What We Learned: Week 16
Check back here every week to listen to Tim: analyze what we saw, discuss who's trending up or down, and jump to some wild conclusions.
After a week where so many players went down (some for the season) with significant injuries, fantasy owners everywhere are left feeling distraught. Although things may seem grim at the moment, its important to know: there’s still time to recover.
Even if you lost your best player, or more than one of them, it’s imperative (now more than ever) to keep your head up.
After seeing the Cowboys pull off the most miraculously electrifying improbable win in modern football history in week two, you have to realize: even the most impossible-seeming comeback can be completed. All you have to do is show up and believe.
I've said it before but I'll say it again: now is no time to be feeling sorry for yourself soldier! The season is still young. The last thing you should be doing is throwin' in the towel. You've got a league to win.
Without further ado, I will break down (by position) players that should be available in your league that could help you fill the potential holes left in your roster after week two.
DISCLAIMER: This list will only feature players rostered in less than 50 percent of ESPN leagues. I have them listed in order of my own personal preference, but I will provide you with enough info for you to make an informed decision for yourself.
1. Joshua Kelley (LAC)
Kelley has been receiving a surprisingly generous amount of volume these past two weeks. He's finished with at least 60 yards rushing and 12.0 (PPR) points in both games this season. In week two, Kelley was given a staggering 25 touches and finished with 113 total yards.
Although Austin Ekeler was clearly more efficient with his touches, and is still a low-end RB1 in my opinion, he received seven carries less than Kelley in week two. If things continue this way, Kelley could work his way into the RB2 discussion if it turns out he's filling the Melvin Gordon role for the Chargers. Which appears to be the case.
He's owned in just 27.9 percent of ESPN leagues. Based on volume alone, he is an ideal plug-and-play for an RB-needy team.
2. Jerrick McKinnon (SF)
McKinnon has already been solid this season, scoring a TD and at least 13.0 PPR points in back-to-back games. He has just six carries for 106 yards so far. With Raheem Mostert expected to miss at least two weeks with an MCL sprain, McKinnon will be even more involved than he has been already.
As I write this, it has come to my attention that Tevin Coleman is also dealing with a knee injury. I just received the notification that he’s expected to miss “multiple weeks,” which makes McKinnon that much more valuable.
Think about it... He will be the RB1 in a Kyle Shanahan offense for the next two weeks.
He is rostered in just 19.3 percent of ESPN leagues. Go scoop him now.
3. Mike Davis (CAR)
With Christian McCaffery expected to miss at least 4-6 weeks thanks to a high-ankle sprain, Mike Davis becomes the panthers RB1.
He only had one rush in week two, but that could be attributed to negative game script and the fact that McCaffery plays 97 percent of the Panthers snaps. After McCaffery exited however, Davis was heavily involved, catching all eight of his targets for 74 yards. He finished with 15.5 (PPR) points on receptions alone.
To recap, Davis is a good receiving back, currently atop the depth chart on a team that is top-six in RB targets per game, with a QB who likes to throw it short. At this moment, he is available in 99.2 percent of ESPN leagues.
4. Myles Gaskin (MIA)
The fact he’s on the Dolphins is the only reason he isn’t higher on this list. I was skeptical after week one, but Gaskin has now put together back-to-back games of at least 10.0 (PPR) points, 40 rush yards AND four receptions.
Gaskin has displayed promise as a rusher and a pass-catcher so far. He’s averaging 5.3 YPC and 6.2 YPR on the season... behind the Dolphins offensive line...
Granted, it is a small sample size, but an encouraging one nonetheless. He is currently owned in just 13 percent of ESPN leagues.
5. Jamaal Williams (GB)
Williams has proved in the past he is a more-than-capable receiver out of the backfield. Last year, there were times when both Aaron Jones AND Williams were start-able.
In 2019, Williams had seven games with three or more catches, and five games with four or more. At one point, he had a four-game receiving-TD streak. During those four weeks, he logged fantasy finishes of 23.6, 13.1, 18.6, and 16.9 (PPR) points.
Davante Adams could potentially miss some time with an apparent hamstring injury, and since the Packers other pass-catchers have proved to be less than stellar, Williams could be in line for an increase in touches. Last week, he rushed for an impressive 63 yards on just eight carries.
Williams is a talented player on a very good offense. If he resumes his role from a season ago, he would be a solid PPR flex/RB3. He is currently owned in just 12.6 percent of ESPN leagues.
6. Dion Lewis (NYG) / Devonta Freeman(NYG?)
Lewis is the first in line to see an expanded role now that Saquon Barkley is out for the season with a torn ACL. He found the end-zone last week and finished with 15.6 PPR points.
The only reason I don’t have him higher, is because the Giants are reportedly bringing in Devonta Freeman for a workout. I find it hard to believe they don’t sign him. Even without having played in a while, he’d be a vast improvement over the G-men's current RB2 Wayne Gallman.
Both Lewis and Freeman have been VERY fantasy relevant in the past, but while splitting reps, I’m not exactly confident in either as anything more than a TD-dependent flex for now.
