Welcome to Fanball FAAB, our weekly analysis of players who may be available on your league’s waiver wire.
Words by Christian Peterson. Rankings and blind bid recommendations by Paul Charchian.
Baker Mayfield, Browns
Week 5: 25-43, 342 yards, 1 touchdown passing, 2-23 rushing
Week 6: vs. Chargers
Mayfield has yet to put up a huge fantasy line, but throwing for over 340 yards against the Ravens is no easy feat. Baltimore gave up just one 300-yard passing game all of last year and has yielded just five multi-touchdown passers since the beginning of 2017. The gutty OT win only added to Mayfield’s early-career mystique, and now it’s time for the fantasy goodness to follow. In the next five weeks before Cleveland’s Week 11 bye, Mayfield will face the following opponents (rank vs. opposing QBs, in terms of fantasy points allowed, in parentheses): vs. Chargers (23rd), at Buccaneers (32nd), at Steelers (30th), vs. Chiefs (29th), vs. Falcons (28th). In other words, in the next five weeks Mayfield faces a bottom-10 pass defense allowing averages of 284 yards and 2 touchdowns passing per game (Chargers), followed by four of the five worst pass defenses in the NFL. He should be owned in all formats at this point. Charch’s Blind Bidding Recommendation: 20%. In QB-heavy leagues, 30%.
C.J. Beathard, 49ers
Week 5: 34-54, 349 yards, 2 touchdowns passing, 2-7, 1 touchdown rushing
Week 6: at Packers
Beathard is a horrendously bad NFL quarterback. In two starts, he has thrown four interceptions and fumbled three times (losing two). But, to a certain extent fantasy owners don’t care that much about the turnovers as long as the stats pile up. And pile up they have for Beathard, who has thrown for at least 298 yards and 2 touchdowns in each of the last two weeks, tacking on a rushing score to boot in Week 5. The vast majority of his damage is being done in garbage time, but garbage time stats count just the same. With Matt Breida injured, Beathard will likely throw a few extra times. Beathard is only a desperation option in 2-QB formats or in case of disastrous bye week issues, but you could do worse. Charch’s Blind Bidding Recommendation: 3%. In QB-heavy leagues, 5%.
Corey Clement, Eagles
Week 5: injured
Week 6: at Giants
Clement has been banged up throughout most of the season, missing Week 4 entirely and then suiting up but not playing a snap in Week 5. His ownership is down to just 28%, which is about to skyrocket with the news of Jay Ajayi’s season-ending knee injury. Clement has run clearly ahead of Wendell Smallwood when healthy, and with Ajayi out of the picture the Eagles backfield is at least slightly less confusing than it had been. There’s still the prospect of Darren Sproles’ eventual return to deal with, and there’s the fact that Smallwood has looked great in small doses over the last three weeks. Clement should still be your No. 1 target if you’re an Ajayi owner, but going all-in probably isn’t the best approach given all the other tentacles here. Clement practiced in full on Monday, which is very important on a short week heading into Thursday night’s game against the Giants. P.S. I’m not buying the Le’Veon Bell trade rumors. Charch’s Blind Bidding Recommendation: 35%.
Wendell Smallwood, Eagles
Week 5: 3-27 rushing, 3-44, 1 touchdown receiving
Week 6: at Giants
Smallwood is making the most of his limited touches in the Eagles backfield. He’s averaging 6.8 yards per rush, has 3 catches in each of the last three games, and scored his second touchdown in three weeks against the Vikings in Week 5. With the surprise Monday announcement that Jay Ajayi is lost for the season with a torn ACL, Smallwood suddenly comes into a focus as a near must-add for anyone seeking running back relief. He’ll still have to battle Corey Clement and Darren Sproles (who has now missed four straight games with The World’s Most Severe Hamstring Injury) for playing time, but the picture is suddenly more clear with Ajayi out of the mix altogether. I’d bet on Clement to be the more productive of the two backs over the long hall, but both will have fantasy value moving forward. Charch’s Blind Bidding Recommendation: 30%.
Alfred Morris, 49ers
Week 5: 18-61 rushing, 3-30 receiving on 5 targets
Week 6: at Packers
Ugh. The snake-bitten 49ers appear to have lost another promising player to a multi-week injury. This time, it’s running back Matt Breida, whose ankle sprain could sideline him for 2-4 weeks. Morris, who had been severely outplayed by Breida in the last couple of weeks, is now back in the mix as the 49ers starter until Breida returns. He’ll almost certainly plod his way to 3.5 yards per carry and about 60 or 70 rushing yards per game and a possible touchdown. Or not. Blech. If you’re a Breida owner you may have no choice but to pursue Morris semi-aggressively. If you’re anyone else, you can probably do better. Charch’s Blind Bidding Recommendation: 10%.
