Tomorrow’s Newspaper: Austin Hooper and Week 13 Waiver Wire Prescience

by Ray Marzarella ·

Long live the short, sweet tenure of C.J. Prosise as something of a household name in fantasy football circles.  After making Christine Michael expendable, he was well on his way to being a difference maker down the stretch.  And then he suffered a regular-season-ending fractured scapula in the middle of a huge game against the Eagles in Week 11.  This injury highlights the significance of making the kinds of post-waiver adds that originally netted Prosise for some owners.  Before his 14.3-point breakout against the Saints, his ownership percentage in MFL redraft leagues was only 42.59-percent.  A relatively high number considering the number of owners who drafted and sat on him throughout the weeks he missed with a wrist injury.  But he was still available in enough leagues to qualify as a 2016 waiver-wire hero.  One who has already done his part in helping the owners who started him in the correct weeks qualify for the playoffs.  The more players like this that we can shuffle on and off our rosters as needed, the better our chances of achieving fantasy championships become.

Thanks to Cody Kessler (11.94-percent) suffering a concussion, the Cleveland QB carousel again lands on Josh McCown (11.21-percent).  At least until Robert Griffin is cleared for contact.  Regardless, the Week 12 contest against the Giants represents a top-five match-up per Player Profiler schedule strength metrics.  Colin Kaepernick (46.61-percent) has averaged 20.4 Fantasy Points per Game (eighth among QBs) and currently sports several efficiency metrics in the Top 10 at the QB position.  His rushing ability gives him the necessary floor to be a viable weekly streamer for the closing stretch of the fantasy season.  And like McCown, he’s also facing a team (Miami) that allows more than two fantasy points above the mean to opposing fantasy QBs.

After scoring four TDs in the four games since Miami’s shift to a run-heavy team, Damien Williams (27.96-percent) recorded zero fantasy points against the Rams in Week 12.  Granted he only played nine of 60 snaps, and has only played 53 snaps in total since Week 6.  But he’s still the clear backup to Jay Ajayi and is still the leader among RBs in Production Premium (+89.3) and Fantasy Points per Opportunity (1.68).  Williams needs to be owned everywhere in case all of the recent injuries incurred by Miami’s offensive line end up getting Ajayi hurt.

Eddie Royal (35.11-percent) has seen his efficiency dip gradually ever since returning from a toe injury.  Don’t expect it to improve with Matt Barkley likely to be under center for the Bears in Week 12 against Tennessee.  You’re better off holding players like Adam Humphries (22.00-percent) and Marqise Lee (31.81-percent).  Humphries has a favorable Week 12 match-up against Seattle’s secondary, and has seen target totals of seven, eight and seven in the last three weeks.  Lee continues to be better and more efficient than Allen Hurns, who has seen his play decline sharply since suffering a concussion in Week 9.  This week represents a less-than-favorable match-up against Buffalo, but Jacksonville averaging over 40 pass plays per game helps negate some of those concerns.  Adam Thielen (35.10-percent) and Eli Rogers (50.11-percent) already played this week, but both make for viable rest-of-season adds/stashes.  Rogers is still the ideal slot receiver for the Steelers offense despite two consecutive quiet games.  Thielen has displayed Top-10 efficiency for most of the season, has the top-ranked ROS fantasy schedule at the WR position and has been a target hog in games Stefon Diggs has missed.

Most of the tight ends covered this year find themselves in good positions to contribute to fantasy teams as the season winds down.  The play of Will Tye (34.51-percent) has kept Larry Donnell from playing any offensive snaps since the Giants returned from bye in Week 9.  His ROS schedule ranks third among TEs.  Vance McDonald (44.51-percent) has caught six passes in four straight games and has been among the most efficient players at the position both before and since his Snap Share increase.  A 10-target game from C.J. Fiedorowicz (52.92-percent), combined with a second-ranked ROS schedule, should quell any concerns about him being able to be a consistent fantasy contributor the rest of the way.  Ladarius Green (51.36-percent) has seen his Snap Share increase gradually, has a top-five ROS schedule, and plays for a Pittsburgh team averaging 41.5 pass plays per game (sixth in the league).  And with Jordan Reed suffering a Grade 3 AC joint separation, Vernon Davis (33.50-percent) becomes that much more attractive as a speculative add or hold.

