Waiver Wire Dumpster Diving takes you beyond the obvious plays and helps you find undervalued gems for deep leagues.
Football is back! After the slate of Week 1 games, there are already hot waiver wire targets, injuries and early season tilting. You, the savvy fantasy GM, know that a championship isn’t forged in the draft alone, but rather tempered by weekly involvement, scouring the waiver wire and leveraging trades for long-term success. So with the new season comes a whole new crop of Dumpster Dives waiver additions.
If you are new to this column, every week I scour the bottom of the waiver wire and look for upside players with ownership around or below 10%. For those of you in deeper leagues or dynasty leagues with deep benches, Dumpster Dives will be more actionable than your typical waiver wire column.
John Ross III, WR (Cin Bengals) Owned 4.8%
Call me a “homer” but living in Seattle for the past number of years, I have seen a lot of John Ross and I was very much looking forward to seeing if a healthy Year 3 was going to show the NFL what we saw at Husky Stadium year after year.
There was reason to be optimistic even before Week 1 kickoff. Using the Rotoviz Player Usage tool you can see that when A.J. Green missed time last season, Ross’s snap percentage skyrocketed to match Tyler Boyd’s. Knowing Green would be sidelined to start the season, Ross had a clear shot at starting opposite Boyd again.
In Week 1, Ross garnered a career-high 12 targets, one more than fellow wideout Tyler Boyd. Ross also recorded the eighth-highest share of his team’s Air Yards — 45.44% (prior to the Monday Night Football doubleheader). This new coaching regime looks like they are going to use Ross far more effectively than Marvin Lewis and company ever could.
Looking ahead, the strength of schedule is in Cinncanatti’s favor up until Week six, giving you plenty of usage opportunities until Green gets back onto the field.
Malcolm Brown, RB (LA Rams) Owned 6.5%
First off, if Todd Gurley is rostered in 100% of leagues, Brown should be too. Rookie back, Darrell Henderson is owned in more leagues (67.2%), even though Brown has been listed as the No. 2 all offseason. How fast we forget that Brown was the main backup behind Gurley in 2018 until he got injured. The Rams chose to match his offer from the Lions this offseason, clearly signaling that they trusted him in relief duty for Gurley.
The primary reason you need to pick up Brown and can flex him in deep leagues is because of what we saw in how he was used in Week 1. In all but one series in the red zone, Brown was the lead back. Both of his rushing touchdowns Sunday came from within the 5-yard line. In an effort to keep Gurley healthy for the long run, it seems Brown is going to get some additional goal-line work when possible. If Sean McVay’s offense is as good as it was last year, that is going to translate to a lot of scoring opportunities for a backup running back. This backfield could be a tandem like Devonta Freeman/Tevin Coleman or Alvin Kamara/Mark Ingram of years past when both backs had week-to-week value.
Vernon Davis, TE (Washington American Football Club) Owned 0.6%
To no one’s surprise, sadly Jordan Reed is back in concussion protocol. That clears the way for Vernon Davis to take on the No. 1 TE duties in D.C. once more.
Case Keenum under center doesn’t inspire the highest of confidences. But he has shown a tendency to form googly eyes for his tight ends. Using the RotoViz Screener tool we can compare his tight ends over the past three seasons that he was a full-time signal-caller.
Even taking into account Jeff Heuerman’s atrocious 2018, Keenum’s TE1s average 90.73 fantasy points, 72 targets and 120.27 reEP. That would have been good for top 10 in 2018. Kyle Rudolph’s 2016 season is realistically Davis’s ceiling, but Heuerman’s 2018 does not represent Davis’s floor. Even when Davis hasn’t started 16 games, he hasn’t recorded less than 300 receiving yards since 2014. Davis represents a much more athletic receiving weapon that Heuerman is, and I am projecting a stat line around 50 receptions 500-plus yards and three touchdowns.
BONUS DIVE! Mecole Hardman, WR (KC Chiefs) Owned 17.4%
Yeah yeah yeah, I know. Hardman is owned in more than 10% of leagues. But I would be derelict of my duties if I wasn’t highlighting a player available in more than 80% of leagues, on the elite offense that is the Kansas City Chiefs, and who is apt to step into a much larger target share as early as Week 2. Besides, I already gave you another receiver.
Tyreek Hill suffered a “sternal Clavicular joint injury” and according to Fantasy Football injury analyst Ethan Turner, he could be out around four weeks.
Tyreek Hill Injury Thread:— Ethan Turner (@ETurnerFF_PT) September 10, 2019
What is it?
Posterior dislocation of the clavicle on the sternum otherwise called an SC joint dislocation.
Photo looking from above: https://t.co/RM7qAxgBPv pic.twitter.com/mDlQrHnDpw
Sammy Watkins was the immediate benefactor in Week 1, but that was an in-the-moment game plan adjustment. With a week of practice, and Hardman’s elite speed 1, Andy Reid has plenty of time to scheme Hardman into a field-stretching weapon in a similar fashion as Hill was used in. Matt Jones has already shown us what kind of value Hardman could have if he was the third receiver in terms of target share. But this turn of events could easily bump him into the No. 2 receiver role.
KC has difficult WR matchups for the next two weeks, but it gets more fantasy-friendly thereafter. Besides, on an offense this dangerous there is no reason to fade anyone commanding a solid target share. Hardman just became an invaluable receiver for a quarter of your fantasy season.
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Image Credit: Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: John Ross.
- 4.33 40-yard dash (back)