Saturday morning was a wild one for fantasy gamers: Cam Newton was announced out with a positive COVID-19 test, and the Patriots-Chiefs tilt was up in the air as a result (eventually moved to last night, Monday evening). High-stress Saturday’s are not good in any way for fantasy managers, but this is 2020 after all, and we have to roll with the punches.
This past weekend, Austin Ekeler and Nick Chubb were both injured. Two of the top-12 backs in football will miss some time. More than half of the players drafted in the first three rounds have missed games, and most have missed/will miss multiple weeks. The takeaway for us is simple: Never become satisfied with your roster and your depth; constantly look to improve your roster.
A team may have lost Davante Adams and won their week by starting Robert Tonyan. In football, opportunities matter the most over talent. Sometimes, a lesser-known player can come in and be highly-productive.
This is not a massive waiver wire week by any means, but there are a number of players who could be nice additions to your roster. Again, never be complacent.
As always, our threshold will be players rostered in 20 percent or less of Yahoo! leagues.
Justin Herbert QB LA Chargers (17%)
Herbert continues to look like the real deal long-term, and a viable option short-term. The loss of Ekeler will hurt, but it could force the Chargers to take more shots downfield. Herbert is coming off of a three score game against a strong Tampa Bay defense. He now goes into New Orleans for a Monday Night Football match-up against an injury-riddled secondary.
Tua Tagavailoa QB Miami (6%)
Ryan Fitzpatrick continues to hold down the starting signal-caller job for Miami, and he will start this week versus San Francisco. Tagavailoa should see an opportunity soon, however, and if you have the space on the bench consider adding him.
D’Ernest Johnson RB Cleveland (3%)
A former Alliance of American Football (AAF) player, Johnson was immediately productive for Cleveland when Nick Chubb went down with an injury. Make no mistake, this is Kareem Hunt’s backfield now, but Johnson should carve out a double-digit carry role weekly as long as Chubb is out. He will be a very hot name on a lot of waiver wires this week.
Justin Jackson RB LA Chargers (6%)
If you do not want to spend a lot of FAB, consider Jackson. Joshua Kelley looks to see an even larger role with Ekeler headed to the IR, but Jackson was always an Anthony Lynn-favorite and has shown some ability as a two-way back. The Chargers have always seemed committed to using multiple backs, and Jackson could carve out a decent role. He should be rostered.
Ke’Shawn Vaughn RB Tampa Bay (6%)
Vaughn was a very popular pick in the early-summer after being drafted in the 3rd round. He missed some time at camp and seemingly fell out of favor as Ronald Jones ran away with the job. He was left for dead when Tampa Bay acquired Leonard Fournette (and added LeSean McCoy).
With McCoy and Fournette both banged up, Vaughn is back in the mix and backing-up Jones. Vaughn is a solid receiver and scored a touchdown last week on an impressive score near the goal line. If Jones struggles, Vaughn could potentially be the lead back. He still should be rostered as the current backup/passing down back for an upbeat Buccaneers’ offense. This is a nice speculative bench player to roster.
Anthony McFarland RB Pittsburgh (2%)
This is a speculative add, but one that could pay off. McFarland had 42 yards on 6 carries his last game against Houston. Now with Pittsburgh having the long break after their game versus Tennesee was postponed, we could very well see a larger role carved out for the explosive rookie back. This is a low-risk, high-reward add.
Scott Miller WR Tampa Bay (16%)
Miller continues to see targets and production that follows for Tampa Bay. Chris Godwin is already injured, and now O.J. Howard is most likely lost for the year. For a lot of you, Miller will already be rostered, but if he is available scoop him up.
Zach Pascal WR Indianapolis (4%)
Pascal is not an exciting addition by any means, but he continues to see a very high amount of snaps and targets. The Colts offense is very vanilla and does not produce a lot of points, but for players in deep leagues, Pascal should be rostered. This is a floor play-type add.
Tim Patrick WR Denver (2%)
Much like Pascal, Patrick has carved out a large role in a bad offense. Coming off of a 6-113-1 game, Patrick should be scooped-off of most waiver wires. Despite the loss of Courtland Sutton, we did not see a volume increase for talented rookie wide out Jerry Jeudy, and Noah Fant should miss this week. Patrick could be a player you pick up and use in the FLEX or WR3-slot if you are in a bind and need immediate production this week, despite the hard match-up versus the Patriots.
Isaiah Ford WR Miami (1%)
Ford’s targets cannot be ignored. He has had a 9 target game earlier in the season, and now a 10 target game this past weekend against Seattle. Preston Williams has been extremely disappointing and Ford should continue to see looks.
Chase Claypool WR Pittsburgh (10%)
Claypool is a great speculative bench add. He has shown explosive big-play ability. There are a lot of mouths to feed in Pittsburgh, but if any receiver were to see his role increase as the season progressed, it would be Claypool.
Alshon Jefferey WR Philadelphia (16%)
The Eagles receiving core is decimated with injuries. The veteran Jefferey should see an immediate role when he comes off of his own foot injury and that should be as early as this week against Pittsburgh. How much production he can give fantasy teams remains to be seen, but his only competition at wide receiver could be Greg Ward and John Hightower, neither of whom move the needle.
Drew Sample TE Cincinnati (3%)
There are not a lot of lower-owned tight ends this week. If Tonyan is available in your league, he would obviously be a huge addition, but in terms of 20% or less-rostered players, Sample is the only name this week. He had a touchdown ripped away from him last week, but did see 5 targets.
Good luck to everyone.