi...Tevin Coleman is averaging 18.4 YPC. That's crazy. He's looked so so good as a receiving out of the backfield...For the second week I'll state again that Doug Martin is a super attractive "Buy Low" target. Martin should return after Tampa's BYE this week. Tampa then faces SF, OAK, ATL, CHI, KC and the Saints in Weeks 14 and 16. For the time being it appears Tampa might have lost faith in Winston seeing as they handed the ball to their backup RB 30 times against a team missing their starting corners from last season and that just gave up 300 yards to a single wide receiver the week before...Terrance West ran hot for the second week in a row. With Trestman gone I suspect the Ravens will become more run oriented, meaning West's stock will continue to go up...Sell LeGarrette Blount now. With Brady back Blount's workload will be more around 15 carries than the 25 he was being fed with Brissett and Jimmy G under center. Now there will be "Blount Weeks" but I'd try to sell him while his stock is the highest...In the worst possible game script for Cleveland, Isaiah Crowell still had 14 touches. Think of that as his floor. With Thomas and Bitonio now banged up I am a little more concerned about Crowell moving forward. He's still looking great but with some tougher run match ups and a hobbled OL his early season production will be harder to come by. I know most people aren't drinking the Crowell Kool-Aid and don't believe in his Top 10 ranking so far but it's worth seeing if you can trade him for something like Martin or Devonta Freeman. Maybe an underperforming WR like Alshon Jeffery.

Devontae Booker - Denver Broncos

Booker's snap count has increased every week this season and the Denver backfield is coming closer to a committee than maybe we would like to admit. In a preseason piece I mentioned that Ronnie Hillman still averaged 16 touches a game in the 2nd half of last season when CJ Anderson got rolling and averaged over 6+ YPC. There is seemingly room for both in this offense so don't go and selling CJ Anderson for whatever you can get. He just might be more of the low ceiling/high floor RB2 that many envisioned coming into the season.

Jacquizz Rodgers - Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Bucs are on BYE this week and Doug Martin should be healthy come Week 7 but any RB that gets 35 touches in a game should immediately come on our radar. With Charles Simms on IR I'd expect Quizz to take his work when Martin returns. That's good for 7-10 touches a game still.

SLEEPER RUNNING BACK

Jalen Richard - Oakland Raiders

Jalen Richard's game stylistically is very similar to CJ Anderson's. The Southern Miss product is a shifty compact all-purpose back. He doesn't wow with his athleticism but he's quietly been the most efficient Oakland running back so far this season. He's playing better than fellow rookie DeAndre Washington and if Latavius Murray is sidelined any longer with his turf toe issue Richard could serve as a desperation play at RB. Right now try to get him on your roster within reason to see if his role blossoms into anything more.

Here is clip of Richard last season at Southern Miss.

WIDE RECEIVER

Week 5 Thoughts: Corey Coleman and Donte Moncrief are both a couple weeks away from returning from their respective injuries. If someone dropped them now is the time to go out and grab them...Michael Thomas has one less target and 3 more receptions than Brandin Cooks so far this season. He's really good and perfect for this Saints offense. I think most people are still sleeping on him so he might be an easy "Buy Low" coming off his BYE...Was surprised to see that Travis Benjamin played the least amount of snaps between the Chargers top 3 WR's (Inman & Williams). Oh, Tyrell Williams is on pace for 1,100 yards right now!...Kenny Britt is also quietly on pace for 74 receptions and 1,100 yards...Michael Floyd and John Brown had disappointing games in Week 5 but we should have known that was a real possibility with Drew Stanton starting. Don't knock them because of it...Good to see Randall Cobb have his first 100 yard receiving game since Week 2 of last year...For all the talk this past week about how the Lions were going to involve Golden Tate more he just had 3 receptions for 39 yards on 5 targets. I love Tate the player but it's not happening right now...I mentioned the Chiefs upcoming schedule above. Go and get Jeremy Maclin while his owners are still pissed at him...Go out and try to acquire Quincy Enunwa if you still can. I'd trade Randall Cobb for him, just to give you an idea.

Chris Hogan - New England Patriots

With Tom Brady back in action I'm trying to buy as much of the Patriots passing game as I can. Martellus Bennett and Gronk are an incredible duo at TE and as you'd assume they are go-to targets in the red zone. However, Hogan looked impressive this past week catching a couple of deep balls. He's running as the WR2 in this offense and has played just 5 less snaps than Edelman this year.

Cameron Meredith - Chicago Bears

Meredith has the measurable you look for in a WR. He's 6'3", 207 lbs and posted impressive numbers at his Pro Day - 4.49 40, 39" Vertical, 10'7" Broad Jump, 4.12 Shuttle. Meredith went undrafted in 2015 and spent the year on the Bears practice squad. Fast forward to 2016 and he's suddenly picking up where Kevin White left off in the Bears offense. Last Sunday he turned 12 targets into 9 receptions for 130 yards and a TD. Now Jeffery, Royal and Miller aren't 100% these days and in the coming weeks maybe he becomes less of a focal point but I don't think he's someone who we can just ignore. White was Hoyers favorite targets when healthy and the Bears seems to be using Jeffery as more of a deep threat this year. Pick up Meredith just to see if the production continues. The Bears are still one of the worst teams in the league and have a difficult stretch of games vs solid secondaries in Jacksonville, Green Bay and Minnesota before their Week 9 BYE.

SLEEPER WIDE RECEIVER

Davante Adams - Green Bay Packers

Adams is a punching bag for fans around the league. His sophomore season wasn't good but he's been alright so far this season. Most importantly defenses will continue to do their best to contain Jordy and Cobb which can funnel targets Adams way. He's been targeted at least 7 times in 3 of 4 games this year and has 3 TD's to show for it. If you're desperate for WR help you can do worse than Adams.

