This is the Monday version of the Waiver Wire report. As a reminder, each week I’ll give initial thoughts on Monday and then on Tuesday will offer an addendum that reflects any changes in my thinking or updates based on injury situations (or just players that I forgot to mention in the Monday version, which happens sometimes).
Jamaal Charles reportedly has a high ankle sprain which is one of the most frustrating injuries from a fantasy football standpoint. Recall that Roddy White had a high ankle sprain last year and tried to play through it, which produced some really horrible fantasy numbers and probably delayed actual healing.
However, the good thing about rostering Davis is that when he does play, he steps into the full Charles workload. He’s not in a platoon as lots of back-up running backs are. When you submit your FAAB bid you’re unlikely to know how long Charles is going to be out, so I think you need to be careful about how much you bid. You might be getting Davis for one or two weeks, or you might be getting him for a month. The amount you bid is really going to be driven by how badly you need a starting RB next week. The good news is that the Chiefs get Miami and New England over the next two weeks, so you should at least get startable weeks out of Davis if Charles is out. The other good news is that Andy Reid RBs produce fantasy points even in losses.
I’m generally conservative on FAAB spending early in the season but Davis is an instance where I would get aggressive if I can play him right away. Justin Forsett went for about 35 percent or so in a lot of leagues last week, which was obviously stupid (stupid at the time and even stupider in hindsight). But Davis is actually probably worth about that amount this week. Again, the amount you pay for Davis should be related to the amount you need him in your lineup in the near term.
Ryan Mathews is going to be out for around four weeks with an MCL sprain. Donald Brown looks to be the primary beneficiary. Actually, there’s some reason to believe that Brown might not miss a beat in replacing Mathews. While Mathews has more carries over his career (by almost a 2:1 ratio), Brown has been slightly more efficient in terms of converting his rushes into fantasy points.
Brown was also a pretty athletic player coming out of college, so while his career has been disappointing in some ways, he’s not as bad or even as lackluster as many might think.
Williams is actually my favorite kind of free agent pick-up (although by way of full disclosure, Lorenzo Taliaferro and Marcel Reece would have also fit this type, so there’s that). But Williams could be fairly cheap to acquire and he’s likely to see some kind of opportunity this week. Knowshon Moreno is out for about four weeks with an elbow injury and Lamar Miller sprained an ankle on Sunday. Miller’s injury is rumored to be minor and he reportedly could have returned to the game. However, the reason that Williams could be valuable is because he’s an undrafted rookie that played his way onto the 53-man roster during training camp. The Miami coaches are known to be lukewarm on Miller. There’s some chance that Williams could pass Miller on the depth chart during the time that Moreno is out.
In order to acquire Williams you need an end of bench “whatever” guy to drop, and I would be conservative with my FAAB bid because I only want Williams if he’s really cheap. I would drop a player like Taliaferro and bid about two-to-three percent of FAAB to try to get Williams. I liked Taliaferro as a waiver add last week, but considering that he didn’t see any touches, I’m fine moving on from LT in a re-draft league, assuming that no additional injury occurs to a player in front of him on the depth chart.
Rainey probably disappeared from the waiver wire last week, so you may not be able to get him this week. However, the Internet’s foremost Bobby Rainey fan, Coleman Kelly, is a sometime contributor to this site and it’s looking like Rainey is another prescient call that can be added to Alshon Jeffery, Knowshon Moreno, and Marcus Lattimore.
Here’s some food for thought: it may be the case that Bobby Rainey is just a better RB than Doug Martin. This is a screenshot from the Fantasy Efficiency App.
Since the start of the 2013 season Martin has been pretty much average on his rushing attempts. Rainey has produced about 0.15 points better than average per attempt. If you assume that fantasy scoring is roughly correlated to actual football ability (only at the quarterback position are there bad real players who are good fantasy players), this illustrates how flat RB ability is, and why it doesn’t really make sense for teams to use valuable draft picks on the position. I don’t mean that this one instance makes that entire case, the issue has been well-covered in the past. But Martin was the most successful of the 2012 first-round NFL draft RB selections. Rainey was an undrafted player coming out of Western Kentucky. There appears to be little difference between the two unless you’re going to say that Rainey is definitely better than Martin. I say all of this as something of a Martin fan as I’ve always liked his three-down ability.