All listed players are owned in less than 50-percent of MFL redraft leagues.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Jets (45.73-percent owned)

I’m not sure how many more of these pieces are going to feature QBs.  We could go to the Cleveland well for the third time this year with Robert Griffin (20.25-percent), but he’s yet to be cleared for contact.  We could re-visit the Denver QB situation with Trevor Siemien (35.85-percent), but he has a bad match-up against the Chiefs to go along with a poor offensive line and only one career 300-yard passing game.  Or we could call on a Chicago QB for the third time this year with Matt Barkley (2.00-percent), but he’s failed to record a TD, attempt 30 passes, or break 158 yards in any of his five career games played.  Instead, we’re going to recommend a New York Jets QB for the second time this season in Ryan Fitzpatrick.

[Ryan Fitzpatrick]-Quarterback-New York Jets]

Ryan Fitzpatrick Advanced Metrics Profile

Ryan Fitzpatrick has seen his efficiency take a sharp downward turn since last season.  He’s outside of the top 30 QBs with 12.6 Fantasy Points per Game, having surpassed 20 points just once.  He’s been hurt by the loss of Eric Decker and by the Jets not having a healthy TE of consequence on the roster.  All that keeps him in the stashing/streaming conversation is a positive remaining strength of schedule, which currently sits at sixth among QBs.  It’s a good sign considering that he’s hit at least 30 pass attempts in every game he’s managed to start and finish, though he’s hit the 300-yard mark only once.  The reality is that if you’re relying on Fitzpatrick to be your streamer or backup, your league is probably super deep and/or your team has been decimated by QB injuries.  For whatever it’s worth, he exceeded 20 fantasy points in each of his two games against the Patriots (his Week 12 opponent) last year.

Charles Sims, RB, Bucs (36.30-percent owned)

If you go to the ‘Related Articles’ section on the bottom of Charles Sims’ player page, you’ll find 11 articles written on him since September 10th of last year.  If you’re new to the Underworld (welcome, firstly), you’ll quickly discover that Sims is a favorite around these parts.  After being designated as Tampa’s return player from injured reserve, the door has been left open for Sims to return in time for the start of most fantasy league playoffs.  Which is why this week, not next week, is the time to stash him at the end of your bench.

[Charles Sims]-Running Back-Tampa Bay Bucs]

Charles Sims Advanced Metrics Profile

A Tampa Bay RB core that’s been decimated by injuries for most of the season is slowly getting healthier, which dampens some of the upside of stashing Charles Sims.  Even if he’s able to return when eligible in Week 14, he’ll be tough to trust in fantasy lineups against a steadily improving Saints run defense.  The play here may be to stash Sims now, see how he’s used in tandem with Doug Martin and/or Jacquizz Rodgers in Week 14, and plan accordingly from there.  With Martin hogging the focus of opposing defenses, Sims could reap most of the benefits of a fifth-ranked ROS schedule as Tampa’s change-of-pace/third down back.

Austin Hooper, TE, Falcons (28.48-percent owned)

It was reported last week during Atlanta’s bye that Jacob Tamme would undergo season-ending shoulder surgery.  Since his team wasn’t playing, it was natural for Austin Hooper to fly under the radar as a post-waiver fantasy add.  Fast forward to today, and Tamme still has an MFL ownership percentage of 22.78-percent.  I know fantasy owners generally don’t like rookie TEs, but there’s absolutely no reason for Hooper to be only slightly more owned than a player whose season is over.

[Austin Hooper]-Tight End-Atlanta Falcons]

Austin Hooper Advanced Metrics Profile

Aside from being Atlanta’s unquestioned starter in Jacob Tamme’s absence, Austin Hooper has been among the league’s most efficient players among tight ends.  The only efficiency metric where he doesn’t rank in the top ten is Drop Rate, because he’s only dropped one of 20 targets.  A small sample size to be sure, but still a check mark in his favor.  A tough upcoming schedule has been cited as reason to curtail our optimism, though this week’s game against Arizona is a favorable match-up per Player Profiler metrics.  But Matt Ryan ranking in the top four of every relevant PlayerProfiler QB efficiency metric could be the rising tide that lifts the proverbial boat.  It helps that Hooper has good enough athletic and production profiles to be a fantasy force with a QB of Ryan’s caliber feeding him the ball.