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The Week 3 Do Not Cut List: The O.J. Howard Edition

Here we are again, another week of information, and if you are reading this, likely a week with much disappointment. Fantasy Football can be a cruel beast and is not for the faint of heart. Remember that this is a long season, and even if you are 0-2 there is a pathway to victory, you need to be picking up the right players off the wire, and just as important, you need to keep “game-changing” players on your squad.

Things to Remember

Here are a few main points to remember before we get started:

  • No quarterbacks are on this list because the position is deep and there are likely many streamable options, or if you are in a Superflex league you likely don’t have many options available. 
  • Do feel free to drop kickers to make your waiver wire moves, they are also streamable (look for my article to see which ones you should target)
  • Use your IR spots if available.

Players on Last Week’s List

Graduates

Some of the players from last week’s list have graduated from drop threat with solid outings.

David Montgomery rushed for 62 yards and a touchdown and had one reception for an additional 6 yards, and all this against a solid Denver Broncos defense.

Rashaad Penny also rushed for a touchdown with 62 yards and showed flashes of league winning potential should Chris Carson get injured or continue fumbling the football.  

While Cam Newton continues to induce panic attacks, Curtis Samuel is certainly not the reason why. Samuel had a usable performance with 92 receiving yards on five receptions, and it would have been even more if Newton hadn’t missed him on a deep pass that would have led to a score.

Others remain unknown and a little scary.

Carryovers

Miles Sanders increased his overall touches this week, but still managed only 6.7 PPR points, much less than ideal. Sanders also draws a difficult matchup versus the Detroit Lions this week. In their last games, the Lions have held opposing RBs to 16.3 PPR points, which is the second-fewest in the league. If Sanders continues to split time with Jordan Howard and Darren Sproles it will be tough to trust him. 

Upshot: Continue to hold — first-year RBs often take a while to get going. When Sanders takes over as the lead back, he will be a lineup lock.

Kenyon Drake did not accumulate a ton of garbage-time points as I had hoped, but he managed 9.8 points in PPR scoring, not terrible. I am still holding for now — Drake saw 46% of the running back carries and a 15.4% target share. In shallow leagues, you may not be able to hold on much longer, but better times are ahead as the Dolphins face ten positive matchups for running backs in the next 13 weeks.

Upshot: Wait until his bye week if you can; the matchups are tasty.

The O.J. Howard Section

Call me crazy, foolish, or maybe just stubborn, but there is no way in hell I am cutting Howard, yet. There are numerous reasons for this — perhaps most important is that he faces the New York Giants this week. The Giants are giving up 321 passing yards a week, third-worst in the league. Secondly, who are you going to pick up off the waiver wire with Howard’s upside? Last week everyone rushed to pick up T.J. Hockensen, he ended the game with one reception for seven yards. Tight end is a tough position to fill, and while Howard has not produced lately, we have seen him produce before.

Last season Howard finished as the No. 6 TE in points per game with 12.1 PPR, despite having two dreadful games, and one suboptimal game. Howard is a boom or bust TE, but last year he showed us that the ceiling is definitely there. This is because he runs deep routes. Last year he averaged 11.8 air yards per target — among the best at the position

 

Howard also ranked first at the position in fantasy points over expectation. I know he has been frustrating, but better times are ahead.

Last week on Thursday night, Howard ran routes on 69% of Jameis Winston’s dropbacks, an increase of 14% from Week 1. The other Bucs TE, Cameron Brate, saw his routes decline from 48% to 31%, another good sign for Howard.  

Upshot: Not only am I starting Howard in the 25% of leagues I have him, I will be actively pursuing him in leagues where he is dropped!

New Additions

Dede Westbrook

I know you are concerned, and so am I, but not all is lost! I was higher on Westbrook then consensus. I assumed he would be the target leader for an improved Jaguars passing offense that did not have Marqise Lee. In reality the Nick Foles and Gardner Minshew combo has distributed the ball very evenly. DJ Chark, Chris Conley, and Westbrook have 13, 12, and 11 targets respectively. Westbrook has seen only 16.7% of the team targets and has a concerning 54.5% catch rate. I think both of these will improve. It is also encouraging that the Jaguars are averaging 33 pass attempts per game.

Upshot: Bench until further notice, but do not cut — not unless you have a shallow bench and Demarcus Robinson is staring at you on the waiver wire.

Will Fuller

I know, I know, who in their right mind is cutting Fuller? Trust me, I have seen it out there. Do not be one of the people who is doing this. Through two games Fuller already has six targets of 21-plus yards while also receiving 17% of the Houston Texans’ target share. 

While Fuller has yet to break a long touchdown, that will soon change. I will admit two of the next three matchups are tough for WR — the Chargers and the Falcons — but starting Week 6 the schedule is very favorable.

Upshot: Definite hold, and definite start in a few weeks 

Image Credit: Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: O.J. Howard.

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