TIGHT END

Week 5 Thoughts: Antonio Gates scored a TD in his first game back after missing two weeks...Gary Barnidge is on a little bit of a role now. Still waiting on him to hit pay dirt but you'll take 5 catches and 60 yards from your TE most weeks...Greg Olsen went bonkers on Monday night for 9 receptions and 181 yards. He's in for another great week as the Panthers go up against the Saints...Martellus Bennett is a thing, guys. He's a TE1 from here on out. There will be hills and valleys as there are with the majority of TE's but I'll remind you that in 2011 when Gronk has his best season to date Aaron Hernandez also finished as TE3 for the year. The Patriots know how to use these guys...Also it's fun to point out that the Bears somehow didn't think Bennett and Olsen were worth keeping around. That was good idea.

Charles Clay - Buffalo Bills

With Sammy Watkins out of the picture for possibly the rest of the season we're still looking for someone to step up in the Bills passing game. Charles Clay has had back to back 5 reception weeks and is facing a 49ers team this week that has already given up two 100 yard receiving games to TE's.

SLEEPER TIGHT END

Ladarius Green - Pittsburgh Steelers

Green was put on the PUP list to begin the season which means he won't be available until Week 7 at the earliest. Green has been optimistic that he'll be ready to go and reports the past few weeks seem to match up with that. With Brown and Coates on the outside there could be plenty of green space for Green in the middle of the field. He's much more of a big play threat than Jesse James. If you're hurting at TE Green is worth a preemptive pickup in most formats.

Week 5 Waiver Wire

Player Spotlight

Seattle Seahawks -  TE - Jimmy Graham

Believe it or not it's hard to make predictions about the future. If someone was good enough to nail everything I hope they wouldn't be wasting that talent on Fantasy Football.

In most leagues you're a quarter of the way through the season and with four weeks of data to work off of it's time to make adjustments. This can be an uneasy process because often times ego can get in the way. We all need to throw our preseason rankings and perceptions of players out of the window and digest what's actually happening on Sunday's.

A player who fits this bill, and who I'll admit I was completely wrong on, is Seahawks TE Jimmy Graham. Graham ruptured the patellar tendon in his right knee on November 29th, 2015. Outside of a total knee reconstruction tearing your patellar tendon is one of the most severe injuries a player can sustain. To repair the tendon major open knee surgery is needed followed by 8-9 months of rehab before a player is typically cleared for contact. Because of the severity of his injury Graham was viewed as more of a luxury late round lottery ticket than the building block he has been in years past. Even though there were optimistic reports coming out of the Seahawks camp on Graham's rehab he didn't play at all in the preseason. Graham's consensus ADP ended up falling to 116 overall and TE13.

To be fair, I was on board with his ADP. We honestly haven't really seen any skill position player return to full form from this injury. Graham will be 30 in November and it was safe to assume Seattle wouldn't rush him into action. It took Victor Cruz basically 20 months to finally gain his bearings and be full go.

Well I'm here to tell you Jimmy Graham is indeed back. Graham saw limited action in Week 1 (17 snaps) but his role in the offense has increased to a full workload in recent weeks and Russell Wilson is unlocking the Jimmy Graham we all expected last season.

Although the match-ups have been pretty favorable the past two weeks (SF & NYJ) Graham is the first Seahawk to eclipse 100 yards receiving in back-to-back games since MIKE WILLIAMS in 2010. Yes, the Mike Williams who was the #10 pick in 2005 draft out of USC that finished his career with 1,526 receiving yards. 751 of those coming in his 2010 campaign with the Seahawks.

Let's take a look at the Graham we've seen the past two weeks and why I believe Graham is in store for much bigger production than his first season with the Seahawks where he was TE9 through Weeks 1-12 before he went down with his knee injury. 

On this play we have a 3rd and 17. Ahmad Brooks jumps offside, so this is essentially a "free" play. Wilson goes straight towards Graham down the seam when he wins this contested situation between two defenders.

This tells me that Wilson has trust in Graham down the field, as he should. Graham is 6'7" and probably still runs around a 4.6. Here is another play where Graham adjusts his route down field to find a soft spot in the zone coverage and Wilson finds him for a TD.

Seattle is also using Graham in more advantageous ways than I can remember last season. Here is a simple underneath crossing route that is a simple pitch and catch.

Russell Wilson has one of the prettiest deep balls in the game. Despite solid coverage by rookie Darron Lee, Wilson perfectly dumps it in on a 2nd and 11.

For good measure, here is a fabulous one-handed catch by Graham on a quick back shoulder timing route. 

How do you defend that? You can't.

Wilson has missed some action the past two games but when he's been in he's targeted Graham 17 times. He's Wilson's #1 target. Doug Baldwin in a heck of a WR. So is Tyler Lockett, who appears to be playing through a torn PCL. Hopefully after a week full of rest he can display the promise that we saw as a rookie.

At the end of the day, Seattle is showing the potent offense that we saw to end the 2015 season, even with the injuries to Rawls, Wilson and Lockett.

Don't expect Graham to have a 100 yards receiving each week, no TE does that, but there is optimism to believe he's back to being an elite fantasy TE. He only has 3 TD's through 15 games as a Seahawks but regression to the mean is coming.

Jimmy Graham is back people and it's time for the fantasy community to take note!