Others to keep an eye on: Darrell Henderson (LAR), Frank Gore (NYJ), Giovani Bernard (CIN)
1. N'keal Harry (NE)
For the second straight week, Harry tied Julian Edelman for the team-lead in receptions. In a game where the game script called for Cam Newton to pass, Harry had 12 targets, eight receptions and over 15.0 (PPR) points.
I wish I had more evidence to support this theory, but I expect Harry takes the leap forward this year and provides consistent production as one of Cam’s clear favorite targets.
He is owned in just 39.6 percent of ESPN leagues, and if my gut is correct, this will likely be most people’s last week to snag him.
2. Russell Gage (ATL)
Gage is in a very crowded WR room, and yet he has drawn 9+ targets and scored over 16.0 (PPR) points in back-to-back games to begin the 2020 season.
Matt Ryan has been lighting it up lately and he’s been looking Gage’s way quite a bit. There are few WR's on the waiver-wire that have received as much love as Gage this season.
There’s no guarantee this production continues with the amount of exceptional pass catchers on the Falcons offense, but what if it does? So far it’s been working out. Why not ride the train while you can?
Gage is currently available in about 80 percent of ESPN leagues.
3. Corey Davis (TEN)
Davis has stacked back-to-back respectable fantasy performances to begin the 2020 season. In week one, he finished with 101 yards and 17.1 (PPR) points. In week two, he made an impressive TD catch and finished with 12.6 (PPR) points.
For those of you that haven't noticed, Ryan Tannehill has playing like an elite quarterback since week 10 of last season. Davis is a former first-round talent, and if this is the year he finally figures it out, you're going to want him on your team.
I’m not necessarily saying that’s the case, BUT he has played well enough to warrant flex consideration.
Once AJ Brown returns, it’s likely that Davis's production will take a hit. But that might not be for several weeks. For now, he appears to be the Titans WR1. He is owned in just 35.3% of ESPN leagues
4. Keelan Cole/Laviska Shenault (JAX)
Cole has a TD, and at least five catches/15.7 points in back-to-back games to begin 2020. With Gardner Minshew looking like a seasoned pro in his second season (six passing TD's in two games) Cole has been enjoying flex-level productivity.
If he emerges as Minshew's second favorite target, he could become very fantasy relevant. With DJ Chark reportedly dealing with an injury of his own, he just might be Minshew's first favorite target this week.
Cole is currently available in 98 percent of ESPN leagues.
Another one of Minshew's weapons, Shenault now has 9.0 (PPR) points in back-to-back weeks. What’s interesting about him is that the Jags have been using him as a gadget player.
He already has a receiving TD this season and in week two, he carried the ball five times for 37 yards (just over 7.0 YPC). It’s clear to see the Jags are trying to get him the ball, and considering the talent, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few multi-TD games this season.
He is currently owned in just 13.1% of ESPN leagues.
5. Chase Claypool (PIT)
He's currently third in line behind JuJu and Diontae Johnson for Steelers WR targets, but he showed off his big play ability in week two on a 70-yard TD pass from Big Ben. He finished with 17.8 (PPR) points on just three catches. He's currently averaging 25.4 yards per reception, which has me thinking he could end up being the new Martavis Bryant...
Big Ben certainly has the pedigree as a passer to see to it that three of his receivers finish with over 1,000 yards, but as of now I would only feel comfortable playing Claypool in a very deep league.
The talent is definitely there, it’s just a question of volume for him until we see consistent production. But if you wanted to take a shot on someone based on talent alone he’s your guy.
He's currenrtly available in 92.6 percent of ESPN leagues.
6. KJ Hamler (DEN)
With Courtland Sutton out for the season with a torn ACL, and Jerry Jeudy dealing with an apparent concussion, the rookie Hamler is primed to step into an expanded role.
Noah Fant is currently the teams top pass-catcher with Melvin Gordon as a close second. After that, it’s anyone’s game.
Of course Jeff Driskel might be a bit of a downgrade over Drew Lock, which makes this pick less appealing. But there is opportunity for Hamler to step up.
He did finish with the team lead in targets (7) in week two (his rookie debut). He is available in 98.9 percent of ESPN leagues.
Others to keep an eye on: Hunter Renfrow (LV), Scotty Miller (TB), Brandon Aiyuk (SF)
Photo courtesy of NFL.com
Fantasy owners took a big hit in week two as Saquon Barkley and Christian McCaffery (among several others) suffered significant lower body injuries.
Tim Brosnan, Fantasy Sports Analyst/Freelance Journalist
Tim Brosnan is a college-educated sports journalist from the New Haven, Connecticut area.
The Playbook by CommishFFP
Brosnan earned his Bachelor's Degree from Castleton University where he majored in Media & Communication, with a focus in Journalism.
During his tenure as the sports editor of the Castleton Spartan newspaper, Brosnan created the segment 'Tim's Fantasy Tips'. It began as a simple weekly start/sit column, but since then, the idea has grown into so much more.
Brosnan has taken his experience/passion for pro football/fantasy sports and combined it with his journalistic know-how in order to bring you a completely original, well-informed, multi-layered fantasy football advice experience.
We hope you enjoy.