Waiver Wire Dumpster Dives takes you beyond the obvious plays and helps you find undervalued gems for deep leagues.
It is upon us. The dreaded Bye-pocalypse has arrived. And like a Kraken from the deep, it has swallowed whole six of our beloved guardians of the gridiron. The services of Broncos, Texans, Jaguars, Patriots, Eagles and the Washington Football Club are suspended. With that, the waiver becomes even scarcer as more teams than not, need some extra assistance. But you know who served up Noah Fant on a silver plater for you last week, so welcome back. These are the weeks that are key for Dumpster Dives, so let’s see what kind of value we can find.
Kalen Ballage, RB (Miami Dolphins) Owned 8.8%
I am not above grabbing the low-hanging fruit. With Mark Walton serving a four-game suspension and Kenyan Drake in Arizona now, Ballage is the lowest of low-hanging fruit. The only other competition for touches from the backfield is either Patrick Laird or Myles Gaskin, neither of whom have touched the football in a game yet in 2019.
Over the past three weeks, Walton had been averaging 71% of the offensive snaps with Ballage a mere 18%. Now Ballage looks to step into that lead role. The Dolphins are still by no means a “good” team, but they have been better in recent weeks and finally won their first contest. Ballage is going to inherit a full workload on a team that finally tasted victory and is not going to completely roll over in the upcoming weeks.
The next matchup against Indianapolis is neutral, but Buffalo and Cleveland are plus matchups. By the time they lineup across from the Eagles, you won’t have any teams on a bye. You will also know what Ballage, and Miami, is or isn’t capable of.
Zack Pascal, WR (Indianapolis Colts) Owned 6.6%
The Colts are quite possibly the most tragic team of 2019. It started with Andrew Luck’s surprise retirement announcement and has followed them all the way through nine weeks of the season. With T.Y. Hilton still sidelined, quarterback Jacoby Brissett suffered an “MCL-ish” injury and promising young receiver Parris Campbell broke his hand.
That now clears the path for the Brian Hoyer to Zach Pascal connection! What’s wrong? You don’t seem excited? Let me try to paint a pretty picture for you.
The last time we saw Hoyer under center for any meaningful amount of time was 2017. In games he started, he averaged 268.83 passing air yards per game. Deshaun Watson, who is the No. 2 quarterback in fantasy thus far, is currently averaging 293.2 passing air yards per game.
In Week 9, Pascal accounted for nearly half of the Colts’ air yards.
Over Pascal’s short career, he has shown he is capable of popping off strong fantasy showings. In 24 career games, he has six games with double-digit fantasy points, including two such games in the last three weeks.
Pascal, like Ballage, is the defacto No.1 on his team until Hilton comes back. He will line up against Miami next week, who is allowing the 11th most fantasy points to the receiver position (37.73). Then Houston (41.51) two weeks after that. That is a very positive schedule ahead of him. With Hoyer under center, who has never been afraid to chuck the ball down the field, Pascal is going to have a very steady volume of deep targets for the foreseeable future.
KeeSean Johnson, WR (Arizona Cardinals) Owned 1%
Johnson was a healthy inactive just a week ago. Then he got back on the field for 44% of the offensive snaps Thursday night against San Francisco and snagged two receptions for 22 yards and a score. That might not seem great, for a guy who is averaging 55% of the team’s offensive snaps on the season, but seeing him jump back into the lineup has me intrigued.
Johnson was a camp stand-out and started the season strong in Week 1 with 10 targets for five receptions and 46 yards. But he has averaged just two targets per game since then and has been mostly off my radar. But this is Dumpster Dives and we never completely throw out a player. Besides, there is a reason to reconsider Johnson when looking ahead.
I was flipping between Johnson or Deebo Samuel for this final spot. Whereas Samuel might have the edge in offensive snaps, Johnson has pure volume in his corner. The Arizona Cardinals have run the sixth most plays from scrimmage so far in 2019 and have the seventh most pass attempts, whereas the Niners are middle of the pack in total plays but dead last in terms of passing attempts.
Not only is Johnson on a team that is passing the ball a lot, but their opponent in Week 10 is Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers are currently allowing 45.48 fantasy points per game to the receiver position. The Seahawks receivers just piled up 71 PPR points against the Bucs with Tyler Lockett (40.2) and D.K. Metcalf (27) both putting up monster weeks.
Between these two porous defenses, there is every reason to believe we have another offensive slugfest on our hands. That gives Johnson some real flex stream appeal this upcoming week.
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