Week 5 BYE: Kansas City, New Orleans, Seattle, Jacksonville

QUARTERBACK

Week 4 Thoughts: I touched on Carson Wentz last week. I think he's a great streamer these next two weeks versus the Lions and Redskins...You can drop Carson Palmer. We excused his drop off in play to end the 2015 season due to a thumb injury but he was terrible in the preseason as well as the first 4 games this year. He'll miss Week 5 due to a concussion..#FreeGenoSmith

Brian Hoyer - Chicago Bears

In the future whenever my relatives ask what I do in my free time I might have to start saying I spend my time writing about Brian Hoyer. Anyways, Hoyer played well his first two starts throwing for 300+ yards, 2 TD and 0 INT in each game. The Colts have Vontae Davis back and Kevin White was put on IR today but Hoyer seems to have built a nice rapport with Eddie Royal and Zach Miller. Hoyer has some YOLO to his game and Alshon Jeffery is the perfect jump ball specialist. The Colts defense isn't anything to fear. Hoyer is a decent streaming option if you can't get Wentz.

SLEEPER QUARTERBACK

Paxton Lynch - Denver Broncos

Lynch was forced into action after Trevor Siemian left Sunday's game with an AC joint sprain in his non-throwing shoulder. This injury shouldn't sideline Siemian for long  and he is likely to play this week but in the chance he's out I like Lynch as an upside streamer. I don't want to get ahead of myself after seeing Lynch play 51 snaps against one of the worst defenses in the league but he just breathes life into this offense. Lynch has an electric arm that unlocks the downfield passing game and he has the ability to make plays with his legs. If it were up to me Lynch would be starting the rest of the way for Denver. Ohh and Denver plays the Falcons this week who have given up 280 Yards and 3 Passing TD every game this year.

RUNNING BACK

Week 4 Thoughts: I don't know what Adam Gase is doing with this 4-headed RB committee. Now that we're entering the BYE week gauntlet I can't blame you for dropping Jay Ajayi. I'll continue to pound the table that he is the best back but you'll never know when to play him...Derrick Henry saw a season low 9 snaps and 3 carries in Week 4. I'll preach patience with him. DeMarco Murray has been phenomenal so far but we've seen what Henry can do in the preseason...I think Doug Martin is a sneaky awesome buy low target right now. If you have RB depth and the Martin owner is hurting try to swing a deal. Martin will likely be out this week and then Tampa enters their BYE week. Coming out of the BYE I think Martin should be good to return and faces an amazing 4 game stretch vs SF, OAK, ATL, CHI. He also faces NO in Weeks 14 and 16 aka your fantasy playoffs...We still haven't heard anything on when Dion Lewis will be ready to go.

Bilal Powell - New York Jets

After feeding Matt Forte 112 times the first two weeks of the season the Jets finally came to their senses and lessened Forte's workload, creating a valuable role for Powell. The distribution of touches is now closer to what I was expecting coming into the season. Forte has out snapped Powell 75 to 71 the last two weeks. Forte is still receiving the majority of the work in the ground game while Powell is getting most of his work as a receiver out of the backfield via simple dump down passes on 3rd and longs. With Fitzpatrick throwing 9 picks over the past few games the game scripts have been in Powell's favor. Powell has received 10 touches the past two weeks and has looked better fresher than Forte. In PPR formats Powell might have Flex value these days and is one of the best handcuffs out there. He's caught 6 balls each of the past two games and it appears the Jets are more set on using him like they did the close out the 2015 season when he was literally RB7 from Weeks 11-17.

DeAndre Washington - Oakland Raiders

I've preached trying to dump Latavius Murray in past weeks because we've seen his snap count and workload diminishing. Murray is a heck of an athlete but just an OK RB. Jalen Richard, who I'll likely touch on in coming weeks since he's a small school guy most are unfamiliar with, and DeAndre Washington are each getting their piece of the pie these days. Washington is a perfect fit for an uptempo offense and should see work in two minute drills. He had 8 touches for 48 yards in Week 4. Most of that coming on this run.

SLEEPER RUNNING BACK

Kenneth Dixon - Baltimore Ravens

I was a little more excited about Dixon's role in the Ravens offense prior to Terrance West's 21 carry, 113 yards and TD performance in Week 4. I love Dixon's talent but I think the fantasy industry might be getting a little ahead of itself thinking that Dixon will just take over this backfield when healthy. This situation kind of reminds of David Cobb's in Tennessee last year where the Titans just rode Antonio Andrews for whatever reason and Cobb never became much of anything. I think Dixon is a better player than Cobb and can be a 3-down back in the NFL but it's more of a wait and see game now. I'd still pick Dixon up if you can but have realistic expectations.

WIDE RECEIVER

Week 4 Thoughts: Do you guys want the good or the bad first? Well John Brown had 16 targets last week and 27 total in the last two weeks. He's back and he's the WR2 in this offense. Michael Floyd is struggling. Well now he might have Drew Stanton throwing to him on Thursday. I don't really know how to value that. He's like a WR3 this week. The whole reason I'm preaching this is to say be patient on legit talent. Brandin Cooks was WR51 after Week 4 last year and finished as WR9 by Week 16...Throw out trade offers for Odell Beckham Jr. Odell's productions through four games is almost exactly the same as last year. 2015 - 24 Rec, 307 Yards, 2 TD. 2016 - 22 Rec, 303 Yards, 0 TD. The Giants play the Packers on Sunday night who have given up the legit WR1 for the week in fantasy their past two games (Diggs, MJones)...Throw out offers for DeAndre Hopkins as well. I'm less optimistic on his outlook than OBJ but if you can acquire Hopkins for like Diggs or Doug Baldwin I think the risk is worth the reward. Although I expect Hopkins owners to be stubborn...Other "Buy Low" targets are Bradin Cooks and Amari Cooper.