Nyheim Hines, Colts
Week 5: 15-45 rushing, 7-45 receiving on 9 targets
Week 6: at Jets
Just a reminder for PPR-leaguers, in particular, to check on Hines’ availability in your league. Still un-owned in half of all leagues according to Fantasy Pros, Hines took command of the Colts backfield last Thursday night. Marlon Mack could still muddy the waters if he ever returns, but Hines appears to have put Jordan Wilkins in the rearview mirror and now has attracted at least 9 targets from Andrew Luck in three of the Colts’ five games to date. Charch’s Blind Bidding Recommendation: 10%.
Mike Davis, Seahawks
Week 5: 12-68, 1 touchdown rushing, 2-7 receiving
Week 6: at Raiders
Chris Carson returned from injury and served as the No. 1 back for the Seahawks in Week 5, but Pete Carroll was true to his word by keeping Davis heavily involved as well. Carson has rushed for over 100 yards in each of his last two healthy appearances and isn’t going away, but it appears the Seattle backfield may be effective enough to provide flex and/or bye week fill-in value for Davis as well. He’s also a potential league-winner if Carson were to suffer another injury. Charch’s Blind Bidding Recommendation: 5%.
Kyle Juszczyk, 49ers
Week 5: 1-12 rushing, 6-75 receiving on 7 targets
Week 6: at Packers
Juszxczcxzxczk is in his sixth NFL season and has carried the ball a grand total of 15 times. But, he’s always been a steady, if unspectacular, receiver out of the backfield. That skill was amplified in Week 5 after Matt Breida exited with an ankle injury, and Juszxczcxzxczk responded with 6 catches from dink-and-dunk specialist C.J. Beathard. PPR-leaguers, take note. Charch’s Blind Bidding Recommendation: 2%.
Alfred Blue, Texans
Week 5: 20-46 rushing, 8-73 receiving
Week 6: vs. Bills
A poor man’s Alfred Morris, The Other Alfred has gained a whopping 2.3 yards per carry across 33 rushes in the last two games. His 8 catches in Week 5 are an astonishing outlier, as he’s never had more than 15 catches IN AN ENTIRE SEASON coming into Week 5. Lamar Miller is not expected to miss any more time with the chest injury that kept him out of last week’s game, but Blue is (barely) worth keeping tabs on just in case Miller’s injuries continue to nag him. Honestly, unless your need is immediate and acute, you’d be better off stashing D’Onta Foreman, who reportedly should be ready to return in Week 7 off the PUP list. Foreman still has a lot to prove after rupturing his Achilles’ last year, but with Miller struggling and Blue being Alfred Blue, there’s a non-zero chance Foreman becomes a fantasy factor down the stretch. Charch’s Blind Bidding Recommendation: 2%.
D’Onta Foreman, Texans
Currently on PUP
Eligible to return in Week 7, vs Jaguars
Like most people with eyes, you probably aren’t overly impressed with Lamar Miller or Alfred Blue. Almost certainly Bill O’Brien has eyeballs and feels the same way. Miller is averaging just 3.8 yards per carry, and Blue is somehow worse, averaging 3.4 yards per carry. D’Onta Foreman looms from the PUP list, eligible to return in Week 7, when he’d face the Jaguars. Charch’s Blind Bidding Recommendation: 1%.
Keke Coutee, Texans
Week 5: 6-51, 1 touchdown receiving on 7 targets
Week 6: vs. Bills
Coutee had a nice follow-up to his Week 4 breakout, but he clearly won’t be as much of a focal point once Will Fuller becomes healthy–assuming that ever happens. Coutee still showed a nice rapport with DeShaun Watson and should be a fixture in the WR3/flex conversation on a weekly basis moving forward. He’s also an excellent insurance policy to the injury-prone Fuller. Charch’s Blind Bidding Recommendation: 15%.
