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Fanball FAAB – Week 1 Waiver Wire Advice

by and • September 10, 2019

words by Rob Willette, Rankings by Paul Charchian

QUARTERBACKS

Gardner Minshew, QB JAX (2QB) – 0% owned

Move over, Baker Mayfield.  There is a new mustachioed gunslinger in town with swagger in spades.  Gardner Minshew was thrust into action following an unfortunate injury to Nick Foles, and looks poised be Jacksonville’s triggerman for a good chunk of the season.  Minshew’s relief appearance included an absurd 22 of 25 passing line with 275 yards and a pair of scores. It is not the first time a backup has stunned a defense that prepared for someone else, but the Chiefs defense remains a work in progress. Still, it was an encouraging performance for a man who only two years ago was putting up a pedestrian 16-touchdown season at East Carolina.  The Jaguars have some intriguing weapons and Minshew’s performance Sunday is certainly encouraging. For superflex or 2QB owners hurting for depth, Minshew is a plausible add.

Charch Blind Bidding Recommendation: 3% in superflex or 2QB leagues.

RUNNING BACKS

Malcolm Brown, RB LAR – 7% owned

Todd Gurley owners had their worst nightmares realized Sunday.  The Rams backfield was a pure timeshare, with Gurley popping in and out of the lineup while Malcolm Brown wrestled away 11 carries and a pair of short plunges into the end zone.  Darrell Henderson was a non-factor, with a single carry on his ledger. The Rams appear set on limiting Gurley’s reps, making Brown a weekly FLEX factor with RB1 upside if Gurley misses any time.

Charch Blind Bidding Recommendation: 40%

Ronald Jones, RB TB – 28% owned

An afterthought during drafts following a miserable rookie season, Ronald Jones rose from the ashes of fantasy despair to pace the Tampa Bay backfield with 14 touches for 93 yards.  It was one of the bigger surprises of Week 1, and a welcome sight for fantasy owners given the Tampa Bay backfield looked as appealing as a Gigli sequel all summer. Jones was clearly Tampa Bay’s most explosive back, and despite the offense’s general struggles on Sunday, it is a unit which should provide opportunities for production.  There are likely many owners who have written Jones off completely following 2018, so he might be cheaper than he should be.

Charch Blind Bidding Recommendation: 20%

Raheem Mostert, RB SF – 0% owned

Tevin Coleman left early Sunday with an ankle injury and Matt Breida checked out briefly prior to returning to action.  It opened the door for Raheem Mostert to earn ten touches, perhaps portending a significant role if Coleman were forced to miss time.  Whatever you may think of Mostert’s talent level, this is an offense which elevated Jeff Wilson to fantasy prominence late in 2018 and has routinely been friendly to backs.  If Coleman is scheduled to miss any time, Mostert is a must-add, especially given Matt Breida’s proclivity for getting dinged.

Charch Blind Bidding Recommendation: 10%

Chris Thompson, RB, WAS – 12% owned

The Derrius Guice experiment lasted less than one game, as he’s now sidelined for multiple weeks with a knee injury.  Regardless of Adrian Peterson’s role, Chris Thompson has appeal as the team’s pass-catching change-of-pace back. He was heavily involved in the passing game last week, with 10 targets, seven receptions, and 68 yards.

Charch Blind Bidding Recommendation: 10%

Adrian Peterson, RB, WAS – 28% owned

Because he doesn’t play special teams, Adrian Peterson was inactive last week, but he’ll go straight from the bench to the huddle now that Derrius Guice is down. Peterson will start every game Guice misses (currently believed to be three or four games), and who knows, if he shines, maybe he doesn’t give up the job when Guice returns.

Charch Blind Bidding Recommendation: 8%

CJ Anderson, RB, DET – 13% owned

To the frustration of many Kerryon Johnson owners, CJ Anderson got a ton of work last week, syphoning off 30% of the snaps and 11 carries. As we’ve told you throughout the preseason, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell’s teams average 30 rushes per game (they had 32 last Sunday) which means there’s plenty for Anderson, including some possible goal line work.

Charch Blind Bidding Recommendation: 3%

Gio Bernard, RB, CIN – 13% owned

Joe Mixon suffered an ankle injury on Sunday and Gio Bernard took over as the full time rusher. The team isn’t calling it a “high” ankle sprain, so hopefully he’ll be ready to go next week. But teams frequently lie about the nature of ankle injuries, so there’s a chance Gio has a bigger role next week.

Charch Blind Bidding Recommendation: 2%

WIDE RECEIVERS

Marquise Brown, WR BAL – 28% owned

The bad: Marquise Brown only played 12 snaps.  The great: he turned those snaps into 4 receptions for 147 yards and a pair of scores.  That’s a mandate for additional playing time. Brown showcased the blinding speed and elite playmaking skills which made him a perfect fit for a Baltimore offense which desperately needed some big-play potential.  Yes, his reps were highly limited, but it was probably due to his limited work during training camp. Another x-factor is his opponent, Miami, a glorified junior varsity squad. A player like Brown may offer sporadic production, especially as a rookie, but you simply cannot let a player with this type of skillset languish on the wire.