Steve Smith - Baltimore Ravens

Smith is another playing coming off a gruesome achilles tear that apparently looked like shredded chicken. Imagine a game of tug of war ending with the rope breaking in two places. I don't really know how that's possible but that is apparently what happened to Smith's achilles. Anyways, Smith looks like the #1 WR in this pass heavy offense. Smith has racked up 8 catches on 11 targets each of the past two weeks and looks like he can be a solid WR3 again.

Eddie Royal - Chicago Bears

With Kevin White headed to IR Royal's role should remain consistent in this offense. Royal has looked like the player the Bears were expecting when they gave him a 3-year, $15 Million deal last offseason. He's healthy and looks great in his slot WR role. The Bears will have many negative pass heavy game scripts this year and Royal may even give you a bonus as a return man. He has already returned 1 punt for a touchdown this year.

SLEEPER WIDE RECEIVER

Robert Woods - Buffalo Bills

With Sammy Watkins out the past two weeks Robert Woods has been targeted 18 times. He's the "WR1" in this offense.  Woods is a possession receiver so he doesn't have the biggest of upsides but Woods is receiving volume and that matters in fantasy. He's not sexy and I don't know if you'll ever feel 100% confident in plugging him in but he plays the Rams this week and has very good match ups versus the 49ers and Dolphins in Weeks 6 and 7. He could be nice filler in coming weeks.

TIGHT END

Week 4 Thoughts: Cameron Brate guys. Talked about him last week here. He has 18 targets and 10 receptions the past two weeks since taking over the starting role in Tampa. Might I add 2 TD's and 6 red zone targets over that span. Weeks 7 through 10 are awesome match ups for him...With Kevin White gone for the season I think Zach Miller piece of the pie in the passing game will increase. He's fared well with Hoyer behind center...Gary Barnidge has been a Top 10 TE the past two weeks since Cody Kessler has taken over.

Zach Ertz - Philadelphia Eagles

Ertz is back after missing a few weeks with a rib injury and faces a Lions defense that has gives up a touchdown every week to a TE so far. They've given up 6 TD's to TE in total. Ertz fits in well into the offense and while he's never really been a red zone threat he's got as good of a chance as any this week. I think you can except your typical 6-50 line from Ertz.

Week 3 Waiver Wire

Player Spotlight

Minnesota Vikings - RB - Jerick McKinnon

In the later rounds of fantasy drafts I'll always preach selecting high-upside players over a known commodity who wouldn't even crack your starting lineup if everything went right for that player. The high-upside players that I speak of are usually uber athletes who could blossom into impact fantasy assets given their opportunity in an offense or a talented back up running back that could produce quality numbers if the starter would go down. Jerick McKinnon falls into both of these categories and if you were wise enough to select him in your drafts that lottery ticket is paying off quickly. 

McKinnon's all-world athletic traits translate over to the football field. As a runner McKinnon has shown surprising patience and creativity. Typically players with McKinnon's athletic abilities rely solely on their speed rather than running the play as it was designed. As you would expect McKinnon has excellent burst and doesn't lose speed as he weaves through traffic. McKinnon isn't a punishing runner and most of his power is built off of momentum.

His first two years in the league McKinnon was used as a change-of-pace back who also saw action on passing downs. McKinnon is a pretty versatile receiver out of the backfield and looks like a natural the way he transitions from receiver to ball carrier after the catch.

With Peterson likely sidelined for a few weeks the Vikings will rely on Matt Asiata and McKinnon. Asiata out touched McKinnon 7-3 after Peterson's injury on Sunday night but Vikings beat reporter, Matt Vensel, expects a 65/35 split of carries between McKinnon and Asiata, with Asiata as the goal-line guy.

Asiata will surely limit McKinnon's upside but I think we're still looking at 15+ touches a week for McKinnon. 

Right now Adrian Peterson is still evaluating his options. Peterson would either have the part of the meniscus removed or he could have surgery to have the meniscus fully repaired. Adrian Peterson is a cyborg, so I can't say when he'll be back but from what we know I would expect him to be out until Week 7 at the earliest. The Vikings have a Week 6 BYE so that would theoretically leave 3 games for McKinnon and Asiata to split duties. These three games would be against, Carolina, New York and Houston. That's tough sledding for any running back and especially when you're running behind this disgusting Minnesota offensive line. 

McKinnon is an ascending talent and definitely someone you should try to acquire if he is a free agent but I wouldn't blow your whole waiver wire budget on him until we know how Adrian Peterson is going to handle this meniscus tear. 

Now lets assume Peterson has the damaged portion of the meniscus removed and is able to return Week 7 like I stated above. I still don't see McKinnon as much more than a real low-end RB2 or flex play in most formats when you factor in the Vikings upcoming schedule, offensive line struggles and Asiata taking the goal line work.

On a side note you might be able to acquire Asiata for cheap since everyone is going after the superior talent in McKinnon. Asiata is worth a bench spot in most leagues.

QUARTERBACKS

Week 2 Thoughts: Joe Flacco has another awesome matchup. He is facing a Jaguars team that just gave up 38 points and 4 TD's to Philip Rivers...I cannot believe Cody Kessler and Jacoby Brissett are starting games in the NFL. Let alone in the 3rd week of their rookie seasons...Marcus Mariota is facing an Oakland D that has been torched through the air so far. But then you remember his coach is Mike Mularkey and he would rather run the ball 8 straight plays in the 1st quarter. Does he not see how well Mariota works in an up tempo spread out offense? Again never assume rational coaching in the NFL.

