Of the five QBs talked about in five editions of Tomorrow’s Newspaper, four of them are currently injured and two are on injured reserve. Including last week’s recommended QB pickup, Geno Smith. A horrible run of luck to be sure, but it’s just the way the fantasy cookie crumbles with the way today’s NFL is structured.
The good thing about this series is that we’re talking about bottom-of-the-barrel fantasy options that won’t cost you anything to cut. And even with injuries piling up at a seemingly exorbitant pace, there are always players popping up that are at least stashable in the deepest of fantasy leagues. Granted those players may become increasingly harder to find as the season wears on, but there are always opportunities presenting themselves to players in various ways. If this series had began before Week 1, we probably would’ve been talking about the fact that Case Keenum was entering the first season of his career with an entire offseason of preparation as his teams starting QB. Hindsight being what it is, the opportunity alone would’ve been enough to recommend him as the ultimate contrarian QB stash to start the season. And a guy who could be picked up off the street in every single fantasy league before Week 1 is putting up QB2 numbers in averaging 14.2 Fantasy Points per Game. Bleak as things may seem for injury-riddled fantasy squads, the opportunities are there and we’re going to continue to find them.
Josh McCown (10.87-percent) will start for the Browns this week with Cody Kessler (12.47-percent) out with a concussion. Against the Jets, you could do a lot worse for a QB stash/start. Mike Davis (18.80-percent) was out-produced by Shaun Draughn last week and will fade back into fantasy obscurity with Carlos Hyde‘s return. Chalk that one up as a flopski. Marqise Lee (26.82-percent) followed a 17.7-point Week 7 showing against Oakland with a 3.1-point outing this week against Jacksonville, in a game where Lee played 58 of 72 snaps and Blake Bortles threw 54 passes. The Jags are passing enough for Lee to be useful in the right spots, but Bortles’ inconsistency will make him hard to trust. Chris Conley (24.60-percent) has one more chance at a big game this week against the Colts before the plug can be pulled on this experiment. C.J. Fiedorowicz (39.42-percent) makes for a great Week 8 streaming candidate against Detroit, and a great stash for teams struggling at TE. And Austin Seferian-Jenkins (38.63-percent) has to suit up eventually, right? RIGHT?
All listed players are owned in less than 50-percent of MFL redraft leagues.
Jared Goff, QB, Rams (30.16-percent owned)
Case Keenum has received the dreaded vote of confidence from Jeff Fisher following an abysmal four-INT performance against the Giants in London. Jared Goff, the number one pick in the 2016 NFL draft, is receiving first team practice reps during the team’s bye. In a season where Kevin Hogan is among the multiple rookie QBs to have seen the field, Goff’s time is going to come eventually. He’s still allegedly “a long way away from playing” and/or being ready to play, but then so were Dak Prescott and Carson Wentz at one point.Aside from having college production and intangibles of a No. 1 overall pick, Jared Goff would also benefit from having the sixth-friendliest upcoming fantasy schedule for the QB position. Combine that with players like a resurgent Kenny Britt, and a steadily improving every-down TE in Lance Kendricks, and you have the recipe for a potentially profitable late-season QB streamer with the upside to become an eventual weekly starter. Pick him up now in case the Rams come out of their bye and announce him as the starter in Week 9.
C.J. Prosise, RB, Seahawks (42.59-percent owned)
In his return to action from a hand injury that cost him four games, C.J. Prosise played 16 of 63 snaps on offense. More importantly, the team released C.J. Spiller after making him a healthy scratch last week. With Thomas Rawls expected to miss a few more weeks, the door is open for Prosise to earn himself a bigger role in the Seattle offense for at least the next few games. Against a Saints defense that PlayerProfiler metrics peg as being the friendliest towards opposing fantasy RBs, he can be streamed in deeper leagues.
Christine Michael has been a fantasy RB1, is among the leaders at the position in Opportunity Share and has seen at least three targets in every game. But it’s interesting to me that he and Prosise each saw three targets against the Cardinals. It suggests that Prosise, a converted WR who has been a RotoUnderworld favorite for a long time, could begin to earn some more looks going forward. And if Michael were to go down to injury in the near future, the Opportunity Share he’d be leaving up for grabs would be of the league-winning variety.
Kenny Stills, WR, Dolphins (33.87-percent owned)
It’s never a bad idea to stash talented, efficient wide receivers during their bye weeks. Though Kenny Stills ranks 61st at the WR position with 9.4 Fantasy Points per Game, that can mainly be attributed to the relative lack of involvement he’s seen in the Miami passing game. In other recent news, the Earth is still round and the sky is still blue. And Stills is once again proving himself to be one of the most efficient receivers in the league despite the limited looks that have gone his way. His 50-percent Catch Rate isn’t good, but it’s interesting to notice that his Drop Rate is only 3.1-percent. Which tells me that most of the misses fired in his direction are the fault of his QB.Kenny Stills is receiving plenty of opportunity, as he’s played the majority of the receiver snaps to this point, but will certainly burn you with the occasional goose egg as we saw in Week 5. That just comes with the territory given the nature of his game. But with a few more weeks of bye week blues to sift through, playing a receiver like Stills in the right week can be the difference between winning and losing a game in this all-important portion of the fantasy season.
Ladarius Green, TE, Steelers (33.44-percent owned)
Though his ownership still sits under 50-percent, I was surprised to see Ladarius Green owned in as many leagues as he is currently. Mainly because he’s yet to be activated from the PUP list and the details about his injuries have been about as vague as possible. It’s certainly not surprising because of his talent profile, which has made him another long time favorite of the RotoUnderworld team and the metrics community in general.The reason to get Ladarius Green now, if you haven’t been holding onto him already, is because he’s returned to practice. Though the Steelers still have just under three weeks to activate him, there will be people who rush to claim him off waivers once that happens. So it’s best to make the move now while the team is on bye and he’s out of the minds of most fantasy owners. Jesse James has been serviceable, but he hasn’t played well enough to justify keeping a player with Green’s athleticism and experience off the field when he returns. With the second most favorable upcoming fantasy schedule for the TE position, a healthy Green could be the long-term answer at the TE position that many owners have been seeking all year.