by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Looking to hit the waiver wire? Who isn’t looking to improve, though making any hasty decisions off one game could ultimately prove more costly than helpful. With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few players who may be available and if they are worth targeting or not:
Chris Thompson – Running Back – Washington Redskins
It was a disastrous day for “lead” back Matt Jones, who not only struggled running the football (10 carries for 27 yards), but also lost a crucial fumble. That led to a committee being formed, with Thompson leading the way with a strong all around day:
- Rushing – 12 carries for 73 yards
- Receiving – 7 receptions for 40 yards
Jones has now fumbled three times in the past five games, losing two of them. He also has posted 2.7 YPC or worse in two of his past three games. In other words he’s struggled, and there’s a good chance that Thompson’s increased role continues. With 12+ touches per week he can definitely make an impact, and that makes him well worth buying in all formats.
Verdict – Must add thanks to dual threat potential
Ka’Deem Carey – Running Back – Chicago Bears
We talked about the Bears’ running back situation after Thursday night’s game, so click here for the article. That said, Carey’s performance over the past two weeks certainly is worth discussing once again:
- Week 6 – 9 carries for 50 yards
- Week 7 – 10 carries for 48 yards
That’s 19 carries for 98 yards, while “starter” Jordan Howard posted 22 carries for 56 yards over the same span. There shouldn’t be any doubt that there’s a changing of the guard coming, and while Carey is going to share the backfield he should see his opportunities rise. Given the questionable status of many of the backfields throughout the NFL, that’s more than enough to dub him worth utilizing.
Verdict – Must add
Jamison Crowder – Wide Receiver – Washington Redskins
He led the Redskins in targets (9), which he turned into 7 receptions and 108 yards. The usage is a jump over the previous three games (10 targets total), though he was targeted 7+ times in each of the first three games. Even over those “big” usage days, he hadn’t topped 78 yards all year, with the key to his success being finding the end zone (3 TD). That’s not something we’d be willing to bank on continuing.
Verdict – Only for those in the deepest of formats
Mike Gillislee – Running Back – Buffalo Bills
What a mess… All reports had LeSean McCoy being less than 100%, which sent fantasy owners scurrying to plug Gillislee into their lineup. Instead of taking the conservative approach the Bills’ coaching staff opted to push the envelope, not only dressing McCoy but utilizing him as the lead back (even as he struggled to 11 yards on 8 carries)… That is until he reinjured his hamstring and was forced to shut it down for the day.
Now it seems inevitable that McCoy will be out for Week 8, with the potential for his absence to be even longer than that. Of course, after what the team did this past week who knows what to expect. New England isn’t necessarily an ideal plug and play matchup, but Gillislee will at least be on FLEX radars assuming McCoy is out.
Verdict – Worth adding
Russell Shepard – Wide Receiver – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
No one knew for sure who Tampa Bay would turn to in the absence of Vincent Jackson. In Week 7 the answer was Shepard, who had the second most targets (6) and a solid performance (5 receptions, 77 yards, 1 TD). Granted it came against the 49ers, but there’s clearly an opportunity for someone to step up behind Mike Evans and Shepard is getting the first crack at it. With the Raiders and Bears on the schedule in two of the next three weeks (sandwiching the Falcons, who are hardly an imposing matchup), Shepard has the potential to quickly emerge as a viable WR3. At the very least he has enough upside to warrant adding him in deeper formats.
Verdict – Worthy deep league add
Marqise Lee – Wide Receiver – Jacksonville Jaguars
He’s been targeted 6+ times in five consecutive weeks, though this is the first time he’s topped 75 yards and he has yet to find the end zone this season. This performance also came in a game that they trailed by a lot, with Blake Bortles throwing it 43 times. Three other players were also targeted 7+ times, and all three are likely higher on the depth chart (Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns and Julius Thomas). It was a nice day, but he’s not a player we’d be buying.
Verdict – Higher upside players worth buying
Kenny Stills – Wide Receiver – Miami Dolphins
It’s easy to overlook Stills’ big day, with Jay Ajayi stealing everyone’s attention. That said the line was definitely an impressive one:
5 receptions (8 targets) for 100 yards and 1 TD
Can we expect this type of performance to continue? He’s been targeted 5 times or fewer in five of the seven games this season and he’s been far too dependent on the big play (19.8 yards per reception). He’s a boom or bust play, and in this offense that’s not a gamble to take.
Verdict – Too much bust and not enough boom
Kevin Hogan – Quarterback – Cleveland Browns
Cody Kessler continued to play well, going 9-11 for 82 yards, but he was forced from yesterday’s game due to a concussion. That led to undrafted free agent Kevin Hogan taking over under center, and while he struggled throwing the football (12-24, 100 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT) he showed tremendous upside with his legs (7 carries for 104 yards and 1 TD).
Is that enough for the Browns to give him another opportunity, should Kessler not get cleared in time for Week 8? Probably not, with Josh McCown reportedly getting closer to a return. Hogan could have QB2 appeal against the New York Jets, should he get called upon, but don’t count on it.
Verdict – Not worth it
Peyton Barber – Running Back – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
He’s going to continue operating behind Jacquizz Rodgers, but he’s the new handcuff with Doug Martin remaining sidelined. He certainly impressed this past week, taking 12 carries for 84 yards and 1 TD (including a 44 yard TD), and if something were to happen to Rodgers he’d be a must own option.
Verdict – Handcuff worth owning
Sources – NFL.com, ESPN, Yahoo!