Ryan Tannehill - Miami Dolphins

Tannehill faces a horrific Browns unit in a game where Vegas sees Miami as the heavy favorite. Tannehill had an ugly Week 1  performance followed up by an outstanding Week 2 because the Dolphins were playing from behind the whole game. Garbage time points count just the same in fantasy. Anyways here are a couple of reasons to like Tannehill this week: 1. The Browns are #NotGood. 2. With Parker healthy Tannehill has a talented set of weapons to throw to. 3. The Dolphins don't believe in running the football. 3. Tannehill has hidden value as a runner. He has 11 rushing attempts already on the year. 

RUNNING BACKS

Week 2 Thoughts: Jeremy Langford had another terrible performance, which is right in line with what he showed as a rookie. I hope I'm covering Jordan Howard in this section next week. He deserves a longer look...With Danny Woodhead tearing his ACL the Chargers signed Dexter McCluster. McCluster played under Chargers OC, Ken Whisenhunt, in Tennessee and could be worth an add if he takes over the Woodhead role in the San Diego offense...Terrance West and Justin Forsett haven't really impressed so far. Kenneth Dixon might be able to take over this backfield once he returns from an MCL injury in a week or two. In deeper leagues he might be a guy you should sneakily target right now while everyone races for other RB's this week...Eddie Lacy still looks like Mike Tolbert this year. I'd try to sell him now while someone still might value him...Here are my quick thoughts on the Tevin Coleman & Devonta Freeman committee. Coleman deserves the looks he's getting but Freeman is still a much better between the tackles runner and his ability to get the most available out of each run will show in Weeks 4-6 when Atlanta plays CAR, DEN, SEA. Coleman always has the chance to break an 80 yard run to make you forget about his 4 yards on 7 previous carries. Freeman isn't worth the 3rd round pick in retrospect but he's still seeing 16 touches a game. It's not the end of the world...Isaiah Crowell has NFL starter level ability and has looked great so far. I'm interested to see how the Browns offense looks with Cody Kessler at the helm It's going to be a disaster either way but do they pound the rock with Crowell while they're still in the game to try and shorten it? Do they turn to Duke Johnson and have Kessler do simple dump downs to him to move down the field?...Charles Sims should be owned in every format since he has flex appeal even when Doug Martin is healthy...If anyone dropped Christine Michael because Thomas Rawls was named the starter pick him up. He's continued to receive praise from Pete Carroll.

Jay Ajayi - Miami Dolphins

Well it took less than two weeks for Arian Foster to be sidelined with a soft tissue injury. Foster is apparently day-to-day but I'll believe it when I see him practicing. Foster isn't a quick healer and in his absence I expect Ajayi to be the lead back against a porous Browns defense. I know rookie Kenyan Drake was the back who scored the touchdown last week but Ajayi still had double the amount of snaps as Drake in Week 2 on top of being the superior talent. Now this is a reminder that talent isn't everything. Ajayi's play since Foster was signed has been pretty poor and he was in Adam Gase's doghouse just a week ago. We also need to factor in that Adam Gase has no problem throwing the ball 70% of the time. The Dolphins only have 36 rushing attempts the first two weeks and why would you continue to run behind a terrible run blocking offensive line? Miami is basically starting 4 tackles along the line so they're not a mauling unit by any means. Ajayi has an advantageous matchup this week and could be an alright RB2/Flex play depending on Foster's status. Again don't blow your budget but with Foster's injury history a bigger role could be on the horizon.

Cameron Artis-Payne - Carolina Panthers

The 2nd year back out of Auburn has been inactive for the first two games but that's because of his limited impact on special teams. With Stewart out of the picture for a couple of weeks Artis-Payne will likely receive the most work between him, Fozzy Whittaker and Mike Tolbert. I'd expect the carry distribution to look something like a 50%-25%-25% split between Artis-Payne, Whittaker and Tolbert with Newton obviously being a factor near the goal line. If you were hit hard by the Peterson, Foster, Abdullah etc. injuries Artis-Payne could be a decent filler but just know his upside is limited by Newton and the committee of backs around him. How much value is that worth in the end?

SLEEPER RUNNING BACK

Dwayne Washington - Detroit Lions

The rookie out of the University of Washington is a tantalizing talent but a work in progress to say the least. Washington is a a former wide receiver turned running back who has yet to master all the nuances of the running back position. As a runner you get the feeling that he lacks the natural intuition someone who has been a running back their whole life may possess. He only had 226 carries in college. Washington also needs to severely work on ball protection and is inexperienced as a pass protector.

So what's the appeal with Washington? He has the size, speed and power of someone like Adrian Peterson. There is no hyperbole there. He's 6'1", 223 lbs and runs in the 4.40's. Washington has shown his pursuit angle erasing speed in the preseason carrying the ball and returning kicks and is the clear power back in Detroit.

Theo Riddick should still see time as a change-of-pace back and will handle nearly all of the passing down duties in Abdullah's absence but I think Washington might have a real opportunity to make a name for himself in the coming weeks. He already handles the goal line work and kick return duties and could snag even more work if he impresses in Abdullah's absence.

Joique Bell's corpse worked out with the Lions today. I guess he knows the offense but I hope the Lions would try to develop a young talent rather than hand the ball off to a sloth. Never assume rational coaching in the NFL though.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Week 2 Thoughts: Sterling Shepard, Will Fuller and Corey Coleman all went over the 100 yard mark last week. Some other rookies that are roster worthy are Tyler Boyd (CIN) and Michael Thomas (NO)...Alshon Jeffery should be fine in Cutler's absence. Josh Gordon and DeAndre Hopkins have done well with Brian Hoyer slinging them the ball in recent years...Donte Moncrief is having an MRI on his shoulder and it looks like he will miss a couple weeks. I talked about Phillip Dorsett last week and he is a must add with the Colts having some juicy matchups in the coming weeks (SD, JAX, CHI)...John Brown owners hang tough you'll have better days. Keep him another week if you can...Nelson Agholor might be a thing if he could make a contested catch.

