Tomorrow’s Newspaper: Geno Smith and Week 8 Waiver Wire Prescience

by Ray Marzarella ·

The fantasy football community didn’t know what they had in Brian Hoyer before he was gone.  A player whose ownership percentage was only a few more solid games from cresting 50-percent in MFL leagues, he was the definition of a low-upside bench stash before starting in Week 3 against Dallas.  A player that fantasy owners didn’t want to start, let alone roster, unless they absolutely had to.  A player who was obtained for free in virtually every league who went on to help some owners win match-ups.  This is the kind of player we hope to unearth every week with these pieces, though the success rate is always going to be low when we’re talking about bottom-of-the-barrel fantasy players.  But no matter how low the upside seems to be, players like these are always worth the stash in case of events that lead them to become viable starters for fantasy squads.

The hit rate for the players talked about throughout the year hasn’t been great, but a few of these players are still worth monitoring.  After putting up a career-best 21.7 fantasy points in an unfavorable match-up against the Titans last week, Cody Kessler (9.83-percent) looks to have officially supplanted Josh McCown on the Cleveland QB depth chart.  He’s streamable in a plus match-up against the Bengals, though his upside is diminished if Terrelle Pryor‘s hamstring keeps him from suiting up.  Though his Snap Share went down when Rashad Jennings returned this past week, Bobby Rainey (26.24-percent) is still playing more snaps than Paul Perkins and Orleans Darkwa.  Rainey is still worth owning unless he starts losing playing time to someone else and/or Jennings continues to receive more targets than him.

I was burned in a few spots last week by using Chris Conley (25.84-percent) as a high-upside WR3.  But the match-up this week against the Saints is good enough for me to consider going back to the well again this week.  The obvious risk is that the Chiefs use their run game and defense to dictate the game flow and render Conley useless again, but the team is running enough pass plays for me to feel good keeping him on my rosters for now.  The last time we saw Adam Thielen (23.39-percent), he was putting up 25.7 fantasy points against Houston in relief of Stefon Diggs.  Minnesota isn’t running a lot of pass plays, but Thielen has been among the league’s most efficient receivers, has a juicy upcoming schedule and needs to be rostered as insurance in case Diggs is still limited by his groin injury.  And with pass-catchers dropping like flies in Indianapolis, with Dwayne Allen being among the most recent, Jack Doyle (32.49-percent) becomes something of a must-play with his top-five efficiency and the Colts averaging 43.3 pass plays per game.

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

Geno Smith, QB, Jets (5.39-percent owned)

Ryan Fitzpatrick 2016 Passing Opportunity Numbers

This is what we’ve come to.  The Geno Smith truthers have a chance to be right, small as it may be perceived.  Although the loss of Eric Decker, which helped contribute to the demise of Ryan Fitzpatrick, won’t make it easy for Geno to shock the world.  Luckily, we only need him to be passable for fantasy purposes.  The easiest path to that destination will be through lots of volume, which Fitzpatrick did have going for him.  Though it’s hard to get excited about the prospects of using a QB whose team is last in the NFL in points scored, the weapons he has at his disposal will at least give him a chance to give you numbers that won’t destroy your team if you have to start him.  Brandon Marshall is off the injury report for now, pass-catching specialist Bilal Powell has supplanted Matt Forte as the best fantasy option in the backfield, we know all about what Quincy Enunwa brings to the table and the team will eventually get the services of the uber-talented Austin Seferian-Jenkins.  The match-up against the Ravens in Week 7 isn’t ideal, which means anyone deploying Jets players will likely have to rely on volume to see positive returns.  This line of thinking led us to Brian Hoyer so it could always, believe it or not, be worse.

Mike Davis, RB, 49ers (7.81-percent owned)

[Mike Davis]-Running Back-San Francisco 49ers]

Mike Davis Advanced Metrics Profile

If opportunity is key at the RB position, Mike Gillislee is the optimal stream/stash with LeSean McCoy‘s status being uncertain.  A less obvious stash, while still being worthwhile, is Mike Davis.  While Shady hasn’t officially been ruled out for Week 7 (as of Saturday 10/22), Carlos Hyde already has.  And though Hyde is expected back after the team’s Week 8 bye, it doesn’t mean you should up and drop Davis after this week even if he puts up a stinker.  While Hyde has recorded a top-10 Opportunity Share to this point, he doesn’t offer as much as a receiver as Davis does with his 78th-percentile College Target Share.  He has a higher College Target Share and a better Agility Score than Shaun Draughn, who it was widely assumed was going to be the team’s pass-catching back.  And with Davis getting the majority of the snaps when Hyde went down last week, and with Draughn only seeing seven targets in six games, it’s safe to assume that Davis will be the player who sees the majority of the Week 7 work even with the team likely to use a committee.  A good performance, with some receiving production sprinkled in, would go a long way towards Davis carving out more work for himself when Hyde returns.  The match-up this week against Tampa is a good one for him to be able to make that happen.

Marqise Lee, WR, Jaguars (15.42-percent owned)

[Marqise Lee]-Wide Receiver-Jacksonville Jaguars]

Marqise Lee Advanced Metrics Profile

Once drafted before Allen Robinson in the 2014 NFL Draft’s second round, Marqise Lee has been among the league’s most inefficient receivers since coming into the league.  But at some point, we won’t be able to ignore a player whose Snap Share has increased in each week of the season and whose Target Share has been in the 18-percent range consistently over the last few weeks.  Though his efficiency metrics again haven’t been great, they’ve been better than in previous years.  An above-average athlete and college producer with the burst to win on the outside and the agility to win in the slot, it’s possible that Lee is slowly beginning to put it all together at the NFL level.  A situation made even more ideal by Jacksonville’s averaging an NFL fifth-best 41.4 pass plays per game.  Players like these make for ideal deep-league streamers in the right match-up.  And this week’s match-up against Oakland is the best possible match-up for wide receivers per PlayerProfiler metrics.  Lee is an ideal one-week rental who would become a must-add in the event of an injury to one of The Allens.

C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE, Texans (12.87-percent owned)

[C.J. Fiedorowicz]-Tight End-Houston Texans]

C.J. Fiedorowicz Advanced Metrics Profile

After Ryan Griffin‘s 10-target, eight catch performance in Week 3, he’s been out-snapped and out-produced by C.J. Fiedorowicz in three straight games.  A player who looks a lot like Rob Gronkowski, CJF is currently sitting at 2.00 Fantasy Points per Target (No. 9) with the position’s eight-best Production Premium and second-best Target Premium.  Despite how well he’s been playing, he’s still six targets behind Griffin on the season and has only seen four more targets during his current stretch of double-digit games.  And though he’s only scored 17.3 fantasy points to CJF’s 45.4 over the last three weeks, Griffin also has the highest Hog Rate at the TE position.  The fact that these guys are seeing similar Target Shares slightly dampens CJF’s upside.  But while Brock Osweiler has struggled to this point in the season, the Texans have the league’s most favorable upcoming fantasy schedule at the QB position while the TEs have the tenth-most favorable schedule.  If CJF can continue to out-snap and out-produce Griffin, he can quickly become a long-term answer for TE-needy fantasy owners.