It goes without saying that the NFL’s landscape looks vastly different in Week 3 than it did at season’s beginning. By the time the week kicks off, there will have been 40 different quarterbacks to start a game this year. That’s without factoring in Andrew Luck‘s preseason retirement. Not to mention there’s a litany of skill position players who are set to miss time. This naturally creates a plethora of opportunities to stash difference makers on fantasy football benches.
Through two weeks, the Tomorrow’s Newspaper series has provided a few hits. Jacoby Brissett will be fine, Raheem Mostert delivered 24.1 fantasy points to those ballsy enough to start him and Deebo Samuel looks the part of San Francisco’s alpha at wide receiver. With 15 regular season weeks remaining, there’s still plenty of meat to pick from the proverbial fantasy football bone. Using advanced stats, metrics and analytics, we can freely stash the next Brissett, Mostert or Samuel. We may even finally be able to pinpoint the next great tight end breakout.
Dwayne Haskins, QB, Washington
When a quarterback is picked in the first round of the NFL draft, the expectation is that they will start games in their rookie year. With Kyler Murray locked into his starting role from day one, and Daniel Jones set to start his first game this week, it’s not hard to conclude that Dwayne Haskins‘ time will come sooner rather than later. It will be easy to see Washington make the switch to the former Heisman finalist and Rose Bowl MVP if they’re blown out at home against the Bears on Monday Night Football.
Haskins may have only started for one year at Ohio State, but he made that year count. Though he ranked second in the nation in pass attempts, he posted an 86.3 (92nd-percentile among qualified quarterbacks) College QBR with 9.1 (81st-percentile) yards per attempt. The supporting cast surrounding him in Washington pales in comparison on paper to his college supporting cast, though the team should be bad enough to keep the pass attempts up. There’s also the built-in rapport with college teammate Terry McLaurin, who has staked his claim as the team’s top receiver. Similarly to how we handled Lamar Jackson last year, sometimes we have to stash these players before the team has a chance to name them the starter.
Darrel Williams, RB, Chiefs
Playing bench stash roulette with Kansas City running backs last season eventually led us to league-winner Damien Williams. With Williams already ruled out for Week 3, and LeSean McCoy dealing with his own ankle malady, the natural thought will be to turn to Darwin Thompson. We’ve already established that Thompson isn’t going to happen. Enter Darrel Williams.
With McCoy limited in practice this week, a tough upcoming matchup against Baltimore and the team exercising caution regarding his usage, the 6-0, 225-pound Williams is a better bet to split early down work with him than Thompson. Despite Williams’ middling athletic profile, his 9.3-percent (68th-percentile) College Target Share shows that he has upside as a potential satellite back-plus. He recorded this target share while sharing the backfield with Leonard Fournette and Derrius Guice at LSU, so it’s not as if he can’t be productive in spite of touch competition. While his Week 3 role remains uncertain given the team’s affinity for Thompson, he’s worth stashing in case he has a big game and/or Damien continues to miss time.
Deonte Harris, WR, Saints
Saints wide receivers, like Chiefs running backs, were frequent targets in this series last year. Though it’s easier to recommend Saints wideouts when Drew Brees is the one throwing them the ball. This stash isn’t as much about the player himself as it is about injuries to the team’s other pass catchers. Tre’Quan Smith sustained an ankle injury that may sideline him for a few weeks, while Keith Kirkwood was placed on injured reserve following a pregame hamstring injury suffered last week. Aside from Michael Thomas and Ted Ginn, the only other receiver to see a regular season snap so far this season in New Orleans has been undrafted rookie Deonte Harris.
The pride of Worcester, MA’s Assumption College, Harris doesn’t look like the type of player the Underworld faithful would normally flock towards. Especially when either Teddy Bridgewater or Taysom Hill will be his quarterback for the next few weeks. Still, there are some intriguing aspects to his prospect profile. Namely an upper-percentile College Dominator Rating, upper-percentile College YPR and sub-11.0 Agility Score. There’s also the fact that he left college with an NCAA DII record 12 career combined return touchdowns, eight of them coming in 2017. Meaning that in spite of his subpar overall athleticism, he clearly knows how to traverse the football field. Which is a great trait to have no matter who your QB is at the pro level. He’s the ultimate deep league wait-and-see stash.
David Moore, WR, Seahawks
Will Dissly had himself a great game against the Steelers in Week 2, hauling in two scores. The question remains whether that was because Pittsburgh is weak against tight ends or because David Moore has yet to play this year. Despite logging a full week of practice, the team still held Moore out of last week’s game for precautionary reasons. This tells us that he’s going to be a big part of the offensive gameplan when he returns.
Moore is an elite athlete with a 127.7 (96th-percentile) SPARQ-x score, highlighted by a 108.7 (89th-percentile) Speed Score. The Seahawks took advantage of this last year, feeding him 18.0 (No. 3) yards of Average Target Distance. While this led to a dismal 50-percent (No. 102) rookie year Catch Rate, his quarterback being Russell Wilson helped him see an 8.7 (No. 5) Target Quality Rating. Being a 219-pound deep threat on a team with an elite QB will result in some boom weeks. If he suits up against the Saints, he projects to draw the coverage of Player Profiler’s 125th-ranked cornerback in P.J. Williams. Those who need a dart throw play in deeper leagues can do much worse than Moore.
Mack Hollins, WR, Eagles
Mack Hollins was always going to be fantasy relevant in 2019 given the extensive injury histories of Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson. Eagles fans weren’t expecting that time to come this early in the season though. Nelson Agholor will be the wide receiver chalk play given his usage last week following Jeffery and Jackson’s injuries. J.J. Arcega-Whiteside will be the sexy upside play that DFS players will be sneaking into their lineups. Hollins, however, shouldn’t be forgotten in all of the commotion.
Check out Mack Hollins on PlayerProfiler’s Updated Weekly Rankings and Projections:
After dealing with a groin injury in the offseason leading up to his second pro campaign last year, Hollins underwent sports hernia surgery and missed the entire season. If not for Philadelphia’s recent rash of pass-catcher injuries, they would still be a primarily 12-personnel offense and he would have nonexistent fantasy value. The injuries forced the team to pivot to using more three-wide sets in Week 2, with Hollins logging an 89.9-percent Snap Share and recording 93 Air Yards on his eight targets. At 6-4, 221-pounds, with a 109.3 (90th-percentile) Speed Score, he brings the same kind of upside to the table as JAWS does. He may even be the better bet for a big fantasy performance, being that he brings more NFL experience to the table.
Demetrius Harris, TE, Browns
Demetrius Harris is the highest priority add in this week’s edition of Tomorrow’s Newspaper. Though David Njoku could technically return this year from his wrist injury, his placement on injured reserve should’ve immediately sent gamers running to the waiver wire to snag Harris. The Cleveland offense has struggled through the season’s first two weeks. Still, that shouldn’t deter us from stashing a player with the raw athleticism that Harris possesses. One who was efficient on limited usage playing behind Travis Kelce last year, averaging 13.7 yards on his 12 receptions.
Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens spent the second half of 2018 using Njoku as a seam-stretching downfield weapon. Todd Monken, who replaced Kitchens as offensive coordinator, did the same with O.J. Howard last year. There’s a chance that recently acquired Ricky Seals-Jones will be the pass-catching beneficiary of Njoku’s absence. While he should also be stashed in deeper leagues, it’s Harris who has the size and pro experience to thrive in an every-down role. Add in the lateral quarterback move from Patrick Mahomes to Baker Mayfield and you have the recipe for a mid-career breakout. You know what to do.