Quincy Enunwa - New York Jets

Enunwa was originally going to be in the player spotlight this week but Adrian Peterson's knee injury caused me to call an audible on that decision. Enunwa is an enticing blend of strength, size and speed. Physically he is reminiscent of someone like Terrell Owens. The Nebraska product stands in at a rocked up 6'2", 225 lbs and ran an impressive 4.44 40-yard dash at the 2014 combine. The third year pro has come into his own with the addition of Chan Gailey as the offensive coordinator. Although Enunwa is listed as a WR he is essentially a chess piece that Gailey uses all over offensive formations and at times is used as a pseudo tight end. Below is a clip of Enunwa coming across the formation as a blocker to seal a running lane for Forte.

Enunwa has always had the physical tools to be a starter in this league but lacked as a route runner and had inconsistent hands. According to SportingCharts, Enunwa had a drop percentage of 10.9% in 2015. The 5th highest among players targeted over 40 times. So far this year Enunwa's play has been stellar and drops haven't been an issue. Through two games Enunwa has 13 receptions on 14 targets for 146 yards and a TD. Going forward I think Enunwa has real WR3 value as he'll typically have the easiest matchup among the wideouts and is a WR2 if Marshall has to miss any time with his MCL sprain.

Victor Cruz - New York Giants

It's great to see Cruz salsa dancing in the Meadowlands again. Cruz had struggled to come back from a patellar tendon tear that occurred nearly two years ago and is now looking like a potential fantasy factor again. Cruz is essentially the WR3 in this offense but that shouldn't be a concern of yours since the Giants run the most 3 WR sets in the NFL. Through two weeks Cruz has caught 8 of 12 balls headed his way for 125 yards and a TD. I think 6 targets and 60 yards a game are pretty reasonable expectations for Cruz going forward.

Jamison Crowder - Washington Redskins

The jitterbug slot receiver has been the most targeted Redskin (18) and is 2nd in the NFL with 5 red zone targets through two weeks. Now, this could be a main reason why the Redskins have struggled in the red zone so far but it's fair to point out that Crowder is the security blanket for the struggling Kirk Cousins. Crowder isn't a sexy player and I wouldn't really spend much of a free agent budget on him but if you're looking for a WR, Crowder is an underrated value in PPR formats.

DeVante Parker - Miami Dolphins

Parker is surprisingly owned in the majority of leagues but if he was dropped after being inactive Week 1 go and scoop him up. He might even be an intriguing trade target. Parker has been often injured as a pro and been called out by the coaching staff for basically being soft but he's put up terrific numbers down the stretch in 2015 and in his first appearance this year.

Scott Barrett of PFF provided these numbers and they might surprise you. Look at these two Dolphins WR's over their last 7 games:

Jarvis Landry - 78 Targets, 53 Receptions, 537 Yards, 0 TD, 104.7 PPR Points

DeVante Parker - 55 Targets, 30 Receptions, 551 yards, 3 TD, 103.1 PPR Points

Parker still leaves plenty of yards on the field and struggles against press coverage but he's got skills that you cant teach and if Tannehill is going to feed him the ball results will follow.

SLEEPER WIDE RECEIVER

Josh Doctson - Washington Redskins

A 1st round pick isn't really a sleeper but I guarantee Doctson is on plenty of your waiver wires in redraft leagues. Doctson missed all of the preseason due to an achilles injury and has slowly been worked into the Redskins game plan the first two weeks. The Redskins have mainly used Doctson in high leverage situations, targeting him 3 times already in the end zone. All of those attempts have failed as Cousins has thrown some terrible fade passes but you have to like how the Redskins are making it a point to get him the ball in those situations. This is more of a preemptive pickup because you won't be starting Doctson any time soon but I expect him to take over Pierre Garcon's role in the Washington offense by midseason.

TIGHT ENDS

Week 2 Thoughts: Coby Fleener is just a disaster in New Orleans. I'm still holding onto him, maybe foolishly, for another week or so...Gary Barnidge had another disappointing performance. Again, I might wait a week to see who Cody Kessler relies on in the passing game but I can't blame you if you're in a short bench league and need to drop him...The Lions have given up 4 TD's to TE's already this year. Dare I say stream Jared Cook?....With Peterson injured the Vikings may move to a more pass oriented approach. Monitor Kyle Rudolph this week. He looked to have some chemistry with Bradford on Sunday night

Dennis Pitta - Baltimore Ravens

Dennis Pitta everyone! Welcome to 2012! Just like Victor Cruz it's great to see someone like Pitta battle back from a serious injury. In Pitta's case two gruesome hip injuries. Pitta has the TE job locked down in a pass heavy offense. Pitta was targeted 12 times in Week 2 hauling in 9 receptions for 102 yards. Again, Baltimore has a favorable schedule in the coming weeks and I think we'll continue to see TE1 production from Pitta going forward.

SLEEPER TIGHT END

Jacob Tamme - Atlanta Falcons

Tamme leads the Falcons in targets through two weeks with 16 and that workload may continue with Julio Jones being hobbled with various leg injuries. Tamme's 8 high percentage targets a week builds a nice floor. He's a viable TE target if you're in the need of help at the position. Atlanta plays the pathetic Saints pass D this week.

Week 2 Waiver Wire

Player Spotlight

Houston Texans - WR - Will Fuller

With the 21st pick in last April's NFL Draft the Texans selected Notre Dame speedster Will Fuller. The pick was criticized by some since higher regards prospects like Josh Doctson and LaQuon Treadwell were still on the board but it's clear that Bill O'Brien's Texans viewed Fuller's game changing 4.32 speed as a perfect compliment across from All-Pro WR, DeAndre Hopkins. Will Fuller originally committed to Bill O'Brien's Nittany Lions before flipping to Notre Dame, so maybe we should have seen this coming.

