By: Zach Haugen @zhaugenfootball
Week 10 – Late Week Free Agency
Every year fantasy leagues are won, not at the draft, but by savvy owners that pick up the right guys at the right time. When these players break out, it takes their team to another level. Sure, there is luck involved. It is difficult to predict who is going to come out of nowhere. That is the reason they can come out of nowhere. It is especially hard to find those guys later in the season when teams begin to solidify game plans. But the key is taking the chance on the right kind of players. If you throw enough darts in the general direction of the board, one of them is likely to stick.
So what is the right kind of player? The NFL is a hard game to dominate on a small workload. Likely these players will have to be in a good opportunity to see volume. It isn’t all about volume though. You also want to target talent. Not just talent in the player you are picking up, but it can be helpful for the player to be surrounded by talent that can prop them up into a good situation. It’s also nice to nab these guys before you have to pay big bucks for them on waivers. So it can be helpful to look for players with advantageous matchups in the upcoming weekend that would allow them to break out. We are also at the time of year where guys can be activated off of IR, so there will be a few guys on this list who you might not be able to use for a few weeks, but could be solid contributors down the stretch. It is important at this time of year, to plan ahead. Envision your entire path to the championship. So if you have the following guys on your waivers, and you are looking for an end of bench stash, feel free to pick them up and cross your fingers.
Corey Coleman (Yahoo-22% owned ESPN-11% owned) Corey Coleman looked explosive in the first game of the year with 5 catches for 53 yards and a touchdown and was heavily involved. He is a first round talent with elite athleticism and competitiveness. Josh Gordon is coming back around the same time, and it’s not like there is a lot of fantasy relevance to go around in Cleveland. But if I have to bet on someone to take over the number 1 receiving role in Cleveland it’s the first round pick who hasn’t been away from football for a few years.
Corey Davis (Yahoo-48% owned ESPN-34% owned) Injuries have held Corey Davis back during his rookie year, but don’t let that distract you from the fact, that he was a top 5 pick in this year’s draft, and is playing with a rising start in Marcus Mariota. In the one game Corey Davis played before he got hurt he saw double digit targets and caught 6 passes for 69 yards. In his absence, no Titans receiver has stepped up into a lead role which should leave the door open for Davis to become the number 1 receiver on the team. He didn’t set the world on fire in his first game back, and he will likely take a couple weeks to get back up to speed. The Titans have enough weapons that they can spread out the targets, and they have a tough matchup this weekend against the Bengals. But he is the future of this team, and I expect them to look to get him rolling to finish out the year. Pick him up while you can. He is the rare late year waiver pickup with potential to be a weekly starter.
Charles Clay (Yahoo-39% owned ESPN- 47% owned) Charles Clay has been all but forgotten thanks to some injury problems that have kept him out for a while but he was a legit TE1 in the games he actually played this year. On a team that sorely lacked weapons, he averaged almost 6 targets per game and was utilized in the red zone. Kelvin Benjamin being added to the mix could hurt his red zone usage, but in a pretty rough tight end market, Clay is still worth a pickup as a back end TE1 down the stretch.
Latavius Murray (Yahoo-43% owned ESPN- 61% owned) So for those of you playing on the ESPN platform this might not be quite as relevant, but apparently yahoo players didn’t feel the need to hold Murray through the bye week. Think about this, there is a running back on a good team with generally positive game script who is averaging 17 touches over the last four weeks. He is on the waiver wire in over half of leagues. That is just wrong. Sure his efficiency has been lacking, but he is playable every single week when you are in a bind. Follow the volume. Pick up Murray if he is available in your league.
Marquise Goodwin (Yahoo-15% owned ESPN- 10% owned) Marquise Goodwin is a legit Olympic level athlete, who can beat pretty much anyone in the NFL deep. He may be a risky play on a bad offense with below average targets. But Goodwin is actually seeing a decent target market share, and a great air yards market share on that team. With Garcon out for the year, and Kittle injured there are hardly any weapons left. Oh, and he is averaging like 20 yards per catch. Despite not having a touchdown, he has decent red zone usage, which means even on a bad offense I expect a couple touchdowns to come over the back half of the season. If you need a guy with a floor of 5 targets per week who can break one deep at any time, Goodwin is a decent wild card play.
Rod Smith (Yahoo-23% owned ESPN-12% owned) With Ezekiel Elliot likely missing the next 6 games, there is a large opening for fantasy points in that Cowboys backfield. It appears as though Morris will get the first crack at lead back duties, but the Cowboys coaches have made it clear that they like Rod Smith, and he has shown solid flashes of talent. In an incredibly small sample size he has 12 touches for 92 yards on the year. As of now, it appears that smith will get second chance at the lead back duties if Morris doesn’t work out. Sure, he may never be usable for fantasy, but he is worth a bench stash until we figure out what the Cowboys are doing.
Danny Woodhead (Yahoo-35% owned ESPN- 40% owned) Danny Woodhead is a small, 32 year old, pass catching running back coming off an injury. There are plenty of reasons to keep him on the waiver wire. But the truth is that the Ravens need him badly, and the running back market for fantasy purposes right now is barren. Woodhead had 3 catches in 1 drive as a Raven before getting hurt. Alex Collins has played well as a bruiser, but the team could still use a weapon to catch short passes out of the backfield as a safety blanket for Flacco. Woodhead fills that role perfectly, and has a chance to be an Rb2 in ppr leagues once he comes back.
Chris Ivory (Yahoo-22% owned ESPN- 38% owned) Chris Ivory is a pretty straightforward fantasy asset. He is essentially useless as long as Fournette is playing. But when Fournette doesn’t play, Ivory is likely to see around 20 touches on a run heavy offense. He isn’t playable now. But he is worth a bench stash, especially for Fournette owners coming down the stretch. Welcome to handcuff season.