Tre’Quan Smith, Saints
Week 5: 3-111-2 touchdowns receiving on 3 targets
Week 6: Bye
Smith was a dynasty league darling in the preseason, but quickly fell behind Ted Ginn and Cameron Meredith once the regular season started. A third-round rookie out of UCF, Smith has deep speed and a 6-2, 210-pound frame that lends itself to the kind of explosiveness we saw on his two touchdowns on Monday night. Importantly, Smith’s Week 5 surge occurred with Ginn on the sidelines with a knee injury. There’s obvious upside here, but because of the looming return of Ginn and a Week 6 bye, you’re looking at an investment that may not pay dividends until the second half of the season, if at all. He’s a legit waiver target, but has the most appeal for those in deep leagues with large rosters (and/or a dynasty leagues). Charch’s Blind Bidding Recommendation: 8%
Robby Anderson, Jets
Week 5: 3-123, 2 touchdowns receiving on 5 targets
Week 6: vs. Colts
The big play ability fantasy owners saw last year was finally on display for Anderson in Week 5, as he scored on 76-yard and 35-yard touchdown connections with rookie signal-caller Sam Darnold. This was bound to happen for the explosive Anderson, but even he can’t mask the absurdly conservative and honestly, bad, Jets offense. Darnold only completed 10 passes in Week 5, and has completed 17 or fewer passes in four of his five starts. There is no evidence to suggest that Darnold is willing or able to start chucking it more frequently. Anderson is averaging just two catches per game, and hasn’t caught more than three in any game. Matchups against the Vikings and Bears in the coming weeks don’t help Anderson’s outlook. Let someone else chase Anderson’s big Week 5 output. Charch’s Blind Bidding Recommendation: 5%
Chester Rogers, Colts
Week 5: 8-66 receiving on 11 targets
Week 6: at Jets
While Eric Ebron made headlines with a career game last Thursday night, Rogers was quietly the primary wide receiver beneficiary of the absence of T.Y. Hilton. Rogers registered career highs in virtually every category and surprisingly out-produced Ryan Grant with Hilton nursing a hamstring issue. Hilton is no sure thing to suit up in Week 6, and the Colts’ opponent – the Jets – are yielding over 200 yards per game to opposing wideouts, including five different 100-yard performances. Charch’s Blind Bidding Recommendation: 3%
Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Packers
Week 5: 7-68, 1 touchdown receiving on 10 targets
Week 6: vs. 49ers
Valdes-Scantling made a huge impression in his first NFL start, attracting 10 targets and effectively filling in for the injured Randall Cobb. He nearly had a second touchdown before being ruled down inside the 1-yard line. Geronimo Allison, who also missed Week 5, is expected back in Week 6, but Cobb’s status is less clear. Keep an eye on early-week practice reports on Cobb, who was not close to playing in Week 5 and who could get two more weeks of healing time by missing Week 6 and taking advantage of the Packers’ Week 7 bye. In that scenario, Valdes-Scantling has some streaming appeal for a Week 6 matchup with the 49ers. Charch’s Blind Bidding Recommendation: 2%
Josh Reynolds, Rams
Week 5: 2-39 receiving on 3 targets
Week 6: at Broncos
Unless both Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp clear the concussion protocol, Josh Reynolds will be a starting receiver for the NFL’s best offense this week. The sophomore filled in last week and handled the ball three times, including a run. In big leagues, he’s a plausible speculative add as a flier this week against a slumping Denver secondary. And considering Cooks’ two previous concussions, there’s an unfortunate scenario where Cooks misses extended time. Charch’s Blind Bidding Recommendation: 1%
Equanimeous St. Brown, Packers
Week 5: 3-89 receiving on 5 targets
Week 6: vs. 49ers
With both Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison out of action in Week 5, St. Brown picked up the slack with 3 catches and 89 yards. He ran clearly behind Marquez Valdes-Scantling in the pecking order and will return to irrelevance once either Cobb or Allison returns. Charch’s Blind Bidding Recommendation: 1%
Greg Olsen, Panthers
Week 5: injured
Week 6: at Redskins
Olsen’s ownership was much lower just a week ago, before he returned to the practice field and positive reports surfaced about his ability to play through his foot injury as soon as Week 6. He was still available in several of my highly competitive leagues, so it’s worth checking your league’s waiver wire just in case. There are no promises about how effective Olsen will be playing through the foot issue, nor about whether he’ll actually be able to make it through the rest of the season. But even a less-than-100% Olsen could be a huge upgrade over whatever other garbage you’re currently trotting out at the decimated tight end position. Charch’s Blind Bidding Recommendation: 30%, because half your league is looking for tight end help.
Geoff Swaim, Cowboys
Week 5: 3-55 receiving on 3 targets
Week 6: vs. Jaguars
Swaim was the Cowboys leading receiver in Week 5, which is a far more damning accusation against the Cowboys passing game than an accolade for Swaim’s performance. Be that as it may, Swaim isn’t injured like almost every other tight end in the league, and he now has at least 3 catches and 39 yards in each of his last three games. That’s how low the bar currently is in the apocalyptic 2019 Tight End Desolation. Charch’s Blind Bidding Recommendation: 10%, because half your league is looking for tight end help.