Charch Blind Bidding Recommendation: 35%

John Ross, WR CIN – 5% owned

The Ronald Jones of wide receivers, John Ross has become a fantasy name which incites rage in fantasy owners.  The former top-10 pick was a bust in the Marvin Lewis regime, yet it appears the Zac Taylor era is poised to be more kind to the former Washington Huskie.  Ross was not just a receiver who broke open a couple of big plays, never to be heard from again. He was peppered with 12 targets, looking like an offensive focal point and showcasing the trademark speed which made him so highly coveted as a prospect.  AJ Green is probably another 2-4 weeks away from returning, at which point Ross’ value likely takes a sizable hit.

Charch Blind Bidding Recommendation: 10%

Jamison Crowder, WR NYJ – 46% owned

Somewhere, the Miami version of Jarvis Landry is smiling.  Jamison Crowder was a football magnet on Sunday, soaking up 17 (!) targets and securing 14 of them for 99 yards.  Inefficiency aside, you simply cannot ignore this type of volume. The Jets invested heavily in Crowder this offseason and it is clear they have plans for him.  He’ll never give you that tingly feeling when you place him in your lineup, but he should be a safe WR3 play in any sort of PPR format.

Charch Blind Bidding Recommendation: 12%

Mecole Hardman, WR KC – 15% owned

Speaking of speculative adds, Mecole Hardman is near the top of the list.  Tyreek Hill’s injury could be significant enough to stretch into October. The Chiefs invested a 2nd-round pick in Hardman during a time when Hill’s status was unsettled, perhaps hinting they anticipated he could stretch the field in a similar fashion. He’ll run Hill’s routes, which is tantalizing. It is possible the vacated volume gets assumed by established veterans Sammy Watkins and Travis Kelce; however, if there’s a boring, low-ceiling player on the end of your bench you can jettison, replace him with a more enticing long-term play.

Charch Blind Bidding Recommendation: 10%

Terry McLaurin, WR WAS – 3% owned

Similar to Miami, we’re just attempting to identify anyone who could earn volume in a limited offense. And hey, Case Keenum was dealing on Sunday, and his willingness to take risks on downfield throws is good news for us fantasy owners. Terry McLaurin was the talk of rookie minicamp and he was sizzling against the Eagles with 5 grabs for 125 yards and a touchdown.  Easily the most talented receiver in a forgettable depth chart, McLaurin could pace Washington in receiving this year and offers some juice to fantasy benches.

Charch Blind Bidding Recommendation: 5%

Preston Williams, WR MIA – 2% owned

The overall line does not jump off the page: 3 receptions for 24 yards and a score.  But his touchdown was a gorgeous toe-tapper at the back of the end zone. The appeal here is twofold; Williams was a summer standout and the Miami Dolphins are so egregiously bad they’ll be in pass-first mode all season. In a season that’s already lost, they may as well feature the few young playmakers they have. Williams is more of a speculative add for the end of your bench, but those are the types of upside plays you want to accumulate before bye weeks kick in.

Charch Blind Bidding Recommendation: 5%, except in dynasty and empire leagues looking toward 2020 and beyond, where I’d bid 10%.

D.J. Chark, WR JAX – 2% owned

Two Jaguars wide receivers?  While these are not your father’s Keenan McCardell/Jimmy Smith Jaguars, they’re also not your slightly older brother’s Cecil Shorts/Ace Sanders Jaguars, either.  It is easy to forget Chark was a second round pick in 2018, a lid-lifter with elite straight line speed and excellent size. His vertical prowess was on display with a 69-yard touchdown Sunday, and he, like Conley, appears to have earned a role in this offense.  It is likely that Westbrook/Conley/Chark all cannibalize each other in what could be a low-yield passing offense with a 6th-round rookie under center, but the latter two (presuming Westbrook is widely owned) are worth a dart throw to see who sticks.

Charch Blind Bidding Recommendation: 3%

Chris Conley, WR JAX – 1% owned

Perhaps the biggest beneficiary of Gardner Minshew under center, Chris Conley was all over the field late in the Jaguars’ tilt with the Chiefs, racking up 6 receptions for 97 yards and a score.  Conley has always offered intrigue; he’s a 97th-percentile athlete who has offered vertical chops despite a rather pedestrian career YPC of 12.1.  Week 1 may stand as Conley’s best game of the season, but the theme of this piece is locating underowned players who find themselves with increased opportunity.  Conley looks like a big piece in the Jacksonville offense.

Charch Blind Bidding Recommendation: 1%

TIGHT ENDS

TJ Hockenson, TE, DET- 53% owned

Rookie tight ends, even first-rounders, almost never produce fantasy points. Almost.  TJ Hockenson just broke the NFL’s all-time record for tight end yardage in a player’s first game with 131. And of note, he broke the record before the overtime. Hockenson looks like he’ll break the rookie mold and perhaps break records.

Charch Blind Bidding Recommendation: 40%

Austin Hooper, TE, ATL – 85% owned

Tight ends notoriously have a steep learning curve, and we’re liable to quit on them far too early.  Hooper entered the league at the age of 21 and has steadily improved each year. Sunday’s nine- reception, 77-yard effort was nothing more than a workmanlike endeavor on the wrong side of a blowout. But his volume is certainly encouraging. Atlanta’s passing attack should have the firepower to support complementary weapons beyond Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, and Hooper has the look of a floor play tight end who keeps you afloat each week.

Charch Blind Bidding Recommendation: 20%