Fuller has lived up to his lofty draft status as he locked down a starting role opposite of DeAndre Hopkins. Fuller had a tremendous preseason and has already become a favorite target of QB Brock Osweiler. In 82 preseason snaps, Fuller was targeted 13 times, hauling in 8 receptions for 144 yards and 2 touchdowns. 

That same chemistry carried over into Week 1 as Fuller was targeted a team high 11 times, hauling in 5 receptions for 107 yards and a TD that showed off his blazing speed as he weaved through the Bears defense.

Will Fuller's NFL debut was a perfect summation of his skill set. The good and the bad. Fuller's speed is breathtaking and it's what his game is built on. A nightmare after the catch, Fuller is a threat to take it the house from anywhere on the field. Fuller is constantly challenging defenses vertically with his blinding speed as he does most of his work on vertical route concepts such as curls, comebacks, outs and go routes. What makes Fuller so difficult to cover on these routes is his ability to hit a second gear to separate deep or suddenly throttle down into a break.

Now to the downside of Fuller's game, drops. For all of his big play ability (30 TD's in 29 starts at Notre Dame) he can be maddening at times because of all the big plays he leaves on the field. According to Pro Football Focus, Fuller dropped 10 of 72 catchable passes last year. That 13.9% drop rate ranked 88th out of 96 qualifiers. Fuller needs to work on his hand technique and to rid himself of being a body catcher. Correcting these issues is easier said than done.

Fuller has special traits that translate to fantasy success. He's quickly built great rapport with Osweiler and should be targeted fairly heavily throughout the year.

Fuller is sure to struggle against more physical DB's and he definitely has boom/bust elements to his game. For fantasy purposes though it only takes one blown coverage to turn in a quality day.

During the draft process I compared Fuller to Ted Ginn, enigmatic playmakers who will constantly have you on an emotional roller-coaster. I still believe that sentiment to be true but from a fantasy perspective I think we'll see Fuller produce results closer to a player like DeSean Jackson due to his starting role in the Texans offense.

Fuller should be owned in all formats and is flex worthy already depending on the opponent.

QUARTERBACK

Week 1 Thoughts: Well RGIII lasted one week before hitting the IR. Josh McCown was a viable fantasy starter in 2015....The loss of Keenan Allen also severely hurts Philip Rivers. In 2015, Rivers was QB2 through the first 8 weeks before Allen went down with a lacerated kidney. He's probably more of a high end streaming option now...Since Week 9 BYE last season Matthew Stafford has thrown 22 TD's to only 2 INT. If he wasn't already, Stafford should be considered a starter from here on out....Carson Wentz had an impressive NFL debut. I'm interested to see how he does this coming week when he faces a real NFL defense. I don't think Chicago counts this coming week...If you drafted Tyrod Taylor as your starting QB I can't blame you for living the stream already.

Joe Flacco - Baltimore Ravens

With streaming QB's being a popular method in fantasy football these days I'll try to highlight a QB with favorable matchups on the horizon. While Flacco's supporting cast isn't flashy these days they should be able to feast on the upcoming schedule of @CLE, @JAX, OAK and WAS. Flacco should be able to reach low-end QB1 numbers against these opponents.

RUNNING BACK

Week 1 Thoughts: Last seasons overall RB1 and league winner, Devonta Freeman, appears to be in a 50/50 timeshare with second year burner, Tevin Coleman. Freeman still received more snaps and touches than Coleman but it seems like he might be more of a low end RB2 now. Needless to say Coleman should be owned in all formats. While we're on that topic, if Spencer Ware and Christine Michael are still out there go and get them...Theo Riddick and Ameer Abdullah looked great against the woeful Colts defense.

Terrance West - Baltimore Ravens

West had 14 touches for an underwhelming 38 total yards in his Week 1 matchup vs Buffalo. Thankfully he has a revenge game vs his former team, the Cleveland Browns, this week. It appears West will continue to split duties with Justin Forsett with West doing the short yardage work. The Ravens have a nice stretch of upcoming games so West might be worth a roster spot but I think it'll just be a matter of time before rookie Kenneth Dixon takes over this backfield. Dixon still won't return for another couple weeks.

SLEEPER RUNNING BACK

Travaris Cadet - New Orleans Saints

Raise your hand if you thought Travaris Cadet was going to play only 3 less snaps than a healthy Mark Ingram last week. Ingram barely out snapped Cadet, 29 to 26, on Sunday. Cadet took a big chunk of the passing down work. He was targeted 7 times, hauling in 3 receptions for just 17 yards. He drew a pass interference penalty and hit pay dirt on a simple two yards route out in the flat. I'm not exactly sure what to think of this situation. Cadet has three years experience in this offense and the Saints felt comfortable enough to cut CJ Spiller, but Mark Ingram looked so good as a receiver last year. This is definitely a situation that we'll want to monitor in the coming weeks because we've seen this role produce results with Darren Sproles and at times Pierre Thomas.

WIDE RECEIVER

Week 1 Thoughts: Kenny Stills was on this last week and he's still worth an end of the roster spot. Stills caught only one pass this weekend but it's worth nothing he was targeted 5 times and even dropped an easy 71-yard TD...In deeper leagues San Diego's Dontrelle Inman might be worth picking up. Down the stretch last year Inman had over 50 yards or a TD in 4 of his last 6 games. John Brown, Tyler Lockett, Devin Funchess all had disappointing first weeks. Hold strong with those guys as better weeks are sure to come...Titans WR Tajae Sharpe had a great NFL debut. If he's still out there scoop him up.