Kirk Cousins/Ryan Fitzpatrick
Both players are worth adds if you’re streaming QBs. Cousins gets a potential shootout with Philadelphia next week, so if I needed something in the near term I would probably pick him up. Also, DeSean Jackson’s shoulder injury is not believed to be serious so Cousins should have even more weapons available to him than he did in Week 2. The other interesting thing is that Niles Paul appears to be functioning pretty similarly to a wide receiver. The TD catch in Week 2 was on a player where Paul was split out wide, rather than in-line. Paul is a converted WR so it makes sense that he could flourish in that role.
A.J. Green is rumored to be out until the team’s Week 5 game. However, the Bengals have a bye in Week 4 and Marvin Jones is also likely to be back at some point after the bye as well. So if you bid on Sanu the most likely outcome is that you get a team’s top target for one week. The most likely scenario where you submit anything approaching an aggressive bid is if you also own both Green and Eric Decker, which would make filling out a starting lineup difficult in Week 3. I would have a tough time submitting more than an eight-to-10 percent FAAB bid on Sanu even if I was really needy.
You may recall that Robinson was a favorite of Jon Moore during draft season. Now that Allen Hurns has an ankle injury and the Jacksonville coaches have been clear that Marqise Lee is actually behind both Hurns and Cecil Shorts when the two players are healthy, Robinson looks like the high upside rookie to own in Jacksonville. Lee has been slightly disappointing on a small sample of targets, while Robinson had a decent day in Week 2.
Because in the near term Chad Henne is still the starter, I don’t know that I would feel comfortable starting a Jacksonville WR any time soon. So any FAAB bid has to be modest. Actually, Robinson makes a little more sense as a free add/drop after waivers have processed. But Robinson is of prototypical WR size, so he’s worth grabbing and if you wanted to bid around five percent of FAAB on him with a WR needy team, that would work also.
Eric Decker reinjured the same hamstring that bothered him during the preseason. That’s not good news for Decker owners (that’s me) or Geno Smith owners (me again). Without Decker I don’t expect much out of the NYJ offense, so that’s problematic to start with. But Kerley does appear to be their best WR by a margin. He makes the most sense as an add in really deep PPR leagues, where you might start three-to-four WRs in leagues with 14 teams. But Geno does look for him, so he’s worth something. If you have the roster space I would bid roughly four-to-five percent for Kerley. I wouldn’t lose any sleep if I missed out on him. He’ll get targets when Decker is out, those targets will be of questionable value, and then we don’t know when Decker will be back.
This RotoViz draft season favorite is starting to climb the depth chart. During the preseason I noted that whatever Green Bay receiver works his way into the third spot on the depth chart is valuable. Because Jarrett Boykin and Adams are now starting to split that work, it’s probably temporarily untrue. However, if Adams continues to steal snaps from Boykin then his upside is probably much higher than the relatively unathletic Boykin (who proves the point that a lot of receiving efficiency in Green Bay is tied solely to Aaron Rodgers). Adams was a TD machine in college and nearly converted a red zone look into a TD yesterday. His day is coming sooner rather than later. I think it’s tough to add him in re-draft leagues right now just because the opportunity is still being split with Boykin, but I would maintain a lookout for any kind of room that Adams gets to fully pass Boykin on the depth chart. For what it’s worth, between Davante Adams, Mohamed Sanu, and Allen Robinson, I probably like Adams to have the very highest ceiling. If Randall Cobb were to be injured–it’s been known to happen–then Adams could be an every week start in fantasy leagues right away. In Sanu’s case the opportunity will be short term. In Robinson’s case I think you’ll always be worried that the Jacksonville offense could be the cause of a donut hole in your lineup.