C.J. Uzomah, Bengals
Week 5: 2-43 receiving on 2 targets
Week 6: vs. Steelers
It was Uzomah – not Tyler Kroft – who took over as the starting tight end for the Bengals in the wake of Tyler Eifert’s season-ending Week 4 injury. He was only targeted twice by Andy Dalton, but appears to have cemented his status as the tight end du jour in Cincinnati. Kroft also left Week 5’s contest with a foot injury, so Uzomah’s role could continue to grow in the coming weeks. Charch’s Blind Bidding Recommendation: 2%
Welcome to Monday morning. Before you get into the swing of the work week, check out what you might have missed from Week Five. Here’s what you need to know from the Sunday games this week.
Shady Wakes Up
After a month of injuries and pitiful performances, Bills RB LeSean McCoy finally put up the type of performance fantasy players expect from him. McCoy’s 108 total yards nearly matched his total output from his first three games combined. This Bills team is still a difficult one to trust but this is a good sign for McCoy fantasy owners.
OBJ Backs Up His Talk
After voicing his displeasure with QB Eli Manning and the Giants early season woes, WR Odell Beckham took matters into his own hands. OBJ threw a 57-yard touchdown to RB Saquon Barkley to get the scoring started and later caught his own33-yard score, his first of the season. It still wasn’t enough as the Panthers shocked the G Men with a last second 63-yard field goal from K Graham Gano.
RBs Return to Action
After missing multiple weeks with injuries, RBs Joe Mixon and Devonta Freeman were back on the field for their respective teams. Mixon posted 115 total yards and a touchdown as his Bengals came back from a 17-0 deficit to win the game. Freeman wasn’t nearly as productive, totaling just 41 yards in a blowout loss to the Steelers.
Packers Rookies Step Up
With veteran WRs Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison out of action, the Packers and QB Aaron Rodgers were forced to rely on rookie WRs Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown and they responded. Valdes-Scantling caught seven passes for 68 yards and a touchdown while St. Brown hauled in three balls for 89 yards. With Cobb banged up and struggling early this season, we could see these rookies earning more playing time on a regular basis.
Yeldon Last Man Standing
Jaguars RB TJ Yeldon was a hot name over the past week since starting RB Leonard Fournette re-injured his hamstring. After yesterday, Yeldon could turn into a league-winner. Not only did he produce 122 total yards and a touchdown but his primary backup, RB Corey Grant suffered a season-ending Lisfranc injury. Yeldon should have the backfield to himself for the next couple of games, at least.
AB Returns to Form
Despite still producing at a solid WR2 level through the first month, something still seemed off with Steelers WR Antonio Brown. Whatever it was is gone now as Brown looked more like the dominant receiver that has finished as the top overall fantasy receiver three years running. Brown caught six passes for 101 yards and two touchdowns as the Steelers routed the Falcons. Turn down the panic meter for AB. He’s just fine.
Another receiver who has seemingly had a down season is Falcons WR Julio Jones. Despite entering the game on pace for nearly 2,000 receiving yards, many continue to focus on Jones’ lack of touchdown production. That trend continued Sunday when Jones went into the fourth quarter without even recording a reception. He did finish with five catches for 62 yards but still hasn’t found the end zone, a streak that now dates back to Week Twelve of last season.
Nothing for Amari
Raiders WR Amari Cooper continues to mix in flashes of elite upside with games in which he is simply ignored. On Sunday, we saw the latter as QB Derek Carr threw only one pass in Cooper’s direct, which he caught for a 10-yard gain. I’m not sure if we should blame Cooper, Carr or the coaching staff at this point but it is clear Cooper can’t be viewed as an every week fantasy starter. Good luck picking the games he’ll actually produce. I haven’t been able to do that yet.
Chargers on Record Pace
Through five games, Chargers RBs Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler are averaging over 200 yards from scrimmage per game. This puts them on pace to combine for 3,216 yards for the season. For some perspective, last year’s elite RB duo of Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram, who were called by many the best RB duo of all-time, totaled 3,094 yards.
While we continue to dodge most season-ending injury bullets, Sunday was another day with multiple players leaving their respective games early, leaving their upcoming games in doubt. 49ers RB Matt Breida suffered an ankle injury which could keep him out for up to a month. The Rams lost two-thirds of their elite WR corps to head injuries. WRs Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp left the game and could miss their Week Six contest as well. Rookie RBs Kerryon Johnson and Saquon Barkley also had scares but early reports suggest they will be fine moving forward.
Ryan McDowell (@RyanMc23) is a freelance contributor for the SportsHub Games Network, Inc., Fanball’s parent company. Any advice or strategies provided by SportsHub contributors represent their personal opinions; they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of SportsHub Games Network and are not necessarily reflective of the strategies they may employ in their own lineups.