Phillip Dorsett - Indianapolis Colts

Dorsett is a speedster (4.33) in the mold of fellow teammate TY Hilton. Even though he is firmly the WR3 in this offense there should still be worthwhile production on the horizon for Dorsett. If you're questioning whether an offense can support three relevant fantasy wide receivers it happened just a couple years ago with Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and Wes Welker in Denver. In Week 1, Dorsett was in on 51 of 70 snaps and hauled in 4 of his 6 targets for a team leading 94 yards. Dorsett is likely just a WR4 right now but if either Hilton or Moncrief were to go down Dorsett would bump up into WR2 territory.

Mike Wallace - Baltimore Ravens

It appears good ol Mike Wallace might have showed up this year. Wallace is still a one trick pony but he still has the jets to do that one trick well as he hauled in a 66-yard TD last week. At this point in time it appears that Wallace is the top receiving threat in the Ravens offense. As the season progresses I wouldn't be surprised if the keys are handed over to Breshad Perriman a bit but for now Wallace is the guy to own. Wallace did sign a 2-year $11.5 million deal this offseason.

Eli Rogers - Pittsburgh Steelers

The Louisville product built some buzz during the offseason and didn't disappoint in his debut. Rogers registered 6 receptions on 7 targets for 59 yards and a TD. The touchdown came on a pass that actually richoted off Sammie Coates chest into Rogers arms. With Martavis Bryant out of the season, Markus Wheaton banged up and Sammie Coates being Sammie Coates the Steelers desperately needed someone to step up and Rogers filled that void. Rogers looks like a high floor PPR play.

Jeremy Kerley - San Francisco 49ers

This preseason I was high on Bruce Ellington's role in Chip Kelly's up tempo offense. With Ellington hitting the IR the 49ers went out and acquired Jeremy Kerley from the Lions to fill their slot WR void. Basically read this article and substitute Kerley's name for Ellington. Kerley recorded 7 receptions for 61 yards on 11 targets in Week 1. Gabbert missed a wide open Kerley on what could have been an easy 50-yard TD. Much like Eli Rogers, the touchdown might not be there but receptions could come in bunches.

Brandon LaFell - Cincinnati Bengals

Despite having a quiet preseason due to a hand injury LaFell stepped in right away as the Bengals WR2, ahead of rookie Tyler Boyd. LaFell caught all 4 of his targets for 91 yards, including a 49-yard reception to spark the Bengals offense in the second half. I wouldn't get too carried away with his Week 1 showing but if you're in need of a WR he could provide solid depth.

SLEEPER WIDE RECEIVER

Tyrell Williams - San Diego Chargers

Williams is a big, raw second year WR from Western Oregon University who is now thrust into a great opportunity due to Malcolm Floyd's retirement and season ending injuries to Stevie Johnson and Keenan Allen. Williams stands in at 6'3", 204 lbs and is an athletic freak, posting a 4.43 40-yard dash and 39.5" vertical at his Pro Day. As you would assume Williams has the size and speed to be a dynamic playmaker and he's done just that is his limited NFL action. In Week 17 of last season Williams had an 80-yard TD against the Broncos. This past weekend he was took two shallow crossing routes for over 30 yards a piece. The Chargers stuck with 3 WR sets even after Allen's injury. In those 39 snaps Williams was in on 33 of them. Inman might be the safer play but I'm willing to take a shot at Williams instead. There is some Demaryius Thomas in Willliams' game.

 

TIGHT END

Week 1 Thoughts: Coby Fleener (4 Targets, 1 Rec, 6 Yards) and Gary Barnidge (2 Targets, 0 Rec, 0 Yards) both were duds in Week 1. If anyone drops them be sure to scoop them up. Josh McCown replacing RGIII is music to Barnidge's ears, who averaged 5.8 Rec, 80 Yards, 0.75 TD's in games started by McCown last year...Jared Cook out snapped Richard Rodgers 33 to 25...Eric Ebron looks to be an integral piece of the short and red zone passing game. Looked good coming off his ankle injury...Shout out to Dennis Pitta for coming back from two hip surgeries. He'll be on this list in the coming weeks if he maintains his role...Jesse James lived up to expectations in my opinion. I think he's a fine low end TE1 this week. Last season Heath Miller caught 10 passes in each regular season game versus Cincinnati.

Dwayne Allen - Indianapolis Colts

Allen is such a valuable piece to the Colts offense. He's a heck of a blocker and one of Andrew Luck's favorite targets in the red zone. Allen has TE1 ability, especially with Coby Fleener out of the picture, he just needs to avoid the injury bug. If you're trying to wash the Jared Cook taste out of your mouth look at Allen as an option. He does face a tough Denver D this week.

SLEEPER TIGHT END

Stephen Anderson - Houston Texans

Stephen Anderson is an undrafted "Move TE" out of California. He was my #4 TE in the 2016 draft class, receiving a third round grade. Anderson consistently caught my attention whenever I watched Jared Goff and Kenny Lawler this spring and it's no surprise to me that he made an NFL roster right away. Anderson is in the mold of a Jordan Reed in that he'll be primarily relied upon for his receiving ability and can line up all over formations. Anderson tested out similarly to Reed in the pre-draft process. They both stand at roughly 6'2", 230. Anderson was clocked at a 4.64 40-yard dash at his pro day to go along a 38" vertical at the combine. Reed ran a 4.72 40 at the combine. Anderson has a long way to go to be in Reed's company and I'm not even really suggesting that you should even pick up Anderson but he's a player you should be familiar with going forward. He played in 24 snaps Week 1 and hauled in all 3 of his targets for 25 yards.